Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nigeria is our biggest market with untapped potential

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Andrew Enahoro, Head of Legal and Public Relations Department, Robert Rose, Founder of Promasidor Group and Keith Richards, Managing Director, Promasidor Nigeria Limited.
Founder of Promasidor Group, Robert Rose, has said that Nigeria is the company's biggest market in Africa with untapped potentials and avenues for development. Promasidor, founded in 1979 in Zaire (now Congo Democratic Republic), is currently present in 26 African countries.

Mr Rose, who was on a visit to Nigeria recently spoke on the company's visions, competitions and its growth process in Africa.
For him, Nigeria's large population creates room for immense opportunities. "Our biggest market is Nigeria because you have more people than anywhere," he said. "At the moment, we sell to about 600 million people in Africa." However, he identified several factors which hamper growth in Nigeria adding that things have to be done better. "There is huge unemployment, but we have huge resources, and we can all do it better. We've all got to play a part in doing it. I believe there are huge opportunities but there will be even bigger opportunities if we all work at doing things. Basic education needs to be put right, basic medical services need to be put right. It should be put right, it can be put right, we've just got to hold everybody to account to start doing it better. We've got the resources to do it better. No more excuses, let's start doing it better." Having been in Africa since 1957, he sees the development of Africa as a personal objective. "Africa is two percent of the world's GDP and it should be 25 percent or more," he said. "We all have to do something about it, all of us in a more orderly manner. That is going to be one of my objectives, not wearing my Promasidor hat but wearing my personal hat. I hope that we can be setting up an organisation across Africa which would encourage improved governance, which would grow everything across the continent."
While speaking about competition, Mr Rose said that he was happy about the level of competition in the market, adding that it only geared them to do things better. "We are very happy about competition. Competition grows the market. We can't expect to have 100 percent of the market, it's not healthy, it's not good, but we can be better." He also spoke about the company's plans for the future, saying that there would be a major investment soon with an additional factory outside Lagos.
"We are going to build another factory, we've run out of space in a few years. We are going to be building another factory in another part of Nigeria which will enable us not only to do our existing better but we will go into new things." The company plans to make products using Soya as its basic raw material. For Mr Rose, Soya is a nutritional vegetable and farmers would be given the necessary tools to grow the plant in large quantities. "It would actually be grown in Nigeria. They will be based on Soya and we are going to improve nutrition of everybody."
Growth opportunities
Having made giant contributions to the milk market, Mr Rose said that Promasidor has succeeded in increasing the market share and growing the milk market. However, he said that the company was nowhere near the potentials and they were going to continue growing the market.
The Cowbell National Mathematics Competition, he said, would also be taken to the whole continent so it won't be just a Mathematics competition for Nigeria, but it would be a Mathematics competition for Africa.
Keith Richards, managing director of Promasidor Nigeria Limited said he is optimistic about the growth opportunities in Nigeria adding that Mr Rose started the company in Kinshasa at a time when Congo Democratic Republic was going through several political and economic problems.
"He's proven that if you continue to be confident in what you're doing and believe in it despite the people operating in the environment, there is still opportunity. "The situation in Nigeria today is not as difficult as when Robert started in Kinshasa in the late 80s. Here in Nigeria, there are fantastic opportunities."


Court remands commissioner's son over alleged robbery

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An Akure Chief Magistrate's Court on Thursday ordered that the son of a commissioner in Ondo State, Odunayo Omodara and one Solagbade Adetope be remanded in prison custody for alleged robbery.
The accused persons were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Johnson Adelegan on a four-count charge of conspiracy and robbery contrary to and punishable under the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap R II Laws of the Federation 2004.
Mr Omodara, 21, and Adetope, 22, who are students of a tertiary institution in the state were accused of committing the crime on July 5, at Plot 20, Block A, GRA, Ilesha Road, Akure.
The two of them were alleged to have armed themselves with a cutlass, knife, mask and dangerous weapons to rob one Falodun Isreal Ajayi of his Compaq laptop valued at ₦95,000 and one bottle of perfume valued at ₦4,250.
They were also accused of robbing one Joseph Olatunde Borode, a professor, of his Nokia handset valued at ₦5,000 and one Diamond perfume valued at ₦12,000 while armed.
Messrs Omodara and Adetope were also alleged to have robbed E.O. Aiyewalehinmi on the same date, time and place of his wrist watch valued at ₦35,000.
The offences, according to police prosecutor, Zakari Ibrahim were contrary to and punishable under the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap R II laws of the Federation 2004.
Their plea was not taken, but the accused persons told the court that they understood the charges when they were read to them.
Mr Ibrahim urged the court to remand the accused persons in prison custody to enable the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) send a copy of the case file to the Ministry of Justice for legal advice.
In his ruling, Mr Adelegan ordered that the two accused persons be remanded in prison custody till September 2, when the case would come up for hearing.
He also ordered the IPO in the case to immediately make a duplicate copy of the case file and forward same to the Directorate of Public Prosecution in the Ministry of Justice for legal advice.

Ondo police arrest suspected killer of officer

The officers of the Ondo State Police command have arrested a middle aged man in connection with last week's murder of an Assistance Superintendent of Police (ASP), Amisu Arogunrerin, a.k.a Abioye in Owo area of the state.
The spokesperson of the state police command, Aremu Adeniran, who confirmed the arrest of the suspect, however refused to reveal his identity.
Mr Aremu said divulging the identify of the suspect might jeopardise police investigation of the issue.
He, however, assured that other suspects involved in the crime would be apprehended soon.
According to him, Mr Arogunrerin who until his death was a district officer in charge of Emure-Ile in Owo area of the state, was killed along Emure-Ile Eporo road on his way to attend a distress call earlier received over a robbery incident.
It was, however, reliably gathered that the police boss was murdered by drug barons.
He was alleged to have been responsible for exposing the hideouts of Indian hemp cultivators in the state to the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The police spokesperson, who said the command had set up a high powered team of investigators from the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, in Akure and homicide detectives from "B" division Owo, hinted that other suspects currently on the run would soon be nabbed.
He decried the illicit activities of Indian hemp peddlers and cultivators in Owo area of the state saying despite the attack on the late officer and the police, the command in conjunction with the NDLEA in the state would ensure that those behind the illegal business are brought to book.
He said the police and the anti-drug agency in the state have mapped out adequate measures to checkmate the activities of illicit drug peddlers, adding that those behind the killing of the officer might have been provoked by the constant destruction of weeds suspected to be cannabis sativa in the state.
He urged members of the public to always give useful information that could assist the police to fight crime in their domains.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anambra crime headquarters•Where robbers, ‘blood-sucking demons’ and fake policemen reign

 Sunday, July 31, 2011
Upper Iweka
Sample 1
Ndidi Anyiam is a young girl staying with her elder brother, Donatus, a trader at the Onitsha Bridge Head drug market. After three years of battling to secure admission into the university, she got tired of staying at home and opted to assist her brother in his shop at the Bridge Head.

One Friday morning, she set out to go to the market. On crossing the other side of the road at the Upper Iweka NITEL bus stop to board a bus plying the Uga Bridge Head route, she was approached by a nice-looking young man who asked her the direction to locate Nwaziki Street in Awada. Coincidentally, it was on the same street she resides. But the attempt to assist this ‘harmless’ young man was her greatest undoing.

All Ndidi could remember two days later was that she found herself in Asaba, the Delta State capital. She could not explain how she was hypnotized, she went to her brother’s shop and collected N80,000 being the cost of two cartons of Procold tablets her brother just sold that morning. Ndidi went ahead and borrowed N120,000 from different sources inside the market, lied to them that it was her brother that sent her and subsequently went back to Asaba to hand over the money to the fraudsters. It was when she came back to look for more money that the brother, who had gone to the Abuja park to send goods to a customer, accosted her and demanded to know where she kept the money inside the drawer. She never gave a satisfactory answer. It was after the brother slapped her that the ‘scale’ fell off her eyes and she started crying.

