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Monday, 31 December 2012


My dear Edo People,

My family and I wish to seize this opportunity as the year 2012 rolls to an end to wish all of us a happy and a prosperous new year 2013. A year I tag “The Year of Rebirth for Edo State”.
Evil triumphs where honest men and women in a society keep quiet and do nothing and for this reason good leadership has eluded us for too long in the State
My message to my people is from this memorable quote of Late J.F Kennedy. ‘’If a free society cannot help many who are poor; it cannot save the few who are rich”. I say no more.


Maj Gen Charles Ehigie Airhiavbere. MBA, mni.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Minorities issues, solution to Nigeria’s problem – Rita Lori

Minorities issues, solution to Nigeria’s problem – Rita Lori
A woman activist and Itsekiri leader, Chief (Mrs.) Rita Lori Ogbebor, has reasoned that what can solve the country’s problem is addressing the issue of the minorites across the country in line with the recommendation of the pre-independence Henry Willikin Commission. The concerned elder stateswoman, who spoke with RAZAQ BAMIDELE, insists that creation of more states would create more problems for the country.
Constitution review
I am very sad about the conduct of the exercise. At my age, I did not believe that I will see this kind of wishy-washy exercise when we are talking about the constitution, which can be called the bible of our country that will affect our lives and lives of children yet unborn.
Before independence, that type of exercise could not have been conducted the way it is being conducted. Questions drafted for us to answer were only good for the primary school pupils. It is not even good for the primary school pupils because before the examination, they should have been taught what they were likely to meet in the examination hall. That must have happened before they could be asked to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. But before the exercise commenced, we were given a paper that looked like examination script, which we were told to adhere to strictly without bringing in any addition. And funny enough, we were given only one minute to answer each question. In fact, they not ready to accommodate any other view besides the ones contained in the papers given to us. It was just a matter of ‘yes’ or ‘no’. you can imagine somebody in my position, I was here before independence; I participated in independence. And now, I am being told by people, who are more or less our children now, that I should say yes or no to their questions. It is sad and baffling that what our founding fathers fought for is being bastardised this way. I was sad and angry. And, of course, a lot of other people felt that way. It just did not go down well with us. And you can see all over the country, there is dissatisfaction, fracas and so forth. It is extremely sad that our own children can take the whole country for a ride! Yes or no!
Take the first question they asked us for example. They said according to section 8 of the Constitution, should the clauses that make creation of states difficult be removed or not, and they expected us to say yes or no. I mean, it is infuriating. First and foremost, it is not everybody, even some lawyers know what the Section 8 of the Constitution is all about not to talk of laymen who are not lawyers but who are definitely stakesholders? And these people have their own contribution to this country. And you are asking them to say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without  knowing what section 8 of the constitution is all about. In fact, that is where we had the deadlock because people like us called their attention to their mistakes. We said, look here, what does section 8 of the Constitution say? We told them that they had to explain to us. Or they should give us some days to go back to our children, who are lawyers to explain to us before we wpould come back to answer their ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. People in attendance were disatisfied and that was how all of us walked out on our ‘yes’ or ‘no’ teachers.
I participated in Warri Federal Constituency. And to my greatest surprise, the exercise started at 4 O’clock. It was initially slated for 10am. Later they shifted it because they said Mr. President was in Warri for the birthday of Pastor Ayo Oritsajefor. They moved it to 2pm. By that time, the exercise did not start until 4pm. How then did they expect us to carry out such an important exercise successfully with over 40 questions that were waiting for our ‘yes’ or ‘no’?
And most of us flew in from different parts of the country. I flew in from Lagos by 9am. I left my Lagos house by 5am to catch the plane. So, I sat down from 9 am till 4pm. You can see the exhaustion! It is not tenable.
I see the exercise as a way to rubber-stamp the agenda they already have. It is the way they are ruling this country that gave rise to Boko Haram and other forms of insecurity in the country. We are not surprised. In a society where there is no justice, people would look for justice. And if there is no justice, there would be no stability. That is what we are going through.
The ongoing attempts at reviewing the constitution must be canceled so that it would give the public time to understand the questions they are posing to us and some Sections they are quoting from the Constitution before we can say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ They even told us that other questions beside the ones on the sheet are no go areas. That is incredible! As far as I am concerned, the problem of this country is not state creation. State creation is a way of bringing more problems because a number of states on ground now cannot take care of themselves. They are not viable. It means more revenues would be expended to create jobs for the politicians while there would be nothing left for infrastructure maintenance and development. And that is the problem we have today in the country. All the infrastructure are decay and there is no money to maintain, revive and bring them back to live. Presently, the system we are running is so bogus we cannot find money to maintain it. We have the Senate, the House of Representatives, the governors, States Assemblies, local governments and wards levels. The states are also running the same numbers of portfolios being run by the Federal Government. How many tiers of government can we say we are running?! Yet, they are not effective!
We that fought for Local governments have realized, rather sadly, that they have become cubic problem. We are just squandering resources without accountability. So, these are frightening signals we are seeing that make us believe that creation of more states is never a panacea to our problem.

…Leading political parties: How they stand

…Leading political parties: How they stand Jega
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) PDP is the ruling political party in Nigeria. It has won all the presidential elections held in the country since the return to civil rule in 1999. Formed by a coalition several political organisation in 1998, the party has to its credit a national spread. It has membership virtually in all the nooks and crannies of the country.
The party which rightfully prides itself as the biggest party in sub-Saharan Africa produced Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as President in 1999 till 2007. It also won majority of the state governorship positions in the first election leaving the Alliance for Democracy (AD) with six and the All Peoples Party (APP) with nine.
In 2007, the party fielded the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as its presidential candidate and won. Upon his death, President Goodluck Jonathan emerged to complete his term. He went ahead to win the 2011 election on the platform of the PDP.
Though it has won all the presidential elections, analysts are of the opinion that the popularity of the party is waning by the day. Its loss in all the six states of the southwest, its hitherto North-central stronghold of Nassarawa and the twin states of Anambra and Imo in the southeast is a pointer to this argument.
According to pundits, the party in line with its identity as a conservative party, has a market-driven approach for the economy. With internal crises rocking many of its state chapters, the PDP is going into the New Year with a lot on its plate to battle ahead of the 2015 general election.
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)
This party has continued to prove its critics wrong since its emergence on the political scene in 2007. Formed with the merger of several parties, including Advance Congress of Democrats, Justice Party and Alliance for Democracy, not many people gave the alliance a chance to survive.
The party has a strong presence in Nigeria’s south-west, mid-west and north central regions. From these areas, the party has a total of six governors and about 19 senators, making it the second largest party in the country, following the inability of the ANPP to retain most of the seats it won in the early elections. and 2 representatives to the state houses. In the 2007 assembly elections, the party won 32 of the 360 seats in the House of Representatives but today, it boasts of more than 60 honourable members in the lower house. Given its progressive leaning, the party is seen by many as the masses’ party and it is going into the New Year with this appellation.
All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP)
This is another major political party in Nigeria. In the 2007 elections, the party had won about 27 per cent of the popular votes and also won 92 of the 360 seats in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, ANPP won 27 of the total 109 seats.
But today, left with only three governors and seven senators in its care, the party seems to have lost its winning streak. Unable to retain most of the governorship and senatorial seats in its kitty during the last general election, the ANPP performed very badly in the presidential race.
With a right-wing conservative ideology and a mass appeal, particularly in northern Nigeria, the party at inception was touted as the alternative to the ruling PDP. But its many battle with internal skirmishes didn’t help its quest to take over the leadership of the country.
Many see its involvement in the ongoing merger talk as an attempt to relaunch itself back on the track of national politics in the country. The commitment of its leaders to the talk will determine where it will be placed in the politics of the coming years.
Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)
This is another major political party in Nigeria. Formed hurriedly in time for the 2011 general election, it put up what many called a surprise performance, coming second in the presidential race. Its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, was even touted as the man to beat in many opinion polls prior to the election.
The party also got six senators elected on its platform and crowned its surprise victory run by winning the governorship seat in Nassarawa State.
Currently, apart from being deeply involved in the opposition merger talks, the CPC is undergoing serious restructuring with its leaders saying the exercise is meant to position the party to take over the government of the country at the national level.
Its popularity is also spreading wide, especially in the northern part of the country where it is seen as a veritable alternative to the ailing ANPP. It is expected to play a vital role in the politics of 2013.

