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February 05, 2007

INEC explains verificatin of candidates today ... As substitution of aspirants list begins

INEC will today start to receive substitution of governorship candidates list from political parties, News Agency of Nigeria reports.


The commission will equally make known to the public its findings from the verification of candidates particulars conducted between January10- January 23, 2007.
INEC chairman, Maurice Iwu at the weekend said the substitution for governorship candidates would be between February 5 and February 13 in conformity with the 60 days before election as prescribed by the 2006 Electoral Act.
He pointed out that during the verification there were few cases of petitions against some candidates, saying such cases were brought to the knowledge of the candidates and their parties.
``INEC as you know, does not have power to disqualify; it is the constitution.
If we find anybody not meeting up with the constitutional provisions for a particular office, his party has the right to substitute him'', he said.
He said the substitution for presidential candidates by the parties would start from February 13 to February 20, leaving 60 days ahead of April 21 elections.
Already, the national leader of PDP, President Olusegun Obasanjo, has announced that five PDP governorship candidates would be substituted for new ones, whose names had been forwarded to INEC.
In the same vein, ANPP, AC and other major parties have sent names of their substituted candidates to the electoral body in line with the electoral laws.
NAN recalls that INEC has repeatedly insisted that it will be strict with the deadline for the submission of substituted list, so as to give it enough time to plan for the elections.
NAN reports that INEC is to emboss each candidate's photographs alongside the logo of his party in the ballot paper for each of the elections.

Posted by Publisher at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

Buhari Vs Yar’adua: Police assure equal treatment in Katsina

Katsina state commissioner of police Muhammad Abbas has promised to give equal treatment to all presidential candidates during their campaigns.

Abbas made this known at the weekend in Katsina during an interview with the News Agency with Nigeria (NAN).
He said the command would give ANPP presidential candidate, Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari, his PDP counterpart, Governor Umaru Yar’adua, and all other candidates equal treatment without considering their parties.
“We will ensure that we give all candidates equal treatment as long as they abide by the provisions of Public Order Act.
“This, they should do by applying for police permit before they conduct any political activity in the state,” he said.
Abbas said the command would continue to maintain the peaceful atmosphere in the state by ensuring the safety of lives and property before, during and after elections.
He advised politicians to strictly adhere to the provisions of Public Order Act to avoid any breach of peace.
Abbas said the command would not tolerate thuggery fromany party.
He urged politicians and the parties to caution their supporters and followers against incitement and fomenting trouble.
“I want politicians to avoid provocation, incitement and taking law into their hands, but to promptly report cases of violence to the police,” Abbas urged.
“I don’t expect politicians or their supporters to tamper with the structure of rival parties such as posters, vehicles, flags and other property,” he added.
Abbas said the command had 146 serviceable vehicles to monitor the April general elections in the state.
He said the command would deploy 6,500 officers and men to monitor the general elections in the state.
The police commissioner said the command’s communication systems were being upgraded and serviced for effective communication during the elections.

Posted by Publisher at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

Elections: Kano police to lay emphasis on Public Order Act

Kano state commissioner of police Muhammad-Dikko Abubakar says that in a bid to facilitate the smooth conduct of the 2007 general elections, the police will lay emphasis on the Public Order Act.

He therefore, advised politicians to seek for police permit before conducting any political activity in the state.
Abubakar gave the advice at the weekend in Kano at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum.
He said it is only when politicians complied with the provisions of the Public Order Act that political activities could be conducted without violence.
Abubakar said the order was not to infringe on anybody's rights, but to ensure effective protection of lives and property of innocent citizens.
He said no political party or individual, no matter how highly placed, would be allowed to hold any political activity without police approval.
``We are determined to have violence-free elections devoid of thuggery, use of weapons, drugs and drunkenness by party supporters,'' he said.
Abubakar commended politicians in the state for their good conduct during the recently concluded party primaries.
He said the command's initiative of
conducting monthly interactive forum with politicians from all political parties had been yielding positive results.
The commissioner said it was a result of their forum that political parties in the state conducted their congresses without any trouble.
On adequate manpower to provide security during the forthcoming polls, mand had four Police Mobile Force (PMF) units on standby to attend to any emergency.
He said in addition to the PMF units, each of its 44 divisions had 25 men on standby, while 100 men were always on alert at the command headquarters.
Abubakar said both the PMF and the conventional policemen were being trained on weapon handling, VIP protection, VIP guard, election duties and general policing.

Posted by Publisher at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

Media tasked on professional ethics

Media managers in the country have been charged to adhere strictly to their professional ethics.

