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Friday, October 15, 2010

Osayemi to undergo rehab in USA

Sports minister, Alhaji Issa Bio, has thrown his weight behind Damola Osayemi who failed   drug test at the India 2010 Commonwealth Games, disclosing that she would undergo rehabilitation in the United States of America (USA).

Bio who said the nation could not afford to abandon the sprinter said the former Queen of the tracks, Mary Onyali Omagbemi, had been mandated to take charge and ensure
that Osayemi overcome her present problem.

In Bio’s words:”The lady (Osayemi) is really down and weeping non stop. She has refused to eat and talk to anybody. But we have resolved to do everything possible to ensure she gets out of the trauma. What was found in her system was not really a banned drug.

She only took a supplement and that unfortunately landed her in trouble. We have concluded arrangements for her to undergo rehabilitation in US and Mary Onyali will coordinate that.”

Meanwhile, Osayemi was yesterday ejected from the games village and her medal stripped from Nigeria. She was sent packing alongside Samuel Okon who also tested positive to the supplement.
Despite the drug scandal the Nigerian camp is bubbling as the performance here is considered a good one.

Nigeria at the moment has won 10 gold, 10 silver and 13 bronze medals. The outing in India remains the country’s best at the games in the last 20 years. Bio said yesterday that the athletes had done the country proud and will be treated to a reception when they return home this weekend.

Effective leadership principles of Prophet Muhammad

It is a well-known fact that the Prophet of Islam (saw) was the supremely successful man in the entire human history. But he was not just a hero, as Thomas Carlyle has called him. According to the Qur’an, he was the best example for all mankind.

He has shown us the way of achieving supreme success in this world. By studying the life of the Prophet (saw), we can derive those important principles which were followed by the Prophet (saw). Indeed, the Prophet of Islam (saw) was a positive thinker in the full sense of the word.

All his activities were result-oriented. He completely refrained from all such steps as may prove counter-productive.
First Principle: To begin from the possible.

This principle is well explained in a saying of Aishah. She said: “Whenever the Prophet had to choose between two options, he always opted for the easier choice.” (Al-Bukhari) To choose the easiest option means to begin from the possible, and one who begins from the possible will surely reach his goal.

Second Principle: To see advantage in disadvantage
In the early days of Mecca, there were many problems and difficulties. At that time, a guiding verse in the Qur’an was revealed. It said: “With every hardship there is ease, with every hardship there is ease.” (94:5-6).

This means that if there are some problems, there are also opportunities at the same time. And the way to success is to ignore the problems and avail the opportunities.

Third Principle: To change the place of action
This principle is derived from the Hijrah. Hijrah was not just a migration from Mecca to Medina. It was to find a more suitable place for Islamic work, as history proved later on.

Fourth Principle: To make a friend out of an enemy
The Prophet (saw) of Islam was repeatedly subjected to practices of antagonism by the unbelievers. At that time the Qur’an enjoined upon him the return of good for evil. And then, as the Qur’an added, “You will see your direst enemy has become your closest friend” (41:34). It means that a good deed in return of a bad deed has a conquering effect over your enemies. And the life of the Prophet(saw) is a historical proof of this principle.

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ACN raises alarm over ‘Right of First Refusal’ clause in Electoral Act

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has raised an alarm over the danger posed to the nation’s democracy by the plan to insert a ‘Right of First Refusal’ clause for members of the National Assembly in the 2010 Electoral Act.

In a statement issued in Ilorin on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said if the plan succeeded, Nigeria could as well say goodbye to democracy, while the legislators would have simply succeeded in subjecting the citizens to perpetual servitude.

“We have learnt that the federal lawmakers are planning to insert this clause in response to the executive’s proposals on the Electoral Act’s amendment, which includes the use of party caucus to choose candidates for the 2011 elections.

“Our reaction is that both proposals are like the devil’s alternative. Whichever one sails through will sound the death knell of our democracy. We, therefore, call on Nigerians to reject both proposals, which have no precedent in any democracy in the world,” it said. ACN warned that if the lawmakers succeeded in inserting the ‘Right of First Refusal’ clause in the amended Electoral Act, it would become law and stay that way until amended, adding: “Of course, it will not be amended because it favours the same lawmakers who inserted it in the first place and who also have the power to amend it.”

It said even without a clause to ensure a tenure in perpetuity for them, the National Assembly members have yet to impact positively on the people. “Once they insert that clause and wriggle free of party control, they will become monsters. Only their whims and caprices will guide them in what laws to make. Of course, they would have succeeded too in shutting out every other aspirant to that office. That is democracy PDP-style,” ACN said.

It added that the lawmakers could as well extend such to members of the State Houses of Assembly, governors and even the president, thus handing over the nation’s democracy to a few fat cats.
ACN said the only reason the lawmakers were emboldened to even think of inserting such a devilish clause in the 2010 Electoral Act was the docility of Nigerians, who sat by while these people allotted to themselves obscene salaries and allowances in contravention of the Constitution.

The party said the continuing effort to constrict the democratic space was the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) legacy to Nigerians, after a decade of democracy. “PDP controls the executive and the legislature, and has been using this control to perpetually torment and suffocate Nigerians. All we have received from this house of cards called the PDP are useless arguments about zoning, bombings and kidnappings that are now spreading across the nation, a failed third term bid and the manipulation of the constitution for parochial interests, just to mention a few,” ACN said.

Jackson brothers hail MTN

It was praises galore for telecoms giant MTN, from the brothers of the late pop music icon, Michael Jackson, for its successful sponsorship of this year’s ninth annual Ofala Festival.

The brothers, who were members of the defunct famous Jackson 5 musical group, were excited to be part of the festival at the palace ground of the Obi of Onitsha, Anambra State. They equally expressed satisfaction at the level of organisation of the ceremony and the immense support from MTN.

The eldest of the brothers, Tito Jackson said: “It’s been a very exciting experience. This is a very colourful and well organised festival and it is interesting to see a corporate organisation like MTN providing support for the festival, which is what the people like. Everybody here is happy with MTN which is very good for the company.”

The three-day celebration, which started on October 7, witnessed the gathering of sons and daughters of Onitsha both at home and in the Diaspora, and notable guests from across the world. It reflected the rich cultural heritage of the Onitsha kingdom and its people. Anambra State Governor Peter Obi, his wife, Margaret, traditional rulers, members of the Anambra State House of Assembly, political stalwarts and business figures were some of the dignitaries that graced the event.

Apart from the Jackson brothers, other international dignitaries at the event were: the Mayor of Inkster Michigan, Mayor Hill Hampton; historian, Bruce Bridge and Hollywood actor, Walter James Jr. and Mrs. Gloria Williams. The Ofala Festival is an annual celebration of the cultural values and heritage of the Onitsha people which reflects the bond between them and the celebration of a renewed hope for peace and prosperity in Onitsha Kingdom.

The festival featured a variety of colourful activities and cultural displays. The highpoint of the event was the royal dance by the Igwe and members of the royal cabinet who filed out gracefully around the palace ground three times before the cheering crowd of excited indigenes, tourists and well wishers, greeting and wishing them well.