Cannabis ‘Makes Pain More Bearable'

up221212-Cannabis-plant.jpg - up221212-Cannabis-plant.jpg
Cannabis plant
Cannabis makes pain more bearable rather than actually reducing it, a study from the University of Oxford suggests.
Using brain imaging, researchers found that the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis reduced activity in a part of the brain linked to emotional aspects of pain, reports the BBC.
But the effect on the pain experienced varied greatly, they said.
The researchers' findings are published in the journal Pain.
The Oxford researchers recruited 12 healthy men to take part in their small study.
Participants were given either a 15mg tablet of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) - the ingredient that is responsible for the high - or a placebo.
The volunteers then had a cream rubbed into the skin of one leg to induce pain, which was either a dummy cream or a cream that contained chilli - which caused a burning and painful sensation.
Each participant had four MRI scans which revealed how their brain activity changed when their perception of the pain reduced.
Dr Michael Lee, lead study author from Oxford University's Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, said: "We found that with THC, on average people didn't report any change in the burn, but the pain bothered them less."
MRI brain imaging showed reduced activity in key areas of the brain that explained the pain relief which the study participants experienced.
Dr Lee suggested that the findings could help predict who would benefit from taking cannabis for pain relief - because not everyone does.
"We may in future be able to predict who will respond to cannabis, but we would need to do studies in patients with chronic pain over longer time periods."
He added: "Cannabis does not seem to act like a conventional pain medicine. Some people respond really well, others not at all, or even poorly.
"Brain imaging shows little reduction in the brain regions that code for the sensation of pain, which is what we tend to see with drugs like opiates.
"Instead cannabis appears to mainly affect the emotional reaction to pain in a highly variable way."
Mick Serpell, a senior lecturer in pain medicine at Glasgow University, said the study confirmed what was already known.
"It highlights the fact that cannabis may be a means of disengagement for the patient, rather than a pain reliever - but we can see that happen with opioids too."
The study was funded by the UK Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.

Jonathan Governs By Deceit, Lies - ACN


The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of adopting deceitful methods of administering the country.
Appraising the recent pass mark that President Goodluck Jonathan gave his administration, the ACN, in a statement made available to newsmen yesterday, accused the current administration in the country of making fake promises to Nigerians and bogus claims about its achievements.
However, the ruling PDP has responded promptly to these allegations, cautioning the ACN against making comments capable of causing anarchy in the country.
The presidency also reacted. The senior special assistant to the president on public affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, berated the ACN, accusing it of mischievous intent.
But the opposition ACN fired back at once.
In the statement issued in Lagos and endorsed by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, faulted the president’s special adviser on public affairs, Dr. Okupe, for allegedly denigrating the country’s opposition parties for deeming it necessary to criticize the current government for below par leadership.
According to the party, the government’s claim that it would generate 780,000 jobs in 2013 through the ‘Young Graduate Employment Scheme’ and 5,000 jobs in each of the 36 states through SURE-P is the latest example of the government’s persistence in dishing out falsehood to the people.
  “Our advice to the teeming young graduates who have no jobs is that they should not allow themselves to be hoodwinked by this promise. They should remember that this same administration promised to create 10,000 jobs in each of the 36 states through SURE-P in 2012. The year is over, and all we have now are phantom jobs and more fake promises,” Mohammed wrote on behalf of the party.
It declared that the government’s promise of stable electricity in 2013 was unrealistic.
“The administration said it has generated an all-time high 4,500 mega watts and will increase the number to 7,000MW in 2013. What a celebration of tokenism! In the first instance, the government should be ashamed to tell Nigerians it has been able to generate only 4,500MW from a huge expenditure of $16billion!” the party said.
On the level of insecurity in the country, the ACN also faulted government’s claim that the bombings and killings in the north had decreased from January to December, calling it (the announcement) a disservice to millions of our citizens who are daily being subjected to terror attacks.
“Well, we are not surprised at the claim of reduced terror attacks by the Jonathan administration. After all, the same administration claimed that global anti-corruption body Transparency International acknowledged Nigeria’s progress in fighting corruption, when nothing like that ever happened,” it stated.

ACN’s criticism, act of mischief - Okupe
President Jonathan aide, Dr Okupe, described as pure mischief the criticisms of the achievements of the Jonathan administration by Lai Mohammed and the CAN, saying it was a deliberate attempt to disregard the achievements of the current administration in the country.
Okupe, who spoke via a phone interview with LEADERSHIP yesterday, said the ACN had tried to unsuccessfully sustain this impression even when it was obvious that some giant strides had been achieved by the Jonathan administration.
“The ACN and Lai Mohammed must realise that change is constant. It is no longer arguable that the Jonathan administration has made giant strides in the generation and distribution of power in the last 18 months.
“To compare us with South Africa is pure mischief as it is on record that the Jonathan administration inherited barely 3,000 megawatts with poor distribution facilities but has succeeded in boosting power supply above 5,000 megawatts,” Okupe said.
He cited the agricultural sector as one area that there had been a revolution, as, aside being the largest supplier of cassava in the world, 60 percent of the rice produced in the country is being consumed locally.
“What we have projected for 2013 is a carefully worked out plan for 2013. If it is beyond the scope and imagination of the ACN, then it is regrettable; there is nothing anybody can do about it.
“Jonathan’s administration is God-fearing and has been honest with Nigerians. What this administration has promised in 2013 will be achieved. Nigerians should disregard those who cannot see anything good in their country. Efforts of their countrymen; those whose trademarks is to spread fear and messages of doom and gloom,” Okupe said.
On the issue of security, the presidential aide said the figures showing a decline in bomb attacks which he released at his press conference in Lagos were factual and challenged the ACN to prove otherwise.
He further insisted that the Jonathan administration had also been tackling unemployment, revealing that 80,000 graduates would benefit from the government’s commercial farming scheme in 2013.
“No amounts of insults, blackmail and distortion of facts can change facts on ground. The ACN may need to go back to the drawing board and redesign its propaganda machinery as, clearly, truths, no matter how bitter, cannot be diffused,” Okupe said.

ACN courting anarchy – PDP
The PDP has rebuked the ACN, accusing it of trying to cause anarchy in the country through its caustic comments.
PDP national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, while reacting to ACN’s criticism of the Jonathan administration, said that the PDP was not surprised at the ‘doomsday’ predictions of the ACN and other political parties in Nigeria.
“That ACN and opposition parties in Nigeria often resort to insults and doomsday predictions is not surprising as they have exhibited no capacity to govern by their failure to suggest alternatives and/or solutions as is the hallmark of credible opposition parties all over the world. To recycle insults and engage in doomsday predictions is a sign of a confused and demented opposition totally attuned to preferring anarchy as a system of government.      
“Nigerians have acknowledged the heroics of our patriotic security operatives in tackling the terror attacks never envisaged a little over two years ago. It is shear wickedness and downright absence of patriotism not to appreciate and commend men who are battling at the risk of their own lives to protect our families and our great country. The least ACN\opposition should is to console the families of our fallen heroes and families of other victims instead of playing cheap and dirty politics with human lives,” the PDP spokesman stated.

Senate discovers rot in FCDA

Senator Smart Adeyemi, Bala MohammedDURING the oversight visits to some of the projects brought before it by the Federal Capital Development Authority, (FCDA), series of sleaze was uncovered.

The committee members were stunned by the antics of the FCDA when it was discovered that a site of the official quarters of the National Assembly Principal Officers' could not be located with over 50 percent of the contract sum paid as mobilization fees to the contractors.

This was just as the Senators were told that over N7 billion official residence of the nation's Vice President which was awarded without banquet hall, security concept and furnishing was re-awarded at over N9 billion.

The Senators expressed disappointment at the two contracts with the alleged level of under dealing being perpetrated by officials of the FCDA in conjunction with the contractors, warning them to desist or be ready to face the consequences of the alleged involvement in fraud with foreign contractors.

