Saturday, February 22, 2014

INTERESTING: FG Won’t Ban Tokunboh Cars?

The Federal Government said it has no intention to ban the importation of fairly used vehicles, also known as tokunbo, into the country.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, stated this on Friday during a facility tour of one of the nation’s automobile assembly plants, Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria, Kaduna.
Aganga said despite the new Automobile Policy now in place, the government would not ban the importation of fairly used vehicles because of the socio-economic importance to the country.
Rather than banning the used imported cars, the minister noted that Nigeria must work towards providing alternative cars.
He said it was normal to place a ban on importation of tokunboh while revamping the auto-industry, noting that at one of the Federal Executive Council meetings, it was decided that there should be no ban on tokunboh cars.
The minister, who said he was at PAN to assess how the automobile company was taking the opportunity of the new automobile policy of the government, said though tokunboh vehicles would still be imported into the country, the government would do everything possible to ensure that affordable and new cars were produced for Nigerians.
The Minster said, “We study what was done in Pakistan, India, and in South Africa. It is normal that in most countries they ban the importation of tokunboh cars because that will help the demand of the local manufacturers.
“However, for Nigeria, we discussed and we said we are not going to ban tokunboh vehicles because of the socio-economic circumstances we have in the country. We must work towards providing alternative cars before we even consider placing a ban on tokunboh cars.
“So, in Nigeria, we have not banned it yet. If we slow down the demand, it will slow down the pace of growth. If you look at the cars today, for every one new car that is imported, almost six tokunboh are imported into the country. That tells you that the economy of the country is a priority.
“When you see that, as a country you cannot afford to place a ban. The federal executive council has said we are not banning tokunboh vehicles until we have alternative for it. So, tokunboh cars will still come into the country and we will do everything possible to make sure that we can produce affordable and new cars for Nigerians.”
Source: Punch

ASSASSINATION: Catholic Priest Escape Death?

A Catholic Priest in Onitsha Archdiocese who is also the Spiritual Director of Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Obimma (a.k.a. Ebube Muonso), yesterday escaped death by whiskers when some gunmen suspected to be hired assassins fired several gun shots at him at close range.
The incident, occurred at about 5.30 a.m. while he was going to celebrate a morning mass for some worshippers at his Uke adoration center.
As he left his residence at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish, Odume Layout, Obosi, near the commercial city of Onitsha for the Uke adoration center, he saw a group of boys at Peoples’ Club Bus Stop, along Limca Road, Nkpor, near Onitsha standing aloof and making calls.
The source stated that as soon as he sighted them, he suspected that they could be bad people and he increased speed of his vehicle, suspecting that they could be on his trail.
It was gathered that as he passed through Nkpor Junction, down to Umuoji to Ojoto and then to Ideani Junction where he was supposed to branch off to his Uke adoration center, he sighted another group of men wearing police uniform.
As he slowed down his car and beckoned on one of them to inform him that some bad elements were trailing him, so that they would go after them, believing that the uniformed men he was talking to were genuine policemen, other gang members on the same police uniform who were hiding inside the bush, trooped out from their hideout and allegedly opened fire on him at a close range.
As they rained the bullets on him with their sophisticated arms, the source continued, he sped off and escaped from their sight, without being harmed.
Fortunately, None of the bullets fired at him penetrated his body but rather pierced through his vehicle’s front and back windscreens and damaged some parts of the SUV which he was driving.
Some of the Uke worshippers who spoke to newsmen on phone over the incident, said the priest ran into the center first and later went back to his residence at the Borromeo parish.
The worshippers also quoted the victim as telling that at the center that
he always sees AK 47 riffles in his visions and dreams till last night, when he couldn’t sleep any longer.
According to them, “after all the shootings, not even his cloth was touched, adding, it appeared that when the bullets were hitting his body, it was like little ice block touching him, because of how deep he was protected by the precious Blood of Jesus Christ”.
Those who reacted to the incident, said Obimma could have been attacked by some assassins suspected to have been hired by cultists, witches and members of secret societies who felt his prayers were having adverse effects on their occult practices.
.When some newsmen visited his residence at Borromeo parish, the vehicle was seen parked and covered with tarpaulin, while the security men attached to the parish said he had just returned from a burial ceremony of another catholic priest who died and was just buried at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Cemetry, Onitsha.
All efforts to speak with him proved abortive as one if his aides, told newsmen that he was so tired to meet or speak with the press, as at the time of going to press.
Both the Director of Social Communications in Onitsha Archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Pius Ukor and one of the Personal Assistants to Archbishop Valerian Maduka Okeke, Rev. Fr. Ben Ogbunuko, confirmed to newsmen on phone that the incident actually took place.
Frs. Ukor and Ogbunuko however added that they had called Fr. Obimma’s line several times to hear from him but without response.
One of Obimma’s aides who did not want his name in print, told newsmen on phone that Fr. Obimma could not speak to anybody yet on the incident until he obtains an approval from the Archbishop.
It would be recalled that tragedy struck at the Uke center on Friday, November 1, 2013 when about 28 worshippers died in a stampede that erupted during a night vigil that were attended by Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and some members of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA team campaigning for the Governor-elect, Chief Willie Obiano

PUZZLE: Student Killed In Ghana?

Godwin Ayogu, a Nigerian citizen, and a 300-level student at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, has been murdered in the West African country, and his body was dumped by the roadside.
Ayogu was studying social sciences in the institution and was last seen on Tuesday afternoon, sources at the university said.
Several sources said the deceased had planned to be in Nigeria on Wednesday to see his parents who live in Ketu area of Lagos, western Nigeria, but his body was found by the roadside where it was dumped.
Godwin Ayogu: murdered
Godwin Ayogu: murdered
Although police in Ghana are saying they are investigating the matter, but many Nigerian students fear the case might be swept under the carpet.
A source quoted a Nigerian student as saying, “We need the Nigerian authorities to interfere and we need security for Nigerian students here.”
The source quoted another student as adding: “It’s sad dat a Nigerian is murdered and no one is doing anything about it. With all these things happening, this place isn’t safe.”
The deceased was the first child of his parents.
Friends say he played the drum very well and liked to referred to himself as “the drummer boy”
Source: PM News

FRAUD: Doctor Dupe British Couple Over Baby?

Distraught: The couple took supplements that made the mother seem pregnant. But when they got back to the UK they were arrested and the baby seized
Distraught: The couple took supplements that made the mother seem pregnant. But when they got back to the UK they were arrested and the baby seized.
A couple’s desperation for a baby led them into a programme of bogus herbal treatments that convinced them she was pregnant and had given birth - until DNA tests proved it was a lie.
The British couple, who have not been named, returned from the specialist hospital in Nigeria to bring up their 'daughter' in Britain when they were arrested, and the little girl seized.
They had gone to a doctor in Lagos, Nigeria, to spend more than £4,500 on 'herbs' in a last ditch attempt to conceive after a decade of trying.
Miraculously, the substances they ate seemed to mimic the effects of pregnancy. Even a London GP believed the symptoms, issuing a maternity leave certificate.
Nine months later, Dr Cletus Okolo staged a charade labour, during which the mother was drugged. At the end, she was handed what she believed to be her daughter.
But when they arrived back home, with little documentation, social workers were suspicious and eventually arrested the couple, taking the little girl into care.
Ten months later, they still cannot accept that the child they brought home from Nigeria is not their own, although DNA tests have shown conclusively that they are not the biological parents.
Now, in a unique decision by top family judge Mrs Justice Hogg, the ‘intelligent, educated, hard working’ couple has been cleared the of allegations that they were knowing parties to the fraud.
The judge said that, despite 10 years of trying surgery, laser treatment and IVF, the couple, both British citizens, had failed to conceive a child.
However, in 2010, the father bumped into a friend from university who told of a couple who had had twins after undergoing ‘some herbal treatment’ in Nigeria.
They leaped at the chance and travelled to Nigeria where a Dr Cletus Okolo prescribed a course of herbal treatments he claimed would do the trick.
On returning to Britain and taking the herbs, the mother noticed her body changing.

Duped: The couple were told by a university friend to visit Dr Cletus Okolo in Nigeria's coastal city of Lagos where they were given herbs that made the mother swell up as if pregnant
Duped: The couple were told by a university friend to visit Dr Cletus Okolo in Nigeria's coastal city of Lagos where they were given herbs that made the mother swell up as if pregnant
Her face, arms and belly all swelled up and even a ‘kindly and well-meaning’ local GP took the symptoms to mean she was seven months pregnant.
The doctor signed off a maternity certificate and the couple travelled back to Nigeria.
At the clinic near Lagos they handed over £4,500 and the mother was given a brown liquid to drink before entering what she thought was a delivery room.
The father waited in the corridor outside and, after few minutes, heard a baby cry.
He entered the room to find the baby girl - referred to in court only as ‘A’ - lying on the bed beside his semi-conscious wife.
He was shown a fake umbilical cord being cut and given a placenta to carry away in a plastic bag.
Afterwards, Dr Okolo wrote: 'Treatment successful, patient delivered of a baby girl. All fees paid. God’s doing'.
That was the only document that accompanied the birth and, when the couple flew home with their 'daughter', social workers were quickly on the alert.
They were later arrested and the baby girl was taken into police protection. To the couple’s ‘considerable dismay and shock’, DNA testing proved that the little girl was not their child.

