Thursday, February 28, 2013

TARABA STATE: Man Shot Friend Over Football, Many Now Dead?

5 killed, 300 houses burnt in Taraba crisis
No fewer than five people were killed and about 300 houses set ablaze yesterday in early morning religious crisis that engulfed Wukari, headquarters of Wukari Local Government in Taraba State. A House of Assembly member representing Wukari II State Constituency in Taraba State, Ishaya Gani, who confirmed the incident to Sunday Sun in Jalingo, said a mere argument between two football enthusiasts snowballed into a bloody battle with deep religious sentiment.
“It was an argument between two football fans coming back from morning training, but one of them brought out a pistol and killed his friend,” he said. Angered by the killing of one of their colleagues, youths in the area mobilised and killed the assailant in what residents described as mob action. Hell was let loose as members of the community engaged in bloodbath along religious lines, burning houses and killing one another.
The burnt 300 houses and other properties belonged to both Christians and Muslims in the community. Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Taraba State Police Command, Mr. Amos Alaoye, said security men have been drafted to Wukari to control the situation. He also said the state police command was yet to be briefed on the number of casualties.
Source: Sun News

INTERESTING: Kalu, Saraki, Bode George And Co Form New Political Group?

Kalu, Saraki, Bode George, Ribadu, others form new group
A new political group with membership drawn from the nation’s crop of prominent politicians, has been formed. Chaired by the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, the group parades an array of over 200 politicians in the country. According to a report by The Eagle Online, they include Senator Gbemisola Saraki who is the vice chairman of the group, Akin Osuntokun (Secretary), a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Odein Ajumogobia (SAN); and former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party,
Chief Olabode George. Others are Ambassador Fati Abubakar, Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Musiliu Obanikoro; a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and Chris Uche (SAN), Lawal Shuaibu, human rights activist, Uba Sani; Senator Umar Argungu, Olusegun Awolowo, Hon. Uche Ekwunife, and Hon. Yemi Arokodare. Though yet without an official name, the group that started with 37 members, has been meeting as a non-partisan political organization with the aim of instituting good governance and ensuring the unity of the country.
Sources stated that it has met at least five times in the last few months, in the house of a senator in Maitama, Abuja, adding that the attendance increased with every subsequent meeting. It was gathered that at the latest meeting on Wednesday, over 200 prominent politicians were in attendance. It was learnt that the last five meetings have been used to discuss the state of the nation, especially the issue of insecurity. A source within the group said: “We are concerned about total leadership. We are concerned about the wellbeing of Nigerians and how the leadership treats the followers.”
To achieve this, the group, initially known as the G-37, has formed several committees. They include Mobilisation committee that is chaired by Fani-Kayode, with Senator Grace Bent as his deputy; the Finance committee headed by Fafa Dan Princewill; the Media committee chaired by Senator Emmanuel Onwe, with Prof Mahmud Jega as vice chairman; and the Committee on Strategy and Research with Nuhu Ribadu as its chairman.
Source: Sun News

Federal Road Authority to replace body
The Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, disclosed that the Federal Road Authority will replace the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA).
The minister disclosed this at a two-day workshop to consider the Road Sector Bill in Abuja.
He stated that FERMA was a stop gap and not meant to be permanent.
Onolememen said, “In 1996 when the conference on reforming the road sector was conveyed, it was agreed that a road authority should be created, along the line interest came in and FERMA was created.
“It is in the light of the forgoing that on the October 18, 2011, I inaugurated the committee for Road Sector Reform, this of course came up with two draft bill.
“The first bill, the Draft National Road Fund Bill establishes the National Road Fund to be supervised by a National Road Fund Board and the second bill is the Draft Federal Roads Authority (FRA).
“This sets up a semi authonomous road agency that will be responsible for the efficient construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of federal roads as well as providing the overall framework and advice for the coordination and the cornerstone of the nation’s economy.
“Best practice around the world indicates that Nigeria cannot overcome its road infrastructure development challenges unless necessary reforms are embarked upon to reposition the road sector and bring it in sync with its technical specification of national roads including state and local government roads,”
The minister maintained that FRA is in line with international best road management practice.
The organization, according to him, will provide advice to the minister on road transportation and road infrastructure matters.
Source: Nigeria Trends

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

SURPRISING: Over 30,000 Prisoners To Be Set Free?