The charge was given in a communiqué at the 37th meeting of the National Council on Information in Enugu, which ended Friday.
The Council also called for an opinion survey method that would capture the attitude of Nigerians, and for the use of information managers in research for effective mobilisation of the people towards the success of the election.
It recommended the development of community radio, which would bring government policies and programmes closer to the people and promote co-operation and unity among communities in Nigeria .
It called for television station and mobile cinema vans to broadcast and show video documentaries in rural communities.
On Avian Influenza, the communiqué urged states to adopt appropriate intervention and collaborative steps in mobilising the populace against further spread of the virus in the country.
The communiqué also called on state ministries of information to stimulate dialogue, with a view to finding community driven solutions to the incessant oil pipeline vandalisation in the country.
The Council resolved that film bureau be established by all states of the federation in order to harness the rich natural and human resources that would stimulate development in the sector among others.
Earlier, minister of information and Communication, Frank Nweke Jr. in a keynote address, recalled the several national and international issues, that had emerged to challenge the skills and capacities of the Council in the discharge of its responsibilities.

Posted by Publisher at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

FG wasted $500bn on power plants rehabilitation - Atiku

VICE President Atiku Abubakar has accused federal government of wasting about $500 billion US dollars on rehabilitation of the Nigeria’s power sector over the last seven years.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

The vice president made the accusation at an interactive session with journalists in Kano yesterday after flagging off his presidential campaign in the state early on Saturday.
Similarly, he blamed President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration of voting and committing over N300 billion for roads construction across the country, yet no single road has even been completed or commissioned by the president.
Alhaji Abubakar reaffirmed that politicians must agree to unite to confront and stop the ruling party, the PDP from continuing in office for the country to develop.
He said: “Allowing the ruling party PDP to continue will tantamount to allowing one party system in the country as well as perpetration of dictatorship“.
The vice president who is also the presidential flag-bearer of the Action Congress (AC), explained that the most important thing to Nigerians is the survival of democracy which is being threatened.
According to him, the Action Congress would do differently from what the present administration is doing in terms of developmental policies.
He added that AC has an affirmative policy for women empowerment where the women-folk would reconcile priority attention for the development of their potentials.
The presidential candidate while commenting on incumbency factoring on the forthcoming elections, said Nigerians should not hold the belief that the ruling party cannot be uprooted of power.
He maintained that if it can happen in other African countries like Benin, Senegal and Ghana, Nigeria should not be an exception, adding that in Kano, an opposition party has dethroned the ruling party in 2003 and in 2007 Nigerians will emerge victorious.
He therefore advised Nigerians to work towards defending the country’s young democracy from scuttling it.
Meanwhile, the vice president has urged the press to ensure sufficient support for the nascent democracy through objective reporting and enlightening the Nigerians on national issues.
On AC/ANPP alliance, Alhaji Abubakar stated that the main objective of it, is three-fold namely, to ensure the elections are free, fair and credible; ensure that in government others do not want to be forced to leave and how to create environment at union’s levels of election to harmonise support of consensus candidate.
In a welcome address, the state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau who spoke through the information commissioner, congratulated Vice President Atiku Abubakar for a hitch-free launching and wished him all the best

Posted by Publisher at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2006

Guber race: Shekarau picks second term form

YESTERDAY, all roads leading to the national secretariat of the All Nigeria Peoples Party ( ANPP) were blocked by human traffic while the party’s secretariat was full to capacity as supporters and well wishes of Kano state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, invaded the arena to witness the governor’s picking of form as prelude to his recontesting the governorship seat in the 2007 elections.

Stories from KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

Our correspondent who visited the ANPP secretariat revealed that as early as 8.00am, supporters of the governor, party officials and even the staff of the secretariat were anxiously waiting to witness the occasion which was scheduled to take place aroud 2.00pm.
Malam Ibrahim Shekarau received a warm reception from almost all the state’s 44 local government chairmen who were there to bless the memorable occasion.

The governor, who was received by the party’s national chairman and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Edwin Ume Ezeoke who was flanked by some national officials of the largest opposition party in the country, was overwhelmed party supporters who were chanting “Allah maimaita mana “.

Soon after the governor received the form, the national chairman of the party, Chief Edwin Ezeoke explained that the party will ensure that all the aspirants of the party at all levels enjoy equal treatment to enable the electorate have the best candidate.

According to him, the ANPP is ready to honor any consensus candidate if the need arise but reaffirmed that if it is necessary to go to the primaries, his party is ready to go for it.

“Our intention is to provide the nation with best leaders whose intention is to provide electorate with dividend of democracy at all levels,” he stated.
Speaking to the press shortly after receiving the form, Malam Shekarau explained that the money provided for the purchase of the nomination form was contributed by pensioners who have requested him to continue with the good work he had started in 2003.

The governor, while answering questions from reporters vowed to defeat the former Kano state governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso for the second time if they meet again at the polls.