The Senators had queried how the official residence of the number two citizen of the country could be awarded without conveniences, saying, 'how could it be justified that the Banquet hall, security concept and furnishing which is not part of the initial project but a new contract could be more expensive than the original contract itself.

Requesting from the contractor and the Executive Secretary, FCDA, who is also supervising the contract. Alhaji Ismaeel Adamu. the terms of the contract agreement and the Bill of Quantity, the Senators said the figures involved was disturbing. The Committee led by Senator Smart Adeyemi visited the Vice President's residence awarded in October, 2009 to Julius Berger at over N7.066 billion and has reached about 60 percent completion with zero outstanding liabilities and about N2.452 billion as balance to complete the project.

"Left to us m the senate, over N7 billion for the contract is already over bloated and even asking for another N9 billion is very disturbing or how do you explain that you were building a vice President residence without consideration for a banquet hall and security, I see it more of an intentional act to enable the contractor ask for variation, if this is N7 billion project without a security concept and you are now just bringing it at as additional at over N9 billion is not defendable.

"If somebody wanted to give us a proposal, it has to be within the concept of the society we live in, this additional contract sum is outrightly indefensible because ab initio, you should have an idea of the structure you want and for you to tell me that an official residence of a nation's Vice President would not have a security concept and a banquet, maybe the VP will not have opportunity to receive visitors in his official residence or what?

"From the first day of the conception of the project, you must have the idea of the concent of what should be there because that is why we are giving it to them as professionals, and for you to come and ask for additional N9 billion, it is even more than the original total sum of the initial contract, what I don't understand is whether Julius Berger is trying to help us as Nigeria or complicating our problems, this is a country where people are suffering and for a foreign company to join hands with some Nigerians to drain us more poorer, it is unfortunate.

"N9 billion is staggering, it is not reasonable at all, your proposals are disturbing and to add to the insult, you have been paid more than the work done, you nave been overpaid by N2.1 billion ahead of the job anticipatory to be done.

"You have to send to our office, details of the agreement, we want to believe that when we see that, we will be in better position to know what to say, the first segment of this project without the banquet hall and security concept costs over N7 billion, now they are asking for additional N9 billion for this alone, I think this is on a high side, it must not be done with the intention to affect the government purse and well Being of Nigenans.

The discoveries of more fraud however continued when the committee discovered another staggering revelation when it could not locate the site for the official residence of the President of the Senate, his Deputy, Speaker of the House of Representatives and his Deputy which was to cost over N3.045 billion and allocation of over N324 million in the outgoing 2011 budget.

Defending the inability, to commence job which was said to be at 10 percent completion, the FCDA Executive Secretary, Adamu Ismaeel said they are faced with the challenge of accessibility, saying the contractors cannot get to site to work.

Senator Adeyemi who frowned at the action and attitude of the FCDA official having made frantic efforts at discouraging the committee from getting to the site said, "who is the contractor handling these official residences, you have appropriated money, but we cannot get to the site.

"Wherever you like take us to, we are sports men, I'm a journalist and I criticise very well, so, I don't want to do anything that some people will have the opportunity to criticise me also, you work for FCDA and you are telling me you don't know how these people got here, that means you have not been here to inspect this project, we have to get there, if it entails entering the bush, we shall enter it together, where is the foundation?

"It is unfortunate that we cannot locate the site, not to talk of the allocated plots, the contractors are not on site and we are not happy as it simply shows that they are not serious contractors, we are to see how far the money we have appropriated have been utilized and we are here we cannot even trace any contractor on site, nor can we even spot the plots for any of the buildings.

"I can now see why you did not want us to come here because you discouraged us from coming here at all, you first said it win take us two "hours before getting to the site, now we are here m less than 20 minutes and cannot spot neither the site nor the plots and you expect us to appropriate funds for this in the 20T3budget, when we cannot be convinced how the ones allocated in the 2011 and 2012 budget had performed.

"It is unfortunate that the contractors are not on site and have been fully mobilized, could that be the reason why you are discouraging us from coming here, we are ready to go to anywhere you want us to go because they are collecting Nigerian's money, they have been paid.

"I detest people keeping our money in fixed deposits leaving the job undone; why are they no! on   site? Even  if they have Emblems initially, they could ave found their way to the site because the road is opened up."

Senator Adeyemi directed the acting Director to go out and look for the contractors because it is just inexplicable that they are not on site and don't want to believe that this place is inaccessible, saying, 'your excuse is not tenable because if we can get here ourselves, nothing stops someone who had collected our money not to have moved to site.

"It shows they are not committed or serious about the job, we are very disappointed and it has shown to a large extent that the contractors you have given the jobs to are not just serious, no equipment on site nor can we locate the plots, this is too bad.

"This is another case of pure misappropriation, misapplication of public funds. These people must all come to justify the 100 percent review. I am not impressed with what 1 saw here, we can never accept this, even, with the upward review,  it has been  only  30
Eercent since 2006 that has so far een executed, enough of all these injustice on the Nigerian

This same contractor was instructed not to use these inferior imported pipes by the 6th Senate but he continued in defiance of our order. Honestly, we will not fold our hands and allow all this to happen: if we do, these people will kill this country. he lamented.

Speaking further, the committee chairman said, "When all those people we summoned appear before us? we would asked them to present the approval paper as claimed by the contractor, the import duty percentage most especially how they conspired to waste our scarce foreign resources," he added.

In his own contribution, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Domingo Obende described the review as criminal, while the committee chairman noted that they will not accept this injustice, because public funds are involved here. They must come to the Senate to tell "Nigerians how they came about the variation."

It was another revelation at the Government Science School, Maitama, which foundation was laid seven years ago and expected to gulp N2.4biIIion, but after the visit, the committee threatened to revoke the project, lamenting that the project had been unduly delayed since it was awarded in 2005.

"This is the seventh year of this project and every year, we appropriate funds for it. It should not be left as a conduit pipe to siphon public funds. Those of you supervising the project must also be upright. We will monitor what is happening here. The standard of work nere is very poor and it is inexplicable that le contract that was awarded seven years ago is still below 50 percent completion.

You need to tell the contractors to sign an undertaking that the money will be judiciously spent and that they will be back to fhe site, while on our own, we will appropriate funds for the project, ft does not make sense to leave the project the way it is. Irrespective of the status of the contractors, if they are not ready to do their job, we will ask the minister to revoke the contract. We will come back here after the budget defence to examine the level of work, and if there is no improvement, we will recommend that the project be revoked", the committee chairman warned.

Trying to justify the level of the execution, the FCT Deputy Director (Infrastructure), Education Secretariat, Mr Kamfut Awallan, said the contract sum of the project was increased to N1.6bihion in 2012 though was originally awarded for N900million.

He said 46 percent of the project had been accomplished 46, adding that it would take another N824 million to complete it, while N673 million had so far been paid to the various contractors. When the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed appeared before the committee to defend the 2012 budget performance, he said the execution stood at 99 percent, but the senate queried the expenses of the ministry.

Similarly, aside the Nl billion earmarked for the construction of official residence for the Vice President, Namadi Sambo in the 2012 budget, the minister also presented another N2 billion proposal to complete the residence, thereby raising the question who is in charge of the project, Presidency, Works Ministry or the FCDA?

In the 2013 budget proposal, the senate committee queried the repetition of the same projects in the 2012 budget with the same allocation.

The repeated projects include, construction or National Assembly Complex at N500million, construction of cultural center, Millenium Tower as well as the designing and construction of Vice President residence which would gulp N 2 b i 1 1 i o n each. Another project which the ministry earmarked budget for in the 2012 with about 70percent claimed to have been released but without land allocation was also repeated in the 2013 budget for N300million.

As the FCT minister disclosed that the designing and construction of the Presiding Officers in the National Assembly will also gulp additional N300 million aside from the N1.5 billion earmarked in the 2012 budget.

The committee chairman was however amazed over the allocation into the official residence of the National Assembly presiding officers, saying, "Is this nof the same project that we can not locate the land allocation and over 70 percent of the budget has so far een released during the oversight of the area by this same committee.