An amendment to existing law, the legislation has passed a second reading.
A new federal law will order the release of prisoners awaiting trial for too long in Nigeria’s overcrowded jails.
The law will raise the spectre of hope for more than 30,000 Nigerians-constituting about 70 per cent of total inmates.
The bill, and amendment to the Criminal Justice Act, is under the works at the Senate, and was given a second reading on Wednesday.
Lawmakers say it holds the promise for solving the nation’s problem with congested prisons once and for all.
Under its provisions, the Comptroller-General of Prison is to serve the Chief Justice of the Federation, and the Chiefs Justice of the relevant states, monthly updates on all inmates.
The Chief Judicial Officers, acting on the registers available to them, will order the release of prisoners who have awaited trial for periods equivalent to or longer than the term meant for their crimes had they been convicted.
Those adjudged to have been detained unlawfully too, are to be released.
“The disheartening bleak truth is that our prisons host almost 70 per cent of inmates who are awaiting trial,” said Babajide Omoworare, an Action Congress of Nigeria Senator, representing Osun State. “A worrisome fact conceded by Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, and globally echoed and lamented by Amnesty International.”
Nigeria’s judicial system is reputed amongst some of the worlds most notorious, with victims often denied access to justice and thousands left in the nation’s clogged prisons without trial.
The 1999 amended Constitution provides that an accused must be brought before a Court within a reasonable time or be released from custody two to three months from the date of arrest.
A longstanding violation of that provision has continued.
According to the Interior minister, Mr. Moro, about 30, 000 of over 46, 000 inmates of prisons across the country are awaiting trial.
“Those mostly affected are not the high echelon of the society. They are the middle class and poor Nigerians. It is not fair,” Senate president, David Mark, said as the amendment bill was debated on Wednesday.
Source: Premium Times

UNSPEAKABLE: Every Nigerian Billionaire Is A Fraud - Bolaji Akinyemi

Former External Affairs Minister, Bolaji Akinyemi
Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi, on Saturday dropped a bombshell in Akure, the Ondo State capital, saying no Nigeria billionaire could be said to have acquired his wealth without getting involved in illegal deals.
Mr. Akinyemi stated this while responding to questions after he delivered a lecture as part of activities marking the inauguration ceremony of Governor Olusegun Mimiko for a second and final term of office.
“There is no billionaire in Nigeria who made money without evading taxes, inflating contract prices or getting involved in one illegal deal or another,” the former minister said. “It is sad that most businessmen are not sincere, they get their wealth through illegal means, there is no one that can be a billionaire without being corrupt in Nigeria.”
Speaking on the topic”Leadership, Democracy and Development: A Paradigm Relationship”, the former minister said for somebody to become a billionaire in Nigeria, he or she must have indulged, one way or the other, in corrupt practices.
Mr. Akinyemi listed the corrupt practices to include: tax evasion, using government money for personal business and going through illegal means to win contracts from government.
The former minister wondered whether Nigeria is currently operating a democratic system of government saying, “We still need to ask whether on the national scale, we claim to be operating a democratic system in Nigeria. Or is it a civilian system. I will concede without much conviction that we are operating a version of democracy especially in contradiction to the years of military rule.”
He continued, “Irrespective of the cynical game between the military and the civilian political elite in the governance of Nigeria, the biggest threat to our putative democracy is not from the military, but from the state of our un-development.
“The real tragedy is that we have bred several generations who have lost hope in today and tomorrow. They have given up on Nigeria because Nigeria has given up on them.
On the way forward, the former minister advised that oppression and marginalization must be discarded by all.
On the way forward, the former minister advised Nigerian leaders to discard oppression and marginalization and work for the benefit of the generality of the citizenry.
He said, “The political elite must make a conscious effort to arrive at a consensus that will be the outcome of negotiation, give and take, compromises among others. The system to be put in place should not reflect temporary advantages secured through a temporary monopoly of power.
“We must find a way to building a nation where no man or woman is oppressed, where no man or woman is maginalised where there is hope for everyone, where a man or a woman through hard work, honesty and integrity will have the opportunity to achieve his dreams. When dream are killed and vision dulled, the nation is finished, “the Guest lecturer submitted.
Present at the event are a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom,  Christopher Kolade, who chaired the occasion, former Oyo State Governor,  Bayo Alao Akala,  first Governor of Old Ondo State, Retired Brigadier David Ikpeme, first Civilian Governor of Ondo State, Bamidele Olumilua, Retired Major General Alani Akinriade,  Afenifere Leader, Ayo Opadokun, Kunle Olajide, and a former Minister of Information, Alex Akinyele.
Source: Premium Times

BOKO HARAM: We Are Ready For Them - Fashola

As the train of the Islamist fundamentalist, otherwise known as Boko Haram is gradually moving towards the southwest zone, the Lagos State Government on Saturday boasted that the state was ready for any attack.
It urged residents to disregard reported threats by some groups to attack the state.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, and the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, disclosed that the government had put measures in place to ensure the protection of lives and property.
The commissioners, who led a team of workers and security personnel to comb under bridges and black spots in Surulere local government, said security agencies in the state have since commenced work on intelligence reports.
Ibirogba said, “I will say categorically that Lagos is safe, Lagosians should not entertain any fear. We have done all we are supposed to do to ensure that we live safely. Lagosians should go about their normal duties without entertaining any fear.
“The idea of Boko Haram coming to attack Lagos is nothing to scare anybody. This is a proactive government and Lagosians have confidence in their government.
“Lagos is home to everybody and I don’t think anybody in the right frame of mind will want to extend act of terrorism or violence to Lagos.”
While reacting, Bello said the government had sent the transporters under the bridge in Ojuelegba packing.
He explained that the decision was meant to clean up the place and get rid of unscrupulous elements hiding under the bridge, perpetrating evil.
He said the Kick Against Indiscipline would henceforth occupy the garage and ensure that those polluting the place do not return.
Meanwhile, the security check at the state governor and his deputy’s entrance gates has been beefed up.
It was learnt that the directive was given by top security aides to the state governor.
Some of the policemen deployed to the main gate leading to the state Secretariat, Alausa, said they had been instructed not to allow anybody into the secretariat except those cleared by the Office of Head of Service.
Source: Daily Post