Cleared: Mrs Justice Hogg ruled the 'intelligent, educated, hard-working' couple were unaware of the scam
Cleared: Mrs Justice Hogg ruled the 'intelligent, educated, hard-working' couple were unaware of the scam
Having waited so long for a baby, the couple refused accept the truth.
They insisted ‘the combination of spiritual and herbal treatments was so powerful as to be able to change DNA’.
But the judge said: 'There is no evidence before me to say that the result of the DNA testing was wrong or likely to be wrong. I do not accept the explanation of the parents.
'On that basis I have to accept the validity of the results and find that the baby is not the biological child of the putative parents.'
Social workers from the London Borough of Hillingdon, as well as the child’s court-appointed guardian, argued that the couple were ‘knowing parties to an elaborate fraud and charade upon the British immigration authorities and now parties to an attempted fraud on the Court.'
They said the couple’s account of the birth was ‘littered with inconsistency’ and implausibly embellished.
The judge conceded: 'At first blush, the immediate reaction of the ordinary man on the proverbial Clapham omnibus would no doubt be, "don’t be daft, it's a fraud, they knew it”.'
However, noting the ‘enormous difficulty’ the couple had had in conceiving a child, Mrs Justice Hogg took them at their word when they said they would ‘never seek to buy a baby’.
She added: 'Despite their education and intelligence, they are struggling with the result of the DNA test. Both of them say they still believe that A is their natural child.
'In the end, having considered all the evidence...I am driven to conclude that in some way they allowed themselves to be duped by fraudsters.
'They so much wanted a baby....they allowed themselves to fall under the spell of the herbalists, believing what was said to the mother and acting faithfully upon the instructions given to them.

The Royal Courts of Justice heard the little girl, named only as A during proceedings, could spend life in care
The Royal Courts of Justice heard the little girl, named only as A during proceedings, could spend life in care
'Contrary to the submissions of the local authority and guardian I do not find that the parents were wilfully and knowingly involved with or parties to a wrongful removal of A from her mother, or that they cynically ‘bought’ a baby.'
The judge concluded: 'What is clear to me, having found that she is not their biological child but the child of another mother and father, and having been removed from her mother very soon after her birth, is that A certainly is the victim of wrongdoing and illegality, and very possibly her mother as well.
'The fact remains that A is effectively an orphan. There is noone in this country who has parental responsibility for her and no information as to her birth, parentage, or background.'
Mrs Justice Hogg directed a further hearing to decide where the little girl’s best interests lie. Her finding that the couple were innocent dupes will greatly improve their chances of persuading the court that A’s future should be with them.
Source: Daily Mail

Friday, February 21, 2014

REVEALED: I Am Not Expecting Kids - Davido

Davido has been associated with a lot of ladies, not to blame him, he is young and handsome and got the money like Justin Bieber and Wizkid, ladies will always get close to him and the desperate ones will want to take their crush a little further by implicating him…However, Davido still got a lot to do with these ladies behaviours, just this January, a lady from the Caribbean, hot and sexy Sunshine Haye had said Davido is the father of his unborn twins.
Just as we are trying to investigate if this story was true, we caught him kissing a model and video vixen, Faith who came to Nigeria for her valentine, well, it is not the first time things like this is happening to the ‘Skelewu crooner’, he had it hot last year when Pendo, a controversial lady from Kenya captured him sleeping …Whatever that happened we do not know but Davido is tired of these allegations from ladies.
In a simple explanation , Davido took care of the rumours ‘‘Time to clear the rumours…I am single and I am not expecting kids…thank you. Back to the regular schedule program’.
Source: Nigeriafilms

INTERESTING: Driver's Licence Now Accepted In Europe, U.S?

The upgraded Nigerian driver’s licence is recognised in the U.S. and Europe, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) said on Thursday.
The Lagos Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mr Chidi Nkwonta, in Lagos said that three states in the U.S. and seven countries in Europe accepted the licence.
According to him, the licence is recognised in Maryland, Washington DC and California in the U.S. as well as Germany, Turkey, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Austria and Sweden in Europe.
“Maryland accepts Nigerian driver’s licence provided it verifies that it is genuine; Washington accepts Nigerian driver’s licence, and California too.
“We have seven countries already in Europe that accept our driver’s licence, and we are working on other countries in Europe, “ Nkwonta said.
The commander added that the FRSC was working hard to make sure that the Nigerian driver’s licence was accepted in all states in the U.S.
He said that the data base and identity of the holder of the licence could be accessed in those countries, and that genuineness of the licence could be ascertained.
Nkwonta said that the licence contained a lot of security features that would make it difficult to produce fake copies.
“These countries know the processes of obtaining a driver’s licence in Nigeria and the security features the licence contains; once they confirm its genuineness, they accept it,“ he said.
He, however, said that the holder would only be allowed to use the licence for a period of time in those countries.
The sector commander said that, after the period, the authorities of the countries would issue their own driver’s licence.
He urged applicants to be determined to obtain the genuine driver’s licence.
Source: NAN

OPINION: Sanusi Lamido's Suspension Is Illegal - APC

Did President Goodluck Jonathan act like a bull in the China shop in suspending the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
The opposition APC, citing legal and other reasons believe so.
The party in a statement today said the suspension of Sanusi Lamido is patently illegal, poorly thought-out and in bad taste, noting that it will definitely have negative consequences for the nation’s economy.
Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also said the action is the clearest indication yet that President Jonathan, whose body language does not abhor corruption, is willing to silence any whistle-blower, no matter his or her status.
”As the country wallows in unprecedented corruption under the rudderless and corruption-hugging Jonathan Administration, the President may have finally decided to send a strong signal to all Nigerians that it will not tolerate any exposure of corruption under any circumstance. What better way to do this than to silence the man who has exposed the alleged missing 20 billion dollars in the NNPC accounts?” it queried.
APC said that Sanusi’s suspension has also shown clearly that President Jonathan as a leader does not care if he destroys national institutions on the altar of personal ego and political expediency.
President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan
”First it was the judiciary which came under his sledge hammer, when he suspended then President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, just to satisfy the hawks in his party. Then it is the turn of the National Assembly, the Police and now the financial sector. President Jonathan should not destroy our institutions before he bows out of office next year. These institutions are older than him and will definitely outlive him,” APC warned.
The party said while Section 11 (f) of the CBN Act 2007 empowers the President to remove the CBN Governor, the
section is clear that he can only do so if he has the support of two-thirds majority of the Senate.
”Nowhere in the Act is it said that the President can suspend the CBN Governor, as he has done in another of his serial rape of the country’s laws,” it said.
The party added that the reasons given by the presidency for Sanusi’s suspension are as puerile as they are
unprecedented, and amount to calling the dog a bad name just to hang it.
The party said the questions that arise, based on those ridiculous reasons, are: ”Why has it taken almost five years of Sanusi’s tenure for the President to realize the irregularities of CBN under Sanusi? Why is the President acting on questionable allegations against Sanusi at a time the CBN Governor has opened the can of worms in the NNPC? Why has a President, who has always treated glaring corruption allegations against his political appointees with so much levity, now so quick to move against a CBN Governor who has never been accused, let alone indicted of corruption?
APC expressed serious concerns at the implication of Sanusi’s suspension for the nation’s economy, especially on the value of the Naira; local and international investments; the stock market; inflation and the overall health of the economy.
”Coming at a time when the economy was already under pressure due to internal and external factors and is in need of significant investments in several sectors, such as power and manufacturing to maintain its economic growth rates, the uncertainty caused by the suspension will leave both local and international investors questioning the economic direction of the country and therefore their investment approach to Nigeria.
Source: PM News

SANUSI SAGA: House Of Reps React?