It could be recalled that Malam Shekarau immediately after assumption of power came up with policies that culminated in the settlement of pensioner’s entitlements that were not paid by the administration of his predecessors.

Investigation conducted by Daily Triumph revealed that Shekarau’s administration inherited over N3 billion liability but within no time it settled it.

Posted by Publisher at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2006

KNSG inaugurates 479 reconciliation committees

IN furtherance of its drive to entrench Sharia implementation to the grassroots and ensure decent society, the Kano state government has inaugurated 479 Community Reconciliation Committees for all the 44 local government areas in the state.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

Inaugurating the committee yesterday at a function tagged ‘’the Reconciliation Day’’ held at Sani Abacha Stadium, the state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau explained that the committees comprising 7,260 representatives are mandated to resolve disputes in their respective domain.

According to him, the committees are expected to play a major role in settling wranglings involving families, friends, neighbours and associates without recourse to going to the police or court.
The overall aim, he said, is to ensure a more conscientious and united citizenry necessary for the success of the Sharia being implemented by the government, as well as refocusing the society toward development.

Governor Shekarau however stated that the committees will not prosecute anyone like law enforcement agencies but rather, was aimed at ensuring that disputes are settled amicably, adding that capacity building programmes and facilities will be provided to enable them work effectively.

Malam Shekarau noted with delight that the state Hisbah guards are playing a vital role in the value re-orientation of the people and commended the Emir of Kano, civil and religious leaders for their support to his administration.

In his speech, the Emir of Kano. Alhaji (Dr.) Ado Bayero promised total support for the committee in the interest of a more organized society and appealed for the cooperation of the people.
The emir therefore directed all district heads and religious leaders to ensure the success of the committees in their domains while advising the members to ensue the prevailence of justice and equity.

Earlier, the commander-general of the state Hisbah, Sheikh Yahya Farooq Chedi explained that they have so far succeeded in resolving more than 19,000 civil cases, besides rendering humanitarian services as well as other activities aimed at sanitizing the social order.
Sheikh Chedi further disclosed that Hisbah was able to discover and close a number of social vices spots across the state as well as counseling the persons involved, repent and live a decent life.

Others who spoke at the occasion include Sheikh Umar Sani Fagge, commissioner I, State Sharia commission and Malam Ibrahim Mu’azzam Maibushira, commissioner II, Zakka and Khubsi Commission, who dwelt on the importance of reconciliation in Sharia and Muslim society.
Highlights of the occasion include honouring of the state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau as the Vanguard of Hisbah (Garkuwan Hisbah) as well as presentation of souvenir to five prominent personalities for their contribution to the successes of Hisbah.

Those who receive the souvenirs included the first chairman of Hisbah, Sheikh Aminuddeen Abubakar, Alhaji Abdullahi Dutse, immediate past chairman, Alhaji Sunusi Kani, immediate past director-general, Ustaz Ahmad Shu’aibu and Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam.

Posted by Publisher at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2006

NASS delegation visits Sokoto

The National Assemby has sent a condolence message to the government and people of Sokoto state on the death of Sultan Muhammad Maccido and some prominent indigenes of the state.

Maccido, the state deputy governor, Alhaji Garba Muhammad, two Senators and some members of their families as well as some top government officials died in Sunday’s ADC plane crash near Abuja.

The condolence message was delivered yesterday in Sokoto to Governor Attahiru Bafarawa by a seven-man delegation led by the Senate Leader, Sen. Dalhatu Sarki-Tafida.

Other members of the delegation were Muhammad Ibrahim, Abba Aji, Jalo Zarunmi, Umaru Tambuwal, Muhammad Dansadau and Hon. Kabir Umar.

Sarki-Tafida told the governor that NASS received the news of the crash and the deaths with shock.
“The crash is a tragedy which affected all
Nigerians and not only Sokoto state,” he said.
He informed the governor that another delegation from the Senate would also pay a condolence visit to the state.

Bafarawa later led the delegation in a special prayer for the repose of the souls of the deceased.
Governor Ibrahim Shekarau also led another delegation to commiserate with Bafarawa.

Posted by Publisher at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2006

2007: North-West ANPP goes to court over election

THE North-West Forum of Chairmen and National Officers of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has resolved to take legal action to see that 2007 election was conducted as schedule, despite apparent moves and moveuovres of the ruling PDP to elongate their tenure by not supplying INEC with necessary materials to conduct voters’ registration.

By SANI AHMAD BICHI

This was disclosed by the chairman of the forum who is also the national vice chairman North-West of the party in a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting in Kaduna last Saturday.

The forum also resolved to establish a zonal secretariat which will coordinate offices within the zone.