KIDNAP SAGA: We Didn't Do It - Boko Haram
A faction of the dreaded Boko Haram sect on Saturday denied they were involved in last week’s abduction of seven French nationals in Cameroon.
The group made this known in a press conference in Maiduguri, the Borno capital.
Sheikh Abu Muhammad Ibn Abdulazeez who spoke on behalf of the sect leader, Imam Abubakar Shekau, also said it was not part of the the ongoing violence within and around Maiduguri.
‘We have been hearing, of late, how people are linking us with the kidnap of the seven French nationals in Cameroon. We have nothing to do with the French people or their abductors’, he said.
‘The security or whoever that is trying to rescue the kidnapped French nationals should better look elsewhere, because it would amount to waste of time if they continue assuming we are involved’.
He restated their leader’s commitment to the ceasefire deal with the government.
He absolved their leader from the recently circulated leaflets in some parts of Maiduguri in which a group claimed that the leader had not discussed any truce deal with government.
Ibn Abdulazeez further said the sect may go out of its way to deal with media organization that publishes false news about their group.
He made reference to a Sun newspaper, a report that they demanded N26.6 billion at the meeting that preceded the ceasefire declaration.
“‘We take exception to that and also want to tell the world that we have never and will never make such demand from anyone,” he stressed.
Source: Daily Post