Sample 2
Sister Mmesoma is a nun in the congregation of Immaculate Heart Sisters. She was transferred from their convent in Awo-Omama, Imo State, to the Nkpor Convent to take charge of the provision store and canteen serving the mission hospital. On a particular day, she went to the Ogbaru Main Market, popularly known as the Relief Market in Onitsha, to buy goods. On approaching the foot of the flyover at Upper Iweka, there was a traffic snarl. So, she and the driver joined the queue. Because the car air conditioner was faulty, the windows  were wound down. Suddenly two young men appeared by the window and shouted: “Give us that bag.” Out of fear arising from different tales she had heard about Upper Iweka, she handed over the bag containing the sum of N210,000 to the boys even before the driver could tell her not to since the boys were a regular nuisance that harass people without guns within the area.

This is Upper Iweka, the unofficial crime headquarters of Anambra State. Upper Iweka literary possesses different faces - the good, the bad, the ugly. These true life encounters are just samples from the action thriller churned out daily from the hot spot of Onitsha.
Upper Iweka is a big spectacle in contradiction and absurdities. Though it derived its name from the popular Iweka Road, named after a monarch (now late) from Obosi in Idemili North Local Government of the state. Upper Iweka is simply the upper part of the Iweka road but because of its vantage location, it is the heart of Onitsha.

It is the connection point for many travellers as it serves as a point of arrival and departure for various travellers within the city or those in transit. Because of its central location connecting the Onitsha-Enugu expressway, Asaba Bridge Head expressway as well as Onitsha-Owerri expressway, many cannot do without Upper Iweka, although it is often dreaded like a plague due to the chilly stories and happenings within the area.

When popular musician Ibealoke Chukwukeziri (aka Apama Boy) released an album in 2001 titled: Ihe na-eme na Upper Iweka (things dey happen for Upper Iweka) it was a hit. The Achi, Oji River-born artiste demonstrated in song the activities of illegal tax collectors, who extort money from individuals in the name of tax rates until they met their perfect match in the person of Chief Perricomo Okoye, whom they carried shoulder high to their office to perfect their extortionist tendencies but were surprised that they couldn’t bring him down despite all efforts. Ichie Perrycomo, using his own African magical powers, taunted them all through, commanded and collected outrageous items from them before he set them free.

Today, the tax collectors may have fizzled out of Upper Iweka but the activities in the area can make for another block buster movie. In June this year, Upper Iweka was in the news again as 20 corpses were reportedly found in a tunnel while a criminal was being pursued. Although official sources say the figures reported in the media were inflated, our reporter spent some days in the area and came up with several discoveries that would make the activities of those days under the Ojuelegba bridge in Lagos look like child’s play.

Upper Iweka is the place where two men can engage in an open fight totally naked with passers-by watching. There, Okada riders and others passing by, when pressed by nature, will simply unzip, pull down their trousers and begin to defecate in the gutter while others pass and look the other way.

In this place, it is every man for himself as no one cares what happens to the other. Everybody seems to be always in a hurry here. It is also a dumping ground for ritualistic activities, an area where one confronts in the early hours of the day gory pictures of beheaded ladies or butchered men whose vital body parts may be missing.

Fake policemen on the prowl
There used to be a police station at Upper Iweka opposite the NITEL office. The place was formerly a beehive of activities as the police then were accused of massive arrests of innocent people. It was during the MASSOB uprising some years ago that some hoodlums capitalized on the situation and burnt the station down.

Since then, the Anambra State police command has not rebuilt it, although there is another police station nearby at Okpoko layout. While policemen in uniform mount checkpoints around the flyover and the Lagos park axis, Sunday Sun revealed that fake policemen also harass and extort money from individuals. They operate around the NITEL area, Aba Park axis, Micmerah Park, Ogbaru Relief Market as well as Old Asaba/TRACAS Park. Their style of operation is usually to flash their identity cards at an already fidgeting trader and then search and collect any valuables in the person’s bag unless the person is ready to settle.

Narrating his frequent encounter with this group of ‘policemen’ to Sunday Sun, Justus Ijeoma, who is head of the publicity desk of a human rights group in Anambra, said: “There was a day one of them flashed his identity card and wanted to search my bag. I resisted and he called another man on the other side of the road, who he addressed as Inspector. The so-called Inspector flashed his own identity and I quickly grabbed it, only to discover that the man was a police constable. I called the Area Commander on the phone and he told me to hold the man and await the arrival of his men. Unfortunately for them, the press crew of a private television station was passing by and one of the reporters recognized me. They filmed the encounter and took all of us to the station where it was discovered that the constable was working hand-in-hand with the fake police officer. The man was sanctioned appropriately.”

Our reporter also observed that many traders in Onitsha become victims of these fake policemen and other real policemen in plain clothes, who harass people within the area with phrases like “wetin you carry?”; “from where to where?”; “where is your helmet?”; “when you reach station, you will explain further”; “where is the receipt for this goat?” among other such gimmicks.
Speaking on the development, the new Onitsha Area Commander, AC Larry Osita, said the command was poised to discipline any errant officer as he had zero tolerance for corruption.

Emergency toll collectors
In 2009, The Federal Government awarded the contract for rehabilitation of the Onitsha-Enugu dual carriageway. Although the pace of work has been at a snail speed, with concerned residents lamenting the situation, there are however other individuals “praying” daily that the work should be abandoned completely. They are the emergency toll collectors reaping bountifully at Upper Iweka. Since the construction company excavated large sand, which blocked the gutters in between, it has become practically impossible for pedestrians, motorcyclists and vehicle owners to cross over to the other side of the lane without assistance.

This became an employment opportunity to many jobless youths who capitalized on the situation to erect wooden crossover ‘bridges.’ The toll fee is N10 per crossing for pedestrians and ‘Okada’ riders while vehicle owners pay N50. Between the Ogbaru market, down flyover, TRACAS to MCC bus stop, this reporter counted 15 of such illegal tolls/crossings and all the operators are busy from morning till night. Some of the points are manned by red-eyed Indian hemp addicts, who are ready to “die” with any uncooperative user. One of the operators who identified himself as Tobias said he makes an average of N3000 daily from his toll point.
In the evening, the business becomes more spectacular as wheelbarrow pushers convert them into emergency flyovers. They put their barrows between the gutter for people to step on to the other side, also for a fee.

Centre of mysterious accidents
Upper Iweka is also the place where the highest number of road crashes is recorded yearly in Onitsha. It is estimated that accidents occur on the average of two per day in the area. Some attributed it to the presence of “blood-sucking demons” in the area while others say it is the result of the chaotic nature of the area and the concentration of human and vehicular traffic. Most of the vehicles often involved in crashes are heavy-duty trucks and people wonder how such vehicles crash at the point of destination at Onitsha after covering long distances from Maiduguri and other parts of the North.

When contacted on the telephone, the Onitsha Unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Mr Ben Akunne, declined comment on the development but demanded an official letter before he could respond.

Headquarters of hooliganism/brigandage
Apart from regular touting by motor park and garage workers, Upper Iweka is also the headquarters of hooliganism and brigandage. Pick pockets, handset and handbag snatching are rampant. Armed robbery incidents occur mainly in the early hours of the day and in the evening. A car dealer, Onuorah Oodo, narrated how he lost his valuables to armed robbers at Upper Iweka while returning from Lome, Togo, where he sources cars for his clients. This practice takes place in various forms by various faceless groups, who have the raw nerve to demand and grab money and other valuables from their hapless victims. However, there are two identifiable groups whose activities leave much to be desired. They are the Anambra State Traffic Agents (ASTA) operatives and the Task Force known as Ndi Mpiawa azu (the lacerators, back breakers or the cane masters).
The ASTA operatives appear in green trousers and yellow shirts while the Mpiawa azu group is known by its traditional ox blood fez cap on which is inscribed Anambra State Task Force. They usually wield long canes.
Although the ASTA operatives have their head office at the Bridge Head section while the Mpiawa azu is located at the Onitsha-Owerri road bypass, both groups have unofficially relocated their head office to Upper Iweka because of the lucrative nature of their business in the area. The two outfits were created by a former Commissioner for Transport and Special duties in the state to ease traffic, check the excesses of commercial bus drivers on major roads in Onitsha as well as to clear the streets of the excesses of street traders.