Over the years, MTN has championed the sustenance of various cultural festivals within the country in a bid to demonstrate its brand promise of offering ‘so much more’ and ‘enriching lives.’ This year alone, the company has sponsored 16 cultural festivals nationwide.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Abia kidnap kingpin on the run ...Declared wanted…Accused of abduction of 15 pupils

A suspected kidnap kingpin believed to be terrorising Aba, Abia State, Mr. Obioma Nwankwo (aka Osisi ka Nkwu) has been declared wanted by the state Police Command.

Nwankwo had allegedly caused residents of Aba and the police nightmare as no day passed without news of members of his gang allegedly killing a policeman or abducting a resident of the city.

His reign of terror climaxed when his gang allegedly abducted 15 pupils of Abayi International School, Osisioma and took them to his camp in Ugwuati in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State, which incidentally was his hometown.
Nwankwo, who is about 35 years old is believed to be the mastermind of high profile cases of kidnap that had taken place in Abia State in the past three years including that of the 15 pupils who were freed by soldiers at a camp in Ugwuati believed to belong to the wanted man.

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CBN to issue N120bn treasury bills this week

As about N78 billion worth of maturities is expected in the system, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will this week issue N119.13 billion in 91-day, 182-day and 364-day treasury bills.

According to Reuters, the apex bank said it would issue N23.58 billion in 91-day bills, N45.55 billion in 182-day bills and N50 billion in one year paper using the Dutch Auction System (DAS).

Meanwhile, the inter-bank rates came down at the end of last week following the injection of federal civil servants employment benefits and arrears into the banking system by the Federal Government as well as the purchase and re-purchase of government securities by CBN.

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Stockworld NSE N1.35bn bonuses of controversy raise integrity concerns

Sordid revelations of the forensic audit report by KPMG on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), which revealed that its council members shared about N1.35 billion (N1,350,800,000) as bonuses on productivity/surplus sharing’, have raised concerns as to the propriety or otherwise, of the ‘windfall’.

It also raised integrity question on Messrs Akintola Williams Deloitte, chartered accountants, auditors of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for many years and their role in the entire saga.

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Nigeria @ 50: Way forward

Nigeria recently budgeted seven Billion Naira for the 50th anniversary celebration. Given the way Nigeria organized past events, nobody doubts the fate of this huge amount of money with 2/3 of it ending up in private pockets.

We are presently ranked 94th in world economy (a far cry from the number 20 we aspire to be in the year 2020) but nonetheless remain number three in Africa and arguably the most important nation in West Africa with a sophisticated financial market (by regional standard) spreading its influence in the sub-region, and a population of 150 Million (world 8th) against Ghana’s 20 Million ,a GDP of $166 Billion compared to Ghana’s $14.9 Billion and a per capita income of $1,159 compared to Ghana’s $676. Again our population is ahead of Japan and Russia which gave us the largest domestic market in Africa allowing for economies of scale across the continent.

Story By Aliyu Nuh
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Ibru: Lawyers fault court judgment

Lawyers in the country have described the conviction and sentencing of the former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank, Mrs. Cecelia Ibru, for abuse of office and financial irregulaties, as a slap on the wrist, inadequate to deter highly-placed, but corrupt-minded officials from aspiring for public office.

The ‘light sentence,’ they also argued, suggested that there were two sets of laws for Nigerians- one for the rich and the other for the poor.
Ibru, who was initially arraigned on a 25-count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was jailed for 18 months last Friday on a three-count charge, based on plea bargaining which saw the alleged offences reduced to three.

She is to spend only six months in prison, as the sentences are to run concurrently, in addition to forfeiting N191 billion.
However, the former bank chief may not see the inside of the prison wall, as she was ordered back to the hospital, where she is said to be receiving treatment over ill-health.

Story From YINKA FABOWALE, Ibadan
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N300m, guber ambition or your wife, kidnappers tell Ewang

Wife of the former military administrator of Ogun and Rivers States, Mrs Comfort Sam Ewang has spent four days with kidnappers and there are no indications that she may soon regain her freedom.
The distraught husband Capt. Sam Ewang told Daily Sun on phone that his wife’s kidnap might have been politically masterminded as he had been asked to drop his gubernatorial ambition or lose his wife forever.

Mrs Ewang was abducted from her school, Beulah International Academy last Thursday. The school is situated in Ekom Iman Etinan, about 10 kilometers from Uyo. Ewang said the kidnappers had asked him to drop his gubernatorial aspiration if he ever wanted to see his wife alive.

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Nations Cup qualifier: Guinea shocks uninspiring Eagles ...Niger upsets Egypt

Guinea yesterday made good of her early opportunity to pip Nigeria 1-0 in the Nations Cup qualifier at the 28 September Stadium in Conakry. The Guinean team is comfortably leading the group with 6 points, having won her first match 4-1 against Ethiopia in the series. Nigeria remains with just 3 points in the second position ahead of Ethiopia who also recorded a 1-0 victory over Madagascar.
Ethiopia now shares the same points with Nigeria.

The Eagles are billed to take on Ethiopia in Abuja in their next game in March next year, while Guinea will travel to Madagascar.
The loss capped a week of drama for the Nigerians who were banned earlier in the week by FIFA on issues pertaining to government’s interference in the affairs of the Nigerian Football Association (NFA).

After a long and eventful week for Nigerian football, the away match to Guinea finally arrived and the Eagles were able to get on with the AFCON qualifiers.
The match seemed impossible a few days ago when FIFA suspended the Nigeria because of government’s interference in football affairs, but the ban was provisionally lifted on Thursday and CAF agreed that the qualifier should go ahead undisturbed. Nigeria came into the match off the back of a win against Madagascar, while Guinea got the better of Ethiopia in the previous match, so both had wins under their belts from the first round of fixtures.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another Kalakuta in Onitsha •Where illicit drugs, sex thrive

Tucked within the boundary between Onitsha and Obosi, behind an Army Barracks is Solar Lawrence Road, the unofficial headquarters of illicit drugs in Anambra State. It was the thick choking smoke of marijuana that announced another dimension of human activity on the narrow road that led to this doppers’ enclave one early Saturday morning.

Eight out of ten commercial motorcyclists plying Awada routes in Onitsha along MCC junction may not know the location of Solar Lawrence Road by any other means, but by simply placing two fingers on your lips and feigning smoking they’ll exclaim “oh yes, let’s go” provided you can pay the right fare since the area attracts a special fare on Okada. Apart from being a jungle of sorts threaded only by brave hearts, the route leading to Solar Lawrence Road is deplorable due to erosion and neglect.

In this area of Onitsha, every resident is a smoker. Those who don’t smoke do so passively. Wheeling and dealing in cannabis sativa popularly known as Indian hemp, Igbo or marijuana and other narcotics is their stock-in-trade.
Jamaican reggae legends like Robert Nester Marley, Peter Tosh , and artistes like Prof. Linkin, the jogodo master who sang popular lyrics calling on governments to legalize Indian hemp may have wasted their precious time singing out their hearts, because at Solar Lawrence Road, it’s done with impunity. 365 days in a year, youths “burn down the walls of Babylon” with their lighter and Rizla.