They also condemned the way and manner INEC is conducting the voters’ registration as it is not in line with the assurance given by the chairman.
The communiqué further called on INEC to take judicial action on all elected officers who defected from the party by declaring their posts vacant as in the case of Plateau state.

The communiqué however, extended the appreciation of the national secretariat to all the party’s teeming supporters for their unflinching loyalty.

Earlier in his opening speech, the chairman had expressed the objective of the committee to ensure resounding victory of the party at all levels through ensuring unity and internal cohesion, conflict resolution, justice, faith and equitable treatment of party members.

As the biggest opposition party, ANPP should capitalize on the happenings and weaknesses of the ruling party, it added.

Answering questions from reporters after the meeting, Kano state ANPP chairman, Hon. Sani Hashim Hotoro urged the people of the zone to cherish the virtues of honesty, resourcefulness, respect, enormous leadership quality bestowed on them. He also stressed that as Muslims, who believe that it is God who gives power to whosoever he so wishes, so the A mai-maita slogan is a wish.

Posted by Publisher at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2006

Polys may collapse into varsity system - FG

The federal ministry of education is nursing the idea of collapsing campuses of federal polytechnics and colleges of education into campuses of universities.

Authoritative source in the ministry told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the weekend that the thinking in the ministry was informed by need to create more university spaces for candidates.

The source said: “It is the belief that if the existing campuses of polytechnics and colleges of education are collapsed into university campuses, they will create 500,000 thousand spaces for those seeking university admission.

“The idea is also being supported by the fact that the number of those seeking admission to polytechnics and colleges of education are declining.

“This idea is further gaining ground because the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) can only presently admit only 30,000 students.’’

The source said that the government was worried of the more than 1.5 million eligible candidates for university education yearly not more than 150,000 gained admissions.

The government, the source said, was strengthened in this thinking by development in the United Kingdom and the U.S, which were re-engineering their university education.

NAN also leant that the ministry was considering how to make adult and non-formal education attractive to reduce illiteracy in the country.

“It is worrisome that about 65 per cent of the nation’s population is illiterate,’’ the source said.

The source said: “In this re-engineering process of the education sector, special education would also receive special attention.

Posted by Publisher at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2006

18 power companies begin business - BPE

The 18 power companies unbundled from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) have started operations as autonomous entities, the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), has said.

A source at the BPE, who preferred anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday, that each of the companies ``has its own management, is self-accounting and not dependent on government.

``The BPE is now preparing each of them for privatisation,'' the source said, adding that the companies consisted of 6 generation companies, 11 distribution companies and one transmission company.

He identified the six generation companies as Kainji Power Plc, Egbin Power Plc, Shiroro Hydro Plc, Sapele Power Plc, Calabar Thermal Plc and Ughelli Power Plc.
The distribution companies include Kaduna Electricity Distribution Plc, Abuja Electricity Distribution Plc, Jos Electricity Distribution Plc and Yola Electricity Distribution Plc.

Others are Benin Electricity Distribution Plc, Eko Electricity Distribution Plc, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Plc, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Plc, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, Kano Electricity Distribution Plc and Enugu Electricity Distribution Plc.

The source said the entire staff of the defunct PHCN had been distributed to work in the 18 companies, adding that three of the distribution companies in Abuja, Ikeja and Port Harcourt had been slated for privatisation.

``They will be privatised between the last quarter of 2006 and the first quarter of 2007, '' he said.
According to the source, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is expected to license each of these companies, regulate their operations, determine issues of tariff and protect consumers interest.

As part of the process to prepare each of the companies for privatisation, the source said that a Presidential Committee was currently working on the restructuring of the PHCN staff distributed among the 18 companies.

``The committee will determine the quantity and quality of staff that will be retained by each of the companies before privatisation,'' he added.

Commenting on the sale of NITEL to Transcorp, the source told NAN that the BPE had requested Transcorp to submit its ``development turn around plan'' for revamping the former national carrier.

The plan, he said, include Transcorp's investment profile for NITEL, management and personnel policies, adding: ``Transcorp has promised to furnish BPE with its plans to revitalise NITEL within the next one week.''

The source further told NAN that Transcorp had 90 days to pay the outstanding balance of 250 million dollars for the purchase of NITEL.

It would be recalled that Transcorp, which won the bid to purchase 75 per cent of federal government shares in NITEL as the core investor for 750 million dollars, recently paid 500 million dollars of its offer.

Posted by Publisher at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2006

2007 debacle Was INEC issued N20bn dud cheque?

INEC chairman Maurice Iwu said yesterday in Abuja that the N20 billion meant for the purchase of some electoral materials is trapped in the Central Bank.