"Or have you forgotten the beneficiaries of the official residence, they are the Senate President, Deputy Senate President,, the House of Representatives Speaker and his deputy, but that time, you could not show us the land that was allocated not to talk of at what level the construction has reached?"

The committee, while rounding off its two-day oversight visit concluded that, two wrongs don't make a right and for us to allow an exclusion of an exercise of impunity or lawlessness, we are not going to condone this for any reason.

"They have given a lot of sentiments as a politician; I am not a civil servant. We have to go through the process, Nigerians entrusted us with their votes and we are their representatives, therefore, we have to get to the roots of all the loopholes and leakages we just discovered and ensure that they are blocked, while anyone involved is made to face the wrath."

I fed Okonjo-Iweala’s mum with bread, groundnuts – Suspect

BY EMMA AMAIZE & AUSTIN OGWUDA ASABA —  A member of the 10-man kidnap gang who earlier this month abducted the 82-year-old Prof, Kamene Okonjo, mother of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday, confessed his involvement in the abduction and narrated how he fed the retired professor of sociology with groundnut, water and bread in the kidnappers’ den.
The suspected kidnapper, Andrew Dime, aka Olokpa, 32, who hails from Enikorogha in Edo State, however, told Vanguard that he was only hired by the second-in-command of the gang to supply food to Prof. Okonjo on two occasions at a fee of N100,000.
Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, on the other hand, told Vanguard that Prof. Okonjo was kept in the custody of the suspect, who was in-charge of her feeding.
The second-in-command of the gang allegedly swindled him when he bolted with his N1 million share of the ransom collected for the release of Prof. Okonjo.
Apparently, to settle scores, the police said the suspect formed a new kidnap gang, which abducted an octogenarian at Aboh in Ndokwa area of the state.  But having obtained a database on the group after its leader, Nwaeze Nwosa, aka Bolaji was shot dead in Asaba, the police were able to track down the suspect.
Aduba told Vanguard that the police set a trap for him when it got information that he was in dire need of money for the yuletide by convincing him to sell one of the guns used for the abduction of Prof. Okonjo, which was in his custody. He fell for the trap and negotiated a price of N300,000 for a pump-action gun with a police officer, who posed as a buyer. He was, thereafter, arrested at Koka junction, Asaba, when he came to collect the cash.
Dark-complexioned Andrew, who spoke to Vanguard in an interview, debunked the claim that he formed a new kidnap gang and that he was the one that negotiated the sale of pump-action gun, which was used to ensnare him.
A police source said he was being economical with the truth, adding: “Most of these people (referring to criminals) will never tell you the truth when you arrest them until you get other members of the gang to confront them.”
Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and her mother, Prof. Kamene Okonjo
Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and her mother, Prof. Kamene Okonjo
Below are the excerpts of the interview with the suspect
What is your name?
Andrew Idime.
How old are you?
Where are you from?
I am from Enikorogha, Ovia South-West Local Government Area of  Edo State.
Where do you live?
I live at Army Barracks, Onitsha.
Do you know why you are here in police cell?
For now, I know why I am arrested. Some friends of mine, they indulged themselves in kidnapping act. One of them is Chiboy and another is Biggy.  The person I know very well is Chiboy. It was through this Chiboy that I met Biggy. I was trading on used shoes and my business was not moving well. So Chiboy called me that there is something that I was going to do. I asked him what it was, he said there was somebody I was going to drop food for and that I was going to drop food twice and that they would settle me. Therefore, I went there truly, he brought an Okada man (motorcyclist), the Okada man took me there, and I dropped the food twice.
He said that if I dropped the food there that he was going to call them. That if I dropped the food, I should call to let him know that I have dropped the food beside that bridge on that Kwale road. That when I dropped the food, they would come and take the food. I went there twice and dropped the food at that particular spot. They said they were going to give me N100,000. But the N100,000 I did not see it.
Were you not told who was kidnapped?
I do not know the exact person they kidnapped. They did not tell me. I am a neutral person. My job there was to go and drop the food.
Did you not know you were doing wrong thing as the person was in the hospital?
No, he said that his boys need food so I should go and drop groundnut, bread and water for them.
Why did he send you, why did he not drop the food himself?
He is a leader. He said he wants me to, at least have some token in the business.
Which business are you talking?
He said he had involved himself in kidnapping business
Which means you were told what they actually did?
They told me.
Are you saying you do not know when you were dropping the food that you will be counted as one of them if caught?
Yes, I knew.
So, why did you take part?
It is because of my condition
What is your condition?
I am not living well; my business is not moving well. I needed little money to assist my business.
What we heard was that Prof. Okonjo was kept in your custody?
No, no, no, I swear to God. I do not live in Delta State.
You have a house in Asaba?
Of course, I have a house but I have checked out for a long time based on the rent. The house was too costly for me
You said you were neutral, then, tell us what Chiboy and others told you about how they kidnapped Prof. Okonjo?
Until they rounded up their business, even up to date, I have not seen Chiboy. I was holding one of his numbers, but right now, the number is not going through.
There is no way you would be asked to go and drop food for somebody that was kidnapped without you asking or finding out the story of how the person was kidnapped. What  exactly were you told?
They only told me they have kidnapped somebody and that the person is at Kwale. That what I am going to do is to take the food to a particular bridge, that if I get to that bridge, I should flash him and he was going to call his boys. That if I dropped the food, I should not delay there. That I should drop the food, enter the bike immediately and move.
Were you taking bike from Onitsha to that place?
No, he was the person that brought the bike, not from Asaba. I entered bus to Ibusa and from Ibusa, he would now bring the bike. The bike person, it seems, is his private bike man, so the bike person would now take me to there.
From the story that you have told so far, it seemed you were party to the kidnapping?
I have involved myself already because of my going there to give them food, which has already made me a party. However, I do not know the exact person that they kidnapped but I have involved myself in this act.
You were arrested when you came to sell a gun?
No, the boy that wanted to sell the gun ran away.
Tell us how sharing of money brought misunderstanding among the kidnappers?
In bringing of food, he (Chiboy, the leader) told me to bring the food twice.
Did you buy food with your money?
He bought it; he was the one that brought the money. He does not reside in one place. He promised that he was going to give me N50,000 each. So, I accepted to go and drop and collect N50,000 because it was an easy one. Therefore, I went there twice. However, when they brought the money I did not see him. The N100,000 they promised as my share I did not see. Who am I to go and challenge him?
How were you arrested?
The police arrested me yesterday (last Thursday) because there was one of my friends, Chuks. He said that based on this Christmas period, that he does not have money and that he wanted to sell one of his pump actions. So he negotiated with one boy, so when the boy came, they were three in the car. He told me to go and inform them to drop and come out so that they would negotiate. I was to tell them to off the motor engine and that Chuks was waiting down there. Therefore, when they grabbed me, he ran away. In the process when I was asking what’s all about, I was arrested.
We learnt you also involved yourself in another kidnapping, what is your role in the new kidnap gang?
My role was to be with the man in the bush. I was supposed to stay in that bush with the victim