The House of Representatives has rejected President Goodluck Jonathan’s removal of Sanusi Lamido as governor of the Central Bank, dismissing the president’s action as “illegal and unconstitutional”.
Mr. Sanusi was suspended Thursday for what the president called “financial recklessness”; but many Nigerians believe he was punished for exposing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC’s failure to account for $20 billion missing oil money, and how the government has failed to act on the matter.
Mr. Jonathan has already named Godwin Emefiele, the current chief executive officer of Zenith Bank, as new CBN chief, subject to the confirmation of the Senate.
But the House of Representatives on Thursday rejected the president’s decision, and accused Mr. Jonathan of acting outside his power, in a direct message that reflected the sentiments expressed by many Nigerians.
Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, said whatever might be the offence, Mr. Jonathan should have followed constitutional process “instead of exceeding the boundary of his powers.”
“This is not about Sanusi as a person, or the person nominated to succeed him, Godwin Emefiele, who is a thoroughbred professional. It is about due process that should be upheld,” Mr. Atiku said in a statement.
He advised Mr. Sanusi to challenge his suspension in court “in the interest of constitutionalism and the rule of law”.
Lawmakers also accused Mr. Jonathan of hastening to fire Mr. Sanusi when the same president had failed to act on several of reports of the House of Representatives indicting corrupt officials of his administration.
Past investigations by the House indicted petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and officials of the NNPC. Mr. Jonathan has consistently refused to act on any of the reports.
The House committees on justice and legislative compliance are to compile the names of all officials of government indicted in its investigations, and forward same to the president for immediate compliance, the House resolved Thursday.
“In a democracy, the rule of law and not the rule of man is the only condition that can guarantee freedom and protect the rights of the citizen,” said Minority Whip, Samson Osagie, who raised the matter for discussion hours after the presidency announced Mr. Sanusi’s removal.
Mr. Osagie said the president breached the law establishing the CBN, as the approval of the Senate is required to order the removal of the CBN governor.
Mr. Sanusi has said he will challenge the president’s directive in court.
While the Senate made no mention of the suspension order, beyond announcing Mr. Jonathan’s new nominee to the post, the House of Representatives degenerated into chaos Thursday as lawmakers either kicked against or back Mr. Jonathan’s move.
A few members, who backed the president, said he acted well within his mandate and was right to fire the defiant CBN governor.
Deputy Majority Leader, Leo Ogor (PDP-Delta) said the suspension was only a part of a process to the eventual removal of Mr. Sanusi.
“For you to remove somebody, there have to be a process, and the suspension is the beginning of that,” he said.
That claim was countered by several members who said the decision was a slap on an institution that should be autonomous.
“For good reason the CBN Governors the world over are independent and autonomous. To remove him you need confirmation and buy-in of the Senate. You cannot do it through the back door,” said Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila.
“It becomes more worrisome when you consider the timing and the fact that the CBN Governor has just blown the lid off a monumental scandal involving the disappearance of 20 billion dollars from our coffers.”
Another lawmaker, Pally Iriase challenged Mr. Jonathan to disclose allegations of “various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct,” he gave as reason for the CBN governor’s suspension.
“We have been talking about impunity. This is yet another show of impunity by this administration. The suspension is personal and is not unconnected with the recent disclosure of missing money from the NNPC,” Mr. Iraise said.
“It is a clear case of if you cannot shut him up, ship him out. It should be condemned in its totality.”
Source: Premium Times

INTERESTING: NNPC Can Spend Oil Revenue?

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, said on Thursday that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, was empowered by the NNPC Act to remit only to the federation account its net earnings after deducting cost of its operations.
Adoke, who stated this in the legal opinion he presented at the resumed public hearing of Senate Committee on Finance on the alleged unremitted $20bn oil revenue, said that NNPC was generally under an obligation to remit its revenue from the upstream petroleum operations into the Federation Account.
Adoke’s legal opinion on the controversial unremitted oil money by the NNPC was in response to the invitation by the Senate Committee on Finance, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi investigating the alleged missing $20bn.
In his response, the AGF explained that in determining the issue of oil revenue remittance to the Federation Account, NNPC, by virtue of Section 7 (4) of the NNPC Act, could defray all expenses incurred in the course of its business in the upstream operations.
He said, “I am of the considered view that NNPC is generally under an obligation to remit its revenue from the upstream petroleum operations into the Federation Account.
“This is however dependent on the definition of ‘revenue’ within the meaning and intendment of Section 162(10) (c) 0f the Constitution.
“I am also of the considered view that the NNPC can by virtue of Section 7(4) of the NNPC Act defray all expenses incurred in the course of its business in the upstream operations.
“Consequently, what NNPC is required to pay into the Federation Account is the ‘net revenue’ as opposed to the ‘gross revenue.’
“This position is further reinforced by the decision of the Supreme Court in A.G. Ogun State & Ors v. A.G. Federation (2002) 18 N.W.L.R (Nigeria Weekly Law Report) (Part 798) 232 at 284, where the Court recognised similar provisions as the ones contained in Section 7 (4) of the NNPC Act in the Public Enterprises (Privatization and Commercialisation) Act, Cap P.38, LFN 2004 i.e. Section 20 thereof.
“I am therefore of the respectful view that only the net revenue from upstream petroleum operations of the NPDC should be paid into the Federation Account by the NNPC.
“In other words, NPDC is required to pay only what amounts to the dividend of its crude oil proceeds to NNPC (as its holding company) and the NNPC will in turn pay that into the Federation Account.”
Source: Punch

Thursday, February 20, 2014

FACTS: Kerosene Subsidy Racketeering Must Stop

The recent investigative hearing on the supply, subsidy and distribution of kerosene in the country, organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum, Downstream, has further exposed the corruption and opacity that surround the subsidy payment on kerosene by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
While it has become obvious that the subsidy initiative on kerosene has not been in the interest of the masses, it is high time the Federal Government stopped the shady deal.
At the investigative hearing, it was revealed that the Federal Government spent N634bn to subsidise the retail price of kerosene between 2010 and 2013.
As corroborated by the Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Dakuku Peterside, in 2010, about N110bn was spent on kerosene subsidy. The sum of N324bn was spent on the subsidy in 2011, while N200bn, though yet to be reconciled, was spent in 2012. This implies a total of N634bn spent in the last three years.
As reiterated by Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, the country has spent at least N1 trillion over the past four years to subsidise kerosene, yet the product is neither available nor is it sold at the official price. Things are not helped by the fact that nobody has been able to tell us what our kerosene consumption volume is per annum. This attitude by government officials, who continue to treat the issue of kerosene consumption volume as if it were a national secret is quite deplorable.
Though NNPC and other agencies involved have offered several explanations to justify why such huge sums are spent on subsidising the product, Nigerians cannot understand why it is difficult to buy the product at the official price of N50 per litre recommended by the NNPC. Availability of the product has been a serious issue until recently.
How can NNPC justify the N150 it spends per litre in importing kerosene knowing that the product sells in the market at the retail price of N150-N200/litre? Nigerians will like to know the source of the kerosene subsidy funds when there was no provision for kerosene subsidy in the budget. Despite a presidential directive that such should be stopped, the agency went ahead.
The N4.77tn 2014 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan did not make appropriation for kerosene subsidy. Will the agency still continue with its usual arrangement now that Nigerians are aware of the racketeering? Engaging in extra-budgetary activities, by all standards, is an indication of indifference to transparency and accountability.
Subsidy, in the real sense, ought to be a palliative measure to cushion the effect of buying at exorbitant prices. But it is a known fact that the so-called kerosene subsidy is a corrupt scheme designed to be enjoyed by a cabal.
Citing Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA’s record, the CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, said NNPC imports about four to six vessels of kerosene monthly and that the Federation Account loses $100 million monthly due to racketeering in the industry. How can the country progress if such a huge sum is spent without proper accountability?
NNPC holds the monopoly of kerosene importation, but many marketers have faulted this arrangement which has been dogged by a lack of transparency on the subsidy issue. This makes a review of NNPC’s monopoly expedient. The Federal Government should take a cue from the Indonesian government, which halted its $9 billion kerosene subsidy to prevent it depleting its resources.
While further probe and reconciliation of accounts are ongoing, the mystery surrounding the disappearance of kerosene subsidy should be thoroughly investigated. The House Committee on the issue has been able to show so far that it means business. But it needs to avoid a repeat of the bribery allegation that trailed the Farouk Lawan committee.
Source: PM News

BORNO STATE: Boko Haram Attack Bama Again?

Hours after the Presidency said the Federal Government was winning the war on Boko Haram “guerrilla warfare”, gunmen suspected to be members of the sect attacked Bama, a town 135 km from Borno state capital, Maiduguri.

Borno state senator Ahmed Zanna said the attack had lasted for five hours on Wednesday morning.
The army said that suicide bombers have probably taken part in the attack.
There was heavy exchange of gunfire between the insurgents and security operatives, but the the casualty figure is still unknown.
The residents of the state whose relatives in Bama sent distress calls before dawn said the attackers stormed the town at about 4 a.m.‬‬
“Many may have been killed because the attack was launched when the residents were fast asleep,” a Maiduguri resident whose relative contacted him from Bama said.‬
This is not the first time the northern border town of Bama attacked by suspected Islamists.