Sunday Sun findings however revealed that the major preoccupation of the two groups is extortion and brutality. The ASTA operatives impound and forcibly remove vehicle number plates, tow such vehicles to their offices and extort the driver. They apprehend those driving against the traffic yet they flout the same rules themselves while on duty. The cane beaters (mpiawa azu) collect money openly from drivers while any hesitation results in continuous flogging and breaking of vehicle mirrors.

Their boss is popularly known as IKO and is alleged to operate a very lucrative transport business with a fleet of vehicles while they don’t remit the accurate revenue accruing to the government. When Sunday Sun contacted him on phone for comments on the allegations, his response was: “What is your business in this matter? Did government tell you that their money is missing? If I like, I can procure 100 buses monthly for my business. If you had come physically to ask me this stupid question, I wouldn’t have talked to you. Rather I would have told my boys to beat you up.”

This reporter witnessed recently how a pregnant woman fell off a commercial motorcycle that was knocked down by a commercial bus being pursued by the group at Upper Iweka. She died soon after.

Rent a bench to pass the night
At the Lagos Park section of Upper Iweka is another big story. Many street urchins and barrow pushers that are homeless find refuge in the area. While some of them sleep on top of their barrows at night, others that cannot afford the luxury rent wooden benches for N40 and sleep in the open space. Bench renting is another lucrative business in the area.


President Court Of Appeal, Justice Salami Faces Jail

After the consideration of the five-man panel that probed the alleged rot in the judiciary by the National judicial council (NJC) on Thursday, it set up a three-man panel headed by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Ibrahim Auta, to recommend sanctions for The President of appeal court, Justice Ayo Isa Salami who was indicted for perjury against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu and unethical relationship with chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
Perjury is an offence punishable under law with a jail term.
Salami's fate would be determined on August 9, when the new panel will submit the reoport.
Meanwhile the Nation newspaper, was upbeat about what may be the fate of Salami in his Friday news report written below:

Barely 24 hours after receiving a report on the crisis in the Judiciary, the National Judicial Council (NJC) may have ignited another fire.
A panel to review the findings of Justice Umaru Abdullahi’s Fact-Finding Panel, which examined the feud between the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu and the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Isa Ayo Salami, has been set up.

The Abdullahi Panel cleared both the CJN and the PCA of all the allegations against them.

But, some members of the NJC insisted that another panel, headed by the President of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, be asked to make specific recommendations on the findings of the panel.

Some members of the Council, it was learnt, opposed the constitution of Auta’s Panel because it is "awkward" in the judiciary for a junior officer to decide the fate of his superiors.

It was also gathered that the fears over Auta’s Panel followed alleged lopsidedness in the composition of the NJC.

A source in the Council said: "What Umaru Abdullahi’s Fact-Finding Panel wanted was a reconciliation of both the CJN and Salami so that the judiciary can move forward.

"But some members of the NJC wanted outright sanction against Salami, which is an abuse of the reunification spirit of what Abdullahi’s Panel did. Their plot is to ensure that Salami is either removed or compulsorily retired along with Katsina-Alu.

"They have raised Auta’s Panel when they know that in the judiciary a junior officer cannot decide the fate of his seniors. Why will the President of the Federal High Court now determine the fate of the CJN and the President of the Court of appeal?

"Politics and desperation have crept into our rank and it is just unfortunate."

Another source said: "The NJC cannot sideline the peace brokered by Abdullahi’s Panel for another round of crisis.

"For instance, the same members that pressed for Auta’s Panel are very much aware that majority of those in NJC today were nominated by the CJN. Do you expect them to do otherwise? Where is that sign of equity and justice for Salami?

"I think some people are out to destroy the judiciary for no just cause. And it is just unfortunate."

The source said the NJC was divided on Wednesday over the report of the Fact-Finding Panel. When the report of Justice Abdullahi was to be presented, some members of the NJC, including a former President of the NBA, Chief Rotimi, challenged the propriety of Justice Dahiru Musdapher presiding over the Council meeting when he also appeared before Abdullahi’s Panel," the source said, adding:

"Another judge at the session also supported the observation. At a point, the NJC members decided to excuse ex-officio colleagues from the session.

As at press time, it was unclear how soon the Auta Panel will review the findings of the Abdullahi Panel.


Helicopter crew feared dead in early morning crash

The crew members of an unidentified helicopter were feared killed on Friday morning on Oke Obanla Hill in Ikonifin village, Osun State.

Son of the head, Fulani community in Ikonifin, Ola-Oluwa Local Government Area, Mr. Abubakar Adamu, who confirmed the development, said the helicopter hit a large hill in the Osun State Government Reserve.

He said, “Helicopters are not a common sight in Ikonifin; so, when we saw the helicopter and heard the sound, everybody was apprehensive, thinking that it could fall down. It was making a very loud sound.

“It was around 9 am and it was very foggy. The helicopter’s noise persisted and all of a sudden, we heard a loud bang and the noise subsided. The helicopter’s visibility might have been affected by the fog.

“The helicopter must have hit the hill. The hill is very high. It is a reserve, where hunters hunt games.”

Adamu said his father informed the traditional ruler of Ikonifin about the development, adding that the crashed helicopter and its occupants had been found.

“People were afraid to go in search of the helicopter because they felt they would be arrested or accused of plotting the crash. Later in the day, some people went into the reserve but they have not been able to locate the helicopter,” he said.

Osun State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Solomon Olusegun, in a telephone interview, said the police rescue team would be dispatched to comb the reserve.

Head of Operation, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Osun State Command, Mr. Olaniyi Babalola, said his men were on the way to the scene of the incident.

He said, “We have been informed of the crash and we are on the way to the scene. We must get to the spot of the crash this night, no matter what.

“We learnt that about 10km to the spot, there was no accessibility. But we are going in and we will get to the spot.”

The Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Harold Demuren, at about 8 pm on Friday, said the helicopter had not been found.

Demuren, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, said that the helicopter, which left Maryland, Lagos, was heading for Ilorin, Kwara State .  Read More

Bola ige son and 13 others become commissioners in osun state

Exactly eight months after his inauguration, Osun State Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, on Thursday, sent a 14-member list of commissioner-nominees to the House of Assembly.

The list included .the son of slain Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Muyiwa Ige, first Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Mr Wale Afolabi, and the Director of Research and Strategy, Osun Action Congress of Nigeria, Mr Sunday Akere.

Others included Aregbesola’s lawyer, Mr Ajibola Bashiru, Prof Olubukola Olawoye, Mrs Mofolake Adegboyega, Ms Mobolaji Akande, Mr. Adewale Adedoyin, Mr. Kola Balogun, Dr. Wale Bolorunduro, Mr. Kolapo Alimi and Mr. Jayeoba Alagbada.

Others are Mr Sikiru Ayedun and Dr (Mrs) Temitope Ilori

A statement by Mr Goke Butikakuro, Press Secretary to the Speaker, Mr Najeem Salam, on Thursday, said all the nominees would be screened thoroughly by the House.

Commending the governor for making his proposed cabinet slim, Salam said the House looked forward to a harmonious relationship with other arms of government.

Deputy Speaker, Mr Akintunde Adegboye, who presided over the plenary session, said the House would commend the screening of the nominees.

Aregbesola also sought the approval of the parliament for appointment of special advisers.


Nigeria to build nuclear power plant

The Russian Federation is to sign an agreement with the FG that will see Nigeria own its first Nuclear power plant
In a move to stabilise Nigeria’s power generation capacity, the Federal Government is set to sign a contract with the Russian Federation.

Minister of Science and Technology, Ita Oko-Bassey Ewa, yesterday in Abuja, received a 7-man delegation from the Russian Federation, concerning the contract’s signing, which will see to the building of Nigeria’s first nuclear power plant.

According to Ita, the power plant was first proposed in 2009 between the two countries; and that he disliked the fact that an agreement had not yet been reached since then.

He, however, assured that “follow up meetings are now being initiated to discuss modalities for its implementation.”

”A draft project implementation agreement has been prepared and ready for signing,” he added.

Ita said that Nigerian needed to diversify its source of electricity and that the FG had set up the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, NAEC, as a body to help achieve that objective.

