Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why men should be more like Brad Pitt (and not for the reasons you think) Source-CNN

(CNN) -- Oh Brad. So strong. So virile. So capable of wielding a sword in Troy, destroying zombies in World War Z, and seducing leading ladies with just the tilt of a cowboy hat in Thelma and Louise.
"He's a real man's man," gushed fiancé and mother of his six-children, Angelia Jolie.
But that alone is not what makes him such an important role model for men today, says one of America's most distinguished feminists and international affairs professors, Anne-Marie Slaughter.
It's his ability to share breadwinning and caregiving with his partner. Which has a lot more to do with empowering women than you might think.
A real man's man? Brad Pitt shares the care-giving with Angelina Jolie.
Getty Images
"Think of Brad Pitt in Troy, he's a real guy, no question," said 55-year-old Slaughter, President of the New America Foundation, and former Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department. "But he's also become a posterchild for engaged fatherhood."
"When Angelia Jolie is on location, he's there with their six children, and when Brad Pitt is on location, she's there with the kids. So that's really sending a very different signal about what an icon, a movie star, and definitely a leading man is."
Of course, as Slaughter admits with a chuckle: "We never see the probably 15 people on the 'childcare train' that I'm sure they drag along with them."
The conversation has been tilted too far in the direction of women's issues
Anne-Marie Slaughter
But Hollywood A-lister Pitt -- often seen splashed across celebrity magazines with his brood in tow -- nonetheless represents a shift in how society views men, she says.
And that has big consequences for women.
"Why women still can't have it all"
Around a year-and-a-half ago, Slaughter was a hugely successful, though relatively unknown academic.
Then, in the summer of 2012, she wrote an article in The Atlantic, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," and it became the most read in the publication's history, with over 224,000 people sharing it on Facebook.
Why the huge response? In the article, Slaughter spoke of her decision to leave her job as the first female director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department, after two years working under Hilary Clinton.
Gender equality is about more than just women's issues, says Anne-Marie Slaughter.
Getty Images
Commuting from New Jersey to Washington each week, Slaughter was getting up at 4.20am on Mondays and returned on Friday evenings -- all while her teenage son was having problems at school.
And so she left her government job and returned to teaching at Princeton University: "Because of my desire to be with my family and my conclusion that juggling high-level government work with the needs of two teenage boys was not possible."
Beyond the women's movement
Now Slaughter is extending the debate on gender equality -- and focusing on men -- in this interview with CNN .
"The conversation has been tilted too far in the direction of women's issues, women's problems, missing women in the workforce. That is a huge issue. And it's appropriate that 60 years after the 'Feminine Mystique' was published, that we should be asking these questions. But I really see this issue as a much broader social issue -- as an issue of breadwinning on the one hand, and caregiving on the other."
Slaughter left her job at the U.S. State Department, saying: "Juggling high-level government work with the needs of two teenage boys was not possible."
Getty Images
"Men's choices are actually still much more restricted than women's. Because although women no longer have to just be in the home, men are still pretty uniformly socialised to believe their place is in the office. And if we really want equality between men and women, we can't just measure it in terms of how well women succeed on traditional male terms, we have to measure it in terms of the degree of choices that women and men have."
"About 20% of the responses I got to The Atlantic article I published, were from men. They said: 'I want to be a fully engaged father' or 'I want to take time to be with my parents as they age,' and 'If you think it's hard for a woman to ask for flexible hours, or work from home, or work part time, well if a man asked for those things, not only is he told he's not sufficiently committed to his career, he's told either explicitly or implicitly that he's not really one of the guys.'"
We have to rethink what we value in men. Not just their striving and competitive sides, but also their caring and protective sides
Anne-Marie Slaughter
"If you notice in comparison to 40 years ago, pretty much every male star you see is toting a baby, is out with his children, is equally engaged as a dad and proud of it. So that's an interesting marker on popular culture."
"I said to my 16-year-old son: 'Would you mind if your wife out-earned you?' He looked at me at first and was like: 'Are you crazy?' And then he said: 'Guys who are really insecure about that are really insecure about something else.' And I thought: 'It's a different generation.'"
"Why can't a man marry well? Why can't a man find a woman and marry and people say: 'Wow that was a great catch' and part of what that means is that she earns a great living and they're going to both live very comfortably, and they can provide caregiving and breadwinning however they want."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Oyo, UI to collaborate in science, tech

The Oyo State Ministry of Industry, Science and Technology says it will collaborate with the University of Ibadan and The Polytechnic, Ibadan, among other tertiary institutions, to develop science and technology in the state.
The state Commissioner for Industry, Science and Technology, Dapo Lam-Adesina, stated this while inaugurating the ministry’s website in Ibadan.
The website, he said, would enable the state government and the schools to accomplish better technological achievements.
The commissioner said, “The scope and focus of this ministry have a lot in common with our tertiary institutions. This ministry cannot alone claim to be successful if it does not link up with the likes UI and Ibadan Poly because they have a strong research mechanism in science and technology. That is why we are working with them and other agencies in the development of science and technology.
“We have developed a research strategy that will involve the two institutions and the state through this ministry. This will link the state and its people, especially the students and youths generally with the modern trend in technology. I read about a UI professor that recently won a global award on innovation. He is the kind of people we are linking up with; people who lead the way and show us the path to modern technological advancement. We have a lot of plans designed to help the state to develop its science and technology.
“We have made the ministry available to the public who will be free to make enquiry, criticise us and ask questions on our programmes and activities. The world is transforming technologically and in a revolving world, a website is part of the most important tools of a ministry in charge of the development of science and technology. We are also seeking the cooperation of the state ministry of education in the development of curricular for our secondary schools, whereby subjects that will quicken the pace of learning science and technology in the schools will be introduced.”

Jonathan’s attack on Shettima unpresidential, petty -APC

The All Progressives Congress has condemned President Goodluck Jonathan’s comment against Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima during the Presidential Media Chat on Monday, calling it unwarranted, unpresidential and petty.
In a statement on Tuesday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said Jonathan was wrong “to have threatened, no matter how subtly,” to withdraw from Borno the troops battling against Boko Haram insurgents.
The party asked the President to apologise to the people of Borno State and to all Nigerians for what it described as “presidential indiscretion.”
It believed that the threat, which was in response to the statement credited to the governor that the soldiers, battling the terrorists,  needed to be better equipped and more motivated, “showed clearly that President Jonathan does not have a full grasp of what is expected of him as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.”
APC added, “Mr. President, your most important duty as President is to ensure the welfare and security of all Nigerians, irrespective of the criticisms you may face or whether or not they voted for you. Therefore, you are not doing anyone a favour by performing that duty. It is the role you swore an oath to perform.
”Also, even if you feel that the governor should not have made the statement he made, it is incumbent upon you, as the President and the father of the nation, to take the higher road, instead of choosing a public forum to air your grievances. Wittingly or unwittingly, Mr. President, you have played into the hands of the insurgents, who must by now be gloating at the discordant tunes in government over the battle against them.
It said based on the anger exhibited by Jonathan while commenting on Shettima’s statement, the party was justified in its call on the President not to go ahead with his reported plan to remove the governor and replace him with a military administrator.
The APC said, ”President Jonathan should know that a leader cannot afford to be taking decisions on the basis of a perceived slight or criticism, because such decisions are most likely to be wrong and counter-productive. He should also use his enormous powers as President for the benefit of the people, not to their disadvantage.
”By his threat to pull out the troops from Borno for one month, he has further victimised the good people of the state, who have been at the receiving end of the senseless attacks by Boko Haram. A retraction of his threat and an apology to the people will be a good starting point for Mr. President to make amends.”