The attack comes 24 hours after the Senior special assistant to the president Dr. Doyin Okupe said that the Federal Government was winning the war on what he called the “Boko Haram guerrilla warfare”.
He added that Nigerian army is one of the best equipped in Africa.
Okupe also faulted the comments made by Governor of Borno state Kashim Shettima who said that Boko Haram was better armed that the Nigerian military.
Attacks have intensified

People stand next to dead bodies, laid out for burial, in the village of Konduga, on February 12, 2014 after a gruesome attack by Boko Haram Islamists (AFP)
About 300 people have been killed this year alone by Boko Haram insurgents. Thousand have lost their lives since 2009.
Eleven people were killed by gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram on Monday at Galga village in Ga’anda District in Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State.
In a Saturday attack on Izghe Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno 146 people were murdered.
The attacks continue despite the state of emergency imposed on Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in May 2013.
Source: BBC News

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

MASSACRE: Boko Haram Kill Over 90

• Security links sect’s activities to Ghadaffi’s men
• Jonathan: prayer to the rescue
No fewer than 90 people were killed on Saturday night by suspected Boko Haram insurgents who invaded a Borno State village.
Last week, scores were killed in Konduga also in Borno State.
In neighbouring Adamawa State, also last week, nine soldiers were reportedly killed in an ambush.
The Saturday night attack took place in Izghe village in Gwoza Local Government.
Chanting “Allah is great”, suspected Islamic militants gunned down dozens of Christian villagers and slit the throats of others in an area where the military has been bombing extremists out of forest hideouts, survivors said yesterday.
Local government chairman Maina Ularamu told The Associated Press (AP) that he has reports of more than 50 people killed in the attack.
Sources in Maiduguri however told reporters yesterday that the hoodlums laid a siege to the hilly village killing at will and inflicting severe injuries on residents.
No fewer than 90 were reported to have died.
One survivor said the village list of those killed amounted to 63 dead. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
He said the attackers looted the village’s food stores and made off with about 10 vehicles.
Survivors said they were among hundreds of people from Izghe and neighboring villages who fled on foot through the bush in the night from Borno into Adamawa, two of three states under a state of emergency to halt a four-year-old Islamic uprising. The other state under emergency is Yobe State.
The area that was attacked is inhabited mainly by Christians.
Insurgents of the Boko Haram terrorist network routinely attack civilians after they are attacked by the military.
On Wednesday, the Air Force began daily aerial bombardments near Izghe of extremist hideouts in the Sambisa Forest along the border with Cameroon. Soldiers moved in on foot following the bombing and at least nine troops and several militants were killed in a fierce hours-long battle, according to hospital and military sources.
After that attack, Ularamu urged the military to deploy more troops, saying the soldiers are outnumbered and outgunned by militants armed with anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons as well as armoured cars looted during attacks. Dozens more soldiers were stationed in recent days in Madagali town, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the scene of Saturday’s attack.
Thousands of people have been killed and tens of thousands forced from their homes by the state of emergency and by militants who want to create an Islamic state in Nigeria.
The Borno State government said it would construct 250 houses for 800 residents of Bulabulin Ngarnam in Maiduguri who were displaced by the Boko Haram crisis.
Governor Kashim Shettima stated this while inspecting the site for the construction of the houses near the Maiduguri Flour Mills.
Shettima said the gesture was aimed at providing shelter for the victims who lost their property to the crisis.
He directed the committee handling the project to begins work on the site next week for early completion.
“We are building 250 houses for the residents to enable them to have shelter for their families.
“We are hoping that the houses will be ready early enough to provide succour to the victims,” the governor said.
Shettima advised the committee to use cement blocks instead of the usual brick blocks for such houses to reduce cost, stressing that “each household should have a two-bedroom house to accommodate the family”.
“The house might not necessarily contain a big parlour and other artificial design, but let it be convenient for the family.”
Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Ibrahim Ali, praised the governor for approving the construction of the houses and expressed willingness to begin work as soon as possible.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that residents of Bulabulin Ngarnam were rendered homeless last year after a military operation which demolished structures in the area.
The area was believed to be the hide-out and operational base of the Boko Haram militants.
Source: The Nation
UPDATE: Death toll now 121
The District Head of Izge, Mallam Bulama Apagu and Madagali Council Chairman, Mr. Maina Ularamu, Monday, said the death toll in Saturday’s Boko Haram attacks at Izge has increased from 100 to 121, following the retrievals of more bodies in destroyed houses, bushes and farmlands.
The bodies were brought for burial by their relatives. The victims were said to have been killed when they fled their homes into the bush during the attack by the insurgents.
Council chairman, Maina Ulamanu, in a telephone chat with Vanguard, said 60 bodies were buried Sunday evening, including the 31 bodies of people retrieved from the market square.
Source: Vanguard

UNBELIEVABLE: Man Offer Himself As Tigers Food?

Chinese zoo keepers managed to save the life of a mentally disturbed man after he announced he wanted to improve the lives of caged tigers at a local zoo by offering them his own body to eat.

Yang Jinhai, 27, had posted several online messages about how optimistic he was about starting a new life after getting a job as a security guard in Chengdu in southwest China's Sichuan province.

But he quickly found the job boring and monotonous and moved instead to a job in a printing factory where he also then resigned, saying that he felt there was more to life.
After going to the local zoo he wrote how depressing it was to see the ‘noble and magnificent tigers’ living in such humble surroundings, where they were caged and unable to follow their natural instincts to hunt and kill
He then announced that he had decided to sacrifice himself in order to provide the Bengal tigers with support.

Eyewitness Feng Lin said: ‘He climbed up the outside of the cage and jumped inside expecting, I assume, that the tigers would pounce on him. Instead the two tigers, a male and a female, seemed more nervous than anything else and the female actually ran off.

‘He then tried to antagonise the tigers by pulling faces at them. Eventually he was attacked by the male where he was cut after being scratched and bitten before he could be rescued by zoo keepers who fired a tranquilliser dart at the male tiger.’
They then pulled the man out of the cage.
Yang's family told local media Mr Jinhai had been depressed for a long time and said that he had been taken to a home where he was given psychiatric counselling to cope with his problems.
Source: Daily Mail

SHOCKING: 2face Idibia Impregnate Female Accountant?
This is that kind of story one hears and he or she just shakes his or her head and spits on the ground in disgust.
2Face Idibia has become notorious for making several children with different women who are not his wives! 2Face is the celebrity who has made baby mama culture the new norm in Nigeria.
When he decided to settle down with Annie, one of his (three known) baby mamas, many of his fans and critics were happy that finally he would become more responsible and sexually focused on his legal wife, Annie, but the latest report filtering into town concretely suggests that marriage cannot change this Benue-born singer.
Icon Weekly can authoritatively inform you that as you read this, a young lady who works for one of the new generation banks, Teniola, is three months pregnant for this prince of African music! Did that hit you like Mike Tyson’s punch! Wait, more is coming.
We gathered that Teniola, who hails from Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, has been 2Face’s account officer for a long time now. Did you say this intimate relationship could have been going on before his marriage?
Teniola, a graduate of University of Lagos, might just be another victim of the pressures marketers in the banking sector face to lure customers with everything they have, if you know what I mean.
The worst part of the story is that 2Baba, as he’s fondly called, (allegedly) wants the pregnancy terminated! Our source revealed to us that he has been begging Teniola with a brand new car to get rid of the pregnancy and keep this scandal out of media radar. Has he stopped counting his children? I guess it is time to ask 2Baba.
Source: Icon Weekly
UPDATE: 2face react
Earlier today, news broke out that music star, 2face Idibia had impregnated a top Lagos banker.
According to Icon Weekly magazine, the young Lagos banker who works for one of the new generation banks, Teniola, took in about three months ago.
2face impregnates woman
The Magazine reported thus; “We gathered that Teniola, who hails from Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, has been 2Face’s account officer for a long time now. Teniola, a graduate of University of Lagos, might just be another victim of the pressures marketers in the banking sector face to lure customers with everything they have.
“The interesting part of the story is that 2Baba, as he’s fondly called, allegedly wants the pregnancy terminated! Our source revealed to us that he has been begging Teniola with a brand new car to get rid of the pregnancy and keep this scandal out of media radar.” The Magazine further reported.
Reacting to the report however, 2face Idibia sarcastically tweeted that he intends creating a local government of kids.
He further rubbished the report and claimed that if any of such had happened, he would have been the first to announce it to the media.
See his tweets below:
Source: Daily Post

Monday, February 17, 2014

EMBARRASSING: Nigeria Runs Out Of Vaccines?