INTERVIEW: I Didn't Divert Air Nigeria Money - Jimoh Ibrahim

In this exclusive interview with Punch, Jimoh Ibrahim talks childhood poverty, how he made his first millions, business failure, critics and his political ambitions.
You’ve done well for yourself.  Were you born with a silver spoon?
I must tell you that it’s far from it. My father is a bricklayer, with seven wives as of the time I counted last and well over 40 children. And my mother, leading the team, has six children. We are from Igbotako in Ondo State. There was no way we would have been born with silver spoon in our mouths. Development at a young age was very terrible; terrible in the sense that all the children assembled and ate together, at least from their mother’s side. You put the food at the centre of the table, everybody ate, and the most interesting aspect of it was when we were going to share the fish or meat. The eldest had to pick the meat, cut it with his teeth, suck the juice out of it and pass it to the next person. That person will cut it until it gets to the last person. The last person might get something as little as an ant and that was how it was being shared. It was a very horrible life. When we wanted to sleep at night, we had to sleep across so that a mat could take seven people. A lot of things you’ll learn from that. You may not likely misbehave when you get to this level because you’ll keep remembering the yesterday and you know how everything started. If you have the opportunity to ride a car, you will ride the car very well.
What was your childhood dream?
I was very stubborn about success; I was very determined. I was stubbornly determined that I must succeed. And there is a saying that there is a circular flow of poverty and you have to break it. I was strongly determined that I must break this cycle of poverty.
Was there any age target you set for yourself to attain success?
I didn’t have any doubt; nothing came to me as a surprise. You need to see how determined I was when I was in the village. My father is a bricklayer and I learnt bricklaying from him. I used to take up contracts to build kitchens, even in my secondary school days. I had enough money to pay for my General Certificate Examination without anybody’s assistance. You had to take the GCE in class four before the West Africa School Certificate and I made some credits before sitting for WASC, and WASC was just a walkover for some of us. Beyond that, we used to go to a cocoa farmer and assist him to cut cocoa puddings in the morning before going for classes.
Is it true that you started business when you were at the University of Ife as a student?
I started when I was in the secondary school. When I was in Ife, I expanded. I already started Inter-Faculty Law Journal. I started having conferences for judges as a student of the university. I started having a published journal where lecturers published their articles. While I was at Ife, I bought my first car — Volkswagen Beetle — for N7, 600. When I did a seminar on local government laws, for instance, people participated. When we got money from there, we floated the journal and people brought articles for publication and we also sold it. We printed four volumes. People like Justice Teslim Elias of blessed memory had an article published in the first edition of my journal, when I was in part three as a law student.
When did you make your first million?
The first one million — physical cash — came in after I had graduated; it was during my service year around 1991/1992. I left Ife in 1990 and I was called to the bar in 1991. 1992 was my service year and I was already in millions. I had already made between four and six million naira. It was in my service year that I built my house in the village (Igbotako); it was in my service year that I built four houses in Egbe in Lagos; it was in my service year I started the four-storey building in Idimu, which I completed. I was conducting seminars on public service because when I went to the library, I found out that I could see the State and Federal Government laws but I couldn’t find the local government laws. So, I organised the first national workshop on local government laws and I invited all officers in the local governments. We have about 744 local governments and we asked for four officials from each of the local governments and we charged N5,000 per participant. If eventually we had about 800 people who participated, that gave us about N4m. If we used about N2m to do the seminar, we still have a profit of N2m. In that very year, we had about 16 local government seminars.
Did you ever work for government at any level?
Not really except that when we were running a seminar at a time, I did a proposal to government on the collection of taxes in the oil industry because we saw that we needed to do a seminar on tax compliance and we were appointed as a consultant. It was a consultancy thing and we raked in a lot of money for government at that time. We did that very successfully. While I was doing that, a friend of mine was appointed military administrator of Bayelsa State — Navy Capt. Oladipo Ayeni — who also invited me to be his Special Adviser but regrettably, the government lasted less than 90 days. He was sick after about 45 days in office. Before then, I had already left because I had to continue with the oil tax consultation. So, my staying there was less than 45 days. A lecturer from Ife was already appointed to be my successor in office.
President Umaru Yar’Adua appointed me as Chairman of Corporate Affairs Commission again on a part-time basis. I also consulted for the International Monetary Fund on tax reforms in Croatia and Lithuania when I was in Harvard as a tax student in 1989.
With your knowledge of the workings of business, did you ever think that you needed to be in Harvard?
But for the grace of God and Harvard, I would not have been successful. When I finished the tax job, I went to a world conference on tax in New York and from there I said, “Yes I got this consultancy job but I need to improve myself on taxation.” And because I had advocated in my thesis in Harvard that the Federal Government should convert the Federal Inland Revenue Service into a full-fledged ministry and appoint a minister of revenue and that was well received. It was in Harvard that I knew about case studies and I can tell you without mincing words that a lot of our businesses have been built on case studies.
Many have described you as “Mr. Turnaround” but your critics have argued that some of your businesses are not doing well. How do you draw the line between the two?
In business, I don’t look at critics. Regrettably — I must apologise — I don’t consider critics at all. That is not the reason why I went into business. If you are not controversial, you will not be successful. Give me 10 people that are not controversial and let me see whether they are successful or not. The more controversial you are, the more you are likely to be successful. Coming to turnaround, which is the first leg of the question, it is not in doubt that we’ve been involved in many turnarounds in this country. I got a letter from the London School of Economics asking me to allow some students to understudy some of my turnarounds. When we took over NICON Insurance, it was in N26bn pension fund debt. As I am talking today, the pension we owe is less than N6bn. How did we do the magic in four years? That is about turnaround. Take the hotel in Abuja (Le Meridien Hotel): There was a government circular when we took over the hotel that no government function should hold there and no government official should go to that hotel because big reptiles were there. We had to consult a biological garden, which brought snake powder to the car park at night, and when the snakes inhaled this powder, they came out of their hiding, became powerless and they were captured and taken away.
Today, presidents, senators, governors go there to have their meetings. Now come to the media industry. Is this the National Mirror (raising a copy of the paper) you saw five years ago? Is that not a turnaround?Newswatch has been in existence for 28 years; nobody ever thought of having a newspaper out of it. Today, it comes out daily. Is that not a good turnaround?
Take Air Nigeria. We bought Air Nigeria from Richard Branson. The company owed about $300m in debt; we bought it with two aircraft, one was flying while the other had been at an airport for six months. We moved it to 13 aircraft. What kind of turnaround do you expect apart from that? When you turn around a company, it does not mean the company will continue to be in existence for ever. You can turn around and sell. To say that critics will not criticise you when you’re acquiring companies and turning them around, I think it will be the least expected.
But Air Nigeria was not sold. What about the issue raised by the Senate bordering on diversion of intervention funds meant for the airline? Some senior managers in the airline also raised the alarm over illegal deductions.
Do you think the country’s security system is so mad that somebody will carry intervention funds and will still running round the streets? The issue is that Air Nigeria collected N35bn from the intervention fund to be used to wipe off the existing debt of Air Nigeria. That same day, the loan was used by the bank to wipe off the debt. In order words, nobody disbursed one naira to me. Are you saying that we don’t have a central bank in Nigeria which will see movement of the money and will not confirm to the appropriate investigating authorities whether the money was diverted? The truth of the matter is that no one naira was diverted and that was why we are moving freely on the streets.
So, what is the Senate saying?
