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After THISDAY Healthcare Summits, N’Assembly Earmarks N57.15bn for BHCPF Passes 2018 budget, pegs oil benchmark at $51/bl Silent on Tucano aircraft, demands inclusion of fuel subsidy in Supplementary Bill Damilola Oyedele, James Emejo in Abuja and Martins Ifijeh in Lagos After the two policy dialogues

held by THISDAY on Healthcare Financing and Universal Health Coverage, the National Assembly has for the first time earmarked

N57.15 billion for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) in the 2018 budget passed yesterday by the legislature.

Aggregate expenditure in the budget was also hiked by about N500 billion from N8.61 trillion to N9.12 trillion, as the lawmakers increased

the oil benchmark from $45 to $51 per barrel, but maintained oil production at 2.3 million barrels per day and the exchange rate at N305 to

the US dollar. With the passage of the 2018 budget, the N57.15 billion Continued on page 8

Governors Accuse NNPC of Failure to Remit Oil Royalties… Page 9 Thursday 17 May, 2018 Vol 23. No 8428. Price: N250

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IG Trying to Frame Me, Saraki Cries Out Senate President leads delegation to meet Buhari Police: Inviting suspects to Abuja is routine Damilola Oyedele, Senator Iroegbu, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Hammed Shittu in Ilorin The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki yesterday raised the alarm over a plot by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idis, to implicate him and the Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, in criminal activities.

According to Saraki, Idris had directed that a group of cultists who were arrested in Kwara State be transferred to Abuja, where their statements would be altered to implicate him and the state governor. But the Nigeria Police Force immediately debunked the allegation, saying the alarm was a ruse, misleading and amounted to obstruction of justice.

Also in reaction to Saraki’s charge on the floor of the Senate yesterday, his colleagues resolved that the Senate President should lead a delegation to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to inform him about the plot. Speaking at plenary, Saraki described the plot as an act of desperation, blackmail, intimidation, abuse of office and crude tactics aimed at

turning Nigeria into a police state. “It is also an indication of the level of rascality which happens when efforts are made to ensure that top officials obey the law, follow due process and subject themselves to constituted authority. “Last night (Tuesday), my state governor, Dr. Abdulfatai Ahmed revealed to me information at his disposal

that a group of suspects who had been in the police cell for several weeks for cultism and whose investigation had been concluded with prosecution about to commence under the state law, based on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the Ministry of Justice, were ordered to be transferred to Abuja this (Wednesday) morning.

“According to the information available to the governor, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Ibrahim, directed the Commissioner of Police in Kwara State to immediately transfer the men to the Force Headquarters. “The plan, as the governor was made to understand, is that under duress, the Continued on page 6

With Assets of N5.2tn, Shareholders’ Funds of N678bn, FBN Holdings Eyes Improved Returns Goddy Egene FBN Holdings Plc is set to consolidate on its 2017 performance and deliver stronger results going forward, given the healthy financial indicators and the strategies being implemented by the board and management of the company. With the financial group’s strong assets base of N5.2 trillion, up from N4.7 trillion in 2016, shareholders’ funds of N678.2 billion and increased patronage by customers, among other factors, market analysts after the company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, were of the view that FBN Holdings was on track for better returns. A review of FBN Holdings’ 2017 results showed gross earnings of N595.4 billion, up from N581.8 billion in 2016. Continued on page 6

L-R: Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, MD/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Mrs. Debola Osibogun, Non-Executive Director, FBN Holdings Plc; UK Eke, GMD, FBN Holdings; Oba Otudeko, Group Chairman, FBN Holdings; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria; and Mallam Bello Maccido, Chairman, FBN Merchant Bank Limited at the 6th Annual General Meeting of FBN Holdings held in Lagos… Tuesday

WORDS ON MARBLE PROFESSOR YEMI OSINBAJO in Benue State... yesterday “Let me assure you that under no circumstance whatsoever will I give up my faith or refuse to stand up for my faith. You can take that to the bank. Even the position that I currently occupy, I did not ask for it and I’m prepared to leave it on short notice. It doesn’t mean anything. “I became a born again Christian after I became a professor, a Professor of the Law of Evidence, a professor of proof. But when the Lord Jesus Christ met me, He persuaded me by showing me clearly that there is such a thing as the evidence of faith that is not seen. “It is because of the evidence of things that are not seen, it is because you can make something out of nothing that I stand here today as vice- president. How can anyone say that the killing of women and children doesn’t matter because he is vice-president or because he is president? How is that possible? See story on page 8


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PAGE SIX IG TRYING TO FRAME ME, SARAKI CRIES OUT suspects would be made to alter the statements they had already made in Ilorin. They will then be made to implicate the Kwara State Government, and in particular myself in their new statement,� Saraki alleged. The Senate President said the plot was part of the strategy by Idris to settle scores over the Senate’s declaration that he was an enemy of democracy, incompetent and unfit to hold public office, “following his usual disrespectful conduct towards lawful authorities�. “I want to bring this dangerous development to the attention of all of you my colleagues, the entire country and the international community, so that you can be aware of the level of impunity in our country and the danger it constitutes to our democracy,� Saraki added. As the Senate President made to continue proceedings, he was interrupted by the Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio who was emphatic that the allegations were too weighty not to be debated at plenary. Akpabio noted that any plot incriminating the Senate President would affect the credibility of the Senate as an institution. Since the matter directly affected him, Saraki at this point stepped down for Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu to preside. Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Na’Allah, in his contribution to the debate, further noted that the allegation was too serious to be assigned to the Committee on Police Affairs and called for the constitution of a panel made up of “very experienced senators� to meet with Buhari over the issue. But while Na’Allah argued that the delegation should be headed by Saraki, as he was directly affected by the plot, the Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan said it was necessary for the Senate President be part of the group, since other critical matters would be discussed. Deputy Minority Leader Emmanuel Bwacha, in his remarks, decried the ongoing intimidation of senators. He disclosed that he had also suffered for criticising the IG over his refusal to appear before the Senate. Bwacha informed his colleagues that when he was travelling to his constituency last weekend, his police security detail were suddenly withdrawn by the Commander of Mobile Police of the National Assembly. The withdrawal of the policemen happened in an area notorious for kidnapping, Bwacha alleged. “We have to meet the president and tell him that our democracy is collapsing under his watch,� Bwacha said. Senator Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara APC) also backed the recommendation to meet with the president, since the

Senate and the IG already have unresolved issues. “There is already a problem between us and the IG, so I suggest that we raise a committee as suggested by others, but instead of investigating they should sit down with President Buhari to discuss the matter. “This is not a joke as it can turn democracy upside down. If we investigate, where are we to take our resolutions to? The committee might end up inviting the IG and what if he still does not appear again?� Marafa asked. Senator Isa Hamman Misau (Bauchi APC) recalled that in January, he had raised the alarm of a plot to implicate several senators for criminal activities. “It is not just the police, there are other security organisations behind this, and it’s all about the 2019 elections. “Why should appointees of the government be doing this? For me, we are not running a democracy. Let us know what we are operating in Nigeria because we cannot continue to operate under intimidation. Let us see President Buhari so that it can be on the record,� Misau said. Ekweremadu, in his remarks, said the National Assembly has a responsibility to Nigerians to ensure that democracy is preserved and its tenets upheld. “What the Senate President has raised today is an expose of some of the things that are wrong with our democracy which we need to halt. We need to ensure there is rule of law and we need to ensure that we respect our various fundamental rights. “We are a country that is bound by conventions, laws, culture and tradition. So it is our responsibility as a parliament to ensure that we protect the rights of our citizens to ensure that we make progress as a nation, especially on the issues of human rights and democracy,� Ekweremadu said. The Senate consequently raised a ten-man panel led by Saraki to meet with Buhari on the matter, and other issues that had caused confrontations between the executive arm of government and the legislature. The delegation includes Majority Leader Lawan, Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, Minority Leader, Akpabio, Senators Danjuma Goje (Gombe APC), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto APC), Adamu Abdullahi (Nassarawa APC), Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos APC), Fatima Raji Rasaki (Ekiti APC), and Sam Egwu (Ebonyi PDP). The Senate yesterday also condemned the recent invasion of the Rivers State High Court, which was allegedly carried out by hoodlums linked to a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. It also mandated its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to investigate the circumstances of the invasion, which was allegedly perpetrated in the presence of the police. Senator Osinachukwu Ideozu

(Rivers PDP) accused the police of failing to provide adequate security to the court complex and the judicial workers, litigants, lawyers and judges. He also accused the police of preventing legitimate access to the offices, precincts, and courtrooms in an attempt to obstruct and prevent the course of justice. “Nearly one week after the attack, the police is yet to make any statement on the ill-intended act and assault on the Rivers State judiciary and has not made any arrests,� he said. Saraki said the development portends further danger to Nigeria’s democracy “if in a court premises, people attack it to try to prevent a court judgment�. “If it has come to the stage where people are entering the National Assembly and carrying the mace and now go to court to stop judgments, this is a danger to democracy,� Saraki added. Also at plenary yesterday, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta APC), who had been suspended by the Senate but was reinstated by the court, joined his colleagues without any incident. The senator who arrived at 10.20 a.m., signed the daily attendance register and left the chamber. He, however, returned before the Senate retreated into a closed-door session at 10.52 a.m. Omo-Agege had said he would attend plenary on Tuesday in line with the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja, quashing his suspension from the Senate. He, however, did not show up that day even though the Senate had said it would not stop the senator if he decided to resume sitting. Omo-Agege, yesterday, was scheduled to appear before the National Assembly committee investigating the invasion of the Senate chamber, to explain his alleged role in the April 18 incident. But the investigative hearing was postponed due to the tight schedule at the Senate yesterday. A new date for his appearance was not announced.

Kwara Govt Concerned But it was not just the senators who were concerned over the allegations made by Saraki over the plot by the police to implicate him, as the Kwara State Government also expressed concern about the manner four suspected cult members were transferred from the state Police Command to Abuja. Addressing journalists at the end of an emergency Security Council meeting at Government House, Ilorin yesterday, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mr. Jimoh Adebimpe Mumini, said the offences were state-based and could be tried under the state laws. The DPP, who wondered why four out of 17 accused persons were transferred to Abuja, observed that there were

notorious cases of cultism that had been successfully prosecuted in the state. He said he was hopeful that the four suspected cultists transferred to Abuja, possibly for further interrogation, will be returned to the state where the offence was committed for trial. According to him, “We have had cases of notorious and dangerous killers in the state which have been handled in the state. Our hope is that the Nigeria Police Force will return the four accused persons to the state for trial.� Also speaking, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Leke Ogungbe, said the State Security Council expressed hope that the transfer was not politically motivated. He said: “As a government, we were made to understand that the offences for which the accused persons were arrested are state offences. We’re now surprised that four of the accused were transferred to Abuja. We hope that no political gains are intended.� Also weighing in on the issue, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it was deeply concerned over the allegation made by Saraki of a plot by the police to use suspected cultists, who have been in detention, to implicate him and the governor of Kwara State. The party, in a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it had taken judicious note of assertions by the Senate President that the said plot was allegedly being hatched by the IG “to settle scores� with the Senate over its recent declaration that he was not fit to hold public office. “The PDP is alarmed by the trend of brazen assault on the institutions of democracy, particularly the National Assembly and the judiciary, in addition to the unrelenting attacks on dissenting voices, especially as we approach the 2019 general election. “Nigerians will recall that the PDP had earlier alerted of plots to arrest, harass and detain dissenting voices and opposition members on trumped up charges, as well as intimidate institutions of democracy and pave the way for a one-party state in our country. “Nigerians will further recall the invasion of the Senate chambers by thugs who disrupted proceedings and carted away the mace. Only last Friday, hoodlums violently attacked a High Court in Rivers State with guns, in a bid to stop the judiciary from making pronouncements on an electoral matter,� the PDP stated. The PDP charged the National Assembly to defend the nation’s democracy by sparing no energy in pursuing its resolution of engaging the president on these assaults, in addition to putting in motion all the legislative instruments available to it, to

curtail all excesses in government before the situation gets out of hand.

Police: It’s a Ruse Reacting to the allegations, the Nigeria Police Force promptly debunked the alarm raised by the Senate President that the police were about to implicate him using cultists who had been coerced into making false statements against him and the Kwara State governor. The police said the alarm was a ruse, misleading and amounted to an obstruction of justice. The police also expressed shock at what they described as “unbelievable claims, unverifiable allegations and unfounded accusations�, by the Senate President. “There is no iota of truth in the allegation and false assertion by the Senate President of a plot against him by the IG to implicate the Kwara State Government and the Senate President in any criminal matter. “Until an investigation is concluded, any person (s) or group(s) who tries to interfere in the investigation process by action or utterances is committing an offence,� the Police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, said. Moshood explained that the Kwara State Police Command on May 11 had paraded six suspected hired killers, all from Ilorin, who he said had admitted and confessed publicly to killing innocent persons in Kwara State and other states of the country. “The victims, according to the suspects, were targeted and killed on the instructions of their sponsors,� Moshood stated. The suspects were identified as Abolaji Safti Ojulari, Lanre Mohammed Soliu, a.k.a Askari, Azeez Moyaki, Suleiman Babatunde, Yusuf Habeeb and Umar Yahaya, all from various quarters of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. The police also listed the 11 victims of the alleged hired assassins as follows: “The victims, according to the suspects, were targeted and killed on the instructions of their sponsors. Find attached names of victims killed in cold blood: (i) Bukola Ajikobi killed on 18/01/2016 at Ajikobi Area in Ilorin (ii) Azeez Lawal killed in February, 2018 at Oja Oba area of Ilorin (iii) Lateef (Surname unknown) killed February, 2018 at Ode Alfa Nda area of Ilorin (iv) Jamiu (Surname unknown) killed in February 2018 at Idi Ape area, Ilorin (v) One Segun (Surname unknown) killed in September, 2017 at Kankatu area of Ilorin (vi) Wasiu (Surname unknown) killed in September 29, 2016 at Shao garage of Ilorin (vii) Musiliu (Surname unknown) killed in February, 2018 at Shao Area Ilorin (viii) Bayo Ajia killed in January 18, 2018 at Taiwo Road, Ilorin (ix) Another Lateef killed in January 2016 at Baboko Area of Ilorin (x) Abbey, a student

WITH ASSETS OF N5.2TN, SHAREHOLDERS’ FUNDS OF N678BN, FBN HOLDINGS EYES IMPROVED RETURNS The group also recorded a net interest income of N331.5 billion, up by 8.9 per cent over N304.4 billion recorded in 2016. Impairment charges for credit losses also dropped by 33.5 per cent to N150.4 billion, from N226 billion in 2016. The financial institution’s operating expenses, however, rose by 7.7 per cent to N238 billion, from N221 billion in the previous year, resulting in an increase in its cost-to-income ratio to 55.5 per cent in 2017, from 47 per cent in the previous year. Consequently, profit before tax jumped by 147.6 per cent to N56.8 billion, compared with N22.9 billion in 2016.

But profit after tax (PAT) grew faster by 178.9 per cent to N47.8 billion from N17.1 billion in 2016, while earnings per share improved from 39 kobo to 121 kobo. Based on its PAT for 2017, FBN Holdings rewarded its shareholders with a dividend of N8.974 billion, translating to 25 kobo per share. A further assessment of the results showed that nonperforming loans dropped from N584.2 billion to N520 billion, while the group’s NPL ratio also improved from 24.4 per cent to 22.8 per cent. Its capital adequacy ratio, on the other hand, stood at 17.1 per cent compared with 17.8 per cent in 2016.

Customer deposits, which are a reflection of customers’ preference for the franchise, rose from N3.10 trillion to N3.14 trillion. Relative to its results in 2016, market analyst said the financial group was on the mend, but cautioned that its management should not deviate from its cost containment strategy, which saw FBN Holdings record a cost-to-income ratio of 47 per cent in 2016. This, they reckoned, was necessary given the decline in treasury bill yields and the impact this would have on the net interest income of the flagship subsidiary of the group, First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank).

Also, mention was made on the need to recover and reduce NPLs closer to the regulatory limit of 5 per cent, as this would assure shareholders of improved returns in 2018. The Group Managing Director of FBN Holdings Plc, Mr. UK Eke, had said during the group’s annual general meeting that the initiatives they put in place were producing encouraging results ahead of their projections. He assured shareholders that the company would intensify efforts to recover all NPLs. According to him, loan recovery has been a core focus of the leadership team of FirstBank, pointing out that a special committee had been set up to address it, just as an

asset management unit had been created for the purpose. “Even though we have not recorded a full resolution of our NPLs, we have made significant progress in dealing with a number of these loans and more fundamentally, ensured a strong asset quality from recent credits. As a result, NPLs for the period declined from 24.4 percent in 2016 to 22.8 percent in 2017,� he said. Similarly, the Chairman of FBN Holdings, Mr. Oba Otudeko said FirstBank sustained its leadership position in the e-payment space, emerging as the first financial institution in Nigeria and West Continued on page 8

of Kwara Polytechnic killed in April, 2017 at Niger Road, Ilorin (xi) Lanre (Surname unknown) killed on 23rd August, 2015 at Isale Aluko Area of Ilorin. “Consequent upon the public confessions of these vicious and notorious killer squad to the killings in cold blood of more than 11 innocent people in Kwara State and other states of the federation, the statutory procedure and practice in the force is that such a heinous crime and capital offence is transferred to the force headquarters for further investigation. This is to enable a thorough and discreet investigation into the crime.� In ordering the transfer of the case, the police spokesman denied any vested interest by the IG. He said the interest of the IG was to ensure that “justice prevails in the matter�. “Nobody, no matter how highly placed would be allowed to interfere or obstruct police investigation to pervert the course of justice,� Moshood said. He also claimed that the transfer of the suspects was consistent with their investigative tradition. According to him, “Suspects arrested over the mayhem and killings of innocent people in IleIfe, Osun State and those arrested in the Southern Kaduna crisis in Kaduna State, and suspects arrested in connection with Zaki-biam killings in Benue State, were all transferred to the Force Headquarters, Abuja, for further investigation before they were arraigned in courts of competent jurisdiction. “Therefore, transferring this hired assassin gang masquerading as cultists in Kwara State to the Force Headquarters, Abuja, for further investigation is in accordance with police investigative procedures.� The police warned that with the red-herring statement credited to the Senate President, the families of the victims could be discouraged from coming forward to give evidence against them. Moshood implored the public to disregard and discountenance the claim of a plot by the IG against the Senate President as a ruse, unfortunate and an attempt to divert police investigation into the killings of more than 11 innocent people from kwara State and other states of the federation in the recent past by the killer squad which operates under the guise of a cult group. He said the police will leave no stone unturned and will do everything within the ambit of the law to ensure justice in this matter, no matter whose ox is gored.

TOP GAINERS CUTIX UNILEVER NPFMFB SOVEREITRUST AXAMANSARD TOP LOSERS SKYEBANK DIAMONDBANK JAPAUL

NGN NGN 0.15 3.15 2.45 52.35 0.09 1.94 0.01 0.22 0.11 2.45 NGN NGN 0.08 0.77 0.15 1.49 0.02 0.33 UNIONBANK 0.35 6.40 CCNN 1.45 27.55 HPE Nestle Nig Plc â‚Ś1,600.00 Volume: 259.486 million shares Value: N4.363 billion Deals: 4,000 As at yesterday 16/05/18 See details on Page 41

% 5.0 4.9 4.8 4.7 4.7 % 9.4 9.1 5.7 5.1 5.0


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Osinbajo: I’m Ready to Quit If Buhari is Complicit in Benue Killings George Okoh in Makurdi Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has vouched for President Muhammadu Buhari, saying his principal has not departed from the commitment and promise he made to religious leaders to be fair and just to all Nigerians regardless of religious faith and belief. Osinbajo, while absolving the president of complicity in the perennial killing of Christians by herdsmen in Benue State, said that as a Christian he would not hesitate to quit his position if truly there was an agenda on ethnic and religious cleansing in the country. The vice-president made this known Tuesday night at a stakeholders’ meeting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, in response to allegations that the administration was pursuing an agenda of Islamisation. According to Osinbajo “I am not just a politician. As a matter of fact, I’m also a priest and I am a Christian, a born again Christian. Because I’m a born again Christian, my destiny is not determined by any man but by God who I serve. “Let me assure you that under

no circumstance whatsoever will I give up my faith or refuse to stand up for my faith. You can take that to the bank. Even the position that I currently occupy, I did not ask for it and I’m prepared to leave it on short notice. It doesn’t mean anything. “I became a born again Christian after I became a professor, a Professor of the Law of Evidence, a professor of proof. But when the Lord Jesus Christ met me, He persuaded me by showing me clearly that there is such a thing as the evidence of faith that is not seen. “It is because of the evidence of things that are not seen, it is because you can make something out of nothing that I stand here today as vice-president. How can anyone say that the killing of women and children doesn’t matter because he is vice-president or because he is president? How is that possible? “Certainly, it cannot be for a person who is born again. A renewed mind will know that there is justice, there is consequence even if there is no justice here on earth.� He assured his audience that the federal government has marshalled out a plan for the

state that will bring relief to the victims of the farmers-herdsmen crisis. “The first issue of course is one of security and that is why we have definitely beefed up security and I’m sure if you heard some of the comments that were made and especially by the governor, you would notice that a lot has been done with respect to security especially in the past couple of weeks and we must continue to ensure that security is first priority. “Second, the issue of course is to ensure that those in IDP camps return to their homes. Many of their homes have been destroyed, and farmlands have been destroyed too,� he said. Osinbajo acknowledged that the crisis was a major problem, adding however that it did not start with the present government and must be studied carefully before making any allegations. Earlier at the meeting, the Bishop of Gboko Catholic Diocese, William Avenya had said there was an attempt to Islamise the country. He called on the vice-president to stand up for Christians who have been worst hit since the killings started.

“Honourable Vice-President, you are a Christian. When you once met us, we spoke to you at Gwarimpa (Abuja). We called you a friend, you called us your friend. When Buhari came to campaign and requested of us to appeal to our people to vote for him in 2015, he pointed at you and said, ‘Here is a Christian, my vice-president; here is one of your sons, Akume, another Christian; Audu Ogbeh, another Christian. How can I turn this country into an Islamic territory?’ “The point I’m trying to make is that a day is going to come when you as vice-president, the injustices in our land, especially those perpetrated on smaller tribes that have no one to fight for them; when the issues and the records are raised, you too will bear the brunt of that problem. So, as a Christian, exonerate yourself from this situation. “I plead with you to be a Christian and a committed Christian, somebody who understands the law and one who speaks for justice. This is the way to conciliation and peace in our land. Let us stop this political thing that means practically nothing. Let us talk in truth. We thank you for coming.

Osinbajo “At least we are telling you face to face. I hope you are hearing and I hope you will not politicise and swing the thing. And those with you, if they quote somebody, let them quote precisely what we have said. It will be very beneficial.� Governor Samuel Ortom thanked the vice-president for visiting the displaced persons in the camps and appealed to

the federal government to ensure that they return to their ancestral homes. He also conveyed his appreciation to the president for the deployment of combined special security forces in the state to contain the attacks on communities by militia herdsmen, and expressed hope that the visit of the vice-president would restore peace in the state.

government to ensure the budget is well implemented. In the House of Representatives, the lower legislative chamber, however, suggested measures to make it difficult for the federal government to spend appropriated monies on items not captured in the budget, particularly on fuel subsidies, which the administration has consistently denied it has bankrolled. In this regard, House Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, called for an amendment to the relevant clauses in the Appropriation Act and sought the Senate’s concurrence. Agreeing, House Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara said the legislature was not “Father Christmas� that just provides for subsidy when no request has been made by the executive. According to him, “The executive must come for subsidy if they need it, having told us that subsidy has ended. We can’t just allocate an amount for subsidy because no request has been made for it.� Of the N9.12 trillion budget, the sum of N530.42 billion was earmarked for statutory transfers while N2.20 trillion was for debt service, of which N190 billion is for the sinking fund for maturing loans. Recurrent (non-debt) expenditure got N3.51 trillion while the sum of N2.87 trillion was set aside as contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure (exclusive of capital expenditure in statutory transfers). The sum of N1.95 trillion was earmarked for the fiscal deficit while the deficit as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was put at 1.73 per cent. The Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Mustapha Bala Dawaki said the increase in the budget was due to the hike in the oil price benchmark from $45 per barrel to $51 per barrel, which was applied to critical sectors of the economy including the reduction of the budget deficit by N50.88 billion. Other sectors that got increments included security, N46.72 billion; health, N57.15 billion; and power, works and housing, which had N106.50 billion added to its budget estimates. According to him, other sectors that benefited from the increase in the budget were education,

which got N15.70 billion for infrastructure for the 12 newly established federal universities and meal subsidies for Unity Schools. Also, the judiciary got a N10 billion top up while the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) got N44.20 billion added to its budget. Under statutory transfers, the National Assembly budget was put at N139.50 billion, Universal Basic Education got N109.06 billion, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) got N45.50 billion while the judiciary got N110 billion. Also, the sum of N33.98 billion was set aside for part payment of NDDC’s outstanding liabilities. Other highlights of the budget included the provision of N350 billion for Special Intervention Programmes of the federal government. The sum of N45 billion was set aside for the North-east Intervention Fund to help address the problems created by the Boko Haram insurgency while N78 billion was earmarked for military operations across the country including Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-east and other operations of the Nigeria Army. The sum of N100 billion was earmarked for Zonal Intervention Projects as well as N15 billion for the payment of local contractors’ debts. The 2018 budget further set aside N193.33 billion for the Power Sector Reform Programme of the federal government, including N10 billion for the settlement of electricity bills of ministries, departments and agencies of government.

AFTER THISDAY HEALTHCARE SUMMITS, N’ASSEMBLY EARMARKS N57.15BN FOR BHCPF set aside for the BHCPF, amounting to one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, is meant to cater for the basic healthcare needs of all Nigerians. This is the first time since the passage of the National Health Act in 2014, that the federal government has earmarked the funds for the BHCPF. THISDAY on March 6, held a high powered policy dialogue on healthcare financing where it brought together, policymakers, healthcare stakeholders, development partners and the business community to discuss a working model for increasing healthcare funding. As part of efforts to progress the conversation around healthcare financing for the provision of improved primary healthcare services for Nigerians, THISDAY, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health and the World Bank, held another high powered summit on April 12 where the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole launched the logo of the BHCPF. At both summits, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Lanre Tejuoso, had pledged that the 8th National Assembly would push for the inclusion of the funds for the implementation of the BHCPF. This and other efforts by the Senate health committee and the federal government resulted in the allocation of the N57.15 billion to the BHCPF. Speaking on the development yesterday, Tejuoso told THISDAY that the inclusion of the funds for the BHCPF means primary healthcare will be better funded and functional, basic drugs, equipment and infrastructure, including water and electricity, will be present at primary healthcare centres (PHCs), among others, nationwide. “By this fund, PHCs in each ward in the country will be operational and functional. At least 2,000 vulnerable Nigerians in each of the 774 local governments will receive basic healthcare paid for by this fund.� Tejuoso, who had been very pivotal to the inclusion of the funds in the budget, said: “The one per cent contribution has occupied half of my advocacy as chairman of the Senate health committee. This advocacy included maximum pressure. It will be a legacy for this 8th

Assembly. “Now that we have passed this hurdle, it is expected that the BHCPF will be a statutory transfer that will certainly enjoy release. This fund will be set aside perpetually. It will not be returned to the Treasury Single Account at the end of the budget year.� Going down memory lane on how the journey started, Tejuoso said it took three years to arrive at this point. “When I was appointed chairman of the committee, I looked at all we inherited, and we identified the National Health Act as the game changer for the health sector. “I then decided to focus on this. I began a series of consultations with the executive arm – the vicepresident, Ministers of Health, Budget and National Planning and Finance, among others. And we came to the conclusion that the proposal could not come from them due to various similar requests from other sectors. “So the next phase was for me to convince my colleagues in the National Assembly to get it included in the budget. The Senate President, being a medical doctor himself, was a major advocate that did not need convincing. He was very passionate about this,� he explained. Senator Tejuoso and Senate President Bukola Saraki are the only medical doctors in the 8th National Assembly. Tejuoso said one of his strategies in getting the inclusion of the funds in the budget was to tell Bill Gates, Co-Founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, during a private meeting with leaders of the National Assembly, to always harp on the importance of implementing the NHA. “I led some of our development partners, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank, Bill Clinton Foundation, among others, on a road show round the National Assembly to convince our chairman, appropriation committee, the finance counterpart, and the entire leadership of the Senate on the need for the inclusion of the one per cent for the BHCPF from the Consolidated Revenue Fund into our budget. I made efforts in 2016 and 2017, which failed, so I told myself we would be aggressive this time. I am very happy this is now a reality,� he added. On his part, the Lead Health

Specialist, World Bank, Benjamin Loevinsohn, described the development as a game changer for Nigeria’s healthcare system. He said this would go a long way in transforming the health of poor Nigerians who ordinarily are unable to pay for health services in the country. “Now that this has been captured in the 2018 budget, government should ensure its release. It is one thing to budget for something, it is another thing to release those funds. “We all know that before now public sector spending on health in Nigeria has been very poor, so this development is a big deal for the country,� he said. Meanwhile, the 2018 budget passed by the National Assembly yesterday was increased to N9.12 trillion, from the N8.61 trillion proposal presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to a joint session of the National Assembly last December. Like the 2017 budget, however, the 2018 Appropriation Bill was passed without any request by the executive for the payment of fuel subsidies to oil marketers, despite the glaring difference between the landing cost of petrol and its official pump price. The budget was also silent on the recent anticipatory approval sought by the president for the inclusion of the $496 million in the 2018 Appropriation Bill, having withdrawn the amount from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the procurement of 12 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States government without the consent of the National Assembly. Speaking on the omission, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje said the request was not entertained due to the amount of money involved. He said: “Don’t forget that the president wrote to this chamber requesting that it should be included in the budget. But we did not, because of the quantum of the amount. It should come as a supplementary budget.� Presiding in the Senate, Saraki explained that the increment in the 2018 budget was done with due consultations with the executive. “Let me comment on some of the wrong impressions regarding the issue of the increase in the aggregate expenditure. As highlighted by the chairman on appropriation, this has brought

about a good working relationship between the Executive and the National Assembly. Both the executive and the legislature had seen areas where there was need for intervention. “We’ve heard the chairman of works telling us there was need for equitable distribution of road projects which account for a significant amount. Power project intervention is also needed. “We have seen a significant increase in the percentage of capital expenditure in 2017 and I hope that this will lay a good foundation in 2018,� he said. Saraki also called for a more harmonious relationship between the executive and legislature to ensure speedy passage of subsequent budgets. “A lot has been said on areas of how we have passed the budget, on areas of how we could have passed the budget earlier. I think there’s definitely room for improvement in the area of cooperation and collaboration between the executive and the legislative arms of government. “At least 50 per cent of the capital expenditure of ministries, some of them, up till the end of February had not done their budget defence. I think this is the area that we must wake up as the two arms of government.� The Senate President also asked the executive to provide for fuel subsidy payments in the supplementary 2018 budget, noting that the inclusion of subsidy in the supplementary bill would results in savings in the Excess Crude Account (ECA). “In the area that we could not address, which is the issue of fuel subsidy, I appeal to the executive to look into this for the interest of transparency. Expenditure close to over one trillion must be captured in the budget and when the supplementary budget comes, the hope is that the executive does something about it. It is an important issue and must be addressed. “Now that crude oil price is close to $80 per barrel, a lot of Nigerians are expecting to see the savings in our excess crude reserve account rise, but if money is being used for subsidy, it will be difficult to explain. “That is why it is important that we capture the subsidy element in the budget,� he said. Saraki urged his colleagues to undertake proper oversight of the ministries, departments and agencies of the federal

WITH ASSETS OF N5.2TN, SHAREHOLDERS’ FUNDS OF N678BN, FBN HOLDINGS EYES IMPROVED RETURNS Africa to issue 10 million cards to customers. He added that the bank was recognised as the first financial institution in Nigeria to achieve an electronic transaction volume of 100 million in a month. Otudeko promised shareholders that FBN Holdings would consolidate on the progress made in the previous year to deliver a strong and sustainable performance that enhances returns to shareholders.


9

THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018ËžT H I S D AY

NEWS

Ă?ĂĄĂ?ĂŽĂ“ĂžĂ™ĂœDavidson Iriekpen Ă—Ă‹Ă“Ă–davidson.iriekpen@thisdaylive.com, 08111813081

Governors Accuse NNPC of Failure to Remit Oil Royalties Dismisses corporation’s claim of 60m litres consumption of petrol daily as falsehood NEC orders closure of fuel stations close to borders Omololu OgunmadeĂ“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË Governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) last night accused the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of failing to remit royalties as stipulated by the extant laws. Making this accusation after a meeting of NGF with VicePresident Yemi Osinbajo in the State House, NGF chairman and Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said whereas NNPC ought to remit 17-24 per cent of the value of each barrel of crude oil, it has always acted in violation of this provision. According to him, NNPC is required by the Petroleum Act to pay royalties to Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and remit the remaining amount to the Federation Account. Yari, who said the governors also dismissed claims of consumption of 60 million litres of petrol per day, insisted that the claim was untenable. He lamented that despite efforts by the federal government to eradicate the subsidy regime, it has resurfaced again, adding that DPR had been ordered to shut down any petrol station that is 10km from the nation’s borders. “This is the second time we are meeting with NNPC

in respect of remittances into the federation account. And, governors and the federal government are not satisfied with the way remittances are being made because there are so many questions raised on Nigeria, most especially on the 425,000 barrel domestic and 180,000 barrel component of Nigeria from the joint venture partners. “We met last week the NNPC and we came and briefed our chairman of the National Economic Council. We raised three issues - one, the issue of royalties. Each and every barrel taken out of the country there is either 17 or 24 per cent of it as royalty and there is 17 or 20 per cent as tax. “So, our main concern is that the DPR, said the NNPC is not remitting any payment of royalty, what they do is that they transmit direct from the NNPC to the federation account which is not allowed by the law. “According to the law that established the DPR, section 196 of the Act, said all the royalty should be paid to DPR and then transmit to the federation account, which is not. “So, we discussed today and we have sorted those ones out. The NNPC will not transmit to

Lagos Police to Prosecute Hospitals over Rejection of Gunshot Victims Chiemelie Ezeobi The Lagos State Police Command yesterday vowed to prosecute any hospital in the state who rejects gunshot victims on the premise of lack of police report. The state Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, was reacting to the recent death of a gunshot victim, one Adebayo Akinwumi, after he was rejected by three Lagos hospitals. The deceased, who was a senior engineer with an information and communications  technology company,   was shot and wounded by armed robbers in his house at Ofada-Mokoloki, Ogun State. According to the CP, he was said to have been taken to Reddington Hospital, Ikeja for treatment only to be refused admission on the unlawful and inexcusable grounds that there was no police report.  Edgal said: “The command considers the action of the hospital as cruel; perhaps, an indication that the hospital management may be ignorant of the ‘Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims  of Gunshot Act, 2017.’    “In the light of this

development, the command wishes to inform all medical practitioners in Lagos State, that the Act  demands that every hospital in Nigeria whether public or private shall accept or receive for immediate and adequate treatment with or without police clearance any person with a gunshot wounds.  “The Act, however requires the hospital treating such a patient to report the fact to the nearest police station within two hours of commencement of treatment.� In a statement by the state police public relations officer,   Chike Oti said:   “The Commissioner of Police,  Imohimi Edgal, saddened by the allegation against the Reddington Hospital, has directed all Area Commanders and  Divisional Police Officers in Lagos State   to henceforth arrest and diligently prosecute any medical practitioner who rejects a gunshot victim on the ground of no police report.  “The CP wants doctors to note that the Act recommends a five-year-jail term for   any person, hospital or authority who stands by or omits to do his bit which results in the unnecessary death of any person with bullet wounds. “ 

federation account with clear distinction that this amount is for royalty and X amount is for taxes, and X amount is profit from the sales. So, we achieved that. “At the same time, NNPC is making payment on behalf of Nigeria on cash-call contribution and also the

NNPC is making payment of cash call arrears of Nigeria’s contribution. But, our main concern is that in 2015, they said about $16.8 billion which was outstanding was not paid by the last administration and they negotiated it down to $5.1 billion according to them. “What we said specifically

is that they should bring to us how much they have paid from 2015 to date and what is outstanding. And we directed them to stop payment until the claims are proven and then we can give further directives. That too was achieved. “On the issue of cost recovery otherwise called

subsidy, the issue of subsidy resurfaced again after the efforts of Mr. President. Before now, oil was $40 per barrel and now it is about $78 a barrel. “So, they are depending largely on importation.

Cont’d on Pg .52

I LEARNT YOU WON THE PRIMARY...

President Muhammadu Buhari (middle), receiving the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi (left), and Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura , in the State House ....yesterday    Ë›

Presidency: N’Assembly Yet to Transmit PIGB to Buhari FEC approves $995m loan for phase II of Abuja-Makurdi road for Leah Sharibu’s release continue Omololu OgunmadeĂ“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË The presidency said yesterday in Abuja that it was yet to receive the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) passed recently by the National Assembly. Making this disclosure in a terse statement, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, said the bill was still undergoing some legislative processes in the National Assembly. “Further to several enquiries by the media, interest groups and the public in respect of the within named Bill, may l please state that the said Bill has not yet been transmitted by the National Assembly to the president. “From my enquiries, the bill is still undergoing standard operating legislative processes of the National Assembly preparatory to transmission, please,â€? he said. Also yesterday the Federal Executive Council (FEC) gave

the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing the nod to access $995 million loan from China’s Exim Bank for the construction of phase two of Abuja-KeffiAkwanga – Lafia-Makurdi Road. Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the 268.5 kilometre-project consists of 16.0 kilometres-Lafia bye-pass and another 251.7 kilometres from Ninth mile through Otukpo to Makurdi. Fashola who said the second phase of the project for which finance is not yet available for its execution, added that its contract award was a precondition for access of the loan in China Exim Bank. Also briefing, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, who said FEC also approved Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority project for the construction of a bridge which he described as a constituency project in Karu, Nasarawa State at the cost of N719million, disclosed

that FEC also approved another memorandum for the construction of irrigation scheme at Kwaranga at the cost of N1.36billion. In his own briefing, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the council also approved â‚Ź21million for the purchase of two tug boats for towing purposes on Nigerian waters. He also said FEC approved his second memorandum for the dredging of water in Baro at N703million. In the same vein, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the council gave the Minister of Niger Delta, Usani Uguru, the marching order to speed up negotiations for the take-off of Oron-Calabar section of the East -West Road. Mohammed also said the federal government had not abandoned Leah Sharibu who is being held by Boko Haram insurgents because of her refusal to renounce her Christian faith. According to him, negotiations are daily ongoing for her release. “I think the President actually

FG: Negotiations also addressed this issue in Washington. My question is always the same that we are yet to resolve the issue of six girls. One hundred and eleven girls were kidnapped; 105 were returned and we are busy on a daily basis negotiating and asking what happened. Negotiation with insurgents is quite tortuous. “The young girl, Leah, we can assure you, that we are not leaving her to her fate. Anybody who negotiates with terrorists all over the world knows that It is not direct negotiations that we are doing,� he said. Also yesterday, Nasarawa State governor, Tanko Al-Makura, presented the Minister of Mines and Steel, Kayode Fayemi, to President Muhammadu Buhari as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State. Fayemi also informed the council that he would formally resign his ministerial position next week to face the task of campaigning towards the forthcoming July 14 election in Ekiti State.


THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018˾T H I S D AY

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NEWS

Sultan Declares Thursday Ramadan, Urges Muslims to Begin Fast Dogara, Amosun, Fayemi, others ask faithful to pray for peace, stability in Nigeria Mohammed AminuÓØ ÙÕÙÞÙËØÎ Femi Ogbonnikan ÓØÌÏÙÕßÞË The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has declared Thursday as the first day of the Ramadan and urged Muslims to commence fast. Addressing journalists in his palace in Sokoto last night, the monarch said the new moon was sighted in many towns across the country. According to him, reliable reports of moon sighting were received from Muslim leaders and Islamic across the country which included Sokoto, Maiduguri, Damaturu in Yobe State, Gombe, Dutse in Jigawa State, Zamfara, Minna, Port Harcourt, Bauchi State and so many towns across the country. He said this sighting was duly verified and authenticated by the state committees and the national moon sighting committee. “In accordance with Islamic law and our pursuit of obligatory fast as third pillar of Islam. We wish to announce that today Wednesday the 29th day of Shaaban 1439 after Hijra of the prophet Mohammad which is equivalent to May 16, 2018 has marked the end of Shaaban and the beginning of the new month of the Ramadan. “Consequent upon this, Thursday, May 17, 2018 becomes the first day of Ramadan 1439 after Hijra,” he said. The Sultan to this end, called on Muslims to commence fast accordingly and pray fervently for peace and stability in the country. He also implored Muslims to live in harmony with people of other faiths irrespective of religious and tribal differences and offer supplications for the

leadership to succeed in steering the affairs of this country. “Muslims should continue to live peacefully with other Nigerians irrespective of tribe and religious differences,” the Sultan advised. The monarch therefore, urged Muslims to rededicate themselves to the worship of God and pray for peace and progress of the country. Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Minister of Mines and Steel Development and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, have urged Muslim faithful in the country to use the period to pray for peace, unity, security, socio-economic development and political stability of the country. In a statement to mark the commencement of this year’s Ramadan, the Speaker also enjoined them to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness, self-discipline, tolerance, righteousness and sympathy for the less privileged in the society which the Ramadan fast teaches and promotes. While describing Ramadan as a period for spiritual rejuvenation and enrichment, Dogara enjoined Nigerians to devote themselves in the worship of the Almighty and imbibe the lessons of love and peaceful co-existence with one another. “In the spirit of Ramadan, I want to enjoin Muslims in Nigeria to maximize the spiritual and physical benefits associated with the holy month as well as assimilate the Ramadan’s ethical principles of sharing, caring, love, tolerance and piety,” he said. On his part, Amosun

admonished Muslim faithful in the state to seize the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan as an opportunity to engage in sober reflection and absolute return to Allah. The governor called on Muslims not to see the month as one of a mere mandatory prayer, fasting and Iftar meals, but it is for them to use the period to engage in total abstinence, probing soul-searching, sincere repentance and infinite atonement. In a message signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Adedayo Adeneye, the governor urged the Muslims to submit their spirit, soul and body, in total submission to Allah. He also enjoined Muslims to remember the nation in fervent prayer, noting that, “this period

in our nation calls for our collective and individual prayers for the fulfilment of our aspirations and desires as a country and as citizens.” In the same vein, Fayemi congratulated Muslims in Ekiti State and Nigeria in general as they commence another season of Ramadan. The minister in a goodwill message to the Muslim Umah, said the Ramadan season offers faithful a unique opportunity to draw closer to the Almighty Allah and deepen relationship with him in total submission to his will. He, therefore, urged Muslims faithful to use the period to pray for the progress of the country and for peace to reign in all the troubled spots. Noting that the Ramadan

season emphasises piety, discipline, self-control and empathy for the less privileged in society, Fayemi called on all adherents of the Islamic faith to reflect on these lessons during the 30 days fasting period. “We all must be grateful to Allah for being alive to witness another Ramadan season. It is important to use the opportunity of the fasting to pray and seek the face of Allah for peace and progress of our dear country. Similarly, governorship aspirant of the APC in Gombe State, Mr. Muhammad Jibrin Barde, has urged all Muslims in Gombe State to pray for peace and progress of the state as the Ramadan fast commences. Barde in a statement by his media office, urged the Muslim faithful to also pray

for the security and unity of the country. He said it was the duty of all, irrespective of religion, to also pray for the country. The statement released yesterday read: “Dan Barde salutes all adherents of the Islamic faith in the state and Nigeria at large as they begin this year’s Ramadan fast. “As they join the global Islamic community in undergoing the spiritual purification of Ramadan, I urge all Muslims to offer special prayers during the period for greater peace, security, unity and future rapid socio-economic development of the state. “May Allah grant the prayers of the faithful during Ramadan and reward them bountifully.”