Revolution is imminent–Bishop Udogu

Revolution is imminent–Bishop Udogu
From Goddy Osuji Abakaliki
The Anglican Bishop of Afikpo Diocese Rt. Rev. Paul Udogu, has warned Nigerian leaders not to allow what happened in the Arab world to take place in Nigeria, just as he blamed them for all the socio-economic problems the country is currently passing through.
Bishop Udogu expressed this position in his presidential address during the Diocese’s synod at Christ Anglican Church, Okposi, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, adding that the greatest problem, facing Nigeria was not poverty, unemployment, and epileptic power supply but corruption where Nigeria is ranked 143 out of 182 countries by Transparency International in the 2011 corruption perception index.
He thanked God for the continuous existence of the country despite many challenges that threatened the unity of the country, saying: “Nigeria is a great country with great potentials. We are blessed with abundant natural endowment and human resources. We have all that is needed to make Nigeria stand tall in the midst of other nations and Nigerians walk proudly as Nigerians anywhere in the world.”
According to him: “Causes of corruption in Nigeria include greed; the desire to gather all for oneself and lack of contentment. Ostentatious lifestyle; a society in love of ostentatious lifestyle may delve into corrupt practices to feed the lifestyle and embrace a style of public sleaze and lack of decorum. Ethnicity, otherwise known as tribalism; people want their kinsmen in government to bring government house if possible to their village and favour their kinsmen. This is why some key Northern politicians and leaders insisted on Northern President otherwise they would make Nigeria ungovernable”.
He said that corruption has been prevalent throughout Nigerian history. Observing that it was kept at manageable level during the first Republic where cases of corruption then were sometimes occasioned by political infighting.
His words, “Under Shehu Shagari administration, a few federal building mysteriously went on fire after investigations started on the finances of the officials working in the building.”
“Gen. Buhari seized power in 1983 and accused the National Party of Nigeria NPN led government of corruption. Many political gladiators were convicted of corruption. However, the administration itself was involved in a few instances of lapsed ethical judgment.
The regime of Gen. Babangida was characterized by corruption. It is believed that under Babangida’s regime corruption was institutionalized in Nigeria. The administration failed to give account of the Gulf war windfall estimated to be $12.4 billion. He also annulled the democratic election of June 12 1993.
Abacha followed the path of his master. After his death in 1998 Swiss banks revealed in 2000 of about $600 million deposit by Abacha and his family members. In the same year, a total of more than $1 billion were found in various accounts of the General throughout Europe.
All subsequent regimes, military and civilian have been pervaded by corruption. It results in a combination of scandalous wealth among the ruling class, with growing poverty, misery and degradation among the masses of Nigerians. Political life has become dominated by winner takes all syndrome, political cynicism and violence, while the economy and social institutions have been driven into decay.”
He reasoned, “Corruption seems to have become an acceptable way of doing business for those in public offices. The government is powerless in its fight against corruption because those appointed to either investigate or prosecute are corrupt or loyal to their corrupt god-fathers. Recently we heard that about five Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC staff were jailed for taking bribe, because there is no will power and sincerity of purpose. It is disheartening that Nigeria as a nation is set on a visionless journey by selfish individuals that have controlled the resources of this country since its independence. They have metamorphosed from military to armed politicians, controlling the resources of this great nation, brutalizing its ability to grow, and shattering the hopes of millions of innocent citizens. Therefore, we are in a vicious circle and any attempt to step out of this circle can be seen as a betrayal of their masters.”
“It is unfortunate today that the judiciary is not helping matters in the war against corruption. There are high profile cases of corruption instituted by EFCC which had been struck out in recent past by High court judges either for lack of diligent prosecution on the part of EFCC’s lawyers or for lack of substance.  Such cases include that of the former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, the former Governor of Delta state Chief James Ibori. It is too appalling that the same James Ibori whose charges were struck out by the Nigerian court is jailed for 13 years by a UK court for the same offence”.
Arguing, “If corruption should be reduced in Nigeria, the EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies such as the ICPC, the police and the judiciary must sit up. Corruption is seen in almost all the sectors of our national life, be it in banking, oil and gas, economy, education, politics and agriculture. The list is endless. In the recent times from the $16 million spent on power under Obasanjo administration, to the banking sector scandal that saw the closure of many banks to the oil subsidy removal revelation of shame to the Hon. Faruk Lawal and Otetola bribery saga”.
“While we do not advocate for revolution at this time, however, we believe our leaders should learn from the Arab uprising and the reactions of Nigerians when the oil subsidy was removed. This is because a man cannot be held forever on a ground one day he may take his destiny into his hands and will fight for his liberation.”

2013 and the opposition’s mega party plans

2013 and the opposition’s mega party plans
One of the major political events observers of the power game in Nigeria are looking forward to in 2013 is the result of the ongoing merger talks among opposition political parties in the country.
It is believed that if it succeeds, the proposed mega party will give the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) serious run for its money and size.
The merger of the parties is one of the strategies being canvassed by some  politicians to defeat the ruling PDP which has dominated power since the advent of the present democracy in 1999.
While more opposition parties are said to be interested in joining the move to form a mega party, the three leading opposition political parties in the country namely, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) may have decided to drop their identities by April 2013, when talks on their proposed merger are expected to be completed.
Few days back, the Chairman of the ANPP National Rebuilding and Interparty Contact Committee, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, told journalists in Abuja that the merger talks between ACN, CPC  and ANPP had reached the last stage.
Shekarau, a former governor of Kano State, allayed fears that the talk may collapse again when he announced that the chieftains of the three parties had decided to forget their individual ambitions to make the fusion a success.
“Certainly, we are going to submit our party certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission after our merger. That is what a merger means. The Electoral Law is so clear on the procedure for a merger.
“If we decide to merge, the next thing is that we go back to our parties, call National Executive Committee meeting, and discuss with the members, in the presence of INEC officials. Then, you can call congress and that is all.
“The difference now is to pass a resolution and all this will be simultaneously done (by the three parties) and we will inform INEC about it. When that is done, INEC has no choice than to register your new identity.”
The National Publicity Secretaries of CPC and ACN, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin and Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in separate interviews recently confirmed Shekarau’s claim that a merger of the three leading opposition parties is in the offing.
“Yes, we are ready to lose our identity for the sake of the bigger party that is capable of sacking the PDP. My National Chairman, Prince Tony Momoh, has said it several times that he is ready to lose his position as well.
“I’m also ready for that, if that will enable us form a party that will be big enough to confront and remove the PDP from the central government,” Fashakin said.
“ACN is committed to getting a single platform of all opposition political parties that will drive the PDP out of power.
“All I can tell you is that the modalities are being worked out. And we are committed to it,” Mohammed said.
Few weeks back, another leading opposition party, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) also announced its readiness to be part of the merger move. The party said though it is poised to displace the PDP in 2015, it will not mind working with other oppositin parties to achieve that.
The party’s national chairman, Victor Umeh, made the announcement when asked if his party is part of the merger talk currently going on. He said the APGA is not opposed to the move and will surely be part of it.
There are also talks that the paties may have already put forward some names including but not limited to Action Congress for Progressive Change, (ACPC) and Action Congress Alliance, (ACA) as possible names that would be used to consummate the alliance.
The parties are also said to be expediting plans to hold their national conventions where the alliance will be endorsed by their members. Sources said all things being equal, the conventions will hold very early in the new year. If this happens, then a new political party will surely be born in 2013.

Buhari Asked to Opt Out of Opposition Parties Merger

0105F05.Muhammadu-Buhari.jpg - 0105F05.Muhammadu-Buhari.jpg
Muhammadu Buhari

By Ibrahim Shuaibu

A chieftain of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Alhaji Abdulmajid Danbilki Kwamanda,  yesterday advised the presidential candidate of the party in the last election, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), to opt out of the merger plans between the CPC, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), alleging that the antiques behind the moves was aimed at burying his political movement sponsored by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Kwamanda, who fielded questions from journalists in Kano, explained that there was no way ANPP and CPC could merge, when ANPP as Buhari’s former party contributed to his political misery by dumping him for the Government of National Unity (GNU), even when the party (ANPP) was still contesting the outcome of the election in court.
He alleged that: “The calibre of people involved in the merger plan were PDP agents, who were sent to ensure that Buhari does not succeed in his political activities. It is very clear that there is a missing link from the whole moves because those that are insisting on it have been Buhari’s albatross, who are there to prostrate his moves to clinch to power as they did in 2003,2007 and now 20011.
“Many incidences have been explicitly been shown to serve as a deterrent to the General Buhari to desist from the plan merger because there is nothing good that will come out of it.”
Continuing, he said: “But if he (Buhari) refuse to listen, I know that all his followers will suffer the brunt of what will happen because at that time they would be the ultimate losers.”
According to him, “we are truly loyal to Buhari and we want him clearly to reject the planned merger and any other thing to do.”
Similarly, the he warned Buhari to be wary of some of those that have surrounded him whom they described as Technocrat but have nothing rely to offer rather than consistently making Buhari to fail as its show in the previous elections.”
Danbilki added that even those that joined the CPC should be watched closely because their mission was still unclear.