Director-General of the Russian State Corporation (RUSATOM), Nikolay Spassy, assured a good job, as he stated that Russian Federation had notable records in the building of nuclear power plants.


PHOTONEWS: Six Politicians Found Unconscious, Rescued

Photos of the local politicians found unconscious

Six ward chairmen of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) were, on Friday, saved from possible death by a group of Okada drivers and residents in the Gbagada area of Lagos. The men were discovered unconscious and foaming from the mouth inside a vehicle along Deeper Life Road of the Lagos suburb.

The crowd, which intercepted the Sienna wagon car, forced the driver into the premises of the Ifako police division, Gbagada where the quick intervention of medical officials at a nearby clinic helped to revive the men. Some of the men threw up when they regained consciousness, leading to speculation that they may have been poisoned.
The politicians, who claimed to be coming from an aborted meeting with a leader of the party named Oris at his hotel in Ibafo, Ogun State said they could not explain when they lost consciousness and how they got to the police station.

Of the car's occupants, only the driver (also a local party leader), appeared unaffected as he drove the men from Ibafo to Lagos, until the lucky intervention of the crowd. The driver is now in detention and is believed to be helping the police with their enquiries. Motorcyclists said they chanced on the men after the driver, whom they accused of reckless driving, almost overran one of them. They chased and forced him to stop.

The Divisional Police Officer of the station declined to comment, referring all questions to the Police Force Public Relations officers at the state command. However, anti-riot policemen were later deployed to the station to disperse the crowd of onlookers gathered outside the premises. The policemen, who arrived shooting sporadically into the air, caused a near-stampede as some of the crowd, including motorcyclists, sustained injury in headlong flight from the area.
Two of the politicians who spoke to NEXT said they could have been affected by the food they ate before leaving the hotel at Ibafo earlier in the day.
One of the survivors, who is chairman of ACN ward A in Bariga, Jimoh Z.A, told NEXT that he never knew he was unconscious until he was revived at the police station.

"All I can remember was when we got to the old toll gate," he said. "We did not drink anything there. All we ate this morning was bread and egg. So, there is no set up. We have been there since yesterday night at Oris hotel in Ibafo. There is no problem.
It is only that we are all politicians, including the driver and there is no problem amongst us. We are all one and still one. So, don't let the announcement go far, not to panic our people. So, just let the state emergency people come and take care of us."
He also confirmed the name of the three others, saying that the driver's name is M.A Tairu and the chairman of ward B. The others are the chairman of ward E, Okuribido Kunle and B. Okeowo.
Another survivor, in green lace dress whose name was not known, repeatedly asked whether they are not going to die.

"What if the poison is killing us softly, because I have not taken anything and I could not stand on my feet," he said. "They should give me something to drink so that I will not die. They should not bring people to just come and look at us.
They should let me know if I am still going to die or what if they have put poison into my food, now that I am sitting here and with nothing to drink. What if they have given us breakfast and put in poison? Would this just take us to hell or heaven like that?"
Lawal Taiwo, one of the rescuers, narrated how another Okada rider had informed them of what he noticed in the car while having an argument with the driver and how they laid an ambush for the driver while he was caught in a traffic hold up.

"If not for God, we for don burn am," he said. "People thought that he is a kidnapper or a ritualist. But you can imagine what politicians are doing to themselves. They should just thank God for their lives."
As the nurses were making effort to rescue the affected, a woman in white garment dramatically positioned herself beside the station's fence, loudly praying in tongues for the victims. Family relatives also came one after the other, with some weeping. But were all denied access to the prostrate men as the nurses claimed that there is need for them to be medically stable before they could receive visitors.

Politician arrested for alleged ritual attempt

A leader of a political party in Lagos withheld) was arrested by the police on Friday for allegedly hypnotising three people for ritual purpose.

The victims were found in the chairman’s car after he was apprehended by commercial motorcycle operators and policemen for hitting a commercial motorcyclist.

Police sources told SATURDAY PUNCH that the suspect had driven from Lagos Island to Bariga undisturbed with his victims before he was accosted at Bariga.

He had mistakenly hit a commercial cyclist. He drove off after the incident.

“He didn’t bother to verify the condition of the cyclist nor inspect the damage to his car; he just zoomed off. This, of course, incurred the anger of other cyclists and they mobilised themselves and went after him. He was finally apprehended by policemen at Ifako,” a source said.

To the surprise of his pursuers, there were three other occupants in the vehicle, who were unconscious and appeared oblivious of their environment.

This observation roused the suspicion of everyone present and the suspect was taken to the Ifako Police Station.

The source said, “When it became obvious that the sleeping occupants were nowhere close to waking up, the Divisional Police Officer ordered that they should be taken to the Gbagada General Hospital for treatment.

“They eventually regained consciousness there and claimed they could not recall how they came to be in their present circumstance. The chairman was later released on official recognition of his status, but he is required to report daily to the station.”

Okada riders and other residents were said to have besieged the Ifako Police Station in droves to ascertain the identities of the victims as they insisted that the chairman had intended to use his victims for ritual purposes.

The unnamed ward chairman had since denied the allegation that he wanted to use the unconscious victims for ritual and claimed that they became unconscious after inhaling fumes from the vehicle’s exhaust.

He said the exhaust pipe of his vehicle was cut off and the occupants must have inhaled the fumes after he kept the cut off portion of the pipe in his car.

“He did not explain, however, his connection with the slumbering occupants found in his car,” the source added.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Command, Mr. Samuel Jinadu, could not be reached for comments as his phone was switched off.


I can change my name to Mallam Bakare to get loan from Islamic bank

The Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly and Vice-Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, Pastor Tunde Bakare, on Sunday, appraised Christian leaders’ position on the controversial Islamic banking debate, and accused them of insincerity.

His declaration came as he said he would open an account with the bank once it becomes operational. Read More

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I’ll obey minimum wage law –Zamfara gov

Governor Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar of Zamfara State has made a u-turn on minimum wage, promising to obey the new Wage Act.

Speaking in an interview in Gusau on Tuesday, the governor said he was ready to pay the minimum wage, saying, “it is a law which I have to comply.”
Though Governor Yari was not specific on when he would start paying the new wage, it was a welcome news to civil servants in the state.

 Daily Sun further gathered that the governor was not also specific on whether he would downsize the workforce in the state.

According to him, he was a law-abiding citizen therefore he must obey the law and pay the N18,000 minimum wage to improve the welfare of civil servants in the state.
He advised workers to be dedicated to their duties as government would also in turn expect them to reciprocate the gesture of dedication to work.
However, Governor Yari  said, “let people be sincere to themselves that no state in the North can implement N18,000 minimum wage.”

He revealed that unlike Lagos State that generates about N23 billion internal revenue monthly, Zamfara State generates only N120 million.
He said he inherited about 28,000 workforce, noting that by the time he multiplied N18,000 by the number of workers in Zamfara the payment would rise to N3 billion, while the total income of the state was between N2.3 billion to N2.5 billion.