#LIGHTUPNIGERIACONFERENCE

L-R: Managing Director, First E&P Development Company, Ademola Adeyemi-Bero; former Minister  of Petroleum Resources and Special Guest of Honour, Odein Ajumogobia (SAN); Managing Partner/CEO Brandzone Consulting LLC, Chizor Malize; Group Chief, Sustainability and Governance, Dangote Industries Limited, Dr. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien; President, Nigeria Gas Association and CEO, Frontier Oil and Gas, Dr. Dada Thomas , at Light up Nigeria conference in Lagos....Tuesday 

Gunmen Kill Three Policemen, Kidnap Syrian National in Sokoto

APC Appeal Panel Upholds Imo Congresses Amid Protests

Mohammed AminuÓØÙÕÙÞÙ

The All Progressives Congress (APC) appeal committee has rectified the ward and local government congresses held in Imo State, effectively putting paid to the state Governor, Rochas Okorocha’s efforts to reverse the outcome of the congresses. The approval by the committee came just as members of the Imo State House of Assembly led by the Speaker, Hon. Acho Ihim, stormed the APC national secretariat in Abuja last Tuesday along with some party stakeholders from the state to protest against the outcome of the congress. Okorocha had earlier met President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osibanjo to protest alleged malfeasance during the last two congresses in his state and to demand their cancellation. However, the appeal panel report has dismissed the petition

Area of Sokoto State. Nwiwe said the three Unknown gunmen yesterday policemen guarding the killed three policemen and premises were confirmed kidnapped one Abdul Nasir, dead in the hospital, while an engineer and a Syrian the foreigner was abducted national working with Triacta and taken to an unknown place. Construction Company in She however, said that the Sokoto State. affected policemen received THISDAY check yesterday treatment at an undisclosed revealed that the gunmen hospital after they were stormed the quarry in a car shot during a crossfire while with tinted glasses and attacked attempting to rescue the the place. foreigner. The gunmen reportedly The PPRO stated that armed opened fire on the policemen policemen had been deployed  immediately  and kidnapped  to the area in order to rescue the foreigner working as the the foreigner. manager of the site. She added that the police had The Police Public Relations commenced investigation into Officer of the Sokoto Police the matter with a view to freeing Command, Cordelia Nwiwe, the abducted Syrian national confirmed the incident to  and arresting the culprits. journalists. Meanwhile, the bodies of She said the incident occurred the slain policemen had been at the company’s quarry site  deposited at the mortuary of the at Lambar Mazaru village in Usmanu Danfodiyo University Bodinga Local Government Teaching Hospital, Sokoto.

Okorocha’s attempt to cancel congresses fails Onyebuchi Ezigbo ÓØÌßÔË

by aggrieved stakeholders on grounds that it lacked merit. In the report submitted by Imo State Congress Committee and signed by its Chairman, Senator Abubakar Tutare, the panel held that the congress committee mandated to conduct the exercise has confirmed that the exercise actually took place in the state. The appeal committee further said those who wrote the petition against the congress were unqualified persons. According to the report, “The congress committee presented video evidence to support their position that the congress actually held in the state.” The Speaker of the state assembly who led some members of the House of Representatives and 24 members of the state assembly to a meeting with the APC national chairman, said they had come to the national headquarters of the party to

protest against the conduct of congress in Imo State. He said they mobilised the 24 members of the state assembly in order to show how serious the matter is to the party stakeholders in the state. Ihim said the lawmakers and governor still have implicit confidence in the ability of the NWC to resolve the matter. The Speaker said: “We are here to reaffirm that there was no congresses in the 305 wards in the state, and we demand that a categorical statement be made by the party for a new date that fresh congresses of the party will be held  “As for the discussions we had with the national chairman, that was an in-house thing, but we have affirmed our stand with our governor, and we are still with him. He is the face of the APC in the South-east region. Of course, the young man has done so well that without him, there would have been no APC in

the region in the first place. Imo State in particular is the fulcrum of APC and it cannot be toyed with. “We demand that the constituted statement and announcement be made about the congresses that did not hold. The new date should be announced and the whole things should be ratified and there will be peace in the state. “The shenanigans that we saw can never be taken for congresses. We are taking this very seriously, and that is why honourable members of APC extractions combined with the House of Representatives are here to affirm same, that there was no congress and we never took it to have been held, and we here are saying that we support Okorocha,” he said. When asked the view of legislators on the move by the governor to endorse his son-inlaw, Ihim said the governor has a right to support anyone for elective office.


THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018ËžT H I S D AY

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NEWS

Court Dismisses Senate Suit Seeking to Stay Judgment Nullifying Omo-Agege’s Suspension Alex Enumah Ă“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday dismissed a suit seeking to stop execution of judgement which nullified the Senate’s suspension of the Senator representing Delta Central senatorial district, Ovie Omo-Agege. Recall that Justice Dimgba had on May 10, while delivering judgment on a fundamental rights suit brought by Omo-Agege, nullified his suspension by the Senate and ordered payment of all his outstanding salaries and allowances within the suspension period. Justice Dimgba, though noted that the Senate has powers and was right to initiate disciplinary measures against Omo-Agege for acts considered as variance to the Senate rules, his subsequent suspension was wrong because it was not done in accordance with the rule of

law. In addition, the court held that Omo-Agege’s suspension for a period of 90 legislative days was contrary to the Senate rules, which prescribed for 14 days and consequently declared it a nullity. The judge, who stated that his decision was based on the omnibus prayers of the plaintiff, however, denied Omo-Agege reliefs 1 to 7 prayed for in his suit. The Senate said it would appeal the judgment and approached the court with a motion seeking to stay Justice Dimgba’s judgment on the matter. However, delivering ruling on the application argued on behalf of the Senate and Senate President by Mahmud Mogaji (SAN), Justice Dimgba dismissed the application on grounds that it was misdirected and lacking in  merit. According to him, the said application seeking to stay judgment on the nullification

of the suspension order did not target the May 10 judgment. The judge noted that an application must align with a judgment, and not outside it, adding that the instant application did not target the judgment that vacated the suspension order, rather, on other decision which he declined the reliefs sought by the plaintiff, Omo-Agege. “An application must target decision reached by the court. This application is targeted at different decision reached by this court. I hereby dismiss the application for lack of

merit,� the court held. Dimgba recalled that he had dismissed, among other reliefs sought by the plaintiff, that the Senate should not punish him for any offence. The judge said if an application is appealing against reliefs he refused to grant, it’s of no significance to the vacation of suspension order. “The judgement of May 10 declined some of the reliefs of the plaintiff. I have not seen reason of this application. I hereby dismiss it for lacking in merit,� he held. Justice Dimgba on May 10

nullified the suspension of Senator Omo-Agege from the Senate for 90 legislative days.  Omo-Agege had headed to the court to seek redress following his suspension against the Senate (1st defendant), the Senate President (2nd defendant), and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) (3rd defendant).  By the suit marked FHC/ ABJ/CS/314/2018, Omo-Agege had challenged his suspension from the Senate, saying it was illegal. Dimgba, delivering judgement on the suit, held that

the suspension of the senator during the pendency of the suit, was unconstitutional and an affront on the judiciary. The court noted that it was wrong for the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to suspend Omo-Agege for going to court after he had apologised over his comments against the Senate. he decision of the Senate to suspend Omo-Agege for instituting the suit was a clear breach of Section 4(8) and 6(6b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.

Don’t Cross the Line, Military Warns Shiites in FCT Senator IroegbuĂ“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË The Nigerian military has warned members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) protesting against the long detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, not to disturb the peace and security of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). To this end, the military authorities vowed to deploy soldiers should the Shiites cross the line beyond what the police can handle. The Commander, Guards Brigade, Brig-Gen. Umar Musa, stated this yesterday while fielding questions from journalists at the closing ceremony of the Brigades Corporal and below competition in Mambila Barracks, Abuja. Musa however, noted that the Islamic sect’s activities are within the bound of the law and yet do not warrant the deployment of soldiers. He further warned that the troops are on standby, monitoring activities of the group within the nation’s capital and would not hesitate to quell and quash any attempt to get out of control. The commander nevertheless, assured residents of the FCT and its environs to go about their lawful duties as the situation is still at a manageable level that does not require military intervention. The IMN had for months now, embarking on protest clashing with several police personnel deployed to curtail its and activities with injuries sustained on both  sides. Also, the Shiites have been accused of damaging some operational vehicles belonging to the police, while some resident car owners have had their cars dented. But Musa had  noted that while they are being on alert, most of the activities of the

movement are still within the ambit of the Nigerian police who have the constitutional role of protecting life and property of the populace. He said: “I want to assure the public that the Nigerian army and Guards Brigade in particular have been monitoring the situation closely. “As it is now, most of the activities of the movement is within the ambit of the Nigerian police who have the constitutional role of protecting life and property of the populace. “It has not yet reached the time where the military will be involved. But all the same we have been monitoring and we are always on standby at short notice should the situation go out of hand of the Nigerian police. “But I want to once again assure the public that their activities would not affect the security of the FCT,� he added. Speaking further, Musa stressed that the Brigade is charged with the responsibilities of providing security for the President, Vice President, other important government officials, FCT and its environs. He again, maintained that the Brigade had taken note of the daily protest but further warned that should “it get out of the control of the police, the military would deploy at very short notice to curb the situation.� According to him, “the activities of the Islamic Movement has been on the high particularly in the FCT over the detention of  their leader who is facing some charges preffered against him in court. Musa also said officers and soldiers of the brigade were on alert and watching activities of not just the Shiite movement but other criminal groups who may want to disrupt the peace of the FCT.

PANEL OF DISCUSSANTS

L-R: Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris; Health Correspondent, THISDAY Newspapers, Mr. Matins Ifijeh; Chief Executive Officer, Phillips, Mr. Jasper Westerlink; and President, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria, Mrs. Clare Omatseye, during the roundtable discussion on the role of technology in the transformation of healthcare in West Africa in Lagos.... yesterday‌. Ë› 

Nigerian, Cameroonian Troops Kill 15 Boko Haram Terrorists in Lake Chad Aged man kills self in suicide bombing attempt, 53 hostages freed Senator IroegbuĂ“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË The combined troops of the Nigerian Operation Lafiya Dole and the Cameroonian Defence Forces have killed 15 Boko Haram insurgents in separate encounters in Southern Lake Chad Basin. The Deputy Director Public Relations, Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said the troops neutralised the insurgents while conducting operations to clear remnants of Boko Haram insurgents in the Lake Chad Islands and surrounding villages of northern Borno on Tuesday. Nwachukwu said the troops dislodged the insurgents from their hideout after a fierce battle, killing 11 insurgents in Gomaran village of Southern Lake Chad Basin. The Nigerian troops are already engaged in Operation Final Push to clear the Northeast of Boko Haram remnants. Nwachukwu said that in a two other separate encounters

with the fleeing insurgents in Firgi and Moula, both in Bama and Dikwa Local Governments Areas of Borno State, troops also ambushed and neutralised four Boko Haram insurgents who were fleeing troops ‘ onslaught in the northern fringes. According to him, the clearance operations also led to the recovery of one single barrel gun, one Dane gun and one locally made pistol. He said: “Other items recovered from the dislodged insurgents include: four motorcycles, motorcycle spare parts, two tricycles, six pumping machines, and two power generating sets. Additionally, the valiant troops captured two Boko Haram flags, a pair of camouflage uniform, a pair of combat boots, a camera, a bag of mechanical tools and medications. “Four men, 33 women and 16 children were rescued by the troops from the insurgents’ hideouts.

The rescued hostages are currently being profiled for subsequent hand over to officials of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp for documentation and administering.� In another development, Nwachukwu said an aged Boko Haram terrorist also on Tuesday, killed himself in a suicide bomb attack around a telephone mast in Konduga in Borno State. He said the elderly man pretending to be weak and feeble was being searched by men of the Civilian Joint Task Force, when he detonated a suicide vest contained in a bag he was carrying. Unfortunately, he added, three Civilian Joint Task Force members paid the supreme price in the incident. He said the wounded have been evacuated for medical attention. “Our hearts go out to those who lost their lives as well as those injured in the callous attack.

“This singular incident points to the variation in the tactics of the Boko Haram terrorists in their uncanny resolve to deceptively infiltrate communities and towns to mindlessly attack vulnerable and soft targets. Aside using women and children, the terrorists are now engaging the aged in suicide bombing as witnessed in this recent incident. They have also been detected to now appear clean and Well dressed to look unsuspicious and enable them gain access to targets marked for suicide attack. Some of the terrorists have also been found to now conceal their suicide vests by wearing it on the thigh rather than the waist to appear less bulky and evade detection when searched,� he stated. In view of these developments, he advised members of the public to be vigilant and discerning as they go about their normal daily routines and activities.


THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018˾T H I S D AY

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NEWS

Buhari, Atiku Loyalists Clash over Call for NNPC Privatisation Atiku group attacks FG’s huge subsidy bills claims is baseless, PDP tell Buhari

Your performance

Onyebuchi EzigboÓØÌßÔË

optimising the operations of the Nigerian oil and gas sector, and indeed of any other sector of the economy. It said the Buhari-led administration had done nothing to build new refineries or to revamp the existing ones it met on ground, adding that it amounted to hypocrisy for someone who campaigned against payment of subsidy to turn round to approve payments of huge sums as subsidy while at the same time raising fuel prices. It said the contradiction inherent in the position of Buhari on subsidy was evident for Nigerians to see. “After saying there was no subsidy, to making Nigerians buy fuel at the highest price in the history of this country without palliative or cushioning effects to Nigerians and now paying over N1 trillion on

Ahead of the commencement of campaigns for the 2019 presidential election, supporters of the two frontline contenders, incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, have traded words over policy positions on how to reposition the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It was the Buhari group that first attacked the proposal made by the former vicepresident to partially privatise the NNPC. Atiku, a presidential aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had said he would embark on partial privatisation of the national oil company if he is elected president in the 2019 elections. But the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), a media support group for Buhari’s re-election bid, said it found

it unpalatable “the texture of Atiku’s proposal at this point in the development trajectory of our country.” It said the pledge by Atiku to privatise the oil and gas sector, especially the country’s refineries, was callous and anti-people. The group said it was “rather simplistic for any presidential contender with avowed love of the mass of the Nigerian people to join the advocacy for the sell-off of our national assets, especially the ones that most impact the standard of living of the huge population of Nigeria’s poor and struggling middle class.” In a statement issued in Abuja by the Coordinator, Austin Braimoh, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, the group said it was amazed that “an eminent Nigerian in the class of Atiku would propose the privatisation of the oil and gas sector, inclusive of the refineries when it is obvious that the privatisation of the

refineries directly translates to increased price of petroleum products, especially the widely-used petrol with dire consequences on high transport cost aggregating in high inflation rates with massive decline in the standard of living of the people. “Obviously, Atiku is merely amplifying the long condemned International Monetary Funds (IMF) recommendation for commercial pricing of petroleum products when, in fact, it is established that such products must be socially priced,” the group added. BMO said Nigerians have resisted “and will continue to resist the IMF and any of the Bretton Woods institutions’ intervention in policy reforms of the national economic template in the understanding that these policies are antipeople in orientation and

outlook.” Responding, the Atiku group known as the All-Atiku Support Group (AASG), slammed Buhari’s men for displaying ignorance of modern economic policies. The group said other oil producing countries like Malaysia, Brazil and now Saudi Arabia have privatised their national oil companies. The All-Atiku Support Group blamed the criticism by the BMO of the proposal by former vice-president to privatise some aspects of the oil and gas sector as a display of poor knowledge about modern economic management. In a statement signed by its Coordinator, Mr. Oladimeji Fabiyi, the Atiku group said the Buhari administration was least qualified to pass a remark about ideas geared towards modernising and

subsidy “For an administration that campaigned heavily about jettisoning subsidy regime and ‘stabilising global oil prices’ coming out to criticise a workable idea to liberalise the country’s oil and gas sector is unfortunate to say the least,” the statement said. The Atiku group noted that while the operations and revenue of the Nigerian oil giant has been shrouded in secrecy for past years, it was worrisome that a group such as the BMO would employ cheap blackmail to cover up the operations of the NNPC, saying such tendencies were not in line with the change that Nigerians expected. “What the BMO has done by its criticism of Atiku’s proposal is to further expose its lack

Cont’d on Pg 51

Crude Oil Price Drops as Demand Shows Sign of Weakening Ejiofor AlikeáÓÞÒËÑÏØÍã ÜÏÚÙÜÞÝ Crude oil price fell yesterday even as the data released by the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed that the US crude oil stocks fell last week as refineries hiked output, while petrol stocks decreased and distillate inventories fell. Before EIA released its data later in the day, crude oil price had fallen ahead of an anticipated rise in US crude inventory, which was expected to provide more evidence that demand may be slowing in spite of ongoing crude oil output cuts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and imminent US sanctions against Iran. But EIA reported that US crude oil inventories fell by 1.4 million barrels in the week to May 11, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 763,000 barrels. Despite the drop in US crude oil inventories, the global benchmark Brent crude futures were down 65 cents at $77.78 per barrel, while US crude futures fell 32 cents to $70.99 a barrel, leaving the spread between the two just shy of a 2015 high of $7 a barrel. Reuters reported that physical crude oil markets are sagging under the weight of unsold barrels of oil, while the 50-percent rise in the oil price in the last year is encouraging major companies such as ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP and Total to increase output. According to the report, spot crude oil cargo prices are at their

steepest discounts to futures prices in years as sellers are struggling to find buyers for West African, Russian and Kazakh cargoes, while pipeline bottlenecks trap supply in west Texas and Canada. With renewed US sanctions looming against Iran and oil demand strong, analysts said crude markets would likely remain tight for much of the year. A State Department spokesman said yesterday that there was enough oil supply in the global market to make up for potential fuel disruptions from US oil producer ConocoPhillips’ legal actions against Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA “The US Department of State remains in contact with our partners in the Caribbean to reduce the risk of supply disruptions,” Vincent Campos, spokesman for the Bureau of Energy Resources at the department, said. “There is sufficient oil supply in the global market that countries can access,” Campos added The US company had stated that it was far from collecting the full value of a $2 billion arbitration award against PDVSA, after Conoco won court orders allowing it to begin seizing PDVSA assets. In a related development, he International Energy Agency (IEA) yesterday warned that global demand is likely to moderate this year, as the price of crude oil nears $80 per barrel. In its monthly report, the Paris-based IEA cut its forecast for global demand growth to 1.4 million barrels per day for 2018, from a previous estimate of 1.5 million bpd.

PRODUCT ENDORSEMENT

Consumer Connections Manager, International Breweries, Plc, Ms. Jumoke Okikiolu; Marketing Manager, Hero Lager, Mr. Obumneke Okoli; Marketing Director, Mr. Arne Rust; Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Afred Ugochukwu Achebe; and Business Unit President, International Breweries Plc, Annabelle Degroot; during the knighting of a new Red Crown Cork and the title: ‘Mmanya Ejiri Mara’ on Hero Lager Beer, at the King’s Courtyard, Ikpeazu Stadium, Onitsha....Tuesday

PTAD Recovers N16bn Assets, Puts Monthly Pension Bill at N7.8bn Unveils road construction equipment Ndubuisi FrancisÓØÌßÔË

N16 billion is domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) The Pension Transition designated Recovery Account, Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) created solely for the remittance said yesterday that it recovered of such funds. cash and non-cash assets of over She disclosed that  about N16 billion  from the Board of 25  properties belonging to Trustees ( BoT) and insurance  the federal government in the underwriters.  custody of Nicon Insurance PLC This is even as  N7.8 billion had been  recovered and handed is currently paid out monthly over to the Federal Ministry of to 237,000 verified pensioners in Powers, Works and Housing its database under the Defined for proper  assessment and Benefit Scheme (DBS). valuation.. PTAD Executive Secretary,  On number of pensioners Sharon Ikeazor, who gave the under the DBS, Ikeazor said figures in Abuja, said the cash the Directorate, in the course component of N6.9 billion of the of continuously sanitising its data

and records, weeded out 22,000 pensioners who did not show up for the verification exercise and another 19,000 who had issues with their Bank Verification Number (BVN) . While not foreclosing their reinstatement, she said it can only be reversed, “if they sort out the BVN issue with their banks.” She stated that the 237,000 number is not sacrosanct, adding that “the figure may go up slightly as some pensioners are about to be included in the payroll.” On verified civil service

pensioners, she said PTAD had successfully added 7,969 of them on the payroll, adding that they  were verified in the South-west and North-central in the fourth quarter of 2017. She said:” Before this addition, over 19,500 verified Civil Service pensioners from the North-west, South-east, North-east and South-south had been reinstated and paid their arrears. Also the computation of benefits for over 5,000 verified civil service pensioners is ongoing. This will conclude the payrolling of all verified civil service pensioners.”


T H I S D AY ˾ THURSDAY MAY 17, 2018

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COMMENT

Editor, Editorial Page PETER ISHAKA Email peter.ishaka@thisdaylive.com

M.D. YUSUFU: INVISIBLE HAND OF DEMOCRACY Yusufu inadvertently supported and promoted national liberation struggle in Africa, writes Okello Oculi

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n May 10, 2018, Dr. Haroun Adamu undertook what Ngugi Wa Thiongo expressed as ‘’writing the memory’’ of Muhammed Dikko Yusufu – widely known to those whose lives he touched favourably simply as ‘’M.D.’’ The geographical space he chose was Maputo, capital of Mozambique; and the occasion was an official celebration of the Independence of Mozambique. An East African Airways plane taxied to a stop and out walked Dr Agustinho Neto, leader of Movement for the Popular Liberation of Mozambique (MPLA). President Samora Machel led Neto to a dais from which he took a salute followed by walking across a loyal carpet lined by soldiers for him to inspect a ‘’Guard of Honour’’. As a correspondent of the DAILY TIMES newspaper in Lagos, Haroun was at first puzzled by this drama, but quickly read in it a message to the American government, racist South Africa and their allies that this sector of Africa regarded Agustinho Neto as the legitimate head of state and government of Angola in opposition to their effort to impose on Africa Jonas Savimbi, leader of Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). On hitching a ride in the East African Airways plane heading for Lagos, Haroun was startled to find M.D Yusufu in conversation with Dr. Neto. He was, obviously, invited to meet General Murtala Mohammed, the volatile Nigerian and charismatic leader. Murtala would later convince African leaders assembled in Addis Ababa to endow continental legitimacy on Neto’s MPLA. In a speech titled ‘’Africa Has Come of Age’’, the Nigerian head of delegation rejected and denounced a letter by American President, Gerald Ford, instructing African leaders to deny recognition to MPLA as the sole legitimate authority in Angola. This detailed writing of memory by Haroun Adamu put meat and bones on an earlier passionate assertion by Linsey Barret that M.D. Yusufu, as an invisible operator in Nigeria’s foreign policy drama, had bent the stem and foliage of that policy firmly towards supporting and promoting national liberation struggle in Africa. In this construction of memory to suit the interest of freedom and human dignity of Africans, M.D. collaborated with and mobilised talents of those considered by others as ‘’radicals’’. His closest cotravellers were the historian Yusuf Bala Usman and the sociologist Patrick Wilmot who refused to agree with former Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa that British and American officials acted in Africa ‘’always as friends’’. Dr Haroun Adamu saw M.D. as a companion to Kwame Nkrumah’s vision of promoting the freedom and unity of Africa. Secret Service operatives and intellectuals keep scripts of memories they create only to themselves: often shielding the full picture from prying noses, ears and eyes of journalists – and if deemed neces-

THE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE ON WHICH LIBERATION MOVEMENTS WERE BUILT IS A VITAL MEMORY THAT MUST NOT BE ‘CAPTURED’ AND DESECRATED BY WARLORDS OF THE CYNICAL ‘INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY’. M.D .WOULD ENDORSE THIS GALLANTRY

sary - even from their political bosses. This secrecy hides from the majority of citizens actions of those fighting to protect or promote their freedom; thereby, inadvertently, giving open spaces to hostile foreign and local interests. An illustration of this matter are explosive claims by NATO countries (cloaked as ‘’the International Community’’), that they are defenders of ‘’democracy’’, the ‘’rule of law’’, ‘’freedom’ and ‘’development’’. They aided Moise Tshombe to murder Patrice Lumumba; killed UN Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjold, for opposing the secession of mineral-rich Katanga from the rehabilitated Tshombe as prime minister of Congo; the recruitment of one thousand mercenaries from South Africa to protect their power. Mobutu was their Leviathan for over 30 years. Averill Harriman flew Belgian, French and Moroccan troops into Congo to halt what Pierre Mulele called a ‘’second independence’’ by deposing Mobutu’s protection of foreign exploitation of Congo’s resources. These countries are busy covering this sordid record with a holy layer of memory. This counter-revolution used assassinations of visionary leaders of liberation movements. In Mozambique Eduardo Mondlane was killed with a parcel bomb while Samora Machel’s plane crashed over rocks decorated by South Africa as a runway outside Maputo airport. In Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, Amilcar Cabral was shot. In South Africa Chris Hani was shot. In Angola, Agustinho Neto was killed with a poison which Soviet doctors could not clean out of his body. In Algeria, Ben Barka was kidnapped and killed in Paris. Supporting opposition groups with sophisticated weapons sought to overwhelm liberation armies. South Africa invaded Angola and Mozambique; but met defeat in Angola by a combination of Cuban, SWAPO and ANC troops. Thousands of dead white soldiers shattered the myth of white invincibility: breaking up rule by European immigrants in Namibia and South Africa. In Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, Cabral’s policy of humane treatment and counter-education of young Portuguese prisoners of war boomeranged and provoked a military coup against Salazar’s dictatorship in Portugal itself. In Mozambique plots to overthrow FRELIMO continue to poison her electoral democratic politics. In 2005, Professor Joseph Ki-Zerbo urged a conference of intellectuals meeting in Dakar that Africa must reject the false ‘’globalisation’’ and deceptive ‘’liberal democracy’’ which have left Africa ‘’lame’’, traumatised and ‘’in a coma’’. The duty of the African intellectual must be to ‘’invent a New World and Africa’’ based on original memories of liberation struggle for humane development. The democratic governance on which liberation movements were built is a vital memory that must not be ‘’captured’’ and desecrated by warlords of the cynical ‘’International Community’’. M.D .would endorse this gallantry.

JOHESU’S STRIKE AND NEEDLESS LOSS OF LIVES Tayo Ogunbiyi argues that the ongoing strike is adding to the woes of the masses

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was not unaware of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) members’ industrial action which commenced nationwide on April 18, but did not really give it much consideration as it was viewed as one of the usual national brouhahas that will somehow fizzle out with time. After all, ours is a nation of many troubles and overtime we have become used to coping with troubles. Unknowingly, I was to be caught in the whole JOHESU’s commotion through a colleague who was hospitalised at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). I was, indeed, highly elated when I paid him a visit at the hospital and discovered that he was stabilising quite well. Though, he was still under observation, he was in high spirit. However, things took a dramatic turn with the commencement of the on-going JOHESU’s strike which effectively ensured he no longer have unhindered access to medical attention. It did not take long before his condition began to deteriorate, thereby making a mess of the initial gains recorded in his recovery process. Presently, his condition calls for speedy divine intervention. As if that was not enough, one of my colleagues recently lost a dear brother who was shot at close range by armed robbers. He was allegedly rejected by private medical facilities on the account of police report and was referred to a public medical facility where he could not be attended to on account of the ongoing JOHESU’s strike. Having lost so much blood in the process, he eventually gave up the ghost and thus ended the dreams of a promising young man. Though the JOHESU’s imbroglio is strictly between the union and the federal government (FG), reports across the country, however, indicate

that other tiers of governments (state and local governments) have already joined in the strike. For instance, in Lagos State, health workers have joined the JOHESU strike in solidarity with their federal counterparts. Accordingly, reports had it that at LASUTH and other General Hospitals across the state, health workers were not at their duty posts and only skeletal services were offered by the consultants and resident doctors available. It will be recalled that JOHESU embarked on a nationwide strike last September to protest among other issues, salaries adjustments, promotion arrears and improved work environment for its members. The negotiation started in 2009 which later resulted in an agreement in 2012 and 2014 between the union and the FG. Now, the main grouse of JOHESU is that the FG has refused to honour the agreement it had with it. JOHESU has gone ahead to accuse the FG of gross bias since it had honoured similar agreement with members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). Thus, now, JOHESU is fighting on two fronts as it is engaging the FG on one hand and the NMA on the other. JOHESU leaders have particularly accused NMA of frustrating efforts geared towards the implementation of its agreement with the FG. It needs to be stressed that the NMA had repeatedly declared its opposition to many of the demands made by JOHESU, describing them as objectionable. The NMA is explicitly opposed to salary harmonization, one of the important agreements which the FG reached with JOHESU, insisting that doctors cannot be on same salary scale as other health workers. In the midst of all these hullabaloos, JOHESU has also singled out the Ministers of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole as well as Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, as the biggest culprits

in the alleged scheme to frustrate efforts of the health workers to get fair treatment. The two men have, however, vehemently described this allegation as ‘spurious, unfounded and baseless’. Meanwhile, hapless Nigerians, such as my colleague, who are critically in need of prompt healthcare, are, as usual, at the receiving end of this pointless entanglement. In an increasingly piercing economic season, hapless compatriots have had to cope with the extra financial burden on medical bills. From the way things are, the only way out is for the people to opt for private hospitals which, for obvious reasons, very few patents can afford. According to reports, there is already an upsurge in the number of casualties across the country. This is rather unnecessary as it is quite avoidable. Therefore, there is need for the striking JOHESU members to thread softly in the interest of the people as the country cannot afford to go through another needless circle of pains and anguish that usually accompany industrial action in the health sector. The anguish experienced whenever the health sector is faced with industrial unrest is needless. Lives that are wasted when health workers embark on strike cannot be restored. JOHESU members should, thus, be wholly concerned about the need to save human lives. Hence, it is imperative that they exercise sufficient restrain in resorting to strike each time they have issues with government. In as much as it is their constitutional right to embark on industrial action, the sacredness of life and the delicate nature of the work they do should always be above every other consideration. Health workers are wonderful people, no doubt, but so also are teachers, sportsmen,

journalists, engineers, lawyers, Inland Revenue officers, surveyors, accountants, auditors and other professionals who toil endlessly to ensure that we have livable society. Agitation for wage increase is a legitimate universal practice; but the overall interest of the people should always be given utmost priority. One is at a loss as to why JOHESU is dragging states and local government chapters into a matter that is strictly between it and the FG. In Lagos State, for instance, it is not on record that the state government has industrial dispute with the state’s local JOHESU. Is it, therefore, not morally wrong that the state JOHESU is actively involved in the ongoing strike? Nevertheless, the FG and other key stakeholders need to urgently step up efforts to mitigate the impact of the current imbroglio before it cripples the country’s health sector. Our health system is already weak and allowing the strike to continue will only make things worse. Since the well-being of the citizenry is universally a fundamental responsibility of government, the FG should muster the sufficient political will to end the strike. We need a system that cares for the citizenry as they need to be healthy in order to contribute meaningfully to nation building. There is no gainsaying that the ongoing strike in the health sector raises questions on the exact state of our public health system. There is, thus, need for JOHESU and the FG to urgently reach an agreement, to prevent more avoidable casualties. The way forward for industrial harmony in the health sector is for all stakeholders to be ready to make necessary concessions, at least for the sake of the people. Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja


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EDITORIAL INEC AND THE VOTER REGISTER All the stakeholders must ensure the register is credible

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n the aftermath of the impunity recorded during the last local government election in Kano State where underage voting was allegedly widespread, many Nigerians had expressed the urgent need to clean up the National Voter Register. Even if the outcome of the investigation into the Kano affair largely vindicated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), since its voter register was largely abandoned during the conduct of the exercise, the electoral body is acutely aware of the need to audit and sanitise the voter register: the credibility of the next election, as in any other, is contingent on a credible voter register. To the extent that the voter register could do with some improvement, we urge all the political parties to begin engaging the process. Indeed, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, last week expressed the need INEC HAS TO ADDRESS for collaboration THE CHALLENGE THROWN between the elecUP BY PROSPECTIVE toral body and all REGISTRANTS BY critical stakeholders DEPLOYING MORE “to continue to RESOURCES IN TERMS update and improve the national register OF MANPOWER AND of voters to elimiMATERIALS TO THE nate all ineligible CENTRES registrants from it, including dead persons, aliens and underage registrants.� Even if the panel that investigated the complaints in the Kano local government election absolved INEC of blame, the panel was bold enough to establish that in some cases, underage voting indeed took place in certain areas during the election. But underage voting is not restricted to Kano, it is a national problem. But the law is very clear: only those who are 18 years and above can vote. Fortunately, the INEC has done admirably in ensuring that all the relevant stakeholders are given copies of the national voter register in accordance with the law, to read, scrutinise and make complaints to the electoral body when

Letters to the Editor

necessary. For instance, last February, INEC gave copies of the register to all the 68 registered political parties containing names of the four million new voters registered in 2017. Aside political parties whose ofďŹ cials need to assist INEC by scrutinising the register, other stakeholders, especially civil society groups, should also do same by pointing out names of ineligible registrants. That is the only way to safeguard the credibility of the registration process. Meanwhile, INEC has its job cut out because registering new voters and collecting permanent voter cards (PVCs) have also become worrisome issues.

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ven though INEC has reportedly registered millions of fresh voters since last July through the continuous voter registration, there were reports of people queuing up for hours without being registered, particularly in heavily populated places. INEC has to address the challenge thrown up by these prospective registrants, by perhaps deploying more resources in terms of manpower and materials to the centres. There is also the need to step up the awareness campaign for those who have not been able, for one reason or the other, pick up their PVCs. According to reports, Lagos has in excess of 1.4 million voter cards yet to be collected, most apparently due to the uncertainties and the logistics of travelling to the local government headquarters without success. Thus INEC has the additional duty of discentralising the collection by moving the PVCs collection centres closer to the people – to make the exercise less cumbersome. It is apparent that the task is an uneasy one for INEC, particularly in times of paucity of funds. But these are things that must be accomplished before February 2019 so as to create a level playing ďŹ eld for all candidates, all political parties and to conduct the general election in accordance with global professional standards. The commission has conducted its affairs remarkably well to date but the bigger challenge is ahead and we hope Prof. Yakubu will build on the success recorded by his predecessor by giving Nigerians credible elections next year.

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THE OBA EWUARE EXEMPLAR

I

read with relish media reports of the Saturday, April 28, 2018 visit of the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare 11, to the State of Osun during which he met with the State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola at the Government House in Osogbo; and, thereafter, with the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, in his Ife palace. If I am not mistaken, that was the second significant official trip outside Benin that Oba Ewuare 11 would embark on since ascending the throne in October 2016. The first was to Abuja and Sokoto in November 2017 where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar 111 respectively in what was described as vital diplomatic shuttles to essentially connect with Nigeria’s strategic and influential power centres and personages. Oba Ewuare 11, who had represented Nigeria in different outposts before his enthronement, had deployed his ambassadorial savoir-faire to utilitarian actuality, although he described his visit as a post-coronation thank-you tour. Both the Sultan of Sokoto and the Ooni of Ife were some of the dignitaries that spiced his coronation with their imperial attendance. It is instructive that the stool of the Oba of Benin is a very powerful one that is ingrained in some ancient and pristine traditions. Successive occupants of the stool, apparently charismatic and venerated, have benefitted in equal measures from the influence that the stool confers. The royalty of the ancient Benin Kingdom is, without a doubt, held in awe-inspiring admiration by the Benin people. It also enjoys approba-

tion by non-Benin people as well. Benin Kingdom is blessed to have an Oba who, like his father of blessed memory, Oba Erediauwa, is profoundly educated, well connected and immensely cosmopolitan in outlook. His cosmopolitanism has emphatically shattered the primordial and enticing cocoon of ethnic nationalism that has afflicted many leaders, such that the Oba does not speak for the Benin people only on issues that concern the development of Edo State but also for the entire people-the Edo, Okpe, Esan, Afenmai/Etsako, Ora, Akoko-Edo, Igbanke, Emai and Ijaw. For instance, at his meeting with President Buhari in 2017, he demanded the provision of infrastructure in Edo State and urged him to help the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, address security challenges, including human trafficking, in the state. He had called on the federal government to assist Edo State to establish small scale industries in rural areas to curb rural-urban drift. Oba Ewuare 11 also urged the federal government to complete the dualisation of the Benin-Auchi road. He is obviously interested in statewide development. The issues that the Oba engaged with during his Osogbo visit were not different from some of the issues he raised with the president, to wit: the growing insecurity and the prevalence of trafficking in persons. Suffice to surmise that he has taken upon himself the role of an ambassador and advocate against national insecurity and trafficking in persons. These are germane and topical issues that have assaulted our psyche and sensibility as a nation. Not to engage with them in the way and manner Oba Ewuare 11

has taken up the gauntlet will aggravate and make them become a part and parcel of our shattered value system. A kingdom that has responsive king and chiefs cannot be assailed with such mindless assaults without taking actions. That is the philosophical underpinning of the Oba’s advocacy. A country with a legitimate government in place must deploy the force of its constitutional authority to preserve the security and wellbeing of its citizens. That is the undertaking to which the Benin monarch has called out government at the state and federal levels. Oba Ewuare 11 understands the powerful synergies that exist between the institutions of traditional rulers and constitutional government much as he realises that without collaboration among the Obas, state and federal governments, it would be difficult to effectively tackle and surmount the insecurity that has led to incessant killings in parts of the country by suspected herdsmen as well as callous trafficking in persons. With his eyes sharply-focused on achieving set goals, the Benin monarch targeted Ogbeni Aregbesola, who he believes would be able to spread the message to other governors on the urgency of the now to do the needful in order to restore peace in the body politic. I am sure that the Oba and the Edo State governor are already on the same page on these issues back home. It was only strategic that for royal somberness and effect, another governor and many others should be saddled with the task of sustaining and strengthening the advocacies. Sufuyan Ojeifo, Abuja


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T H I S D AY • THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

POLITICS

Group Politics Editor Tobi Soniyi Email tobi.soniyi@thisdaylive.com 07054786260 SMS ONLY

PERSONALITY INTERVIEW

Eta: Why We Endorsed Oshiomhole The National Vice Chairman (South-south) of the APC, Ntufam Gillard Eta, says his party needs a strong leader in the run up to the 2019 elections, and former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole possesses that quality. He spoke with journalists in Benin, Edo State. Adibe Emenyonu presents the excerpts: What informed the zonal executive committee meeting? On the 9th of April, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party met in Abuja and considered the report of the technical committee that was set up to look at what people considered as tenure elongation and the attendant implications for the party. The NEC at the end of that meeting made five resolutions. It was consequent upon those resolutions that the meeting of the zonal executive committee was convened and we were to deliberate on those resolutions. In the zonal executive committee we have about 168 people as members of the zonal executive committee and the committee speaks on behalf of the zone. All members were invited to the meeting in Benin and I must also say that these meetings are always rotated within the states except for Bayelsa that we have not had these meetings within its borders. At the inception of the meeting, the agenda was circulated round the leaders. and they were called to make comments for the agenda. Nobody added, nobody subtracted from the agenda. The major item on the agenda was the deliberation of NEC’s resolution. Too show you the importance of that item on the agenda, members accepted to skip the reading of the last meeting so that they could have time to deal with the main issue of the day: Adherence to party constitution and pattern of nomination of candidate The meeting started the deliberations by attempting to modify the resolutions of NEC but the attention of the meeting was drawn to the constitution of the party which precludes any organ of the party from tampering with any position of NEC. To that effect, the zonal leadership affirmed the decision of NEC and commenced deliberations. The second item of the resolution was that the zonal pattern of the party be retained and it was put into deliberation and over 20 persons spoke on the issue and the need to respect the position of the NEC and maintaining even the micro zoning of the zone. The interpretation of the zonal executive committee is that the zoning arrangement must be retained from even the ward level to the national level. It was at that point that I personally suffered a loss because my leader and former governor of my state, Chief (Dr) Clement Ebri was at that juncture precluded due to NEC resolutions. The resolution of NEC was to maintain zoning even at the micro level and it went on to ask the position of Edo State given the fact that the congresses and convention commence a week after this meeting. It has historical comparison because in 2014, before the national convention of the party, under the auspices of the then former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, such a meeting was convened in his house. At that time Chief Tom Ikimi had resigned as the National Vice Chairman of the party, so the two leaders we then had is Amaechi and Comrade Oshiomhole who were governors then. Amaechi invited us for a meeting including Oshiomhole, he invited the persons who wanted to contest for the national chairmanship to speak to us. At that meeting, since the slot was ceded to Edo, the chairman of Edo State APC was called to come and present the position of Edo State. At that time, the chairman of the Edo APC presented the position of Edo which was an endorsement of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun as their choice. We followed the position of Edo and endorsed Oyegun as our candidate. The same thing was done yesterday (Monday) where we invited everybody for the meeting and we called on the state chairman of Edo to give us the position of Edo State. The chairman came to us that the Edo State APC caucus unanimously endorsed Oshiomhole as its choice for chairmanship of the party. At that

Eta

point, people started speaking, people did not raise issues that the chairmanship should be moved from Edo. They raised issues that we cannot consider the position of Edo caucus in 2018 whereas in 2014 we considered such position in the presence of Amaechi. We also put the question to the house to ask whether it accepted the position of Edo. And majority of the zonal executive committee affirmed the position of Edo. Walking out by four state chairmen. Those who were against when the question was put to the house were less than 15. They stormed out of the hall and said they have disassociated themselves. How can they say so when they participated in the voting? Having lost in the votes they resorted to tyranny and desecration of democratic principles by going to say they have disassociated themselves after they lost in the voting. If they had won will they disassociate themselves? Let me even correct this impression, I read on the pages of newspapers that four chairmen disassociated themselves. I know that Cross

PDP is known for impunity, disrespect for the rule of law, lack of internal democracy and these things are creeping into APC due to weak leadership of the APC

River state does not have a chairman as we speak, so it could not have been four chairmen. Let me say that the chairmen are members of the zonal executive committee just like the other 164 people. We are not holding a state executive meeting, we were holding a zonal committee meeting and in the zonal executive committee we have over 168 people including senators, governors, deputy governors, former senators, former House of Reps members. So the chairmen who stormed out of the meeting were not speaking for their states. Senator Nelson Effiong was seated and participated in the voting when his chairman stormed out and said he disassociated himself. He could not have been speaking for Senator Effiong, he could not have been speaking for Hon.Robinson or Hon.Esieme Eyibo. When the chairman of Rivers State stormed out of the house, he could not have been speaking for Senator Magnus Abbe, because Abe after voting sat until the end of the meeting. He could not have been speaking for Senator Wilson Ake, these are people form Rivers State. In Bayelsa, the man there is just holding forth as chairman, he is not the chairman, however when he left the hall, people like Chief Ikisibor and others who were from Bayelsa remained at the meeting. So these people cannot be claiming to speak for their states. Why we choose Oshiomhole Everybody who has been monitoring the situation in Nigeria and our party since understand what it means to have Oshiomhole as the chairman of APC. We are not stopping Oyegun form contesting and Chief Ebiri but what we are saying is that the majority prefers Oshiomhole as our candidate. If you ask me my opinion, I am the National Vice Chairman for close to four years now and what I can say now is that this party, needs rebranding, reinvigoration, we need new creativity, we need to build strong leadership. I can tell you that we have been lacking very seriously, leadership at the national level of our party. And in bringing in Oshiomhole on board, I can tell you that the party will have a new

lease of life. The impunity that has crept into the APC will be halted. And the laws of the party will be respected. For now, God forbids that Jesus Christ will come to the headquarters of the APC, he will not flog us with cane, he will flog us with thorns. APC has to rebrand itself especially in the South-south here, even in other parts of the country. The party enjoys the acceptance of the people on the basis of it being a progressive party. That progress focuses on the well being of the people, a just and transparent system, we have not had these over the years. What the party needs to do now is to find a way of creating a perception that this party is different from PDP. PDP is known for impunity, disrespect for the rule of law, lack of internal democracy and these things are creeping into APC due to weak leadership of the APC. The people at this point cannot see the difference between APC and PDP. We have now presented to the people a good choice and alternative. if we do not change course immediately we will be messed up. Right now the party is not going towards the right direction. It is going in the direction of the PDP and it must be halted. This convention affords Nigerians the opportunity to make a change, effect changes and take the party back to where it should be. If this is done you will observe that millions of Nigerians will join the APC. On APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Tinubu has been my leader for a long time right from when I was state chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Cross River State. I have known Asiwaju and worked with him for a very long time. I know what he brings to the table. I know the role he played in the victory of our party in 2015. So I can never trivialise the place of Asiwaju in our party. I am happy with the good relation between President Buhari and Asiwaju because when these our two iconic leaders come together, victory is assured for our party. but we cannot say so for many others who pretend to be leaders, who cannot bring anything to the table during elections.