Court asked to compel Jonathan to end subsidy

 by Simon Utebor and Ade Adesomoju
President Goodluck Jonathan
The ground appears to have been prepared for another New Year confrontation between President Goodluck Jonathan and civil rights activists with a stiff opposition by the latter to a suit asking Jonathan to remove totally the subsidy on fuel.
 A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party  in Anambra State, Chief Stanley Okeke, has  filed a suit in which he is asking a Federal High Court to compel the President to remove fuel subsidy.
 Okeke is also asking the court to compel Jonathan to return to the Federation Account “such money earlier appropriated and or approved for the payment of fuel subsidy.”
 The suit was filed on December 21.
 But the Save Nigeria Group said the suit was a grand plot to deceive Nigerians, while human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, vowed that civil society organisations would oppose Okeke and what the suit represents “vehemently”.
An elder statesman, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, also described the suit as a “dubious diversion.” 
Okeke, in the suit in which he listed the defendants as Jonathan; the Minister of Petroleum, Diezeni Allison-Madueke; and the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the subsidy fund was unjustifiable in the face of corruption in the system, perennial fuel shortage and long queues in the country.
 The only way to stop abuse of the fuel subsidy scheme is the removal of the policy by the Federal Government, according to the plaintiff in a 27-paragraph affidavit deposed in support of the suit.
 He is also asking the court for an order directing Okonjo-Iweala to stop further payment of fuel subsidy, submitting that the payments had been corrupt, illegal and unlawful.
 The PDP chief asked the court to determine the following questions:
 *Whether in view of the official corruption and abuse of office inherent in the fuel subsidy regime as evidenced by the in-going trial of certain individuals in the Federal High Court Lagos, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is validly competent to order the removal and or abolish the fuel subsidy scheme;
 *Whether consequent upon the perennial fuel shortages and the attendant long queues on our roads, it would be proper and lawful for the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to completely remove and abolish the fuel subsidy regime;
 *Whether having regards to the near infrastructural collapse in our country, it would be proper to re-channel funds meant fuel subsidy scheme into the building of infrastructural facilities, and;
 *Whether the 2nd and 3rd defendants being appointees of the President by not ensuring a corrupt free subsidy regime has not failed in their principal duty to Nigerians.
 No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.
 Spokesman for the SNG, Yinka Odumakin, told The PUNCH on Sunday night that the suit was a gameplan to increase the prices of petroleum products in the New Year.
Odumakin said, “This is a nation of organised grand deception. President Goodluck Jonathan said there would not be fuel subsidy removal. What is happening is an orchestrated plan to increase fuel price.
“The action is like a case of the witch crying yesterday and the following day, the child is dead. Who will not know it is the witch that killed the baby?”
He said the SNG’s last protest was not about subsidy removal but the corruption in the system.
“The President should know that Nigerians are not idiots. We are waiting for them,” he said.
Falana told one of our correspondents on the telephone that, “We are going to oppose the suit vehemently and totally. We and other civil society organisations will join the suit to oppose the plaintiff and the interests being represented.
“The President has already declared in his Presidential chat that he was not going to remove subsidy on fuel. It is very clear that Nigerians are opposed to any further removal of subsidy on fuel.
“Nigerians cannot be punished for the fraud and the criminality of smugglers that have characterised the fuel subsidy regime.
“The cases being referred to by the plaintiff are still in court, nobody has been convicted so far.”
Braithwaite said, “The fuel subsidy itself is a swindle on the national treasury, by which trillions of naira and billions of dollars are stolen by those in government and their accomplices who are easily identifiable by the hapless masses.
“However, a lawsuit in the present corrupt environment of Nigeria is yet another dubious diversion to buy time for the cruel and oppressive governments in Nigeria.”
Braithwaite said Nigerians had a responsibility to hold ‘King Corruption’ accountable in the people’s own court and to recover the loot.
 Another human rights activist, Jiti Ogunye, said the suit could be an “arrangee case” that would not be opposed by the President and other agents of the Federal Government.
He said, “Is an order of mandamus, as a prerogative writ in administrative or constitutional law, or an order like that lies to compel the performance of a public duty? The answer is no. It is a policy issue that is not justiciable in court of law.
 “We hope that this is not an ‘arrangee case’ since the defendants – the President and other agents of the Federal Government – might not be willing to oppose the suit.
 “We also hope that the Nigerian Labour Congress and other civil society groups, who fought bitterly in January to oppose the removal of subsidy on fuel, are watching. We encourage them to join the suit as interested parties so that it will not be a cut-and-dry case between the plaintiff and the Federal Government.”

Gombe Lawmaker Kidnapped


A Gombe State House of Assembly member representing Gombe North, Hon Ahmed Jalo Ganga was, yesterday, abducted on his way to the mosque for his morning prayers at about 5am.
Reports indicated that two people on motorcycle attacked and forced him to enter a waiting car at Gandu Quarters, within Gombe metropolis in which they made good their escape.
An eyewitness account revealed that the Lawmaker was asked by his abductors to come near to one parked car, but he resisted and told them to allow him to come back from the Mosque.
When he tried to go, they shot in the air to scare the people around and forced him to enter the waiting car, abandoned the motorcycle and fled to unknown destination.
Hon. Jalo Ganga is the Chairman House committee on Finance elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Commissioner of Police, Gombe state command, Alhaji Muhammed Sule, said that the motorcycle used by the kidnappers was abandoned and has no plate number, and added that the command has commenced investigation to locate the whereabouts of the Lawmaker and fish out the perpetrators. 

Binis lack political leadership – Edebiri

By SIMON EBEGBULEM BENIN—FORMER governorship candidate in Edo Sate, Mr. Solomon Edebiri, weekend, identified what he described as lack of political leadership, as a major problem militating against the Bini nation.
Edebiri, who declared this at the 7th edition of Benin National Merit Award, organized by Benin National Congress, BNC, a socio-cultural organization in Edo State, lamented that “our so-called political leaders have turned themselves to political prostitutes who will always settle for the highest bidder in political trading.”
Recipients of the 2012 Benin Merit Award include former Edo State representative on the Board of NDDC, Mathew Iduoriyekemwen.

PSC stops use of Federal Character in appointment of AIGs, CPs, others

PSC stops use of Federal Character in appointment of AIGs, CPs, others
The Police Service Commission has stopped blanket use of Federal Character in appointing officers as Assistant Inspectors-General of Police, Commissioners of Police and ranks below that grade.
All appointments will now be based on merit and performance.
It was learnt that the latest disciplinary step is designed to ensure efficiency in the Police.
The Commission said it might look into the comments may be retired Plateau Commissioner of Police Mr. Dipo Ayeni against the police management.
The PSC said it would be open in its attitude the issues raised by Ayeni to find out if there is merit or not in his comments.
Ayeni, who had condemned the police for rewarding parochial loyalists. He spoke during his pull-out parade in Jos. He has been queried by the Police management for alleged misconduct.
The Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the Police Service Commission, Ms. Comfort Obi, who spoke exclusively with our correspondent on the new policy, said police officers will now be elevated on merit.
Obi said: “This PSC headed by DIG Parry Osayande has put a new policy in place which says that at the recruitment stage, the Principle of Federal Character will be observed to the letter to ensure fairness and equity for all the states.
“But after recruitment, all police officers and others are now left to their fate. They will now be promoted based on merit, performance/service, diligence, training and continuing education and excellence.
“We inherited a system in which undeserving police officers and men were promoted above their peers based on quota or Federal Character. We had cases where good officers and men were made to serve as juniors to their mates because of blanket adoption of Federal Character principle. But we have stopped such injustice.
“It is now left to officers and men to merit their promotion. We hope that the new system will promote efficiency and reduce tension in the Force.”
She however said the exception to the new rule is the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police.
She said IGP’s appointment is at the discretion of the President and the Nigeria Police Council and not the responsibility of the Police Service Commission.
On the choice of Deputy Inspectors-General of Police , she clarified that the commission is mandated to ensure that it is in line with the Federal Character Principle to reflect the six geopolitical zones in the country.
Ms Obi added: “The only position the PSC cannot handle is that of the IGP. As for the DIGs, we are mandated to reflect the Federal Character.
“If in a zone, the highest ranking officer is a CP, he or she has to be elevated to a DIG to fill the slot meant for the zone.”
Concerning the querying of a retired Commissioner of Police for Plateau State, Mr. Dipo Ayeni, over allegations against the police management, Ms Obi said: “.I think the Force Headqurters must have been very disappointed with what Ayeni said. If he was not getting job satisfaction, he ought to have quit the Force
“I don’t know why Ayeni had some grudges which the present PSC and police management did not know.
“We have not got a copy of the query but if we get it from the Force Headquarters, we will treat it on merit.
“If we see any merit in what he said, we will take appropriate action; if he was wronged by the police, we will look into it. But if he was not wronged and he decided to level such allegations, we will also invoke necessary disciplinary action.
“But if he was not misquoted, I think the pronouncements were unfortunate. This PSC management has tried its best to address injustice in promotion and it has restored merit system.”
Ayeni ran into trouble with his comments at the Farewell/Passing Out Parade in Jos on December 10.