I am not in the Senate. The Senate didn’t mention my name, so I have no reasons to attack the Senate. What the Senate said was that the intervention fund that was given to Air Nigeria by United Bank for Africa should be recovered from Air Nigeria through UBA. So, what is my business about that? I am neither UBA nor Air Nigeria; I am Jimoh Ibrahim. When you granted the N35bn as an intervention fund, you gave an instruction that the fund should not be disbursed in cash to the customer; it should be used to clear the existing debt. What is the offence of UBA then? The UBA knew that there was N35bn debt, UBA applied to Central Bank of Nigeria and Bank of Industry to collect N35bn to wipe off the debt. The debt was not created by Jimoh Ibrahim; it was created during the days of Richard Branson. Why are you now calling on Jimoh Ibrahim; what has he got to do with it? I published a letter in which UBA said the fund was not diverted and that it was used to pay the existing loan of Air Nigeria which was the purpose for which it was created.
In the said advertorial, you inferred that some people wanted to create a merger of Air Nigeria and some other airlines and you threatened that you will not be part of it. Who are these people?
The government is the people.
Did government tell you that?
They confessed to Nigerians that they wanted to have a national airline and they wanted the airlines to merge. I don’t have problems with government having a policy to merge airlines; it’s a fantastic policy. But it is not a compulsory or compelling policy; you cannot say everybody must compulsorily go in there.
What is the future of Air Nigeria today?
The future of Air Nigeria is that it will fly. When we shut down, we said we shut down for one year. We are just in the fifth month; it’s not too long; we shut down on September 16, 2012. We still have about seven months into the one-year promise. Within the one year, Air Nigeria will fly again. It may fly as a merged company; if that happens, Jimoh Ibrahim will not be part of that arrangement. That means Jimoh must have disinvested. If that does not happen and it flies solo, that means Jimoh Ibrahim had been allowed to fly solo without being any part of any merger.
Some of your staff allege that deductions were made from their salaries supposedly to be saved in their accounts with the organisation’s cooperative society but the funds were not remitted. What is the situation now?
That is not an issue. I am not the management of Air Nigeria and I think they went to court on the issue you’re talking about. What happened to their case? It was thrown out. If you have your money in the cooperative society, am I part of the cooperative society? Why should that become a Jimoh Ibrahim issue? The accountant whose duty was to deduct money was a member of the society. Why was he not deducting it? If he deducted it, why did he keep it? I run 16 companies. How will I know the cooperative society of every company, what they do and how they do it? A cooperative society is working outside the corporation. We have only 49 per cent of the shares of that airline, we still have 51 per cent belonging to other people who are not Jimoh Ibrahim and you are not mentioning their names.
Some directors of Newswatch have alleged that, as a lawyer, you took over the company by deceit, using your legal skill. They accused you of taking unilateral decisions because you hold 51 per cent stake of the organisation. What is your response to the allegation?
I won’t be able to talk about Newswatch issue, regrettably, because it’s in court. And as a lawyer, I respect the judiciary. But two significant events have happened which will probably give you an answer. One, some people have gone to court to ask for an interim order to restrict the paper from publishing; they lost. The second stage of that was an interlocutory injunction; the court said no and they lost. The last stage is the perpetual order. I only made these comments fair enough because the court had given rulings on those orders. When the court finishes with the final judgment, I can make comments on the position of the court.
You won the bid for African Petroleum and due to an issue you pulled out about 170 filling stations from the company. However, the filling stations are no more dispensing fuel. What is the problem?
It is a business strategy. One, you talked about AP; it is not every bid you win. I blame no one if we have paid for AP and the handing over was not done, that was okay. But we are the owners of the 170 stations you talked about. We pulled them out of AP, meaning that we wanted to have our brand. It got to a stage that we had to introduce our brand to the market. We branded them Energy and the next issue was supply. Supply was coming from AP, later we got our supply from ENI oil company because its petroleum products were deregulated.
I’ll tell you about an interesting scenario. If we were desperately supplying products to those stations by all means, we’d be a member of the cabal; that would be the headline of newspapers. We have developed a business concept whereby we go into retailing; all the 210 stations will go to dealers. This goes with our vision of creating employment. We had 960 people that bid for 210 and virtually about 600 of them were qualified. We’re selecting just 210 out of the 600.
Under the terms of the licensee, they will run the stations, get fuels in them, maintain the brand, employ their people and make their profit and loss; they will not refer to the head office here for anything. They will run each as a business unit. Any rent we have collected from them will be used to buy more stations and brand them Energy until the time when we have a suitable depot that can supply them Premium Motor Spirit (petrol).
The Senate Ad hoc Committee on Investigation of the Bureau of Public Enterprise alleged that there were irregularities in the sale of NICON Insurance, which you acquired…
(Cuts in) That is not true. What they wrote in their report was that government should recover from NICON, N500m deposit for shares. When we bought NICON Insurance, the amount you needed to do insurance business in Nigeria was N300m. After the sale, government increased the capital base of NICON Insurance to N5bn. Every shareholder had to contribute to meet up with the new capital requirement. Government still maintained 30 per cent share of the company when they sold it to us. It dawned on the government to pay 30 per cent of the N5bn but they said they won’t pay because they had N900m deposit for shares. The government shares were upgraded to the amount of money they deposited.
The Senate ad hoc committee said “recover the money for shares.” We were ready to give them a cheque the next day, if they wanted to implement it. The implication is very simple: government will own no shares again in NICON and if you move from N300m to N5bn and you didn’t contribute anything, it means that the government would not have anything. But today, government still has about 10 per cent or more in NICON; they can still sell that to the public and still make much more money than how much they made when they sold NICON itself because of the new balance sheet NICON now carries.
You said if one must be successful in life, one must be controversial. Is being controversial not having a negative impact on your business and personality?
In the midst of these controversies I got the Officer of the Federal Republic; I think it’s actually improving our image. In the midst of same controversies, I got an honorary degree from my own university — (OAU); and I was the youngest in history that was ever conferred. In the midst of the controversies, I was in America last year to give a lecture to the Harvard tax students on tax future and prospects in Africa; that’s a fantastic case of controversies bringing better results. Corporate adventure is not politics; it is not political or democratic. We have over 21,000 people on employment in this building. If you have such number on employment, how do you think controversies will affect us negatively?
Nigerians should learn how to appreciate people. The aim of the controversies was to bring us down but we are too big to fall. If the government of Nigeria, today, withdraws all my businesses, I will rebuild them in few days. We are in Dubai, United States, the UK, Ghana, Sao Tome,  and in this great country — Nigeria — in 10 years; a fantastic corporate effort! If we have 16 companies and one dies, we are still on ‘A’ grade. Why should the corporate surgeon be crucified for the one that died? Why don’t we ask questions about the success of the 15 which have employed 21,000 people and pay over N4bn in salaries? You think it’s a joke? It’s not a joke. We don’t owe salaries; there is no member of staff that has not received January salary in the whole group.
I love Nigeria; I have passion for this country; I believe in Nigeria. If not because of few threats here and there, I won’t locate businesses outside. But I must, because my entrepreneurial skill will be deemed to be local, if I don’t have businesses outside the country. Our investment in some countries is bigger than what we have in Nigeria.
Do you still have your eyes on the governorship of Ondo State?
When I finish with all I have to do in the corporate world, I must retire somewhere. If we have concluded that assignment (business), we should pick up the Ondo State issue you’re talking about. We should go there and run the state, and put it in a better shape. We don’t have to hide the fact that we have an ambition to be governor of Ondo State. The President knows that I have that ambition; God knows; everybody knows. By the grace of God, I will run in 2016.
Source: Punch