Iwu told correspondents that this was because the commission’s cheque issued in favour of the amount bounced.
He said, however, that in spite that, INEC had a fall-back arrangement, saying that nothing would be allowed to hinder the commission’s operations.
The chairman said INEC had fulfilled all the requisite “due process” requirements, adding that the cheque, nonetheless, bounced because it had been embargoed.
Iwu, who described the incident as an embarrassment, gave the assurance that the commission had factored all the likely lapses into its planning processes.
“As far as we are concerned at the commission, we are not bothered by that and we shall remain focused in achieving our aims and objectives,’’ he said.
Iwu, however, conceded that it would be distracting for INEC to be dragged into any controversy, as the commission was currently occupied with plans for revalidation of voters register that would commence on October 7.
He disclosed that materials for the revalidation had been ordered for, while the commission had taken delivery of some.
The INEC chairman reiterated his determination to conduct free, fair and acceptable elections in 2007, in spite of the sentiments of some cynics.
NAN reports that the joint committee of the House of Representatives on Electoral Matters and Finance had promised to look into the issues raised by INEC chairman regarding the bounced cheque.
In another development, the Sokoto state’s 14-man committee on public enlightenment on voter registration began its assignment on Sunday with a visit to Wurno in the state.
State governor Attahiru Bafarawa on Thursday in Sokoto inaugurated the committee which has the state information commissioner, Alhaji Ibrahim Gidado, as chairman.
Speaking at the ceremony, Gidado said the nationwide exercise, billed to commence on October 7, would last for 50 days.
He warned that any person who failed to register during the voter revalidation would not be eligible to vote in the forthcoming elections.
‘’There is no registration by proxy, as your pictures will be embossed on the voter cards.
“The voter cards are important documents which we must keep with utmost care until the polling day’,’’ he said.
Gidado noted that the committee was set up because of the importance of the exercise, stressing that citizens could only vote in leaders of their choice, if they were duly registered.
‘’All the former voter cards we have are no longer useful as the new card that will be issued is basically electronic,‘’ he added.
He advised the people not to let the ongoing Muslim fasting period or farming activities prevent them from registering, noting that the electoral process was a civic responsibility.
Also speaking, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido, described the voter card as an instrument for Nigerians to vote in people of their choice during the 2007 elections.
Maccido, who was represented by Alhaji Bala Sokoto, noted that all the cultural and religious factors were duly considered when the timing of the exercise was fixed.
INEC’s state head of public enlightenment, Alhaji Muhammad Musa, said the commission introduced electronic machines for the registration and the elections to particularly guard against multiple registration and voting.
NAN reports that stakeholders in eight local government areas in Sokoto East Senatorial Zone converged on Wurno for the one-day sensitisation.
Those present at the event included traditional rulers, political leaders, women leaders and religious leaders, among others.

Posted by Publisher at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)

Kano ANPP chairman goes on assessment tour... Urges voters to register enmass

AS part of effort to reach out to its teeming supporters and enhance better relationship with the newly elected executive members, chairman of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Kano state, Alhaji Sani Hashim Hotoro has commenced an assessment tour of all the 44 local government councils.

By SANI AHMAD BICHI

The chairman, accompanied by all the executive members have so far visited 16 local governments among which include Bichi, Tsanyawa, Tofa, Kabo, Gwarzo, Doguwa, Tudun Wada, Sumaila, Garko, Wudil, Tarauni, Kura and Garun Malam.
Speaking at Garun Malam local government Sunday, the chairman urged all party supporters to come out enmass to register in the voter revalidation exercise scheduled for October 7.
Alhaji Hotoro who emphasized the importance of registration as the only way of voting the right choice, also charged party supporters to live in peace with one another, as there is no progress in a rancourous atmosphere.
Also speaking, the party’s deputy chairman, Alhaji Sulaiman Lawan Ligge said the executives embarked on the tour to see for themselves what is on the ground, assess the relationship between party officials at the grassroots and also to mobilize supporters on the forthcoming voter registration exercise.
The tour was attended by thousands of party youth, elders, state and local officials.
Among the party’s state executive members were the treasurer, public relations officer, organizing secretary, welfare secretary and auditor.
The tour continues today with a visit to Bunkure, Kibiya and Rano.

Posted by Publisher at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)

UBEC sets up committee on EMIS

The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has established a technical committee on Education Management Information System (EMIS) to ensure effective implementation of the programme.