Gunmen kidnap Jonathan’s adopted father in Bayelsa

President Jonathan. Inset: Nitabai
Some unknown gunmen have abducted President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Chief  Inengite Nitabai, in Otuoke, Bayelsa State.
Otuoke is the home state of President Jonathan and Nitabai is the President’s adopted father.
Nitabai, who is said to be the compound chief of Jonathan’s family, was abducted by 10 suspected kidnappers about 9pm on Sunday.
It was learnt that when the gunmen stormed the residence of the 70-year-old Nitabai, they initially met one of the victim’s children.
A reliable family source, who craved anonymity, told PUNCH Metro that the boy, whose name he gave simply as Silas, quickly ran into the house to alert his father and other members of the family because it was strange to see visitors at the time of the day.
The source explained that six of the assailants, however, forced their way into the house, while the remaining four stayed outside.
He said the suspected kidnappers ordered Nitabai, his wife, Owiya, Nitabai’s in-law, Akinobebh Jin and Nitabai’s three children to face down.
The source said some of the kidnappers took Nitabai to one side of the house, while the remaining took Owiya to the upper floor.
Corroborating the source’s account, Jin said they asked Nitabai to bring money and when he told them he did not have, they used the butt of the gun to hit his head.
She said it was when Owiya gave them N400,000 that they stopped beating the 70-year-old man. He added that they later whisked him away in his Sports Utility Vehicle.
The 37-year-old Jin said, “The (kidnappers) came to the house around 9pm. The time they came, Silas was doing his assignment. Because he saw them as strange people, he ran into the house to tell us.
“As he was telling us, the bandits entered the house and ordered all of us to lie flat on the floor.
“They asked our father (Nitabai) to bring money. He told them he did not have any. They were furious and they said, ‘How can you say you do not have money? You, a President’s cousin!’ That was how they started hitting his head with the butt of their gun butt.
“After that, they went to where Madam (Owiya) was and asked her to bring money or else they would kill her. She told them she just came back from a trip and that she did not have enough money. They followed her upstairs to collect money from her. They started giving her the beating of her life. She gave them N400,000 and begged them to leave her husband. It was when they came down that they took our father (Nitabai) away.”
Owiya said the hoodlums locked them inside the house as they drove away with Nitabai.
It was learnt that one of Nitabai’s children, who was not around when the gunmen came, later freed the household.
The spokesman for the Joint Military Task Force, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, confirmed the abduction.
He said, “Information available to me is that a certain Chief Inengite Nitabai was abducted by about 10 unknown gunmen about 9pm at Otuoke community in Ogbia Local Government  Area using his private vehicle.
“The vehicle was later recovered at Onuebum community waterfront. The Deputy Commander, JTF, Commodore Ime Ekpa, and a team of security agents have visited the location to assess the crime scene.”
He said investigation was in progress to unmask the kidnappers and rescue the victim.
It was learnt that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hilary Opara, had also visited the crime scene.
Opara said he and his men had been working tireless since the incident happened.
He said the police had alerted other sister security agencies, adding two gunboats had been stationed at the Onuebum waterside, while the police had so far patrolled Edebiri, Kiambiri, Anyama and Ogobiri creeks.
Opara said two suspects had been arrested in connection with the abduction.
“The other two suspects saw my men and ran away. We will get them,” he said.
When our correspondent visited Otuoke on Monday, it was noticed that riot policemen and soldiers drafted from the JTF were patrolling the community.
At the house of the victim, plain-clothes security operatives, soldiers and mobile policemen were seen on guard.
Also, Armoured Tanks were stationed at Jonathan’s mansion and his wife’s hotel, opposite the Federal University, Otuoke.

Sex, sex everywhere!

This is the era of sex marketing. If you turn right, sex leaps into your face; if you turn left, sex jumps at you. In the street, in the shopping mall, in the church, in the office, on your computer and phone, and even in your living room, sex chases you around.
Sex – subtle or barefaced – has become all-pervasive in our society. Our society has become so sex-charged that the safety of our children is no longer guaranteed. Before, the rule was that during the children’s belt on TV, materials with adult content were not shown. These days, the only things that are not shown on our TV from morning to about 10 pm are commercials of alcoholic beverages. Any other thing goes. At such periods, TV stations are competing on which will show more Mexican soaps featuring deep kissing and erotic scenes every five minutes. Almost all the stations dedicate about two hours per day to music videos with bikini-clad girls dancing with men with lewd abandon.
Then there are the so-called Nigerian and Ghanaian home videos that are anything but homely. Even though many of these films are rated 16 or 18, they are shown on regular TV stations during the day when children are home watching TV. Even within early news bulletins when families are expected to be watching TV, film trailers with smooching scenes are advertised. What do you do? Ban your children from watching TV? That is not an option for me. The only thing within my power is that I have ensured that they do not watch any TV/video material that is rated over 13. But what do I do when these adult materials are slotted into family belts?
If I drive to the news vendor with my children in the car, there are pornography magazines littering the table that it becomes a crime taking children to such a place.
If I drive into a filling station or drop by the post office to check my mails, I am confronted by some men selling the local Viagra. The horrible thing about these men is that they flash their products with obscene pictures as you are parking. On one occasion at the car park at Ikeja General Post Office, Lagos, my children were in the car when one of these unscrupulous men flashed their sex-dripping packs at the car window, saying: ”Oga, man power!” I was so angry I felt like slapping him.
What one sees at social events is another story altogether because of the if-you’ve-got-it-flaunt-it policy that is in vogue. One does not complain because it is a free world. But the one that surprises one as inexplicable is seeing grandmothers in some churches trying to outdo teenage girls on who would flaunt a deeper cleavage.
Even the social networks are constantly attacked by sex hackers. A couple of times, Facebook was attacked with pornographic pictures littering everywhere. The network always reacted as fast as it can to cleanse its channel. But with such fears and also the possibility of some mindless people posting nude or semi-nude pictures, one has to be careful not to leave one’s laptop facing the children anytime one is on the social network.
Yahoo is not left out of the sex bait. In recent times, Yahoo has been showing adverts of girls with plunging neckline asking you to chat with them. Sometimes the picture of a girl pops up by your Yahoo home page asking to click on her and undress her. Such adverts confirmed to me that Facebook had eaten so deep into Yahoo’s business that Yahoo does not have any scruples about collecting all kinds of adverts. To check my emails on Yahoo, I have to turn my screen away from my children to avoid such pictures flashing in their face.
Then there are the hordes of bloggers who want to draw traffic to their sites so as to start making money from advertising. One common way they use for this is to post sensual adverts on the internet urging you to click and see what one celebrity did with another celebrity. Knowing the power of sex, they believe that with such a bait, people would click and be taken to their blogs, which have counters that record the number of visitors.
Also, any time I attend a children’s party like a birthday and children are told to dance, I always feel embarrassed at the type of erotic moves made by girls who are less than 10 years old. At one of such parties, a friend whose eight-year-old girl came first in the dancing competition was so shocked at the way her daughter wriggled her waist and backside that she vowed that she would not allow her watch music videos on TV anymore.         The dancing of the little girl looked more like what a professional strip tease woman would do rather than what a girl of eight would do. The mother confessed that she had seen her daughter dance with her siblings and friends now and then but had never seen her dance in such an obscene way.
Furthermore, a contemporary novel that is not dripping with sex is “archaic.” I remember reading Half of a Yellow Sun of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie some years ago, and when my niece in secondary school saw me with it and asked me to give it to her after reading it, I told her stories  for weeks, all in a bid not to let her have the book. I told myself that I would not be the one to give her a novel with so many love-making scenes. If she had to get such a book, let her get it herself, not through me. In the same vein, I heard of one of the rave-making novels of the world in recent years, which was described as a success story in self-publishing, and decided to read it: 50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James. I only read a few pages and stopped. Almost every other page featured raw sex, violent sex, animalistic sex. The “novel” is just an out-and-out pornographic book: the only thing missing in it are pictures! Sir Salman Rushdie said about the book: “I’ve never read anything so badly written that got published.” Many authorities have described its prose as low, yet the book has sold 90 million copies since 2011!
It is obvious that most people have realised that nothing sells like sex. They therefore exploit sex as sale bait: whatever negative consequence on society is not their business.
Nobody knows if the recent high rate of rape in our society has any connection with all these factors that have made our society sexually charged. Because we live in a free society, the dress code of people may not be determined by law, but the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission has the power to regulate what should be shown on TV when our children are awake and watching TV. Those who sell the local Viagra in packs decorated with glossy obscene pictures need to be arrested or chased out of public places.
Interestingly, any time one complains about the all-pervasive sex in our society, one is either told to close one’s eyes, or to stop being a hypocrite. But surprisingly, I have never seen any of these so-called non-hypocrites have sex in broad daylight by the roadside or in the market. Among human beings, sex is a private thing, done behind closed doors. Only animals have sex in the public.
An adult mind may not be adversely affected by sexually explicit materials, but exposing our children to such materials has a very negative impact on them. We must not fold our arms and wave it off as modernity.