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POLITICS

Adegoke: There’s No Sense in Zoning Political Offices Lawyer turned politician, Kunle Adegoke who is seeking to be governor of Osun State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress has faulted the preference for zoning when choosing candidates, saying it is a strategy to narrow the political space to favour a weak candidate. He spoke with Femi Ogbonnikan. Excerpts: Why do you want to be governor? I am a political activist and I know that the people of Osun and Nigeria as a country deserve better living condition than what is currently obtainable. There is the need to improve the living conditions of the people, which I still find appalling at present as the economic condition of the masses is a thing of great concern to me. I am an activist who pays detailed attention to the socio-economic existence of the people vis-à-vis the opportunities available to them to have a hope for a brighter future. The present situation calls for the altruistic intervention of all men and women of good orientation and selfless instincts. That is why I have made myself available more so when I realised that failure to intervene would only make me a perpetual complainant at the pleasure of the less qualified in power who will continue to pulverize the psyche of the people. I am driven by the consuming passion to serve and improve the lives of my people. I have served my party to a large extent through my legal expertise and I consider that, at this juncture, it is time to give back to the people generally. It is imperative to use my knowledge, energy and resources to positively contribute to the society under a system that can guarantee better living conditions for the people, improve their economic existence, guarantee social welfare, provide future assurance via qualitative education, sound health and security of lives and property. It is incumbent on me, having taken so much educationally from the state, to ensure that I use my trainings to ensure a just and egalitarian system where no one shall be denied his dues. What are your plans for the people of Osun State? Economically, I observe that the economic downturn in the country which has affected several states and the inability of most states to rise beyond rentier status of beggarly collector of federal allocations have subjected the people to a state of economic relegation. The biggest slice of our problem is economic. Solve the economic problem and you would discover that other challenges can be easily catered for. It is most necessary to ensure that the IGR of Osun within the next three years is nothing below 15 billion Naira a month. The low hanging fruit I intend to exploit is agriculture. We must turn more than 330,000 hectares of land lying fallow in Osun to productive farm settlements where thousands of youths can be employed. We have nine federal constituencies, nothing stops us from ensuring that there is a farm settlement in each federal constituency. Attainment of maximum production of food accompanied by application of food processing and preservation to bring about the value chain in agriculture will make Osun the food basket supplying food to many other states and countries where our people regularly patronise but without good markets for our food supply. It is my intention to generate nothing less than 9 billion Naira monthly from the Lagos food market for Osun while I ensure that our forex earnings from countries like Saudi Arabia on food supplies increase astronomically. Thousands of Nigerians and West Africans perform lesser hajj to Mecca and Medina every day whereas no hotel serves Nigerian dishes. I observed that an average Nigerian palate can hardly survive two weeks outside Nigeria without relishing our local delicacies. I therefore started negotiations with some big hotels in Mecca on the need to include Nigerian dishes in their menu list. From the market available in Saudi Arabia, Osun stands to make several millions of dollars periodically as Saudi is not an agrarian country but imports most of its food needs. Currently, Osun has no single strand of banana in any Saudi market stall. I want to ensure that I improve the internally generated revenue of the state to nothing less

a governor based on zoning or we need the best material for the job? When the zoning governor comes in, simply on wishy-washy sentimentality of zonal equity but destroys the economy, we all must then endure mediocrity for eight years simply because we desire a laughable turn-by-turn arrangement which is antithetical to democratic evolution and development. Which forward-looking society practises that? Let the best material emerge even if he is from the same ward or local government area with the current governor. No governor by zoning can pay workers’ salaries, put food on our table, improve our educational standard, health status and infrastructural malaise etc. simply based on his place of origin. No civilized democracy orders political succession based on zoning. As regards the primary election of my party, APC, I am greatly confident that I am the anointed of God. I am going to win the primary election, God willing. I have been on the field since March, 2017 talking to the delegates and officers of the party as well as the people. This time, they must take their destinies in their own hands. I have covered all the local government areas in the state. I am not resting on my oars. I am addressing the people that really matter in the best language that addresses their concerns without making crazy promises but verifiable projections that can advance their lot. Our people are not crazy. They are sensible people.

Adegoke

than 15 billion naira a month from agriculture, tourism and industrialization within the next three years. We have about 63 undeveloped tourists sites in Osun whereas we are lamenting under crushing poverty despite our natural and human endowments. The recent 173.9 billion Naira budget of Osun for 2018 confirms our long-held opinion that for the state to effectively take care of its people’s needs, the income of the state cannot be less than 15 billion Naira a month. If you divide 173.9 billion Naira budget by 12 months in a year, it gives you about 14.5 billion Naira as what the government itself realises monthly. We have made this prognostication way back in August, 2017 when we were crafting our manifesto. Upon good improvement in the economy, we shall be in the best position to address the malaise of shortage in payment of salaries and provision of adequate welfare for the civil servants and the people in general, improve the standard of education through provision of adequate welfare, training and re-training of teachers and ensuring discipline in schools in a bid to make education available to all. Once we tackle the economic problems, there shall be beneficial improvement in infrastructural development and maintenance. The unemployment problem in the state by which vast majority of our youths have been turned to idle hands shall have been effectively addressed. The above encapsulates our 4-point agenda as contained in Our Roadmap to Prosperity. Why is the governorship seat your interest? With the vision that I have, with the knowledge

In the current economic situation of Osun, do we just need a governor based on zoning or we need the best material for the job?

God has afforded me, with the passion with which I am imbued, I can only attain the vision that I have for the society in executive capacity. Anything below that cannot achieve the kind of historical mileage that I want to cover. I am not interested in political appointment. I could have struggled for that 7 years ago when Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola became the governor of my dear state. I did not. My intention is to serve my people in the best capacity possible to effect a positive change in their lives and secure a permanent judgment of acquittal for myself where others are convicted. You hail from Osogbo which doesn’t fall within Osun West Senatorial District to which the governorship seat may be zoned. I don’t believe in zoning. Neither the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria nor that of APC favours zoning of governorship to one side of the State. There is no sense in zoning. When was it agreed in the annals of Osun that governorship would be zoned? If it was ever so agreed, was it based on senatorial districts or the six zones of the state by which each senatorial district is composed of two zones each? Which governor has ever been chosen based on zoning in Osun before? If zoning is part of our system, why has it never been used before? If it is part of our system, why don’t we use the federal constituency structure or the six zonal structure of Osun by which Osogbo and Iwo zones become most prominent among the “cheated”? It is clear that Osogbo Zone has never produced governor before despite being the state capital with more than a quarter of the votes of the entire state. The irony of life is that when a section of the ruling elite sells a dummy to favour one of them or a section of them, the mass of the people, the hoi polloi, who will never derive any benefit from the scheming, will parrot the idea slavishly forgetting that they were never meant to benefit from the class scheming being foisted by that section of the ruling class. We have never chosen a governor based on zoning before. I challenge anyone to mention a governor elected based on zoning. It is a strategy to narrow the political space to favour a weak candidate whose credentials cum political and intellectual capacity cannot withstand a fair contest to produce the best. In the current economic situation of Osun, do we just need

Seeking any elective office in Nigeria is very expensive, let alone the governorship office you are vying for. Do you have the financial resources to prosecute this ambition? The least of my concerns is the financial fear that most good people impose on themselves by which they vacate the political space for the less competent but financially stinking elements who only turn around to milk the people to perpetual poverty. I have been in the trenches for more than a year now and I have been spending money without running bankrupt. It is a function of eternal blessings which Yoruba people call “alubarika” coupled with perspicacity. Many men and women of goodwill have been with us in this journey and we assure you that we shall defeat the biggest of all pockets in this election. Many of our friends have been wonderful as we have been financing our campaigns by their unceasing support. How close are you to the grassroots that form the bulk of the electorates, that their votes count? I am a grassroots man. I am a man trained in the sophistication of human relations among the people of the grassroots. I grew up in Osogbo. I had my elementary, secondary and Advanced Level education in Osogbo. I acquired the distinct diction of my people steeped in effective communication and superlative interaction at the feet of my blessed mother and the paternal guidance of my sage father. All these I have employed in relating with the people of the grassroots and they know that I really understand where their shoes pinch. I have traversed the length and breath of Osun, studying the peculiar problems confronting each locality and taking note of their needs in the midst of the abundance of their resources. I have a detailed understanding of the people as I have been on this project for many years using the compass of clinical economics to effect differential diagnosis of the problems confronting the people and proffering solutions to them. I have a good notebook on the socio-political challenges of the people and my interactions with the grassroots are changing the political consciousness hitherto premised on immediate monetary gratification by which unscrupulous politicians always purloin unwary public endorsement.


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THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018 • T H I S D AY

FEATURES

Acting Features Editor Charles Ajunwa Email charles.ajunwa@thisdaylive.com

NIPR Recalibrated The Annual National Conference/AGM of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations Practitioners in Umuahia, that ushered in a new president and governing council is the dawn of a new era, reports Olawale Ajimotokan

Newly inducted NIPR Fellows

A

bia State played the perfect host for the conference of image makers held at the International Conference Centre, Ogurube Layout, Umuahia, from April 25-28. The conference was tagged the Great Abia 2018. It was no coincidence that three of the past NIPR Presidents; Kanu Offonry, Bob Ogbuagu and Mike Okereke were all of Abia State extraction. Guests were treated to a cultural extravaganza at the Proudly Abia Night that climaxed with the Ohafia War Dance. The outgoing President of NIPR, Dr. Rotimi Oladele dubbed Abia as the headquarters of local contents from Nigeria. In the heat of his excitement, he coined a new line from the acronym A-B-I-A – At Best In All. Sirajo elected NIPR President Mukhar Z. Sirajo emerged the 14th President and Chairman of Council of NIPR after the AGM while Comptroller Wale Adeniyi was voted the Vice President. Until his election, Sirajo served as the vice president of the institute for two terms from 2013. Sirajo promised to run an open administration that will reflect the essence of public relations practice in Nigeria. “We intend to run a very open administration and we are going to play our part in the Nigerian project so that PR will be properly re-positioned. And luckily for us in the past four years, I have seen the process of laying a good foundation for the re-positioning of the Institute. The previous council of which some of us were members had really laid a very solid foundation. And all we need to do is to build on the foundation,” Sirajo said. He promised to consolidate on the recertification process, so that the institute will have a very effective and up to date register of members and vigorously pursue

the fight against quackery which has been giving the profession a bad image. According to Sirajo, NIPR will insist on the compliance with the provisions of the law setting up the institute that makes it a criminal offence for anyone to practice the profession without the license and membership of NIPR. “We also intend to approach the Attorney General and Minister of Justice because the provision of the law states that the office of the AG is supposed to establish a tribunal that should try people found falling foul of the law. We want to begin to set examples.” He stressed that NIPR will also undertake advocacy visits to governments to ensure that the personnel they employ into PR related jobs do not fall foul of these legal

We intend to run a very open administration and we are going to play our part in the Nigerian project so that PR will be properly re-positioned. And luckily for us in the past four years, I have seen the process of laying a good foundation for the repositioning of the Institute

provisions while the workers can be held accountable if they are practicing the profession. In addition, he said the council will also ensure that proper placement of PR officers in the public private sector is given a prime place. “Already we have gone far. We know that the National Council on Information has approved the classification of PR into the system and we are waiting for ratification by the National Council on Establishment. So we are going to pursue that to its logical conclusion. We are going to reposition the secretariat so that we are going to have a' functional institute that serves and will ease the burden on the Council because the president right now more or less runs not only the Council but the entire Institute,’’ Sirajo said. He said membership drive will be used as a tool for revenue generation. Under this plan, he added, the institute will be going to campuses and universities that run PR and try to establish campus branches for the institutes to enlist the students. “There is a provision for student membership within the NIPR statutes. We are going to activate that. We are going to ensure that we maximise that so that we get the students properly introduced into PR so that when they leave school their integration is going to be smoother. We have student members, who while at school get the practical aspect and when they leave school just seamlessly transit into the profession.” Inducts 10 new fellows Apart from Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, who was inducted the Patron of the state chapter of the institute, 10 new individuals were inducted as fellows of the national chapter. Dr. Oladele, assisted by Chairman Body of Fellows, Tamuno Koko-Jack conducted

the ceremony. Some of the new fellows include a former Deputy Governor of Enugu State, Okechukwu Itanyi and two traditional rulers, Otunwa Victor and Innocent Adiele Nwangue. Others are Adekunle Razak Ogedengbe, Osondu Joseph Jerry, Nimotalai Ajala Ekundayo, Oboh Edet, Uche Chukwuma and Easter Nwogbu. Emma Agu was conferred with the Honorary Fellowship award. The Secretary to the State Government of Abia State, Dr. Eme Okoro, who received the award on behalf of Governor Ikpeazu, declared the conference open. The induction was Oladele’s last official function as president, before the accredited delegates elected a new president and Governing Council members for a new term of two years. Welcoming the NIPR members, Ikpeazu paid adulation to the past presidents of the institute since inception in 1963, adding that he felt gratified that the members of the institute were part of the developmental process that was being initiated by the state government. He said that Nigerians are very competent people who can reach higher height if they use the brain God has endowed in them. He also commended the institute on the choice of conference theme and added the NIPR members had what it takes to facilitate nation’s economic recovery if given the opportunity. Mohammed lauds PR in Nigeria The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, commended NIPR members for sustaining and advancing the cause of Public Relations practice in Nigeria despite daunting challenges. Mohammed said the theme of the AGM: ‘Sustainable Development in a Fragile Economy: The PR Perspective’, could not have come at a more auspicious time,


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• T H I S D AY THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

FEATURES Welcoming the NIPR members, Ikpeazu paid adulation to the past presidents of the institute since inception in 1963, adding that he felt gratified that the members of the institute were part of the developmental process that was being initiated by the state government

L-R: NIPR New President, Mukhtar Sirajo, Abia State SSG, Dr. Eme Okoro, former NIPR President Dr. Rotimi Oladele, Mr.Timothy Oyedeji, Director, Protocol and PR, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and keynote speaker, Richard Dayo Johnson, presenting a plaque to Okoro, who represented Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu

and comments by public officials in order to malign those officials or cast aspersions on them. He said government was not unaware that this hatchet job was being escalated in view of the forthcoming general elections. Air Peace bags awards One of the high points of the conference was the Service Industry and Individual Awards scooped by Air Peace. NIPR listed some criteria it used to give the national carrier corporate award. Oladele said these included time management, customer relations, quality of onboard food and handling of complaints. He said if the quality was sustained Nigeria will be a case study in the ease of doing business in Africa. He said while the assignment took them four months going through aviation industry in Nigeria, 11 international flights within West Africa and 29 domestic flights, were monitored before a decision was made. Air Peace scored the highest cumulative mark of 67 per cent while the next airline got a total 51 per cent. The award was received on behalf of the airline by Ft Officer Aransi Adesola. The Corporate Communications Manager, Air Peace, Chris Iwarah, said the airline, founded few years ago with only seven aircraft, now has 24 planes in its fleet and plies 12 domestic routes and four regional routes with plans for further expansion.

L-R Compt. Wale Adeniyi, Sirajo, Oladele, Oyediji and Johnson presenting a gift to Oladele

Flight Officer Aransi Adesola of Air Peace (c) receiving a service an NIPR merit award

given this administration’s commitment to revamping the economy and returning it to the path of growth and sustainability. The minister’s speech was delivered by Timothy Oyedeji, Director, Protocol and Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

He said the ministry would continue to support the institute in charting a course for a virile Public Relations practice in Nigeria, devoid of quackery, interlopers and towards the ideals of high professional standards expected from all its members. The minister said government would

ensure that more of her Information Officers are inducted into the institute to ensure that the ministry and indeed the nation derives maximum benefit from the institute’s continuing education/training modules. He lashed social media commentators for making it a habit to twist the remarks

Keynote/panel discussion The keynote speaker, Richard Dayo Johnson made an inspiring presentation and a practical demonstration of how to manage a fragile economy by thinking outside the box. He advocated an inward-looking economic model for the country and challenged PR practitioners to use the narratives of Abia as a huge manufacturing hub to communicate the potential of the local economy. A discussion session was moderated by Yomi Badejo Okusanya, MD CMC Connect and had Dr. Virgina Benson- Eluwa, Head of Marketing Department of Abia State University and Hajia Lami Tumaka, Director Special Duties, NIMASA as discussants. There were also breakout sessions on four sectors of PR practice which generated healthy debates and discussions. Among the recommendations by conference delegates, were that in managing Nigeria’s economy, the federal and state governments should utilise the professional services of PR experts in building trust and confidence of the populace through strategic communications and that government should appoint experienced members of the institute into its Think Tank on the economy to help in providing creative solutions to the national economic challenges. It also pressed on governments at all levels to ensure that the positions of Minister of Information and Culture, Commissioner for Information, SA Information and Chief Press Secretaries are occupied by certified PR practitioners.


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IMAGES

L-R; Executive Director, Commercial, Alpha Mead Group, Mr. Wole Olufore; Deputy Managing Director, Mrs. Wale Odufale; Group Managing Director/CEO, Engr. Femi Akintunde; Managing Director Alpha Mead Healthcare Management Services, Prof. Babatunde Green; and the Executive Director, Finance, Alpha Mead Group, Mr. Amaebi Fider Kumo, at a press onference to announce the 6th edition of the Nigerian Facilities Management Roundtable, held in Lagos...recently SUNDAY ADIGUN

L-R; Supply Chain & Operations Director, Mr. Cephas Afebuameh; Country Sales Drector, Adeoye Ademola and Manaaging Director, Chinedum Okereke, All of Suntory Beverage and Food Nigeria Limited at the llaunch of 2018 Lucozade Airtime .Promotion in Lagos...recently ABIODUN AJALA

L-R; CEO & Co-founder, Octave Analytics, Mr. Blessing Oladeji; Group Head, Retail Liability Products, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Mr. Shamsideen Fashola; Chief Operating Officer, Upinthesky, Mr. Idiare Atimomo and Head, Youths Segment of FCMB, Mr. Michael Nwoseh, during a youth Entrepreneurship Masterclass programme organised by the Bank for students of University of Ibadan at the school campus in lbadan...recenty

L-R: Director, Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Erinosho Eniola; Marketing Manager, Home and Hygiene, RB West Africa, Omotola Bamigaiye-Elatuyi; National Professional Officer, Malaria, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Tolu Arowolo; and Senior Brand Manager, RB West Africa, Kuburat Sanusi, during Mortein 2018 World Malaria Day Quiz Competition for some Secondary Schools in Lagos... recently YOMI AKINYELE

T H I S D AY • THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

Photo Editor Abiodun Ajala Email abiodun.ajala@thisdaylive.com

L-R: Secretary- General, African Public Relations Association(APRA), Jane Gitau; Vice President, APRA, Robyn de Villiers;i, Deputy Chairperson, African Union Commission (AUC) Ambassador Quartey Kwes and President, APRA, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, presenting a plaque to the AUC Deputy Chairperson at the just 30th Annual Conference of APRA in Gaborone, Botswana...recently

L-R Ogun State Head of Service, Mr. Abayomi Sobande, Commissoner for Culture and Tourism, Bashorun Muyiwa Oladipo, Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs.) Yetunde Onanuga, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Otunba Adedayo Adeneye, Special Adviser, Information and Strategy, Mr. Rotimi Durojaiye and Special Adviser, Forestry, Barr. Yinka Odufuwa during a programme, “EXCO in Class”, an initiative of Junior Achievement Entrepreneurship in collaboration with the Ogun State government...recently

L-R: Director Manufacturing, Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Dr. Nino Ozara; Head National Sales Businessto-Commercial, Mr. Narendra Nargarka; Director Supply Chain, Mr. Rotimi Fadipe; winner Business to Commercial, Mrs. Opeyemi Raji; and Managing Director, Mr. Lanre Jaiyeola, during the company’s annual customers’ forum, in Lagos...recently ETOP UKUTT

L-R; General Managr, Sub-Saharan Africa, Roche, Mr Marku Gemuend; Chief Medical Director, UCH, Ibadan, Prof Temitope Alonge; Radiation Oncologist, UCH, Ibadan, Prof Oladapo Campbell and Country Manager, Roche Nigeria, Dr Oladipupo Hameed, at the launch of Roche Herceptin SC in Lagos...recently


T H I S D AY • THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

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BUSINESSWORLD R A T E S MONEY MARKET OBB OVERNIGHT

A S

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REPO 2.83 3.33

CALL 1-MONTH 3-MONTH

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Group Business Editor ChikaAmanze-Nwachuku Email: chika.amanzenwachukwu@thisdaylive.com 08033294157, 08057161321

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Quick Takes Ausso Concludes First Masterclass

Foremost business professionals and entrepreneurs mentoring institution, Ausso Leadership Academy (ALA) has concluded its premier business and entrepreneurial masterclass. The 3-weeks long intensive hands-on training programme was held at the academy’s Entrepreneurs’ hub in Lagos. The masterclass was structured into three modules with each designed help the delegates imbibe proven principles of business growth and sustainability. These include mission leadership, business model generation and business sustainability and growth. The programme offered the delegates a learning experience in a very conducive physical ambience coupled with teachings delivery by a faculty with proven experienced and enviable track record. Speaking at the closing ceremony, the founder and Entrepreneurin-Residence, Mr. Austin Okere restated that the motivation for the establishment of ALA is to offer the Business Executives and Entrepreneurs what he would have advised his younger self, and the second inspiration was to be the Mentor he wished he had.

Airtel Wins at Africa Cristal Awards

FACTS AND FIGURES

L-R:MD/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan; Non-Executive Director, FBN Holdings Plc, Otunba (Mrs.) Debola Osibogun; GMD, FBN Holdings Plc, UK Eke, MFR; Group Chairman, FBN Holdings Plc, Oba Otudeko, CFR; Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Ibukun Awosika; and Chairman, FBN Merchant Bank Limited Mallam Bello Maccido; at the 6th annual general meeting of FBN Holdings Plc…held in Lagos ... recently

ECOWAS Predicts 2.1% Growth Rate for Nigeria in 2018 Alex Enumah in Abuja The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Tuesday predicted a growth rate of 2.1% for Nigeria in 2018, as against 1.6% in the previous year. The regional body also said that it would put everything necessary in place to ensure that the 2019 general election in Nigeria is peaceful and credible. President of the ECOWAS commission, Jean Kassi Brou, stated this on Tuesday, while presenting the report on the implementation of the community work programme at the 2018 First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in

ECONOMY Abuja. The presentation is in line with the provision of Article 32 of the ECOWAS Supplementary act, relating to the enhancement of the powers of the ECOWAS Parliament. Brou, said in terms of economic performance, the region is expected to grow economically by 3.2 percent in 2018, compared to 2.3 and 0.2 percent in 2017 and 2016 respectively. “Nigeria, the largest economy in the region, is expected to record a growth rate of 2.1 percent in 2018 as against 1.6 percent in 2017 and 0.8% in

2016”, he said. He stated also that in 2018, six member states compared to five in 2017 are expected to record a growth rate equal or above 6%. The countries are Côte d’Ivoire (7.9%), Burkina Faso (7.0%), Senegal (7.0%), Ghana (6.3%), Benin (6.1%) and Sierra Leone (6.0%). The report which takes into account the latest decisions of the authority of the Heads of States and Government at their ordinary session in 2017, noted that the region just like others in Africa in the previous year had challenges in security, herdsmen and farmers clashes, environmental and many others. Notwithstanding her chal-

lenges, the commission’s President expressed optimism that with appropriate measures put in place, the region would do well this year. “In ECOWAS region, the year 2018 is expected to be marked by an amelioration of the growth compared to the previous year in a context of more favourable global environment. “Significant progress have been made in the implementation of several community programmes, particularly in the area of economic integration, peace and regional security, political governance and electoral Continued on page 24

Report: Global Mobile Money Market Hits 690m Accounts in 2017 Emma Okonji with agency report The seventh annual state of the industry report on mobile money that was released recently by GSMA, shows that at the end of 2017, the global use of mobile money increased by 25 per cent to reach 690 million accounts compared to 2016 figures. In 2017, the industry processed transactions worth a billion dollars a day, generating direct revenues of over $2.4 billion. The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with almost 300

ICT companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies. The 2017 results according to GSMA, were based on the strong growth in customer registrations during last year, which led to the addition of over 136 million new registered accounts. The data was generated from more than 90 countries and the GSMA report provides a comprehensive picture of mobile money and highlights the impact that greater financial inclusion has on lives, econo-

mies, and innovation. Mobile money is a leading payment platform for the digital economy in many emerging markets, Nigeria inclusive. The mobile money market in Nigeria has also witnessed some levels of growth, following the introduction of cashless initiative by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Several bank customers across Nigeria now prefer to transfer and receive money through their mobile phones, using different short codes that are specific to different banks. The new trend has helped to decongest the banking halls as customers now perform most of the financial transactions with their mobile phones and mobile

devices from the comfort of their homes and offices that were hitherto performed by bank staff in the banking halls. Analysing the report, the Director General, GSMA, Mr. Mats Granryd, said some of the trends in mobile money in 2017 included the accelerated growth of bank-to-wallet interoperability, the growing adoption of smartphones, the proliferation of Financial Technology (FinTech) companies, the digitisation of new sectors of the economy, and renewed efforts by companies and governments to reach the most vulnerable and underserved. Continued on page 24

Airtel Nigeria got a standing ovation at the 2018 Africa Cristal Awards after receiving the biggest award of the event and three other accolades in the telecoms category for its SmartRecharge campaign. Airtel’s SmartRecharge campaign themed Prayer Warrior (Amin) won the grand prix, grand Cristal and a gold medal while Monitoring Spirit (Whatchu Doing?) bagged a Silver award. According to the Chief Commercial Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Ahmad Mohkles, the awards reflect Airtel’s passion to connect with its major stakeholders in an emotional, tasteful, creative and innovative manner. “As a key stakeholder in the society, we keep looking for innovative and creative ways to celebrate our customers, join in their successes and victories as well as empower them to fulfil their dreams and realize their full potentials,” Mohkles said. The Airtel SmartRecharge campaign relived love and childmother bond through a storytelling approach. In the Ad, Iya Rainbow discovered that her son,Segun had sent her a Christmas hamper overflowing with goodies that gladdened her heart. The African Cristal Festival rewards the best advertising campaigns created and broadcasted over the African continent, on any media. More than 400 professionals of the integrated marketing communications and the media were present at this year’s festival which was held in Marrakech, Morocco from 2 to 5 May 2018.

Accenture, BMW Enter Business Pact

Accenture has announced that the BMW Group, one of the world’s leading premium manufacturers of cars and motorcycles, has extended its relationship with Accenture Interactive to support the BMW and MINI brands through the delivery and support of content and features across its digital channels worldwide. Accenture Interactive is working side-by-side with the BMW Group’s digital teams, combining data, technology and creative services to put experiences at the centre of the brand’s communication. It is tailoring digital content to local requirements in multiple languages across 120 countries and delivering relevant advertising across all its channels including search and social. Managing Director for Accenture Digital in Africa, Wayne Hull, who made the announcement, said: “During the past few years, brand identity and digital experience have become a tightly linked pair as a result of the rise of digital platforms. and memorable customer experiences online and to build brand equity,” Roytman added.

It is now illegal for advertisers to engage agencies that are not registered with APCON for any advertising business

Ag Registrar, APCON, Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha


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BUSINESSWORLD

NEWS

ECOWAS PREDICTS 2.1% GROWTH RATE FOR NIGERIA IN 2018

Diamond Bank, Others Move to Empower Businesses with Tech Fest

policies”, he said. He also assured that coordinated efforts are been made to fight against terrorism in the sahel. He however, identified the issue of energy as a major factor hampering economic development in the region, lamenting that access to electricity is about 35 percent making it one of the lowest in the world. To this end, he said ECOWAS places access to energy services as a key priority, “the objective is to increase electricity production capacity, promote interconnection of electricity networks, promote renewable energies and facilitate people’s access to available, clean and affordable energy. On the political front, he called for constitutional reforms in Togo and assured that ECOWAS would ensure elections in the region are peaceful and credible. “Elections are planned to be organized in Mali in July 2018 and Nigeria in February 2019. With the support of its partners, ECOWAS will take all necessary measures, before, during and after in the view of helping the countries in having peaceful and reliable elections”, he said.

Emma Okonji

REPORT: GLOBAL MOBILE MONEY MARKET HITS 690M ACCOUNTS IN 2017 GSMA also reports that in 2017, for the first time, the growth of the industry was led by regions other than Africa. South Asia has recorded a yearly growth of 47 per cent and has become the fastest-growing region in terms of registered accounts. Globally, the percentage of providers who offer mobile money through a smartphone app has increased from 56 per cent in 2015 to 73 per cent as of June 2017. While smartphones are the future of the industry, feature phones and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) transactions continue to be the choice for the vast majority of mobile money users. This is likely a reflection of the role the service has played in harnessing those at the base of the economic pyramid, the report said.

Determined to empower small business entrepreneurs to continually grow their businesses to meet the demands of customers in a digital era, Diamond Bank, in collaboration with Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Microsoft, Deloitte, MTN, Visa, among others, on Tuesday held the first annual Technology Festival in Lagos, tagged Tech Fest, where the latest cutting-edge technology solutions were discussed and showcased. Registered attendees at the Tech Fest were well over eight thousand. Head, Communications, Diamond Bank, Chioma Afe, who spoke about the vision of Tech Fest, said it was conceived by the Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank, Uzoma Dozie, to impact on small businesses in the country, who are the future entrepreneurs that would drive digital innovation across Nigeria. “Tech Fest is a dream project of the CEO of Diamond Bank, who is very passionate about using technology to drive businesses in Nigeria. We started the planning since October 2017 and got partners with like minds to drive the vision. “The vision behind Tech Fest is to prove to Nigerians that technology is the platform to support and grow emerging businesses. Tech Fest is a collaboration of eight partners that are technology focussed in driving innovation and digital banking, and we need more partners that have the same

passion with us to further drive the vision,” Afe said. The essence is to empower businesses with technology because technology is the way to go and technology enhances business growth. The future is digital, hence we have invested in several apps that are driving digital transactions for us as a bank and for our customers, Afe added. Speaking on big data and the need to empower businesses to use big data technology to drive business growth, Dozie said although big data comes with the challenges of infrastructure and regulation, Tech Fest would

serve as a platform to address the challenges by partnering investors who are willing to invest in Nigeria’s technology space. “The use of data is changing the narrative and businesses are engaging more with big data for quick business decision making. Diamond Bank has various solutions and applications that are helping businesses to thrive, and we will continue to innovate to address customers’ challenges and to also meet their needs. We are leveraging technology to serve customers better, and that is the vision of

Tech Fest,” Dozie said. We have moved from four million customers some years ago to over nine million customers as of today because we have demystify banking by leveraging technology to provide more than banking services to customers, Dozie added. Business Group Director, Microsoft Cloud, Ope Olaniran, said Microsoft and Diamond Bank had been long term partners in the area of technology development to drive financial services, and that the vision of Tech Fest would further drive the partnership.

Microsoft is bringing in cutting-edge technology that will provide the right level of scalability for technology startups. Microsoft Cloud for instance, provides automatic scale-up of businesses and enhances business growth. Businesses are largely driven by technology and to achieve this, organisations need to invest heavily in technology, but the Microsoft Cloud will enable businesses use the cloud platform for connectivity and business enhancement, without spending so much money to build their own technology,” Olaniran said.

SENSITISATION ON GRC SKILLS

L-R: Finance Executive, Infotech Risks Security Limited (IRSL), Christopher Ehimhen; Business Development Manager, IRSL, Aderonke Ademola; Managing Partner, IRSL, Salman Akorede and Consultant, Governance Risk Management and Compliance (GRC), Oluwaseun Adekoya, at a press conference to announce the availability of GRC skills training in Nigeria, which held in Lagos...recently

FG, State Govts Urged to Invest in ICT Skills Stories by Emma Okonji The federal and state governments have been advised to as a matter of urgency, invest in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills that will boost technology innovation across the country. The Administrator of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Nigeria’s foremost ICT capacity building institute, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, who gave the advice, said there was need for governments at all levels to invest more in ICT skills training and retraining, to enhance the development of ICT knowledge and skills among Nigerian youths. DBI, which

is an institute of the federal government, is an arm of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). According to Adinde, investing in ICT skills training and development, remained the only way the country will maximise its investments in ICT infrastructure. Adinde who spoke from Abuja at the weekend, said without concomitant investment in skills and training, the nation cannot optimally harness the possibilities and potential inherent in the deployment of infrastructure across the country. He said emphasis has been on funding of ICT

hardware procurement, stressing that the time has come for a paradigm shift in which ICT funding should be spread across hardware, software and skills acquisition (training). “There are two ways to funding ICT: infrastructure side and soft side (skills and knowledge). On the hard side which is the infrastructure side, it is easy to perceive the investment that is being made and often times that’s what the government talks about (buying computers, equipment, installing gadgets etc), but the most important part is the skills and the knowledge that people need to harness the potential in those hardware

investments. “We had made a case sometime in 2016 at the capacity building symposium organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that the investments in Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) across Africa instead of being channelled wholly and exclusively to ICT infrastructure should be dedicated to ICT skills development, in that if someone is investing $10 million in ICT infrastructure, 10 per cent of the money should go for ICT skills development especially targeted at the youths now commonly called the millennials. “They are the ones who

will use the infrastructure to innovate, create and develop the things that will make the future happen, but as long as we don’t make that investment then it means that you’ll put a piece of ICT equipment in an office and nobody is using it because the skills are not there,” he said. He explained it using a telephone. “A typical phone, for example, can do a lot for us but because the knowledge of the use of the phone is not available, meanwhile we’ve invested a lot of money buying this device, we limit ourselves to just making calls and sending text messages”.

Lagos Govt to UpscaleYaba Innovation Centre to ICT Hub Group Business Editor

Chika Amanze-Nwachuku AgriBusiness/Industry Editor

Jonathan Eze

Comms/e-Business Editor

Emma Okonji

Capital Market Editor

Goddy Egene

Senior Correspondent

Raheem Akingbolu (Advertising) Correspondents

Chinedu Eze (Aviation) Linda Eroke (Labour) Eromosele Abiodun (Maritime) Ejiofor Alike (Energy) James Emejo (Nation’s Capital) Obinna Chima (Money Mkt) Chineme Okafor (Energy) Reporters

Nume Ekeghe (Money Market) Nosa Alekhuogie (Cap Mkt)

Given the importance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in driving technology development in any economy, the Lagos State government has assured the people of Lagos and Nigerians at large that the state would work towards be upscaling of functional ICT centres in the state to the status of ICT hub, beginning with the Yaba Technology Innovation Centre. The State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Hakeem Popoola Fahm, gave the assurance in Lagos recently, during his ministerial press briefing to commemorate the third anniversary of the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos

State. According to him, “The selection process for the companies that will handle the project is ongoing. The governor has set up a committee for the establishment of ICT Hub in Lagos and the former Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson and my very self are the co-chair for that committee. The committee is currently working on the design and framework of the ICT Hub and Accenture has been drafted to oversee the project management.” The committee, according to the Commissioner, would complete its work in the next 18 months and after that the construction of the ICT Hub

project would commence. The hub, he added, would create the enabling environment for youths In the state to showcase their talents as future technology leaders. “With the burgeoning youth population facing growing employment challenges, Lagos State saw the need to embrace software development and key into the vast opportunities available,” Fahm said. Speaking on the benefits of the hub, the Commissioners said the hub is planned to be a congregation of technology entrepreneurs and support service providers to serve as the platform for the conceptualisation, germination and penetration of Information

Technology (IT) services in the development of an intelligent state and country. He said the hub would also enhance ICT competencies and the deployment of same in governance, business, and everyday life style of Lagosians in particular and Nigeria in general. The hub will also promote knowledge, employment generation/wealth creation and economic prosperity for the citizens of the state and government. Upon successful implementation of the ICT hub, Lagos State will become the catalyst for IT penetration and enablement in Nigeria and Africa, the Commissioner said. Fahm also informed that the state has concluded on its

electronic geographic information system (eGIS), designed to capture, store, manipulate data that will help the state government carryout proper planning and implementation on various projects of the state. He said the eGIS, which could be viewed and accessed from any part of the world through the use of desktop computers, tablet, laptop or any smart device that is connected to the internet, would improve the ease of doing business in the state as currently being championed by the federal government across federal ministries, departments and agencies of government, and also boost confidence of investors locally and internationally.


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UK-based IT Security Solutions Company Debuts in Nigeria Metropolitan Networks, a United Kingdom-based information technology (IT) security company, operating in different parts of the world, has made its debut in Nigeria, with a focus to use its solution to further develop organisations operating in Nigeria. Working with a local partner in Nigeria, Metropolitan Networks seeks to offer its IT solutions, its disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity planning (BCP) facility in Nigeria to help enterprise companies, schools, and government agencies protect their data and systems from cyber attacks of any kind. Managing Director, Metropolitan Networks, Mr. Ashok Thomas, who spoke to technology journalists about the intention of the company to extend its global operations to Nigeria, said the company had executed several wireless IT security projects for organisations and schools in different countries of the world and would want to replicate same in Nigeria.

General Manager, Metropolitan Networks Nigeria, Cecilia Asianah, who will drive the activities of the company in Nigeria, assured enterprise organisations of specific wireless IT solutions that will enhance their businesses and protect same from cyberattacks. Established in 2003 in the UK by former IBM engineer, Ashok Thomas with the aim to deliver essential IT services in an ethical manner, by meeting needs rather than simply offering services, Metropolitan Networks is dedicated to providing the best possible IT support and managed services to clients in London and around the world, with its certified in-house engineers. Metropolitan Networks provides a free cyber security assessment to make sure that organisation’s data is fully secured. According to Thomas, the assessment covers security, productivity and performance. “As IT security solution company, we intend looking at the operations of enterprise companies in Nigeria and help

provide solutions that will make their business more efficient and more dynamic. We are basically into fireworks and IT security solution services. “In today’s world, hacking of organisation’s data has become rampant and in 2017, organisations globally suffered the highest online attacks on their data and systems. As a global IT security company, we help organisations to protect their data and systems from hacking, while helping enterprise companies to scale up their IT networks for efficiency in business. We provide double layer security and help organisations to remain competitive. “We also have solutions for smart city initiatives, using our GPRS wireless solution. We provide all forms of IT security to organisations, with remote control access and our goal as a global IT security company is to help organisations, especially the enterprise companies to protect their data, systems and resources,” Thomas said.

‘Going Public Has Further Strengthened CWG Operations’ The Chief Executive Officer of CWG Plc, Mr. James Agada has said that the company’s bold step to go public in 2013 has further strengthened the operations of the company, contrary to insinuations that the company’s operations have not been stabilised since it got listed on the floor of the Nigeria Stock Exchange(NSE). Agada, in an interview, insisted that going public has not affected the operations of the company. Rather, it has been a source of strength which has helped CWG to set institutions and begin to set corporate governance structures that have today boosted its operational practices. “Going public has not in any way created challenges

for us. Rather, it is a source of strength because we are moving forward and have institutionalised every structure in our operations. As far back as 2010, the journey for CWG had seen it begin to act in a more standardised version in preparedness for it to be made a public company. One with a strong board convergence, governance practices and operational practices in place,” he said. Agada, who assumed the position of the Group Chief Executive Officer of the company two years ago, explained that the organisation was bigger than any one person and so the setup of institutions was to also help the it out-lives the persons running them, particularly after 25 years of continuous

growth and full economic impact. Citing success stories like that of IBM and Microsoft, which he noted had outgrown their founders because of strong institutions that were built over the years, Agada asserted that there is a roadmap for CWG to be listed in New York or London or NASDAQ, saying its original goal was to be listed in NASDAQ and this was still being pursued. Speaking on the changes that brought him in as Group CEO of CWG, Agada emphasised it was never as a result of management challenges, but a planned transition, which he referred to as an important step in trying to institutionalise the CWG’s business.

INFINIX Mobility Unveils Davido as Brand Ambassador INFINIX Mobility Limited has announced the prolific Nigerian music artiste, Davido as its brand ambassador. The smartphone makers, INFINIX Mobility Limited, has distinguished itself from its competitors with its tech, bold, stylish brand persona which is a perfect mixture of technology and art. This has appealed to its target audience immensely and its “The future is now” mantra has also encouraged its young fans to be creative and be productively efficient in their various fields of specialisation. A lot of strategies can be linked to the uprising of INFINIX Mobility Limited. One of them is being able to understand the extent of connection of its target audience to certain pivotal aspects of Pop culture and creating affiliations with notable icons to propel the brands to new heights. Born David Adedeji Adeleke,

Davido’s musical career has been nothing short of amazing. From chart topping singles, awards, ground breaking records, worldwide tours to global recognition, this was yet another major milestone attained for the singer as he has put pen to paper to be the new face of INFINIX Mobility Limited. Speaking at the media unveiling, INFINIX Marketing Communications Manager, Mr. Adetayo Odunowo, restated the brand’s innovative culture from its formative years till date. He spoke about the unveiling and INFINIX commitment to continually give their budding fans what they want and when they want it. “Apart from consistently dishing out world class gadgets, we at INFINIX Mobility Limited, understands that our fans are young trend setters and so is Davido’s fans and since we are a brand that is

known over the years as bold and stylish, bringing Davido in as part of the team was a welcome development from all of us at INFINIX Mobility Limited,” Odunowo said. “They are both trendsetters who possess a similar fan base that are built to challenge the norm with their ideas and line of work. They are both tech savvy entities that have built their reputation on the emphasis for top notch delivery, Infinix through their smartphones and Davido through his music. While both entities also possess an international reach that is continually expanding, this news is poised to set off a ripple effect of excitement through the minds of smartphone and music lovers. It would also lead to an expansion in the sales of INFINIX smartphones within the marketplace,” Odunowo added.

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT OLODU KEONYEDI

Housing: Building Your Own House While Earning Little Building your own house has a way of reducing pressure and stress from your life. Majority of our monthly expenses go into housing/rent. Building a house in Nigeria seems like a dream that can only be achieved by the rich; in a way it may be true but if you have a little earning then you will need a lot of disciple to save money, plan very well and to hire the right people to do the work for you to be able to build your own house. The purpose of this article is to demystify the cost of building a house in Nigeria as much as possible. We will be discussing on the various steps to take in building your own house. A lot of people who would like to build their own home are many times deterred because they are earning very little salaries. STEPS TO TAKE IN BUILDING YOUR OWN HOUSE Ensure you have a land: It is always advisable to involve a lawyer in the process of buying a land. Prices of land varies depending on the location of the land, the locations on the outskirts of the city are cheaper than those in central part of the city. Depending on your current income level, you can pick a land from the low cost areas and when your financial level increases you can always get another one in the central area of the city you live in. A plot of land (15m x 30m that is 50ft by 100ft) is enough to accommodate a 3bedroom bungalow. Get a decent design from a professional: I would strongly recommend that you work with professionals in drafting your building plan, costing of the project and in the construction process of the building. There are many advantages you gain from working with professionals, a badly designed would means a future renovation that would cost you more than what you are trying to save now by engaging the services of nonprofessionals. You can always contact me for advice and how to proceed in acquiring sound professionals for your project. Cost: For a 3 bedroom bungalow, here are the few elements that can be found in it. • Living room • Dining room • 3 bedrooms • 3 toilets • Kitchen • Store (optional) Cost for the foundation (sub-structure) works: The construction of a building is not a sprint race but it can be referred to as a relay race, you don’t need to have all the money required to complete the work before starting. You can start by buying the materials needed for the very stage of the construction work that you are about to start. For the foundation work [that is from the foundation footing to damp-proof course (DPC)], we are going to list out the

materials and their costs. Note that the prices are just a rough estimate so the current prices should be verified before starting your construction. The prices for the materials and labour may differ from location to location. • Buy two 20 tons tipper of granite @ N60,000 = N120,000. • Buy five 20 tons tipper of sharp sand @ N20,000 = N100,000 • 150 bags of cement @ N2500 = N375,000 • 1000 blocks @ N150 = N150,000 • Labour = N150,000 Estimated total cost for the foundation works is #895,000. You may not need to have all the money before you can start, you can start by first buying the materials and after that you can start the construction. Cost for the super-structure works: This is the next stage you start planning for once you have finished the foundation works, the super-structure is typically the work above the foundation. • You will need roughly about 3000 blocks (3m high) @ #150 = N450,000 • You will need to buy roughly about fifteen trips of sharp sand @ N20,000 = N300,000 • 50 bags of cement @ N2500 = N125,000 • Labour = N150,000 Estimated total cost for the superstructure works is #1,025,000. Cost for the roofing works: This is the next stage • Roof truss = N450,000 (including workmanship) • Roof sheet = N300,000 (long span roofing sheet) • ceiling = N200,000 Estimated total cost for the roofing works is #950,000. Cost for the finishing works: This is one of the most expensive stages of construction but with proper planning, you can easily carry out the process. • plastering (includes cements, sand and labour) = N450,000 • Floor tiles (includes tiles, cements, sand and labour) = N300,000 • Painting (includes paint and labour) = N300,000 • Doors (it could be less or more depending on the type/make) = N250,000 • windows (it could be less or more depending on the type/make) =N250,000 • Electrical works = N250,000 • Plumbing works = N100,000 Estimated total cost for the finishing works is #1,900,000. Now the total rough estimate for building a 3bedroom bungalow will be approximately five million naira. Please note that all this figures are rough estimates but for proper consultation on the exact cost of building your dream home and all the construction processes then you can always contact us. In conclusion, it is possible to build your dream house no matter the level of your income, all you need to do is first to acquire a land and then break down the project into small manageable unit, and after that you can start saving for each one of the stages without worrying about the whole project.