“I am human and open to errors…” – Odemwingie apologises to Keshi, NFF

Osaze Odemwingie has said he regrets his sensational Twitter comments, which were made because coach Stephen Keshi was not fair to him.
West Bromwich Albion striker Odemwingie had in the wake of the release of the Nigeria squad list for the 2013 AFCON taken to his Twitter account and made some disparaging comments against Keshi as well as the entire team.
He was also reported to have called the chairman of the NFF technical Committee, Chris Green, names over his exclusion from the AFCON squad.
However, the England-based forward said his mistakes were made in a fit of anger after he had made it known to his coach and colleagues that he was set to travel for the Nations Cup in South Africa.
In a no-holds-bar interview, the WBA star  surprisingly and truthfully admitted making some of the comments credited to him, but was also quick to make some clarifications on calling Green names, saying what he attacked was the decision to exclude him.
He described Green as a good man and one of the few on the NFF board alongside the president, Aminu Maigari, who he knows personally, and would not want to offend, though his anger has portrayed him to be at “war with everybody”.
“I remember it was Green who settled my case with Siasia then, but I was too angry when he called me over this matter, and was impatient to listen to him,” he now said.
“My comment was not directed at him personally, but to those who made the decision, but I think I over reacted then.”
On his face-off with Keshi, the former Lokomotiv Moscow forward revealed, “I called the coach two or three times within that period, maybe two or three days before the list was made public and told him of my commitment to be part of the Nations Cup, and have told my (club) coach I will be going to the Nations Cup.
“I told the coach I was ready to report to camp by January 3, even before other professionals start reporting to camp, if I were in his programme for the Nations Cup, and even told him to feel free to drop me, if I were not in his programme.
“I felt betrayed after that seeming heart-to-heart discussions with the coach few days to the release of the team list and he could not hint me I was not in his plan for the Nations Cup.
“For me, it was not professional and I considered it a betrayal and lost my cool given all the arrangements I had made towards the Nations Cup.”
Odemwingie also revealed that he felt pained and miffed by “some comments on why I was dropped ranging from being arrogant to asking for the captain’s band, and I concluded the federation wanted to freeze me out of the national team after 10 years of serving the country with commitment and dedication.”
“I don’t mind being asked to give the younger ones a chance, even though I still have five years to offer at the international level, but I only think it would be proper to be honourably pulled out of the national team and not ‘disgraced’ out of the team after years of dedicated service to Nigeria,” he argued.
The WBA star argued that though his international career is over in the light of these controversies, which he noted ”were unfortunate and regrettable, but I still believe there is need to correct some wrong impressions out there that I am always fighting with every coach, but what people don’t know is that my issues with all the coaches from Samson Siasia to Lars Lagerback and now Keshi had to do with purely football matters, not administrative or asking for more money for players”.
“My case with coach Siasia dates back to the 2008 Olympics and had to do with insufficient jerseys and all that. With Lagerback it had to do with how I was treated and I voiced it to him personally at the World Cup, and now being treated unfairly.
“Imagine talking with someone two, three times over an issue and few days later you begin to hear a different story from the person, who was in a position to tell you point blank,’you are not in my plan for this’.
Odemwingie added: “I am human and open to errors by the way I may have taken the issue, and regret the whole controversy, and want to put all this behind me now and focus on my club career, while wishing the team the best of luck as a Nigerian.”

“The menace of Boko Haram will end soon” – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has predicted an end for the dreaded Boko Haram sect, saying, Nigeria will soon enjoy peace and tranquility.
Obasanjo also expressed optimism that Nigeria would be ranked among the greatest countries of the world in the nearest future.
Addressing newsmen in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Obasanjo lamented that Nigeria’ could not manage its abundant resources. .
Obasanjo who was thanking God for His mercies over the country, said despite the bombings and other dangerous activities of the sect, he believes, the country would achieve peace.
“ on Boko Haram, I know we will get there very soon,’’ Obasanjo said.
While speaking on the alleged mismanagement the country’s resources, Obasanjo said, “God has been extra generous to Nigeria, many nations of the world are not as richly endowed as the country.’’
He however urged Nigerian leaders to harness the country’s endowments for the transformation of the nation.
“I believe good people who will be able to manage it will come, maybe later. But the earlier we are there, the better and I am sure we will be there.
“We will be there because God has been kind to us, we only need to be kind to ourselves. God will help us.
‘’God has been kind to us, we need to be kind to ourselves,” he said.

Nigeria will be greater when good leaders emerge - Obasanjo

Obasanjo also narrated a joke about Nigeria’s resources and incompetent leadership
A former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, at the weekend expressed optimism that Nigeria will become a greater nation.
The former president, however, put a proviso: Nigeria would become greater when it is led by good leaders, Mr. Obasanjo said.
He stated this while speaking with journalists at the Government House, Isale-Igbein, Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital.
“I believe good people who will be able to manage it (Nigeria), maybe later. But the earlier we are there, the better and I am sure we will be there,” the former president said.
“We will be there because God has been kind to us; we only need to be kind to ourselves. God will help us” Mr. Obasanjo stated.
The former president, in a characteristic manner, also narrated a joke about Nigeria, which he said hurts him whenever he listens to it.
He narrated the joke thus: “When God was creating Nigeria, he (the comedian) said Nigerian leaders were standing. But God started from Egypt, He created River Nile in an Alluvia soil and then He turned back and was going.”
‘Then Arc-Angel Michael now called him and said “look, God …..” because he (Michael) was with Him. He said God then turned back and went to Libya; dropped and planted everything He wanted to drop with oil and then proceeded.
“So, when He eventually got to Nigeria, the first thing He did that surprised them most was that He dropped two big rivers down with them to confluence Nigeria. So they started arguing that this is so surprising.
“But He then later used gold, bauxite and so many lime-stone in abundance to beautify everywhere in the country. He then later dropped oil under our soil near the water and later in the water.
“Then Arc-Angel Michael now said; ‘Lord God Almighty, you are being too generous. This is too much!’ But then God replied: don’t worry. I hope we would be able to have good people who will be able to manage it,” Mr. Obasanjo narrated.

Davido, Victor Moses, JAMB, Boko Haram, most searched of 2012

What did Nigerians search for on the web in 2012? According to Google’s annual Zeitgeist list, Davido, Victor Moses, Rashidi Yekini, Whitney Houston were some of the most searched people of 2012. Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Boko Haram, Asuu strike, Vanguard News were some of the most searched terms of 2012.
See the top 10 searches and people of 2012 after the cut…
Top 10 searches in Nigeria in 2012
Boko Haram
Asuu Strike
Google news
Whitney Houston
Vanguard news
NNPC recruitment
Top 10 most searched people in Nigeria in 2012
Whitney Houston
Victor Moses
Van Persie
Nuri Sahin
Usain Bolt
Eden Hazard
Rashidi Yekini
Meanwhile below is the top 10 most searched in Wikipedia in 2012 (in the world)
1. Facebook
2. Wiki
3. Deaths in 2012
4. One Direction
5. The Avengers
6. Fifty Shades of Grey
7. 2012 phenomenon
8. The Dark Knight Rises
9. Google
10. The Hunger Games

Researchers Discover African Star Apple; Agbalumo To Treat Diabetes, Heart Disease, Infections

 A remarkable study by researchers at the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Technology, Covenant University Ogun State in Nigeria showed that the local cherry fruit, African star apple (Agbalumo, Udara) lowered blood sugar and cholesterol, and could be useful in preventing and treating heart diseases.