An estimated six to seven million Nigerian children of immunizable age are in danger of dying from vaccine-preventable diseases this year, if the Federal Government fails to intervene in the current stock out of vaccines in the country, a body of scientists is warning.
The impact may not be fully felt yet as some states still rely on reserves. Lagos State, for instance, says it still has a three-month supply of BCG (given at birth against tuberculosis) OPV (oral polio virus), Pentavalent combination, measles, yellow fever and tetanus toxoid vaccines).
The United Nations Children Education Funds (UNICEF) regards provision of childhood immunizations as a basic child right and that no child should be denied immunization, as it is the most significant, affordable and cost effective child survival intervention.
The Nigerian Academy of Science says for the country to be running out of vaccines is a reflection of the sheer ineptitude on the part of government
The main procurer of vaccines for the country, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), had given enough notice in a publication it released in October 2013, stating the trend of vaccine availability. But no concrete action was taken, with the NPHDCA claiming it was awaiting release of funds to purchase vaccines.
Already, the supply of DTP vaccines (against diptheria, pertussis and whooping cough) and measles depleted this January, according to (NPHCDA). BCG and Hepatitis B vaccines will run out of stock in supply this February, while Tetanus Toxoid (TT) against tetanus will be out of stock by April vaccine. The popular OPV against poliomyelitis will stock out by April, while the combination of DPT, Hep B and Hib will end by May.
Going by WHO statistics, vaccine preventable diseases account for 40 per cent of all childhood deaths in Nigeria. Pneumonia, which is one of them, is the leading cause of death in children worldwide killing an estimated 1.1 million children under the age of five years every year – more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Pneumonia can be prevented by immunization, adequate nutrition and by addressing environmental factors. But the vaccine that could offer protection against pneumonia in children Hib, pneumococcus, measles and whooping cough (pertussis) is already out of stock!
This no doubt, spells doom for the fate of millions of children, and unquantifiable human sorrows, loss of man-hours and economic loss to homes and societies.
Professor Oyewale Tomori, president of the Nigerian Academy of Science and also a virologist renowned to be at the frontier of immunization in the country, says vaccine stock outs is becoming unacceptably common in Nigeria and it is due to the government’s habit of cutting corners in order to make pecuniary gains at the expense of lives.
The current situation, he says, is very critical because even if funds are released now, it takes a long protocol to cash the money and make payment. Plus the fact that some of these vaccines might take up to six months after order to be delivered.
He says the immediate way out of this stock out quagmire is timely release of budget, but on the long run, Nigeria may have to return to local production as it did in the 1980s.
“We can prevent vaccine stock outs; with proper planning, timely release of funds to ensure that we have the vaccines. According to him, it is very simple if we do the right thing at the right time and estimate how much vaccines we need, calculate how long will it take to procure them.
Further expressing his displeasure in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, he adds, “But this is one nation that complicates the simplest issues, deliberately creating chaos to override the rules and due process so that fraud can be perpetuated—making money off the dead that die from lack of vaccines!”
Local manufacture
The Federal Government spends not less than 12 billion naira yearly to purchase approximately 130 million doses of vaccines at the rate of over US$1 per dose or US$15 per child. Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiatives (GAVI), UNICEF, WHO, Bill Gates, other foreign governments – Japan, USA, UK, etc, also pitch in financial and technical support.
Not only are the vaccines imported, but its entire cold chain as well – cold room, refrigerators, deep freezers for cold boxes, syringes, needles, diluents and brought into the country from abroad too.
As the nation’s advisory organ on scientific issues, the Nigeria Academy of Science says since the country has the capability to make its own vaccine locally, it can save this huge cost.
“A nation with our resources and population can begin vaccine production within 12-18 months, starting with “packaging” of already manufactured vaccines and growing to where we can locally produce.”
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Nigeria was actually producing vaccines for human use in Yaba. The Federal Vaccine production laboratory (FVPL) in Yaba (now Biovaccine Nigeria) was producing yellow fever and smallpox vaccines. Indeed, the first batch of yellow fever vaccines used during the 1985 Yellow Fever outbreak were locally produced. Somehow, local production was abandoned for importation and it has not recovered since then.
“Since 1924, the National Veterinary Research Institute , Vom near Jos, has been producing animal vaccines. Today the NVRI produces no less than 12 different types of vaccines for controlling such animal diseases – Bacterial vaccines – such as Contagious bovine pleuro-pneumonia (CBPPV), Blackquarter (BQV), Brucella S19 (BV), Haemorrhagic septicaemia (HSV), Hantavac, and Fowl typhoid (FTV). The viral vaccines produced in Vom include Newcastle disease vaccines (4 types), Fowl pox (FPV), Infectious bursal disease (Gumboro), Peste des petits ruminants (PPRV) and Anti rabies (ARV) (dog),” Professor Tomori adds.
About seven years ago, the Nigerian governmentjoined May and Baker in forming a company – the BioVaccines Limited, to produce vaccines in Nigeria, handing over the Federal vaccine lab to the new company, but the Biovaccines has not produced a single dose of vaccines since its establishment.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and has the second highest child mortality rate after India. It is among the 189 signatories to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG), but its progress has been below satisfactory and this current stock out makes it even worse. “We will certainly fail to meet the MDG goals, especially MDG4, MDG 5 and may be MDG 1,” Professor Tomori says.
According to a UNICEF report on the under-fives mortality rate between 2009 and 2011, the under-fives rate has dropped by 45 per cent but this progress is not a reality for all countries as under-five mortality in Nigeria increased from 138 per 1000 in 2007 to 158 per 1000 in 2011. That means out of every 1000 children born, 158 of them will not see their fifth birthday.
For example a stock out of measles vaccines in 2013 resulted in the occurrence of 57,892 measles cases with 348 deaths. In 2012, the number of reported measles cases was 11,061, with 126 deaths. This represents more than 500 per cent increase in the number of measles cases from 2012 to 2013.
Indeed the reported number of measles cases in 2013 was the highest in the last 6 years. Most (78 per cent) of the 2013 measles cases occurred in children between the ages of 9 and 59 months. Significantly, 88 per cent of the children coming down with measles had not received a single dose of measles vaccine. With the measles vaccine stock out in 2013, our national measles coverage rate of will drop to 42 per cent, about half of the coverage rate of 80 per cent for all vaccines, recommended by WHO.
Nigeria remains one of the most entrenched reservoirs of the wild polio virus in the world. In spite of huge resources and efforts spent on routine immunizations days, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative reports that it is the only country with the ongoing transmission of all three serotypes. (The other countries are Afghanistan and Pakistan).
Succour in Lagos?
The Lagos State government, in response to this situation, is claiming it is unaffected by the vaccine scarcity.
“We have enough vaccines within the state to immunize our children. Stock out? No, not in Lagos,” Dr. Fawsat Sanni, the director of medical services at the State’s Primary Healthcare Board, told PREMIUM TIMES. She adds, “Lagos State has enough vaccines of all antigens that can last 3 months.”
It remains to be seen how long Lagos can hold out since the national body from where vaccines are obtained says it is running out of stock.
Some experts say the Federal Government should take its hand off vaccine production, hand it over to the private sector while the government strengthens its regulatory role on the activities of vaccine manufacturers.
Some mothers are apprehensive about the situation. “This is really a sad news, says Jane Aliu, nursing a 6-month-old baby who will be due for vaccination against measles at nine months (in three months).
“The government or whosoever is responsible for making immunization available should be held responsible if so many children die as a result of this negligence.”
Source: Premium Times

2015 ELECTION: The Police Is Partial - APC

Interim National Publicity Secretary, All Progressives Congress, Lai Mohammed
The All Progressives Congress on Sunday accused the police of selective enforcement of its ban on political, socio-cultural and religious rallies at the nation’s airports.
The party said this did not augur well for the 2015 general elections which required the police to be neutral and professional in carrying out their duties.
This was contained in a statement by the APC’s Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
According to the party, the police are wrong to have allowed the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to flout the ban with impunity on February 1, when hundreds of the party’s members trooped to the Bauchi Airport to welcome the new PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu.
The party said a video footage of the reception showed PDP supporters, their cultural troops and praise singers besieging the airport and even surrounding the plane just like passengers would have surrounded a “molue” in a bus stop.
It observed that armed policemen stationed at the airport looked on as the ban, which was contained in a statement issued by the force spokesman, Frank Mba, on November 6, 2013, was being flouted by the PDP members.
“The questions to ask are: Is the ban not applicable to the PDP? If it is applicable to it, what has the police done to sanction the party since it breached the order over two weeks ago? If the police will allow the PDP to get away with such lawlessness, can the same police sanction any other party or individual who breaches their order banning rallies at airports?” the APC asked.
The party said the double standard being exhibited by the police was the reason many Nigerians were saying that the Nigeria Police Force had turned itself to the enforcement arm of the PDP or that the force had even merged with the party.
The statement read in part, “This does not augur well for the image of the police and it sends a wrong signal about whether the police can be neutral and professional before, during and after the 2015 elections. It also raises doubt about the ability of the police to effectively carry out its constitutional duty of ensuring the protection of lives and property.
“The police ridicules themselves and wear down their own authority when they pander to the PDP, whereas the force is being maintained by tax payers, whether or not they belong to the ruling party.
“The police, more than perhaps any other government agency, should know that no one, no matter how highly placed, is above the law, and that lawful orders from the police are not for selective enforcement.”
The APC said it was waiting for the police to either appropriately sanction the PDP for contravening their orders or immediately lift the ban on rallies at the airports.
It warned that failure to act on this demand would show the police as a partisan and unprofessional force that could not be relied upon to adequately provide security and help to ensure a level-playing field for all parties in the forthcoming general elections, let alone carrying out its constitutional role.”
The police could not be reached for comments, as the Force Public Relations Officer, Mba, did not respond to calls to his mobile phone. Also, a text message sent to him did not elicit any reply as of the time of filing this report (8.45pm).
Source: Punch