Olodu keonyedi – is a trained engineer and by passion and personal development a public/motivational speaker, a business coach and human capacity developer, he has a B.Eng degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, he is a member of Nigeria Society of Engineer and a COREN registered Engineer. Email: olodukeonyedi@gmail.com Tel: 08037489704, www.instagram.com/sir_keon. www.facebook.com/olodu keonyedi_mentorship


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T H I S D AY •THURSDAY MAY 17, 2018

BUSINESSWORLD

E-BUSINESS

Technology and the Rise One-tap Economy ICT stakeholders that have contributed to the development of broadband infrastructure in Nigeria opine that the role of technology in advancing the global economy is unrivalled, writes Emma Okonji Technology companies have transformed the world over the last two decades. They have overtaken oil and gas and the manufacturing sectors to become the biggest contributors to the global economy via the largest public companies in the world, with billion-dollar unicorn valuations previously never envisaged. Technology companies have been termed disruptors, and have leveraged increased internet adoption to chart new territories, creating new industries and reinventing older ones. No industry is left untouched as technology has transformed fields as diverse as shopping, education and even mobile wallets. Its swift, pervasive rise globally has created possibilities hitherto unimagined. Technological progress means employees can produce more goods and services. Inequality is being eroded in education with remote learning tools, while new intelligence in personalised healthcare is increasing efficiency and enabling health practitioners make better decisions. Technology pervasion has led to what has been called the one-tap economy, where people are only one touch away from booking a flight, making payments, stocking up on groceries, hiring staff and buying food. The rise of these on-demand companies offers a paradigm shift from stability to flexibility and herald a digital-only world. Enabling support systems One of the technology stakeholders, Mr. Temitope Osunrinde, who is based in Lagos and has contributed to the narrative of West Africa’s most prominent broadband infrastructure player, is of the view that technology companies are the biggest players in recreating this new world and their entrepreneurial founders are revered as the crazy ones, the misfits who deliberately challenge the status quo for greater good. According to him, quite a lot is said about these founders, their backgrounds and the challenges they battled in building long-term focused and sustainable companies. But little focus is paid to the enabling entrepreneurial ecosystems around them. It informal in the case of parents, families and friends that helped them articulate their ideas or lent a helping hand or in most cases, a purse to entrepreneurs, and formal, when they are supported in slightly more structured start-up ecosystems. The availability of these support ecosystems have contributed to the ability of these companies to scale. A historical analysis of successful entrepreneurial ecosystems has identified several features that help foster entrepreneurship, technological innovation and resilience. While each ecosystem is unique, the entrepreneurship ecosystem generally consists of six factors: a conducive culture, enabling policies and leadership, availability of appropriate finance, quality human capital, venture-friendly markets for products, and a range of institutional and infrastructural supports. “For the interwoven ecosystem encompassing Silicon Valley and Stanford University, its top factors are its risk-taking culture, student body of Stanford, the culture of giving back, abundant capital, collaboration with industry, and government support,” Osunrinde said. According to him, Silicon Cape, South Africa’s most vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems credits its talent/industry, government, community, access to funding, university research, broadband infrastructure. This approach, he said, had also been adopted by other entrepreneurial ecosystem programmes including the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which lists government, risk capital, academia, entrepreneurs and the industry. Inclusive innovation with academia For a somewhat successful ecosystem, shortterministic partners must include risk capitalists such as venture capitalists (VCs) and investors, the entrepreneurs themselves, a handshake with the industry and to an extent, government. But for long game innovations, the role of the academia, alternatively universities, cannot

President Muhammadu Buhari be overemphasised. Osunrinde posited that as a rule, universities are built to serve a mission greater than any individual or short-term gain. Their stock-in-trade is the sheer adventure of ideas. What make universities uniquely essential to the innovation ecosystem are the things that make them different from businesses and governments. Universities are built for collaboration, for learning and discovery, and for unlocking the imagination. He cited the response to billionaire libertarian, Peter Thiel and his beef against universities, where a science journalist, Tom Clynes, wrote in the New York Times:“We don’t have enough of the desperately needed inventions — nuclear fusion energy or cancer cures — that emerge when credentialed scientists tinker away for years on expensive machines that have nothing to do with Snapchat. Of course, this sort of tinkering most often happens in…academic institutions.” “He said universities are powerful incubators for startups and technology transfer. “When encouraged, their spillovers are what make its way into innovation ecosystems. Deliberate academic participation provides us the opportunity to practice “inclusive innovation” in our technology innovation thus enhancing democratic outcomes. By this, we go beyond the narrow definition of a technology start-up and use innovation for the public good, opened up to address the broader range of issues we face as a society such as poverty, relevant education and inequality,” Osunrinde added. Universities in technology ecosystems Technology experts are of the view that foremost entrepreneurial tech ecosystem, Silicon Valley has benefited immensely from the pivotal role Stanford University has played in building its tech industry. As the world’s eyes fixate on the booming tech scene in Silicon Valley, Stanford’s affiliation shines brightly in the periphery. Stanford shares a relationship with Silicon Valley unlike any other university on the planet, chartering a self-perpetuating cycle of innovation. But what’s at the root of this interdependency, and how did Stanford University, overcome its status as a second-rate engineering school to become the world’s top three choice, outpacing some of the biggest Ivy League universities, remains a big question to be answered. It started with a Stanford Academic, Frederick Terman, who had served the Department of Defence and led a team that attacked Germany’s radar system during

Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu World War II. Seeing government’s eagerness to invest in cutting-edge electronics research, he secured sponsored projects that helped strengthen Stanford’s reputation in electronics and military technology. When the Cold War began, Terman pushed for an Industrial Park at Stanford, to ensure a new revenue stream for the university, foster collaboration between the academia and industry and ultimately inspire students to start their companies. In a self-perpetuating cycle of innovation, industry folks took part-time courses at Stanford, while tech companies in return, offered job opportunities for Stanford graduates. Since then, over 40,000 companies have sprouted from the collaboration between Silicon Valley and Stanford including Google, HP, Yahoo!, Cisco, Uber, Facebook and Airbnb among others. A survey of 2,500 start-up founders in the United States also revealed that Stanford graduates have received more funding than any other university in the world. Nigeria’s technology ecosystem While some technology entrepreneurs have stressed that Nigeria does not have a tech ecosystem, this may be unfair to the work done by the Co-Creation Hub in Yaba, which has become the model for innovation ecosystems across Nigeria. “Over the last eight years, more tech communities have sprung up across different locations in Nigeria, fostered by over 30 accelerator and hubs,” Osunrinde said, adding that though leading technology cluster in Nigeria, Yaba Innovation Headquarters, which is a brainchild of the Co-Creation Hub (CC-Hub), led by Bosun Tijani, has been described as Africa’s most valuable startup ecosystem, it still doesn’t have all the required features of the ideal ecosystem. The Yaba cluster enjoyed initial policy support during its early days when the project was a partnership between Lagos State, Technovision, the Co-Creation Hub and MainOne, but which has since dwindled to a trickle. The sought after academia engagement, expected to source talent is sorely lacking despite the proximity of the Yaba cluster to talent hubs like Yaba College of Technology, Federal College of Education, Akoka and University of Lagos. A roll-call of partners at the CC-Hub reads like a Fortune 500 list: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Oracle, Nokia, Microsoft, Ford Foundation, Tony Elumelu Foundation and MainOne among others. It is home to companies including Paga, Hotels.ng, BudgIT, Paradigm Initiative, Paystack, and birthplace of Andela, Flutterwave among several others. Cumulatively, Yaba has attracted

millions of dollars investment and created thousands of direct/indirect jobs. The challenge before UNILAG Osunrinde strongly believes that Lagos and by extension, the University of Lagos (UNILAG) holds the key to Nigeria’s development. For Nigeria to be pulled out of poverty, Lagos must take the lead. And it has noticeably set the pace. Lagos is the seventh fastest growing city in the world, the second largest city in Africa and the largest economy on the continent. Its public private partnership (PPP) stance has been identified as the strategy to power the desired growth in physical and social infrastructure in the state. Politically, Lagos has also done well for itself. The reforms in Lagos have also kick started wider changes across other states. As a result of its location, the UNILAG must also step up its ante and actively engage the private sector and technology leaders. There is no evidence to show that the university has taken advantage of the technology ecosystem right in its backyard. And this is sad, a stirring reminder of how Nigeria does not take advantage of available opportunities. UNILAG must take advantage of Yaba. A collaboration between UNILAG and the tech cluster in Yaba will benefit both parties, but more importantly, will further Nigeria’s technology trajectory. The ability to transfer out technologies developed at academic institutions is another benefit for the tech community. Academic institutions produce intellectual property (IP) through research which, are protected through patents, trademarks, or copyrights. Yaba can transform these IP into real products fine-tune them before showcasing to a global market. Ultimately, the more successful a university is at transferring technologies out of the laboratory into products, the higher its return on investment (ROI). UNILAG must also revamp its curriculum to include Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and other relevant courses, and attract sponsored research to address industrial needs. New Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe has his work cut out for him. The university must partake in the real technology ecosystem and execute its responsibilities. Government and risk capitalists must join hands with the private sector and tech entrepreneurs in Yaba to mutually work towards enabling platforms and raise Nigeria’s profile. This is the time for Nigeria, according to the views of Osunrinde and other technology stakeholders.


T H I S D AY •THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

27

BUSINESSWORLD

E-BUSINESS

Hsu: Businesses Must Adopt IT Solutions to Stay Ahead Sean Hsu is the chief executive of NETCOM Africa, a Lagos-based technology solutions company. He spoke with Emma Okonji on the need for businesses to adopt the right technology solutions that will enable them stay ahead of the competition, among sundry issues Excerpts: leapfrog the ICT space to the next level is the Right of Way access. This is imperative. I lease three different fibre links to Port Harcourt, we have three to Abuja and two to Kano, sometimes operators share fibre ducts. I wish that NTEL, which is the former NITEL has a deal if they can deal or sell off their right of way. They are sitting on goldmine, if they can free up the Right of Way, then it means that access would be there. Also, we would need the cooperation of government from the highest-level right down to the villagers and local communities. If Right of Way issue is addressed in this country, it will go a long way to reduce the current high cost of broadband.

Tell us about NETCOM Africa and what type of ICT solutions you offer? NETCOM has been in business since 2004 as one of the foremost internet service providers in Nigeria, and we try as much to stay ahead of competition. We have over time deployed cutting edge infrastructure technology solutions such as VSAT, WIMAX, radio and as of today, fibre technology, as well as, managed IT solutions such as Cloud PBX, ERP, CRM, SaaS, HaaSas and IT outsourced services. Now we can be seen as a front runner in the area of transformational IT solutions for business. We also try as much as possible to engage organisations and ensure that they lead their market space by keeping abreast of the rapid changes in IT innovations. This is one of our strengths. Through a team of our experts and in line with global best practices, we deliver transformational IT solutions. With a 24/7 dedicated support team, we can be said to be one of the best in the country. From our team of network engineers, system integrators, and application developers, we have been able to bring global best IT solutions to Nigerian firms. We are leaving the CAPEX business to more of an OPEX based model with managed solutions like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). This Is the new narrative of NETCOM. We are going to use technology to our advantage. Instead of high hardware costs, which are eventually outdated with time and need replacement, we charge on per user basis. What are the basic challenges of running NETCOM Africa? Well, it is obvious and power is very critical. Our major challenge is power. We have a data centre as well as our network across the country. We need power to run and affordable power is not available 24/7 in Nigeria. That is a big problem that limits all businesses. Another critical issue is that we are in a country that no news turns out to be good news; this is in the area of customer/client feedback. I think no news should be bad news because we are in a service industry and we need feedback. It isn’t just a Nigerian problem but a global one. We have to get feedback, be it positive or negative, it helps us to grow and improve. In spite of the challenges, we try to provide the best of services to our customers and every customer that host data with us or have their data warehoused In our data centre facility, has never had any cause to complain over the years. NETCOM is more of a customer-centric organisation. How do you respond to customers’ calls, even at odd hours? To answer your question directly, Yes! We have a round the clock non autobot response, even at IDC hours of the night. We deploy this and have humans round-the-clock also. When people come to NETCOM, they are buying NETCOM for our reputation. We have grown NETCOM as a brand built on quality and trust. One key thing for us on the Internet Service Provider (ISP) side is that we have substantial capacity on all subsea fibre cables and we leverage on these facilities. At the end of the day, we are interested in uptime for clients. We do proactive monitoring and also deploy SMS alerts. We try to engage proactively with customers in real time. We notify our customers of information that they might not be aware of and this has made us to be transparent and customers are pleased. So we don’t take customer feedback lightly. For our managed IT solutions, every single product we provide, we have a NETCOM flavour on it. Let’s put it this way, say an organisation buys Office 365, we manage the service end to end; from migration to

Hsu configuration, customisation, and support. We encourage businesses to focus on their core businesses and let us manage their IT. In all honesty, from InfraCos to managed services, we use technology to help organisations increase their productivity. We listen to our customers, who have asked us for the past eight years to help them internally, which is why we evolved our business model from just an ISP to Managed IT Solutions, Outsourcing, and IT Consultancy. If Right of Way (RoW) issue can be sorted out In Nigeria, then the cost of broadband would reduce drastically and last mile penetration increased. NETCOM has changed its business process and model. What really prompted this? The transition is a matter of economics, the margins on data are small, it’s around three to four per cent and this is not sustainable. The cost of doing business is high and as an organisation, for one to still stay afloat in a highly competitive market, there is a need for evolution. Let us look at this example; data sales need so much volume now compared to when we entered the market 14 years ago. The internet penetration in Nigeria is in major cities and the rural areas need satellite, which is not economically viable. But in managed services, you can make some decent margins. That is why we have to diversify, and in technology there is constant evolution. At the end of the day, we have to look at costs, prices, and margins, and that is why we did a transition. When we started out, the culture in the company was like “we are fine, why change”, but today everyone in the company embraces change because we are trying to predict the future of business, which is business intelligence, analytical intelligence that is the future. Companies are beginning to come to terms that as they mature they

might not have that 10 per cent profit or more. The profits would shrink because of the ever evolving market, sophisticated customer base and competition especially in a stable environment. How do companies get to be viable? Its business intelligence, which is by analysing data and having analysts connecting the dots. That is the future and that is the space we are playing in. NETCOM can be called an early bird operator in data centre service offering. What are you doing to make Nigerian firms host their data in Nigeria? In terms of data centre services, we are ISO certified and this is international certification recognised globally and we ensure we keep up to these certifications. We also have reputable partnerships with international carriers like TATA Communications and Avaya. We are proud of our international partnerships and we have rigorous workflow and service level agreement (SLA) policies that we follow. I think in terms of an industry like banking, there is a policy restriction that stops firms from hosting data outside the country. They must host in Nigeria. Even in the United States, big companies found it difficult to host in the cloud. Amazon, Azure, Microsoft, and Google, they have services to secure data, that is the fact. Let’s look at it, if someone wants to rob you, the thief would monitor you when you go to work, when you come back, etc then he would strike. That is the same thing like hacking. The key is that you have to be able to protect, detect and resolve quickly. We do our best to protect our clients from these attacks. How will you assess the Nigerian ICT ecosystem? The biggest barrier in Nigeria’s ability to

Can Nigeria still achieve the 30 per cent broadband target by the end of the year? It is just a balance and economics. To achieve 30 per cent broadband penetration by the end of the year, there needs to be incentives given to ensure the private sector delivers on its promises. Not all parts of Nigeria are economically viable, some rural areas and dwellers there might not be able to afford the cost of broadband. The private sector is here to make a small profit and the government has good intentions to drive broadband penetration, so there must be a middle ground where a private investor can deploy these services in the hinterlands. This is what is done in Korea, the government has given incentives and tax relief to operators, which frees up capital to invest in building out the infrastructure of the entire country. To be honest, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, is far more open than the regulator in South Africa, in terms of broadband access to the citizens. We will get there but it might take some time. The recent award of licences to Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) by the NCC will shorten that timeline and help us possibly achieve the short term goal of 30 per cent broadband penetration by the end of 2018. What is NETCOM offering customers this year that will be different from the services of other IT solution providers? You know Nigeria is still recovering from recession, some industries are recovering and some industries might not recover. If you look at the purchasing power, the naira devalued by more than 50 per cent and this has made us to look at working smarter, more efficiently and increasing productivity. We are leaving the capital expenditure (CAPEX) business to more of an operation expenses (OPEX) based model with managed solutions like ERP. A lot of managed IT solutions today are paid per user, so we have to look at that direction and we hope that Nigerians would start seeing the better value that NETCOM brings to their business. It is not just about cost anymore, the question decision makers should ask is how much can I increase my productivity, which equates to revenues by making this investment? Another exciting direction is our partnership with Avaya. The big PBX in your server room is a thing of the past and it’s now in the cloud, and your desk phone is not even needed. What is needed is just an APP on your smart phone or laptop. This will change the way companies do business. You don’t need landline again. You can be anywhere in the world and you can take PBAX call on your phone. Businesses need a company like NETCOM to bring these new technologies to help transform them. We can come to your company and help you with the best technology solution for your business. We are more of an IT consultancy firm now. We want firms to be more profitable in Nigeria by leveraging on new technologies.


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T H I S D AY • THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

BUSINESSWORLD

INTERVIEW

Okpanachi: We’re Collaborating to Ease Funding for MSMEs In this interview, the Managing Director/CEO, Development Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Anthony Okpanachi is upbeat that with the emergence of the bank, financial institutions can now bridge the gap for long-term financing needed by micro, small and medium enterprises. Ndubuisi Francis provides the excerpts: is our projection that towards the end of this year or early next year, the credit guaranty should come on board.

To what extent have MSMEs benefited from DBN so far? You will recall, November last year, we started our lending activities with three microfinance institutions. We have made available to them almost N5 billion. This was supposed to be for several MSMEs. Since we are a wholesale institution we work through financial institutions. So, when they come, we make a line available to them, and as they come with their clients we draw-down on the line. Beyond that, we have started bringing on board some commercial banks which you can see on our website. We have also made credit lines available to them. So as they come, we draw down the line. But I’m glad to tell you that we have nine currently on our list, both commercial and microfinance banks –and between now and the end of June, we expect more commercial banks. In your maiden interface with the media where you were unveiled, I recall that you said you were targeting 20,000 MSMEs in the first year of operations. You are about a year now; do you think you are meeting that target? We are working towards meeting the target. Remember, I said our first year of full operations. DBN is a start-up and there is a process to start up. But now we have a full house, so we will start from this year. We now have full operations in place. We were licensed on 29th March, 2017. The process for setting up the structures took some time. Also because we are a wholesale bank, we will partner with financial institutions and that means we will have to bring them onboard to lend to them. I can assure you we are on course. So far, how many MSMEs have benefited? So far, the request from the PFIs for MSMEs is beyond 5,000. As they make requests and meet the conditions, we fund them. How simple is the processes of accessing these loans by the MSMEs? That is the engagement that is going on with the PFIs (primary financial institutions). The PFIs do the credit appraisal, which we can’t get involved in. But when it gets to the DBN side, unlike other institutions, it is with speed. In terms of interfacing with customers directly, we won’t do that; the banks will do that. We are already thinking of products to address start-ups, to address women and others, with specific features. We will still engage the PFIs to bring their clients to access the products. Ultimately, we want to collaborate with the commercial banks and the micro finance banks so the reach will be everywhere. There would be serious awareness campaigns. How are you engaging institutions involved in MSMEs’ development? We are currently working with SMEDAN. We have technical committees from their end and our end. They have clusters around the geopolitical zones. We want to key into those clusters to help build capacity for the MSMEs. We notice the MSMEs lack certain capacities so we want to start teaching the MSMEs on a case-by-case basis. We hope that everyone who is interested in expanding their businesses should learn the basics of doing so. They were here a couple of weeks ago and we have been talking. Beyond SMEDAN, we also know we need to collaborate with a lot of institutions – the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), for instance. We need to engage them. There are so many partnerships we are going into. We have to work in collaboration. Other DFIS (development finance institutions) have been working in silos but that has not worked well, so we are coming with a collaborative approach to ensure that all the institutions playing key roles work together. The idea is to take leadership to

How far have you gone with de-risking the industry and providing capacity to PFIs? That is also on-going. If you recall that we have a unit with the ministry called the project implementation unit, the idea is to have a different unit handling the capacity building issues so that we are not distracted from the core mandate of lending and they have sent out RFPs expression of interest for consultants to come in and the process is on-going. The next stage is to ensure that the consultants are short-listed and we identify which PFIs need this capacity building and allocate consultants to them. In the process of appraising the PFIs, some of them that do not meet our criteria, we identify ways we can help them, that’s where the technical assistance comes in. For example, if it is lack of a strong SME desk that is the problem, we give assistance. The idea is that even if a firm does not qualify today, we work with them to make them qualify. The overall objective is to create more access to credit for the SMEs.

Okpanachi ensure that MSMEs have easy access to funds.

now because the gap was long-term funding.

Could you provide an update on your recent visit to the UK, where the European Investment Bank and Islamic Development Bank were to take up their investments? We have equity shareholders coming in; that is the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank. They have invested $50 million and $20 million respectively. As we speak, effectively they have funded the investment in the DBN. So they are now shareholders in the DBN. The $50 million from AfDB and European Investment Bank are already in the system, so now the bank is owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria, NSIA, AfDB and European Investment Bank.

What are the mechanisms in place to ensure that proposals of microfinance banks meet set out criteria? For us, we receive the exact request, check the tenor and the terms and conditions offered before we disburse. We disburse for on-lending not for the banks to hold on to. We have a mechanism within our system that ensures that the funds hit the account of the end-borrowers within 72 hours. Beyond that, we follow up on them to see the impact made by the borrowing. For example, we check if it has created more employment, has it increased turnover, has it increased revenue or enabled them pay more taxes when necessary? We look out for all of these. We don’t just create the lines for the banks alone.

Of course your facility comes with relatively better incentives than the products the PFIs sell. Do you foresee a situation where the PFIs would be willing to market their products with relatively higher interests than yours? Every development finance institution, it’s more like a catalyst. You cannot meet all the demands. A typical business comes to a bank; they need working capital, for instance, which is mostly short tenored like 90 days, six months, etc and most banks are willing to take those businesses. But if a guy comes and says he needs to buy an equipment for his factory and he needs four years to pay, the banks run away from that. And that is where development finance institutions come in. Another guy comes and says he needs seven years, usually most banks would run away and that’s where we step it. So it’s not either or, it’s collaboration. That’s the way it works. Some people say why do you guys want to go through banks again? But look at the total balance sheets of banks in Nigeria; which DFI can come near? Look at their branch networks across the country, and the customer history they have. Which DFI can meet that? So, the financial institutions can now give long-term financing to their customers with DBN funds and short term with their own funds, which is why we are having a lot of uptake coming

Do you have uniform interest for borrowers? No, it depends on the risk profile of the institution. It is not flat for everybody. It is based on assessment. Knowing that we take the risk of the financial institutions, we assess them and rate them, so that brings about the risk premium for each of them. Is there an upper limit? The upper limit is tied to the weight we attach to the risk of the rating. There is a minimum criteria you must reach for you to come on the DBN rating. It depends on the institution’s risk profile. For our rating, we have a model which is a bit complicated due to the many factors in our rating. The difference from our rating may not be more than 100-200 basis points depending on the risk profile. The upper limit is a function of the risk premium In your model, you talked about risk-sharing, have you started that? We have not started that, though we have obtained the regulatory approval to set it up. It is going to be a subsidiary of the DBN, and we have started working with the World Bank to get the consultant to put the structure in place. It

Are you thinking of helping young graduates who may want to start up, knowing that they may not be able to meet the collateral criteria of banks? Part of what we are doing differently is that we are ready to help start-ups. This capacity building we are telling the financial institution that once a project comes and they assess it to be bankable, we are ready to take up the risk with them to give funding for start-ups. Subsequently, we are going to come up with products that we are going to sell through these financial institutions for such institutions that will, again, sell them down the line. For now, we want the buy-in of the financial institutions themselves so that we tell them the fund is available for them and we are willing to fund start-ups. We build that confidence in them and subsequently we go out with our products directly to say help us sell these products to these people. But that will be in phases. We are very much available to help start-ups. We will also share risks with them. The overall objective is to make funding easy to them. You also signed an agreement with NIRSAL. Could you tell us more about it? The objective is to finance the agriculture value-chain. Our objective in that respect is how to make it easy for PFIs to fund the agric segment because it is a priority sector for the economy. How do we unleash the potentials in the agric space and get the PFIs interested? How do we make it easier for PFIs to get the comfort to lend to agriculture and we also have the comfort to on-lend to them for agric businesses How much is available to you now?* There are information that we cannot put out there. But so far, for all the development partners we have taken first or second tranche of draw down, we have been able to meet. In terms of the amount I can assure you that we have enough funding now to disburse to customers. Have you seen any reason to go to the market to raise some funds? No, from the funding we have now, we can still move for the next two years before we can consider going to the market depending on the market situation, but where we are now with the unbundling of the PFIs, we are not going to see an uptake of the loans. So, it is at that point that we will. But I think we have a funding that will take us in the one to two years.


T H I S D AY •THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

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PERSPECTIVE

Needless Brouhaha over 9mobile Sale Osebumere Odia writes that the acrimonious battle over the acquisition of 9mobile is unnecessary as Teleology has been chosen the preferred bidder and has not yet defaulted on the terms of its selection A casual observer of Nigeria’s telecom industry may have been carried away a few months ago by news of supposed interest in acquiring 9mobile by hordes of corporations far and near. Several companies were said to have lined up for the bid including mobile network operators like Globacom and Airtel the broadband services provider, Smile Communications. Others were Helios, a private equity firm and Teleology a special purpose vehicle of telecom industry veterans. A good number of these companies made considerable effort at generating hype around their ambitions and the media was awash with claims and promises, not too dissimilar to those commonly associated with politicians. A particular bidder, days before the final bid even claimed that it had already won the bid, and that the forthcoming bid was merely a formality. On the day of reckoning however, only two companies, Teleology and Smile Communications were able to accompany their bids with financial propositions. While Airtel and Helios backed out completely, Glo reportedly did not back-up its bid with a financial proposition. Feelers from Barclays Africa indicate that Teleology actually bid more than double the USD 300million which Smile Communications reportedly bid, which in addition to all of the technical and other assessments, qualified it for the preferred bidder position. Smile Communications automatically got the reserve bidder slot, a position which implied that in the event that Teleology defaulted in the discharging its financial obligations under the terms of the sale, the preferred bidder slot would automatically be transferred to Smile. A condition for the transaction was upfront payment of a non-refundable fee of USD 50million within 21 working days of being appointed preferred bidder. Days before the deadline, Teleology paid the deposit and publicly announced its preparedness to execute a 10-point plan of action on taking over 9mobile. The industry is now literally waiting with baited breath to see if Teleology will discharge the second critical requirement of the deal, namely pay the bid amount within the specified period. Should Teleology make good on its promise to pay up its bid price within the specified period, then the Nigerian telecom industry would have enjoyed a fortuitous shot in the arm. It may have been saved from a potentially turbulent situation which some analysts say could even have been a fore-runner to systemic distress in the sector. This is particularly so as news emerging from the media indicates that the reserve bidder, Smile Communications appears to be contending with severe financial difficulties bordering on indebtedness. According to THISDAY newspaper (May 9, 2019), the company is reeling from the after effect of a default of a USD 125 million loan, sourced from Afrexim Bank and routed through Diamond Bank. The loan default, the newspaper says has put Diamond Bank in a fix as Smile Communications is currently unable to meet the conditions for its full disbursement. The result has been that the bank is now torn between withholding further disbursement of the loan (with the attendant worsening of Smile Communications’ position) and disbursing the final tranches of the loan to Smile and worsening its bad loan exposure. Even though Smile Communications has curiously through its PR agency rather than its lawyers, put out a rather meek denial, the company may indeed be tottering on the brink of insolvency, according to industry analysts, especially judging from its stagnation – in terms of network coverage and active subscriber numbers – over the years The recent reports of Smile’s possible insolvency raise critical questions not only about the future of the company, but also about its reported bid for 9mobile. What was its exact objective for bidding to acquire 9mobile? If it is indebted to the tune of USD125m to Afrexim Bank/ Diamond Bank, how did it intend to raise the USD 300million offer it made for 9mobile? There are yet other questions. Smile Communications received its operating license from the NCC in 2009, but it took it all of five years

Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu to launch its 4G/LTE network. The network was launched in 2014. Since receiving its license in 2009 and launching five years later in 2014, however, Smile Communications has only been able to extend services to 8 cities: Lagos, Ibadan, Asaba, Onitsha, Benin, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kaduna. It doesn’t have a presence in any of the thousands of rural and semi-urban areas across the country, neither is it accessible in any of the motley highways across Nigeria. According to current data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Smile Communications had a total of 78,808 subscribers as at end of March 2018. By contrast 9mobile, which it had bid to acquire, had as at March 31, according to NCC’s figures, more than 16million active subscribers. In addition, in contrast to Smile’s 8-city coverage, 9mobile has coverage spanning the entire country – hundreds of cities, towns, villages, hamlets as well as roads and highways. Was Smile seeking to transfer the experience garnered from managing its network in 8 cities and catering to a little under 80,000 subscribers to taking over a much larger network? Did it sufficiently analyze the scope of work which this portended? An analysis of an interview recently granted to THISDAY Newspaper by Mr. Ahmad Farroukh, Smile Communication’s executive director, operations, hints that the organization may have been either naïve and simplistic in its evaluation of the prospects and challenges of the company it sought to acquire, or lacking in analytical proficiency. In his interview with THISDAY’s Emma Okonji, (THISDAY, March 10, 2018) Farroukh had claimed that “9mobile currently has 500 base transceiver stations (BTS) across the country, and by the time we add our 400 existing BTS and combine it with 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.” He added that “so should we acquire 9mobile, we will make it competitive from day one, with unprecedented speed of service delivery.” A simple analytic inquest could have questioned this assertion. How can 9mobile which boasts over 16 million active subscribers conceivably

service such a massive customer base with a mere 500 base stations? Perhaps a more efficient due diligence regime could have helped to reveal to Farroukh that 9mobile operates in excess of 5,000 base transceiver stations. But even this number is a far cry from the number of operational base transceiver stations of the industry’s biggest operator which is in the region of 15,000. A critical review of the pedigree of Smile Communications, notably the small size of its operations reflected in its coverage (8 cities only) and its subscriber numbers (under 80,000 subscribers), the extent of its understanding of the scope of operations that are implied in managing a country-wide network of the scale of 9mobile coupled with its financial viability which according to THISDAY now borders on insolvency, raises serious questions about its bid for 9mobile. Was its bid a mere gimmick to draw attention to financiers and perhaps help it re-negotiate its financial position? Smile Communications’ current dire financial situation also calls to mind recent disclosures by the NCC about the level of financial stability of the overall telecom industry. According to the NCC, a good number of firms in the telecom industry may actually be struggling with financial viability. The signs are indeed poignant. Current reports indicate that interconnect debt in the telecom industry is in the region of well over N30billion. Interconnect fees are monies that are paid between mobile network operators when calls are terminated on their networks from other networks. That such a huge debt is owed on interconnection alone is a huge red flag for the industry. It is also clear that on account of the fallout of the financial challenges of recent years especially with regard to Nigeria’s recent economic recession and the foreign exchange challenges that have dogged the economy, the telecom industry is hallmarked by diminishing CAPEX investments. In fact, according to the telecom industry consultancy, Xalam Analytics, CAPEX investments in Nigeria’s telecom industry may have shrunk by as much as 40 percent in 2016 alone. In addition, in real terms annual revenues in

the industry are declining. While revenues may be growing in Naira terms, year-on-year, in dollar terms 2017 revenues are actually considerably lower than 2014 revenues. Xalam Analytics estimates the difference to be up to 40 percent. This scenario is unfortunately worsened by the cut-throat competition in the industry which is aggressively whittling away at margins in the sector and making profitability harder to attain and sustain. It is in the face of these and other considerations that analysts are in agreement that 9mobile’s sale may indeed be a fortuitous intervention in Nigeria’s near-beleaguered telecom industry. With existing mobile network operators severely hamstrung for capital in the face of the difficulties in the operating environment, the interests of Nigeria would be best served by the injection of fresh foreign capital into the industry. Incidentally, none of the established global telecom operators – Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange – appear to have much interest in Nigeria’s telecom industry despite it being touted as the largest in Africa. The next best option for attracting fresh foreign capital, therefore, was for Nigeria to sell 9mobile to a Greenfield operator. In this light, I had argued in op-eds published last January in THISDAY, TRIBUNE and BUSINESSDAY respectively, that it was in the best interests of Nigeria to sell 9mobile to a Greenfield operator rather than an existing operator. Thankfully, Barclays Africa appeared to have heeded the call, even if not deliberately with its appointment of Teleology as preferred bidder in the circumstances. As stated earlier, none of the mobile network operators which had expressed interest prior to the 9mobile sale followed their interest through with financial proposals. This left the stage for two players only: Smile Communications whose heroic bid turned out to be considerably less than the bid made by the only Greenfield operator standing, Teleology. With Teleology’s prompt payment of its $50m non-refundable deposit ahead of the 21-working day deadline stipulated by the terms of 9mobile’s sale, it would appear that the injection of fresh capital into the telecom industry may have begun in earnest. Many analysts are of the view that this payment portends a good signal of seriousness by Teleology to fully consummate the 9mobile deal. Teleology in announcing its 10-point plan of action upon acquiring 9mobile, hinted of a partnership with Kenya’s leading mobile network operator, Safaricom. Despite the more than 300-year cumulative telecom industry experience of the promoters of Teleology, apparently the organization is unwilling to leave any stone unturned in demonstrating its technical competence to take over 9mobile and aggressively lead it to the path of recovery. A few roadblocks remain. Some erstwhile minority shareholders have since gone to court to challenge the 9mobile sale, claiming that their interests were not accommodated in by the decision and process of the sale. It is hoped that all of the stakeholders including the regulators, CBN and NCC would engage these investors and arrive at a mutually agreeable consensus in due course. The CBN and the NCC have played the very enviable role of forestalling the job losses and potential systemic risk to the larger telecom industry that may have accompanied the foreclosure of 9mobile by the bank consortium to which it is indebted. The choice of Teleology, a Greenfield operator that may conceivably inject fresh foreign capital into the telecom industry is fortuitous and is clearly a needed tonic for Nigeria’s struggling telecom industry. Will Teleology live up to its billing as a savior of Nigeria’s telecom industry? Time will tell. • Osebumere Odia, an economist and technopreneur, writes from 17 Adekanye Street, Lawanson, Surulere, Lagos


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BUSINESSWORLD

INTERVIEW

Nwauzor: AMCON is Passionate About Stakeholder Engagement, Recovery Mandate As the arguments for and against AMCON’s approach to its mandate continue, its Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Jude Nwauzor, speaks to Raheem Akingbolu on how the organisation engages relevant stakeholders before embarking on the takeover of assets It is believed in some quarters that AMCON approach to business takeover is done with little or no regard to stakeholders, how will you react to this? If anybody from any quarter thinks like that then such person has not taken pain to review the activities of AMCON in recent time. As a public institution that is keen about protecting the interest of members of the public, the first thing AMCON does anytime there is need for taking over of any business is to engage stakeholders; business owners, shareholders and consumers. Recently your boss, the Managing Director/ CEO of AMCON Mr. Ahmed Kuru made a strong case for strong regulation and institution of corporate governance for aviation sector in Nigeria. Is that an indication that AMCON will not exit Arik and Aero anytime soon? I think it would be unfair to interpret his good intentions for the aviation sector that way. With our experience in aviation and the challenges that was discovered when AMCON intervened in the airlines, my MD was just calling on agencies that regulate aviation, which is a critical sector to go the extra mile by ensuring that players in aviation in Nigeria are guided by certain rules and regulations. His argument is that once we have strict regulation in that sector, it will be difficult for airlines to be run aground as frequent as we experience it in the country over the years. In the last 20 years, I am sure we have lost count of the number of airlines that have come and gone. If you have taken your time to read that speech, Mr. Kuru even proffered solution when he suggested that they (aviation regulators) need to make use of the same template the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) used and is still using to keep banks in Nigeria under check all year round. In the banking sector, which I was also privileged to have worked for eight years before joining AMCON, you cannot act as you like; for instance all banks are expected to publish their financials at a particular time of the year, board meetings hold as at when due where major decisions are taken. In the banking sector before you hold certain strategic positions, the CBN gives you clearance so you cannot just appoint somebody because the person is your son-in-law. You also know that before you are granted banking license to operate a bank in Nigeria you will be required to deposit certain minimal capital base with the CBN depending on the area you want to play; be it regional, national or international. Aside the CBN, there is also the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on the other hand making sure risks are minimized in banking operations. That is why you see that most banks in Nigeria are doing well because major risks are averted well ahead. If the aviation industry is regulated in the same strict sense the CBN regulates banks, airlines in Nigeria would flourish better than they are doing currently. That was the point of the MD of AMCON. So when exactly will AMCON exit from Aero and Arik? The most important fact is that AMCON’s intervention in Arik and Aero has gone a long way to stabilise the airlines. The move as you are aware ensured that the airlines continue to provide critical services to the public thereby contributing to the country’s growth. AMCON’s intervention in those airlines if I must say it again, was timely and vital to the economy and growth of the two entities. For me, and please this is my personal opinion, the question should not

Nwauzor be about when AMCON would exit, I think Nigerians should be more interested in what would be of the airlines at the time of our exit. AMCON as far as you want to know have positioned the two airlines on the path to recovery and profitability with thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly saved. With the level of work we have done at the two airlines, the flying public on daily basis attest to the fact that there are remarkable positive changes at both airlines. I can also tell you that industry followers are impressed given the leadership that is currently provided at both airlines by Captain Ado Sanusi at Aero and Captain Roy Ilegbodu in Arik. Having said that, I want you rest assured that AMCON intervention in the airlines, which was by the way through the instrumentality of Receiver Management indeed stabilize the operations of the airlines. No doubt the development has put them in a position to generate positive cash flow, resolve their debt situation through either the owners paying the debts or the sale of the companies/underlining assets. Specifically, our intervention in Arik and Aero were intended to be value adding and non-destructive as I earlier stated. But on a lighter note, if you can settle the debts of the two airlines today, I am very sure we will exit almost immediately. At the last May Day celebration, labour unions in the aviation industry in particular alleged that AMCON has not invested the funds needed to revamp Aero and Arik, which they took over when the airlines were going under. Is that assumption the true position of things? That is not and can never be the true position. In as much as AMCON will not join issues with the aviation unions or anybody for that matter, it is not good to mislead the general

public with highly deceptive comments such as that. Thank God you said in your question that AMCON took over the airlines “…when they were going under….” To begin with, if people can be sincere enough to look at things from a logical perspective, it takes money to keep something that is going under afloat. We know how capital intensive the business of aviation is so it is not possible to take over two airlines at the time we did without capital injection. It is not just possible. Recall that the time AMCON took over Arik for instance most of the aircraft in the fleet were grounded, while others were on maintenance checks. There were backlog of unpaid salaries and all sorts of monies owed to other creditors among other factors. All that is history now because Arik has more fleet, backlog of salaries paid and the airline is running very well. You cannot achieve all that without injecting funds. It takes funds to rehabilitate grounded aircraft and put them back into operations. We have also injected funds in Aero, and over the period, the story has changed to positive, which was why the airline recently upgraded its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility at the domestic wing of Murtala Muhammed Airport in Ikeja, Lagos. In fact if you recall, they completed the first C-check on a Boeing 737-500 series at that facility earlier this year – in January to be precise. So it is wrong for the unions to make false declarations that cannot stand to truth or logic. If AMCON has done all these for the two airlines, why do you think some people still think your corporation has not done much for the airlines? Maybe the people who hold such opinions are better placed to answer that question. But one thing I know is that AMCON has

saved two biggest airlines in the country from going under. Nobody can ignore that fact. However, it is not yet uhuru because it is still work in progress for us and all stakeholders who mean well for Aero and Arik. However, we are also in a democracy and people are entitled to their opinions no matter how crude, unguarded, rude, uncut or misleading. You cannot shut them up. But a forwardlooking management that I serve at AMCON is determined to deliver the best for Nigeria and Nigerians as far as our recovery mandate is concerned. Therefore they are not deterred by side comments, especially when it comes from armchair critics who do not know what it takes to manage a difficult business such as an airline. So AMCON does not respond to mischiefmakers and armchair critics because we are focused on our recovery mandate, which is a very difficult assignment, so we do not have spare time for armchair critics. Having said that, I must add here that we are a transparently open organisation whose activities are guided by law and we act and will continue to act accordingly. Finally when is Arik returning to UK and USA routes? That is partly what I meant when I said it is not yet uhuru and it is still work in progress. Well I cannot give you a clear cut date of Arik‘s return to those destinations. That would be a serious business decision of management when the time is right. However, I am aware they weighing all the credible options and would make a strategic pronouncement in that regard, which I am sure will benefit Arik and all stakeholders when that decision is taken. I promise you will be the first to know.


T H I S D AY •THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2018

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INTERVIEW

Akinyemi: Nigeria Has No Clear-cut Communications Strategy Kayode Akinyemi, a former head of Corporate Communications at Skye Bank Plc, is an accomplished and versatile strategic communications practitioner. He spoke to Raheem Akingbolu on the need for the federal government to involve professionals in communicating its programmes believe all Ekiti sons and daughters both at home and in diaspora need to come together to rebuild, recreate and turn it to one of the most buoyant economic States in Nigeria. We have a lot going for us in the area of Agriculture and human resources. We have expansive land and good climate system that can help us to grow Agriculture and attract industrialisation. As you and I know, Ekiti is endowed with the lot of professors and professionals in difference areas of callings. These Ekiti professionals have been useful in building organizations in both private and public sectors of foreign economics. My thinking is that we should encourage these professionals to come back home, join hands and harness opportunities together to build Ekiti of the future. Unfortunately, the way politics is played here is appalling as it is characterised by money inducement and all sort of unpleasant experiences. I think we should be cerebra and have the interest of our people at heart with the determination to serve. To me, if we have worked in corporate environment and other organisations and did very well, we should be able to take the experience back home to develop our land.

Where do you think Nigeria practitioners stand in the global evolving marketing communication landscape? I think our practitioner have done well and as still doing very well. Without missing words, our practitioners can compete favourably with their contemporaries all over the world. They have continued to follow the global trends using technology to redefine operations in the industries. With hi-tech and social media, the world is moving at a very vast pace and Nigeria practitioners are getting abreast of this. In Advertising, PR, Marketing Communication and Journalism, Nigerian practitioners have raised the bar. However, this has also created some challenges as a lot are been churned out without proper regulation and self- censorship. I think there is need for caution in this regard. If you are to advise the spin doctors managing the Nigerian brand how to position the country, what will you tell them? In the first place, I don’t think we have people managing Nigeria brand as at today. What we have is information management team. i.e. the Ministry of Information and the office of special adviser on media and publicity, both serving as information managers for the country and Mr. President. It is my considered opinion therefore, for the governments to recruit Marketing/Brand management agencies to work with the existing structure to project the image of Nigeria positively to Nigerians and the outside world. I believe you will agree with me that we have more than a enough competent agencies and professionals that can handle this assignment especially in this period when the country is faced with insurgency, herdmen killings, kidnapping and all sort of unrest which as expose the country’s image to questioning. Do you also share the belief in some quarters that Government and its agencies don’t appreciate marketing communications practitioners the way they should and that things would have been better if communications expert are involved in the projection of the country? Of course, we all know the truth; government attitude towards engaging professionals in managing marketing communication have not been encouraging. To answer the last part

Akinyemi of the question, let’s look around at how many brands and companies practitioners from this country have nurtured to greater heights. Nigeria is blessed with competent marketing communications expert that can compete favourably with their counterpart abroad. I believe therefore that if Nigeria government explores the marketing communications practitioners we have in the country, they will give necessary advice that will better position us as a nation.