Prof. Gidado Tahir, UBEC Executive Secretary,made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja.
He explained that the committee had become urgent and compelling, toward realising a functional basic Education Data Bank.
He noted that for a successful implementation of the UBE, information must be readily available for informed implementation of the programme.
Tahir said members of the 15-member committee drawn from the academia, UBEC and the private sector included Mr Jim Shoobridge, of the British Council, Abuja; Prof. Bridget Sokan, Deputy Executive Secretary, UBEC and Prof. E.A Okeke, of the University of Nigeria (UNN).
Others are Prof. Abdullahi Adamu, Bayero University, Kano; Prof. M.J. Shuaibu, an education consultant; Prof. J.O.E Otuka, of Nasarawa State University; Prof. Kayode Ajayi, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye and Mrs Josephine Ogar, from Cross River State.
He further said that Prof. C.C. Onocha, Dr J.B.O. Olubodun and Dr Andrew Ekpunobi, all of UBEC, Dr. E. Kpangban, of Delta State University, and Mr. Olayinka Adejube of NITDA, were members of the committee.
He added that the committee would, among other things, design a framework for the establishment of functional Basic Education Data Bank and identify the information needs of basic education at all levels.

Posted by Publisher at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

Bird flu: Vet association cautions NAFDAC on vaccine importation

Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) has cautioned NAFDAC against giving clearance for importation of bird flu vaccines into the country.

Its President, Dr Garba Sharubutu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday that the vaccine as a solution or preventive measure for bird flu, was not possible for now.
He announced that it came to the notice of the association that some poultry farmers were vaccinating their birds against bird flu.
Sharubutu said there was an influx of various bird flu vaccines in the country now, which was an illegal act because the federal government had not approved any form of vaccine for it.
He explained that as far as veterinary bio technologies and vaccines were concerned, it was only the Director of Federal Department of Livestock and Pest Control Services that could handle it legally.
And before this could be done, government must assess the situation, scientific bases and the wider implication before a pronouncement could be made, he explained.
``Because the influenza type A virus that causes bird flu has 15 types, it will require a complex vaccine and not just any type,'' he added.
He pointed out that even the Canadian government that signed a pact to produce a prototype N5H1 vaccine did so only for clinical testing ``and this will not be tested until end of the year, while the process and licensing will take another one year''.
He advised that it was time NAFDAC to carried the association along in animal care issues to avoid the influx of various vaccines into the country.
If NAFDAC had carried NVMA along in the scheme of events and worked in accordance with the law provided for in the Animal Disease Control Act, NVMA would have sensitised them that government did not allow the importation of bird flu vaccine into the country, he said.
Also, Dr Muhammad Bala, a veterinary surgeon and General Secretary of NVMA, said it would be a major error for any poultry farmer to start vaccination because the virus was unstable and could change at every treatment.
He said for this it was close to impossible to have a vaccine against the virus for now.
Bala said NAFDAC's operation on veterinary and vaccines should be carried out under the Veterinary Directorate as approved by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1992.
He said ``up till this period, the directorate has not been established and animal drug administration is being carried out without any technical experts regulating the activities.
``This, on its own, can cause another problem for the nation,'' he stressed.
The general secretary said the association had made official report to the Federal Ministry of Health, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and UN for corrective measures.

Posted by Publisher at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

UBEC urges private proprietors to ensure standards

UBEC has directed private school proprietors to employ teachers with National Certificate of Education (NCE) to ensure standards as the UBE takes off.

Prof. Gidado Tahir, UBEC Executive Secretary, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday that the directive was to ensure compliance with the decision of the National Council on Education (NCE).
He said proprietors could employ teachers with higher qualifications but should ensure they acquired the basic teaching qualification from the National Teachers Institute (NTI) or other training institutions.
Tahir said private schools should conform with laid down standards, including continuous assessment or schools-based assessment for the evaluation of pupils from primaries 1 to 6 and JSS 1 to 3 in line with the UBE structure.
He explained, however, that the schools could adopt their own selection procedures in addition to the use of cumulative assessment records for admission purposes into JSS 1 from primary schools.
``Private schools must ensure that they present their JSS 3 pupils for final external basic education examination to be conducted by any of the recognised examination bodies in the country,'' he said. `There shall be no certification at the end of primary education. Certificates will now be issued at the end of JSS 3, in conformity with the 9 year basic education structure’, he concluded.

Posted by Publisher at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2006

Why I fast alongside Muslims -- Obasanjo

President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he decided to participate in the annual Ramadan fast with Muslims for the past seven years in order to help “blunt the religious divisions in the country”.

Stories from KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

“Irrespective of our acclaimed religions, when we join each others to dine and celebrate major events together, we are blunting the religious divisions and bringing each other closer”, he stated.
According to the President who stated this at the first breaking of fast he hosted for ministers and some of his personal aides at State House, Monday, doing so will make all religious followers to understand each other.

He said Christian clergymen who had joined him to break the fast during Ramadan in the past found the experience worthy of emulation and pledged to do the same in their locations.
The month of Ramadan, the president added must be recognised as a period for “rededication, personal sacrifice, worship and commitment to God. We need all these in our country today”.

He thanked the ministers and his aides for their commitment, dedication, loyalty and sacrifice, and added that “any worthy service must cost you something”.