How Nigerian youths can be 21st century assets, by Falade


IN his new book The 360 Degrees Youths: 21st Century Approach to Total Youths’ Development, Joshua Olabisi Falade explores the amazing world of the Nigerian youth and its place within the global context. But what he finds is a nation’s youth in disadvantage in the global scheme of things. As a youth leader within the Christian fold, Falade is worried. And he thinks every other Nigerian should be worried as well, especially parents who he says are saddled with the task of raising assets not just children.
It is this distinction between raising children and making them assets that has set the Nigerian youth at an uncertain the cross-road. Falade argues in his book that there is a need to raise well-rounded youths that can compete at all levels and in all sectors of human life to fit the global economic vision. He maintains that youths need to go beyond being educated but also being able to fit the demands of the century founded on solid Information Technology and Communications (ITC).
“Youths should be compliant with the features of the 21st century, especially in the area of competition, which is global,” Falade states, “Youths must be used to all the tools used in dealing with the century. I advise parents to have small family that they can manage as it has become increasingly expensive to raise a family so the children can become assets rather than a liability. On their part, youths should adapt to the old moral order so as not to be too materialistic.”
Falade lists various factors that have made the Nigerian youth less competitive with his mates in the global arena. These factors include a poor, starry-eyed educational curriculum that ill-equips him for usefulness in society, government’s failure to take into account youths’ potential as productive sector of the economy; a poor technological appreciation, physical inadequacy, mental lapse and poor financial base.
These factors, according to Falade, need to be addressed urgently so as to better reposition the nation’s youth force and turn it into an asset and advantage for purpose of national development. He says, “Educationally, the Nigerian youth is so backward. Education should not be abstract but one that teaches skills, especially entrepreneurial skills– so graduates would be better prepared for life after school. A large number of youths are not where they should be in terms of readiness for work.
“In other words, they are globally unprepared, socially disconnected, financially uninformed, physically un-agile, anti-fitness; in fact, they are not there yet in these areas. Reason is that education hasn’t prepare them. The curriculum is inadequate; it can’t prepared youths to be 21st century-compliant.
“In terms of technology, Nigerian youths are just hooked onto the social media network. They are not really into technology yet whereas the global economy is tech-driven. Also in terms of mental ability, Nigerian youths lag behind; the reasoning of youths today is very low; their debate is shallow. All Nigerian youths know is soccer and such trivial affairs and not the issues that drive the world like politics. Financially, Nigerian youths are not there yet; only in negative terms like yahoo or 419”.
To redress the situation, Falade maintains that there is a need for parents to bequeath to children needed skills that will make youths fit to play a part in a globalised economy otherwise raising them becomes a disservice and incalculable harm to society. He also tasks religious institutions to step up their roles and act as great socialising agents and elevate the love for mankind, morality and de-emphasise the love for materialism. Religious institutions, he states, should go back to the moral basics that will replace the corrupt order.
He insists government must redefine the basis of education to remove all abstractions for the reality staring the world in the face. Falade says things that are relevant and practical in education should be in the curriculum for a better society, saying the old concept of the town and gown should be well-aligned.
The 360 Degrees Youths: 21st Century Approach to Total Youths’ Development is scheduled for launch later this month.


I won’t stay in office beyond 2015, Jonathan insists

President faults opposition to single tenure
PDP holds convention January 25
AT two separate fora yesterday in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan said he had no intention to stay in the Presidential Villa beyond May 29, 2015.
Jonathan point blank, said insinuations that his single term proposal was to further his grip on power were misplaced. He told Nigerians flying the kite to desist from it.
At the 56th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja, the President disclosed that consultations were still going on though no number of years had been reached.
Earlier yesterday, Jonathan through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, had said he was pressing on with his plan for the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution for a single term for the President and governors of the 36 states of the federation with effect from 2015.
He said the bill to actualise the new initiative would be presented to the National Assembly before the end of August.
Jonathan, who also responded to the opposition’s strident criticism of his proposal on the issue, accused them of trying to deny him the right of freedom of speech and thought on how best to drive governance towards better service delivery in Nigeria.
Jonathan pointed out that there was no way he could embark on such exercise without consulting critical stakeholders such as the state governors and the lawmakers.
‘’There is a brief comment I want to make about this so-called single tenure, I wouldn’t have to love to but probably it is becoming so topical in the papers. In fact, today, most of the papers carried the story and once things happen that way, people take it in different directions. Since we are meeting here as a NEC of the party, it is only proper to clarify some issues so that it will not be misunderstood.
“Indeed, I asked some a few people whether a single tenure is a better option than a double tenure. Before I take any decision I ask people but that is not the end of the consultation. It is a major change. So, before I can send such a bill to the National Assembly, I will consult the governors because any constitutional amendment involves the states and if they are not on the same page with you, there is no way such amendment can easily sail through. So, I have not even discussed it with the governors. Though as individuals, probably, I have mentioned it to one or two along the discussion, if it crosses that area. Even the leadership of the party and the National Assembly, I might have mentioned to one or two persons, but not a formal group consultation. So, I have not done that level of consultation.
“Why should the story come up? Of course, because I asked one or two persons about this and I felt it was a good idea. So, the issue leaked out to the press and instead of talking about the issue of whether it is a single tenure or we continue with the two tenure, people  are now rather pinning it to extension, elongation of tenure. And people were holding meeting. When we got to know that they were holding meeting, we said no, no., clarify this; Nobody should hold meeting about elongation of tenure. It has nothing to do with elongation of tenure. The tenure of Jonathan Goodluck ends in 2015. That is the provision of the constitution. So, it has nothing to do with that,’’ he said.
Jonathan recalled that the idea of tinkering with the tenure of Presidency came up during the adminsitration of the late President Umaru Musa YarÁdua when he raised an inter-party committee on the matter and the panel, which he chaired bought the idea of a single tenure.
‘’But the clarification that came out also rather compounded the situation, and how did this thing come about? Some of you will remember that in 2008/2009, when we came on board and at the end of the elections, the feeling that that the elections were poorly done was so dramatised that both within and outside the country, people felt that the elections were not properly conducted. I used to feel personally insulted whenever I travelled out to hold meetings, it came to create issues as if it was a stolen mandate. I used to tell people around me that I would make sure that no Nigerian President or Vice President gets insulted. So, if I have opportunity to oversee elections, the elections must be credible so that people will accept us anywhere,”
Jonathan noted that because of these challenges, the late President set up the Justice Uwais Committee to look into the electoral reforms and others. “He (Yar’Adua) also called the parties to come together and form a team so that all the parties could submit a common position. He also asked as the vice president then to chair the inter-party committee to submit a common memorandum to the Justice Uwais committee. I chaired that and we invited all the political parties. All the parties that formed government participated but only the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) did not attend and we spent almost three weeks or a month. The report is there.”
Jonathan said one of the things the panel discussed and accepted was a single term option to reduce some acrimonies. “One is not saying that that I am the ultimate but if you look at the evolution of the political system, the two-tenure is the ultimate, considering that some countries having single tenure, after some time, go for the double tenure. So, it is like evolutionary process. But the feeling is that because of a lot of agitations and so on, probably, in another period, we can go to that, probably to make it more effective for people to concentrate and so on. There were a number of reasons given, I will not bore your ears. But that was how this issue of single term came up. So, it not my idea, that was conceptualised after winning election. No. It has been there. All the memos that were submitted by the parties contain that. And indeed, I started asking certain people some questions and so, the information leaked out to the press and they are trying to make issue about it. But I assure the party that that major constitutional amendment can not go the National Assembly except Mr. President consults the leadership of the party. And the leadership of the National Assembly and consult with the governors. It has nothing to do with the four-year presidency that Nigerians have given to us. We just want to clarify that and I think I need to mention that it is not my idea of the committee that I chaired. Those of us, who were in the committee, we debated the matter for almost one day. We believe it is the best option, still for it to go for constitutional amendment, consultation has to be done widely,’’ he declared.
The President appealed to PDP faithful not to be worried by the misunderstanding over the matter, stressing that he did not mention six years as reported.
‘’Though some of the statements are quite insulting but of course, it is the kind of politics we play. So, I will tell PDP members not to join issues with people. Just clarify so that people will understand, and I just need to mention this so that people will know exactly the evolution of this so-called single tenure. I did not mention that six years. I don’t know where the six years came in. One thing I said was that the cost of election is too high on government. The money we spend on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)] , and of course, the security, if you aggregate it for a country that has a lot of challenges about our road infrastructure, we can’t even fund it. The amount of money we spend every year conducting elections is so much that there is the need to even widen the gap. The six-year I was even saying that for parliamentary election. Multiple tenures are practised all over the world, so nobody will pin them down but I even said even the four years, the frequency,  and I know I said it because some time  when, I remember as a vice president, the initial period when I used to attend meeting with other presidents, most African counties feel that the four-year thing is too short. They used to tell me, you people in Nigeria are rich, you think you are as developed as the United States of America, so you just went and copied the US model. Those are the areas we are looking at but Mr. President cannot send that to the National Assembly when I have not even consulted the people that will present the bill. So, you should not be bothered about that, some people will play politics with it but the truth will come out,’’ he said.
At the meeting, the PDP Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, said the new leadership of the party would enforce discipline noting that members of party, who left the party during the last election but have returned would be treated as new members. ‘’Erstwhile members that deserted our party during the electioneering period and seek to return to the party after elections will henceforth queue up in their constituencies regardless of their previously held positions,’’ he said.
He said the incident in the House of Representatives where members of the party defied the PDP’s instruction on the candidates to be elected as members of the Body of Principal Officers and elected their own candidates was strange but the party had forgiven them for the remorse they had shown.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, said at a press conference that the national convention of the party had been scheduled for February next year. He added that the meeting ratified the appointment of Baraje as the acting national chairman.
Similarly, NEC also approved the appointment of Dr. Musa Babayo, erstwhile Deputy National Secretary as Acting National Secretary in view of the vacancy created by the elevation of Baraje. They shall, along with the remaining members of the National Working Committee (NWC) oversee the affairs of the party until the tenure of the current executive committee runs out in March, 2012.
“NEC also considered dates and guidelines for party congresses and national convention of our arty which shall elect officers for the party at all levels. This is in line with provisions of the PDP Constitution which prescribes a four-year tenure for elected executives at all levels,’’ he declared.
After exhaustive debate, the following timetable was approved by NEC: Ward Congresses  - 7th January, 2012.
• LGA Congresses - 14th January, 2012
• State Congresses - 21st January, 2012
• Zonal Congresses - 4th February, 2012
• National Convention - 25th February, 2012
The handing over to the new NEC shall be between 27th February and 8th of March, 2012.
He added that NEC nominated a team of 21 persons to review the party’s constitution  ‘’NEC also approved the constitution of a 21-member committee to propose amendments for the PDP Constitution to align it with provision of the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The committee shall be chaired by the National Legal Adviser with members drawn from the Executive, National Assembly, Governors Forum, State Chairmen, Youths and Women representatives and National Secretariat.
The Guardian learnt that the Senate President David Mark, advised the party to review the membership register before the congresses and convention to properly capture the membership.
The meeting was not attended by governors of South East extraction. Abati, who restated that President Jonathan “will not be a beneficiary” of the bill if it is enacted into law, said it is difficult to fathom how the issue of single term for the Executive branch is “a distraction” as the proposal has not stopped governance.
He described most of the reactions as “patently abusive; or if you like, insulting. It’s been suffused with a lot of name-calling.”
The presidential aide added again that “the President, in 2015, is not going to come and benefit if the amendment sails through because if he tries to do that, then those who are saying this is an attempt at tenure elongation will have been vindicated.”
Abati further said that “if you look at the reaction by the opposition, one thing that seems to come out is the impression that they seem to be giving that the President, as a Nigerian, does not have the right to free speech. The President, as every other individual under the Constitution, has that right to the freedom of expression. And I think the proposal that he has made ought to be seen primarily in that context. Second, as a leader and as a citizen and as a man who is the leader of Nigeria at the moment, he has every right to express his vision, to say this is where I want the country to go. This is what I think is in the best interest of Nigeria, given our current level of political development.
“The third point to note is that this is a democracy and the statement that has been made by Mr. President is not in any way a military order. It is just a proposal. The fact that it is not a military order means the proposal does not have an immediate effect. The decision, at the end of the day, will be that of the Nigerian people. Everyone knows that such a proposal will have to go through due process. And the President is a man who has said again and again that he will not do anything that is against the rule of law.
“What that means therefore is that this proposal will still first go through the Executive Council of the Federation. It will be debated at that level, it will be discussed, it will be examined and if the Council feels that there is merit in it, then a bill will be prepared and forwarded to the National Assembly.
“And then the National Assembly will debate it, the Nigerian people will debate and the decision at the end of the day will be that of Nigerians. What I find again in some of the reactions of the opposition is that
some of them have been patently abusive or if you like, insulting. It’s been suffused with a lot of name-calling. I think that politicians have a right to be partisan because it is the nature of politicians to be partisan.  However, where national interest is involved, a certain level of objectivity is important and people should subordinate their partisan interest to the national interest