Story From ALOYSIUS ATTAH, Onitsha
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Better deal for Nigerian teachers

At the recent celebration of World Teachers Day, an occasion set aside by the United Nations to draw global attention to the significance of teachers in the development of nations, in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan promised better days for Nigerian teachers.

While bemoaning the continued government neglect of their welfare despite their pre-eminent position in national development, the president, a former teacher, proclaimed his administration’s commitment to improvement of teachers’ welfare through the provision of incentives and other packages that will challenge them to greater professionalism.

Story By Sun News Publishing
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2011 presidency: Nwodo chickened out on me–Kalu

Former Governor of Abia state, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, has declared his interest in the 2011 presidency under the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA. Speaking in Abuja during the week, Kalu said he had the best credential of all the aspirants jostling for the plum job, adding that he was running to represent the oppressed people of Nigeria and the deprived and marginalized Igbo people living in Onitsha, Aba, Enugu, Abakaliki and all parts of Nigeria who are still feeling that the civil war has not formally ended going by their alienation in the national scheme of things.

Story By Paulinus Aidoghie
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Church rewards the student who returned N9.3 billion to bank

The General Overseer of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, MFM, Dr. Daniel Olukoya, has presented a brand new Toyota Corolla car, an undisclosed amount of money and a certificate of honesty to the Polytechnic student, Durojaye Adeyemi Job, who returned N9.3 billion wrongly credited to his First Bank Plc account.

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I Used To Trek From VI To Palmgrove -Ali Baba

Alleluia Atunyota Akpoborome (also known as Ali Baba) could be regarded as the doyen of Nigeria’s stand-up comedy in an industry that has grown bigger over the years. His exploits and success have been a source of inspiration to many other would be comedians. He speaks with ADUNOLA FASUYI on his life, comedy and other issues. Excerpts:

No doubt, you re-invented comedy in Nigeria. You are regarded as the leader of stand-up comedy and today, many Nigerian youths can say they are comedians owing to your influence. Tell us how you made it particularly at a time comedians were regarded as nonentities?
I tried to work in an organisation, DP Lekki, back then, but it was a futile effort. My salary was N1,500 for a whole month, but I was already earning between N5,000 and N10,000 per show.

So I left. Growing the business called for sacrifice, when you knew you could do with N2000 but insisted on being paid N10,000, and the client walked away leaving you with nothing.

Determination helped me build my career to this height. People tried to take advantage of me and they in fact did. Performing without payment just to prove I could do it, or to sell myself to not just a larger market, but a paying one. But we thank the Lord!

How would you describe the journey so far for you?
It was challenging. Especially trying to make people appreciate the act as a service and not just a talent. Till date, some still say, is it not just to make people laugh? But on the whole, its been rewarding.

Did you go through any formal training as a professional comedian? What qualities does it take to be a good and successful comedian?
No. On the contrary, I got into the business by accident. I was into my Religious Studies & Philosophy when I stumbled on it. It takes a lot to be a comedian. And a whole lots more to be a good one.

Do you think stand up comedy requires any formal training or for would- be comedians to go through tutorials under veterans like you?
Yes. Which was why it was hard for early comedians like Yibo Koko, Tee A, Alam Bloo and the likes. This set had no precedence to learn from. So, we made the rules, adjusted as we got on to suit the trends and discarded those rules that made no sense.

Besides the talent, comedians needed to know the ropes of negotiation, timing of a joke, audience reading, client behaviour, networking, mode of payment, discounts and, most importantly, how to make jokes at the drop of a hat.

Since its a profession that requires creativity and sense of humour, do you see yourself retiring from the business completely in the future?
No. Bill Cosby is still doing his thing. That’s the beauty of comedy. It’s like Law. You get better with age. Unlike sports, retirement may not be the word. Maybe you should say I might just reduce the number of events and diversify my energy and talents in other areas that don’t take so much of my time

Can you ever run out of jokes? Or have you been short of jokes before at a show?
It’s hard to run out of jokes if you are a thorough-bred comedian. Jokes emanate from the event, past experiences, reading materials, observations, total recall, comparison, etc. Your ability to milk out every drop of laughter is the key to not running out of jokes.

Today, comedians are making it big and very proud of the profession courtesy Ali Baba. But in those days of Baba Sala and the rest, comedians didn’t make it like now. What would you say was missing then?
The appreciation level was low or nonexistent in some cases. Priorities change. Time was in this country when teachers were the best paid people. Now that has changed, sadly. What went wrong? Nothing. It was not just the right time.

Besides, when Mohammed Danjuma of blessed memory and I started out, we were not just comedians, we were providing service. That’s what people paid us for. The value you brought to an event, though not tangible, makes a great deal of difference. So, it would be right to say we packaged our brand of comedy in line with the times and demands of the events.

You have performed for presidents, state governors and high profile personalities and yabbed them to their faces in your shows, particularly, former President Obasanjo. The first time you did it, how did you feel? Were you scared of being arrested?
No. There is a thin line between being funny and being offensive. Walking the line takes skills, experience, ability to read the audience and the relevance of the show also counts. Obasanjo was not just a president, he is a man with a resounding sense of humour, enough to put some comedians out of work. He can take as much as he can give. Unknown to many, most of the things I said about him were after I had told him in person.

Have you ever been arrested, harassed or threatened in the course of doing comedy before?
Never. Maybe harassed is not the word, let’s just say someone may have felt offended. But I put them back in their places. I’m a comedian in the first place, so whatover I say is not supposed to be taken seriously. Sadly, what politicians say are taken seriously and a comedian’s joke is a statement of fact!

A guy who had thoroughly laughed at all the jokes I did on the Yoruba and Hausa people had the guts to tell me to stop doing jokes on the Igbo. So, I went back to the microphone and I pointed him out and asked how he felt when he laughed at jokes on other tribes?

Do you think you would have done same in a military era?
Of course. How else can a military era be other than that of IBB and Abacha’s? I survived it all. Although, it must be said that democracy gave comedy wings. But what is funny is funny, military or civilian.

Which was your most challenging show? Tell us about your most embarrassing moment if any?
I can’t remember. Because a show may look like it would be challenging, but as soon as you get into the flow, its cool running. Embarrassing moments? Why should I tell you?

Your happiest moment?
Too many to remember. But driving pass Bar Beach and NTA gives me great thrills. To think I used to live at that beach and trek from NTA to Palmgrove.

If you had not been a comedian, what other things would you have been?
Broadcaster, public relations expert, writer, footballer, sprinter, copywriter and maybe, a journalist.

Despite your tight schedule, do you make out time to relax? How do you relax and spend your weekends?
Play football, swim, ride my bicycles, watch movies, read a good book, go clubbing or visit friends.