In recent time, you seem to be showing interest in the affairs of your state – Ekiti, what informed that? Or is it because of the appointment you had in Fayemi’s government? You are right about my interest in the affairs of my state but let me quickly add that it is not because of the appointment I had in Fayemi’s government. I have always had the interest of my State at heart. Knowing well that Ekiti is one of the poorest States in the country, I feel bad anytime I see the level of poverty in the State. As a result of this, I

What have you been doing in recent time, especially after your appointment by Dr. Fayemi in Ekiti State? I basically returned to my primary constituency which of courses is public relations and media management. As you know after serving as Head of Corporate Communications at Skye Bank, I had a stint as the official representative of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for Nigeria before the appointment by the former Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi as Director General of the then newly created Bureau of Strategic Communications in the State. With the appointment, I was driving strategy for the state and the government. After the loss of the election on June 21, 2014, I came back to Lagos to continue with what I know how to do best, which is of course is Public Relations and Brand/Media Management. Between then and now, I have served as consultant in the area of media and public relations to some financial institutions and in other industries as well.

Fitness Expert Advocates Consumption of Local CSR-in-Action Launches Radio Show to Promote Food Positive Values Stories by Raheem Akingbolu Fitness Fair, a Nigerian nutrition and wellness outfit has called for paradigm shift in corporate and individual approach to health maintenance and physical exercise among Nigerians. Founder, Fitness Fair, Dr Uganzi Eke, who made the call during the Launch of a new Fitness Fair store and company website in the Lekki axis of Lagos, stressed that Nigerians must begin to own their health by learning the local nutrition wellness procedure and seeing the physical aspect beyond visiting the gym. Eke, who is also a pharmacist, stated that contrary to popular thinking, people can actually exercise even at their workplace and have a better lifestyle eating our natural local foods. According to her, this is what

Fitness Fair and its Corporate Wellness project aim to promote among Nigerians by providing holistic information on how to maximise their environment for a healthy lifestyle. For example, the new fitnessfair.ng website, she noted, was meant to encourage a business extension and ease of access to information for individuals and corporate entities interested in joining the wellness lifestyle. “Corporate Wellness is aimed at taking wellness to the work place. To know that as you are working, you can exercise and eat well. To imbibe the information needed to stay alive and enjoy what you have worked for. We currently do this for ExxonMobil, Unichem and First Bank Insurance. It’s also available for individuals”. Dr. Eke noted that her experience as a pharmacist has exposed her to an unfolding

problem in the country as young people keep coming down with lifestyle diseases; diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol related diseases and cancer. She said this development has been discovered to be a result of a major change in lifestyle and key factors that could be changed such as diet, lifestyle and physical activity level. “So we are raising awareness for everyone to understand that you can take ownership of your health and prevent a lot of these illnesses. We have the Fitness Fair Training on how to make the change. We teach you where you start from, who you are and where you should at least try to get to. The major thing about your life is what you eat, hence Fitness Fair Nutrition. We supply you with information on foods you need to support the lifestyle”, she added.

CSR-in-Action, an advocacy and sustainability enterprise will be commencing the Good Citizen Radio Show on Inspiration FM this week, the management has stated. The Good Citizen Radio Show is one of the expressions of The Good Citizen initiative which is designed to encourage a unified and collective approach for solving national issues, stimulate community dialogue and discussions on good citizenship and recognise and reward outstanding efforts. Launched 2015, in Abuja by Ms Yemisi Ransome Kuti, Professor Wale Omole, Chairman, CSR-in-Action Advocacy, and Chief Executive of CSR-in-Action, Bekeme Masade-Olowola, The Good Citizen has an overarching goal ofundertaking initiatives

that encourage and advance individual contribution to national development through value reorientation, especially through the younger generations – our future leaders. According to the management, The Good Citizen Reading Club and the Good Citizen Annual Awards and Recognition are other expressions of the Good Citizen initiative. ‘’The Good Citizen Radio Show will focus on value system reorientation and would be driven through citizen participation and solid multi-institutions partnerships in the areas of transparency and accountability, entrepreneurship/innovation, political awareness, environmental management, and unity. The radio show is targeted at children, adolescents and

youths,’’ the management stated.Its Chief Executive officer and co-anchor of the show, Bekeme MasadeOlowola, stated that in partnership with Inspiration FM, the radio show would hold every Friday on Inspiration FM Radio Station by 8:00 p.m. with the first episode airing on May 11, 2018. She stated that it would be the opportunity to reach a young and wider demographic through the most popular medium, radio. “This is a dream come true. I have always been passionate about this and believe in the power of person-bytes coming together to push for solutions. Good Citizenship is about living beyond oneself, knowing that every action or inaction impacts upon your neighbour and the nation.”


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T H I S D AY • THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

BUSINESSWORLD

DEVELOPMENT

Ease of Doing Business: Edo’s Rising Profile Recently, a top delegation from the World Bank visited Nigeria for an impact assessment of some development programmes and projects initiated and funded by the Bank in the country. Abimbola Akosile captures the highlights of the delegation’s visit to Edo State

W

hen news came that a World Bank delegation was coming to Nigeria and that they would make stops in Lagos and Edo States, not many thought that the visit would be as far-reaching as it turned out. The Bretton Woods institution, through various programmes and initiatives, has contributed to the Nigerian story, helping to design and build new cities, extending credit lines to support development and providing technical expertise for institutional reforms across different sectors of the economy, including agriculture, health, education, and environmental programmes and initiatives across the country. Executive Visit During the recent visit of the World Bank to Nigeria, ten senior executives of the Bank, drawn from different parts of the world visited selected states for an impact assessment of its various projects in the country. The executives came to review the progress on their development support and financing projects across the country, with spotlights on Lagos and Edo States, where they have particularly extended budget support financing. Edo State, in particular, was key because of the relative openness of the government and efforts to reposition the state for investment, which ultimately led to the timely execution of the Azura-Edo Power Project, among others. August Visitors It was against this backdrop that officials of state governments and the Federal Ministry of Finance waited in anticipation for the visitors. The visit was described as unprecedented as it showed renewed interest in the Nigerian economy after the country’s exit from recession. In Edo State, there was remarkable synergy between the state government and the heads of the various World Bank-backed projects in the state, to coordinate and harmonise the details of progress made in driving sustainable development in rural and semi-urban communities. The delegation of 10 Executive Directors was considered to be large, as they were expected to assess the performance of the states on key development indicators, and review activities to determine the feasibility of extending support to projects. Expert Inputs Experts have argued that Lagos and Edo states were selected because they performed satisfactorily well in the World Bank’s projects over time. “The stop at Abuja is for administrative reasons and will be to meet with top officials at the Presidency and the Ministry of Finance. But the visits to Lagos and Edo states were for first-hand review of their support towards strengthening institutions and infrastructures in the states,” one of them posited. “It is the first time since I have been monitor-

R-L: Governor Obaseki; World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud; Executive Director, Ms. Kunene, and Executive Director, World Bank, Europe sub-group, Mr. Patrizio Pagano at the Benin Airport, during the visit of 10 World Bank Executive Directors to Edo-Azura Power Plant, as part of their visit to Edo State…recently ing the activities of the World Bank that 10 Executive Directors will be embarking on such a visit. There must be a couple of things that Edo and Lagos states are doing to deserve such a visit, shortly after the bank’s annual Spring Meetings,” they added. On why the visit to Edo was imperative for the team, the experts said, “Lagos has a huge war-chest and is a darling to lenders, so the interest there is quite expected. But for Edo, it is said that they have recorded impressive milestones and have been scored really high by in-country teams. So, I am sure that the August visitors will want to go and see that for themselves.” On the scope of the assessment, an official in one of the states said, “In some of the states, the focus will gravitate towards social development, agriculture, among others in rural areas. This includes the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), Community and Social Development Programme (CSDP), FADAMA development project, among others.” Financing Impact When the World Bank team arrived Edo State, they visited the globally-acclaimed Azura-Edo Power Project, which the Bank was instrumental in bringing to fruition by facilitating multilateral funding for the project. After conducting the team round the plant facility, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, said the completion of the 450MW Azura-Edo Power Project was a demonstration of what can

be achieved through development financing in the state. He noted that with the plant now on stream, the state was looking at attracting more investors for the Benin Industrial Park and technology innovation hubs, which would benefit from the conducive business environment and guaranteed power in the state. According to the governor, “Power is the key to industrialisation and development. We need to extend the benefits of this investment. Now that we have power, what are we going to do with it? The next sets of projects are those that have to rely on this key infrastructure we have just created. “So, we would be looking at the Benin Industrial Park, building infrastructure to encourage and support manufacturers to come in. We are looking at innovation hubs; we want to use the factor and advantage of 24/7 electricity to encourage technology groups and companies to be located in Edo State.” Noting that other social amenities would benefit from the power project and World Bank’s continued support to the state, Obaseki said, “We are looking at our educational system. We are looking at getting the power to our schools so that we can increase the standard and quality of our education. We have finished the design of a couple of other projects. We want to get partners like the ones who have developed this project, to work with.” On opening up the state for investment, he said, “Our role as a government is to enable

things happen. Edo State government will not put taxpayers’ money in projects that the private sector can handle. As a government, we will create the enabling and supportive environment to ease doing business in a place like Edo. We want to attract more private sector investors, who will bring their money and in that process create jobs and help us improve our economic wellbeing.” Delegation’s Feedback World Bank Executive Director, Angola, Nigeria and South Africa sub-group, Ms. Bongi Kunene, who spoke on behalf of the delegation, said the institution was ready to partner the state as long as projects are in line with the Bank’s focus, noting that the Edo-Azura power project is an example of a solution to a key problem in the country. According to her, “The project is transformational. It gives us a scope of what we can do together. We are delighted to see solutions. We would want to commit ourselves to projects that make sense and are in line with our focus.” On how more of such projects can be executed, she said, “First of all, approvals happen at the government level. It starts with land, and making sure that the area is zoned properly, and that the environmental impact assessment has been done and they are up to world standards. NOTE: Interested readers should continue in the online edition on www.thisdaylive.com

RANDOM THOTS Health Obstacles Anyone is free to fall sick, under the law. But that freedom of choice is severely curtailed by the individual’s access to good medicare. Although there is an existing law which grants any citizen the right to be treated for gunshot wounds in this nation, pray try convincing a wounded armed robber to visit the nearest general hospital for treatment. The same scenario also applies to the elitist five per cent who control 95 per cent of this nation’s resources. While

some of them have highly competent personal physicians for any ailment, others would rather fly off to London or even India to cure a mere headache! Their justification is that the healthcare facilities in Nigeria are substandard and beneath their status. Ironically, this assertion only fuels a vicious cycle whereby the highly competent medical personnel in the country are lured away to more appreciative developed countries. Caregivers and medical experts are deserting the hos-

pital corridors in droves for greener pastures abroad, while those who remain behind often embrace industrial action because of poor conditions of service. The recent foreign medical trip by PMB was frowned on by many irate citizens who felt the president was only encouraging medical tourism at the expense of developing the parlous health facilities around the country. Nowadays, health initiatives are largely left to the goodwill of humane and wealthy citizens who desire to give back to a

helpful society. Going for treatment abroad (for ordinary cough) is regarded as a status symbol for the nouveau rich, where quality medical services are readily available. However, as long as these medical pilgrimages continue, those who ought to make a difference in this nation’s health sector won’t do so, and the poor will continue to suffer. That thought is enough to make anyone fall sick...not so? -Abimbola Akosile


33

T H I S D AY • THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

BUSINESSWORLD

DEVELOPMENT/ISSUESINBOX

Moving to ensure security

NAIJ.COM

Will Restructuring Help Curb Insecurity? As widespread insecurity caused by various killings rises across the country, some analysts believe restructuring is the best panacea to halt the negative trend, which has affected development. Amid calls for State Police and ownership of natural resources, do you agree that restructuring can help check insecurity in Nigeria successfully and ensure a conducive environment for development to thrive? Abimbola Akosile * Yes, restructuring could curb insecurity in Nigeria. It is all about having a balanced federation that serves the interest of all citizens. The current structure has not met the expectations of many Nigerians; hence restructuring would eliminate the imbalance in the current structure and reduce insecurity in the country to the barest minimum. God bless Nigeria. - Mr. Odey Ochicha, Leadership Specialist, Abuja * Yes, restructuring can immensely help us as a nation as long as we are all on the same page with regards to its purpose, and state leadership does not abuse the power and privileges that comes with it. - Ms. Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos State * The word restructuring has been misunderstood by some people; it needs to be explained in detail for better understanding. Security is a component of restructuring. The problem is that our federation is faulty. In a true federal system, the federating units must have their own security arrangements. The federal police cannot oversee the entire country, and conducive environment for development can only be guaranteed by security. The security challenge will continue until we do the needful. - Mr. Austine Nwanya, Solid Minerals consultant, Abuja * Regional restructuring will curb over concentration of power in the centre. The current system allows corruption, insecurity etc to thrive. Immunity for certain public office holders makes prosecution difficult, while the Judiciary, where cases drag for several years without headway, adds to the frustration. Many high profile cases are still pending, and the ruling party is reluctant to expose loyalists. - Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna * Yes. Stemmed wanton killings, state police, harnessed natural resources etc all aid development to thrive. Nigeria has steadily degenerated from grace to nothing due to leadership lapses, corruption, insincerity, etc. Economic growth, social equity, sustainable development, genuine restoration, leadership-building culture, active federating units, checked lootings, regionalised resource management, positive rivalry and education liberation etc, can curb insecurity. The apt time is now.

THE FEEDBACK Yes, it will:

10

No, it won’t:

1

Others:

4

Radical tip:

Long overdue!

Total no of respondents:

15

Male:

13

Female:

2

Highest location:

Abuja (6)

- Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State * My take is that restructuring for Nigeria is not only overdue but also inevitable. State police will address the current security challenges we are facing. Whatever flimsy excuses opponents of restructuring are giving are no longer tenable in our present economic and socio-political realities. -Mr. Paul Jideofor, Dept. of Languages, FCT COE, Zuba, Abuja * I do not believe that restructuring will curb insecurity in Nigeria. Insecurity is caused by bad leadership provided by our elite class. Our ruling elites are selfish people who are more interested in what will favour them. Yesterday they were singing about resources control, today they are talking about restructuring, if Nigeria is restructured, is it not the same politicians who are being prosecuted by the EFCC that will take over the leadership positions in their states and the looting will continue? What we need now is good leadership with strong institutions. - Mr. Egbuna Nduanya, Political scientist, Enugu * I am going to give a guarded ‘yes’ to the question about restructuring. If restructuring is to be carried out, everyone must be carried along, otherwise it will end in failure. First of all, we have to de-populate the class of public office holders so that funds are ‘liberated’ for more pertinent things. We can do this by making politics less attractive. We should also give ourselves a real, not fake people’s constitution. God bless our country! - Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, B.A.R., Apo, Abuja * Yes, it will effectively check insecurity. Nigeria’s

history is blighted by inability to design and deliver great policies and accountability. Our elites are gifted in the art of capture and recapture of power but not in the art of building and sustaining a virile society. Some corrupt elitist looters have opted to fuel our security crises to steal huge chunks of public funds, irrespective of the unfortunate repercussions of such disasters. Genuine restructuring will liberate us. God bless Nigeria. - Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State * Restructuring Nigeria will curb injustice and balance all existing insecurity. Restructuring is like equity and equality, you give those that need what and balance those that want that. If that is done, automatically injustice will be taken care of and insecurity handled. - Mr. Mark Ushie, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja * I am not against restructuring of Nigeria with what is happening now but what Nigeria needs today is good leaders that will move the country forward. Restructuring Nigeria with the same never-do-well leaders in governance will still have the same problems. The solution is for Nigeria to elect credible people in leadership positions. Come 2019 general election, let us get it right. - Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State * Psychologically it will because the populace will now rethink on the way forward, with absolute trust in guarding their territory, effective monitoring, evaluation, and ability to put laws to in place to tackle insecurity. It will also boost security formation, good policing, ease decision-making, relying on individual effort with best practices in taking proactive steps. This is because they are directly involved in protecting their environment and have the political will to address the situation. - Mr. Michael Adedotun Oke, Founder Michael Adedotun Oke Foundation, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja * The problem of insecurity in our country today is that it is being managed with little supervision. Those who do all things to please their master also aid insecurity, but it will not be so after restructuring as each would manage and control its security process without depending on the centre. There are a lot of

benefits to enjoy in restructuring where only the parasites are afraid. - Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna * Surely restructuring can help curb insurgency in Nigeria. Stronger regions and states will have greater control over their security apparatus and the use of state police will spur higher monitoring of trouble spots and flashpoints around the country. Restructuring is long overdue. - Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State * Restructuring can create greater security challenges for the federating units, due to ethnic and religious diversity, especially among the minority tribes. A civilian JTF type of setup to work side by side the federal security agencies, within their local environments would help. They should be trained in self-defence and intelligence gathering to help the security agents through the knowledge of their local terrain. With current political happenings, State or regional police will be abused and used for tribal or religious agendas. - Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

Next Week: How Can Nigeria Tackle Mounting Poverty? Despite the best efforts of the present administration to lift Nigeria out of the doldrums of recession and restore development to the economy, millions of active youths are still wallowing in poverty, with a rising groundswell of anger. How can the federal government best address this poverty issue before things spiral out of control? Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (May 17 & Monday, May 21) to abimbolayi@yahoo. com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, May 24


34

T H I S D AY • THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

BUSINESSWORLD

DEVELOPMENT

There is still dignity in hard labour

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

Omotola Unveils Programme to Build One Million Entrepreneurs in Ten Years Gboyega Akinsanmi The Chancellor of E-Boot Camp Limited, Mr. Lai Omotola has unveiled a programme aimed at building an army of one million entrepreneurs that would radically transform Nigeria’s domestic economy in the next decade. Omotola, currently running a leading infrastructure company with a diversified project portfolio, has also said the solution “to the country’s problems does not depend 100 per cent on the person that becomes the president in 2019.” He unveiled the programme tagged ‘Think Entrepreneurship Training’ at the head office of E-Boot Camp Limited, a subsidiary of CFL Group, located at Wasimi, Maryland recently. Specifically, Omotola predicted at the event that Nigeria could rise “to become the world’s fifth largest economy by 2038, a period of two decades from now, if the entrepreneurial spirit could be liberated in the country.” He said: “This is the target of the think entrepreneurship training programme we are introducing to get one million people to commence entrepreneurship and in the next decade year produce businesses that

are in billions from turnover. “We will demystify entrepreneurship. We will also make it friendly. At E-Boot Camp, our belief is that if we can positively change the mindset of the Nigerian entrepreneurs, then we can build the most robust economy. “With the potentials we have in our country, if we are able to liberate the entrepreneurial spirit in this country, then in the next two decades, Nigeria should be the world’s fifth largest economy in the world,” he said. All over the world, the chancellor explained that big economies “have always been propelled by private sector led by entrepreneurs. It is entrepreneurs that build economy and not government. What the government does is to create policies that will be pro-business and not anti business.” He noted that entrepreneurs built America, citing the roles John Davison Rockefeller Snr, J.P Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and Cornelius Vanderbilt, among others, played in building the economy of the world’s most powerful country. According to him, “these are men who used innovation to build America and not the American government. The US Government

partnered to make it successful. Nigeria cannot be different if we must radically transform our economy.” He said he came up with the initiative after due consideration and indepth study of Nigeria’s socio-economic situation, which showed that the solution “to our problems does not depend 100 per cent on the person that becomes the president in 2019.” The chancellor noted that whoever “becomes the president in 2019 will have greater challenges ahead. The next four years will not bring us out of the woods regardless of the person that occupies the seat. This is the bitter truth.” He explained how he arrived at this conclusion, citing the country’s 2018 appropriation bill that had not been passed into law; its huge debt stock that would cost N1.2 trillion to service this year alone, and a recurrent expenditure amounting to about 70 per cent of the total proposed spending. He said: “We have a budget of about N8 trillion. Out of this proposed spending, N1.2 trillion will be used to service debt, about 70 per cent will go into recurrent expenditure and less than 25 per cent will go into capital project. “When we look at the budget performance of

capital project, it is less than 50 per cent. The budget has not been passed even in May. So, let us assume that the budget is passed by the end of May. We have entered the rainy season. For the next five months, it will rain and there is little contractors can do till October if climate change does not make it worse. “Construction work will commence in October. By December, construction companies will go on holiday. By implication, we only have two months for construction work. For me, this suggests that the 2018 budget on the side of capital project has failed even before it is signed. “We all know that we need massive infrastructure development to spur this economy and sadly this will continue to be the routine for a very long time. Besides, the Federal Government will continue to be burdened by labour union for increment in wages across all sector of the economy. “There is no sign that two-thirds of states owing salaries will clear all backlog in the next four years even as additional arrears continue to pile up. This scenario suggests that the solution is for government to improve on revenue and borrow more, which is what this government is doing,” he added.

Support Fight against Corruption, ActionAid Urges Foundation Invests $20m in Infrastructure, Donates Citizens CBT Centre Oluwafunke Lasisi A Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), ActionAid Nigeria has urged citizens to participate more in the anti-corruption struggle in a bid to curb the negative trend. The organisation, at a one-day programme titled ‘citizens’ dialogue on current trends of corruption in Nigeria designed under the project strengthening citizens resistance against prevalence of corruption’ (SCRAP-C) sought to engage citizens on the understanding of corruption trending in the country and how it can be curbed. Speaking at an event held recently in Lagos, Executive Director of the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), David Ugolor stressed that corruption can be

reduced through changing public attitude towards the mechanism in a shift from the supply approach. Ugolor, who is also a senior adviser on corruption and governance, said to curb corruption in the country, government and anti-corruption agencies must be aware of how citizens see, react, respond and contribute to corruption, in order to know how to involve and enlighten them; rather than using enforcement. According to the Campaign Manager, ActionAid Nigeria, Tunde Aremu, the SCRAP-C programme seeks to collaborate with communities, seek local government assistance and carry out technical projects on the needs of communities. He said technology is used to escalate the issues and link

their roles as civil society with the media most especially on rampant corruption in Nigeria from the elites to the grassroots. “The SCRAP-C is a research and citizens’ oriented project that will employ social marketing tools, research, advocacy, citizens’ mobilisation, media engagement and capacity development to achieve programme aims, which is the desired behavioural change against corruption”, he added. As part of its implementation, the citizens’ dialogue is a platform designed to interact with evidence of corruption in specific sectors like education, power, health and tax administration; to help suggest right policy recommendation to the government and encourage citizens to disapprove corrupt behaviour in the society.

Kuni Tyessi in Abuja The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed about $20 million to infrastructure development in Nigeria, and has gone ahead to provide an 80-seat capacity Computer Based Test (CBT) centre to promote e-governance through ICT. Head of the federal civil service of Nigeria, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, disclosed this during the unveiling of the centre at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN) in Abuja recently. Oyo-Ita said the contribution of the Foundation was expected to develop modules for various training programmes of public officers on leadership development, information and communication technology, entrepreneurship development and public-private partnership.

The centre, which is expected to host about 200 candidates at once, and which was donated by the African Capacity Building Foundation under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Africa Capacity Building Grant, will also be involved in monitoring and evaluation, as well as capacity building of staff members in identified need areas. Oyo-Ita said: “The Foundation, which has made a huge investment of about $20 million so far in Nigeria, is expected to sponsor the development of the first strategic plan of the institute, and is also funding the development of process and procedures of the Institute; monitoring and evaluation, as well as capacity building of staff in identified need areas. “This is one of the projects ACBF is funding in the

institute. Building the capacity of the Public Service Institute of Nigeria will go a long way to help in the actualisation of the strategic plan of the office of the Head of Service of the federation; being one of the capacity building arm. “It is expected to develop modules for various training programmes of public officers in the areas of leadership development, information and communication technology, entrepreneurship development and public-private partnership “Repositioning PSIN is tantamount to building capacity of public servants, and being one of the premier capacity building institutions in Nigeria the Institute has tagged the relationship with ACBF as ‘The partnership that works’”, she added.


35

T H I S D AY • THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

BUSINESSWORLD

DEVELOPMENT QUOTE OF THE WEEK

My first attempt to fight corruption, corruption fought back successfully. I was detained for three years and only released after my mother died. In spite of that, my objective of fighting corruption remains steadfast. War on corruption is not an easy one to fight, because it affects so many different branches of our lives, so much that some people do not even consider breaking trust is anymore a crime. It has become the norm” - PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI SPEAKING IN ABUJA

France Provides €500,000 for Humanitarian Assistance in Northeast Region As S’Korea seeks Nigeria’s support on peace process Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

Intervention Agency Constructs over 200 Roads across Edo Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City The Edo State Employment and Expenditure for Result (SEEFOR) has received accolades from stakeholders and Civil Society Organisations in the state for its intervention in infrastructure development across the state. The accolade came when the Project Coordinator, Mr. Toju Onaiwu disclosed that since inception, the agency has constructed over 200 category ‘C’ roads across the state that are still serviceable and motorable till date. Addressing participants at a stakeholders/ CSOs and SEEFOR parley, Onaiwu, who was represented by the Project Accountant, Henry Odiase, said the SEEFOR project initiative is essentially an idea conceived by the World Bank in partnership with Nigerian governments for direct intervention in human capital development and empowerment in the Niger Delta region for which Edo state became one of the beneficiaries. Onaiwu told the gathering various areas the project has intervened since inception in Edo state, which ranged from, human capital development and empowerment, information technology development (ICT), feeder or category C road and rehabilitation, construction and maintenance of drains, provision and supply of instructional materials to schools where necessary, provision and supply of ICT equipment to government agencies and ministries where necessary. He said, whereas the project’s scope of work so far was wide and far reaching but the aspect that had been popular with the people has been road construction and maintenance, which, to him was understandable since this was the area that had direct bearing on their lives. On the misconception about SEEFOR intervention in road projects, he said their involvement was determined by the mandate of the World Bank and other supervising agencies manual, which is not only their operational guide but also limited by the fund available at a particular time. On mode of selection of road projects for intervention, he said, “this is determined by written request from leaders of communities and due assessment and evaluation of the request by the technical and engineering department to ascertain if the request falls

Road project in Edo State within the scope of work of the agency since by their mandate, they cannot embark on more than 1km road construction.” On supervision and monitoring of projects, Idiase explained that the project office has seasoned staff manning the engineering department who through strict supervision ensured that the agency’s core mandate was fully realised in projects’ execution and delivery. According to him, “each stage of a project must be completed and certified by their Engineering department, before payments are made. This policy, which is a strategic aspect and requirement in the agency’s operational strategy, has helped to ensure that there is no abandoned project since the inception of our operation.” He further expressed surprise at the reluctance of non-governmental organisations to come forward and participate in the third-party monitoring opportunity, which the agency often advertises, and thereafter drew participants’ attention to the current advertisement calling

for application from interested NGOs. He advised interested participants to take advantage of this opportunity so that those successful would join in monitoring their projects for optimal delivery. However, leader of the CSOs, Rev. Olu Martins, expressed his reservation on the seeming reluctance of the agency to open up so that the public would be abreast with their operation, which would help arrest the misconceptions and innuendoes often carried by members of the public regarding their work model. According to him, members of the public are of the view that SEEFOR should carry out construction of trunk A road and embark on other gigantic projects in the state. Other speakers at the interactive session included Onome, Babatunde, Ogbidi, and Sylvester Okpamen, who hailed the stakeholders’ interactive initiative by the SEEFOR project team but wondered why the information did not come earlier.

The government of France has authorised €500,000 fund to aid humanitarian efforts in the insurgency-ravaged North-eastern Nigeria. The Press Officer, French Embassy in Abuja, Ms. Damilola Ayodeji, disclosed that the funding contract was given to two French organisations engaged in humanitarian activities in the conflict zones. Ayodeji said the French government, through the French Embassy in Nigeria, was expressing its commitment to contributing to humanitarian efforts that would lead to the continual rehabilitation and restoration of the north-eastern region, which has suffered greatly from the insurgency of the terrorist group, Boko Haram. She stated: “Recently, Guillaume Audren de Kerdrel, First Counsellor of the French Embassy in Abuja, received the representatives of Alima and Première Urgence Internationale (PUI), which are French humanitarian organisations active in the providing aid in north-east region of Nigeria. “A funding contract amounting to a total of €500,000 was signed between the French Embassy and the representatives of the two organisations to support their humanitarian aid work in the region.” According to her, the two projects that the said amount would cater for aim to improve medical care for children suffering from malnutrition in the newly accessible area: Kukawa Local Government Area in Borno state; and improve the food security of vulnerable populations in Maiduguri. Meanwhile, ahead of President Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the government of South Korea has sought the support of Nigeria in its ongoing efforts to reach a peaceful accord with her northern neighbour. The Ambassador of Korea to Nigeria, Lee In-Tae made the call in Abuja during a recent briefing on the aftermath of the Inter-Korean Summit. In-Tae noted that Nigeria is respected in global affairs and can provide leadership for Africa to support the peace processes in the volatile Korean Peninsula. According to him, globalisation has made it paramount that a peaceful Korea would benefit Nigeria in particular and Africa in general. He said: “The international community has shown welcome and support to this historic summit. 71 countries have announced written support to the achievements of the Inter-Korean Summit, including the US, Russia and Japan. South African President himself issued a statement as well as Egypt and Sudan. In-Tae also commended Nigeria’s Ambassador to Korea, Mr. Amin Dalhatu, for issuing a congratulatory message of support to the Summit. “As the leader of Africa continent and beyond, I look forward to seeing Nigerian government’s support soon. Nigeria is a leader not only in Africa but has international influence and we seek this leverage to build the peace initiative,” he said.


36

T H I S D AY THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

HEALTH & LIFESTYLE

Acting Features Editor Charles Ajunwa Email: charles.ajunwa@thisdaylive.com

Why Nigeria Should Invest in WASH Water, Sanitation and Hygiene are areas pregnant with several positives. It stands the chance of boosting the Nigerian economy and liberating individuals from avoidable health challenges. Kuni Tyessi writes Chundung, a teenager of 13 years is initiated into the world of womanhood by nature. After every 21 days, her monthly visitor is what she has been taught to expect by her aged mother who has instructed that on no account must the opposite sex sit close to her, hold her hands or any part of her body, let alone play with her. The result will be an unwanted pregnancy for which she will be disowned as her body is responding to changes in growth. Maintaining personal hygiene with the use of clean water is not left out of the sermon about the dos and don’ts of puberty. She is required to cover lengthy kilometres to fetch water, not just for herself and her mother, but for other members of her family who are all males. More so, she is battling with a toilet infection. She contacted it as a result of the use of a public toilet used by over 30 adults and it is rarely properly washed, as the use of excess water is regarded a sign of opulence and luxury, not to talk of being sanitised. She’s not the only one in this quagmire. Several others have the ailment and as they treat the bacteria and get cured, others contact the disease which results to itching, sores and smelly discharge with the potentials of causing internal damage. The cycle continues. Chundung’s story is not the same with that of Panmun, her contemporary who resides in a Government Residential Area and has access to clean water which is always available with just a twist on a tap-head. She makes use of water system toilet disinfected twice daily and can take her bath as many times as possible. Her younger siblings often play with water which spoils the tap due to constant manipulation. This leaves water gushing out without control until it has been repaired. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) specialist, Bauchi Field Office, Mr. Drissa Yeo, during a two-day media dialogue on water and sanitation in Jos, Plateau State capital, revealed that enough is not being done by the government especially in terms of counterpart release of funds. The searchlight was beamed on two local government areas in the state; Riyom and Shendam. It was revealed that the release of N200, 000 monthly which has been estimated to tackle the water and sanitation challenge has always not seen the light of day. The amount which is devoid of staff salaries is expected to deal with only operational expenses. While explaining the overview of the water supply, sanitation and sector reform project, Phase 3, Yeo lamented that “from 2011-2016, there has been a huge decline in access to sanitation and hand washing.” He revealed that Plateau State, according to the 2006 national census, has a total population of 3,207,543 and the state’s access to water in a survey carried out between 2013- 2014, is 42.10 per cent in which improved water source accounts for 22.50 per cent. He said access to sanitation in the state, stands at 28 per cent, while the practicing of open defecation, which is alarmingly high, is at 78 per cent. He narrowed down his analysis to the two aforementioned LGAs and statistics collated, showed that Shendam has a population of about 219, 825 and only 29.5 per cent have access to water and unfortunately, most of the water points are not working due to several factors which include over stretching of limited facilities, poor maintenance culture, inadequate logistics, inadequate support and rural community conflict amongst others. He further stated that “Access to water has increased from 24.30 per cent to 43 per cent in Shendam and from 22.50 per cent to 54 per cent in Riyom. In terms of sanitation, Shendam has moved from 19.40 per cent to 38 per cent and from 28 per cent to 56 per cent in Riyom. Yeo in a summary of the statistics said: “More money should be put into recurrent expenditure to ensure that planning is done more properly,

WASH can prevent diseases

and manpower to ensure that the investment made is properly utilised; projects are properly managed and water gets to people. So recurrent expenditure should be higher than capital and the government has not caught up with that. “Several times, government goes to communities and says it wants to provide water but they don’t talk to the community in order to know what they want. They provide services that nobody wants and are not prepared to use, or that nobody is ready to maintain and sustain. There are proliferations of boreholes all over the country and when a survey is done, it will be discovered that more than half of them are not functional and that’s because the communities were not consulted in decision making concerning the services they need. “Corruption has a role to play. Where are the opportunities for rent taking, for people taking money from government fund? It is when they deliver big infrastructure projects and where they can award contracts, rather than where people can be empowered to deliver

There is proliferation of boreholes all over the country, and when a survey is done, it will be discovered that more than half of them are not functional. That is because the communities were not consulted in decision making concerning the services they need

services.” UNICEF Nigeria Water Sanitation and Hygiene Chief, Zaid Jurji, in his analysis of the water, sanitation and hygiene situation in Nigeria, has stated that the travails of several Nigerians like Chundung has nothing to do with lack of water if only the grants that have been disbursed by the European Union were judiciously used for what they were meant for. He lamented the various situations that several Nigerians have found themselves in as a result of inability to access of good water. He said: “EU grant is quite disappointed at the inability of the government to pay counterpart funding. All that the system needs is restructuring. “With this, the water sector in Nigeria is underfunded; hence the numerous potentials it promises to deliver are untapped, thereby making the industry less attractive to Nigeria’s teeming youthful population who are unemployed.” In an interview with former WaterAid Country Director, Mr. Michael Ojo, on the water situation in Nigeria, it was revealed that what has always been released by the government is grossly inadequate in the face of a growing and teeming population. He said: “The sum of N44 billion was allocated for water resources in the 2016 budget, which is 0.7 per cent of the total budget as against 2.5 per cent which was expected. ”The 2016 allocation to the Ministry of Water Resources was inadequate in solving the water challenge plaguing the country, as the sum of N400-N600 billion is needed annually for the next 15 years in tackling the menace. “More disturbing is the issue of women and girls who are the most affected as in most cases, the search for water in the family is their responsibility which is not open for a debate. They are robbed of valuable time for productivity due to the saddled responsibility by nature, circumstance or culture,” he added. In Ganawuri chiefdom, Mr. Chaimang Yakubu Ataatem, a second class chief, leading a population of about 300,000 people whose major occupation if farming and is mostly carried out by women, said the issue of water has been a disturbing re-occurrence until the EU project which brought succour to the community that

have existed for over 800 years. He said: “The quest for water, which is so difficult, and can be equated to the search of diamonds has also exposed rural children to diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery. Unavailability of clean water and limited knowledge for lactating mothers in the constant washing and cleanliness of their breasts is responsible. “Another disaster in the country is the situation where women and girls capacity and potential for enterprise is under-utilised because of lack of access to water. When you talk about how families can tackle this problem, it is really talking about how girls and women can cope with it because they end up being the ones with the problem because they do the water fetching. “Many of them spend hours in a day, hours that could be used in a more productive economic activity is not available to them and some studies have shown that in Nigeria, women and girls spend between 2-4 months every year, just looking for water. “It might sound incredible but this is the reality, particularly in rural communities like ours where people have to go 2-3 hours to fetch water and sometimes up to four hours. So we have an economic potential that we are not utilising which has great potentials to develop our economy and complement workforce,” he said. Every man-made problem always has a solution. However, the problems must be identified for a lasting solution to hold sway as corruption and its several allies make up the list. Also, so much resources have been spent on infrastructure and not services. All the experts are optimistic that Nigeria can put the challenge of access to clean water behind her if the government, corporate organisations and individuals can come together and speak with one voice for the common good of all. They are reiterating that dramatic and sustained increase of funds is expected from the government; development partners should work with the government to ensure that monies provided are used for the purposes for which they were given and everyone carried along. The private sector should be included in a much structured manner for private sector participation.


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PERSPECTIVE

HowPreparedisNigeriaforanotherEbolaOutbreak? Chikwe Ihekweazu Events in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have caught the attention of the global health community once again. An outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was confirmed by the DRC Government on the 8th of May 2018. This outbreak has come with real and perceived threats to local, national and global health security, with countries placed on different levels of alert by the World Health Organisation (WHO). In Nigeria, the risk of spread has been classified as moderate by WHO, similar to all countries in Africa. The key question that has been asked by many Nigerians is ‘how prepared we for another outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease are?’ This can be attributed to the country’s experience in 2014 when an imported case of Ebola from Liberia, led to the death of eight people including four healthcare workers. The dramatic events that followed this outbreak have led to an increased awareness and risk perception by the population. About four years after Nigeria’s experience in responding to this outbreak, there have been several subsequent outbreaks in the country including Lassa fever, Monkey pox, Yellow Fever and Cholera. It is imperative therefore to review our level of preparedness and reassure Nigerians. After the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, a key lesson was that the preparedness and response capacity of countries requires significant investments to strengthen their health systems. In that light, many countries have begun to set up national public health institutes (NPHIs) that will focus on building the technical expertise to lead on prevention and preparedness as well as response capabilities The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was established in 2011 prior to the Ebola outbreak. However, the outbreak in 2014 was the young agency’s first experience in leading the response to a major outbreak. At the time, an ad-hoc Emergency Operations Centre had to be established and only became fully functional days into the outbreak. The Lagos University Teaching Hospital was the only one laboratory in the country with the capacity to confirm cases, a Rapid Response Team had to be hastily assembled, temporary isolation centres had to be erected in strategic places and other similar ‘ad-hoc operations’. The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak left us with a lot of lessons- the most important being the benefit of preparedness. Four years after, we have learnt that indeed national public health institutes have to be the focus of the activities. They can and should provide leadership in disease surveillance and outbreak investigations, reference laboratory services, including specialist diagnostic services for rare organisms, and advise their governments on development and evaluation of public health

Four years after the outbreak, we have learnt that indeed national public health institutes have to be the focus of the activities. They can and should provide leadership in disease surveillance and outbreak investigations, reference laboratory services, and advise their governments on development and evaluation of public health interventions

At least 17 persons have died from the recent Ebola outbreak in DRC

Ihekweazu and health workers at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo

interventions. This is the role NCDC now plays, creating a better health security infrastructure for Nigeria than what we had in 2014, and Nigeria is much safer and prepared than it has ever been. In 2017, in line with the Global Health Security Agenda, we opened up our infrastructure and domestic resources for a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) led by the World Health Organisation. This was supported by experts from other public health institutes across the world. This peer review process highlighted several gaps and provided key recommendations towards strengthening our health system to effectively prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks and threats of public health importance. Close to a year after this process, several gaps have been closed; a stronger political commitment and a multi-sectorial workforce established, and we are in a better position than ever before to respond to outbreaks. One key area of strength for us in the last one year, has been the establishment of an Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) that ensures coordination during outbreaks. On the day the DRC confirmed an Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, our ICC was immediately activated and placed on alert mode. Although there are no Ebola Virus Disease cases in Nigeria, a coordination group has been set up to mitigate the risk. This group of experts have developed and disseminated a public health advisory note to the general public reminding them of what to do to prevent an outbreak and what to do in the event of an

outbreak. A letter of alert has been sent to all states in the country highlighting the key needs of human resource, an isolation centre within a tertiary health facility, enhanced surveillance especially at points of entry and communication lines. The national port health services have been put on high alert and screenings heightened at all points of entry. Although the current outbreak in the Bikoro region of DRC is reported to have begun in April, gaps in the surveillance system meant cases were not reported on time. This is similar to our experience in Nigeria during the 2017 Cerebrospinal Meningitis outbreak which began in December but cases were not reported till January. It is in response to this that we are strengthening our surveillance system through the roll out of digital surveillance tools such as SORMAS. This ensures real time case-based reporting of priority diseases and diseases of public health importance. Deploying this tool in states will lead to an increased reporting and early detection by our state epidemiologists and disease surveillance and notification officers on the frontline. The first two confirmed cases in the current outbreak in the DRC were confirmed in its National Reference Laboratory. Despite the public health challenges the country faces, the Institut National de Recherece Biomedicale still leads the diagnosis of pathogens of public health importance. Our newly opened National Reference Laboratory in Abuja, one of the significant new projects post-Ebola, is also now in a position

to diagnose many diseases of public health importance. There is no doubt that national public health institutes such as ours need people who are both content experts and knowledgeable of the local context. We have continuously strengthened our capacity at the national level and supported the foot soldiers- state epidemiologists and disease surveillance and notification officers at the Local Government level. Our Field Epidemiology Residents and graduates who have undergone the national training programme continue to grow and are invaluable assets to the work we do. We have also begun a roll out of Lassa fever case management training across the country and developed a module for infection prevention and control training. Human resource for health remains one of our biggest strengths. Gradually, we are building an even stronger multi-sectorial workforce to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases in Nigeria, guided by the One Health approach. Our agency continues to go through several changes which we term growth phases. From the legislative backing to progress across key pillars of surveillance, detection, preparedness and response, we are definitely better prepared as a country to prevent and if necessary, respond to another outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease. Ihekweazu is an infectious disease epidemiologist and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control


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NEWS Emzor Reacts to Codeine Crisis, Says It Will Drive Awareness against Drug Abuse Ayodeji Ake One of the pharmaceutical firms named in the codeine crisis published by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) investigations recently, Emzor Pharmaceuticals, has stated that it will be driving campaigns against the menace of drug abuse among youths in Nigeria. It said the campaign, which will partner parents, agencies and the government, was part of its corporate social responsibility to reduce to the minimum if not eradicate, the rampart drug consumption in the country. The Chief Executive Officer, Emzor Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Stella Okoli, speaking during a press conference in Lagos recently, said she was disappointed that drugs meant for treatment of ailment was being abused by youths in the country. She said: “We are deeply touched to know that our hope and future, the youths of this country have issues with drug abuse. “As a mother, my heart is heavy as I reach out to the families affected. We shall all work together to overcome this problem. We must join

hands in harmony to solve the problem of drug abuse. Emzor is a major player in pharmaceutical for more than 40 years proving medicine at an affordable cost. And we have been rewarded with confidence and comments by our customers,” she said. She said Emzor was set up for Nigerians because of gaps in the healthcare sector, adding that, “the reward for hard work is more hard work no matter the challenges. All is well because we have a big God. We are committed to providing quality healthcare services which is our calling. “Many have exited this industry because it is tough, but striving hard will result to success. We want the youths to grow and become proud Nigerians. I want to reassure you of our commitment, the affordability is not because we don’t want to earn more money but to make sure it has a far reach by being in circulation,” she said. She said Emzor has done a lot for Nigerian youths as it runs a wellness club, preach the gospel of good health, advocate for good behaviour, or give hope to Nigerians.