Saturday, February 15, 2014

2015 ELECTION: PDP Violate Police Directive?

The PDP chairman, Adamu Muazu, was received with fanfare at Bauchi airport in violation of police directives
Three months after the Nigeria police banned ‘political, socio-cultural, or religious gatherings’ within and around all Nigerian airports, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, violated the directive, while the police looked away.
The ruling party flouted the directive on February 1 when hundreds of its members gathered to welcome its new National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, on his first official return to Bauchi State after he emerged the party’s chairman.
Mr. Mu’azu, a two-term governor of Bauchi, was appointed PDP chairman on January 20.
The airport carnival
When the party chairman decided to visit his state, he was accompanied by another PDP leader and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed. Mr. Mohammed, a former senator, is a governorship aspirant in Bauchi.
The leader of the delegation that received the two PDP heavyweights at the Bauchi Airport was Governor Isa Yuguda, also a member of the PDP.
It was a carnival-like atmosphere at the airport as Mr. Yuguda, different dance troops, mascots, praise singers and people dressed in colourful uniforms – “aso-ebi” – could barely wait for the plane to land. There was also a massive banner bearing the pictures of President Goodluck Jonathan and Messrs Mu’azu and Yuguda. The airport was beautifully decorated with fabrics made in PDP colours (red, white and green).
Mr. Yuguda, leading hundreds of people who waved their party flags and posters of the politicians, danced towards the plane as Mr. Mu’azu joyfully strolled down the airplane waving both hands to the party faithfuls.
As shown on national TV networks, and in an exclusive video sourced by PREMIUM TIMES, the crowd surrounded the plane as they welcomed their illustrious son, who had just emerged the leader of Nigeria’s ruling party; a party that describes itself as Africa’s largest.
Watch video here.
Praise singers sang in Hausa, complemented by drummers.
Mr. Mu’azu and his entourage left the airport and went to the palace of the Emir of Bauchi, Rilwanu Adamu, to seek blessings for what he expected to be a result-oriented reign as PDP chairman.
“Without the blessings of the royal father, l may not make much impact. I need your prayers and blessings to succeed in this very tasking national assignment. Bauchi is my home, and you are our farther, as such, I am in dire need of your support to succeed,” Mr. Mu’azu said.
Mr. Yuguda, who accompanied the PDP chairman to the Emir’s palace, pledged his support to the latter saying Mr. Mu’azu’s success is the success of Bauchi State and the entire North-East zone.
A Bauchi-based journalist, who accompanied Mr. Yuguda’s convoy to receive the guests at the airport, narrated the events to PREMIUM TIMES.
“We left for the airport at 11.30 a.m in the convoy of the governor, Isa Yuguda. When we got to there, the place was actually jam-packed. There were lots of dancers and praise singers, praising all (the politicians). The security there was also tight; a lot of police officers. Many youths were also there, dancing with posters of politicians that they think want to contest for governorship, like Abdul Ningi, the FCT minister, posters of Jonathan, Isa Yuguda and Mu’azu.” The journalist sought anonymity for fear of being victimized by his employers.

FACTS: Why Polytechnic Lecturers Are On Strike

Nigeria government and ASUP are currently involved in a stand-off
The lecturers in Nigeria’s public polytechnics have been on a nationwide strike since October 4.
Despite meetings held between the lecturers and the federal government, the lingering issues still remain with the lecturers vowing to continue their strike until their demands are met.
At the root of the strike is an agreement ASUP had with the federal government in 2001.
The 2001 Federal Government of Nigeria/Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic, ASUP, agreement was reviewed in 2009 with an agreement that it should be re-negotiated after three years.
The failure of government to call for a re-negotiation in 2012 as agreed upon and the accumulated challenges confronting the polytechnics necessitated the union to identify critical areas of need in the schools, the ASUP National Publicity Secretary, Clement Chirman, told PREMIUM TIMES.
The critical areas were presented as a list of 13 demands by ASUP to the federal government in 2012.
These, according to the academic union’s spokesperson, include:
The need for a re-constitution of the Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics which were dissolved in 2010.
The Migration of the lower cadres on the CONTISS 15 salary scale. Government had approved the migration in 2009 and had actually begun its implementation for the senior cadres with strong assurances that those of the lower cadres would follow without delay.
The release of the White Paper on the Visitations to Federal Polytechnics.
The need for the commencement of the Needs Assessment of Nigerian Polytechnics.
The worrisome state of state-owned polytechnics in the country. The argument to government here hitched on the rot and comatose state of most state polytechnics.
The continued appointment of unqualified persons as Rectors and Provosts of Polytechnics, Monotechnics and Colleges of Technologies by some by state governments.
The refusal of most State governments to implement the approved salary packages (CONPCASS) for their Polytechnics, Monotechnics and Colleges of Technologies and the 65 year retirement age even though both states and federal polytechnics are regulated by the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, and they operate the same scheme of service.
The insistence of the office of the Accountant General of the Federation to include Federal Polytechnics in the IPPIS module as against the Union’s protestations while other arms of the tertiary education sub-sector are allowed to maintain the status quo.
The dichotomy between university and polytechnic graduates in job placements and career progression. The argument in this regard is anchored on the fact that graduates from these sectors should be measured on the strength of their competence on job delivery and not the environment that produces them.
The continued recognition of the NBTE as the regulatory body of Nigerian Polytechnics as against the union’s repeated call for the establishment of a National Polytechnics Commission, NPC. The strength of the argument here is relevant as the universities and colleges of education are regulated by the National Universities Commission, NUC, and the National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE, respectively;
The snail speed pace of the review of the Federal Polytechnics Act at the National Assembly.
The reluctance of the Office of the Head of Service to approve the Revised Scheme of Service for Polytechnics.
The non-commencement of the re-negotiation of the FGN/ASUP agreement as contained in the signed agreement. The content of these demands were tabled before the government as early as February, 2012.
In December, 2012, as a result of government’s failure to address any of the demands, ASUP issued the government a 30-day ultimatum, which expired on January 31, 2013. However, although ASUP had reasons to embark on strike in view of governments repeated failure to address its demands, it opted to give government more time to respond.
The response never came and that compelled the union to issue another 21-day ultimatum on March 25, 2013 which expired on April 22, 2013 and was followed by the declaration of a one week warning strike which dovetailed into an indefinite strike beginning from Monday 29 April, 2013.
The issues, as contained in the union’s demands, are directed towards the proper strengthening and development of polytechnic education in Nigeria.
ASUP initiated series of meeting and indeed met several times with government since August 17, 2013 to ensure that industrial peace was maintained in the.
“Each session of such meeting was unfortunately characterised by repeated promises and lack of commitment from Government,” Mr. Chirman said.
It was only when the government did not resolve the issues that the union embarked on another indefinite strike from October 4, 2013.
As a result of the negotiations, out of the 13 demands, the Federal government and ASUP agreed to work on four.
These were: the need for constitution of the Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics, the migration of the lower cadres on the CONTISS 15 salary scale, the release of the White Paper on the Visitations to Federal Polytechnics, and the need for the commencement of the Needs Assessment of Nigerian Polytechnics.
However, of the four, only the need for constitution of the Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics has been fully addressed by the federal government.
The strike is now in its fifth month with ASUP insisting it would not resume until its demands are met.
Source: Premium Times

ARMED ROBBERS: Calabar Residents Resort To Jungle Justice?

Since the beginning of 2014, criminals have been on the onslaught in Cross River State especially in Calabar, the state capital, attacking and dispossessing residents of money and valuables.
Reports of nocturnal visits by criminals particularly, in Calabar South neighbourhoods have become a recurring decimal. As a result of this ugly development, many residents have been forced to form vigilante groups to take over the security of their streets and neighbourhood.
And as expected, when security is in the hands of people who are not trained in security issues, extra-judicial killings and jungle justice becomes the order of the day, and that is what is happening in Calabar currently. In the past few weeks, in an effort to protect themselves, angry mobs and vigilante groups have apprehended and lynched over 20 criminals. The year opened with the lynching of two female robbery suspects and their male accomplice who attempted to snatch N1.5 million from a woman.
The robbery suspects said to be undergraduates and their male partner were battered and stripped naked at Murtala Mohammed Highway/ Atekong Drive and before the police arrived, the young man who was inflicted with a deep machete cut on his forehead had died. The gulf car they used was set ablaze and pushed into a drainage.
The gang reportedly ambushed the businesswoman who had gone to withdraw N1.5 million at a bank along Calabar Road, near the Watt market, where they approached her to join their cab. The woman who appeared eager to arrive home because of the money she had withdrawn, immediately accepted and boarded the taxi.
Trouble started as she got to her destination only to discover that the taxi driver became unwilling to allow her alight from the vehicle. Subsequently, the bandits reportedly brought out a gun and ordered her to cooperate with them if she did not want to get hurt. “They told me to co-operate with them and quietly hand over the N1.5 million or I would be killed; Suddenly, I became angry in my spirit because this money is contribution money and my members would not believe me that the money was stolen. So, I was ready to die and I began to raise alarm.”
In a related development, on Monday, February 10, 2014, two robbery suspects were butchered along Mayne Avenue/Atu/ Marian roundabout and their operational vehicle, a Volkswagen Vento car set ablaze about 10am.
An eye witness who gave his name as Asuquo narrated to Crime Guard how the thieves, operating in a Vento car as taxi, picked up a lady who had just collected some money at a new generation bank along Murtala Highway. “The lady was going to Goldie, so they took her through Target and when they got close to this place, they snatched her bag and pushed the woman out. She started screaming and luckily, some cars that were passing blocked their car and the thieves were trapped.”
He said when the thieves saw that they had been trapped, they simply wound their car glasses and remained inside because the place is a busy roundabout and an attempt to escape would have been fruitless. So, they simply remained inside the car. “I used my hand and broke open the car glasses and dragged out the boys and some people came with machetes.”
The thieves, Asuquo narrated, were inflicted severe cuts before the arrival of a team of policemen from the Atakpa Police Division and they taken into custody.
In the same vein, another suspected criminal was also killed along Okpo Ene Street and his corpse dumped at Abasi Obori market. The suspect, said to be a member of a three -man gang was said to have rented a taxi on charter. When they got to Okpene /Mayne Avenue, they ransacked the vehicle and robbed the driver. ‘The driver raised alarm and some people went after them and one of them was caught and lynched,” he stated.
*Lynched suspect Inset: IGP Abubarkar
*Lynched suspect
Also at Anantigha, two suspected robbers operating in a tricycle popularly known as keke NAPEP were killed and their tricycle set ablaze by angry mob. Earlier in the week, another suspected notorious criminal was apprehended by members of the vigilante along Uwanse Street and when he was about to be lynched, he pleaded that his life should be spared so that he would take the police to the hideout of his gang. “That night, he led a team of SARS to their hideout and four other suspects and their weapons were apprehended by the police.
A resident of Uwanse, Mr. Akpan Udo-Ekpo told Crime Guard that they decided to confront the criminals since the number of hoodlums has increased tremendously in the city. “These boys have become too many and the police cannot be everywhere, so we have to combat them ourselves if we must live in peace in this city,”he said.
Mr. Udo-Ekpo said before now, they used to apprehend criminals and hand them over to the police but such hoodlums later find their way out and return to terrorize people. Another resident, Moses Etim said they decided to form vigilante groups to tackle the high crime rate in the area to protect themselves.
“We formed vigilante to protect ourselves from these criminals and we will continue to do so until we have peace.”
Mr Hogan Bassey, the spokesman of the Cross River State Police Command said the police were aware of the several incidents of jungle justice and advised residents to report cases of attack to the police and not take laws into their hands. “We are aware of these cases; you know incidents of ‘one chance’ robbery have become rampant in this city and we are not resting in our efforts to make the city crime free.”
Source: Vanguard