As Nigeria celebrates 50th independence anniversary, what word of advice do you have for Nigerian youths out there?
The youth should call up all their hidden talents. Even handicaps or people with disabilities are doing great things. A full-bodied man wants to be spoon fed! That is wrong and should stop. As we start another decade in the history of our country, I charge our youths to seek, know and explore their God-given talents for their personal good and the good of the nation.

Friday, October 8, 2010

FIFA BAN 15-man committee to resolve crisis

As Nigerians anxiously await the world soccer ruling body, FIFA, to lift the ban on their country, a 15-man reconciliation committee to resolve all issues related to the court cases that led to the ban will be set up Monday.

According to President-General of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, one of the conveners of the stakeholders meeting held Wednesday, the committee is to see to a peaceful resolution of all crises to ensure a lasting solution to the impasse.

The committee, which would have Nigeria's FIFA executive committee member, Dr. Amos Adamu, representatives of the National Association of Nigerian Footballers, NANF; Association of Players of Nigerian Football, APFON; The Nigeria Football Supporters Club, NFSC; the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF; the Nigeria Premier League, NPL; the National Sports Commission, NSC and the media, he said, would take complaints from all aggrieved parties with a view to reaching a logical conclusion in the interest of Nigerian football.

“We want a situation whereby we'll make good our decision of an out of court settlement of all cases that have brought us to this level with a view of reaching a logical conclusion that would see no one as a victor or vanquished. It's unfortunate that we're in the situation where we find ourselves but given the overriding consequences it's in our interest that we settle the matteras early as we can.”

He said that as Harrison Jalla has been convinced to withdraw the case from court in the interest of Nigeria, it behoves all of us to help facilitate the process of formally withdrawing the case from court . “The ban is a colossal loss of money and time to Nigeria. It would be better for us to get our football back on track, while restructuring our football as we play in the various competitions. Being out of FIFA's competition is like having one's child in a class who sits for exams and fails. He is pulled out with the hope of returning him to school many years after, that child would have lost interest but allowing that child to resit that exam would further help him to concentrate better.”

Dr. Ladipo noted that there are many Nigerian youths who are breadwinners of their families and closing the door against them would only lead them to crime, which would in the long run be detrimental to Nigerian society. He stressed that grievances are a daily occurrence in all spheres of life but there's always room for dialogue which FIFA also supports,” he said.

Amaechi’s tenure ends 2011–Court

As the controversy over the tenure of some incumbent state governors rages, Federal High Court on Thursday ruled that the tenure of Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi would officially end on May 29, 2011.
The court presided over by Justice Abdullahi Kafari gave the ruling in a suit filed by one Mr Cyprain Chukwu challenging the legality of the governor if he stayed beyond May 29.

According to him, “in the eye of the law, the tenure of the incumbent governor of Rivers State began when Mr Celestine Omehia under the same party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), illegally occupied the position.
“In the eye of the law, Amaechi, was deemed as the governorship candidate of the party and therefore won the election.
“He automatically steps into the shoes of Omehia, the pretender to the seat immediately he was removed,’’ he added.

Story From GODWIN TSA, Abuja
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Fatal sex About-to-wed lady dies under DPO ...Family alleges rape

The Divisional Police Officer of a police station in Aba, Abia State (names withheld), has allegedly raped a lady to death inside his office.
The lady whose name was given as Princess Zainab Chinasa Uwakwe, and said to be very close to a serving senior police officer from Abia State, was said to have approached the DPO on telephone over a matter her relation had at a police station. But the DPO invited her over for a supposed discussion on the matter.

In honouring the invitation, Daily Sun learnt that Princess, who hailed from Amakpor Igbere in Bende Local Government of the state, went to the police station in company with a young man, Nkem Igbokwe, who waited outside while the lady went in to see her supposed host.
A reliable source hinted that as soon as the lady who was said to be an aspirant under the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) for Aba North state constituency, entered the DPO’s office, she was offered suya and a bottle of drink bought for her by the police officer.

Story From OKEY SAMPSON, Aba
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Emeka Ossai rules with Comfort Zone, Crossed Road With Azuh Amatus

With the ultimate aim of providing unequalled entertainment for TV viewers on a weekly basis, the Emeka Ossai-led Golden Pyramid Productions Limited, has vowed to take the game higher with its two latest efforts, Comfort Zone and Crossed Road.

In a recent chat with us, the foremost actor and producer of both critically acclaimed works explained his outfit was wholly set to give viewers within and outside Nigeria, the best of entertainment on both terrestrial and cable TV.

Speaking further, Ossai maintained that Comfort Zone and Crossed Road had completely changed the face of TV soap/comedy, since hitting the airwaves, adding that both productions had also brought fresh faces on TV.

While shedding more light on the synopsis of both wave-making productions that won four awards at this year’s edition of Terracotta, Ossai explained that Comfort Zone is strictly a situational comedy that sensationally narrates the diary of three good friends from different backgrounds that graduated from same university. “While two of these pals have good jobs and are very hard working with the right attitudes to work and life, their other pal chose to be a complete opposite. Aside squatting and feeding fat daily on his pals, he always gets them into trouble.

On the other hand, Crossed Road, is a serious drama on the every day challenges that confront Nigerians, especially the youths. Imagine a young and innocent village boy migrating to the city in search of the proverbial Golden Fleece, only to meet a lady that happens to be his opposite in all spheres of life, thus began their twisted journey.”

Commenting more on the awards, Ossai, the 2008 AMAA Best Supporting Actor, said they were richly deserved and a proof that his production outfit had been affecting lives positively via entertainment. “Both productions got four awards in the categories of best comedy on TV, best writing team, best supporting actor and best actress awards, respectively. The awards will spur us to work even harder and continue to put in our very best for viewers in all our productions.

Meanwhile, the dearth of quality programmes on air necessitated the coming of these great works. We are also very grateful to our sponsors and advertisers, because without them, we won’t be on air entertaining millions on a weekly basis.” Among the thespians currently dazzling in both productions directed by Obi Osotule, are: Emeka Ossai, Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Christy Okonkwo, Kunle Salawu, Nora Ugo, Nkem Ike and several others.

Gunmen kill ANPP chieftain, shoot 2 others in Maiduguri

Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, was thrown into confusion on Thursday, following the killing of the National Vice Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) (North-east), Alhaji Awanna Ngala, on Wednesday night.

He was killed barely three hours after a police sergeant and a civil defence officer were shot at the residence of the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Modu Goni.

Ngala, who was the immediate past chairman of ANPP in the state, was shot in his house located at Simari ward of Dikwa Estate in the metropolis by the gunmen at about 8.40 p. m. He was said to have just returned home from his outings and had barely settled down in his living room when his assailants shot him.

“Nobody knew when the gunmen entered the premises and gained access to his parlour. We just heard gunshot, I think about six times and everybody was afraid to come out. After few seconds, the people disappear and nobody was bold enough to give them a chase,” a family source told Daily Sun. Earlier in the day, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members stormed the residence of the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Goni Modu, at about 5.30 p. m. and shot a police sergeant, Isa Omale and a Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) personnel. Hussaini Illiya, attached to the Speaker’s house, leaving them in their pool of blood. The gunmen also snatched a Kalashnikov rifle belonging to the Nigeria Police.