Earlier, in his speech, the Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmad, had commended the President for taking spiritual leadership by participating in the Ramadan fast even though he is not a Muslim.

The Head of Service explained that this year’s fast is at a time when the country is passing through trials, but added that President Obasanjo was no stranger to trials, and God had always seen him through.

He stated that the President’s consistent stand for truth and correctness is a great example to Nigerians worthy of emulation.
Those at the breaking of the fast included the ministers of water resources, commerce, labour, works (state), education (state), Director General, Budget, Chairman, Nigerian Railway Corporation and Senior Special Assistant, Aviation.

Posted by Publisher at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2006

Last respect for fallen heroes ... Obasanjo, Kabbah, grace funeral ceremony

President Olusegun Obasanjo and his visiting Seirra Leonian counterpart Ahmed Tijjan-Kabbah were among top dignitaries who graced the funeral of 13 military officers who died in Sunday’s plane crash.

Stories From KABIRU YUSUF and Agency Report

Former President Ibrahim Bababgida, Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Ken Nnamani, House Speaker Aminu Bello Masari and Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano state among other governors were also at the funeral.
Babangida had the misfortune of presiding over a similar ceremony in 1992, when a C-130 military transport aircraft crashed killing all the 163 passengers and crew at Ejigbo, near Lagos.
One of the officers killed in the Donier 288 crash in Benue state, Maj.-Gen. Nuhu Bamalli, was Babangida’s ADC who stood behind the former leader at the same Military Cemetry, Abuja.
Tijjan-Kabbah’s country benefited immensely from the intervention of Nigeria’s armed forces during the crisis that rocked his country in the late 1990s.
Many of the fallen heroes in the Sierra Leone campaign were buried at the same Military Cemetery.
Also present was a foremost African elder statesman and former President of Zambia, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, who is in the country for an international aviation conference.
Also present were members of the federal executive council, the governors of Osun, Niger, Plateau, Anambra, Benue and Kano states.
In their separate sermons, the chaplains of the Catholic and Anglican Christian denominations, as well as an Imam prayed for the deceased officers and their families.
They prayed God to strengthen the deceased’s families, and for the armed forces to stand united devoid of region, tribe or religion as did their fallen colleagues.
In an emotion-laden address, Obasanjo said the country and the bereaved families were not alone in mourning because the world was also mourning with them.
“I received calls from world leaders and the UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Anan, and this shows we are not alone in our hour of darkness,’’ he said.
Obasanjo, who also handed the national flag to representatives of the deceased families, stated that the officers “are truly the best among the best that our nation has produced’’.
He charged Nigerians to strive for the best for their country and to be upright because “we shall one day be lifeless like them.’’
Also speaking, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Martin Luther-Agwai, said the officers were on a mission to improve the military.
“Our colleagues who lost their lives on Sunday were out to find the fundamentals of a new army, among which are fighting other nations` wars.
“They were among the best and brightest in our country and were exposed to modern warfare outside our country only to lose their lives in the crash.
“We shall defend the course for which you died and the corporate existence of our country,’’ he said.
Wreaths were laid by Obasanjo, Kabbah, Atiku, National Assembly leaders, the Chief Justice of the Justice of Federation and representatives of the deceased officers whose caskets were draped in national colours.
Meanwhile ,a total of 2,500 police personnel from FCT police command were deployed to provide security during the burial of the 13 senior military officers.
FCT Commissioner of Police Lawrence Alobi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja that those deployed were to provide security throughout the burial.
Alobi said that some of the officers were deployed to some strategic areas including the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, the National Hospital and the National Military Cemetery.
He said that the officers were deployed to ensure that no vehicle was stolen, manage traffic, control the crowd and to ensure the safety of lives and properties throughout the exercise.
Alobi said that the military and the police had been working together since Monday when the five survivors were brought to Abuja.
He said that Maj.-Gen. Harrison Adoga, the commander, headquarters of the Nigerian Army Garrison, Abuja, had been wonderful and supportive to the FCT police command.
The News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) reports that 335 officers and men from the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps were also deployed for the burial.
The FRSC provided 55 officers and marshals to control traffic and to provide ambulance services at the venue, 18 VIOs were also deployed between the city gate and the cemetery.
NAN reports that neither incident of armed robbery nor accident was recorded throughout the period which lasted for about seven hours.

Posted by Publisher at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2006

Pope’s criticism of Islam:Muslims demand retraction, apology--- Urge envoys recalled

Muslim scholars and religious leaders in Kuwait, Turkey and Pakistan have criticised Pope Benedict XVI for his remarks critical of Islam and urged him to play a positive role in bringing Islam and Christianity closer.