NCC to rid Nigeria of counterfeit mobile phones

The Nigerian Communications Commission said in Abuja on Tuesday that it would take necessary measures to protect the nation from being a dumping ground for fake cell phones.
The NCC Public Relations Officer, Mr Reuben Muoka, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.
Muoka said the commission was conscious of the health implications of fake cell phones on the populace.
He, therefore, said the commission would ensure that only certified phones and phone accessories found their way into the nation’s markets.
NCC was partnering with the Nigerian Customs Services and the Phone and Allied Dealers Association of Nigeria to that effect.
“Checks have revealed that major dealers in the Nigeria ICT market also engaged in the sale of unapproved phones.
“The NCC condemns this in complete terms because of its health implication and effects in the quality of services delivery.
“Worried by the ugly trend, the regulatory authority in partnership with NCS and PADAN has organised a forum in Lagos to sensitise end users on the dangers of buying fake phones.
“We have warned phone dealers to secure an approval for any type of communication equipment before importing them to the country,” he said.
Muoka told NAN that the commission would penalise any dealer who sells or installs any communication facilities without obtaining approval from the NCC.
He said approval meant to ensure that all communication equipment complies with international standards before it could be used in the country

B’Haram members attack Yobe school, kill 43

Suspected Boko Haram Islamists killed 43 people on Tuesday when they attacked secondary school students as they slept in the latest school massacre to hit Nigeria’s troubled northeast.
The raid occurred at about 2.00 am and targeted the Federal Government College in the town of Buni Yadi in Yobe State and bore the hallmarks of a similar attack last September in which 40 died.
The attackers reportedly hurled explosives into student residential buildings, sprayed gunfire into rooms and hacked a number students to death.
A senior medical source at the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital in Yobe’s capital Damaturu said the gunmen only targeted male students and that female students were “spared”.
“So far, 43 bodies have been brought (from the college) and are lying at the morgue,” said the source, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to discuss death tolls.
The state’s police chief, Sanusi Rufai, who confirmed the attack and had given an earlier death toll of 29, was headed to Buni Yadi, roughly 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Damaturu, with Governor Ibrahim Geidam to assess the damage.
Damaturu resident Babagoni Musa told AFP that four ambulances carrying dead bodies drove past his shop, which falls on the road from Buni Yadi.
“They had tree branches on them which is a sign used here to signify a corpse is in a vehicle,” he said.
People whose relatives were studying at the college had surrounded the morgue and were desperately seeking information about those killed, forcing the military to take control of the building to restore calm, the hospital source said.

Monday, February 24, 2014

BBM headed to Lumia devices – Nokia

Today at its Mobile World Congress event, Nokia announced that BlackBerry Messenger will be released in the “coming months” for its Windows Phone devices.
At first, BBM will be exclusive to Nokia’s Lumia devices but will likely be released for all Windows Phone devices after the first six months, just like previous Lumia exclusives.
If Nokia were to pre-install BBM on its Lumia devices it could be a powerful driver of new users to BlackBerry’s messaging service, which the company desperately needs as it struggles to compete with other messaging services such as Line and Whatsapp.

Nokia announces the X and X+, its first Android phones

Nokia is officially launching its very first Android devices, known as the X and the X+, on stage at its annual Mobile World Congress press conference. We were all taken aback by the second (and third) device (since only one leaked), but either way it’s still incredible to see Nokia take this particular approach. The X will have a 4-inch, 840 x 480 IPS screen, 512MB RAM, 4GB of storage expandable storage via microSD slot and 3-megapixel camera, while the X+ sports the same specs but more RAM (768 MB) and an included 4GB microSD card.
You won’t be getting Google’s apps or Play store, however as both handsets will be based on the forked AOSP Android OS. Nokia says that’ll have the advantages of the Android ecosystem, but with a “differentiated experience.” So far, Here Maps, MixRadio, Skype and Outlook are being featured on the Nokia Store. You can access the Nokia and third party stores using the devices, but not Google Play, obviously. We’ve heard SwiftKey will be available on the Nokia X range, as will BBM, which is also coming to Windows Phone sometime “this summer.”

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I don’t regret fighting 50 Cents –Eedris Abdulkareem

So many years ago, Eedris Abdulkareem was the man about town; the artiste on top. Any concert without him was certainly a ‘no concert.’ His fame was unrivaled. His songs were like the national anthem. He was loved by all and even became an Olympic torch bearer. But at the snap of a finger, Eedris’ fame dwindled and even came down to zero level; nobody wanted to touch him with a long pole. Since the much talked about fight with America’s 50 Cent during a Star Mega Jamz concert organised by Nigerian Breweries years ago, Eedris’ name sort of got deleted among the A-list artistes. But does the young man care about it? No! He, in fact, told Saturday Beats recently that he doesn’t regret the fight, claiming it was what revolutionalised the music industry in Nigeria today. “I am the reason everybody is getting paid today. I am the reason everybody is doing great videos. If I didn’t fight then, everybody would have been treated like dirt.” But when Saturday Beats reminded him how he eventually apologised to 50 Cents some time ago, Eedris said, “I am an Olympic torch bearer. I have made my point. We got to move on with life. That is what makes me different.” As much as so many other artistes have sprung up in Nigeria, making so much money and getting global recognition, Eedris still feels nobody can take his place. “My vacancy is still there. Nobody is singing my kind of songs. They are scared. They cannot wear my shoe because it is painful. I will always be relevant whether anybody likes it or not. If what happened to me when former President Obasanjo fought me because of my song, Nigeria Jagajaga, and the 50 Cent wahala, had happened to another musician, people would have forgotten about that person a long time ago. But I am here and I will always be here. It was God that put me there. “Who among the new musicians is touching the lives of people? If you like, join illuminati, have a lot of women friends and talk about boobs and booty, it doesn’t make sense to me. What I want to do is to make a mark in people’s lives. I don’t care about the money they make.” Probably because of his quest to make a mark or his genuine love for Nigeria, Eedris has come up with a project, which he called ‘I am Nigeria,’ aimed at making an impact in the society. “It is conceptualised to help address the needs and aspirations of the Nigerian youths within and outside Nigeria. With this platform, we hope to challenge public officials and institutions that are performing below standards. “When there are opportunities for employment and empowerment, we will through this platform push qualified members of ‘I Am Nigeria’ forward. We hope to raise a trust fund with which to help touch the lives of Nigerian youths and discourage them from being used as thugs, arsonists and assassins by politicians.”

Sanusi’s suspension: Equities value falls by N353bn

Equities fell on Friday as investors continued to react negatively to the suspension of the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi.
The market capitalisation fell by N167bn to close at N12.301tn, bringing the total decline in equities value since the announcement of Sanusi’s suspension on Thursday to N353bn or 2.80 per cent.
The market capitalisation had declined by N186bn or 1.47 per cent on Thursday to close at N12.468tn.
Analysts had explained that news of the suspension at a time when the market was trying to stabilise from the effects of quantitative easing tapering by the United States and a huge sell-off in the emerging market was not well received by investors.
Also, the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s All-Share Index, which fell by 580.9 basis points on Thursday to close at 38,816.19 basis points, shed an additional 520.45 basis points or 1.34 per cent on Friday to close at 38,295.74 basis points.
The total decline for both days stands at 1101.35 basis points or 2.80 per cent.
The banking stocks continued to be affected the most by the sell-off sparked by the Presidency’s decision.
On Friday the NSE Banking sub-sector was down 2.25 per cent to close at 359.34 basis points, compared to a decline of 4.46 per cent, which saw it close at 367.61 basis points on Thursday.
A total of 13 stocks recorded price appreciation on Friday, while 39 recorded price depreciation, compared to just nine gainers and 46 losers the previous day.
While no bank stocks rose on Thursday, Sterling Bank Plc, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated Plc and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc rose on Friday, by 2.33 per cent, 2.07 per cent and 0.49 per cent, respectively.
Analysts explained that the situation may take a while to stabilise investors are bound to remain cautious until more information is obtained about the future direction, policy-wise, of the CBN.
The Chief Executive Officer, Trust Yield Securities Limited, Mr. Ola Yussuf, said on Thursday, “As far as the market is concerned, there is a need to clarify the situation and for the next governor to say where he stands on policies that Sanusi was pursuing. Is he going to change the policies or is he going to pursue the same policy? We don’t know.”