Story From TIMOTHY OLA, Maiduguri
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Crisis in Lagos FA My story by Opakunle

Everton midfielder, Steven Pienaar, has backed his teammate, Yakubu Aiyegbeni to get back among the goals and fire David Moyes' Toffees up the table.

South Africa star Pienaar and Nigeria striker, Yakubu both arrived at Goodison Park in the summer of 2007 and enjoyed hugely successful debut seasons on the blue half of Merseyside, finishing top of Everton's assists charts and goal-scoring charts respectively.

Pienaar also believes that last weekend's clean sheet - Everton's first of the season - was indication that the Toffees are rediscovering the defensive solidity that has been key to their success in recent seasons.
The Liverpool Echo quotes Pienaar as saying of Yakubu: “We all know Yak is a proven goal-scorer.

“He is slowly getting back to where he was and the more games he plays the sharper he will get. “Hopefully, he will get his goal soon and that will kick-start things for him.”
He continued: “If you don’t concede goals you're not going to lose.

“For the guys at the back it was a boost that it was the first clean sheet of the season against Fulham and they played well. “The Newcastle game was disappointing. We let a lot of people down and we know it.

What Shell must do to stop oil spillage in Bonny –Dr. Abere, Environmentalist

Dr. Sodienye Abere An Associate professor of wild life at the university of Technology Port Harcourt and the chairman Bonny Environmental Consultant Committee in this interview gives a comprehensive analysis of the impact of the massive spill on marine ecosystem, people and Bonny environment in general.
The university Don blamed oil firm in the place, especially Shell Petroleum Development Company for what he described as Lackadaisic attitude and delay in intervention which he said lead to the massive spread of the spill. Abere called for quick intervention of government and for the immediate clean up of the Environment. Excepts.

History of spill in bonny
Since assuming the position of the chairman of BEC in Bonny we have experienced seven major spills and six of them belongs to SPDC and one belongs to NNPC. Of the SPDC’s, the most devastating, the highest, the widest in scope concerning spread and volume of crude let out in the Bonny environment is this August spill, August 2nd 2010 spill supposedly coming out from the Iloma loop line near the Cawthone Channel area of Bonny.

Reaction on hearing about the spill
First of all we had to send out men to determine the extent and spread at the time and that took about the whole day. The reason is that when we got the information from the fishermen we though it was a minor spill but on getting there the men found out that it was such a huge thing and it was still gushing. They had to come back to get still camera and video so that they could catch the action and immediately we called on phone the SPDC community Relations Officer and other SPDC’s functionaries who did noting immediately but after some five days confirmed that the spill was coming out from their facilities. We now expected a joint inspection (JIV). We did in the other spills but this did not come, we were then forced to call the Local Government and other relevant regulators in the state. Precisely on the 11th we wrote a letter to follow up. The latter reminded Shell that after nine days of the spill and there is still no intervention or no calls for meeting to tell us proposed action, they supposed to take on the spill that we will be restrained to outline for them what they should do. The way the kingdom was thinking. We asked for immediate JIV to be conducted. We asked for relief materials to be distributed to the immediate sufferers, the fishermen who have been incapacitated and denied access to their means of livelihood by the spill. Cognizant of the fact that these people have families and the kind of suffering the men will be facing with their family members.

No court can stop legislative process –Sen. Ekweremadu

Chairman of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Ike Ekweremadu said yesterday that the court lacks power to stop it from carrying out its Constitutional responsibility, neither is it empowered to rule on its process of lawmaking.

This was just as the spokesman of the Senate, Ayogu Eze, equally declared that in the same vein, the National Assembly is not constitutionally empowered to make laws to stop the President from carrying out his functions.

According to Senator Eze; “what we are telling you is that the court cannot stop our work, based on Section 4 of the Constitution. Nobody can stop our work.”
Senator Ekweremadu told journalists at a press conference in reaction to a Lagos court ruling that the maintenance of status quo ante ordered by Justice Okechukwu Okeke on Wednesday was in reference to the first amendment of the 1999 Constitution, which has since been completed and gazetted and in operation.

Senator Ekweremadu, who is the Deputy Senate President, therefore, said that the National Assembly would be proceeding with its lawmaking function including the second alteration of the 1999 Constitution since the court did not rule that it should stop its lawmaking process.
Ekweremadu further explained that his understanding of the court’s ruling that the status quo should be sustained simply meant that the amendment that has since been completed and gazetted is quite in order.
According to him, “if there is anything to be sustained, it is the operation of the law, because as far as I am concern, that is the status quo that is present now. Besides, what is the issue? It is whether the President will sign the amendment to the Constitution or not. So, it is not whether we have power to amend the Constitution. That is not the issue in the court.

Story From AMOS DUNIA, Abuja
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

The road to achieving MDGs, by Ruhl

Nigeria still owes World Bank $3.8b

THE World Bank has identified accountability as the major input in Nigeria’s quest to join the league of the world’s top 20 economies by the year 2020.

Also, the bank has tied Nigeria’s performance on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the global success of the initiative, submitting that the World cannot achieve the MDGs if Nigeria fails to meet the targets.

In addition, the World Bank has observed that Nigeria had made no progress in reducing maternal deaths, which situation is further complicated by the zero per cent government funding for Human immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the country.

Country Director, World Bank, Onno Ruhl, made these submissions on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the Rutam House Headquarters of The Guardian in Lagos.

Ruhl stressed that that the panacea to Nigeria’s economic woes was accountability. His words: “The answer is accountability. That is all you need. If you have accountability you are flying. The World Bank cannot do anything about it. It is your responsibility.”

On the country’s role in achieving the MDGs, Ruhl said: “The world cannot achieve the MDGs if Nigeria fails to achieve the MDGs. Although access to education has improved in Nigeria, the country has the worst maternal death rates in the world. I feel very frustrated. The truth is that the rates are still where they were (before the MDG initiative) and we have to find a way to fight it.

“The key to achieving the MDGs is to find a way to help the country achieve it on its own, rather than wanting to do World Bank projects. A lot of service delivery is from state level. Bangladesh will meet the MDGs. Nigeria should do well using the benefit of the Debt Relief Gains (DRGs).”

On the funding gaps for malaria and HIV/AIDS, Ruhl said: “Malaria is the worst disease known to mankind. It kills more people than HIV/AIDS, heart disease or any other disease. 300,000 children die yearly from malaria in Nigeria. There is no funding gap for malaria in terms of insecticide treated bednets but on drugs and residual sprays.

“There is 100 per cent international funding but zero counterpart funding from the Nigeria government on HIV. The level of ownership of the HIV/AIDS programme in Nigeria is very discouraging. Something is really wrong in the ownership as regards HIV/AIDS. It is not really a good situation. The prevalence has gone down from 10 per cent to 2.2 per cent. Just imagine it going back to 10 per cent.”