SCARY: Nigeria, A Hub For Terrorist Groups?

Few days after an Iranian terror cell was uncovered in Lagos, security agents say they have discovered other foreign-sponsored terror networks in the country.
A top security source, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue, said the cells were sponsored by Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, although he did not disclose if the sponsors were state or non-state actors.
“Iran is just one of the countries; Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are the others. They have Nigerians trained and sponsored by them operating in this country. They constantly give their sponsors information. The Iranian terror cell is just a tip of the iceberg. Terror groups in these other countries have always told investigators that they have their spies in Nigeria,” he said.
He said that these cells were similar in structure to that of the Iranian cell smashed recently, each composed of four persons with their handlers in the foreign countries.
He added that due to the advanced training they had received, they were good at blending in with the rest of the society.

NOLLYWOOD: Yemi Solade In Another Sex Scandal?

Yemi Solade is in the news again for sexual harrasement issues, few months after United States based lady, Bunmi Ladipo, accused him of harassing her sexually.
The lady told journalists then that the actor sent her a friendship request on popular social network site, Facebook and: “I accepted his friendship request because I recognised him as an actor.
“After accepting his friend request, we started doing normal chatting and along the line, exchanged Blackberry pin. But unknown to me, his intention was beyond the normal relationship as he began to disturb me for something else, but I politely told him it is impossible because I’m happily married.
“At a point, I felt it was someone impersonating him. But I got the biggest shock of my life when he started sending me his nude pictures and sorts. He later called on phone and I recorded the conversation. In fact, that was when I was convinced that he was actually the one harassing me sexually.”
In some of the pictures , the actor snapped himself with a mobile phone from head to chest level, while the controversial one shows a man’s private organ.
Mrs. Ladipo added that she has informed HonAbike Dabiri and Funmi Ikeji, a woman activist about the issue and would make further legal actions against the actor, it took the intervention of concernced persons to settle the matter.
The new Allegations is by Bola Animashun and according to her she met Yemi 2 years ago on facebook and they started talking and before they knew what was happening, they had exchanged Bbpins.
She says Yemi started persuarding her to see him and she had been declining him. Yemi finally got angry and sent Bukky a message saying she will die for not seeing him.
This got Bukky scared and she left this message on her Bbpm :
Annoucement Yemi Solade jus placed a curse on mi dt i wont c d end of dis year all becos i refused to sleep with him. pls if anytin hapuns to mi, he is responsible.
Bononline spoke to Bola and she confirmed the story and said she was on the verge of going to report to both the police and leadership of Antp. When we called Yemi, he denied knowing who Bola was.
His words:
SOURCE: Bestofnollywood

BIG AMNESTY: Over 400 Ex-Militants Protest In Bayelsa?