Legislative odds against 2014 budget

The 2014 national budget proposal weathered three stormy sessions before the bill passed the second reading a few days ago at the Senate. SUNDAY ABORISADE considers the various issues debated.
Unlike their House of Representatives counterparts, members of the Senate, two weeks ago, decided to consider the 2014 budget proposal presented to them by the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, last December although they expressed divergent views on whether it should be passed or returned to the executive because of certain anomalies discovered in it.
A careful observation of the debate, while it lasted, showed that the Peoples Democratic Party senators commended the budget and urged the upper chamber to consider its immediate approval, while members of the All Progressives Congress in the senate, condemned the document and called for its rejection.
They maintained their different positions despite the appeal by Senate President, David Mark, to members to “see the budget from a nationalistic periscope, using a national magnifying glasses to view it instead of  reducing it to partisan politics.”
Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, in the lead debate had explained that the budget was premised on the 2014-2016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, which took into consideration the heightened global economic uncertainty in 2013.
Ndoma-Egba attributed the drop in the 2014 budget estimates to the challenges occasioned by oil theft, pipeline vandalism and production shut-ins at mining fields which resulted in reduced oil revenue. The drop in the 2014 budget estimates notwithstanding, the senate leader described the budget proposal as a framework that will consolidate and add impetus to the transformation agenda of the current administration.
 Leader of the opposition in the upper chamber, Senator George Akume, stressed the need for the Ministry of Finance to forward to the National Assembly, necessary documents on the Fiscal Responsibility Bill to aid deliberations on the budget estimates. He described the N268.3bn SURE-P funds as an omnibus, being channeled to all sectors and wondered the real purpose of the money.
Senator Issa Galaudu also urged members to support the bill but faulted the implementation of the 2013 budget especially the decision of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to spend a whopping $8bn on kerosene subsidy. Galaudu noted that the poor implementation of budgets had been the major challenge since 1999 because budget had continued to grow.
He said, “From N947bn in 1999 to N4.6trn today, it has grown by over 400 per cent, yet, the impact has not been felt by all Nigerians. There are some bloated expenses. Even with huge security budget, every MDA has security provisions. All these make capital expenditure smaller.”
Senators Paulinus Igwe, Phillip Aduda, and Giang Pajok all supported the passage of the budget but stressed the need to increase allocation to the Federal Capital Territory, security and the judiciary in order to guarantee public safety.
However, most of the APC members, like Senators Ahmed Lawan, Alkali Jajere, Abubakar Yar’Adua, Abdulmumuni Hassan and Babajide Omoworare, who contributed to the debate, condemned the budget and asked members to reject it.
Lawan, who described the budget as anti-masses, said it was packaged to further boost the economic power of top politicians, senior civil servants and high calibre industrialists because 74 per cent was allocated to recurrent expenditure while 26 per cent was voted  for the execution of capital projects. The senator wondered why hundreds of billions of naira was allocated to the Niger Delta region which is currently enjoying relative peace while a meager N2bn was allocated to the North-Eastern part of the country which has been engrossed in crisis for quite some time.
He said, “I want to clarify that I have nothing against the South-South or the Niger Delta. In fact, I have been a supporter of the Niger Delta from my House of Representatives days to this day.
But what I said is that the funds proposed for Defence, that is, for the Army, Air Force, Navy and the Ministry of Defence Headquarters are far low compared to what is earmarked for 30,000 militants and the amnesty programme. The amnesty programme and the 30,000 militants will have N52bn while Defence will have just about N34bn. And what we are saying is that we have a state of emergency in the North-East and that security agents should be well funded. Our state carries the burden of funding security agencies in our place.
“Why don’t we fund these security agencies better when you are taking so much money for what is, in my opinion, not more important than the security of our people. I believe that while fighting insurgency, we need to make provision, special package, special funding, some kind of marshal plan for the North-East. For the proposal of N2bn by the Federal Government, I say we reject it as North-East Development Initiative when compared to N163bn going to the Niger Delta.  Are we serious about tackling the problems in the North-East?”
Lawan asked the National Assembly to rework the budget, leave whatever was proposed for the Niger Delta, but insisted that appreciable funding should be provided in the proposed budget for the North-East. He called for the immediate resignation of Okonjo-Iweala over her alleged failure to reduce the recurrent in the 2014 budget which is 74 per cent.
He said, “What we are saying is that only a small per cent is going to the masses of this country. How do you create jobs and alleviate poverty? The people should be at the centre of concept, application, practicality and implementation of the budget. We cannot have peace so far we spend much of our funds on ourselves. We have to spend the bulk of our funds on the people so that everybody will have something to do and everybody would be safe.”
Yar’Adua said the budget “is not worth the paper on which it was written because it does not hold anything for the common man. Everything in the budget is for the political class, for the rich and the bureaucrat. Is our economy better today than 15 years ago? Are we more developed today than 15 years ago? I want Okonjo-Iweala to resign because she has disappointed us.”
Omoworare said, “Having listened, it looks as if we have surrendered our legislative duties to the executive. The budget belongs to the parliament and it is our responsibility to tinker with it.”
He called for the invocation of Section 82 of the constitution to allow for time to dissect the budget while the document should be sent to the appropriate committees for necessary fine-tuning.
Other senators both within the PDP and the opposition APC who contributed to the debate on the 2014 budget also described the document as anti-people and called on the leadership of the upper chamber to reject it.
Senators Smart Adeyemi and Abdul Ningi, among others, lamented the high recurrent expenditure above capital vote and the continued depletion of the foreign reserves, accusing Okonjo-Iweala of imposing economic policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on Nigeria.
Ningi cautioned against Nigeria’s dependence on the policies of the IMF; World Bank and other advanced economies of the world, suggesting that Nigeria should evolve an indigenous economic policies that would impact positively on the economy and the citizenry.
He argued that western economies were collapsing, unlike the ‘home-grown economies of India and China,’ which according to him, are waxing stronger by the day.
Adeyemi said, “Okonjo-Iweala should be told in clear terms that the economic policies of the IMF and the World Bank cannot work in Nigeria. The policy must be reviewed. The IMF and World Bank policies cannot work 100 per cent in Nigeria. We don’t need IMF commendations. What we need is what will impact on the lives of Nigerians. We need to concentrate on key areas such as power and other sectors as well as work on budget management.”
The senators lamented that the 76 per cent recurrent expenditure and 24 per cent capital components of the budget were rather lopsided, and therefore far from meeting the needs and aspirations of the people.
Senator Kabiru Gaya noted that the distribution of the allocation in the budget was worrisome and unacceptable. He called on the executive to swap the figures for capital and recurrent.
He said, “The Federal Government budget is the reverse of the Rivers State budget. I wish the budget will be 74 per cent capital and 26 per cent recurrent.”
Senator Gbenga Ashafa said since money was not enough in the capital sector, it was impossible for the economy to witness sufficient growth that could engender employment creation.
Senator Bukola Saraki, while expressing his views on the budget, lamented that the 2013 Appropriation Act was abysmally implemented. He, therefore, insisted that the Executive should be made to account for last year’s budget before the Senate could go into the 2014 estimates.
Senator Ayogu Eze, however, did not see anything wrong with the document. He noted that the budget was well focused and designed to generate employment, pointing out that the problem of budget in Nigeria was never that of content but its implementation.
But Senator Ita Enang, in contrast with the position of some senators, shifted the blame of budget failures in Nigeria from the Executive to the National Assembly but also joined in the call for its rejection.
He said, “The 2014 Appropriation Bill shows a reduced budget sum of N4.6trn as against the N4.9trn for 2013. This is based on reduction in oil revenue, to wit, reduction in the oil benchmark from $79 per barrel to $77.5; reduction in the production estimate from 2.52m barrels per day to 2.38m barrels per day. This loss of revenue is due to the failure of the National Assembly to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act which mandates us to consider and pass budgets.”
However, Okonjo-Iweala, in a statement by her Special Adviser, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, roundly refuted the allegations against her by some senators during the budget debate.
Whilst thanking members of the senate who understand the issues at stake, she stated that some senators made allegations and accusations that were not based on facts.
She said, “Though government is continuous and the minister has no desire to shirk her responsibilities, the effort to personalise these issues on the basis of inaccurate information is unfortunate and must be roundly refuted.”
Okonjo-Iweala added that the first point made by some senators was that she was responsible for the rising recurrent expenditure, which according to them rose “from 69 per cent in the 2013 budget to 76 per cent in 2014.”
She said, “This is inaccurate, and at this stage, it is important to recount the recent trend of the government’s recurrent expenditure. The fact is that in 2010, the government awarded salary increases of 53 per cent across the board in the public service, which increased the wage bill from N856.9bn in 2009 to N1.36trn in 2010. At the time, finances were inadequate to back this award, and the government had to increase domestic borrowing significantly to cover the shortfall. This caused a rise in government domestic borrowing from N524bn in 2009 to N1.36trn in 2010, and it is the singular cause of the country’s rising domestic debt profile, from 14.83 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product in 2009 to 17.98 per cent of GDP in 2010.”