CONFESSION: I Slept In The Bush - Killer Cop

Tragedy struck last Saturday along the Ikpoba Hill river, along the Benin Agbor road when a police officer identified as Corporal Valentine Ofuamaka, attached to the Mopol 5, Benin City with force number 364780, shot dead a 35 year old Odion Egbon, a truck driver.
The incident caused pandemonium as tanker drivers blocked the entire road searching for the killer cop. However, the Edo state Police Commissioner averted what could have resulted to a bloody clash between the police and tanker drivers when CP Folunso Adebanjo stormed the scene and appealed to the tanker drivers and the families of the deceased to be calm while the police search for the suspect.
Following the tension, the Edo state Police Command issued a statement saying that the runaway police officer is attached to the Police Special Protection Unit and not the Edo State Police Command. CP Adebanjo however vowed that the suspect will be arrested. However the family of the deceased continued their protest in Benin City and that attracted the attention of Governor Adams Oshiomhole who invited the family to Government House.
*Killer cop, Corporal  Valentine Ofuamaka, being led by prison official into the blackmaria after being arraigned at the Edo state Magistrate Court in Benin city
*Killer cop, Corporal Valentine Ofuamaka, being led by prison official into the blackmaria after being arraigned at the Edo state Magistrate Court in Benin city
Addressing the family, Oshiomhole said, “I want to express my condolences to the family of the Late Odion Egbon. From the narration, a trigger happy policeman killed him. Our laws are clear. Nobody has the right to take the life of another person except as prescribed by the Constitution of Nigeria. Whether you are in uniform or out of uniform, we are all duty bound to respect tLhe laws of the land.
From the narrative, it is clear that the man was inside his truck and there was no scuffle or whatever, so clearly this was one death that was completely avoidable.
The same day the incident happened, the Commissioner of Police called to brief me about this very sad incident and he assured me that everything is being done to apprehend those policemen regardless of whichever unit they belong to. We have a duty not only to protect lives and properties but also to ensure that law enforcement agencies recognise that they too are under the law and they have no right to do this sort of thing that they did. I want to assure you that both the Edo State Government and the Police are doing everything as we speak to track down those policemen who are alleged to be involved in this murder. I have every reason to believe that we will get them and they will be brought to justice.
We will continue to ensure that the protection of the rights of citizens particularly the right to life is respected by all agencies of government, whether it be Federal, State or Local. I assure you that the police are already doing everything possible to ensure that they are brought to justice. To say that it is painful is an understatement and I share your pains, and your grief and the feelings in your heart that someone who went about his business found himself being killed in his truck.” The Governor however appreciated the family for not taking the law into their hands saying “the kind of situation would have been enough to trigger a violent protest. So please, don’t take laws into your hands. Everything is being done and I believe the outcome will be satisfactory”, he assured.
Earlier, the Spokesman of the family and younger brother of the deceased, Mr. Efosa Egbon said they were in Government House to inform the Governor of the sad incidence and seek that justice be done on the extra judicial killing of their brother.
However, last Monday, the runaway cop who disguised himself before escaping from the eyes of the crowd, was apprehended by vigilante members by the Benin bypass after which he was handed over to the Police DPO at Ikpoba Hill. He was subsequently dismissed from the force after an Orderly Room trial. CP Adebanjo who announced his dismissal, said the matter has been charged to court and expressed his determination to wipe out all acts of overzealousness and high handedness in the conduct of members of the force in his command. The suspect was remanded in prison by an Ogbeson Chief Magistrate court sitting at Ikpoba Hill, Benin. The policeman and another now at large according the Prosecution allegedly committed the offence punishable under section 324 and 316 of the criminal code.
The presiding Chief Magistrate, Jonathan Ogbeide declined jurisdiction to hear the matter due to the nature. The court then ordered that the case file be duplicated and forwarded to Edo State Director of public prosecution for legal advice. However, the accused (Valentine) plea was not taken by the court and the case was adjourned to 7 March 2014 for mention
Elder brother of the deceased, Efosa Egbon, who narrated the ugly incident to Saturday Vanguard, said his younger brother was killed unprovoked by the trigger happy police officer. He said: “What happened was that there was a hold up at Ikpoba Slope due to a truck that fell into the river so drivers were now using one way. My brother just came back from Lagos, as a matter of fact he went for the maintenance of the truck at the mechanic workshop and he intended to go back to Lagos on Sunday but from nowhere he was shot by this policeman.
They were two mobile policemen, they walked up to him and shot him without any argument. When he tried to manage to come down he fell from the truck and the policemen took off. After the incident, people chased the policemen, the one that shot him ran into the tipper garage at Temboga junction. But he started shooting sporadically to scare those pursing him away. He ran into the bush but people were waiting outside for him.
So we went back to where my brother’s corpse was lying and that very day at about 1am, the police in Oregbeni division helped us to convey the corpse down to Central Hospital. And that time I called the state Commissioner of Police and he assured me he will be there Sunday morning and at about 7:30am he was at the hospital with us. So we started making inquiries, the pellet of the bullet I handed it over to the CP”.
Narrating further how the killer police officer was arrested, Efosa explained that “The commissioner of Police explained to us that the suspect who is from Ogoja, confessed that after shooting my brother, he ran to the bush not knowing that the area is a swampy place, and he could not run again. He had to remove his uniform and was only on boxers so that he will not be noticed.
As he was trying to escape he hit his four head somewhere in the bush because we saw a deep cut in his face. He managed to swim across the river to the other side of the road and still came out where the traffic jam was at the road. So he found a trailer and entered behind the trailer without the driver of the trailer knowing and the trailer drove him out of the area unnoticed because people were searching for him then.
And when the trailer passed the traffic because it was heading towards Agbor, it started speeding, so he could not jump down until the trailer got to somewhere after the bypass and slowed down. That was where he jumped down and ran into a farm, he slept in that farm that night. But early in the morning, vigilante people saw him and he told them not to hurt him that he is a police man that they should take him to the closest police station and that was how he was taken to the DPO’s at Ikpoba Hill and it was the DPO that brought him to the state CID. Again we were informed that they went on illegal duty with one Corporal Innocent who is at large now.
One of them was attached to the NNPC while the other one was at UBA. They left their bit and went on illegal duty.
We were told that they went with some body for a burial in Agbor and when they got there they were shooting sporadically at the burial place, and unfortunately for them, stray bullet hit somebody. When they discovered that they have shot somebody they started running back to Benin, it was when they ran back to Benin that one of them still shot my brother. The Commissioner of Police told us that the suspects could not account for the ammunition given to him and the suspect agreed that he actually shot my brother. They asked him why he shot my brother, he said he has no reason that he did not know what came upon him.
All we are asking for is that justice should be done. We are calling on the Edo state governor who has been a father to everyone in the state not to relent in his efforts to ensure that we get justice”.
The Executive Director of the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Rev.David Ugolor, who led other civil society organizations to pay a condolence to the family, hailed the arrest of the suspect, warning however that “the killer cop must face justice because the world is watching at the police. We have nothing personal but this culture of impunity must stop in Nigeria. The message must go round that gone are the days you kill innocent people and go free”.
Source: Vanguard