More than 400 ex-militants today took to the streets of Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, to protest against the new deal given to them in the third phase of an amnesty program with the federal government. The protesters smashed the windscreens of 10 cars and burnt one car during their demonstration. In addition, the former militants looted shops along Otiotio Road and Mbiama-Yenagoa Road in the Yenezuegene area of the state capital. SaharaReporters learnt that the protesters used a machete to cut an unidentified hawker in the back. Apprehensive businesses in the area hurriedly locked up for fear of being attacked by the ex-militants, eyewitnesses said.
The mayhem erupted around 9 a.m. and lasted for almost three hours, clogging up traffic in the state capital as residents scampered for safety.
Several of the protesters said they were dissatisfied with the proposed slots to be allocated to them under the new amnesty deal.
Last year, President Goodluck Jonathan had approved 3,642 ex-militants for training under the new amnesty program.
Some protesters told SaharaReporters that trouble began to brew when the Inter-Agency Taskforce headed by Air Vice Marshall Gbum told the ex-militants that they would be entitled to one amnesty training slot for every 15 guns handed over by a militant camp. The task force is currently on a verification exercise of ex-militants in the state.
It took the intervention of operatives of the Joint Taskforce (JTF), anti-riot policemen, officials of the State Security Service and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps to bring the tense situation under control.
The JTF’s spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, confirmed that the protest had been quelled, adding that the security outfit played no role in it.
In another reaction, Daniel Alabrah, a spokesman for the Presidential Amnesty Office, condemned the violent protest, noting that the ex-militants’ destruction of vehicles was uncalled for.
Mr. Alabrah clarified that the Amnesty Office had no hand in the allocation of slots to the ex-militants. He added that the Inter-Security Agency would only recommend a number of slots to them after its verification exercise.
A source said the taskforce was appointed by the Chief of Defense Staff to verify the quantity of weapons submitted by the former militants. Our efforts to reach the head of the Inter-Agency Security Taskforce were not successful as his mobile phone was not reachable.
In an interview, one of the ex-militant leaders, Tonye Bobo, rejected the proposal to offer one training slot per 15 guns turned in. He argued that all the ex-militants who surrendered arms to embrace amnesty should be given a slot in the amnesty program.
“The federal government should abide by the agreement reached between [the] late President Umaru Yar'Adua and the ex-militant leaders,” he said. He added: “The proposed 15 guns to one slot won’t be acceptable to us.”
Another ex-militant leader, known as Gen. Ebi John, expressed similar reservations about the controversial proposal on slots. He said there was the prospect of more mayhem unless the issue was satisfactorily resolved.
“We cannot condone this shabby treatment from the federal government after surrendering our arms and ammunitions to government to embrace the amnesty program,” he said.
Source: Sahara Reporters

YOBE STATE: Gunmen On Rampage, 6 Dead?

Boko Haram Kills 6 In Yobe…..As JTF Kills 4 In Borno
Not less than ten persons were last night killed by both the Boko Haram sect and the Joint Task Force (JTF) in two separate attacks in  Nangere and Maiduguri, Yobe and Borno states respectively. Security officials said.

EXPOSED: Abuja Parking System Scam, The Sanusi Connection?

CBN Gov’s Firm, Three Others Operate Rogue Parking System In Abuja…Make N1 M Daily
Automatech Technik Haumann Nigeria Limited, a firm partly owned by Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi, is one of four companies being used by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), to generate revenue through an illegal and dubious electronic parking system in Abuja.
Other directors of the company are Yazib Mohammed, Suleima Onuche Adejoh, Abubakar Nuhu, David Momoh, Amina Akpakuru and Ayuba Tadamari.
The administration registered four companies last year and authorized them to generate revenue through the enforcement of an electronic parking system which is not backed by any law.
The other companies include Safe Parking Limited and Integrated Parking Services limited. While Safe Parking is owned by Nebolisa Igboka and Igwe Isu, Integrated Parking’s directors are Iliyasu Abdu, Iliyasu Esther and Emmanuel Idoko.
These firms make between N750,000 and N1 million daily which is shared with the FCT administration.
None of the companies has any experience or track record in e ticketing or electronic parking. The registered nature of business for all are general merchants, trading or manufacturing.
The chairman of the Senate committee on the FCT, Smart Adeyemi, said he did not know of any law setting up the e parking system but he would not speak further on the matter.
However, it was gathered that the system came about after some private sector businessmen approached the FCTA with a proposal to help it increase its internally generated revenue, IGR.
The proposal was that by structuring the parking of cars in Abuja and issuing tickets to parked cars, a lot of money could be generated. The proposal also indicated that knowing how lawless Nigerians could be, a great deal of money would be generated by clamping the cars of offenders and fining them.
Without any legal backing, the FCTA approved the proposal and went ahead to register four companies to execute the parking policy. Findings show that huge sums were expended by the administration in demarcating parking areas and erecting toll information signs in several parts of the metropolis.
Investigations by revealed that each of the companies generates between N750, 000 and a million naira daily from issuing parking tickets to motorists in the metropolis.
However, the issue of revenue made from this parking scheme is shrouded in so much secrecy that not much is known about details of how much is really generated.
Neither the companies nor the FCT ministry was ready to provide detailed information on how much revenue the electronic parking policy generates and how much really goes into the coffers of the government.
The managing director of Safe Parking Limited, Nebolisa Igboka, only told that the company pays 40 per cent of the revenue it generates to the coffers of the FCTA. He declined giving any breakdown.
The other companies insisted that it is not in their place to tell the public how much they make or pay to government, while the FCT administration too is not willing to divulge any information on the matter.
What is certain, however, that no law has been passed by the National Assembly sanctioning the ticketing regime. When our reporter phoned the chairman of the Senate committee on the FCT, Smart Adeyemi, he said he did not know of any law setting up the e parking system but he would not speak further on the matter. He pleaded that he was busy with legislative assignments and asked to be called another time. But we were subsequently unable to reach him on by phone.
The companies have made virtually no investments but are taking 60 per cent of revenue generated. Investigations show that they are expected to have installed e -ticketing machines that would issue tickets as well as parking signs with instructions to motorists but none has so far done so.
The new parking policy has caused many a motorist anguish and heartache as operators of the scheme go about clamping people’s vehicles even without any enlightenment campaigns to educate the public.
The clamping of the tyres of residents who park their vehicles in the wrong place has generated squabbles and even physical fights between motorists who feel cheated and the electronic parking enforcement teams. There is more focus on clamping people’s vehicles and slamming them with N5,000 fine than issuing tickets to motorists for parking their cars for short periods of time.
Source: Pointblank News