Nigeria News Blog

Nigeria is now the second largest oil exporter amongst the OPEC

Nigeria is now the second largest oil exporter amongst the OPEC nations (an improvement from seventh place last year) as a result of several factors especially the hugely successful Amnesty Programme which this administration will continue to pursue with vigour. We have also seen an expansion of our oil industry leading to the creation of jobs and reduction in casualisation of workers. GEJ
 Source: Goodluck Jonathan

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

9 Nigerian Banks Make Top 1000 World Banks Ranking

On July 27, 2011 · In News , 
By Babajide Komolafe with Agency reports
Lagos — Nine Nigerian banks have made the list of the Top 1000 World Banks Ranking by Tier One Capital in the 2011 edition by The Banker magazine as published in its current edition.

According to a statement signed by the Country Representative of The Banker, Mr. Kunle Ogedengbe, Zenith Bank and First Bank are the two top ranked banks in Nigeria. While Zenith is ranked 296, First Bank of Nigeria Plc is ranked 310.

Other Nigerian banks that made the Top 1000 World Banks list are Guaranty Trust Bank ranked 444, Access Bank (495), United Bank for Africa (513), Fidelity Bank (567), First City Monument Bank (586), Diamond Bank (650) and Skye Bank (657).

Apart from featuring in the top 1000 World Banks, the  banks also made the Top 25 banks in Africa with Nigeria being the only country in the continent that has nine banks in the African Top 25 ranking schedule.

CBN raises policy rate
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, yesterday raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 8.75 per cent, to further tighten money supply in anticipation of future rise in inflation. The MPR is the benchmark for interest rate in the economy.

The CBN also reported that the nation’s real gross domestic product (GDP)  growth slowed down in the first quarter to 6.64 per cent from 7.36 per cent in the preceding quarter,  warning that security challenges, infrastructural bottleneck and government spending could undermine investors’ confidence and output growth in the near term.

In a communiqué issued at the end of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, the CBN explained the rational for raising the MPR for the third time this year.

It said, “The Committee observed that the inflation outlook appears uncertain owing to the expected implementation of the new national minimum wage policy and the imminent deregulation of petroleum prices. Significant injection of liquidity from FAAC in the third quarter coupled with the impact of AMCON recapitalizing intervened banks to the tune of N1.6 trillion will both add to inflationary pressures.

South Africa and Egypt have five banks each, Morocco has three while Togo, Angola and Mauritius have one each.
With the first listing published in 1970, The Banker Top 1000 ranking has for over 41 years served as a credible source for the measurement of the stability of global banks along with in depth analysis of the global financial industry.

In the 2011 ranking, the United States of America maintains number one position through Bank of America, followed by JP Morgan Chase & Co., while HSBC of the United Kingdom moved to third from fifth ranked position last year
New comers to the top 10 compared to last year are Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Japan, China Construction Bank Corporation and Bank of China while those who did not make the top 10 this year compared to last year are BNP Paribas, France; Barclays Bank, UK and Banco Santander, Spain.

The rankings are based on the definition of Tier One Capital as set out by Basel’s Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the object of the survey is to show the banks’ soundness in relation to the Basel requirement of a minimum ratio of Tier One Capital to risk-weighted assets of 4 per cent (increasing to 7 per cent by 2019) and a minimum ratio of total capital to risk-weighted assets of 8 per cent.