FACTS: 2014 World Cup, NFF And Foreign Technical Assistant

With only four months to the commencement of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, it is rather curious that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is breathing down the neck of Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, to accept the appointment of a foreign technical assistant for the team. The NFF is presumably working on the theory that Keshi needs a foreign technical assistant to enable the team advance beyond our past performances at the World Cup.
The NFF had reportedly pleaded with Keshi to accept the engagement of an assistant, who would add value to his technical crew ahead of Brazil 2014 World Cup. It based its decision on the fact that the Nigerian bench needs help for the team to surpass our former outings in the previous tournaments. But last Wednesday, the NFF, through its Technical Commit-tee, denied ever moving for a foreign technical assistant for the Super Eagles. The committee stated that it did not at any time contemplate, approve or recommend the appointment of any foreign technical staff to help the Super Eagles coach.
It also explained that it has given, and will continue to give Keshi and the team its unflinching support to do Nigeria proud at the 20th FIFA World Cup finals in June Despite NFF’s denial, it is necessary to state that we see no need for the employment of a foreign technical assistant at a time that the coach of the national team has not requested for one. Again, it has not been said at any time that Coach Stephen Keshi is technically deficient. If a technical assistant is needed for the national team at all, the view that such an assistant must be foreign is galling. Keshi, in the heat of the controversy over the need for a technical assistant, had argued that instead of engaging a foreign technical assistant at this time, his former technical assistant and ex-international, Sylvanus Okpala, who was removed from office by NF off-cials, should be recalled to assist him. This is a good enough proposition. Okpala, according to many stake-holders in the round leather game, is a sound technical man and a versatile reader of matches. His services will still be needed by the team in preparation for the football tournament.
The consideration of a foreign technical adviser for the Super Eagles at this   time is untidy, unnecessary and ill-advised.  Engaging such an official now, will surely hedge the national coach in and upset the equilibrium in the team. Having a foreign technical adviser would have made more sense at the qualification level. Bringing in on now that Keshi and crew have qualified the team to the mundial is
unfair to the Super Eagles coaching crew. Rather than enhancing the performance of the team at Brazil, it may even jeopardise it. Apart from demonstrating our lack of faith in our coaching crew, it further reinforces the racist notion of black man’s inferiority. Do we need a foreigner to be able to stand on our feet at the World Cup? We reject such negative stereotyping of the past. Having a new technical assistant will not do the magic as being insinuated in some quarters. Such appointments did not achieve the desired goal in our previous World Cup outings. We do not think that it will work now. Let Keshi and his team go there and do their best. Whatever is the outcome will add to their experience and the growth of Nigerian football. Let our football authorities spare the Super Eagles coaching crew this unwarranted distraction at this stage that it ought to be planning for friendly matches and other logistics to ensure a successful outing for the team in Brazil.
Keshi and crew have, with their re-cent successes in the African Nations Cup and the CHAN, proved beyond doubts that they can do the job. Introducing a foreign technical assistant now will be injurious and unpatriotic. The NFF should not be seen to be working at cross-purposes with Keshi and his assistants. Rather, they should work as a team. Therefore, let NFF respect Keshi’s view on this matter and consider his proposal on Okpala. We say this considering the fact that as a coach, Keshi should know exactly what he needs to succeed in his assignment. The bickering on this matter is inexpedient to our quest for glory in Brazil.
Source: The Sun

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

ABUJA: The Prostitution War?

Apo auto mechanics declare war on sex hawkers
* They can’t stop us, prostitutes fire back *Apprentices unhappy with attempt
Waru Village, near Malaysia Garden, along Apo roundabout-Kpegi expressway was almost turned to a theatre of war two weekends ago when auto mechanics relocated from Apo Mechanic Village, declared war on prostitutes plying their trade in the area.
The vehicle repairers and the sex hawkers have always coexisted. While the mechanics work during the day, sex workers take over the space at night. Whoever does know that Apo Mechanic Village is a threatre of sex trade, gun running, drug dealing and other forms of crime is either new in Abuja or totally uninformed. Even in the daytime, at some points, the brothels open for business, to the extent that as you go into the village to fix your car, you would see cheap looking sex workers who parade their wares in broad daylight, soliciting for patronage.
But the FCT administration lately decided to relocate the mechanics as most of them were spilling to the road, making driving through the axis hell in hold-ups.
So as the mechanics relocated, the fellow business people that have always used the same space with them joined in the movement. That became source of worry to the technicians and they said no. Their insistence to stop the sex hawkers from moving to the next location is what caused the trouble.
The FCT workers demolished the mechanic village to give way for the expansion of the road, and as a result, thousands of artisans including mechanics, spray painters, welders, air conditioner repairers, spare parts dealers, petty traders, food hawkers and others lost their business places.
They were to move to a new place, about a kilometre away and inwards.
The artisans that had been very busy securing portions of land that Saturday, were terribly shocked to notice that the prostitutes, equally affected by the demolition, had joined in erecting structures, like the multiple brothels they had at the old spot to start their business at the new site.
You can’t come here
Angered by the development, the mechanics took a drastic decision to stop them from building structures close to them, accusing them of being responsible for and attracting the anger of the government that demolished the old place they had used for many years.
The artisans, mainly male youths, armed themselves with all manner of battle tools like sticks, iron roads, hammers, cudgels, machetes, etc commenced immediate demolition of whatever the prostitutes had built.
As they executed the job, they chanted war songs, asking the street ladies called ashawo to leave the place or face trouble.
They kept shouting: “We don’t want ashawo anywhere close to this area. We want them to go far away from us. We no go gree o, we no go gree o, ashawo house, we no go gree.”
The angry mob, in defence of their stand and action said: “They are coming here to use their bad business and siphon our money. They would be smiling to the banks with our money, while we will be getting leaner, poorer and ill by the day. Some of us even abandon their wives and children because of these ashawo. We don’t want them again.”
A welder that identified himself as Iron, told Abuja Metro that the prostitutes have caused them more harm than good. He said they will always feel better and safer without them, and it is wiser to distance themselves from the women of easy virtue.
“Yes, we don’t have the right to stop them from operating here, but our resolution is that we don’t want them close to us again. It is true that their operations might not be solely responsible for government’s action against us, but they contributed to it.”
“I can tell you that it was some big men in Abuja that came to patronise them that later took interest in our old site. I am sure that if those big men had not come to patronise the prostitutes, they would not have seen the place. We would have continued to carry out our business.
“Now that government has sent up packing, instead of the prostitutes to go far away from us, they decided to stay close to us again. They must go because they will soon bring the big men to this place to take away this new space from us again.
“More importantly, the prostitutes are corrupting our apprentices. Can you believe that sometime apprentices abandon their oga (masters) work to spend an entire day or work hours with ashawo.
“The truth is that the prostitutes have ruined the lives of some of these young men and we can’t continue to watch them ruin more. We have had enough of them and we don’t want them close to us again,” he insisted.
Rubbish talk, say apprentices
Ironically, the apprentices, by their body language were not disposed to the eviction of the sex workers. They are angry at the war their masters wage against the prostitutes. Since they lack the money, time and courage to build relationships with other ladies, their bodies, it wouldn’t be out of place to make do with the prostitutes they pay to catch some sex fun when they feel like. To them, it won’t be a bad idea to allow the street girls remain in business around them. They claim that the company of the street ladies help them to ease tension and stress after a tedious work day.
According to one of them that spoke to Abuja Metro, but refusing to mention his name because he would not want his boss to hear his comment “It is not true that the prostitutes have ruined the lives of some of us. Don’t mind them, many of them even patronise prostitutes more than some of us, the apprentices. You know we need them around to reduce the stress involved in this mechanic work,” he quipped.
We must stay in business
Meanwhile, some of the few prostitutes who watched helplessly, the demolition of their new structures, managed to protest verbally that the mechanics should realise that they are equally in business, warning that they lacked the power to decide where they wanted to operate.
Unaware of the presence of a journalist, one of them said: “You people have to take it easy because you don’t have the right to decide where you want us to stay and do our business. The best option left for you is to stop patronising us or report us to the police.
“What is your problem, we are not even the ones that beg you to patronise us, you are the ones coming to us. You people must understand that we have the same right with you in occupying this place.
“It’s even more annoying to see people that are our regular customers also protesting that we won’t be here. Let me tell you, they will be the first to visit us. We did not react not because your actions are right but because we are women. We will see who wins the war at last,” the prostitutes shouted.
The women of easy virtue argued that targeting them was victimization because the people that demolished their structures saw young men smoking Indian hemp in the area and didn’t do anything to stop them.
“They saw these ones smoking weed but did not talk to them. Apart from the fact that some of them smoke hemp too, they know that the boys would fight them if they tried to stop them. But, the big question for them is which one is more harmful to health between India hemp and patronising us. If they must sanitise this new site, let it be total, so that we can see how boring life will be here,” they added.
Religious sentiment
But for the quick intervention of some of the elders among the angry mobs, the situation would have degenerated into a religious war, when a middle aged man, tried to stop the boys from demolishing a particular structure. He said the structure he was putting up was meant to be a place of worship for Muslims and should not be mistaken for a brothel.
Although the angry mob spared the structure, they however warned the man: “We are going to hold you people by your words that this structure is a Mosque but we will demolish and burn it if we find out that it is not a mosque as you claimed now.”
Source: The Sun