Woman kills brother in tussle over bucket

An Ilorin Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday remanded a 21-year-old woman, Elizabeth Eze, for allegedly stabbing her brother, Francis, to death over an argument. The prosecutor, Sergeant Balikisu Adu, told the court that the accused stabbed her brother on the chest with a knife, following a fight over a plastic bucket on February 10, 2014 at Chikanda in Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State. She said that the accused was arraigned on a charge of culpable homicide, a crime that contravenes Section 221 of the Penal Code. Adu objected to a bail application for the accused on the ground that the court cannot grant bail in the case. Magistrate Nuah Ajide, who refused to grant the plea of the accused, ordered her to be remanded at the Okekura Prison, Ilorin.

Governors hold emergency meeting Monday over Sanusi’s sack

ABUJA- CHAIRMAN, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF and Rivers State governor, Chibuike Amaechi has summoned an emergency meeting of the governors to take a position on the suspended governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. In a statement Friday by NGF Director- General, Asishana Okauru,  the Monday meeting though an emergency one is the third  NGF Meeting  in 2014 and will be chaired by Governor Amaechi at the Rivers State Governor’s lodge, Asokoro in  Abuja at  8pm prompt. *CBN Gov Lamido Sanusi It will be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday suspended the apex bank governor over alleged cases of impunity, incompetence, non-challance , fraud, wastefulness, and noncompliance with provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007. The NGF meeting which has only two agenda according to the statement read, “Removal of the CBN Governor; Dwindling Revenue to States; AOB.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cultists kill Bowen student for rejecting sexual advances

The life of a 17-year-old student of Bowen University, Opeyemi Odusanya, has been cut short by some cult members in Lagos.
It was gathered that the undergraduate was murdered for allegedly rejecting sexual advances from some youths in the area and also for “being too proud.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that the victim was a 300 level student of Biochemistry at the university.
Police authorities told our correspondent that Opeyemi was stabbed to death by the cultists at her parents’ house in the Alakuko area of Lagos on February 3, 2014.
Police sources told PUNCH Metro that investigations had revealed that the culprits were residents of the area.
A police officer, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “In the afternoon of February 3, 2014, the deceased went to buy airtime for her telephone. As she was returning, a group of cult members trailed and entered the house with her.
“Opeyemi was alone at home when the guys entered. They instructed her to turn on the generator so that if she screamed, no one would hear.
“We believe that they wanted to rape the girl, but she must have put up a fierce struggle as the whole house was scattered.
“The guys subsequently stabbed her in the stomach several times and ripped out her intestines.
“After killing her, they took her phone and the keys to her parents’ vehicle, a jeep, which was on the table. They stole the jeep, which was parked in the compound, after killing the girl.”
The sources told our correspondent that after the guys had fled, they used Opeyemi’s telephone line to send a text message to her mother, explaining why they killed the 17-year-old.
The text message, which was typed in English and Yoruba languages, and made available to our correspondent, read, “Your child has been proud. We have been toasting her, but she has refused to accept. We have killed her to teach a lesson. We have also driven your car away.
“If you want your car back, come to Lakas Hotel or Cele Bus Stop around Mile 2 to pick it up. If we see policemen around, we will kill everybody.”
Residents of the area told our correspondent that the victim’s mother, Olayinka, had a panic attack after reading the message and quickly informed those that were with her.
However, a phone call from the family’s housemaid was said to have confirmed Olayinka’s fears that the text message was not a bluff.
It was learnt that she returned to the house to meet the lifeless body of her child.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the mother of the deceased, who is a senior official at the Mushin Local Government secretariat, later reported the incident at the Alakuko Police Division.
A police source told our correspondent that the murder weapon had been recovered.
“By all indications, the girl was not raped because her clothes were intact. The knife used in killing her has been recovered,” the policeman said.
It was gathered that the parents of the girl had relocated to the Redemption Camp on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Our correspondent, who visited the Facebook page of the deceased, observed that tributes had been pouring in for the 300 level student.
One of her friends, Folake Kuforiji, wrote, “RIP Dear, May your soul rest in perfect peace and may the Almighty God protect and console the rest of your family. A real gem is gone. I remember back then in secondary school when we used to call you Ope International. You left us too soon, but God knows best.”
A man, Adeniji Chigozie, who claimed to be her former teacher, wrote, “Remember those days in class. You were one of the students I cherished and respected. You were respectful and intelligent. As a teacher, I was very proud of you. The details of the cause of your death are still sketchy and confusing. Nigeria has lost another intelligent and beautiful mind – A great star has fallen!
“Above all, I wish your family and loved ones the fortitude to bear this shocking loss – May God in His gracious nature comfort them, amen!”
When contacted on the telephone, Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ngozi Braide, said, “I have called the Divisional Police Officer at the Alakuko Police Division and he said he was not aware of the incident.”

B’Haram’s anti-aircraft training camp uncovered in Niger

Members of the boko haram sect
The concerted efforts of the Nigerian security forces and their Nigerien counterparts yielded results on Tuesday with the discovery   of a Boko Haram training camp in  Niger Republic.
 A security source said that the discovery was made by the Nigerien security forces, who had been collaborating with the Nigerian security agents in the fight against terrorism.
The source stated that the discovery of the camp of the insurgents was conveyed to Nigeria in a security report on Tuesday.
The Nigeriens, who were believed to have interrogated some of the insurgents,  said  Boko Haram devoted the camp to a specialised training for the use of long range anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons.
Investigations revealed that the insurgents were focusing on the use of a dangerous weapon they had acquired, the AA 12, which is one of the world deadliest shotguns.
One of its versions could also be used to shoot down fighter aircraft.
The source said that while the insurgents had acquired the lethal weapon, they had not got the expertise to fully utilise it.
The insurgents were said to be using the weapon “on eject role alone,” which meant shooting somebody directly with it, without maneuvering it for other more lethal uses.
Efforts made by our correspondent to get the details of the discovery from the Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, were not successful as the repeated calls to his mobile telephone line were not successful.
The discovery of the training camp followed the arrest of 20 insurgents in Diffa, Niger Republic by the country’s security forces on Monday.
An international news agency, Reuters,  reported that the Boko Haram members were arrested while they were planning to attack markets and other thickly populated areas in retaliation against Niger’s support for Nigerian’s battle against terrorism.
Niger’s Army Chief, Gen. Seyni Garba, was quoted in  the Monday’s edition of Le Sahel, a state-owned newspaper as having said, “The bloodbath planned by the terrorist organisation to punish our country has fortunately been avoided.”
There had been  anxiety in high security circles over the use of ransom by the Boko Haram to acquire cheap,  but deadly weapons in circulation from the Libyan crisis.
A source said that security personnel were of the opinion that the recurrent attacks against Nigerian villages were being perpetrated with new arms acquired with ransom money.
The source said that there was anxiety over an alleged   payment of ransom as the preferred option to secure the release of abducted French nationals in Cameroun by the French Government.
A highly placed security source said that the French Government paid a huge amount of money to secure the release of a French Missionary Fr. Georges Vandenbeusch, abducted by the Boko Haram near the nation’s border with Cameroun on November 13, 2013.
 When contacted,  the spokesperson of the French embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Georges Vanin,  said his country would not comment on the report that France had been paying ransom to secure the release of its citizens.
“We don’t comment on hostage cases. Anything relating to hostages, we never commented in the embassies,” he said.