‘36% of Nigerians Believe their Health Needs are Met by Current System’ Martins Ifijeh A recent survey conducted on 500 Nigerians by Royal Philips has shown that about half of the citizens trust Nigeria’s healthcare system while only 36 per cent feel their healthcare needs are being met, highlighting a discrepancy between the healthcare expectations of Nigerians and the reality The findings reveal that with more than half of Nigerians leaning on hospital facilities for the most minor of ailments, there is a clear need for improved access to primary care practitioners, local health facilities, tracking health indicators and a wider availability of information about health, nutrition and fitness. This approach, according to the Chief Executive Officer of Philips Africa, Jasper Westerink, “further reinforced by the fact that majority (65 per cent) of Nigerians believe

improved access to health facilities would make them more effective in managing their health, thus alleviating pressure on the healthcare system. “This study highlights the need for a greater focus on preventive healthcare for a sustainable health system, especially given the prevalence of lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The results also reinforce the need for the national government to invest a significant percentage of its healthcare budget towards medical research, preventive care, acute care and general health education. This also suggests that more personalised consultations, more first-time right diagnosis, and timely treatments from healthcare professionals (HCPs) will further help reduce the burden on the healthcare industry in the country.” Westerink continues, “With these findings as a guiding

light, we are engaging with all relevant stakeholders to drive the debate and ultimately improve the quality and cost effectiveness of healthcare services for future generations. We believe that sustainable healthcare development requires a system-wide approach, combining technology, capacitybuilding including training, service and maintenance, as well as long-term financing. To that end, we aim to expand access to quality and affordable healthcare across the country and compliment significant efforts to strengthen Nigeria’s growing health sector.” He said other key findings of the survey include: “Nigerians feel the national government should be deploying an equal proportion of its healthcare budget toward “sick care” (49 per cent) and on preventive measures (48 per cent). “A majority (65 per cent) of Nigerians believe improved access to health facilities would

make them more effective in managing their health, followed by keeping track of health indicators (52 per cent), and access to more information about health, nutrition and fitness (48 per cent). 82 per cent believe that the National Health Insurance will have a positive impact on patient outcomes over time. Among those who have ever seen a healthcare professional, most (64 per cent) are confident in their healthcare professionals’ understanding of connected care technology Looking to the future, he said consumers are increasingly expecting to use digital technologies to control when, where and how they receive care services. “By harnessing digital technologies in this way, the healthcare sector will increasingly be able to empower human judgement, free up clinician time and personalise care services to put control in the hands of patients.

NIROPHARM Calls for Regulation Strengthening against Drug Abuse Martins Ifijeh As part of efforts to tackle the increase in drug abuse in Nigeria among youths, the Nigeria Representative of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NIROPHARM) has blamed weak regulatory control and poor funding of regulatory agencies for the drug crisis in the country. NIROPHARM in a statement signed by the President, Mr. Femi Soremekun, said: “The regulatory environment is weak and deficient, and requires strengthening for comprehensive regulation of all outlets involved in the supply and dispensing of pharmaceutical products.” The group said the abuse of codeine, other opioids such as tramadol as well as hypnotics such as flunitrazepam is endemic and requires a holistic approach by the government, regulators, industry players and the community to mitigate. They urged government to set up a multidisciplinary committee to evaluate the root causes as well as look at ways of managing the menace of substance abuse in Nigeria. NIROPHARM, however, commended the recent efforts of the National Assembly in proposing two bills on substance abuse and mental health, as well as drug control. The group urged government to work with stakeholders on proffering safer alternatives to

these drugs of abuse so as to prevent imminent underground and illicit trade on these opioids. They said government should put adequate measures in place for the fallout of the ban on codeine syrups including managing the withdrawal syndrome on addicts and also create more rehabilitation centres to take care of such fallouts. NIROPHARM said the need for the implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG) cannot be over-emphasised and NIROPHARM fully support the January 2019 take-off date. They said growing menace of unhindered access to all classes of drugs by the populace could only by tamed with good distribution practices by all stakeholders and proper oversight by regulators. NIROPHARM said the NDDG must be hinged on good infrastructure, regulations and technology with track and trace components such as serialisation of each pack of product released into the Nigerian pharmaceutical supply chain; where all players in the supply and value chain are locked in, creating transparency on what comes in and what goes out. NIROPHARM said it was open to consultation with government to look at ways to improve the drug distribution system in Nigeria.

L-R: Executive Director, General Duties, Human Resources/Finance, Mrs. Uzoma Ezeoke; Group Managing Director/ CEO, Dr Stella Okoli; Director,Regulatory Affairs,Mrs. Chinelo Umeh; and Manager, Inventory, Mr. Richard Ohahuru, during the Emzor Pharmaceuticals Press Conference on the reopening of the company’s liquid factory in Lagos recently ETOP UKUT

RocheLaunchesInnovativeMedicineagainstBreastCancerinNigeria Martins Ifijeh Swiss multinational, Roche has launched the subcutaneous formulation of Herceptin, its flagship breast cancer drug in Nigeria. Known as Herceptin SC, this subcutaneous formulation allows the drug to be administered by injection instead of the common intravenous (IV) administration. Speaking at the launch, the Country Manager Roche Nigeria, Oladipupo Hameed, said the subcutaneous administration is less invasive and takes approximately five minutes instead of 30-90 minutes with the IV administration, adding that this offers greater convenience to patients and simplifies healthcare procedures by removing the need for reconstitution or dose calculation according to the body weight of the patient. “At Roche, we believe that patients in Nigeria should receive the same treatment as those in other parts of the world and this launch is a testament to that

belief. Research has shown that maintaining a normal life and spending time with loved ones can improve the well-being of women with breast cancer. “This drug represents the next level of innovation in breast cancer treatment and we are very pleased that it may enable patients to spend less time in the hospital and

more time getting on with their lives.” He said Roche remains a global leader in cancer treatments, adding that the launch of the drug in Nigeria was the first of its kind in subSaharan Africa. “This further reinforces the company’s pioneer status in Nigeria as being at the forefront of cancer care. It also paves the

way for the launch of many more innovative medicines in Roche’s extensive pipeline. The company has high expectations for Herceptin SC. “We are very optimistic that Herceptin SC will be well embraced by healthcare professionals and patients in Nigeria and will make way for many more innovative medicines in the near future.”


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HEALTH NEWS Hadiza Masari Calls for Groups Donate Mosquito Nets, Anti-Malaria Drug to Aggressive Campaigns against Community “In line with this year’s Manager, Mopheth Pharmacy, the community receive free Drug Abuse Ayodeji Ake Martins Ifijeh The wife of the Governor of Katsina State, Hadiza Aminu Bello Masari, has called on stakeholders in the country to institute aggressive campaigns against drug abuse in the country to secure the future of Nigerian youths who face uncertainties and a bleak future due to persistent substance abuse which also imperils the much needed human capital development. Mrs. Masari who commended the recent banning of codeine importation and local production announced by the federal government made this call in Funtua, Katsina State while addressing participants at a workshop on combating drug abuse organised by her NGO the Centre for the Advancement of Mothers and Children (CEAMOC). She tasked regulatory authorities and security agencies to up the ante by constantly being on the alert, arresting and prosecuting culprits and mounting aggressive advocacy and. mass mobilisation campaign to rid our communities of illicit drugs and bad eggs. Furthermore, the governor’s wife appealed to the three tiers of government, civil societies, faith-based organisations as well as development partners to close ranks in the fight against drug abuse by way of providing durable solutions through

rehabilitation and appropriate legislation. Speakers at the workshop with the theme ‘Community Sensitisation Campaign Against Drug Abuse’ which include Sheikh Aminu Daurawa, Director General Kano State Hisbah, Bashir Ruwan Godiya, Special Adviser to the Katsina State Governor on Higher Education and the State Commandant of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), Maryam Sani who was represented by Mr. Mustapha Maikudi unanimously agreed on the need for concerted efforts to combat the monster of drug abuse which spares no one in the society. In his contribution, Sheikh Aminu Daurawa prescribed a four-step approach towards combating the menace. According to him, the steps some of which have already been adopted by the Kano State Government include Counselling; Rehabilitation; Empowerment and the incorporation of terrorism and drug abuse in the national curricular of education. On his part, Ruwan Godiya, urged politicians to desist from encouraging thuggery by the youths during electioneering campaigns and advised them to explore other avenues of engaging the youths in productive endeavours since drug abuse does not recognise ethnic, religious, regional or geographical boundaries.

To commemorate the 2018 World Malaria Day, Itel Mobile in partnership with Mophet Pharmacy has distributed mosquito nets to children and mothers in Isele Akoka community of Lagos State. The Itel ‘Always On’ initiative, which is part of its corporate social responsibility action plan and commitment towards giving back to communities within its coverage area, also saw residents of

medical tests and anti-malaria drugs as part of measures to join the global fight against malaria. Speaking on the event, the Marketing Communications Manager, Oke Umurhohwo, explained that as a company committed to social responsibility, the WMD provides an opportunity for them to provide support in fighting malaria and contributing its quota to ensuring a relatively healthier society.

theme, we are working to bridge the gap in malaria prevention in riverine communities and that is why we decided to partner with Mopheth to sensitise the community on malaria prevention with the distribution of over 1,500 treated mosquito nets and also provided free medical tests and treatment to members of communities most prone to the disease.” Addressing the beneficiaries at the Isele Akoka shanty, Retail

Remi Oreagba, said the good health of a nation is predicated on the good health of children and mothers who take care of the home front, saying, “When malaria haunts the mother, the nation is haunted.” She urged the beneficiaries to clean up their environment and use insecticide treated mosquito nets as required when going to bed to help reduce the spread of malaria, which she said remains a killer disease in sub-Saharan Africa.

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole (m); Country Director, Save The Children International (STCI), Ben Foot; and members of the STCI team, during a courtesy visit to the minister in Abuja recently

Tobacco Consumption Contributes 12% Deaths from Red Cross Expands Medical Lagos Commences Heart Diseases, Says NHF Free Health Mission in Coverage, Launches Website Olufemi lamented that impleCommunities Ayodeji Ake Tobacco use and second-hand smoke is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), including coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease; contributing about 12 per cent death from heart disease, the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF), has said. Addressing journalists at a press briefing in Lagos recently to commemorate the World No-Tobacco Day 2018, themed ‘Tobacco and heart disease’, the Chairman, Executive Council, NHF, Dr. Olufemi Mobolaji-Lawal noted that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco use kills seven million people worldwide each year and that number is predicted to grow unless anti-tobacco actions are increased. He said: “In Africa, the number of smokers continues to increase progressively in spite of more than 52 countries becoming signatory to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) since 2005. Though the prevalence of tobacco use remains low in African region, the positive economic growth in some countries , and the rapid inflow of transnational tobacco companies in many African countries continue to contribute to increasing tobacco use rates” he said.

mentation of the FCTC in Africa was still very poor amidst stiff competition with the growing number of tobacco companies in Africa. In comparison,, he said “In United State, tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of death and disease. Tobacco is recognized as a cause of heart disease, stroke, lung disease and other health problems”. Olufemi revealed that the foundation was working on an essay competition amongst secondary school students to write on the ‘hazards of tobacco to the heart: role of stakeholders in Nigeria’ and to draw like conclusion on ending tobacco consumption. Commenting on increasing prevalence rate of tobacco use base on data, the Executive Director, NHF, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye said the first data on tobacco was in 1990, which then showed the prevalence was about five percent. In 2003, it increased to about 10 per cent and youth survey revealed that population of the youths smoking tobacco in Nigeria is about 18 per cent. On adult data, kingsley said the data is still very low but it will be on high risk not creating awareness on tobacco hazards because It takes about 20 years before tobacco react in the body which could mean that in the next 20 years there may be an increase in tobacco hazard.

Ayodeji Ake The voluntary aid society and an auxiliary to public authorities, Red Cross, has launched its website in a view of expanding the medical outreach of the body in Nigeria, as well as creating accessible platform for registration. According the National President, Red Cross society Nigeria, Chief Bolaji Anani, he told journalists at the official launch of the website in Lagos recently, that the society is embarking on a restructuring programme and resilience activities in rural and urban areas to empower residents on self medical aid. He said: “The Nigeria Red Cross Society is part of a global movement. It contends more of humanitarian activities. We work in collaboration without conflict. We deliver service as appropriate. It’s a community base humanitarian organisation because we are all over Nigeria. “Where there is disaster, diseases, displacements from conflicts, and dehumanisation of human being we are always there. We are also carrying out resilience duties because we may not be there all the time. Disaster and conflict can occur anytime, so we build resilience so that the people will be able to do something for them self.”

Bolaji noted the organisation has also been committed to educating, informing and empowering communities on me3dical aid. “We prepare the community and our population by way of education. We send out messages that will sustain wellness. We give out warning message to people where there is disaster. We carry out swift response by supporting people by way of distribution of materials and other form of help.” He further said the society was set to develop new system and capacity by way of developing new polices and sanctions by also improving on status and collaborations with the nation societies. “We invite in new partnership and new strategies. We have got a lot of international partnership for development to deliver medical services, also embracing the internet services. We are also rebuilding our relationship with the government at the federal level and in the state. Currently, we have about 300 staff employees and over 5,000 volunteers trained and we are not relenting,” he said Emphasising on resilience building, Bolaji said the dream is to ensure the community stand on its own. “We tend to keep that flying with community engagement.

Martins Ifijeh The Lagos State Government has announced the planned commencement of another round of its free medical expedition programme tagged ‘The Eko Health Mission’ which offers free health services to residents including consultation and treatment for common ailments as well as screening for hypertension, diabetes, eye care and provision of eye glasses, dental care, family planning services, HIV counseling and testing amongst others. The Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris in a press statement released recently, and made available to THISDAY, noted that the Eko Health Mission programme, which started 15th of May will end 31st of August, 2018, adding that select local government and local council development areas will be visited. Explaining the rationale for embarking on the programme by the state government, the commissioner said free health missions were embarked upon to serve as alternative source to increasing access to healthcare delivery especially to the people at the grassroots. He said: “The state government is continuously finding

ways to improve the health status of its ever-increasing population and the plan for achieving this is based on the health policy thrust which is guided by the noble goal that every Lagosian enjoys unfettered access to qualitative healthcare without any barrier whatsoever.” Idris disclosed that the strategies adopted in implementing these policies includes the introduction and provision of various programmes that have direct impact on the health outcome of Lagosians stressing that these programmes are geared towards promoting health, detecting diseases early and offering treatment and rehabilitation. While noting the Health Missions are short-term interventions, Idris stated that the programme is geared towards the strategic development plan of ensuring universal health coverage adding that the Missions provide services that take healthcare to the doorsteps of its citizens at no cost to the people. “These health missions are significant because they enable this administration to provide healthcare services to all who come irrespective of their age, gender, socioeconomic status and affiliations,” he added.


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BUSINESS/MONEYGUIDE

BDCs Harp on Review of Exchange Rate Band Obinna Chima The President of Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe has reiterated the need for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review the exchange rate band at which Bureaux de Change (BDCs) buy dollars to align with commercial banks’ buying rate. Gwadabe was quoted to have made this call in a statement ahead of the 261st meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) scheduled to commence next Monday. The ABCON boss said BDC operators still buy dollars from International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) as directed by the CBN at N360/$ and sell at N361.5/$ whereas commercial banks buy at N357/$ and sell at N360/$. He therefore urged the CBN

to merge the BDCs and bank rates to achieve market harmony and level playing field for all stakeholders. He said the underlying market intrigues and political anxieties in the countrywere pointers that the CBN needs to listen to ABCON demand and merge both rates in the interest of the naira and economy. Gwadabe said leaving the rates as they are presently, does not allow healthy competition between both segments of the market. According to him, the rising naira liquidity, high demand for dollars in the travel seasons, payment of school fees for students studying abroad and rising forex demand at the retail end of the market remain big concerns for exchange rate stability. Gwadabe however cited the growing fiscal buffers which

have seen the foreign exchange reserves hit $47.8 billion and the financial discipline seen in current administration as big plus for the economy and naira’s stability. He also said rising oil prices will continue to arm the CBN with required ammunition to tackle any act that will hurt the system. Oil prices were projected to hit $85 per barrel by July and have remained above $78 per barrel in the last few days. Gwadabe said the economic war between America and China make Nigeria a preferred choice for investment by international firms. He said the continuous stability at the Investors’ & Exporters’ (I&E) Forex Window and the BDCs subsector will continue to boost investors’ confidence in the economy while improving capacity in the manufacturing sector.

FCMB Attains ISO CertiďŹ cation on Quality Management First City Monument Bank (FCMB) said it has been awarded the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 9001:2015 certificate for Quality Management System. The bank was presented with the certificate by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), following a comprehensive audit and evaluation exercise conducted by the Organisation. The exercise covered departments and branches of the lender, nationwide. According to a statement, the development came on the heels of its renewed strategic focus of FCMB, which it stated had deepened its core values of professionalism, sustainability, customer focus and excellence. The ISO 9001:2015 provides a framework that ensures that organisations are able to meet customers’ and other applicable requirements consistently. It consists of policies, processes

and procedures required for planning and execution that guarantee continuousimprovement and operational efficiency in the core business areas of an organisation. This helps to mitigate risks, optimise opportunities and the organisation is able to deliver better products/ services and sustainable excellent stakeholders experience. The SON audit of FCMB covered key areas including context of the organisation, leadership, planning, support and operation. Others were performance evaluation and improvement. In his comment at the certificate presentation ceremony, the bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Adam Nuru, was quoted to have described the laurel as another milestone in the commitment of the Bank to attain excellence in all aspects of operations and service delivery. “The award of ISO 9001:2015

certificate is an endorsement of our ability to consistently demonstrate commitment to continuous improvement in order to match the ever-changing needs of our esteemed customers, and in response to market demands and the global dynamics. We regularly ensure the internal appraisal of the risks and opportunities inherent in our business and thereafter take proactive steps to mitigate the identified risks, while optimising the opportunities for the ultimate benefit of our customers, stakeholders and the country,� he added. In his speech, the Director General/Chief Executive, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Osita Aboloma, commended FCMB for distinguishing itself as an organisation committed to a culture of continuous improvement, professionalism and best practices.

MARKET INDICATORS MONEY AND CREDIT STATISTICS

(MILLION NAIRA)

MARCH 2018 Broad Money (M2)

24,303,049.86

-- Narrow Money (M1)

10,912,604.10

---- Currency Outside Banks

1,668,378.21

---- Demand Deposits

9,244,225.90

-- Quasi Money

13,390,445.76

Net Foreign Assets (NFA)

15,619,134.18

Net Domestic Assets(NDA)

8,683,915.68

-- Net Domestic Credit (NDC)

26,267,136.53

---- Credit to Government (Net)

3,823,345.45

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

5,433,209.43

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

-1,609,863.98

---- Credit to Private Sector (CPS)

22,443,791.08

--Other Assets Net

-17,583,220.85

Reserve Money (Base Money)

6,746,646.49

--Currency in Circulation

1,668,378.21

--Banks Reserves

4,357,551.58 ˞ÙĂ&#x;ĂœĂ?Ă?Ě‹

Baobab MFB Organises Customer Day Ugo AliogoĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽ Esther Ehoche As part of efforts to strengthen its relationship with customers, Baobab Microfinance Bank has organised its customer day forum. The event was also to celebrate the patronage of its customers. Speaking at the event in Lagos recently, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kazeem Olanrewanju, applauded the giant stride of the bank which has grown to 10 branches in different locations in Lagos with six branches in Kaduna State. He also stated that the bank

has helped in the removal of over 200 derelicts and unemployed graduates from the streets. “The bank has recorded enviable success and organic growth. In 2016, over 11,000 customers had taken loans which clearly states that the bank is growing in terms of human capital development and entrepreneurial development, Baobab is in 10 African countries and they have digital technologies driving their businesses,� Olanrewanju. He disclosed that Baobab is in 10 African countries, with digital technologies driving its businesses. Olanrewanju also highlighted

the challenges the firm had when it came came to Lagos. According to him, N22 billion is to be disbursed this year, saying for those who have business plan, the condition to procure such facility would berelaxed. “Baobab is a microfinance bank that is poised to deliver good banking operations to customers. It has spread into different African countries such as Senegal, Mali, Madagascar, etc,� he added. The CEO said its management was working hard to source for cheaper funding, adding that before the end of the year there would be reduction in the interest rate.

Cocoa Rebounds from Multi-week Lows Cocoa prices rose on Wednesday after tapping multi-week lows, erasing most of the prior session’s steep losses as fund buying returned to the markets. Reuters disclosed that Arabica coffee also inched higher. It revealed that July New York cocoa settled up $56, or 2.1per cent, at $2,730 per tonne, after

falling to a one-month low at $2,629. The trend-following fund buying provided a boost, traders said, causing prices to give up much of the prior session’s losses. Also, July futures closed down 3.8 per cent on Tuesday, its biggest one-day fall in six weeks. Meanwhile, total open

interest dropped just 416 lots to 305,050 lots, ICE data show. Tuesday’s sharp decline was thought to have signalled an end of this year’s strong runup in prices, dealers said, but that may have been premature. It’s system (funds) that are defending today,� one U.S. trader said.

Money Market Indicators (in Percentage) Month

March 2018

Inter-Bank Call Rate

15.16

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

14.00

Treasury Bill Rate

11.84

Savings Deposit Rate

4.07

1 Month Deposit Rate

8.82

3 Months Deposit Rate

9.72

6 Months Deposit Rate

10.93

12 Months Deposit Rate

10.21

Prime Lending rate

17.35

Maximum Lending Rate

31.55

ËžĂ™Ă˜Ă?ĂžĂ‹ĂœĂŁÙÖÓĂ?ĂŁĂ‹ĂžĂ?Ě‹ͯ͹Ϲ

OPEC DAILY BASKET PRICE AS AT TUESDAY MAY 15, 2018

The price of OPEC basket of fourteen crudes stood at $75.47 a barrel on Tuesday, compared with $74.20 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. The OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), ZaďŹ ro (Equatorial Guinea), Rabi Light (Gabon), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela SOURCE: OPEC headquarters, Vienna


41

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MARKET NEWS

Lafarge Africa Shareholders Approve N100bn Bond Issuance Goddy Egene Shareholders of Lafarge Plc yesterday at the annual general meeting (AGM) in Lagos approved plans by the company to issue a N100 billion bond later in 2018. The proceeds of the bond would be used to refinance the company’s debts and it is coming after the company raised N131.6 billion through Rights Issue last year.

Chairman of the Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Mobolaji Balogun said the company had a debt of $600 billion in 2016. “In order to address the impact on the business, $300 million was hedged via nondeliverable forward FX contracts provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria,� he said. He said hence, the company raised N131.6 billion from a rights issue, which was subscribed by 100 percent to

P R I C E S MAIN BOARD

F O R DEALS

finance part of the debts. Balogun said the N100 billion will be used to refinance already existing debts. “The proposal this year is to refinance some of that debt. We cannot continue to sit on a large concentration of dollar-denominated debts and therefore, we need to refinance.� Meanwhile, he has explained that the dividend of N13 billion recommended by the board for 2017 financial was in appreciation

S E C U R I T I E S MARKET PRICE

QUANTITY TRADED

VALUE TRADED ( N )

of the support shown by the shareholders so far and a worthy return on their investments. “The board of directors is mindful of the support of all our shareholders through the difficult but necessary journey to transform the company into a more agile and correctly financed business ready to benefit from the potential opportunities in Nigerian building materials (market).� He also assured shareholders

T R A D E D MAIN BOARD

A S

that restructuring of the capital structure of the company largely completed through the past year would help to significantly reduce the cost of financing and currency translation risk. According to him, the company is implementing a new route-to-market initiative aimed at supporting the anticipated growth in demand as the country gradually recovers from recession and as foreign exchange rates stabilise.

O F

Also speaking at the AGM, the Country Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa Plc, Michel Puchercos expressed optimism about the performance of the company in the current year. “Improvement plans in Nigeria delivered strong operational performance while turnaround actions will be consolidated further in 2018 through energy optimisation as well as commercial and logistic improvement,� Puchercos said.

0 9 / 0 5 / 2 0 1 8 DEALS

MARKET PRICE

QUANTITY TRADED

VALUE TRADED ( N)


     ˾  THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

42

Nigeria Daily Stock Market Report:

d,/^z &Z/Es^d ϰϬ KEd/Eh dK KhdWZ&KZDE^^/ΘE^ϯϬ/Ey dŚĞdŚŝƐĂLJĨƌŝŶǀĞƐƚϰϬŝŶĚĞdžǁĂƐĐƌĞĂƚĞĚϭϭŵŽŶƚŚƐĂŐŽ ;:ƵŶĞϱƚŚϮϬϭϳͿĐŽŶƐŝƐƟŶŐŽĨϰϬƐƚŽĐŬƐǁŚŝĐŚĐƵƚĂĐƌŽƐƐƚŚĞ ǀĂƌŝŽƵƐ ƐĞĐƚŽƌƐ ŽŶ ƚŚĞ EŝŐĞƌŝĂŶ ^ƚŽĐŬ džĐŚĂŶŐĞ͘ dŚĞƐĞ ƐƚŽĐŬƐ ǁĞƌĞ ƐĞůĞĐƚĞĚ ďĂƐĞĚ ŽŶ ƚŚĞŝƌ ůŝƋƵŝĚŝƚLJ͕ ƚƌĂĚĂďŝůŝƚLJ ;ŇŽĂƚͿ ĂŶĚ ƐŝnjĞ ;ŵĂƌŬĞƚ ĐĂƉŝƚĂůŝnjĂƟŽŶͿ͘ ŽůůĞĐƟǀĞůLJ͕ ƚŚĞƐĞ ƐƚŽĐŬƐ ĂĐĐŽƵŶƚ ĨŽƌ ϵϰ͘Ϭй ŽĨ ƚŽƚĂů ŵĂƌŬĞƚ ĐĂƉŝƚĂůŝnjĂƟŽŶ ĂŶĚ ĂƉƉƌŽdžŝŵĂƚĞůLJϰϮ͘ϬйŽĨƚƌĂĚĂďůĞŇŽĂƚ͘

Ɛ Ăƚ tĞĚŶĞƐĚĂLJ ϭϲƚŚ DĂLJ ϮϬϭϴ͕ ƚŚĞ ĨƌŝŶǀĞƐƚ ϰϬ ŝŶĚĞdž ŐĂŝŶĞĚϯϮďƉƐƚŽĐůŽƐĞůŽǁĞƌĂƚϭ͕ϳϬϲ͘ϯϴƉŽŝŶƚƐǁŚŝůĞŝƚƐzd ƌĞƚƵƌŶ ĞdžƉĂŶĚĞĚ ƚŽ ϭϬ͘ϲй͘ dŚĞ zd ƌĞƚƵƌŶ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ dŚŝƐĂLJ ĨƌŝŶǀĞƐƚ ϰϬ ƐƵƌƉĂƐƐĞƐ ƚŚĞ zd ƌĞƚƵƌŶ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ E^Ͳůů ^ŚĂƌĞ /ŶĚĞdžĂŶĚƚŚĞE^ϯϬ͕ǁŚŝĐŚĂƌĞĐƵƌƌĞŶƚůLJĂƚϳ͘ϮйĂŶĚϲ͘ϱй ƌĞƐƉĞĐƟǀĞůLJ͘ zĞƐƚĞƌĚĂLJ͛ƐĂƉƉƌĞĐŝĂƟŽŶŝŶƚŚĞdŚŝƐĚĂLJĨƌŝŶǀĞƐƚϰϬǁĂƐĚƵĞ ƚŽ ŐĂŝŶƐ ŝŶ E/d, ;нϬ͘ϱйͿ͕ E/'Z/E ZtZ/^ ;нϮ͘ϯйͿ ĂŶĚE^d>;нϭ͘ϳйͿǁŚŝĐŚĐƵŵƵůĂƟǀĞůLJĂĐĐŽƵŶƚƐĨŽƌϮϴ͘Ϭй ŽĨƚŚĞŝŶĚĞdž͘

Thursday, May 17, 2018

THISDAY AFRINVEST 40 INDEX Fundamental Performance Metrics for THISDAY AFRINVEST 40 Index

Ticker

Current Price

Price Change Index to Date

ROE

ROA

P/E

P/BV

10.6%

70.6%

19.8%

7.3%

7.8x

1.0x

4.8%

10.5%

Previous Price Current Price Change Weighting Change YTD

THISDAY AFRINVEST 40 1,706.38

0.32% 0.0%

Divinden Earnings d Yield Yield

1

Guaranty Trust Bank PLC

44.00

20.9%

8.0%

8.5%

32.6%

5.2%

7.1x

2.5x

6.1%

14.0%

2

Zenith Bank PLC

27.75

0.5%

12.8%

8.2%

7.0%

26.3%

3.6%

4.6x

1.2x

9.7%

21.5%

3

Nigerian Brew eries PLC

127.70

2.3%

7.7%

-5.3%

-5.4%

17.4%

8.3%

32.0x

5.4x

3.2%

3.1%

4

Nestle Nigeria PLC

1,600.00

1.7%

7.5%

2.8%

2.8%

73.3%

18.9%

37.3x

23.7x

2.7%

2.7%

5

Dangote Cement PLC

250.00

2.7%

6.1%

8.7%

8.7%

22.7%

12.0%

21.6x

5.0x

4.2%

4.6%

-1.3%

12.2%

6

FBN Holdings Plc

11.35

6.4%

29.0%

29.1%

6.7%

0.8%

8.2x

0.6x

2.2%

7

Access Bank PLC

11.00

-1.8%

4.3%

5.3%

3.8%

12.7%

1.5%

5.4x

0.7x

5.9%

18.5%

8

United Bank for Africa PLC

11.45

-1.3%

4.4%

11.2%

10.0%

15.9%

1.9%

5.1x

0.8x

7.4%

19.8%

9

Ecobank Transnational Inc

10

SEPLAT Petroleum Development C

21.30

1.4%

3.7%

25.3%

30.9%

-14.6%

-1.3%

7.1x

0.8x

2.9%

14.1%

750.00

0.0%

3.3%

19.8%

19.8%

22.3%

13.2%

3.9x

0.8x

2.5%

26.0%

0.0%

11

Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC

49.00

3.1%

18.1%

19.8%

28.9%

3.8%

9.3x

2.7x

1.0%

10.8%

12

Unilever Nigeria PLC

52.35

4.9%

2.9%

27.7%

30.2%

19.2%

8.0%

28.0x

3.8x

1.0%

3.6%

13

Guinness Nigeria PLC

104.00

0.0%

2.3%

10.6%

10.6%

15.4%

6.1%

19.8x

2.7x

0.6%

5.1%

14

Lafarge Africa PLC

41.00

-0.2%

1.4%

-8.7%

-8.7%

-36.8%

-7.7%

2.3x

3.7%

-15.0%

15

Fidelity Bank PLC

2.31

0.4%

1.1%

-6.1%

-10.5%

10.4%

1.4%

1.8x

0.4x

4.8%

55.1%

7.20

-2.7%

ĂƌŐĂŝŶ,ƵŶƟŶŐŝŶĞůůǁĞƚŚĞƌƐƵĐŬDĂƌŬĞƚĞĂƌŝƐŚZƵŶ͙ E^^/ƵƉϵϯďƉƐ

16

Oando PLC

1.4%

20.2%

20.2%

10.3%

1.5%

8.9x

0.5x

17

Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC

19.00

2.4%

1.0%

-5.0%

-6.7%

45.0%

20.0%

5.7x

2.1x

13.2%

17.7%

18

Okomu Oil Palm PLC

78.40

-5.0%

1.1%

15.8%

15.8%

39.7%

29.4%

7.8x

2.7x

3.8%

12.8%

ĂƌŐĂŝŶ ŚƵŶƟŶŐ ŝŶ ƐŽŵĞ ďĞůůǁĞƚŚĞƌ ƐƚŽĐŬƐ ʹ E'D ;нϮ͘ϳйͿ͕E/'Z/EZtZ/^;нϮ͘ϯйͿ͕E^d>;нϭ͘ϳйͿĂŶĚ hE/>sZ;нϰ͘ϵйͿʹĞŶĚĞĚƚŚĞϮͲĚĂLJďĞĂƌŝƐŚƌƵŶŝŶƚŚĞůŽĐĂů ďŽƵƌƐĞ ƚŽ ƉƵƐŚ ƚŚĞ ůů ^ŚĂƌĞ /ŶĚĞdž ϵϯďƉƐ ŚŝŐŚĞƌ ƚŽ ϰϬ͕ϵϵϮ͘ϵϳ ƉŽŝŶƚƐ ǁŚŝůĞ zd ƌĞƚƵƌŶ ŝŶĐƌĞĂƐĞĚ ƚŽ ϳ͘Ϯй͘ ĐĐŽƌĚŝŶŐůLJ͕ ŝŶǀĞƐƚŽƌƐ ŐĂŝŶĞĚ Eϭϯϲ͘ϴďŶ ĂƐ ŵĂƌŬĞƚ ĐĂƉŝƚĂůŝnjĂƟŽŶ ƌŽƐĞ ƚŽ Eϭϰ͘ϴƚŶ͘ ĐƟǀŝƚLJ ůĞǀĞů͕ ǁĂƐ ŵŝdžĞĚ ƚŽĚĂLJ ĂƐ ƚŚĞ ǀŽůƵŵĞ ƚƌĂĚĞĚ ƌŽƐĞ Ϯϳ͘ϲй ƚŽ Ϯϱϵ͘ϱŵ ƵŶŝƚƐ ǁŚŝůĞƚŚĞǀĂůƵĞƚƌĂĚĞĚĚĞĐůŝŶĞĚďLJϭ͘ϱйƚŽEϰ͘ϰďŶ͘dŚĞƚŽƉ ƚƌĂĚĞĚ ƐƚŽĐŬƐ ďLJ ǀŽůƵŵĞ ǁĞƌĞ /DKE ;ϲϴ͘ϲŵͿ͕ E/d, ;ϯϯ͘ϴŵͿĂŶĚ'hZEdz;ϯϭ͘ϰŵͿǁŚŝůĞƚŚĞƚŽƉƚƌĂĚĞĚƐƚŽĐŬƐ ďLJ ǀĂůƵĞ ǁĞƌĞ 'hZEdz ;Eϭ͘ϰďŶͿ͕ E^d> ;Eϭ͘ϭďŶͿ ĂŶĚ E/d,;Eϵϰϯ͘ϭŵͿ͘

19

International Brew eries PLC

51.80

0.0%

0.7%

-5.0%

-5.8%

24.6%

7.4%

54.2x

12.3x

20

Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC

34.70

0.0%

0.7%

19.7%

19.7%

13.1%

3.0%

7.2x

0.8x

2.7%

13.8%

21

Transnational Corp of Nigeria

10.2%

DŝdžĞĚ^ĞĐƚŽƌWĞƌĨŽƌŵĂŶĐĞ WĞƌĨŽƌŵĂŶĐĞ ĂĐƌŽƐƐ ƐĞĐƚŽƌƐ ǁĂƐ ŵŝdžĞĚ ĂƐ ϯ ŽĨ ϱ ŝŶĚŝĐĞƐ ƵŶĚĞƌ ŽƵƌ ǁĂƚĐŚ ĐůŽƐĞĚ ŶŽƌƚŚǁĂƌĚƐ͘ dŚĞ ŽŶƐƵŵĞƌ 'ŽŽĚƐ ŝŶĚĞdžĂƉƉƌĞĐŝĂƚĞĚƚŚĞŵŽƐƚ͕ƵƉϭ͘ϲйƌĞƐƵůƟŶŐĨƌŽŵďĂƌŐĂŝŶ ŚƵŶƟŶŐ ŝŶ E/'Z/E ZtZ/^ ;нϮ͘ϯйͿ͕ E^d> ;нϭ͘ϳйͿ ĂŶĚ hE/>sZ ;нϰ͘ϵйͿ͘ ^ŝŵŝůĂƌůLJ͕ ƚŚĞ /ŶĚƵƐƚƌŝĂů 'ŽŽĚƐ ĂŶĚ /ŶƐƵƌĂŶĐĞŝŶĚŝĐĞƐƌŽƐĞϬ͘ϳйĂŶĚϬ͘ϯйƌĞƐƉĞĐƟǀĞůLJĚƌŝǀĞŶďLJ ďƵLJ ŝŶƚĞƌĞƐƚ ŝŶ E'D ;нϮ͘ϳйͿ ĂŶĚ DE^Z ;нϰ͘ϳйͿ͘ KŶ ƚŚĞ ŇŝƉƐŝĚĞ͕ ƚŚĞ ĂŶŬŝŶŐ ĂŶĚ Kŝů Θ 'ĂƐ ŝŶĚŝĐĞƐ ĐůŽƐĞĚ ƐŽƵƚŚǁĂƌĚƐ ŽŶ ĂĐĐŽƵŶƚ ŽĨ ƐĞůů ƉƌĞƐƐƵƌĞƐ ŝŶ hE ;Ͳϱ͘ϮйͿ͕ ^^ ;Ͳϭ͘ϴйͿ͕ h ;Ͳϭ͘ϯйͿ ĂŶĚ &KZd ;Ͳϯ͘ϭйͿ ǁŚŝĐŚ ĚƌĂŐŐĞĚďŽƚŚŝŶĚŝĐĞƐ͘ hŶĐŚĂŶŐĞĚ/ŶǀĞƐƚŽƌ^ĞŶƟŵĞŶƚ /ŶǀĞƐƚŽƌ ƐĞŶƟŵĞŶƚ ĂƐ ŵĞĂƐƵƌĞĚ ďLJ ŵĂƌŬĞƚ ďƌĞĂĚƚŚ ;ĂĚǀĂŶĐĞͬĚĞĐůŝŶĞ ƌĂƟŽͿ ƌĞŵĂŝŶĞĚ ŇĂƚ ƚŽĚĂLJ Ăƚ Ϭ͘ϱdž ĂƐ ϭϱ ƐƚŽĐŬƐ ĂĚǀĂŶĐĞĚ ĂŐĂŝŶƐƚ ϯϬ ƐƚŽĐŬƐ ƚŚĂƚ ĚĞĐůŝŶĞĚ͘  dŽĚĂLJΖƐ ƚŽƉ ŽƵƚͲƉĞƌĨŽƌŵŝŶŐ ƐƚŽĐŬƐ ǁĞƌĞ hd/y ;нϱ͘ϬйͿ͕ hE/>sZ ;ϰ͘ϵйͿ ĂŶĚ EW&DZ&< ;нϰ͘ϵйͿ ǁŚŝůĞ ^<z ;Ͳϵ͘ϰйͿ͕ /DKE ;Ͳϵ͘ϭйͿ ĂŶĚ :Wh>K/> ;Ͳϱ͘ϳйͿ ǁĞƌĞ ƚŚĞ ƚŽƉ ƵŶĚĞƌͲƉĞƌĨŽƌŵŝŶŐ͘ dŽĚĂLJ͛Ɛ ďƵůůŝƐŚ ƉĞƌĨŽƌŵĂŶĐĞ ǁŚŝĐŚ ǁĂƐ ĚƌŝǀĞŶďLJŝŶǀĞƐƚŽƌƐďĂƌŐĂŝŶŚƵŶƟŶŐĂĐƟǀŝƟĞƐŝƐĞdžƉĞĐƚĞĚƚŽ ĐŽŶƟŶƵĞ ƚŽ ĚƌŝǀĞ ŵĂƌŬĞƚ ƉĞƌĨŽƌŵĂŶĐĞ ĨŽƌ ƚŚĞ ƌĞƐƚ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ǁĞĞŬ ĂƐ ǁĞ ďĞůŝĞǀĞ ƚŚĂƚ ǀĂůƵĂƟŽŶ ŽŶ ƐŽŵĞ ŵŝĚͲĐĂƉ ĂŶĚ ƐŵĂůůͲĐĂƉ ƐƚŽĐŬƐ ƐƟůů ĐƌĞĂƚĞƐ ĂƩƌĂĐƟǀĞ ĞŶƚƌLJ ŽƉƉŽƌƚƵŶŝƟĞƐ ŝŶƚŽƚŚĞƐĞƐƚŽĐŬƐ

Afrinvest Securities Limited (RC 603 315) (A Dealing Member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange)

11.2%

1.8%

1.60

-3.0%

0.6%

9.6%

8.1%

11.2%

2.5%

9.8x

1.0x

1.2%

0.0%

0.5%

-5.0%

-5.0%

1.5%

0.6%

26.1x

0.7x

4.0%

-5.1%

-5.8%

-0.7%

-3.5%

25.0%

5.3%

10.7x

2.5x

7.7%

9.3%

64.6%

5.1%

0.8%

4.9x

0.3x

3.8%

20.2%

4.3%

14.8%

22

UAC of Nigeria PLC

16.05

23

Diamond Bank PLC

1.49

-9.1%

0.5%

-0.7%

24

Total Nigeria PLC

221.80

0.0%

0.5%

-3.5%

25

FCMB Group Plc

2.60

0.0%

0.8%

26

11 PLC

0.2x

188.00

0.0%

0.4%

-3.4%

-3.4%

38.8%

15.7%

6.7x

2.3x

-3.1%

0.4%

-11.0%

-7.9%

17.6%

1.6%

20.9x

3.3x

3.8% -49.1%

27

Forte Oil PLC

38.70

28

PZ Cussons Nigeria PLC

22.45

0.0%

0.4%

9.0%

6.1%

10.7%

5.0%

21.3x

2.2x

2.3%

4.7%

29

Cadbury Nigeria PLC

13.00

0.0%

0.3%

-17.0%

-16.7%

2.0%

0.8%

60.7x

2.1x

1.2%

1.6%

30

Presco PLC

75.60

0.0%

0.4%

10.4%

10.4%

39.7%

28.0%

3.1x

1.0x

2.7%

31.9%

31

NASCON Allied Industries PLC

20.50

0.0%

0.3%

10.8%

6.7%

54.6%

19.5%

9.7x

4.7x

7.3%

10.3%

10.00

0.0%

0.8x

7.2%

4.8%

32

UPDC Real Estate Investment Tr

0.3%

0.0%

0.0%

33

Union Bank of Nigeria PLC

6.40

-5.2%

0.3%

-17.9%

-14.8%

5.3%

1.1%

9.2x

0.7x

34

Julius Berger Nigeria PLC

29.00

0.0%

0.3%

3.6%

3.6%

17.3%

1.8%

8.0x

1.3x

3.4%

12.4%

35

Sterling Bank PLC

1.63

0.0%

0.4%

50.9%

44.2%

9.0%

0.9%

4.9x

0.5x

1.3%

20.5%

36

Dangote Flour Mills Plc

11.00

-2.2%

0.2%

-9.5%

-9.5%

61.6%

15.8%

3.6x

1.5x

1.8%

28.1%

37

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Niger

22.35

-4.9%

0.2%

3.4%

3.4%

4.4%

2.8%

35.3x

1.5x

33.6%

2.8%

38

Chemical and Allied Products P

40.00

0.0%

0.2%

17.6%

12.0%

66.2%

30.2%

18.7x

12.5x

5.1%

5.4%

39

Beta Glass PLC

83.20

0.0%

0.2%

62.2%

62.2%

18.4%

11.9%

11.7x

2.0x

1.3%

8.5%

40

Transcorp Hotels Plc

7.45

0.0%

0.1%

3.3%

3.3%

5.3%

2.9%

19.5x

1.0x

1.8%

5.1%

T o p 10 G a ine r s

10.9%

T o p 10 T r a d e s b y V o l u m e

T ic k er

P ric e

P ric e C hg %

Vo lum e

P ric e C hg %

C UT IX

3.15

5.0%

D IA M ON D B N K

68.6

-9.1%

52.35

4.9%

Z EN IT H B A N K

33.8

0.5%

1.94

4.9%

GUA R A N T Y

31.4

0.0%

UN ILEVER NP FM CRFB K

T ic k er

SOVR EN IN S

0.22

4.8%

FCM B

16.9

0.0%

M A N SA R D

2.45

4.7%

T R A N SEXP R

10.1

-4.7%

C H A M P ION

2.08

3.5%

F ID ELIT YB K

9.4

0.4%

M B EN EF IT

0.31

3.3%

UB A

8.2

-1.3%

D A N GC EM

250.00

2.7%

A C C ESS

7.7

-1.8%

19.00

2.4%

FB NH

6.4

-1.3%

127.70

2.3%

WEM A B A N K

5.5

0.0%

D A N GSUGA R NB

T o p 10 T r a d e s b y V a l u e

T o p 10 L o s e r s P ric e

P ric e C hg %

T ic k er

Value

P ric e C hg %

SKYEB A N K

0.77

-9.4%

GUA R A N T Y

1382.6

0.0%

D IA M ON D B N K

1.49

-9.1%

N EST LE

1061.5

1.7%

T ic k er

J A P A ULOIL

0.33

-5.7%

Z EN IT H B A N K

943.1

0.5%

UB N

6.40

-5.2%

NB

125.2

2.3%

CCNN

27.55

-5.0%

D IA M ON D B N K

102.2

-9.1%

OKOM UOIL

78.40

-5.0%

UB A

93.7

-1.3%

GLA XOSM IT H

22.35

-4.9%

A C C ESS

86.1

-1.8%

0.39

-4.9%

FB NH

71.8

-1.3%

F IR ST A LUM H ON YF LOUR

2.57

-4.8%

WA P C O

53.6

-0.2%

T R A N SEXP R

0.82

-4.7%

FCM B

43.4

0.0%

Investment Research

Brokerage Ayodeji Ebo | aebo@afrinvest.com

Robert Omotunde | romotunde@afrinvest.com

Bolaji Fajenyo | bfajenyo@afrinvest.com

Omotola Abimbola | oabimbola@afrinvest.com


43

     ˾  THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

MARKET NEWS

Shareholders Caution Oando against Ansbury Reconciliation Goddy Egene with agency reports Some shareholders of Oando Plc on Wednesday cautioned its management against moves to reconcile with Ansbury Investments Incorporated, owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi. The shareholders: Pacesetters Shareholders Association, Distinct Shareholders Association and Sage Shareholders, said their objection to the reconciliatory moves was based on an ongoing investigation of Volpi for alleged

money laundering by Italian authorities. The shareholders, in a joint statement in Lagos, recalled that Volpi who holds Nigerian and Italian citizenship, is currently under investigation in Italy for alleged tax evasion. “The investigation which is being conducted by the Italian Economic and Financial Crimes Police also focuses on Volpi’s longtime associate, and popular Italian banker, Gaimpiero Fiorani,” said the statement. It said Volpi must be on the

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

right side of the law before any reconciliation with Oando, which the shareholders described as a law-abiding corporate institution. “All we are saying is that Volpi should do the right thing by sorting every issue he has with the law before seeking to reconcile with Oando. “We own Oando and make it mandatory on the board to resist any attempt to reconcile Volpi with our company while he has a case of fraud with the Italian authorities,” said the statement.

floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) is an investment vehicle that allows both small and large investors to part-own real estate ventures (eg. Offices, Houses, Hospitals) in proportion to their investments. The assets are divided into shares that are traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. GUIDE TO DATA: Date: All fund prices are quoted in Naira as at 15May-2018, unless otherwise stated.