By Chukwuma Muanya 

African star apple also known as Agbalumo (Yoruba), Udara (Igbo) in Nigeria, is associated with the dry season and has been enjoyed over the years by Nigerians as a fruit. But more studies are supporting its folklore use for treating diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and drug resistant bacteria.

White star apple, Agbalumo, Udara in Nigeria (Chrysophyllum albidum)
The fruits are sub-spherical in shape, about 3cm in diameter, usually 5-celled and contain an edible, sweet fruit-pulp. This fruits are good remedies for sore-throat, tooth-ache, constipation, and much more. Photo: Olanrewaju Disu
Botanically called Chrysophyllum albidum, white star apple belongs to the Sapotaceae family. It is distributed throughout the southern part of Nigeria. In Southwestern Nigeria, the fruit is called agbalumo and popularly referred to as udara in Southeastern Nigeria. Chrysophyllum albidum is a popular tropical fruit tree and widely distributed in the low land rain forest zones and frequently found in villages.
The fleshy pulp of the fruits is eaten especially as snack and its fruit has been found to have higher contents of ascorbic acid than oranges and guava. It is also reported as an excellent source of vitamins, irons, flavours to diets. The seeds are also used for local games or discarded.
Chrysophyllum albidum fruit is common in both urban and rural centres especially during the months of December to April. The fruits are not usually harvested from the trees, but left to drop naturally to the ground where they are picked.
A recent study by researchers at the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Technology, Covenant University Ogun State in Nigeria showed that the local cherry fruit, African star apple (Agbalumo, Udara) lowered blood sugar and cholesterol, and could be useful in preventing and treating heart diseases.
The study titled, “Effects of ethanolic leaf extract of Chrysophyllum albidum G. on biochemical and haematological (blood-related) parameters of albino Wistar rats” was published in African Journal of Biotechnology.
Previous studies indicate that the roots, barks and leaves of Chrysophyllum albidum have been employed in folk medicine for the treatment of diseases. The bark is used for the treatment of yellow fever and malaria, while the leaf is used as an emollient and for the treatment of skin eruption, stomachache and diarrhoea. The cotyledons from the seeds of Chrysophyllum albidum are used as ointments in the treatment of vaginal and dermatological infections in Western Nigeria.
The fruit pulp is rich in Vitamin C and iron and an excellent source of raw material for industries. Tannins, flavonoids, terpenoids, proteins, carbohydates and resins are the phytochemicals that have been reported in Chrysophyllum albidum. Methanolic extract of the cotyledons from the seeds of Chrysophyllum albidum led to the isolation of eleagnine, tetrahydro- 2 -methylharman and skatole.
Eleagnine was found to be the main compound responsible for its antimicrobial activity. Eleagnine was further shown to exhibit anti-nociceptive, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. The seed cotyledon has been reported to possess anti-hyperglycemic (lowers high blood sugar) and hypolipidemic (lower blood cholesterol) effects.
The researchers investigated the effect of oral administration of the leaf extract of Chrysophyllum albidum G. on biochemical and haematological parameters in albino rats for 16 days.
The researchers write: “In conclusion, the study has demonstrated that the leaf extract of Chrysophyllum albidum may not cause any adverse effect on the biochemical and haematological indices of toxicity. Moreover, the extract was found to possess anti-platelet and hypoglycemic (lowers blood sugar) properties and might be employed in the management of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and diabetes mellitus, respectively. Further investigation is needed to establish the anti-platelet property of the extract.”
Another study by researchers at the Forest Research Institute, Ibadan, Oyo State, showed that star apple leaves exhibited strong antibacterial activity against common bacteria isolates.
The study titled, “Antibacterial activity and phytochemical screening of Chrysophyllum albidum leaves” was published in Asian Journal of Food and Agro-Industry.
African star apple seed (Agbalumo) (Udara) in Nigeria
Culturally, African star apple (Agbalumo) (Udara) seeds are threaded as anklets in dancing in Nigeria. Also, young people, especially boys, use the seeds to play a peculiar out-door game. Photo credit: Olanrewaju Disu
Preliminary phytochemical screening of Chrysophyllum albidum leaves for secondary metabolites showed the presence of tannin, anthraquinone and cardiac glycosides in the plant samples. The samples were devoid of saponin, alkaloids and reducing sugars.
The researchers write: “Biological actions are primarily due to these components in a very complicated concert of synergistic or antagonistic activities. Mixtures of such chemicals show a broad spectrum of biological effects and pharmacological properties.
“The antimicrobial properties of the plant observed in this study could be attributed to the presence of tannin, anthraquinone and cardiac glycosides. The results showed that the test organisms were susceptible to the water extracts based on their zones of inhibition, which ranged from 10 to 27 mm. Escherichia coli showed the highest susceptibility of 27. All the organisms were sensitive at all concentrations except Escherichia coli, which was not sensitive at 125 µg/mL and 250 µg/mL. The least activity 10 mm was detected at 125 µg/mL concentration with.
“The methanolic extract of Chrysopyllum albidum leaves exhibited some antimicrobial activity against all the microorganisms tested as assessed by zones of inhibition that ranged from (25±0 to 35±0.40mm).
Escherichia coli had the highest susceptibility at 250 µg/mL concentrations with zone of inhibition of 35±0.40 mm. There was increase in the zone of inhibition for Escherichia coli from 30 (±0.15) mm at 125 µg/mL to 35 (±0.40) mm and 35±0.21 at 250 µg/mg and 500 µg/mL respectively. Salmonella typhi and Shigella spp had a zone of inhibition of 35 mm at all concentrations except at 500 µg/mg where Shigella spp. which had zone of inhibition of 30 (±0.30) mm.
“These results suggest that water and methanolic extracts from the leaves of Chrysophylum albidum may contain active agent(s). This provides the basis for their folkloric use as cure for some human ailments like skin infection, diarrhoea and stomachache, which are as a result of infections and inflammatory reactions. It is suggested that more research be conducted to further isolate, identify, characterise and elucidate the bioactive compounds from Chrysophylum albidum.
“In conclusion, the result of this study justifies the traditional uses of the leaves of Chrysophylum albidum for therapeutic purposes. The findings could also be of commercial interest to both pharmaceutical companies and research institute in the production of new drugs.”
Researchers have also studied the nutritional value and mineral contents of Chrysophyllum albidum fruit. According to the study published in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, fresh fruit samples, both untreated and treated with 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, were investigated.

Fulani, Gwari Clash in Abuja: Two Die, Thousands Displaced

With less than 48 hours to another year, a communal clash has erupted in Gwako, under Gwagwalada Local Government Area of the Federal Capital Territory.

The spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, Yushau Shuaib, who stated this on Sunday, said the clash drew the attention of the agency and the Ministry of the Capital Territory to jointly activate their Search and Rescue teams.
The prompt intervention of the two agencies including security personnel from the police, civil defence corps and military had helped to curtail the escalation of the crisis which started Saturday as a result of encroachment of herds of cattle into farmlands in the area.
NEMA Director General, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, who commended the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Muhammad, for the promptness of his agencies and his physical presence at scenes, appealed to the warring parties to live peacefully with one another and eschew any form of violent as we enter the New Year.
Sani-Sidi who disclosed that two lives were lost and 27 communities affected, said that over 1500 internally displaced people are currently squatting in a temporary camp on the permanent campus of the University of Abuja in Gwagwalada area.
The minister, who led other government agencies to assess the impact of the incident appealed to the communities to remain calm as the government would ensure that the causes of the crisis would soon be addressed so that they could return to their homes.
The minister had asked NEMA to provide more amenities to the victim in the camp as he also constituted an emergency team for conflict resolution and relief distribution to the affected communities which had membership from response agencies and Urban Affairs Department of FCTA.