Internet fraud: Court orders seizure of undergraduate’s cars

An Ikeja High Court on Wednesday granted an order for an interim forfeiture of three expensive cars belonging to a 28-year-old undergraduate, Lawrence Orimogunje. Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo granted the order while ruling on an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which had charged Orimogunje with forgery and possession of false documents. The affected cars are a Nissan Infinity G35 with registration number EP150 ABJ, a Chrysler 300 with registration number OLD – 01 and a Range Rover Sport with registration number OLD-03. In his ruling, the judge held that Orimogunje’s lifestyle was not commensurate with what he was earning as a student of Lead City University, Oyo State. Lawal-Akapo said conclusive proof was therefore not needed for the order to be granted. He said, “Sections 28 and 29 of the EFCC Act of 2004 empower the commission to confiscate any property suspected to have been acquired through fraudulent means.” The judge consequently directed the EFCC to seize the cars pending the conclusion of the trial. Moving the forfeiture application earlier, the EFCC counsel, Mrs Anita Imo, said it was brought pursuant to Sections 28 and 29 of the EFCC Act. Imo argued that the cars were acquired through suspected Internet fraud activities and urged the court to grant the forfeiture order. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Orimogunje was arraigned on February15, on a 16-count charge of forgery and possession of false documents. The EFCC said that the accused was arrested on December 24, 2012 in Lagos for being in possession of various documents used for facilitating internet fraud. He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted a N1 million bail, with two sureties in like sum. The matter was adjourned till March 18 for trial.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Nigerian British-born Chiwetel Ejiofor wins ‘Best Actor’ award

A Nigerian British-born actor Chiwetel Ejiofor has won the 2013 ‘Best Actor’at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, for his role as Solomon Northup in the movie ” 12 Years a Slave”.
In the movie, directed by Mr Steve McQueen, Ejiofor , 36, played the role of a blackman who was kidnapped and sold into the American South slave trade in 1841.
He clinched the “Leading Actor” award, beating fellow nominees Leonardo DiCaprio, who played Jordan Belfort in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, Christian Bale in `American Hustle’, Bruce Dern in ‘Nebraska’ and Tom Hanks in ‘Philomena’.
While receiving the award on Sunday night in London, Ejiofor expressed appreciation to the organisers of BAFTA and also paid tribute to the Director of the movie McQueen.
“You really brought us all through it; you had the real vision to tell this remarkable story.”
“The extraordinary life that he had, and to tell this story in a way to make it of such value, of such worth to all who were there”
“Thank you for this, it is yours. I’m going to keep it, but it’s yours,” Ejiofor told McQueen.
In the same vein, a Somalia-born Barkhad Abdi won the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for his role as a Somalian pirate in “Captain Phillips”.
Abdi, who is a newcomer in the entertainment industry, thanked his co- star Mr Tom Hanks and Paul Greengrass, the Director of the movie, saying that the duo “helped with whatever obstacle I faced, they believed in me, before I believed in myself”.
The News Agency of Nigeria, reports that Ejiofor, Abdi and Lupita Nyongo an upcoming Kenya-born actress, have been nominated for Best Actor, Supporting Actor and Actress respectively for the March 2 Oscar awards in the U.S..

Nigeria's Boko Haram 'in village massacre'

Nigerian soldiers patrol in the north of Borno state close to a Islamist extremist group Boko Haram former camp, file image from 2013Map of NigeriaNigeria's Boko Haram 'in village massacre' Nigerian soldiers patrol in the north of Borno state close to a Islamist extremist group Boko Haram former camp, file image from 2013 Northern Nigeria is under emergency rule, but attacks have intensified Continue reading the main story Nigeria under attack Military divisions Terror badge of honour? Afraid to go to school From preachers to slave raiders Suspected Islamist militants have raided a Nigerian village and murdered dozens, according to witnesses. The gunmen reportedly rounded up a group of men in Izghe village and shot them, before going door-to-door and killing anyone they found. Officials said they suspected the Boko Haram group was behind the attack. Boko Haram, which claims to be fighting to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, is notorious for extreme violence and indiscriminate attacks. Bodies in the streets The senator for Borno state, where the attack took place, told the BBC's Newsday programme that 106 people - 105 men and an elderly woman trying to protect her grandson - were killed in the latest attack. Ali Ndume said around 100 Islamist militants attacked Izghe for five hours on Saturday evening, without any intervention from the army. He said the military recently withdrew from the area after nine soldiers were killed in an ambush last week. Map of Nigeria Residents who fled the attack in Izghe said some of the victims were shot, while others had their throats slit. "All the dead bodies of the victims are still lying in the streets," resident Abubakar Usman told Reuters news agency. "We fled without burying them, fearing the terrorists were still lurking in the bushes." Other witnesses described how the attackers had arrived on Saturday evening in trucks and motorcycles. They asked the men in the village to gather, and then they hacked and shot them to death. Senator Ndume said it was very painful for him as he knew some of those who had been killed, yet it was too dangerous for him to pay his respects in person. "I cannot interact with the people I represent. I feel very, very bad about it," he said. More than 30 people were killed in the town of Konduga, also in Borno state, earlier this week in an attack blamed on Boko Haram. People walk around the damaged mosque in the village of Konduga, in north-eastern Nigeria, on 12 February 2014. Borno state officials say 70% of Konduga town was razed to the ground by Boko Haram this week Following the attack in Konduga, the governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, called for more troops to be deployed to combat Boko Haram militants fighting in the area. Numerous villages in the area around the state capital of Maiduguri have been attacked in recent months, despite the state being under emergency rule. Frustrated with the army's efforts to combat the rebellion, President Goodluck Jonathan replaced his top military brass on 16 January. The attack on Izghe is the biggest since those new appointments. Boko Haram has killed several thousand people - Muslims and Christians - since it launched a campaign of mass violence in 2009.People walk around the damaged mosque in the village of Konduga, in north-eastern Nigeria, on 12 February 2014.

Don’t leave politics to evil men, Obasanjo tells Christians

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday enjoined Christians to participate actively in politics, saying they should not leave the nation’s governance to those he described as “evil ones.”
Obasanjo, who spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State, warned Christians against being indifferent towards politics.
The ex-President told the congregation at the fifth anniversary thanksgiving service of the Chapel of Christ the Glorious King, a religious arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, that they should not shy away from partisan politics for the good of the entire country.
“I want to say here that Christians should participate in politics. We should not leave politics in the hands of the evil ones who cannot offer this country any good,” he said.
Earlier in his sermon delivered on the occasion, the former president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention,  Dr. Ola Akande,  described Obasanjo as a rare and special gift to Nigeria.
Akande noted that the likes of Obasanjo usually came once in a generation.
The cleric said, “I have been a spectator of the many ups and downs of the life of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo across the years. There is no doubt that I am his elder brother. During our times together, I came to know a miracle about him, and that this is a special man that God has given to our current or contemporary Nigerian generation. Such a gift comes once in a while.
“Believe me; you do not pray for such a gift from God. God just decides what he wants to give mankind, and He does it. When He does it He gives the gift to our generation through a very, very poor family.”
Akande, who spoke on the theme, “Can the Nigerian Church Transform the Nigerian Society?,” expressed regret at the worsening level of vices being perpetrated in several churches by both the pastors and their members.

Police arrest singer, Tiwa Savage, for alleged assault

Mavin Records artiste, Tiwa Savage, has been arrested by the police for allegedly humiliating a policeman who apprehended her for violating some provisions of the Lagos State Road Traffic Law.
Savage, often referred to as Mavin First Lady, was said to have argued with the policeman, who flagged her down for flouting traffic rules in front of Eko Hotels and Suites Victoria Island, on Saturday.
Savage, who was recently signed a brand ambassador deal with Forte Oil, allegedly came down from the vehicle she was driving in and confronted the policeman.
During the ensuing argument with the cop, Savage, who was said to have been infuriated by the development, allegedly removed the cap of the policeman.
The first African female Pepsi ambassador, was reportedly whisked away to the Victoria Island Police Division for humiliating and assaulting the policeman.
A policeman at the station, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, said Savage was released shortly after.
He said, “Tiwa Savage refused to stop at a traffic light around Adetokunbo Ademola Street near Eko Hotel and Suites. When we attempted to accost her, she refused to park her car as instructed by the policemen.
“Since there was a traffic snarl at the time, a policeman followed her car and insisted that she must stop. After a while, she stopped and started raining abuses on all of us so, we took her to the station.
“On getting to the station, a senior officer advised her to apologise because she was wrong and there were even eyewitnesses at the scene who could testify against her if the matter was taken to court. She apologised and was released immediately.”
When contacted, the Group Publicist for Mavin Records, Terfa Tilley-Gyado, confirmed the incident to our correspondent on the telephone.
He said the records label would issue a comprehensive statement stating the position of Tiwa Savage and the group on Monday.
Despite being informed that the story was being prepared for publication against today (Monday), Tilley-Gyado said the official position would not be ready until Monday.
He said, “What would you like to know? We are planning to prepare an official statement; definitely not at this time. The (press) release will be out on Monday for your Tuesday production.
“I don’t think it will be prudent to use the story until you have the official statement. That is just my own opinion. I think you should wait until you get the official statement.”
The Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Police Command, Ngozi Braide, could not be reached for comments. Her telephone rang out when contacted, while a text message sent to her was not replied to as of press time.