The shareholders said reconciling Ausbury and Oando may raise fundamental ethical questions on Oando and cause the Italian anti-corruption police to beam its searchlight on Oando. “This alone may affect not just the reputation of Oando but its share value,” they said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Alhaji Dahiru Mangal and Ansbury Inc. on, October . 20, 2017 filed a petition alleging infractions and mismanagement against

the management of Oando. Subsequently, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), on the directive of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), placed a suspension on the trading of shares of Oando effective October 20. It was followed with a forensic audit of the company but the suspension was lifted on April 12. However, Oando in a statement on January . 22 said it had signed a peace accord with Mangal, one of

the aggrieved shareholders, that earlier petitioned SEC. It said as part of the settlement, Mangal had formally written to Oando informing the company of his significant shareholding, and withdrawal of his petition. Since the lifting of suspension on the shares of Oando Plc, it has recorded significant appreciation. Besides, Oando Plc last year grew its profit after tax by 405 per cent to N19.77 billion, from N3.913 billion in 2016.

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

DAILY PRICE LIST FOR MUTUAL FUNDS, REITS and ETFS MUTUAL FUNDS / UNIT TRUSTS AFRINVEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD aaml@afrinvest.com Web: www.afrinvest.com; Tel: +234 1 270 1680 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Afrinvest Equity Fund 192.93 194.22 8.71% Nigeria International Debt Fund 245.53 246.85 6.41% ALTERNATIVE CAPITAL PARTNERS LTD info@acapng.com Web: www.acapng.com, Tel: +234 1 291 2406, +234 1 291 2868 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn ACAP Canary Growth Fund 0.84 0.86 2.74% ACAP Income Funds 0.66 0.66 8.94% AIICO CAPITAL LTD ammf@aiicocapital.com Web: www.aiicocapital.com, Tel: +234-1-2792974 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AIICO Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 13.45% ARM INVESTMENT MANAGERS LTD enquiries@arminvestmentcenter.com Web: www.arm.com.ng; Tel: 0700 CALLARM (0700 225 5276) Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn ARM Aggressive Growth Fund 20.26 20.87 10.88% ARM Discovery Fund 423.43 436.20 8.83% ARM Ethical Fund 29.34 30.23 7.40% ARM Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 13.68% AXA MANSARD INVESTMENTS LIMITED investmentcare@axamansard.com Web: www.axamansard.com; Tel: +2341-4488482 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AXA Mansard Equity Income Fund 159.82 160.94 5.36% AXA Mansard Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 13.46% CHAPELHILL DENHAM MANAGEMENT LTD investmentmanagement@chapelhilldenham.com Web: www.chapelhilldenham.com, Tel: +234 461 0691 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Chapelhill Denham Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 12.30% Paramount Equity Fund 12.16 12.41 9.39% Women's Investment Fund 103.58 106.23 2.93% CORDROS ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED assetmgtteam@cordros.com Web: www.cordros.com, Tel: 019036947 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Cordros Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 13.48% CORONATION ASSEST MANAGEMENT investment@coronationam.com Web:www.coronationam.com , Tel: 012366215 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Coronation Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 13.33% Coronation Balanced Fund 1.14 1.17 8.82% Coronation Fixed Income Fund 1.12 1.15 7.71% FBNQUEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD invest@fbnquest.com Web: www.fbnquest.com/asset-management; Tel: +234-81 0082 0082 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn FBN Fixed Income Fund 1,152.06 1,152.76 0.35% FBN Heritage Fund 151.02 152.34 8.33% FBN Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 13.47% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Institutional $112.91 $113.47 0.01% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Retail $112.77 $112.33 -0.46% FBN Nigeria Smart Beta Equity Fund 183.38 186.20 13.80% FIRST CITY ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD fcamhelpdesk@fcmb.com Web: www.fcamltd.com; Tel: +234 1 462 2596 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Legacy Equity Fund 1.41 1.44 8.04% Legacy Debt Fund 3.03 3.03 5.00% FSDH ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD coralfunds@fsdhgroup.com Web: www.fsdhaml.com; Tel: 01-270 4884-5; 01-280 9740-1 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Coral Growth Fund 3,185.69 3,218.53 6.70% Coral Income Fund 2,604.04 2,604.04 6.42% GREENWICH ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED assetmanagement@gtlgroup.com Web: www.gtlgroup.com ; Tel: +234 1 4619261-2 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Greenwich Plus Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 13.58% Nigeria Entertainment Fund 103.03 103.89 3.00% INVESTMENT ONE FUNDS MANAGEMENT LTD enquiries@investment-one.com Web: www.investment-one.com; Tel: +234 812 992 1045,+234 1 448 8888 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Abacus Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 13.05% Vantage Balanced Fund 2.22 2.24 5.23% Vantage Guaranteed Income Fund 1.00 1.00 15.65% Kedari Investment Fund (KIF) 120.70 121.11 4.96%

LOTUS CAPITAL LTD fincon@lotuscapitallimited.com Web: www.lotuscapitallimited.com; Tel: +234 1-291 4626 / +234 1-291 4624 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Lotus Halal Investment Fund 1.19 1.21 3.87% Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund 1,065.71 1,065.71 5.72% MERISTEM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD info@meristemwealth.com Web: http://www.meristemwealth.com/funds/ ; Tel: +234 1-4488260 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Meristem Equity Market Fund N/A N/A N/A Meristem Money Market Fund N/A N/A N/A PAC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD info@pacassetmanagement.com Web: www.pacassetmanagement.com/mutualfunds; Tel: +234 1 271 8632 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn PACAM Balanced Fund N/A N/A N/A PACAM Fixed Income Fund N/A N/A N/A PACAM Money Market Fund N/A N/A N/A SCM CAPITAL LIMITED info@scmcapitalng.com Web: www.scmcapitalng.com; Tel: +234 1-280 2226,+234 1- 280 2227 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SCM Capital Frontier Fund 130.00 132.47 1.01% SFS CAPITAL NIGERIA LTD investments@sfsnigeria.com Web: www.sfsnigeria.com, Tel: +234 (01) 2801400 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SFS Fixed Income Fund 1.57 1.57 5.84% STANBIC IBTC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD assetmanagement@stanbicibtc.com Web: www.stanbicibtcassetmanagement.com; Tel: +234 1 280 1266; 0700 MUTUALFUNDS Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Stanbic IBTC Balanced Fund 2,413.29 2,433.84 7.60% Stanbic IBTC Bond Fund 184.39 184.39 4.50% Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund 1.09 1.10 8.42% Stanbic IBTC Guaranteed Investment Fund 234.39 234.46 6.44% Stanbic IBTC Iman Fund 187.03 189.01 4.40% Stanbic IBTC Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 13.22% Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund 10,372.94 10,512.87 7.27% Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund (USD) 1.09 1.09 2.82% UNITED CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD unitedcapitalplcgroup.com Web: www.unitedcapitalplcgroup.com; Tel: +234 803 306 2887 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn United Capital Balanced Fund 1.35 1.36 1.01% United Capital Bond Fund 1.65 1.65 5.12% United Capital Equity Fund 0.98 1.00 7.37% United Capital Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 12.79% United Capital Eurobond Fund 105.80 105.80 2.82% United Capital Wealth for Women Fund 1.14 1.15 4.93% ZENITH ASSETS MANAGEMENT LTD info@zenith-funds.com Web: www.zenith-funds.com; Tel: +234 1-2784219 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Zenith Equity Fund 13.51 13.71 7.72% Zenith Ethical Fund 14.06 14.23 6.64% Zenith Income Fund 20.10 20.10 6.24% Zenith Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 13.21%

REITS NAV Per Share

Yield / T-Rtn

10.00 135.24 51.22

-11.35% 2.10% 0.77%

Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

12.76 160.04 119.14

12.86 163.40 121.32

5.24% 12.03% 9.03%

Fund Name FSDH UPDC Real Estate Investment Fund SFS Skye Shelter Fund Union Homes REIT

EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS Fund Name Lotus Halal Equity Exchange Traded Fund SIAML Pension ETF 40 Stanbic IBTC ETF 30 Fund

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

funds@vetiva.com Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

5.17 9.69 18.88 20.74 146.18

5.21 9.77 18.98 20.94 148.18

8.93% 1.28% 7.67% 5.43% 6.76%

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


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T H I S D AY ˾ THURSDAY MAY 17, 2018

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THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018˾T H I S D AY

INTERNATIONAL

email:foreigndesk@thisdaylive.com

Despite North Korea’s Threat to Cancel Summit, US Still Hopeful The United States is still hopeful about a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un but President Donald Trump is prepared for a tough negotiation process, Reuters reported White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders as saying on Wednesday. North Korea threatened to pullout from the proposed summit between Kim and Trump, saying it may reconsider if Washington insists it unilaterally gives up its nuclear weapons. The highly anticipated Trump-Kim meeting is due to hold on June 12 in Singapore. “We’re still hopeful that the meeting will take place and we’ll continue down that path but at the same time we’ve been prepared that these could be tough negotiations,” Reuters quoted Sanders as saying in an interview with Fox News. “The president is ready if the meeting takes place. If it doesn’t, we’ll continue the maximum pressure campaign that’s been ongoing.” Sanders said the comments from North Korea were “not something that is out of the

ordinary in these types of operations.” “The president’s fully prepared and fully ready to carry on in these conversations both leading up to and if the meeting takes place,” she said. “He’ll be there and he’ll be ready.” According to North Korea’s official KCNA news agency, Pyongyang’s first vice minister of foreign affairs, Kim Kye Gwan, specifically criticised U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, who has called for the North to quickly give up its nuclear arsenal in a deal that mirrors Libya’s abandonment of its weapons of mass destruction. The vice-foreign minister, according to BBC, accused the US of making reckless statements and of harbouring sinister intentions, pointing the finger squarely at US National Security Adviser John Bolton. “We do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him,” Kim Kye-gwan said. Sanders played down those concerns. “I haven’t seen that as part of any discussions so I’m not aware that that’s a model that we’re using,” she

told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. The groundbreaking agreement for Kim and Trump to meet came about as North Korea said it was committed to denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

Exactly what that would entail has remained unclear, but North Korea has invited foreign media to witness the dismantling of its main nuclear test site later this month. Bolton recently said

North Korea could follow a “Libya model” of verifiable denuclearisation, but this alarms Pyongyang, which watched Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi give up his nuclear programme only for him to be killed by Western-backed

rebels a few years later. The BBC’s Laura Bicker in Seoul says North Korea - which had long said its nuclear arsenal is essential for its survival as a state - is now making its demands clear.

Guatemala Opens Israel Embassy in Jerusalem after US Move Palestinians recall envoys to 4 EU nations Guatemala inaugurated its Israel embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday, becoming the first country to follow in the footsteps of the United States’ deeply controversial move that was accompanied by deadly violence on the Gaza border, Agence France-Presse reported. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales were among officials who attended a ceremony inaugurating the new embassy at an office park in the disputed city, which is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The US and Guatemalan moves break with decades of international consensus.

US ambassador to Israel David Friedman also attended Wednesday’s ceremony. Previously Guatemala’s embassy was in Herzliya, just north of Tel Aviv like that of Paraguay, so far the only other mission with immediate plans to move to Jerusalem. Paraguay’s embassy is expected to relocate before the end of the month. Netanyahu profusely praised Guatemala for making the move and noted it came only two days after the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem. The Israeli premier spoke of Guatemala’s early recognition of the state of Israel after its creation in 1948 and said he

would visit the country of 16 million on his next visit to Latin America. The Palestinian Authority has meanwhile recalled its envoys to Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria after their ambassadors attended an Israeli reception marking the US embassy’s move to Jerusalem, it said Wednesday. The statement from the PA’s foreign ministry said the EU nations’ ambassadors had attended the reception on Sunday, a day before the US opened its Israel embassy in Jerusalem. The embassy move and Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has deeply angered

Palestinians, who see the Israeli-annexed eastern sector of the city as the capital of their future state. The ministry “sees this participation as a grave breach of international law and United Nations resolutions which confirm that Jerusalem has been occupied since 1967 and ban countries from moving their embassies there,” the statement said. “The recalls are to consult with our ambassadors to these states about their positions and their commitment to the EU’s positions.” Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday withdrew his top envoy to Washington.


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Court Bars Search of Wikeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Residence by Police, EFCC Alex EnumahĂ&#x201C;Ă&#x2DC;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x;Ă&#x201D;Ă&#x2039; The Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday barred the Nigerian Police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Service (DSS) from carrying out any search on the residence of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike. Wike had on May 4, 2017, approached the court for an order restraining the Inspector General of Police (IG), EFCC and DSS (1-4 defendants respectively) from investigating him while in office as a governor.  Delivering judgment on the suit marked ABJ/FHC/ CS/383/2017, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, said it was gratifying to note that parties are in agreement that the plaintiff cannot be investigated based on the provision of section 308(1) of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary.  According to the judge, from the combined reading of section 308 of the Constitution, and sections 149 and 150 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, three situations have been prohibited.  Justice Mohammed said the provisions stipulated that no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted against a person protected by section 308. 

Secondly, the person covered by the provisions shall not be arrested, and thirdly, any process of court requiring appearance of a person protected under the provisions shall not be applied. He held that parties in their submissions lost the purport and intendment of section 308(1)(c)  of the constitution. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A careful reading of section 308(1)(c) shows that the constitution has prohibited court process requiring appearance of a serving governor before any investigative panel,â&#x20AC;? he held.  Justice Mohammed stated that the argument of the police and EFCC that Wikeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s residence can be searched without his presence â&#x20AC;&#x153;is untenable.â&#x20AC;? The judge said it was wrong for the defendants to import meaning or interpretation not included in section 308 of the constitution by the draftsman.  In dismissing the objection of the defendants to the suit, Justice Mohammed was of the opinion that the court cannot go contrary to section 308 of the constitution because of the public policy principle, which is protected by the constitution itself.  The court further held that arguments of 2nd and 3rd defendants that their enabling laws permit them to carry out investigations are untenable. In addition, the court noted

that the essence of section 308 was to accord immunity to a serving governor so as not to cause distractions to the governor in the act of governance. Consequently, the court declared that the suit of the plaintiff has succeeded, has merit and therefore granted the following reliefs against the defendants.  The court declared that by virtue of the provisions of section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the

defendants cannot whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers, privies or in any manner howsoever apply for, obtain, issue or in any way or manner howsoever execute any court process requiring; the appearance of the plaintiff who is currently the Governor of Rivers State, Nigeria. Recall that the plaintiffâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s counsel, Sylva Ogwemoh (SAN) had submitted that section 308 (immunity clause) as provided under  the constitution â&#x20AC;&#x153;is put in place to allow a serving

governor to concentrate on act of governance. Ogwemoh had argued that the section was designed to protect the dignity of office of a governor. He insisted that based on sections 149 and 150 of ACJA, the plaintiff (Wike) must be present before a search warrant is executed at his residence.   Counsel added that allowing the defendants to execute a search at the Abuja residence or any house of Wike in any part of the country â&#x20AC;&#x153;is a blatant violation of section 308, insisting

that the governor needs not to wait until his constitutional right is breachedâ&#x20AC;?. But in opposition to the suit, the defendants had argued that they have right to search Wikeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Abuja residence in his absence. They posited that Wike had admitted that he does not live in the Abuja lodge, and therefore his presence is not required before a search can be executed.  More so, the 2nd defendant had argued that based on section 4 of Police Act, it has discretion to search the residence of the plaintiff. 

Melaye Gets Bail After Three Weeks in Police Custody Yekini Jimoh Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x2DC; Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x201D;Ă&#x2039; Three weeks after being held in Police custody, Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West senatorial district in the National Assembly, has finally been granted bail by a High Court sitting in Lokoja. The senator is standing trial over alleged illegal possession and dealing in firearms along with two suspected criminals. The Chief Judge of Kogi State, Justice Nasiru Ajanah, granted the bail application filed on behalf of the senator by his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, last Wednesday in Lokoja. Earlier, during the hearing on the bail application, the prosecuting counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon, who vehemently opposed the application in a 23-paragraph counter affidavit on May 7 and deposed to by Sgt. Ibrahim Ademola, said the issue of bail was a discretionary remedy. Izinyon alleged that Melaye did not have any medical problem, adding that the claim that he was asthmatic was not contained in the medical report as he only had malaria. He added that the claim was an afterthought. But in Melayeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s defence, Ozekhome said there was no counter document from the prosecution on the medical document obtained from the National Hospital. He also urged the court to declare that keeping him at the Police headquarters would seriously jeopardise his health condition

and also render it impossible for him to satisfy the bail conditions earlier granted him by another court in Abuja. In his ruling, Justice Ajanah declared that from the documentary evidence proffered in the case, there was no doubt that the third defendant was suffering from some kind of ailment. According to him, â&#x20AC;&#x153;In addition to the asthma which the third defendant is alleged to be suffering from, the last medical examination showed he has two heartbeat issues referred to as soft tissue trauma and stress related hypertension. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I consider this health situation a special circumstance entitling the third defendant to the discretion of this court in admitting him to bail. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the circumstance of this case and in the light of the documentary evidence and the state of health of the 3rd Defendant, I am convinced that he is not likely to evade trial. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I believe that at this stage in which it is shown from the nature of the charges that the prosecution has concluded their investigation, attention should be paid more to the expeditious prosecution of the main case. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I therefore grant bail to the third Defendant in the sum of N10 million and one surety in like sum.â&#x20AC;? The trial judge premised his decision on the health condition of the embattled senator. The surety, according to him, must be a person of means and shall so depose to an affidavit of means with verifiable address.

59TH AGM

L-R: Company Secretary, Lafarge Africa, Adewunmi Alode; Chairman, Mobolaji Balogun; and Group Managing Director/CEO, Michel Punhercos, at the Lafarge Africa 59th Annual General Meeting in Lagos.....yesterday  

Lagos Begins Urban Regeneration of Ikoyi,V.I, Ikeja G.R.A Unveils road construction equipment The Lagos State Government yesterday commenced the urban regeneration of Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Ikeja G.R.A, with the unveiling of 45 new road construction equipment and inauguration of newly interlocked road in Lekki. The equipment, including three road printers and three giant wheel leaders, were unveiled after a public demonstration to the media and government functionaries to complete the construction of interlocked road in Joseph Hotounu Street, Lekki. Others are five driving rollers, 18 hand operating rollers, one excavator, one paver, six tractors, three wheel loaders, one chip sealer, one milling machine, one hiab, one sweeper machine and one synchronous chip sealer. Speaking at the unveiling, the state Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, said the new equipment were procured in line with efforts to reposition the Lagos State Public Works Corporation for the urban regeneration programme aimed at addressing environmental and infrastructural challenges in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Ikeja G.R.A. The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner

for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Rotimi Ogunleye, said the equipment would be immediately deployed across the state for the urban renewal initiative, saying they would go a long way in ensuring the regeneration of the entire Lagos landscape. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are here to inaugurate these machines, equipment and gadgets and to state that these range of products would be deployed immediately to the urban regeneration of Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Ikeja and they are being put in place today to further upgrade the activities of the Lagos State Public Works Corporation so that from their three centres in Badagry, Ojodu and Imota, they can take care of the rest of Lagos State. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are at this site to see physically the demonstration of the capability and capacity of the equipment. I want to state emphatically that this development is a sign of the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commitment to the regeneration and renewal of the entire Lagos State landscape. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Public Works Corporation has three regional centres in Badagry, Ojodu and Imota of which the various machines would be deployed to the various areas. Essentially, this

point is to regenerate V.I, Ikoyi and Ikeja urban centres and it is an all-inclusive developmental process,â&#x20AC;? he said. Also speaking, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Tunji Bello, said the paving stone machines and road printers were acquired to basically construct roads that would last longer considering the state of the Lagos environment being waterlogged. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We carefully thought about it before we even embarked on it. It was planned long time ago for the equipment to be acquired and having been acquired, they will be deployed immediately for road construction. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the problems we have in Lagos is road tarring because the water table in Lagos is very high and it does not allow most of our roads to last and so we needed equipment to make our roads longer and part of it was to acquire the equipment which have just been tested. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So, now we will be using paving stones mostly and they will last longer particularly in a terrain like Lagos and that is what we have seen today,â&#x20AC;? Bello said. While giving practical demonstration of the workings of the equipment, Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Works

and Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Public Works Corporation, Mr. Temidayo Erinle, said the road printer has the capacity to pave road between six and eight metres faster and reduce man-hours. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The road printer can make road paving of 400 to 600metres square in a one-day working shift of eight hours. The road printer makes road construction faster, easier and cheaper,â&#x20AC;? Erinle said. While revealing that the state government was in the process of further procuring interlocking making machines, Erinle urged residents to take proper care of the road just unveiled and desist from indulging in activities that could damage it. Responding on behalf of the residents of Joseph Hotounu Street, Lekki, Mrs. Ronke Giwa, thanked the state government for fixing the road from its dilapidated state, saying the development had removed their decades of sufferings. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Before the construction of this road, our cars were getting spoilt; we dread the rains and it had been on for decades so I like to thank Governor Ambode and the state government for giving us this road,â&#x20AC;? she said.


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Jang Remanded in Jos Prison after EFCC Arraignment ICPC withdraws case against ex-governor Seriki AdinoyÓÓØ ÙÝ The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned former Governor of Plateau State and Senator representing Plateau North in the National Assembly, Jonah David Jang, in Jos High Court on allegation of fraud while he was governor of the state. This is even as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has withdrawn its charges against the senator to avoid duplication of court process. Counsel to the ICPC, Mr. Adesina Raheem, an Assistant Director, said: “We got an information that the EFCC has also filed a criminal charges against the defendant. “We had a discussion with the EFCC and it was resolved that we should withdraw ours to avoid duplication of court process.” The presiding judge, Justice Daniel Longji, granted the withdrawal of the application and struck out the case. The senator, dressed in white traditional attire and brought to court by the commission in an

unregistered white Toyota Hiace Bus by 9:30 a.m., was shortly thereafter asked to enter the dock together with his former cashier, Mr. Yusuf Pam. When the charges filed by the EFCC against him were read, the ex-governor, who was in high spirits, smiled at some of them possibly considering them as frivolous. The 12-count charge filed against him and Pam were read to them, and they both pleaded not guilty. The charges, among others, include misappropriation of monies disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) meant for disbursement to prospective beneficiaries of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF), dishonestly diverting and misappropriating “certain property” summing up to various amount of money. The said offences, according to the charges, are punishable under section 309 of the Penal Code Law of Northern Nigeria applicable to Plateau State. After the charges were read, and the accused pleaded not guilty, their lead counsel, Mr. Robert Clarke (SAN), who said he was committed speedy trial of case, argued that an accused

person is presumed innocent by fact and law, “however, the law says there are some grievous offences, but generally we are all presumed innocent. “But in spite of that, even the woman who stabbed her husband, as grievous as that offence may seem, was granted a bail. We lawyers have as a cornerstone of our profession the saying that facts are sacred. The facts here are all pecuniary. “Justice must not only be seen to be done, but must be done to be seen. “The counter-affidavit states that the accused persons have been enjoying administrative bail, but that it is now refused because of the enormity of the charges before them. So they did not only withdraw the administrative bail but urge your lordship not to grant them bail because they may abscond. But they were granted administrative bail five times on the same offences and they

didn’t abscond, why now? “I urge your Lordship not to grant the prosecution the summersault to take their pound of flesh.” Clarke said: “The counteraffidavit also claimed that if granted bail, they may go and intimidate witnesses. But the witnesses have always been there when they were granted administrative bail and were never intimidated. After all, the evidences are already before the court, and the witnesses cannot at this point be intimidated. “The first accused has been a military governor twice and civilian governor for eight years. He is now a distinguished senator. He is also a graduate of Theology and a Pastor. Respect should be given to whom respect is due. He should be given bail on self-recognition. “On these facts, I urge you my Lord not to run along with their counter-affidavit.” But in a counter argument,

counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, cited the case of Asari Dokubo, a founder of Niger-Delta militant group, to support his argument who was not granted bail, adding that an accused person shall not ‘ordinarily’ be released on bail. He also cited the case between Ishaya Bamayi and the state (2001), insisting that the case at hand borders on corruption, and none of these charges is less than five years jail. Jacobs said the bail should be denied to avoid the liberty of committing other offences, rather, the judge should grant accelerated hearing. But Clarke countered his argument, observing that the Asari Dokubo’s case he cited bordered on militancy and terrorism, and cannot be compared to the current one. Delivering his ruling on the bail, Justice Longji noted that the case is a sensitive one. He said: “I have no doubt

in my mind that this case is a sensitive one, especially considering the caliber of the person involved,” however, adding that he will adjourn to a later date. This prompted a fresh argument on where to keep the accused before the next adjourned date. The EFCC counsel had wanted the accused to be taken back to Abuja but Clarke objected on the grounds that transferring the accused up and down was not safe due to the bad roads. Jacobs then agreed, and the opinion of Jang was sought by Clarke on where he would prefer to be kept. Clarke then suggested the DSS custody or Jos Prison. The judge then used his discretion, and finally ruled that Jang should be kept in Jos Prison custody till May 24, when the ruling on the bail application will be decided.

No Cash Given to NEMA for Relief Materials in North-east, Say AGF, Others No cash was given to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for the supply of relief food materials to victims of insurgency in the North-east in 2017, it was learnt yesterday. The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, and some of the companies involved in the programme made the confirmation at the ongoing House of Representatives investigation into the activities of NEMA. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) confirmed the disbursement of the funds in accordance with a mandate from the OAGF. In his submission, Idris said the need to release the fund for the supply was as a result of the scaling down of funding by international agencies operating in the region which could jeopardise the lives of the people of the region. Represented by the Director of Funds, Mohammed Usamn, the AGF said: “N5.8billion was released to five companies and N829million to NEMA for logistics. “The objective of the release of the fund was the scaling down of international donor food funding in the region by 85 per cent. “However, no money was given to NEMA other than the money for logistics but it was charged to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.” When the Isa Ali-led Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Committee insisted on the reasons behind the release of

the money, he said: “I would have come with the records concerning reasons for the release of the fund, if such request was included in what we were asked to provide the committee with.” He pleaded for time to come up with the requested information. One of the companies that were engaged for the supply of the relief food items also confirmed that NEMA was not involved in the disbursement of money for the cost of the food materials. The representative of Dangote Industries, one of the companies that supplied maize worth N936m, Ahmed Hasheem said it had no contract with NEMA on the subject matter. According to him, CBN engaged the companies to mop up food items around the country in 2016 in anticipation of off season. “In December 2016, with others companies in food business, we were given money by CBN to mop up grains from local markets so that it can be used off season. “We were paid after which we mopped up the food grains and later we were asked to supply the items to NEMA which we did. “All the documentation of the grains supplied and delivered are available but we were contacted for the supply in 2017,” he said. The committee however gave the AGF 72 hours to supply the requested information. The meeting was adjourned indefinitely.

CONSULTATIVE VISIT

L-R: Member, House of Representatives, Hon. E. J. Agbonayinma; Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara; Aspirant for the National Chairman All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole; Majority Leader, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, during Oshiomhole’s visit to the National Assembly....Tuesday

NNPC Seeks End to Perpetual Hold on Oil Acreages Chineme OkaforÓØÌßÔË The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has asked the National Assembly to split the licences issued for development of oil fields in Nigeria into two components, one for prospecting and another for production under the draft Petroleum Industry Administrative Bill (PIAB) currently before it. In a presentation it made at the public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on the PIAB, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB) and the Petroleum Industry Host Community Bill (PIHCB), in Abuja, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, said the proposed split would prevent a situation where operators would sit perpetually on oil acreages. 

A statement from the Group General Manager of the corporation, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said the recommendation under the PIAB sought a break up of the licenses into Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) - to prospect for petroleum, while the second component to be known as Petroleum Lease (PL), should be created to cover the production phase to search for, win, work, carry way and dispose of petroleum. NNPC also pushed for a rethink of the duration of licences as proposed in the PIAB which stipulates initial duration of 25 years for onshore and shallow water petroleum licence and 30 years for deep water and frontier acreages.  It proposed five years prospecting licence for onshore and shallow fields and a duration of 10 years for deep

offshore and frontier basins.   It also recommended 20 years production lease for onshore and shallow fields as well as deep offshore and frontier basins, noting that only the production lease period should be renewed for a period not exceeding 20 years.  On the PIFB version of the proposed oil industry law, NNPC recommended a threestage licences regime consisting of Exploration Licence (EL), to explore for petroleum on a non-exclusive basis; Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL), to prospect for petroleum on exclusive basis; and Petroleum Lease (PL), to search for, win, work, carry away and dispose of petroleum.  Beyond the clause by clause recommendations, the corporation also advocated for the simplification of the fiscal system for ease of

implementation and to ensure progress. It called for expunging all regulatory issues out of the draft legislation to empower the regulatory commission expected to come to regulate the industry effectively.  NNPC highlighted the need to introduce and provide clauses that will ensure easy review of provisions of the bill in response to economic, technical and other considerations, while disallowing legislation on issues bordering on contracts.  The statement stated that the Chairman of the House Committee, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, thanked the corporation for its contribution, noting that the committee would sift through all the submissions by stakeholders before taking informed decisions on the issues. 


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FG Provides More Details on N72bn Investment Plan for Discos Says it’s a shareholder loan as TCN is fund’s anchor-person Chineme Okafor in Abuja The federal government has provided more details on the N72 billion financial facility it plans to provide for the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) in Nigeria to upgrade and expand their networks. It said the facility would be a shareholder loan which the Discos must be willing to match or it would be converted to an equity. According to the Discos’ privatisation terms, the government has 40 per cent shareholding in them while the core investors of the Discos maintain 60 per cent shareholding. Also, the government indicated that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) would be the source of the facility as well as its manager. Last Sunday, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, disclosed the government’s plan to invest the sum in the Discos. He noted in Yola, capital of Adamawa, that the financial facility would help the Discos expand their networks to be able to take stranded electricity from the generation companies (Gencos) to consumers in the country. However, the Managing Director of the TCN, Mr. Usman Mohammed, had while commissioning a 60MVA high voltage transformer at TCN’s Bauchi transmission substation on Tuesday, disclosed d e e p e r d e t a i l s o f t h e i n vestment plan. M o h a m m e d , stated that the TCN approached the

government to allow it a s s i s t the Discos upgrade their networks and its proposal was approved, hence the investment plan. According to him, the new transmission facility will improve the capacity of the substation from 70MVA to 130MVA, and improve electricity supply to Bauchi and other areas which include Ningi, Naborodo, and Das communities. “We expect that Jos Disco will expand their network to ensure that they pick the load. To assist Discos in this regard, we approached the federal government and they agreed that TCN is going to invest in distribution on behalf of Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and we already have N72 billion which has been approved by the Federal Executive Council for this purpose. “Where we discover that we have load and that load cannot be taken by the Disco, we apply this fund to assist in expanding that network so that it can take the load. The fund is like shareholder loan to distribution companies which they must match or it will be converted to equity,” said Mohammed. He noted that the TCN has continued to expand the transmission network, adding that it has in the 11 months, installed more than 18 power transformers using its in-house engineers. “We are working very hard to see how we can further stabilise the grid. On Sunday, the 15th, we commissioned two transmission projects. One is a 40MVA transmission substation in MayoBelwa in Adamawa State

Ganduje Resolves Kano Assembly Crisis Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, has reconciled the two warring factions of the state House of Assembly. Following the reconciliation, the assembly will reopen today to further consolidate the resolutions reached at the meeting. The state Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, revealed this in a statement made available to journalists in Kano yesterday that the reconciliation meeting was held late yesterday at the Government House. Garba stated that the meeting was held  between representatives of the two feuding factions and  the governor  who intervened

to resolve the crisis. He said the intervention to resolve the crisis was in the interest of peace and democratic development of the state. Garba restated that the meeting was held in a mature and responsible manner. However, the aggrieved lawmakers of the assembly last Tuesday removed two principal officers even as the police prevented the 24 legislators who stormed the assembly entry into the complex. The spokesman of the legislators and former Speaker of the House, Alhaji Kabiru Rurum, announced the decision of the members while addressing journalists outside the assembly complex at Audu Bako Secretariat.

commissioned by the Minister of Power Works and Housing and on the same day the Minister of State Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Hassan commissioned a 30MVA power transformer in Gombe transmission station. “When we came in, the capacity of transmission was 5500 megawatts (MW), as at December 2017, when we last simulated, the capacity of the grid was 7,154MW,” he explained. According to him: “From June to date, TCN engineers have installed

more than 18 power transformers including the 60MVA 132/33kV power transformer here in Bauchi transmission substation. “The new power transformer was installed 100 per cent by TCN engineers. We are working very hard to create the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme (TREP) stage two and that will involve building a line from Calabar to Kano and this has gone very far because we have gotten an organisation that will provide us with a grant

to do the study and that meeting will take place tomorrow. We would continue to do all we can to ensure that the grid continues to grow into a very robust transmission network.” In his remarks at the inauguration, the governor of Bauchi, Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi, stated that the new transmission facility would improve the quality of power supply to Bauchi. Abdullahi said: “I am very happy to be the one commissioning this 60MVA power transformer in

Bauchi. To so many people the meaning of this may be lost to them, but for me and the people of Bauchi State this is a very great development. “Overtime the quality of power that has been supplied to Bauchi state has always been an issue, the simple reason is that the quality is not able to drive most of the major economic activities in Bauchi. The upgrading of this substation here in Bauchi is a very good development to the very good people of Bauchi State.”

GREAT ALUMNI L-R: Chairman, Lagos Branch of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Alumni Association, Dr. Lukumon Adeoti (left); Director, Office of Advancement, UNILAG, Oluwarotimi Shodimu; Vice Chancellor, Prof. Toyin Ogundipe; President Worldwide of the alumni association, Olor’ogun Sonny Kuku; and National Secretary, Tunde Fadahunsi; during the inauguration and handing over of the UNILAG Alumni Shopping Complex at Akoka, Yaba....yesterday

Former NIA DG, Dauda Drags Agency to Court over Sack Alex Enumah in Abuja A former Acting Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Mohammed Duada, yesterday approached the National Industrial Court, Abuja challenging his purported dismissal and praying the court to reinstate him. In the originating summons filed on his behalf by his counsel, Kanu Agabi SAN and marked NICN/ ABJ/136/2018, the DG, NIA and the NIA were joined as first and second defendants respectively. Dauda in the suit is asking the court to determine whether the procedure adopted by the defendants in the process leading to his purported dismissal is compliant with Article 8(1) and (2) of the National

Securities Agency Act (CAPS 278) 1986. He also wants the court to determine whether in view of the extant provisions of Article 8(1) and (2) of the National Securities Ac (CAPS 278) 1986, retired Directors of NIA are competent to sit as members in the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee (SSDC) and if not, whether the failure of the defendants to set up a competent Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee SSDC to look into the allegation levied against him constitutes a violation of his constitutional right to fair hearing? The claimant equally asks the court to determine whether the purported letter dismissing him issued by the defendants on March 6, 2018 was not unlawful, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

He, however, prayed the court that in the circumstance of affirmative answers to his questions, whether he is not entitled to be reinstated as Director of NIA. He therefore prayed the court for a declaration that the procedure adopted by the defendants in the process leading to his dismissal falls short of the provisions of Articles 8(1) and (2) of the National Securities Agency Act (Cap 278 LFN) 1986 and is null and void. He also prays the court for a declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Articles 8(1) and (2) of the National Securities Agency Act (Cap 278 LFN) 1986, retired Directors and former members of the NIA are not competent to sit as as members in the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee. The claimant further asks

the court to declare that the failure of the defendants to set up a competent Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee to look into the allegations levied against him is a violation of his constitutional right to fair hearing. Also, he wants the court to declare that the purported letter of his dismissal issued by the defendants on March 6,2018, is unlawful, null and void and of no effect whatsoever. He therefore prayed for an order of court reinstating him as a Director and the Acting Director General of the NIA. He is also praying the court for an order for the payment of his salaries and entitlements from the period of his unlawful dismissal to the point of his reinstatement. No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.


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EFCC Arraigns Ize-Iyamu, Edo PDP Chair, Others for Money Laundering Adibe EmenyonuÓØÏØÓØ ÓÞã The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned the Edo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 2016 governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and the state Chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, before a Federal High Court in Benin for money laundering. Also charged were former state Deputy Governor, Mr. Lucky Imasuen; former member representing Esan South East and Esan North East federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Tony Azigbemi, and one Efe Erimuoghae Anthony. While Ize-Iyamu and Orbih were absent in court but were represented by their counsel, the three others were present in court. The five are facing an eightcount charge of conspiracy with themselves to commit money laundering to the tune of N700 million, an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended which is punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act. The anti-crime agency said it may re-arrest Ize-Iyamu since he was not in court to be arraigned along others over alleged money laundering charges. EFCC said it would get in touch with Ize-Iyamu’s surety on the administrative bail and make effort to re-arrest him. Counsel to the EFCC, L.P. Aso, who spoke yesterday in Benin-city when the three other persons were arraigned before a Federal High Court for allegedly laundering the sum of N700 million, also said the former Chairman, Board

of Trustee (PDP) of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, was listed in the charges but was said to be at large. The absence of Ize-Iyamu and Orbih stalled the arraignment as the EFCC counsel told the court that it was the duty of the commission to produce the accused persons and not for the accused persons to bring themselves to court. Aso informed the court that all the accused persons had filed application for bail and asked for the court to adjourn to enable the EFCC produce all the defendants in court. In the charges preferred against Ize-Iyamu and others, the EFCC accused them of taking possession and control of the sum of N700million without any contract award which they ought to know the money form part of an unlawful act. They were alleged to have made cash payment of N60,650,000 to one Henry Tenebe of Estako West Local Government Area and N61,647,000 to one Momoh Andrew Ojo of Akoko-Edo without going through a financial institution. In count five, six and seven, they were alleged to have made cash payment of N83,473,000, N125,993,000 and N105,000,000 to Deacon Ezekiel Egharevba, Thomas Aroko and Scott Osagiede respectively without going through a financial institution. Counsel to Ize-Iyamu and Orbih, Ikide Chiehelua and Chief Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) told the court their clients travelled outside the country. They, however, promised that their clients were prepared to face trials and would be back by next Tuesday. Ferdinand Orbih said: “I have his instruction that he

Fasuyi, Others Dump PDP A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Cyril Fasuyi, has finally dumped the party. Fasuyi, a former House of Representatives candidate and leader of the party in Ido/Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State, made this known to journalists at a well-attended meeting of prominent leaders and stakeholders of the party last weekend at the Olojudo’s palace in Ido Ekiti. Fasuyi led other party stalwarts like Hon. Taye, Olatunji, a Commissioner in Ekiti SUBEB, Chief Olatuyi, former state Secretary of the PDP and thousands of their teeming followers and supporters out of the party in reaction to the imposition and conduct of a carefully manipulated gubernatorial primaries which produced Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka as the PDP gubernatorial candidate in Ekiti last week. The announced their immediate resignation from the party and promised to soon make official, their

next destination. Amid cheers from thousands of supporters who attended the meeting, a resolution was passed for everybody in Fasuyi’s political group to decamp en mass from the PDP. Some of the community leaders spoke glowing of Fasuyi and referred to him as a beacon of hope and leader of the community whose political steps and actions they would follow at any time. He said he has proven to be a humble, responsible, compassionate, helpful and reliable leader who has assisted the community on several occasions. Fasuyi’s group was equally miffed that the present administration has no physical presence in the town or in the entire local government in its almost four years of existence and as such opined that there was no reason why the local government should embrace continuity of poverty and a one man selfish show.

will be back to answer to the charges. He is ready and willing to defend himself. His

absence is not borne out of disrespect for the court. He was not served about the

arraignment. He only heard about it and he instructed me to appear for him.”

Consequently, Justice P. I. Adjokwu adjourned the case to June 11.