How Akingbola Stole £8.5m From Bank-PM News, Lagos

Erastus Akingbola
By PM, News, Lagos/NAN
An Ikeja High Court in Lagos has heard how former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola, allegedly transferred the bank’s 8.5 million pounds into his domiciliary account.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akingbola and an associate, Bayo Dada, are standing trial before Justice Habeeb Abiru for allegedly stealing N47.1 billion belonging to the bank.
At the resumed trial on Tuesday, Mr Abdulraheem Jimoh, Intercontinental Bank’s Chief Inspector, alleged that Akingbola converted the sum to his own use.
Jimoh, who was being led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), told the court that the illegal transfers were made between March 16th and May 13th 2009 .
He alleged that Akingbola used Inter-Capital Market Limited (ICML), a subsidiary of the bank, to carry out the transaction by unilaterally increasing its lifeline from N2 billion to N5 billion.
The witness said: “they had a lifeline of N2 billion which, as at the time of this transaction, had been completely used. On March 11, 2009, ICML applied for an increase from N2 billion to N5 billion.
“The application was made to the Executive Director Investment and Strategy (Intercontinental) and the request was recommended and approved by the ED.”
He said that the normal process was for the bank’s Board Risk Committee to ratify and approve such a request when it was a necessity.
“In this case there was no approval or ratification,” he added.
According to him, it was from this increase that ICML gave N2.1 billion to another company, Regal Investment Company Limited, owned by Dr Raymond Obieri, the Chairman of Intercontinental Bank.
Jimoh alleged that the N2.1 billion was distributed to six bureau de change operators who converted it to foreign currencies by selling it to their customers.
The said the bureau de change operators later paid the money back into the bank’s Inter-Departmental Suspense (IDS) Account, Jimoh added.
He said that the sum of 8.5 million pounds was paid by a lady called Loveth into the account of Fulgher, a United Kingdom-based company in charge of leasing Intercontinental Bank offices.
The money, he said, was paid into Fulgher’s account with Royal Bank of Scotland.
The witness said the money was later transferred to Akingbola’s domiciliary account which was an irregular banking practice.
He said: “what we observed is that as at the time of the transfer of the 8.5 million pounds to Scotland, Akingbola did not have sufficient amount in his domiciliary account.
“He had only 10,043 pounds in his account. Ordinarily, banks do not transfer fund to customers whose accounts are not credited and Intercontinental Bank does not transfer funds from its NOSTRO account either.”
Jimoh claimed that Intercontinental Bank had no transaction with Fulgher on such an amount and therefore the transaction was not a transaction of the bank.
Earlier, Akingbola’s lawyer, Chief Felix Fagbohungbe, had brought two applications dated July 15 and July 19 respectively, before the court. Fagbohungbe asked the court to discontinue the trial pending the hearing of the applications.
This was opposed by the EFCC, who claimed that the defence was trying to frustrate the trial and asked the court to dismiss them.
Abiru, however, ruled in favour of the prosecution and ordered that the trial should continue because the applications could still be heard any other time.
NAN reports that the matter was adjourned till October 11 for continuation of trial and possible hearing of the applications.

Rochas Okorocha defends frivolous appointments

The Governor spoke to Encomium magazine through his Senior Special Assistant on media, Chinedu Offor.
His appointments are in the best interest of the state. Everybody he has appointed has something special and beneficial to attract to the state. The governor saves about N150million for Imo state per day as he is not going to be earning any salary for four years. All the automobiles in his fleets are his personal vehicles and his family is not being taken care of by tax payers money unlike his predecessors.
It is only ignorant people that are criticizing the governor. Take the SA to the governor on Lagos State (Nkiru Sylvanus) she is a very popular Nollywood actress who will use her brand face to attract business to the state. It doesn't matter if Okorocha appoints 1, 000 aides, his ultimate goal is to move the state forward.

Governor Okorocha appointed 70 people as Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants and Special Assistants.


Reps back out of Islamic Banking

The House of Representatives yesterday made a volte face denying supporting the introduction of Islamic banking in the country as proposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Governor of CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was last week summoned to the floor of the House to educate and clear the controversies generated by the plan to introduce Islamic banking in the county.

After about one hour lecture, members clapped for Sanusi, while efforts of some members to ask pertinent questions were rebuffed by the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, who presided over the plenary.

But at resumption of plenary yesterday, the House who gave Sanusi a thunderous ovation made a U-turn over its purported endorsement of the controversial Islamic banking and cash withdrawal limit policies.
The decision to reverse itself was, however, taken at an executive session that lasted about one hour and presided over by Ihedioha.

It was gathered that members who were shut out of asking questions last week took advantage of the closed door meeting to vent their anger.
A member confirmed that the meeting was stormy as members reportedly spoke extensively against the handling of last Thursday’s meeting with the CBN governor, during which members who had raised their hands to ask questions from the apex bank boss were not allowed to do so.

Briefing the press after the plenary on the issue, the House Chairman on Ad hoc Committee on Media and Publicity along with other members of the committee, Opeyemi Bamidele declared that the House had not endorsed both policies being proposed by the apex bank as alleged.
“We have not taken a position on it. The matter is alive, it’s ongoing, we will further debate on it and take a final decision based on the interest of the people who elected us.

“The House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has not by any means endorsed the Islamic bank. The CBN governor was invited based on a motion on the two issues, Islamic banking and cash withdrawal limit to come and offer more explanations on the issues before we take a final decision. There is no standard rule that questions must be asked whenever anybody or organisation is invited. We either ask questions or ask the person to take a bow and go.”

Mr. Bamidele, a member of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) from Ekiti State added that the House in its wisdom resolved not to ask questions after the presentation by the CBN boss in the overall interest of the nation as such questions might degenerate to crisis.

“We have acted in the overall interest of Nigeria because Nigeria today does not need further overheating. Asking questions after the presentations that day may lead to another thing. Only God knows what would have happened by now if members had been allowed to ask questions, at least we had more than 100 hands up for questions.

“We were all in the floor of the House today when an honourable member read a letter from the Anambra State governor and the state commissioner of finance clarifying that Anambra State government had not borrowed any money from the Islamic bank.”

“We don’t want to play to the gallery or into the hands of anybody. The matter is alive, we will not allow ourselves to be distracted. As a responsible House we will take appropriate decision on the two issues at the appropriate time.  That is why we have various committees in the House to handle such issues.” 
He, however, agreed that there were some members who were not happy about what happened when the CBN governor came to address the House and allowed to go without subjecting him to questions as it was done during the invitation of the Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Deizani Alison-Madueke who was subjected to several hours questioning.
along with the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation NNPC, Austin Oniwon and the Director of Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR by the House, adding that the two issues were different.


Reps deny backing Sanusi-Islamic banking

ABUJA — The House of Representatives, Tuesday, denied that it has thrown its weight behind the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, over his policy to introduce Islamic banking in the country, saying no decision had been taken by the House on the matter.
There were reports in some national dailies (not Vanguard) that the House of Representatives had given its support to the controversial policy of Islamic banking being proposed by the apex bank.
This came on the heels of denial of the claim by the CBN governor that the Anambra State government had received credit facilities from the Islamic bank.
Sanusi had appeared before the House of Representatives last week where he defended the policy of Islamic banking as well as the  CBN decision to limit the daily withdrawal of cash to N150,000 for individuals and N1 million for corporate bodies.
Addressing a press conference after an executive session of the House yesterday, Chairman of the ad-hoc committee of the House on Media and Publicity, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, said reports in the newspapers did not reflect a true representation of what transpired in the House.
He said: “The House of Representatives has not by any means and on whatsoever ground endorsed Islamic banking. The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria was invited to provide explanation on two policy issues that we felt were in the over-riding interest of the nation.”
He said the final decision of the House on the contentious Islamic banking and the limit on cash withdrawal would be determined by the prevailing national interest, noting that it was not under obligation to toe the line of the executive in its policies, adding: “We will not play to the gallery


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

EFCC Chairperson, Farida Waziri, Retired as Commissioner Of Police, Not AIG, Ringim Tells AGF Adoke