Entrepreneurship education in Nigeria

The reaching of an agreement between Bank of Industry and The National Youth Service Corps, according to the chief executive officers of the two bodies, was a step to inculcate in the corps members entrepreneurial skills and culture which will make them to be self-reliant after their service year. However, I consider this type of arrangement belated for the youths that have spent four or five years in the universities and polytechnics. Training a large group of youth under the same banner of NYSC by BoI will make the programme ineffective in tackling unemployment and improving on the economy. The best way to foster entrepreneurial skills acquisition and development amongst the youth is to establish a long-lasting connection between the bank and the respective universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. This will drive a strong desire for change in attitude of the students and youths with the existence of varieties of incentives for students and youths with sound business plans. The missing link between BoI and educational institutions stalls the effectiveness of BoI and also on the otherhand hinders feedback to the educational institutions. Involvement of BoI in training of students in the higher institutions will create a dependable platform and also increase the knowledge base of the students about business establishment and management. This is due to the fact that BoI, over the years, have interacted with youths through their business plan presentation to access loan facilities. It is an untold fact that the bank would have found varieties of inadequacies in the business plans presented by a majority of the graduates. This now makes it necessary to bring the bank into the education environment in order to present these inadequacies to the notice of academic experts so that a strategic, integrated and holistic approach will be developed to tackle the shortfalls. Emphatically, this will go a long way in the training of competent, resourceful, dynamic, innovative and energetic young entrepreneurs who will tactically give birth to innovative and technical mechanisms to tackle unemployment and raise the economic potential of the Nigerian people. We cannot get our economic growth and development right, if we neglect entrepreneurship education. We must intensify all the available means, energy, opportunities and procedures using the available resources to adequately connect the young graduates with entrepreneurial skills which will effectively navigate them across the space of unemployment. Government at all levels via their ministries, agencies and bodies ought to develop a practicable and workable collaboration with institutions of higher learning in providing effective and pragmatic training of the greatest number of the students. With the complex level of unemployment in Nigeria, a functional entrepreneurship remains the only remarkable and dependable strategy for solving the problem

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

First human lung made in US lab

For the first time, scientists have created human lungs in a lab — an exciting step forward in regenerative medicine, but an advance that likely won’t help patients for many years. “It’s so darn cool,” said Joan Nichols, a researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch. “It’s been science fiction and we’re moving into science fact.” If the lungs work — and that’s a big if — they could help the more than 1,600 people awaiting a lung transplant. Lungs are one of many body parts being manufactured in the lab — some parts, such as tracheas and livers, are even further along. “Whole-organ engineering is going to work as a solution to the organ donor shortage,” said Dr. Stephen Badylak, deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. The researchers in Galveston, Texas, started with lungs from two children who’d died from trauma, most likely a car accident, Nichols said. Their lungs were too damaged to be used for transplantation, but they did have some healthy tissue. They took one of the lungs and stripped away nearly everything, leaving a scaffolding of collagen and elastin. The scientists then took cells from the other lung and put them on the scaffolding. They immersed the structure in a large chamber filled with a liquid “resembling Kool-Aid,” Nichols said, which provided nutrients for the cells to grow. After about four weeks, an engineered human lung emerged. Repeating the process, they created another lung from two other children who’d died. The lab-made lungs look very much like the real thing, Nichols says, just pinker, softer and less dense. Nichols said she thinks it will be another 12 years or so until they’ll be ready to try using these lungs for transplants. “My students will be doing the work when I’m old and retired and can’t hold a pipette anymore,” she said. Before researchers experiment on humans, they’ll try out lab-made lungs on pigs, she said. Doctors have already had success transplanting patients with synthetic tracheas. The first procedure was done in 2011, and since then, six more have been done. Two of the patients have died of causes unrelated to their tracheas, said David Green, CEO of Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology, which makes equipment used to make engineered body parts

Ajimobi tasks Nigerian youths on mental development

Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State on Friday charged Nigerian youths to develop themselves mentally for national development. Ajimobi gave the task during the presentation of the award of Pillar of Youth to him by members of the National Youth Council of Nigeria in Ibadan. “I count it as a great pleasure to be honoured by a body that is national in outlook and truly youthful in membership, Oyo state people and myself are happy about it. “But I want to advise that the youths of Nigeria need a lot of improvement to be great and this requires mental development. “I want you to be resolute because leadership requires mental development and you must also endeavour and strife to be men of honour,” he said. The governor also reminded the body that honour would only come to those who deserved it. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NYCN, a Lagos chapter of the body was led to Ibadan on the presentation ceremony by its Chairman, Mr Babatunde Adeleke. Adeleke had earlier said that Ajimobi was considered for the award because of his administration’s urban renewal, beautification and road construction programmes. “NYCN deems it fit to honour leaders like Ajimobi who considered it necessary to change their society and his government is excellent in restoration of peace to Oyo state,” he said. He said that the body appreciated the way and manner Ajimobi tackled the issue of insecurity and youth unemployment, saying “this commendation is to encourage continuity in governance.”

Friday, February 14, 2014

I didn’t abuse Evra —Suarez

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has claimed the accusations regarding his race row with Patrice Evra were totally untrue. The Uruguay international was given an eight-match ban in Dec. 2011 after the Football Association found him guilty of racially abusing the Manchester United left back. However, the Uruguayan says the two occasions he has bitten players are the only things he regrets, insisting the Evra mess was a drama that the media and FA exaggerated. “I’ve made two mistakes in my career: when I was playing for Ajax and I bit (Otman) Bakkal and what I did with (Branislav) Ivanovic (against Chelsea). Those were my mistakes and I asked for forgiveness,” Suarez told Sport890. “All the other things were like a movie that people in England believed in. Evra? That’s what I’m talking about. It wasn’t true. I was never accused with real evidence but that’s something people forget.” Suarez admits it has been difficult for Liverpool to “protect” him during his controversies but has been buoyed by the support from his teammates, in particular Steven Gerrard.

NUGA: Private Universities decry mercenaries use

As the 24th Nigerian Universities Games kicks off, the use of mercenaries and non-bonafide students by the public universities as athletes has been highlighted as a reason why some private universities will no longer participate in the games. The Director of Sports and Socials, Babcock University, Ilisan, Ogun State, David Ayeni, stated so in an interview with our correspondent in his office. Ayeni said, “Babcock and some other private schools won’t be going to NUGA because we have noticed that the public universities have been using non-bonafide students and mercenaries as students. This act is a slap on our faces as it even does not encourage fair competition and it also does not result in the production of the right athletes for the country.” He added that to stem this, the private schools have started their own games which is called the Nigeria Private Universities Games, NPUGA. “NPUGA began in 2003 and was founded by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Registrars of Private Universities in Nigeria, otherwise called CVCR. I am the secretary of NPUGA; we formed it to ensure that the country raised the right talents and athletes from among the bonafide students of our private tertiary institutions. “The last edition of NPUGA was held in December, 2013 and was hosted by Joseph Ayo Babalola University.” He however explained that participation in the NUGA Games is at the discretion of the individual universities as there was no compulsion from the body and added that there is no grudge between NUGA and NPUGA. “NUGA and NPUGA aim at discovering talents for the country, so we bear no grudge against each other. Lead City, BIU and JABU are featuring in the NUGA Games, so it is all on the choice of the schools administrators. If they can cope, they are free but some of us are just not comfortable with the cheating being perpetrated by the public schools,” he said