Ruhl also argued that Nigeria has struggled to make a great impact in the comity of nations despite its huge potentials.

He said: “Nigeria has done well but has not really taken off. Some large economies have taken off in the last 10 years and Nigeria is the only one that has not really taken off.

“Vision 20:2020 is actually a good thing because it qualifies the ambition the country has. Whether it happens in 2020 or 2023 but the important thing is that the drive and vision is there.”

The World Bank country director said if the forthcoming polls were credible enough, they would burnish Nigeria’s image and change foreigners’ poor perception of the country.

Ruhl disclosed that Nigeria was currently indebted to the World Bank to the tune of $3.8 billion and the bank makes $1 billion available to the country yearly.

On how prudent Nigeria has been with funds borrowed from the World Bank, He said: “The real issue is how the money is being spent. There should now be more focus on how borrowed money is spent. The issue is: is the money being well spent? It is not for the World Bank to decide. The money is available under certain circumstances. All we can make available yearly for Nigeria is $1 billion.

“The real drive for development for a country that succeed depends on the country itself. Nigeria currently owes the World Bank $3.8 billion. Nigeria is not rich but could be. The country has 100 per cent project compliance and there has not been visible cases of corruption in World Bank projects.”

Death toll from floods in Indonesia, China, others hits over 100

MORE than 100 people have been confirmed dead from floods and landslides across Asia, as helicopters dropped food to isolated villages and security forces helped search for survivors.

But agency report indicated that three-quarters of the deaths were in'eastern indonesia'where days of torrential downpours caused tons of mud and debris to crash into hillside villages.

Also, Associated Press (AP) reported that 26 fatalities were confirmed in Vietnam.

On the Chinese island of Hainan, 64,000 people had to be evacuated.

Hundreds of homes were damaged when a river burst its banks in the hardest-hit Indonesian village of Wasior, sweeping away residents in a fast-moving wall of sludge, rocks and heavy logs and leaving thigh-high water in its wake.

"I heard a roar and suddenly the river near my home broke its banks," said Ira Wanoni, describing a flood which struck his village, Wasio.

"Water mixed with rocks, mud and logs gushed out. Many people didn't have time to save themselves," he told the AP news agency.

With roads and bridges across West Papua province submerged or completely destroyed, it took days for help to arrive.

It wasn't until a navy ship arrived yesterday, carrying soldiers and policemen – together with tents, sleeping mats, instant noodles, clean water and medical supplies – that the extent of the damage became clear.

Dortheis Sawaki, heading local relief operations, said 75 bodies had been pulled from the mud and the wreckage of crumpled homes, but dozens more were still missing.

Another 90 people were hospitalised, many with broken bones. Some had to be evacuated by helicopter and, as hospitals in the district of Manokwari became overwhelmed, others were taken by ship to neighboring provinces.

"There are just too many injuries," said Sawaki, adding that some medical facilities had been hit by power outages and downed phone lines. "We can't handle it alone."

In Vietnam, 11 bodies were recovered in the worst-hit province of Quang Binh, where authorities were also searching for five sailors from a sunken barge, disaster official Nguyen Ngoc Giai said.

About seven other bodies were found in Ha Tinh province, five in Nghe An and three in Quang Tri, officials there reported, as floodwaters slowly started to recede.

On China's nearby island province of Hainan, meanwhile, seven straight days of heavy rains left two people missing and forced 64,000 to evacuate, said an official in the provincial flood control office who gave only his surname, Wu.

Seasonal rain across Asia causes floods and landslides every year, killing hundreds of people across the region.

In eastern Indonesian province of West Papua, flash floods and landslides in the Teluk Wondama district have left another 80 people injured and sent thousands into evacuation centres.

Many more are missing after a river burst its banks, triggering a landslide and uprooting trees.

The sudden flooding caught residents by surprise, officials said, contributing to the high death toll.

"We are still searching for dozens of missing people. The chance of survival for the missing people is slim," Papua search and rescue official Mochamad Arifin told the AFP news agency.

Many parts of the country had been badly hit by heavy rains, winds and high waves this year, meteorologists said.

A Red Cross official told the BBC that the death toll was higher, and that 94 people were known to have been killed.

Roads and bridges have been washed away and hundreds of homes, businesses and schools have been damaged or destroyed.

Rescue workers and residents are reported to be sifting through the thick mud.

World Bank suspends N19.8b palm oil investment in Nigeria, others

THE International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, may have suspended its planned investment of $123 million (about N19.8 billion) in African countries including Nigeria. The investment by the corporation was meant to give the palm oil sector a push, for early revival.

But companies, professional groups and individuals across the continent have reacted to the move by the World Bank, saying the suspension could further aggravate the unemployment situation in su-Sahara Africa.

The groups and individuals from Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria who petitioned the World Bank President, Robert Zoellick ahead of the bank’s meetings in Washington DC, United States on Saturday said, the action by IFC could raise the level of poverty and economic dependency, which are contrary to the ideals of the institution.

The letter to the World Bank president, which was made available to The Guardian yesterday, was signed by George Ayittey of Global Cheetah Palm Oil Company, Ghana; Thompson Ayodele of Initiative for Public Policy Analysis, Nigeria; Eustace Davie of Free Market Foundation for Southern Africa, South Africa; Paul Adepelumi of African Center for Advocacy and Human Development, Nigeria; Richard Tren of Africa Fighting Malaria, South Africa; Franklin Cudjoe of IMANI Center for Policy and Education, Ghana; Rejoice Ngwenya of Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions, Zimbabwe; and Olusegun Sotola of Initiative for Public Policy Analysis, Nigeria.

In their joint protest letter to the World Bank president over the matter, they said the move by IFC to suspend funding of the palm oil sector could have significant effect on palm oil producers and small holders farmers in the Sub-Sahara Africa.

According to them, it could be counter productive for the bank to allow pressure from a small, but vocal collection of environmental groups to undercut its core mission of fighting poverty in developing world.

“We believe the surest way to cut poverty and protect our natural environment is by raising living standards and creating economic prosperity in poor countries. By cutting off much needed funding for palm oil producers, the World Bank threatens to generate poverty and economic dependence, instead of reducing it, a strategy which goes against the very ideals of the institution”.

They therefore, appealed for World Bank’s intervention by taking into consideration the significant damage, which the investment freeze had caused and continue to cause, not only in a highly successful and growing industry in East and West Africa, but to the image of the bank itself among African political and business leaders.

The Director of Initiative for Public Policy Analysis, Ayodele had said that the freezing of support to palm oil producers by IFC would have a major effect on smallholder farmers, who in countries such as Nigeria and Ghana control more than 90 per cent of palm oil production.

He described palm oil as a major agricultural commodity used in an array of foods and nonfood products, including biofuels and cosmetics. Global demand for vegetable oils is expected to increase by more than a third between now and 2017.

“With 90 per cent of palm oil ending up in food, it will play a vital role in enhancing global food security, as the world’s population grows to an estimated nine billion, by 2050”.