LEARNED FRIENDS L-R: Former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN); his

wife, Justice F.A. Ojo; and Guest Lecturer/Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), at the 10th Justice J.M. Adesiyun memorial lecture in Ilorin....yesterday

BUHARI, ATIKU LOYALISTS CLASH OVER CALL FOR NNPC PRIVATISATION of knowledge in the ways modern economies are run. As it is today, the NNPC is unprofitable, unwieldy and not accountable. “Compared to its contemporaries like Petronas of Malaysia and Petrobras of Brazil which have since liberalised and modernised its operations, the NNPC is still riddled by inefficiency and obvious lack of capacity. “There are clearly good examples of how liberalisation of some sectors of the economy had benefitted Nigerians such as in the telecommunications industry and the banking industry. If the Obasanjo/Atiku administration had held on to NITEL, we wouldn’t have had the GSM revolution. “If our commercial banks were not recapitalised, we still would be having failed banks. It is important to note that similar groups to the BMO had opposed the banking consolidation and telecoms revolution as anti-people, but history has shown that they were wrong. “The trend the world over is for countries to liberalise the downstream sub-sector of the oil sector to improve efficiency and ensure product availability at all times. We are surprised that the BMO is ignorant of Saudi Arabia’s celebrated decision to privatise Aramco and raise needed cash to fund its social and economic services. “We know exactly who the masquerades are: they are the very people who feed fat on the misfortune that has befallen the refineries - largely as a result of the inaction of the government. “What will happen when

the NNPC is liberalised is that the company will be more transparent and accountable and Nigerians can actually buy into the shares of the NNPC. Maybe, by that time too, we could have energy revolution. “Tying the proposal for the liberalisation of NNPC to ‘amplifying the long condemned IMF recommendations’ smacks of illiteracy and a poor attempt to hoodwink Nigerians about the shadiness in the operations of the NNPC. “Today, this administration pays over N1.4 trillion annually on subsidy on fuel consumption in Nigeria, a staggering 386% when compared to the figure of N774 million daily given in March this year. Till this day, ordinary Nigerians have no idea how much revenue the NNPC makes in crude sales and the NNPC continues to drench in corruption without transparency and accountability,” the group said. In a related development, the PDP has described President Buhari’s assertion that his administration has performed better in governance than previous PDP administrations as the highest form of illusion. The party said it was a ridiculous claim, adding that it is completely irreconcilable with the harrowing economic and security realities PDP said the claim has exposed President Buhari as the author of series of false performance indices and propaganda in the public space, designed to beguile Nigerians ahead of 2019 elections. A statement issued yesterday by its National

Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said President Buhari has forgotten that despite the temporary setback of the PDP in the 2015 elections, Nigerians are still aware that during the PDP administration, with our people-oriented policies, our nation was a better place to live. “Nigerians easily recall that during the PDP tenure, the standard of living and purchasing power of citizens were at their peaks; the private sector flourished; more businesses opened and blossomed thereby providing millions of jobs and Nigerians were more united and secure. “Painfully, in the space of three years, the Buhari Presidency has reversed all these gains! “It is also instructive to remind Mr. President that he inherited a robust economy, which was nurtured by the PDP to become the biggest in Africa and one of the fastest growing in the world, unfortunately, he has dragged us into the worst form of recession, starvation and hunger with his harsh and restrictive economic policies,” it said. PDP also reminded President Buhari of his consistent global de-marketing of our nation that has led to the flight of Foreign Direct Investments, job losses and the tumbling of our naira from N165/1USD where the PDP left it in 2015 to N36 to $1 under his watch. The opposition party said the harsh policies of President Buhari’s tenure have stifled the economy, leading to collapse of businesses, loss of over 24 million jobs in three years with another 27.44 million Nigerians

refusing to work for reasons not unconnected to failure of governance. According to PDP, under President Buhari’s suppressive rule, families have experienced the worst from of hardship with prices of food items, essential goods and services, skyrocketing beyond the reach of average citizens. “Staple foods such as rice which sold at N7,500 per bag under the PDP now sells above N16,000, a measure (mudu) of garri and beans which sold at N150 and N200 now go for N400 and N500 respectively; a kilo of beef which sold for N700 now sells for N1,400; a bag of cement which sold at N1,500 now goes for N2,600, fuel price has been jerked up from N87 per liter to N145, cost of transport, medicare and other essential services have all soared by over 100 percent. “Under President Buhari’s incompetent administration, bloodletting has become the order of the day, our nation has become a killing field where government cannot guarantee the safety of citizens. “It is therefore a condemnable slap on the sensibilities of Nigerians that instead of being apologetic for the abysmal performance of his administration, President Buhari is rather engaged in unhelpful propaganda and cosmetic media stunts. “The fact is that the Buhariled APC government has overstretched the forbearance of Nigerians with its crass disdain to their suffering, for which they will deploy every legitimate measure to vote him out and return the PDP, come 2019,” it said.


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Babalakin Calls for Repositioning of Legal Profession The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), has called for the repositioning of the legal profession to a level comparable to what was obtainable in 1975. Babalakin spoke in Ilorin, Kwara State, while delivering the 10th Biennial Memorial Lecture in honour of Justice J. M. Adesiyun. The lawyer, who presented a lecture titled:‘Repositioning the Legal Profession’, recalled the exploits of the bar and bench in Nigeria in the decade before and immediately after the attainment of independence in 1960. He praised the foundations laid by the founding fathers of the Northern, Eastern and, especially, Western Nigeria judiciaries, who placed emphasis on merit in the appointment of

judicial officers and the welfare of judges. The guest lecturer noted with regret that the actions of the military, particularly the precipitate retirement of judges in 1975, planted the seeds of the subsequent subjugation of the judiciary by the executive arms of successive military and civilian governments in Nigeria, from which the judiciary is yet to fully recover. Expressing sadness over the current state of the legal profession in Nigeria and proffering solutions to the problem, Babalakin stated that the legal profession in Nigeria has caused him severe heart ache but expressed the hope that the profession can be placed back on the right path with the right attitude and will. In his words, “We cannot afford a blame game, which will

lead us nowhere. We simply have to draw a line and start again. The legal profession must be restructured from the start. The curriculum in the universities must place the capacity to think on the highest pedestal. The law school must become more practical than theoretical. The bar must become more efficient. The amount of time wasted at the bar makes the legal profession very unattractive to young men and women who have a lot of options.” Babalakin called on judges to henceforth, penalise tardiness by lawyers who seek unnecessary adjournments with punitive costs. Speaking further, he noted that “the criteria for appointing senior advocates in Nigeria must be reappraised”, adding that: “The current criterion has

congested the courts. Many cases are filed today not because of the seriousness of the issues between the parties, but because lawyers require a certain number of cases to qualify to apply for the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. “There is need to immediately enhance the status of the judiciary and reposition it to where it was before 1975. Remuneration of judges must be enhanced. The idea of a judge not having enough resources to live comfortably anywhere in the country is simply unacceptable. The appointment of judges must be on merit. I do not subscribe to the opinion that the need to comply with Federal Character in the appointment of judges is the reason for the weak appointments made to the bench. I have had the

privilege of working in all parts of Nigeria. Every part of Nigeria has very exceptional men and women who are deserving of judicial appointments and can be appointed in their zones.” He urged the Nigerian judiciary to exploit their enormous powers under Section 4(8) of the 1999 Constitution to “guide the development of the nation in a manner consistent with the due process of law”. He urged the necessary stakeholders to prevent the subjugation of the judiciary by the executive arm of government and called on the federal government and states to ensure the prompt and adequate release of funds to safeguard the independence of the judiciary. The memorial lecture had in attendance the Chief Judge of Kwara State, Justice S. D.

Kawu, who was the chairman of the occasion; Justice Isa Ayo Salami, a former President of the Court of Appeal; the Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad; retired and present judges of the Kwara State High Court; as well as serving magistrates of the Kwara State judiciary.         The event was also graced by eminent lawyers from the Ilorin branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). Among them were Alhaji Aliyu Salman (SAN); Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), a former NBA President and former Attorney-General of the Federation; Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN); Mr. R. A. Lawal-Rabana (SAN); and Chief Duro Adeyele (SAN), the chairman of the Memorial Lecture Committee. 

BPE: Most Nigerians Have Bad Impression of Privatisation of Public Utilities Chineme Okafor ÓØÌßÔË The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) yesterday said most Nigerians have erroneous impression of the federal government’s privatisation programme, adding that a good percentage of about 140 government’s companies that have been privatised in the last 30 years were doing well. The Director General of the BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh, stated this at the formal inauguration of the Stakeholders Engagement Committee (SEC) of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, in Abuja. A statement from the Head of Public Communications at the BPE, Amina Othman, said apart from Okoh’s claims, Mohammed also stated that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, was   open to private sector operators and has remained keen on providing them the enabling environment to participate in developing Nigeria’s economy.  Okoh called on the committee to correct the erroneous impression that privatisation has been unmindful of the interests of the Nigerian public. He urged the SEC to reverse this reported misconception on privatisation by Nigerians through robust stakeholder engagement. He equally asked the committee, “to help harmonise the public enterprise reform agenda under the supervision of the NCP, whilst also promoting a favourable perception and application of the privatisation programme in the mind of the public

as well as local and international investors.” According to him, the benefits of privatisation have not been universally acknowledged or appreciated in Nigeria. He added that it is believed that privatised enterprises may have been sold for far less than their actual market value and that the enterprises may be under performing. Okoh however, stated that in 30 years since the country embarked on reform of its public enterprises, a high percentage of the 140 privatised public enterprises across the various sectors   of the economy have achieved a good level of performance. “It can thus be seen that there is something of a mismatch between public perception of privatisation and the reality of its value and contribution to the economy. Accordingly, the importance of an effective stakeholder engagement strategy cannot be overemphasised. “There is a clear and present need to build support and understanding for the federal government’s reform agenda by effectively communicating the considerable benefits of privatisation,” he stated.       Mohammed on his part, noted that the constitution of the committee was an opportunity for the government  to enforce its integrity by ensuring that privatisation in the country was carried out transparently. The statement equally noted that Mohammed who was appointed the chairman of the committee, charged them to  identify and maintain contacts with the various stakeholders and opinion leaders to be able to advise the NCP on concerns and interests raised about the country’s privatisation p r o g r a m m e .   

EQUIPMENT INAUGURATION L-R: Special Adviser/C.E.O, Lagos State Public Works Corporation/Drainages, Mr. Temitayo Erinle; Commissioners -

Women Affairs & Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Lola Akande; Local Government and Community Affairs, Alhaji Muslim Folami; Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Mr. Oluseye Oladejo; Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello; and other members of the State Executive Council during the inauguration of the newly Procured Construction Equipment for the state’s Public Works and Drainages, at Edward Hotonu Road, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos....yesterday

Trial of Ex-INEC Commissioner Stalled Tobi SoniyiÓØ ËÑÙÝ The trial of  a former Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Gesila Khan, and a former staff of the commission, Peter Popnen, was stalled after thugs invaded the Federal High Court premises in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The trial judge, Justice Bilikisu Aliyu had slated the trial for the

whole of last week. On Thursday, the judge adjoined to Friday. But on Friday, Senator Magnus Abe was at the Federal High Court for an order to stop the All Progressives Congress’ local government congresses from holding in Rivers State. However, events took a turn for the worse as thugs who wanted to stop the court from sitting invaded the court premises and vandalised vehicles and

other properties belonging to the court. Justice Aliyu could not sit. The lawyers said that they expected a new date to be communicated to them. Counsel to the first defendant, Mr. Selekeowei Larry (SAN), confirmed to THISDAY that the trial was indeed stalled. The prosecution had already called four witnesses and tendered   several documents

as exhibits. The defendants’ lawyers had also cross-examined the witnesses. The defendants are being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged bribery in the sum of N185, 842, 000. 00. They pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied any wrongdoing. The defendants have pledged their readiness for the trial to prove their innocence.

GOVERNORS ACCUSE NNPC OF FAILURE TO REMIT OIL ROYALTIES Therefore, the cost is higher than what they are selling at the filling station and they need more money. When there was no cost recovery, the NNPC clearly gave us the number of 33 and 35 million litres per day as the consumption of Nigeria. But now that with the new regime of cost recovery, NNPC is claiming daily consumption of 60 and 65 million liters per day which

we rejected and said no. “So, many of our international partners are saying that even if we are feeding Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana and Niger, we cannot consume more than 35 million litres per day. So, we are wondering where the 60 million litres is coming from. So, we are trying to sort that one out, that one is not yet resolved. “But, we are now taking a

very hard decision, that because NNPC said the reason why they were lifting 60 million per day is because our borders are porous. So we have taken the decision that any filling station that is 10 kilometres on the border side should be closed by DPR. And, then we will do recertification according to the needs. “Secondly, we have directed the Minister of Finance in

collaboration with the DPR and the NNPC to our tracking devices on every truck in other to monitor where they are discharging the fuel. “Because, we are suspicious of the number, we cannot confirm the difference from 30 million litres per day consumption to 60 and 65 million litres per day consumption. So, these are our decisions on the NNPC,” he said.


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Wrong Narratives Undermining Military Operations against Boko Haram Lake Chad experts visit theatre commander Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

Rogers Nicholas, has lamented misrepresenting it in the public Nigerian military and Boko callously carry out isolated to research and work out that a wrong narrative about domain. Haram insurgents , it is rather suicide bombing and Improvised strategies in the areas of The Theatre Commander, the ongoing war on terror is Nicholas stated this when the a war between the Nigerian Explosive Device (IED) attacks Humanitarian, Socio-economic, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj-Gen. undermining the operation and team of experts from the Lake country and the Boko Haram on vulnerable and soft targets. Educational, Governance, Chad Basin Commission under terrorists “,he added. To this end, he urged the team Gender as well as Prevention the auspices of the African Union The Theatre Commander to be judicious in the execution and Countering of Violent (AU) visited the Headquarters in a statement yesterday by of its mandate to facilitate the Extremism to revitalise and Theatre Command Operation the Deputy Director Public restoration of socio - economic stabilise the Lake Chad Basin. Lafiya Dole in Maimalari Relations, Col. Onyema development in the region. She revealed that in Cantonment, Maiduguri. Nwachukwu, pointed out, that Earlier, the Lake Chad team carrying out its mandate, it While fielding questions from other stakeholders must play leader and a Gender Advisor, was expedient for the team members of the team, he stated their roles in the multi- faceted Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, to visit the Lake Chad Basin that the Nigerian state is at war against the terrorists for said it was constituted by Commission member states. Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City war and must be recognised the attainment of total defeat. the AU in conjunction with He also said the Supreme Court She also lauded the Theatre as such to enable the effective He told the team of experts the Multinational Joint Task Command and troops of which delivered judgement in his For the effrontery of demanding favour when it sacked Sunday mobilisation of all instruments that the security situation in the Force (MNJTF)  to proffer Operation Lafiya Dole for for payment of his outstanding Aghedo had instructed that he of national power to prosecute North-east is generally calm as stabilisation and revitalisation the successes so far recorded salaries and benefits, the member, be paid all his entitlement from the war. the Boko Haram insurgents have strategies for the Lake Chad in the Counter terrorism and representing Ovia South West June 2015 to the date of judgment. “It is high time we reversed been degraded. Basin. Counter insurgency operations constituency in the Edo State the  wrong narrative that the Nicholas disclosed that the Reacting to the suspension Nwadinobi stated that against the Boko Haram House of Assembly, Godwin yesterday, Mr. Adenomo, ongoing war  is between the terrorists have resorted to the team was mandated terrorists. Adenomo, has been suspended described his suspension as by the Assembly. illegal, accusing the state assembly Adenomo was suspended leadership of allegedly playing on Tuesday during plenary Edo North agenda aimed at for three months for failing to perpetually marginalising the appear before the House ad hoc South senatorial district of the committee to prove his claims of state. outstanding salaries and benefits He vowed that he would never amounting to N220 million. chicken out of the battle to liberate He was accused of not the people of Ovia South West following the proper channel constituency and that he has in line with the House rules no regret for what he had done to make his demands which because they (lawmakers) were were described as political and a looking for excuses to do what deliberate attempt to malign and they did, insisting on deploying bring the House to disrepute. all available legal options to seek The assembly also branded justice in the entire matter. Adenomo’s claims as frivolous, The APC lawmaker stated inaccurate and unfounded. that since he reclaimed his Chairman of the ad hoc mandate through the courts, committee, Mr. Ojo Asein (Owan he had also done everything West state constituency), said humanly possible including salaries and emoluments of begging fellow legislators, party members are determined by the leaders and the immediate past Revenue Allocation, Mobilisation governor of the state, Comrade and Fiscal Commission Adams Oshiomhole, who washed (RAMFAC). his hands off his travails. Adenomo had in a petition According to him, “Apart from he sent to the assembly Speaker, the refusal by the leadership Alhaji Kabiru Adjoto, through his of the assembly to pay me my lawyer, Mr. Kingsley Obamogie, outstanding claims totalling L-R: Global Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital, Charles Robertson; Chairman, Board of Directors, Christophe Charlier; demanded payment of N45m as about N220 million, the house Chief Executive Officer (Nigeria), Temitope Popoola; and sub-Saharan Africa Economist, Yvonne Mhango, at the ninth his salaries and benefits since had also denied him being in Annual Pan-Africa 1:1 investors’ conference in Lagos....yesterday. he was sworn-in December last any of its committees. I have year, and another outstanding not been given an official car sum of N175 million which while I use my personal fund to was supposed to be recovered renovate an apartment allocated from the man he took over from to me at the legislators’ quarters Manufacturers in Anambra, basis.” through judicial pronouncement. in the capital town.” has kept diseases and germs especially through our massive Enugu and Ebonyi States under Okafor explained that the away from the state, bearing investment in security and social the aegis of the Manufacturers visit was “borne out of the need in mind that Lassa fever and infrastructural development.”  Association of Nigeria (MAN) to commend His Excellency other contagious diseases According to Ugwuanyi, have described Governor Ifeanyi for a job well done so far and are ravaging some states in “only recently, we inaugurated Ugwuanyi of Enugu State as also to thank you as you have the country. The continuous the Enugu State Ease of Doing “a visionary and pragmatic demonstrated once again your sustenance and inculcation of Business Council (SEODBC). leader”, who has brought his ardent believe in dialogue as good-house-keeping culture by The council is charged with the Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti ingenuity to bear in the effective the only viable option to air the governor has kept the state primary role of implementing the the governorship election governance of the state for the issues and the best mechanism clean, safe and habitable,” MAN national Ease of Doing Business campaign by the party. Ekiti State Governor, Chief overall interest of the people. of feed backs.” In a statement by the chairman said. Action Plan with particular Ayodele Fayose, has explained Chief Press Secretary to the The manufacturers said He also enumerated other The chairman therefore, attention being given to six that he decided to set up a Governor, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, they were impressed with areas where the governor urged the governor to sustain critical indicators out of the youthful team to take the yesterday, the governor was Ugwuanyi’s “unparallel has made giant strides in the tempo and assured him of eleven recommended by the mantle of leadership after his quoted as saying that PDP’s achievements on infrastructural infrastructural development the association’s unflinching World Bank. exit to  afford Ekiti youths the trust in the youths could be development, peace and of the state saying that “the support to his administration. “This includes starting a opportunity to take ownership seen even in the choice of security,” saying: “Enugu State construction and maintenance Responding, Ugwuanyi business, registering a property, of government for rapid the governorship candidate, is one of the safest states in the of state and federal government stated that his administration access to land, regulatory development of the state. country to live and do business, roads are things that gladdens has since inception been environment, and security.” Olusola, who is  49. He said his deputy and as widely adjudged by various the hierarchy of the association. striving on how to make “We are not like those who The governor also stated governorship candidate, Kolapo don’t see anything good in reports.” “Though the association Enugu state the economic that “these and other measures Olusola is 49 while is deputy our youths. We have implicit Speaking on behalf of might be oblivious of how hub of the country, stating including our efforts to attract governorship candidate, Kazeem confidence in them and members of the association much the federal government that his council on the Ease direct foreign investment are Deji Ogunsakin, 39, were chosen their ability to deliver when when they paid a courtesy is owing you on intervention of Doing Business in Enugu geared towards helping us for the  Peoples Democratic Party necessary. We have chosen a visit to the governor at the on federal roads.  However, State has, in addition to other achieve our aspiration of making (PDP) joint ticket because of the youthful team that has been Government House, Enugu, it warms the heart that your enabling provisions, encouraged Enugu state the hub of business party’s belief in the ability of the proven. the branch Chairman, Chief government is more concerned and assisted investors in this activities in the South-east region youth to take the state and even Alloy Okafor, noted that Enugu about the welfare of the citizens direction. “Ogunsakin is a former local and the choice destination for the country to higher levels. is “perhaps the only state you and Nigerians at large that ply government chairman and The governor who was investments in Nigeria.” He has therefore called on currently the Special Adviser on can walk free without fear of these roads daily.  represented by his deputy, Mrs. He thanked the Enugu youths across the state to cast Due Process. Eleka has  served molestation or waylay even in “Your Excellency Sir, kudos Cecilia Ezeilo added that the business community for their their votes for the PDP in the as deputy governor for close the wee hours,” adding that also goes to your administration administration has “been doing support and assured the coming July 14 election. “worthy of note is police patrol on provision of street lights, our best to sustain a conducive association of his administration’s to four years and has proven He stated this in Ikole- to be a good and competent vehicles prowl almost every continuous beautification and environment for businesses readiness towards industrialising Ekiti during the flag off of person,” he said. streets and crannies on hourly neatness of the streets, which to thrive in Enugu state, the state.

Edo Assembly Suspends Member over Demand for Salaries, Benefits

INVESTORS’ CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS

Enugu Safe for Investment, Say Manufacturers

Ekiti 2018: Why I Chose Youthful, Vibrant Team, Says Fayose


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THURSDAYSPORTS

Group Sports Editor Duro Ikhazuagbe Email duro.ikhazuagbe@thisdaylive.com 0811 181 3083 SMS ONLY

Russia 2018: Presidential Send-forth for Eagles on May 29 World Cup-bound Super Eagles plan to pay a courtesy call on President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja

on May 29 and are also scheduled to depart their Austrian training camp June 11 for the World Cup in Russia.

SUPER EAGLES 2018 WORLD CUP TIMETABLE May 22 – Training camp opens in Uyo May 28 – Friendly vs DR Congo in Port Harcourt May 29 – Presidential visit in Abuja June 2 – Friendly vs England at Wembley June 4 – Announcement of final 23-man squad June 6 – Final friendly vs Czech Republic June 11 – Departure to Russia June 16 – Opening Group D match vs Croatia

Media Officer of the Super Eagles, Toyin Ibitoye, revealed the timetable of the team leadinWg up to Russia 2018 during a television programme monitored in Lagos yesterday. The national team will open training camp on May

22 in Uyo before a friendly against DR Congo in Port Harcourt on May 28. The match will mark the partnership between the Rivers State Government and La Liga giants Real Madrid to set up an academy in Port Harcourt.

After their Presidential visit, they will fly out to London for a high-profile World Cup warm-up against England on June 2. Coach Gernot Rohr is expected to announce his final 23-man squad for the World Cup not later than

June 4. The Eagles will then face Czech Republic in a final test game on June 6 in Austria They will depart for Russia on June 11, five days before their opening Group D match against Croatia.

Ambode Rewards CHAN Eagles with N20m Kunle Adewale Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has approved the release of the N20million to the Super Eagles Team B (CHAN Eagles) who were runners-up at the 2018 African Nations Championships held in Morocco. The governor who was in Morocco to watch the final match had pledged to reward the team for their exemplary performance in reaching the finals despite all odds. Making this disclosure yesterday, the Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Kweku Adedayo Tandoh stated that the official presentation of the cheque to the CHAN Eagles will take place soon. Tandoh said that this commendable gesture by

the sports loving governor has once again demonstrated his passion and unwavering commitment to sports development not only in Lagos State but in Nigeria as a whole. Last year, Ambode supported the Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM) Football Club of Lagos for their 2018 CAF Champions League campaign with a donation of N50million and also approved the remodeling and modification of the Agege Stadium to meet the Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards. Governor Ambode also financially supported the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in hosting the FIFA Executive Football Summit which was held in February 2018 along with the 1st NFF Football Awards, in Lagos.

Sports Essential in Recreating Nigeria’s Unity, Says Wike Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has stated that sports play the indispensable role in creating the essence of the country. Addressing the 54th Full Council of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) In Port Harcourt yesterday , Wike declared that his administration will continue to fund sports because it is vital to social development. Represented by the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Hon Kenneth Kobani, Wike said without sports, there would be no united country. He said: “I believe that you are aware that we have demonstrated our commitment to the development of Sports. “ According to him, the Rivers State Government recognises the pre-eminent role of sports towards the empowerment of the people. The governor commended

Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) for rerefining sports journalism to the extent that all Nigerians are proud. He noted that sport unifies and has a way of creating the true essence of rationalism President of SWAN, Mr Honour Sirawoo, said the growth of the association depends largely on the support it gets from patrons. He said the present leadership of SWAN has worked hard to leave legacies that would enhance the quality of sports journalism. Sirawoo said the meeting will take stock of actions of the SWAN leadership so as to engender further growth. Guest Lecturer, Prof Peter Esuh in a paper titled: “Sports Development and National Unity”, said sports is a dominant culture that enhance the vibrancy of any society. Awards were presented to deserving members of the sporting community. The meeting attracted sports writers from across the country.

Super Eagles players in one of the qualifying matches to the World Cup. The team would be hosted by President Muhammadu Buhari before their departure to Russia

CAF CONFED CUP

Enyimba Hammered 3-0 in Congo Brazzaville Ugo Aliogo with agency report Nigeria’s lone team standing in this season’s CAF Confederation Cup, Enyimba FC of Aba, was yesterday outclassed 3-0 in a Group C match by CARA of Congo Brazzaville. The match which held in Brazzaville was a big home win that has now catapulted CARA to the top of the group as they have scored more goals than erstwhile leaders Enyimba. Both teams have three points each but the Congolese top by virtue of a +2 goals difference, while

the Peoples Elephant now have a -1. The home team raced into a 3-0 lead within the first 19 minutes. CARA took the lead after 14 minutes through Racines Louamba off a rebound. They doubled their advantage three minutes later through Cabwey Kivutuka, whose shot from the top of the box beat Ghanaian goalkeeper Fatau Dauda between the sticks for Enyimba. They then netted a third goal in the 19th minute courtesy Dicha Liema. Enyimba was a lot more disciplined and organised after the break, but they

could not pull a goal back. The competition will continue after the World Cup in July. Elsewhere in the Confederation Cup yesterday, Ivory Coast’s ASEC Mimosas surrendered a one-goal lead to go down 3-1 to DRC’s AS Vita Club in a CAF Confederations Cup, Group A match at the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa. The loss for ASEC is their first in Group A and sees them drop to second in the group with three points from two games. Group A’s other match yesterday saw Aduana Stars fight back to hold Raja

Casablanca to a 3-3 draw at the Agyeman Badu Stadium in Ghana. Following the draw for Stars they are sitting last in the group with a point from two matches thus far. Casablanca looked threatening in the early stages and Mahmoud Benhalib opened the scoring for the Moroccans in the 11th minute. In their response, the hosts made amends and scored courtesy of Ikama Ulitch in the 21st minute. In the run-up to the end of the opening half, the visitors upped their search for a second goal and were able to break the hosts’ defence.

Amstel Malta Celebrates Top Nigerian Winners at Okpekpe Race Nigeria’s premium malt drink, Amstel Malta, has celebrated the top six Nigerian winners at the just concluded Okpekpe Road Race held in Benin, the capital of Edo state, on Saturday the 12th of May. The Six Nigerian athletes, Emmanuel Gyang, Gideon Goyet, Ismail Sodie, Deborah Pam, Rose Akusho and Hudung Gyang, were rewarded with cash prizes and branded items for their exceptional performance in the race. Commending the athletes, The Portfolio Manager, Non

Alcoholic Drinks, Nigerian Breweries PLC, Ngozi Nkwoji remarked: “We are proud of the performance of these six Nigerian athletes, who have put in their best and have done so well to make us proud.” Speaking further on Amstel Malta’s commitment to supporting homegrown sports, she said: “We endeavour to promote sports and activities that contribute to the overall wellbeing of Nigerians, which explains our partnership with the organizers of the race.

Amstel Malta recognizes the capabilities of people and inspires them to always be their best, and here again we have demonstrated our commitment to helping people become their best by supporting this initiative. We are proud to be associated with the race, the athletes and the organisers.” The world class marathon featured athletes from various countries who competed for top honours in the 10km road race. The road race started on Apana road and ended on Okpekpe road with more than

3000 athletes from different countries such as Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, Morocco, Israel, Bahrain and Nigeria. Amstel Malta is a major player in sports especially with its sponsorship of the National Football Teams, including the Super Eagles who will be representing Nigeria at the FIFA World Cup kicking off June 14th, 2018 in Russia. Amstel Malta, the premium malt brand, supported Okpekpe Road Race with cash prizes, products and branded items.


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THURSË&#x153;ÍŻÍľË&#x153;Ͱ͎ͯ͜˞T H I S D AY

THURSDAYSPORTS

Griezmann Leads Atletico to Europa Cup Win over Marseille Antoine Griezmann scored twice as Atletico Madrid swept aside Marseille in Lyon to win the Europa League for the third time in nine years. France forward Griezmann opened the scoring by punishing Andre Zambo Anguissaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s poor touch to coolly slot home, then dinked in a casual second. Captain Gabi drilled in the third goal late on as Atletico again lifted the trophy they also won in 2010 and 2012. The outcome could have been different had Marseille forward Valere Germain taken an early chance, before Griezmannâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lethal finishing allowed Atletico to take control. Marseille skipper Dimitri Payet, an injury doubt before the game, lasted just half an hour before hobbling off in tears. Without their inspirational midfielder, the French side

caused Atletico just one major scare as ex-Fulham striker Kostas Mitroglou headed against the post. Atletico have been one of Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most consistent teams in recent seasons, breaking Barcelona and Real Madridâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stranglehold on La Liga by claiming the title in 2013-14. Second in the Spanish top flight with one match remaining, they are on course for a top-three finish for the sixth straight season and have appeared in two Champions League finals in that period, losing on both occasions to city rivals Real. With manager Diego Simeone in the stands serving a four-game ban for being sent off in the semi-final against Arsenal Atletico repelled Marseilleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s early thrusts and produced a performance which has become a trademark under

the Argentine. Griezmannâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clinical double took his tally for the club this season to 30 before Gabi added the third as the Ligue 1 club tried in vain to breach a backline that has conceded just 33 goals in 58 games all campaign. Atletico conclude their league season against Eibar on Sunday, and it remains to

be seen if that is Griezmannâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s last game for the club as he has been heavily linked with Barcelona. Payet has been Marseilleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s star man this season - his 22 assists in all competitions the most by any player in Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top five leagues. The former West Ham midfielder was struggling with a thigh problem before

the game and, despite being passed fit, crumpled down in the opening period and was clearly devastated as he made his way off the pitch. France boss Didier Deschamps names his 23-man squad for the World Cup on Thursday, and Payet will be left wondering whether he will be fit. It was his clever through

ball in the sixth minute that set Germain in on goal, but the striker struck horribly wide from 10 yards out. Former Aston Villa full-back Jordan Amavi struck a fizzing drive straight at goalkeeper Jan Oblak late on as Marseille lost their third final in this competition - twice under its previous guise as the UEFA Cup.

England Names Liverpool, Chelsea Youngsters in World Cup Squad Ignores Wilshere, Smalling, Hart in the Russia-bound team England coach Gareth Southgate has announced his 23-man final squad for the Russia 2018 World Cup. Former England centreback Southgate made the announcement via the official England Twitter handle on Wednesday. As expected, the likes of Harry Kane, who scored 30 Premier League goals for Tottenham Hotspur this season, Dele Alli, Jamie Vardy, Raheem Sterling, Gary Cahill and Kyle Walker are all included. However, there is no room for Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart in the squad. The surprise inclusion is Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who spent the just ended season on loan at Crystal Palace, and Liverpool youngster Trent AlexanderArnold. England will face the Super Eagles of Nigeria in a friendly in London on June 2 before playing Tunisia, Belgium and

Panama in the group phase in Russia. England World Cup Squad Goalkeepers (3): Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders (9): Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Kyle Walker, John Stones (Manchester City), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Phil Jones, Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders (6): Eric Dier, Dele Alli (both Tottenham Hotspur), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards (5): Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) Harry Kane (Tottenham). Standby: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski (Burnley), Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Jake Livermore (West Brom), Adam Lallana (Liverpool).

LBA Announces Nominees for April NPFL Awards Four players and four head coaches have been shortlisted for the April player and manager awards respectively in the Nigeria Professional Football League by the League Bloggers Awards (LBA). The four to vie for the playerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s award are Lobi Stars goalkeeper Olufemi Kayode, Junior Lokosa of Kano Pillars, Emeka Ogbugh of Rivers United and Kwara Unitedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Stephen Alfred. Stanley Eguma of Rivers United, Hamza Abara of Niger Tornadoes, Gbenga Ogunbote of Enugu Rangers and Solomon Ogbeide of Lobi Stars are in the running for the managerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prize. Kayode was influential in Lobiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s performance in April with two clean sheets in four matches as well as

eye-catching performances at Abia Warriors and Sunshine Stars where the NPFL leaders secured a point each. The Lobi stopper also saved a Sikiru Alimi penalty at Sunshine Stars to help his side avoid defeat in Akure on Matchday 19. The leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading scorer Lokosa scored four times in April -- two against FC Ifeanyiubah and two against Heartland. Both matches were at home. Rivers United striker Ogbugh netted thrice in April. He scored a goal each against Heartland, Katsina United and Nasarawa United while Alfred also helped himself to three goals for Kwara United in April. He scored in the games against Sunshine Stars, Enyimba and Go Round.

Torres gets his hands on the trophy. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s his ďŹ nal season with his boyhood club, Atletico.....yesterday

Italian Legend Buffon to Announce Retirement Today Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is expected to announce his retirement at a news conference at the Allianz Stadium in Turin today. Buffon, 40, captained Juventus to a seventh straight Serie A title and fourth consecutive Coppa Italia triumph this season. The former Parma goalkeeper

could make his 640th and final Serie A appearance against Hellas Verona on Sunday. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There will never be another Gigi,â&#x20AC;? Buffonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agent told Italian media. Silvano Martina added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t add anything more because he will reveal what heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to do next to the

press.â&#x20AC;? Buffon is scheduled to appear in front of the media at 10:30 BST. He is facing a UEFA ban for comments made about English referee Michael Oliver, who sent him off during the Champions League semi-final defeat by Real Madrid.

Buffon had said Oliver has â&#x20AC;&#x153;a bag of rubbish for a heartâ&#x20AC;? and should â&#x20AC;&#x153;sit in the stands with your wife, your kids, having your drink and eating crispsâ&#x20AC;?. Italyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most capped player with 176, Buffon could make his international farewell on 4 June in a friendly against the Netherlands.

Barca Sink Sundowns in Mandela Cup Barcelona made light work of their long distance trip to Johannesburg with a 3-1 win over South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns in their gala friendly for the Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup at Soccer City yesterday. Lionel Messi made a cameo appearance in the last 20 minutes but by then Barca had taken advantage of some sloppy defending to comfortably win the game in front of a packed house. Sundowns would have been hoping to keep Barcelona at bay for a little longer but gave away the first goal in

the opening three minutes and never really had a chance to get back in the game after that. A horror error from Bangaly Soumaharo, only in the line-up because Brazilian defender Ricardo Nascimento had to pull out with flu, allowed French international Ousmane Dembele to steal the ball and lash home with a left footed shot. The gulf in quality was evident early with Barcelonaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s high press and their quick movement of the ball showing in front of the 70,000-strong crowd. Percy Tau might have

equalised with a swift counter in the 13th minute as he got goalside of the Catalan defence and had only the goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to beat. He tried to chip the ball over the goalkeeper, who stood his ground and, in the end, made a comfortable save. Barcelona were 2-0 up after 19 minutes with a simple set of passes that started with their goalkeeper and ended with a burst of pace from Luis Suarez around the ball of Soumaharo. Khama Billiat had an opportunity and Hlompho Kekana forced a good save but it was really. Barcelona

who might have had more goals before the break. Denis Suarez hit the upright with a header from Dembeleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cross in the 39th minute in a let off for the hosts and Kekana cleared off the line to keep it down to two at half-time. Another error, this time from Kekana, allowed Andre Gomes to net the third after Barcelona had changed their entire team at the break. It came in the 67th minute. But there was a consolation for the home side some 10 minutes later as Sibusiso Vilakazi beat the offside trap to score.

Adepoju Hails MultiChoice over Atletico Madridâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Visit to Nigeria Ex-Super Eagles and Spanish La Liga star, Mutiu Adepoju, has described as commendable, the decision of MultiChoice Nigeria to bring LaLiga giants, Atletico Madrid, to Nigeria for the maiden edition of the GOtv MAX Cup. Adepoju, who starred for two LaLiga teams, Racing Santander and Real Sociedad, explained that the proposed visit of Atletico will impact positively on Nigerian football. GOtv MAX Cup, an international friendly tournament, will see topflight LaLiga club, Atletico Madrid play the Super Eagles â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Bâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; team at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, on Tuesday, May 22. â&#x20AC;&#x153;MultiChoice, SuperSport

and GOtv have done well for Nigeria and Nigerian football by bringing Atletico Madrid to Nigeria. It shows they are keen on rewarding subscribers and putting Nigeria on the global football map, and they are also providing an opportunity for our players to be noticed by big European teams. They have supported Nigerian sports through the years and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m happy they have not relented,â&#x20AC;? explained Adepoju, who is also the La Liga ambassador in Nigeria. He explained that LaLiga has had a very rewarding partnership with MultiChoice, adding that the proposed visit of the Spanish giants is a testament to the pulling power of MultiChoice, which

he described as the continentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leader in providing sporting content. Adepoju, popularly called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Headmasterâ&#x20AC;? due to his ball heading prowess while playing for the Nigerian team, urged Super Eagles players selected for the match to perform well for the world to see. He added that the match also offers further an opportunity for the Super Eagles to prepare for the World Cup starting next month in Russia. Meanwhile, Adepoju has warned that the Super Eagles should expect to see a tough opposition from the LaLiga team. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Atletico that will come to play Eagles will be the

first team. They will get ready for the trip to Nigeria immediately after Wednesday nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Europa final clash with Marseille. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Apart from anybody who may be injured or those who are World Cup bound with their countries, you can expect to see the full team with the technical staff led by Diego Simeone. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I know FIFA sets aside a number of days for players to rest between end of the season and when they start World Cup preparations. So, some players may fall in that category and not be included in the team but Nigerians can be sure that the team will be full strength,â&#x20AC;? concludes Adepoju.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

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MISSILE Bukola Saraki to Ibrahim Idris “This plot is an act of desperation, blackmail, intimidation, abuse of office and crude tactics aimed at turning our country into a Police State where top officials cannot be made to obey the law, follow due process and subject themselves to constituted authorities” – Senate President Bukola Saraki, alleging plot by the Inspector General of Police to frame him for murder because of the Senate resolution that he (Ibrahim Idris) is unfit for public office.

OLUSEGUNADENIYI THE VERDICT

olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com

A Hard Lesson for Okorocha O

n 24th March 2012, Chief Rochas Okorocha, then less than a year in office as Imo State Governor, was in Kosovo where he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for an independent power plant, an agro processing plant and several other industries that he promised would be established in his state. There were neither feasibility studies nor any clear ideas as to where the money to finance these projects would come from but those sorts of things never really worry the ebullient governor. A few weeks before the trip to the Balkan Peninsular, Okorocha had declared a fourday holiday for workers in Imo State so they could partake in the take-off of the Community Council Government (CCG) he instituted. And for this extra-constitutional fourth-tier of government, the governor approved the disbursement of N5 million to each of the communities in the 27 local councils from a subvention of N3 billion that was not captured in the 2012 Imo State Appropriation Bill. He also declared free education at all levels in the state after announcing that he would be paying salaries to all the primary school pupils (yes, pupils, not teachers alone). And to be sure, Okorocha actually went to some primary schools where the pupils were lined up for him to hand them N100 each! From appointing chief comedian for the state to announcing the establishment of several gigantic projects without any design or funding plan before graduating into erecting statues in Owerri, Okorocha made it clear right from Day One that he was not going to follow any conventional rule book. But in writing about the governor’s visit to Kosovo—a disputed territory in South-eastern Europe—in May 2012, my interest was fired by what I watched on the African Independent Television (AIT) news. In the course of the bilateral session, Okorocha’s host, the Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, Mr Behgdey Pacconi, spoke in Albanian, the main official language of his country thus necessitating having an English interpreter. When it was his turn to respond, Okorocha decided to speak Igbo. With that, a former senator on his delegation had to be translating what the governor was saying into English before the Kosovo interpreter now translated it into Albanian for his host. Although I did not mention the name of the former Senator involved in the drama when I first wrote about that hilarious episode in May 2012, he is no other than my friend, Osita Izunaso, the current National Organising Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) whose name Okorocha is now invoking as the brain behind the successful coup that has wrestled the party from his hands in Imo State. In his lamentation at the weekend, Okorocha said: “I have informed the public that there was no (Ward) congress whatsoever in Imo State. Rather, the material for the congress was missing and it was traced to the house of the APC National Organising Secretary (Izunaso).” It is difficult to believe that this is the same Okorocha who boasted less than a

Okorocha month ago not only that he would contest for the Imo West Senatorial seat in 2019 so as to “brighten the chances of President Muhammadu Buhari” and prevent “bad people from taking the position” but also that his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu will be the next governor of Imo State because “favour has found the young man. It is God and not me. There is no place in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that says that an in-law cannot be governor.” Now that he has been dealt a fatal political blow, Okorocha has been running from Daura to Abuja though from available reports, there was indeed no credible APC ward congress in Imo State as he argues. But I also understand that what transpired was no different from what the governor himself had perfected only that this time, he was at the receiving end. The lesson of course is that when desperate politicians, especially

Okorocha is not alone in this hubristic tendency; the desire of practically every governor is to spend eight years in office, install a puppet as successor; go to Abuja to become an executive senator while still remotecontrolling the politics of their states

those who know each other so well, engage in an intricate power dance, it is usually a zero sum game. Okorocha made the job easy for Izunaso with the arrogance that united the opposition against him. Before I continue, let me say very quickly that I admire Okorocha, a very charming politician with an extraordinary sense of humour. But he has refused to imbibe the wisdom in the Igbo adage that you do not sell a chicken with broken legs in a nearby market. Besides, it is also common for dictatorial tendencies to be hidden behind a mask of charisma by leaders who deploy such disguise to cover up for their intolerance of other views. Since people like Okorocha believe they are the center of the universe and that everything revolves around them, it is difficult for anybody to offer any reasonable advice that could help them in avoiding tragic pitfalls while those who do are most often taken as enemies to be crushed. That perhaps explains why two months ago, the Archbishop of Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Anthony Obinna, was harassed and almost attacked while presiding over a funeral service for describing the attempt to foist a son-in-law as Governor of Imo State as unacceptable. “Not the governor, not his deputy, not even me can handpick and determine who governs Imo without recourse to the will and votes of Imo people” said the Archbishop. Interested readers can Google for the account of what followed that statement right inside the church premises. Meanwhile, the issue is not that Uche Nwosu lacks the qualification to be governor or that he should be excluded from seeking the office just because he is married to the incumbent’s daughter. It is also not wrong for Okorocha to take interest in who succeeds him just as he has a right to support whomsoever he chooses to back. The point the Archbishop was trying to underscore, which many from Imo State have also harped upon, is the manner in which the governor has been going about the endorsement of his son-in-law, as if the people do not matter aside foreclosing the aspiration of other APC members in the state, including that of his deputy, Prince Eze Madumere. Okorocha’s response to Archbishop Obinna’s statement is indeed very telling of how far removed from the reality of Imo politics he has become. “This time, it is Uche Nwosu because they have seen that he is the man for 2019 with God on our side”, said Okorocha who added that “no amount of blackmail or tricks would change the plan of God on the young man to govern the state. It takes someone alive in the things of the Spirit to know that Uche Nwosu is a child of destiny. He has the divine mark. And anyone fighting him is fighting his God” said Okorocha who apparently sees himself as that God. Unfortunately, Okorocha is not alone in this hubristic tendency; it is a malaise that is common among almost all governors in Nigeria. The desire of practically every one of them is to spend eight years in office, install a puppet as successor; go to Abuja to become an executive senator while still

remote-controlling the politics of their states. Indeed, that our country has been reduced to no better than a banana republic can be glimpsed from the absolute powers held by some of these governors. In many of the states, personal loyalty or reward for some past favour dictates the issue of succession. In 2015, for instance, an outgoing governor in one of the northern states manipulated the gubernatorial primaries of his party in his state to anoint an unpopular candidate. The rumour among prominent politicians in the state was that the gubernatorial ticket was payback for the man in question (who incidentally is now late) because he donated one of his kidneys to this (now former) governor. It is indeed sad, if not tragic, that the main pre-requisite for seeking to be governor is no longer about the ability of the aspirants or any desire for public good but rather on their affinity to the incumbents. Because of that, according to a commentator, Taneh Beemene, “morally depraved persons and half-baked nitwits have been handpicked to occupy political offices to perpetuate deceit and remit the spoils of such offices to their godfathers at the expense of the masses who are hapless spectators.” For Nigeria to develop and thrive, we must change that paradigm. While the focus is almost always on the presidency, we have to pay more attention to what happens in the 36 states and the 774 local governments. One of the reasons why many are always reluctant when the issue of devolution of power from the centre to the states is discussed is the fact that given our experience, accountability diminishes as you move from Abuja. Surrounded by Yes-men who pander to their vanity while treating them like demi-gods, many of the governors behave as though above the law. We can see that in the changing character of the Senate to where many of these former governors have graduated, a legislative chamber that is fast becoming their retirement home. As former chief executives of their states who had no temperament for dissent, any Senator that does not toe the official line is now met with suspension oblivious to the fact that freedom of expression, including those “that offend, shock or disturb”, according to the European Court of Human Rights, is the hallmark of a democratic society. All said, I don’t know how Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the in-coming National Chairman of the ruling APC, is going to address the problem but he already has his job cut out for him. If there is anything that the ward and local government congresses of the party have exposed, it is the fact that APC is not in any way different from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in terms of electoral manipulations and predilection to violence. But whichever way the Imo State APC problem is resolved, I hope Okorocha and fellow travellers get the message: If our democracy is to deliver on public good, we cannot continue with a situation in which political power is so privatised that it is now traded almost as a commodity between some benevolent godfathers and their godsons.

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THURSDAY 17TH May 2018  
THURSDAY 17TH May 2018  
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