JAMB fixes UTME for April 12, May 17

THE Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board has scheduled this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination for April 12 and May 17. The Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, said on Thursday that paper-pencil test would hold on April 12 while computer-based test would hold on May 17,2014, across 2,000 centres. Ojerinde stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Bwari, Federal Capital Territory. According to him, the examination will be paper- pencil-based as well as computer-based. “We are ready for the examination even now; however we will give them time until April 12. “We are going to do the PPT on April 12 all over the country, but the CBT will start on May 17, and it will continue for 12 days. “In any case, we are prepared; we have 300 centres for CBT while we have 2000 centres for PPT. “This is the last time we are going to do PPT; it will be all CBT next year, we want education to move forward, one of the ways of moving it forward is to eradicate examination malpractices. “That is our ambition and Nigeria will join the comity of nations in terms of technological development.” Ojerinde enjoined candidates to study hard to be able to pass. He, therefore, expressed the organisation’s resolve to eliminate examination malpractices. The registrar explained that the choice of the CBT was to curb exam malpractices, release results at the same time and encourage candidates to prepare adequately. “Our experience last year showed that the CBT candidates passed better than the PPT ones; there was no single examination malpractice, there was no missing result and answer script,” he said. The registrar said further that the reasons for limiting the choice of candidates to one university was the outcome of a meeting held sometime at the National Universities Commission. He commended the decision as it would help to tackle problems about cost and delay experienced by candidates seeking admission through post-JAMB tests. He said that candidates were limited to four institutions as against six to achieve the target goal. “We limited them to four institutions; one university, one College of education, one polytechnic and one Institute for entrepreneurship, because of the actions of our institutions. “They will call both first and second choice candidates for Post UTME, collect money from them and when the second choice candidate even scores higher than the first choice; they will prefer first choice candidates. “So, we are saying ‘take a university, let that university finish’. “When it finishes, we will send the rest of the material to the Polytechnic, instead of waiting for two Universities. “Let us make it one choice. It also will reduce cost of candidates going from one institution to another, doing post UTME. He cautioned candidates against registering for both PPT and CBT; saying “it is not possible for somebody to register for the two, you register for only one.” The registrar, however, warned that there would be cancellation of registration for anyone caught registering for both exams. He urged candidates wishing to change their choices of university, to do so on or before the close of the registration or stand the risk of paying the sum of N1,000 as fine. Ojerinde said that the sale of UTME form would end on March 14, adding that sites would close on March 25

Senators grill ministerial nominee over Bola Ige’s death

A ministerial nominee from Osun State, Oyewale Adesiyan, on Thursday made spirited effort to clear his name from the accusation that linked him to the murder of a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige. Ige was assassinated in his Bodija home, Ibadan on December 23, 2001. The drama started when Senate President David Mark asked Adesiyan to give more personal information that were not included in his curriculum vitae which he submitted to the Senate. The nominee commended the senators for the opportunity offered him to stand before them to speak as a ministerial nominee. He noted that he was one of those wrongly accused to have had a hand in Ige’s death. He said, “It may interest you distinguished senators to know that I am one of those wrongly accused to have had a hand in the death of my mentor, Chief Bola Ige. “It was all political blackmail because I knew nothing about the death of Chief Bola Ige. I was detained for three and half years for something I knew nothing about. “I stand here to say that I knew nothing about the death of Chief Bola Ige.” He described the late Ige as his political mentor whom he had no reason to kill. His submissions generated reactions among the senators including Senator Ehigie Uzamere (Edo South) who interjected by raising up his hand to seek Mark’s permission to question Adesiyan. Mark granted his request. Uzamere said, “Mr. Nominee, you mentioned in the course of your speech the death of Chief Bola Ige. Can you swear by the Quran that you do not know anything about the death of Bola Ige?” The question was protested by some of the senators who shouted that the Senate was not a place of worship or a shrine where such oath could be taken. But Uzamere added, “You said that you did not kill Bola Ige, that you were accused wrongly and detained for three and half years. We are in the same boat because I was also detained. “The question I want you to answer is, did you kill Bola Ige? Did you have anything to do with the death of Bola Ige? If the Holy Quran is not here as some senators said, I want to ask you did you kill Bola Ige? What do you know about the death of Bola Ige?” The protest persisted in the chamber but, Uzamere insisted that Adesiyan should answer the questions and this made the Senate President to demand a response from Adesiyan. Adesiyan said, “I thank Senator Uzamere for his questions. I do not know whether I can be availed with a copy of the Holy Quran. But I maintain and say that I did not kill Chief Bola Ige. “I did not have any reason to kill Chief Bola Ige but I was wrongly fingered to have killed him. Chief Bola Ige sent me to United States for education, he was my mentor. I am saying it today if Chief Bola Ige gave money to anybody, it is my family and I. “The reason I was fingered was because as the Assistant Secretary of the Alliance for Democracy, I changed (defected) to the PDP. Because of that, I was fingered and punished as having something to do with the assassination of Chief Bola Ige. “When I was in detention, I used to pinch myself whether I was dreaming because I had nothing to do with the death of Chief Bola Ige. It was all calculated political blackmail.” Apart from Adesiyan, other ministerial nominees screened by the Senate on Thursday were a former governor of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan (Sokoto) and Dr. Tamuno, Danagogo (Rivers). Hajia Hadjia Jamilla Salik (Kano) and Asabe Ahmed (Niger) did not appear for the screening

Nigerians must live in decent houses – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday vowed to ensure that all Nigerians lived in decent houses. The President spoke at the inauguration of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria’s Aviation Village and the National Housing Fund electronic card in Abuja. According to him, the Aviation Village, which comprises 270 housing units, was developed for Nigerians under the Mass Housing Scheme. “It is a successful policy and that is why I am here. Housing is something that all of us will be totally committed to because it is an opportunity to create jobs for Nigerians and all Nigerians must live in decent houses,” the President said. Jonathan, while reacting to a statement made by the President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Adulwaheed Omar, said the Federal Government had laid down workable and sustainable policies. He said, “When my comrade president mentioned that his friend was worried that Mr. President was coming to inaugurate an estate of only 270 housing units, in fact, as he was saying it I laughed because a number of people don’t know that what makes changes is not the big things we do but the little things we do and do very well. “What will transform this country is that the policies are workable and sustainable. So, it is not going to be one mega city and the inauguration of a housing estate of thousands of units that will transform a country, but your ability to recreate and replicate these small units across the country. “I will always advise real estate developers not to begin to think about money for 10,000 or 20,000 units, but small estates that you can manage so that when people come there, they will know that they are in a place where human beings will live and not where human beings will compete for space with rats and cockroaches.” The President noted that the housing sector played critical roles in economic empowerment, job creation and wealth generation. He said improving the living standards of Nigerians was a cardinal objective of his administration. Jonathan said his administration had strengthened the collaboration between the federal and state governments in order to reduce the time and cost of property transactions. According to him, the government is facilitating access to affordable and long-term financing as well as creating enabling environment through appropriate policies. He outlined some of the policies employed by the government as the National Policy on Housing and the National Policy on Urban Development, which were approved in June 2012. President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday vowed to ensure that all Nigerians lived in decent houses. The President spoke at the inauguration of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria’s Aviation Village and the National Housing Fund electronic card in Abuja. According to him, the Aviation Village, which comprises 270 housing units, was developed for Nigerians under the Mass Housing Scheme. “It is a successful policy and that is why I am here. Housing is something that all of us will be totally committed to because it is an opportunity to create jobs for Nigerians and all Nigerians must live in decent houses,” the President said. Jonathan, while reacting to a statement made by the President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Adulwaheed Omar, said the Federal Government had laid down workable and sustainable policies. He said, “When my comrade president mentioned that his friend was worried that Mr. President was coming to inaugurate an estate of only 270 housing units, in fact, as he was saying it I laughed because a number of people don’t know that what makes changes is not the big things we do but the little things we do and do very well. “What will transform this country is that the policies are workable and sustainable. So, it is not going to be one mega city and the inauguration of a housing estate of thousands of units that will transform a country, but your ability to recreate and replicate these small units across the country. “I will always advise real estate developers not to begin to think about money for 10,000 or 20,000 units, but small estates that you can manage so that when people come there, they will know that they are in a place where human beings will live and not where human beings will compete for space with rats and cockroaches.” The President noted that the housing sector played critical roles in economic empowerment, job creation and wealth generation. He said improving the living standards of Nigerians was a cardinal objective of his administration. Jonathan said his administration had strengthened the collaboration between the federal and state governments in order to reduce the time and cost of property transactions. According to him, the government is facilitating access to affordable and long-term financing as well as creating enabling environment through appropriate policies. He outlined some of the policies employed by the government as the National Policy on Housing and the National Policy on Urban Development, which were approved in June 2012.

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