REVEALED: Jonathan Threatened PDP Governors Over Amaechi?

Fresh facts emerged yesterday on the President’s stormy meeting with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors at the Villa.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who pointedly told the governors to ensure Rivers State Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi’s removal as the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) chairman, threatened to deploy the machinery of government against governors who did not align with him in his Amaechi-must-go quest.
This was a prelude to the formation of the PDP Governor’s Forum and the subsequent election of its chairman.
Amaechi and Akwa Ibom Governor Godswill Akpabio were asked to leave the room at the Presidential Villa, according to sources close to the meeting, which took place Monday night, before the proceedings.
The sources, who pleaded not to be named because of what they described as the sensitivity of the matter, said besides treating the governors to video clips of Amaechi’s verbal attacks on him, President Jonathan listed three points of threat, which some of the governors saw as “blackmail”.
The President threatened to deprive the governors of their:
•security details;
•access to funds from the excess crude account; and
•refrain from appending his signature to the benchmark for the budget, which he signed yesterday.
His words, which some of the governors saw as dictatorial, did not elicit an open response. The governors were mute.
In spite of the threat, however, the governors did not all fall in line as the anti-Amaechi camp mustered only 16 governors, falling short of the 19 required for a simple majority to remove the chairman.
“The opposition governors lined up behind Amaechi but Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa state supported the president.
He was taken to a private bedroom, where he was persuaded to abandon Amaechi,” another source said.
Also yesterday, Akpabio spoke of a looming implosion, treachery and emergence of Judases within the PDP necessitated the formation of the PDP Governors’ Forum.
Akpabio, who was at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, accompanied by his Bayelsa State counterpart, Seriake Dickson, said the party was in a house cleansing mission.
According to him, the challenges confronting the ruling party forced the leadership to look inwards and put its house in order, stressing that the party never envisaged such challenges in the 14 years of its existence.
He said: “Today we are facing challenges. There is implosion in the party; there is treachery and we now have more Judases than disciples. What the PDP is doing is to cleanse its house. It is a moving train that will crush anyone that stands in the way.
“We will put our heads together in the PDP Governors’ Forum to promote the unity and progress of the party. We will not be fighting the government because we will be working in solidarity of the party.
“The formation of the Forum is to look inwards and project the party and the government. We are doing self cleansing. We can assure everyone that the Forum is not above the National Working Committee of the party. The Forum is subordinate to the party.”
Akpabio declared that the PDP was not in a hurry to vacate governance at the national level, stressing that the new Forum would present a formidable bloc within the larger Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
He dismissed insinuations that the PDP Governors’ Forum was meant to weaken the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, saying that it would rather strengthen and hasten its activities.
PDP National Chairman Bamanga Tukur said with Akpanio’s emergence as the chairman of the new Forum, he could now sleep peacefully at night and even serve his siesta.
Apparently reliving his ordeal in the hands of the Governors’ Forum, Tukur described the latest development as a repackaging of the PDP for the 2015 elections.
“With a repackaged PDP as you can now see, the implication is that it will enable us mobilise our members ahead of the 2015 general elections and face elections and win.
“No doubt, with Chief Tony Anenih as the chairman of our party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Governor Godswill Akpabio as the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and I as the national chairman, definitely the sky is our limit,” Tukur stated.
The PDP chairman predicted a two-party system with the emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2015 elections, saying the elections will be a straight fight between the APC and the PDP.
Source: Nigeria Trends