Posted: July 27, 2011 - 04:00
Farida Waziri in police uniform
By Saharareporters, New York
Documents obtained by SaharaReporters confirm that Mrs Farida Waziri, the chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was duly promoted to the rank of Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in 1999 along with 12 other officers, but only in an acting capacity.
Although she was highly qualified under the regulations governing the Nigerian Police Force, she was never actually confirmed in the rank of AIG before her retirement in February 2000, on account of the absence of the Police Service Commission (PSC) at that time.  That makes her substantive position that of Commissioner, not AIG.
Responding to an enquiry by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, dated 21 July 2011, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim, said that Police records confirm that Mrs. Waziri retired as a Commissioner of Police (CP).
The Centre for The Rule of Law, a non-governmental organization, had written a petition to the AGF on July 15, requesting, under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Law, to be furnished with Waziri’s rank at the time of her retirement from the police.  The group, citing its “concern about the dwindling performance” of the EFCC, said it had found conflicting information about the actual rank of Mrs. Waziri at her retirement from the Police.
Confirming the position of the IGP, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mr. Parry Osayande, explained in his response to Mr. Adoke that police officers on an acting rank who are not promoted to the next substantive rank but are due to retire do so on their substantive rank, which led to Mrs. Waziri retiring as a CP. 
Mrs. Waziri, an officer who served for 35 years and occupied several important positions, spent eight years as CP, where four years is the norm, which is probably why she does not appear to have taken her retirement as CP very well.  She has always referred to herself as AIG, perhaps in the expectation that the Police Commission would “correct” her status.  Her bio on the website of the EFCC describes her as “…retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG),” a rank to which she rose “as a result of diligence and by continuous training.”
Along with some other colleagues, Mrs. Waziri’s retirement in 2000 was never formalized, and she is therefore yet to receive her retirement pension and gratuity payments.
Her disaffection with this situation may have become even more frustrating in 2007 when she was appointed to head the EFCC, a position that Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, one of her predecessors and a man whom she trained in the police, had been fast-tracked to occupy at the level of AIG.  She continued to call herself AIG, an ego problem that may lead to her downfall.
In a bailbond signed by Mrs. Waziri to retrieve the international passport of the former governor of her home state f Benue, George Akume, she signed off as "AIG" (rtd) a position she did not legitimatelyearn according to police service rules.
But Mrs. Waziri has her defenders, including Mr. Abubakar Tsav, a former Commissioner of Police in Lagos State.  Speaking to the Nation newspaper, Mr. Tsav described the allegation of the Centre for The Rule of Law against Mrs. Waziri as a scheme to shield corrupt politicians from prosecution.
“All along, no one complained about Mrs. Waziri’s rank, no one complained that she was powerful and no one thought of merging the EFCC with ICPC, until a former Speaker was arraigned for high-profile corruption,” he said. 
Mr. Tsav is clearly referring to the efforts of the EFCC to prosecute Mr. Dimeji Bankole, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, on various charges of official corruption. 
It is not clear whether the AGF, Mr. Adoke, is somehow connected with the allegations against Mrs. Waziri.  What is known is that he has dismissed the EFCC and the ICPC as being incapable of fighting corruption.  Speaking during his ministerial screening by the Senate, he proposed merging both agencies as a way of getting around the problem, without saying how that would accomplish the objective.
IG's Letter To Adoke below:


Boko Haram Kills District Head And His 9-Year Old Daughter In Maiduguri

Gov. Kashim Shettima inspecting Budum market after Boko Haram insurgents attacked the market
Suspected Boko Haram islamists  shot and killed Mohammed Ali Lawal, the district head of Bulabulin in Maiduguri around 8: am today in Maiduguri.
Alhaji Ali's attackers numbering 3 also shot and killed his 9 years old daughter. A neighbor's daughter was also caught in the cross fire. Family sources claimed she  sustained serious injuries.
 Since its resurgence about a year ago, the northeasatern Nigeria based islamist sect has targetted and killed several districts heads, islamic scholars, local officials and security agents in a campaign of violence.

5 shot dead in Bayelsa

It was a bloody weekend in Bayelsa State as five people were shot and killed in various locations across the state.
It started with the killing of two ex-militant leaders in a restaurant while they were eating in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

According to sources, one of the ex-militant leaders known as ‘Commander Akina’ was in company with a fellow ex-militant whose identity was not immediately known when somebody just entered into the restaurant and opened fire killing the two of them on the spot.
 Their death was said to be unconnected to the disagreement on the monthly amnesty allowances paid through the various leaders by the Federal Government amnesty committee.
The shooting which did not last more than two minutes forced people to scamper for safety with some residents immediately calling the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) and alerting the Divisional Police Officer (DPO).
Operation Famou Tangbei was immediately contacted and the corpses were handed over to it before it was deposited at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) morgue.

At Edepie, two boys escaped death as they were attacked in their house by a gang who shot them and thought they were dead before leaving with some amnesty money, which they accused them of collecting illegally.
Two boys were also killed at the Opolo Park while body of another victim was found by the residents.
Eyewitness account at the Opolo Park said people were caught unawares as the shooting of the two boys was too sudden. The assailants were said to have approached their targets and shot them at close range causing pandemonium with drivers abandoning their vehicles and shops around the area closing hurriedly.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Eguaveon Emoakpe, in an interview confirmed three deaths and said the police were on top of the situation.

According to him, no arrests had been made but said investigations had commenced fully into the incidents.
 Meanwhile, the fighters of the Niger Delta Liberation Forces (NDLF) had again warned that leaving weapons and ammunition used by the group in its battle with men of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in the hands of local fighters could spell doom for the security of the region.
 The NDLF after weeks of battle with the JTF had on May 15 announced its surrender, noting that since the JTF did not destroy its armoury, government should take urgent steps to mop them up by integrating the NDLF fighters in the amnesty programme.

 In a statement by its spokesman, Mark Anthony, which re-confirmed the death of its leader, John Togo, NDLF noted that Togo was in talks with the coordinator of the amnesty programme, Mr. Kingsley Kuku on the possibility that members of the NDLF gets presidential pardon.
Investigations revealed that NDLF fighters had contacted an Ijaw leader and a well-respected ex-militant leader to reach out to the presidency on their behalf and explore the possibility of a presidential pardon.
Sources said the two emissaries had tried to no avail to convince the presidency on the need to grant the NDLF fighters pardon and integrate them into the amnesty programme.
The Federal Government shut the door on further pardon when it declared that there were no more phases of the amnesty after the second batch was admitted.

NDLF in the statement, however, urged the Federal Government to have re-think on its plans as leaving arms in the hands of local fighters who had expressed the willingness to embrace amnesty was ignored.
 It pointed out that; “this negligence on the part of Federal Government may lead to a future insecurity in Niger Delta. 


Nigeria Security Forces In Random Killing Following Bomb Blast-Amnesty International

The Nigerian authorities must immediately put a stop to unlawful killings by security forces, Amnesty International said today after at least 23 people were killed by police following a bomb blast on Saturday in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri.
The bomb, allegedly set off by the Islamist group Boko Haram, went off in the Budum market in central Maiduguri and injured three soldiers. According to reports received by Amnesty International, the Nigerian Joint Military Task Force (JTF) responded by shooting and killing a number of people, apparently at random, before burning down the market.
“President Goodluck Jonathan must get a grip on the Nigerian armed forces and immediately prevent them from carrying out further human rights violations and unlawful killings,” said Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Africa.
“The government must now investigate these heinous crimes and put on trial those found to be responsible for the killings. Allowing troops to go on the rampage will not bring to justice those who carry out these terrible bomb attacks on civilians,” he said.
“While staying within the law, the government must step up efforts to bring to justice members of Boko Haram who wreck untold suffering on people in the middle belt.”
One wing of Boko Haram has reportedly disowned the bomb blast, saying it may have been carried out by a splinter group.
The JTF was set up by the federal government in June 2011 to restore order in Borno state. In recent months, Amnesty International has received numerous reports that security forces in Borno state have resorted to unlawful killings, dragnet arrests, arbitrary and unlawful detentions, extortion, and intimidation.
One human rights defender told Amnesty International “Soldiers went on the rampage. They shot several people and burned all their shops and properties and burned their cars.”
Following a bombing in Maiduguri two weeks ago, members of the JTF reportedly threatened to shoot residents if they failed to report planned attacks.
House to house searches, brutalisation, unlawful arrests, killings and disappearances have been the operating practice in Maiduguri for some months now. Unless steps are taken to ensure security forces operate within the law and respect human rights at all times, the next time Boko Haram attacks or kills a soldier, we are likely to see the same thing happen again,” said Tawanda Hondora. Thousands of people living in Maiduguri have already left the city; and many more continue to do so.
The JTF have also been accused of raping women during their operations in recent months.
“Allegations of rape of women by members of the JTF have to be investigated and perpetrators brought to justice, “Tawanda Hondora said.
“Survivors of rape and sexual violence must be provided with appropriate support and aftercare,” he added.
Since July 2010, attacks by people believed to be members of the religious sect Boko Haram have increased. More than 250 people have been killed in such attacks, many of which have targeted police officers and government officials.
Several religious leaders have been killed and churches have also been targeted.
Since June 2011, Boko Haram has also attacked bars and beer-gardens, killing scores of people.

 This is very inhuman.