“The timing of the Bank’s decision could not be worse. Africa continues to deal with the after effects of the global recession. And it faces a mounting protectionist threat from the European Union in the form of its renewable energy directive, which seeks to keep out African palm oil to benefit European rape seed oil producers”, he added.

Banking: 50 years of trial and error

SURE Nigeria is 50 years of age. It is a remarkable landmark in any nation’s life.
In the Nigerian banking clime it is like starting afresh as gale had blown recently across the banking industry.
In a related development, the same gale last month blew through the microfinance banks sector of the economy.
Instructively, at a press conference by the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu on the status of microfinance banks in Nigeria, had stated that the microfinance industry in Nigeria had been confronted with numerous challenges since the launch of the Microfinance Policy Framework in December, 2005.
He pointed out that a significant number of the microfinance banks (MFBs) were deficient in their understanding of the microfinance concept and the methodology for delivery of microfinance services to the target groups, adding that many of them lost focus and began to compete with deposit money banks for customers and deposits, leaving their target market unattended, in spite of efforts of the regulatory authorities to put them back on track.
Unfortunately, the impact of the global financial crisis on MFBs had been more severe than anticipated. Credit lines dried up, competition became more intense and credit risk increased, as many customers of MFBs were unable to pay back their credit facilities,
owing to the hostile economic environment. The combination of these factors had significantly weakened the microfinance sub-sector and its ability to achieve the policy objective of economic empowerment at the lower end of the market.
Given this scenario and following market reports about the failure of some MFBs to meet their matured obligations as well as several petitions received from aggrieved depositors, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) embarked on a Target Examination of all MFBs in Nigeria, to identify the problem and ascertain the scope as well as the extent of damage done to the affected institutions. The exercise started in February 2010 and was concluded in June 2010.
He explain that the Target Examination was conducted on 820 MFBs across the country and a total of 224 (27 per cent) MFBs were found to be ‘Terminally Distressed’ and ‘Technically Insolvent’ and/or had closed shop for at least six months.
The factors that contributed to the unsoundness of the MFBs were attributable to some or all of the following: High level of non-performing loans, resulting in high portfolio at risk (PAR), which had impaired their capital; gross under-capitalisation in relation to the level of operations; poor corporate governance and incompetent boards; high level of non-performing insider-related credits, and other forms of insider abuse; heavy investments in the capital market, with the resultant diminution in the value of the investment after the meltdown; poor asset-liability management owing to portfolio mismatch; heavy investments in fixed assets beyond the maximum limit prescribed; operating losses sustained as a result of high expenditure on staff and other overheads; weak management evidenced by poor asset quality; poor credit administration; inadequate controls; high rate of fraud and labour turnover; failure to meet matured obligations to customers and the operating licences of the 224 MFBs that were found to be ‘Terminally Distressed’ and ‘Technically Insolvent’ have been revoked pursuant to S.12 of BOFIA 1991 (as amended).
NDIC in line with its statutory responsibility shall pay up to the maximum insurance coverage of N100,000 per depositor and the bank directors and management of the closed banks that have abused their positions would be handed over to the law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution, and those found culpable would be blacklisted accordingly.
As a result of this, money deposit banks in the country have been officially ordered to freeze all transactions on the accounts of the 224 microfinance banks whose operating licences were recently revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
They were also instructed to dishonour all instructions emanating from the previous management of the defunct MFBs and their agents with effect from 24th September 2010.
In a memo to all deposit money banks by the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, the banks were also ordered to make no further entries and charges on the accounts of the MFBs, while all cheques and other payments instruments are to be returned marked “Drawer Bank Closed”.
The memo, which was signed by A.G. Longe of Claims Resolution Department, NDIC, and Mrs. Emily Osuji, Assistant Director, also of Claims Resolution Department, the NDIC advised banks to forward certain documents to NDIC. The required documents are: A certified bank statement showing balances on all deposit, current, loan and other accounts which the closed microfinance banks had with banks.
Statement of particulars of any charge held by you over the microfinance bank’s asset together with a list of any Title Deed, Securities, Bills, etc held by the bank subject to such change.
A list of Title Deed, Securities, etc. and held by the bank on behalf of the closed microfinance banks for safe custody; a list of contingent liabilities due to you in respect of guarantees or endorsements or otherwise, (including foreign exchange transaction); statement showing verification of funds sold or purchased on behalf of the closed microfinance banks.
It would be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria recently revoked the licenses of 224 of the country’s 820 microfinance banks.
CBN deputy governor, financial system stability, said that after an examination of the nation’s MFBs, 27 per cent were found to be “terminally distressed” and “technically insolvent” and/or had closed shop for at least six months.
Moghalu said a significant number of the MFBs were deficient in their understanding of the microfinance concept and the methodology of delivery of microfinance services to the target groups. He added that many of the MFBs lost focus and began to compete with commercial banks for customers and deposits, leaving their target market unattended, in spite of efforts of the regulatory authorities to put them back on track.
The Microfinance Policy Framework was launched in 2005 in Nigeria to cater to low-income groups seeking small credits for their businesses.
“Unfortunately, the impact of the global financial crisis on MFBs had been more severe than anticipated. Credit lines dried up, competition became more intense and credit risk increased, as many customers of MFBs were unable to pay back their credit facilities owing to the hostile economic environment,” Moghalu said.
He said other factors such as high-level non-performing loans; gross undercapitalisation in relation to level of operations; poor corporate governance and incompetent boards were some other factors that contributed to the decay of the MFBs. Also to blame were heavy investments in the capital markets, with the resultant drop in the value of investments after the financial meltdown.
Because the MFBs are insured institutions, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation shall pay up to the maximum insurance of N100,000 ($643) per depositor.
Furthermore, the bank directors and management of the closed banks that have abused their positions would be handed over to the law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution, Moghalu said.
It will be recalled that in August last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria sacked the managing directors of some banks.
Justifying the reasons for this, the Governor of the CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said that the action was aimed at saving the banks from collapse, because their balance sheets had shrunken, their shareholders’ funds impaired and they had liquidity problems.
He said when he became the governor of the CBN, he was alarmed at the quantum of exposure which some of the banks had.
Sanusi said their exposure to the capital market, which had lost over 70 per cent of its value was a long-term problem “unless people believe that the capital market will pick up in the next few months and I do not think that stocks are going to go back to that very high level within a short time.”
As a result, he said the CBN asked for a special examination of these five banks, which by the apex bank’s estimates were showing signs of distress given the length of time they spent at the Expanded Discount Window (EDW) introduced last September by the former CBN Governor, Chukwuma Soludo to shore up their liquidity.
Sanusi said: “If we take the average exposure at the discount window every month, between October last year and July this year, these five banks accounted for 90 per cent of transactions at the EDW.
“The remaining banks accounted for 10 per cent. This for me is an immediate sign of distress. We tested it further and closed the window and said no more money. We then guaranteed inter-bank placements. If we didn’t guarantee the inter-bank market, banks will not lend to them.
“But when we did this, we immediately saw the affected banks taking money from the inter-bank market to repay their exposure to the discount window. This was clear evidence that they do not have cash at all. Their balance sheet had shrunk. The cash had gone. There were clear signs of the banks going under.
“On seeing these signals, we sent in special examiners. The idea was to go and find out the true position of things.”
The CBN governor said what they found was not so much of a surprise, “but I think the extent was alarming because I did not believe that there were banks that have up to 48 or 50 per cent non-performing loans of their total loan portfolios.”
He said what the banks needed to do was to provide for these loans and to raise capital, which they could not do.
He said decisions by the management of the affected banks exposed them to the capital and oil markets and risked their depositors’ funds. “This was the basis for the decision to sack them,” he explained.
Sanusi added that once the decision was taken to inject capital into the institutions as a lifesaver, there is no way the CBN was going to allow the same team to manage the funds, which belong to the public.
Sanusi disclosed that the CBN would inject N405 billion into the five banks because they urgently needed fresh funds.

Varsity teachers begin strike on Monday

IRKED by the alleged insensitivity of South East governors to the plight of lecturers in the zone, the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has declared a nationwide strike from Monday, Oct 11. It affects all universities.

“That will be the first in a series of strong and telling actions which will follow shortly after, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, declared in Enugu yesterday at a press briefing.

“For the avoidance of doubt and as a measure of our commitment to the struggle for the emancipation of the South East state universities in particular, and for the proper implementation of the Federal Government and ASUU 2009 agreement and the better funding of Nigerian Universities in general, the Academic Staff Union of Universities had directed academic staff in all Nigerian Universities to proceed on strike from October 11.”

Flanked by other officials of the Union, Awuzie stated that the three-day (October 11 to13) strike was in sympathy and solidarity with their colleagues, the affected institutions as well as students of the state-owned universities.

Academic activities have been paralysed since July this year in all state-owned universities in the zone following the inability of the state governments to meet the terms of the renegotiated agreement reached between representatives of Federal Government and leadership of ASUU.

Although governors of the zone had met on two occasions to discuss the over three months old strike, nothing concrete had been achieved as the meetings ended with them asking the teachers to go back to the classrooms.

Awuzie who lamented the ugly development stated that the governors had ignored the demands as well as the welfare of the generality of the people of the zone, stressing that ASUU would not renege in her effort to ensure the full implementation of the agreement.

He said: “The governors of the South East states have basically ignored the demands; they have completely ignored the sad and dangerous fact that over two hundred and fifty thousand of their youths have been idle, roaming the streets and merging with the hundreds of thousand other unemployed in the regions; they have ignored the fact that it is their duty to ensure that such a crisis never occurs; they have ignored the dangerous crisis completely and with impunity.”

Awuzie, who painted a gory picture of the situation of the state-owned universities in the South East said the rot arising from the criminal underfunding of the institutions was unmatch anywhere in the world.

In Abia State University (ABSU), according to him, staffing is utterly dismal as a result of conscious government policy not to attract or retain the appropriate staff in number and quality, adding that for a student population of about 30, 000, the university has only 63 professors out of whom only 32 are permanent members of staff.

For a student population of 21, 000, Anambra State University can only boast of five professors, four readers, and 49 lecturers, while government subvention to the institution had remained abysmally low.

With a student population of 20, 000, Ebonyi State University has 61 professors most of whom are borrowed either as adjunct or contract staff. At Evan Enwerem University in Imo State with a student population of 30, 000, there are only 32 professors.

While lambasting the Enugu State government for dragging members of the ASUU in its university to the National Industrial Court over the lingering dispute, Awuzie said the union was no longer ready to tolerate the situation and would engage Governor Sullivan Chime’s administration in a showdown.

Awuzie added: “It’s obvious that the political class in the South East has collectively failed their people. They include the governors, legislators at the state and federal levels, ministers and other government political appointees because they have all refused to ask the governors to address the problem. The interest of the people is completely abandoned.”

“ASUU wishes to make it clear to the governors of the South East and their conniving political associates that the crisis in their universities is one responsibility that they can neither shirk nor wish away. The current strike will continue as long as they compel it to, even if it takes them five years to make up their mind to either run their universities or totally abolish them.”

Liverpool board accepts NESV’s buy-over offer

FOLLOWING its decision to transfer ownership to a more vibrant persons, the Liverpool board of directors has accepted an offer by New England Sports Ventures (NESV), which owns the Boston Red Sox baseball team, to buy the English football club, a statement said yesterday.

Chairman Martin Broughton hit out at Liverpool’s current American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, for trying to block the sale and said he hoped the deal would allow the team to focus on building the club.

“I am delighted that we have been able to successfully conclude the sale process, which has been thorough and extensive,” Broughton said in the statement on the club’s website.

“The board decided to accept NESV’s proposal on the basis that it best met the criteria we set out originally for a suitable new owner. NESV’s philosophy is all about winning and they have fully demonstrated that at the Red Sox.”

Broughton said the board had met the United States (U.S.) group in Boston, London and Liverpool in recent weeks and was “immensely impressed with what they have achieved and with their vision for Liverpool Football Club.”

He added: “By removing the burden of acquisition debt, this offer allows us to focus on investment in the team. I am only disappointed that the owners have tried everything to prevent the deal from happening and that we need to go through legal proceedings in order to complete the sale.”

The offers came a day after Hicks and Gillett attempted to remove two senior figures from the club’s board of directors. Hicks and Gillett were under pressure to sell the club with an October 15 deadline for the repayment of their £282 million ($448 million) loans from the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia.

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Fresh Party convention of fresh ideas

On September 30, Fresh Democratic Party (FDP) held its annual convention in which Nigerians were given hope of fresh ideas to transform the nation. RAZAQ BAMIDELE reports the happenings at the event

“Our leader and man of God, Reverend Chris Okotie, who is dearly loved by the people, is a crowd puller.” This was the submission of the Lagos State Chairman of the Fresh Democratic Party (FDP), Adeniyi Ladega. The youthful legal practitioner and FDP chieftain made the statement in a chat with Daily Sun at the Planet One, convention venue along Maryland, Ikeja Lagos in response to observation of a guest, who observed that the venue appeared to be a bit inadequate for the all important event.

And indeed, the party acted in consonance with the middle word ‘democratic’ in its name as internal democracy was the watchword at the convention as every official of its Executive Council emerged transparently and democratically.

What appeared as 50th independence anniversary gift at the convention was the election of the Founder of the party, Chris Okotie, as the National Chairman as well as its presidential candidate for the 2011 general election. Other officers, whose nominations were ratified by the well attended convention, were Makanju Akintayo (National Vice-Chairman, South West), Mr. Gyang Pam (National Legal Adviser), Mr Ladi Ayodeji (National Director of Media and Publicity), Ngozika Kevin (National Welfare Officer), Miss Ifeyinwa Elisah (National Treasurer), and Mr. Fela Binutu (National Secretary), among other officers.

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