Ali Bardakoglu, head of the state-run religious affairs directorate in Turkey, said yesterday that Pope Benedict XVI is "full of enmity and grudge" against Islam, opposing the pontiff's planned visit to Turkey in November.

Bardakoglu also demanded that the pope immediately retract and issue an apology for his remarks about Islam and his criticism of the concept of Holy War.
The pontiff's remarks "reflect the hatred in his heart. It is a statement full of enmity and grudge", Bardakoglu told the NTV news channel on yesterday.

During a six-day visit to his native Germany this week, the pope hit out at Islam and its concept of jihad or holy war, citing a 14th-century Christian emperor who said that Prophet Muhammad had brought the world "evil and inhuman" things.

"Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul," he said on Tuesday in an address at Regensburg University.

"Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul", Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi later said he did not believe the pope's words were meant as a harsh criticism of Islam.
Bardakoglu, however, described them as unacceptable.

"The pope's approach is a spoilt and cocksure point of view that looks down on the other. At times, we also criticise the Christian world for its wrongs, but we never defame either Christ or the Bible or the holiness of Christianity," he said.

In comments to the Anatolia News Agency, Bardakoglu said the Pope carried the same mindset as that "of the Crusades" which arose from the church view that Islam is the enemy.

In Kuwait, two high-ranking Islamic officials yesterday also called on Pope Benedict XVI to apologise for his remarks.

Haken al-Mutairi, secretary-general of the emirate's Umma [Islamic Nation] party, urged the Pope to apologise immediately "to the Muslim world for his calumnies against Prophet Muhammad and Islam".
Al-Mutairi hit out at the pope's "unaccustomed and unprecedented" remarks, and linked the Catholic Church leader's comments to "new Western wars currently under way in the Muslim world in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon.

"We demand that the Pope make a public apology", Sayed Baqer al-Mohri,head of the Kuwaiti assembly of Shia Ulamas said, adding that the Pope's statements amounted to "the pursuit of Crusades", he said.

"I call on all Arab and Islamic states to recall their ambassadors from the Vatican and expel those from the Vatican until the Pope says he is sorry for the wrong done to the Prophet and to Islam, which preaches peace, tolerance, justice and equality," al-Mutairi said.
Sayed B. al-Mohri, head of the assembly of Shia Ulms, or theologians, in Kuwait, labelled the Pope's comments as "unrealistic and unjustified", calling on him to apologise.

"His unjustified attack on Islam and the Prophet Muhammad clearly contradicts his call for dialogue between civilisations," Mohri said. "It opens the way to animosity between religions.

"We demand that the Pope make a public apology" to help bring an end to animosity.’’

The Pope was also criticised by muslim scholars and religious leaders in Pakistan who urged him to play a positive role in bringing Islam and Christianity closer.
Khurshid Ahmad, head of the Institute of Policy Studies in Islamabad, said: "It is very unfortunate that a religious leader of his status is issuing statements which can fan religious disharmony.

"The Pope is a respected personality not only for Christians but for Muslims also. He should not lower his status by giving Bush-like statements". Hafiz Hussain Ahmad,a leader of the Pakistani Jammiat Ulma-e-Islam party stated.

"The Pope's attitude is very different from his predecessor. Instead of bringing Islam and Christianity closer, he is straining relations between the two religions," Ahmad said.

"In the present political atmosphere, such views can be exploited by those who are trying to malign muslims and Islam.

"We expect the Pope to play a positive role in promoting relations between religions and civilisations. "The Pope's views about the role of Sharia [Islamic law] and Jihad are at variance with Muslim beliefs." Hafiz Hussain Ahmad, a leader of the Jammiat Ulma-e-Islam party and an MP, urged the Pope not to take inspiration from George Bush, the US president.

Shahid Shamsi, spokesman for the Jamaat-i-Islami party, said:"The Pope's statement was an attempt to jeopardise a remarkable unity displayed by christians and muslims against recent Israeli aggression in Lebanon".

Posted by Publisher at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2006

7 -month baby girl raped...Suspect in police net

A SEVEN-month old baby girl has been reported raped in a brothel at Sani Giwa Street in Sabon Gari, Kano Sunday.

By GAMBO KANNO

This ugly incident occurred at a popular brothel on Sani Giwa Street where the mother of the baby (names withheld) is said to to be sharing a room with a girlfriend to the suspected rapist.
A reliable source told Daily Triumph on condition of anonymity ‘’that the suspected rapist (names withheld) visited the brothel on that day, met the two roommates the mother of the baby (victim) and her roommate outside where he bought them drinks.
‘’As they were drinking, the suspect (who is said to be a cleaner with the Central Bank of Nigeria) feigned tiredness and went into the room to relax,’’ he disclosed.
Meanwhile, the baby girl was laid on a bed in the room for her evening nap, when the suspect carried out the dastardly act and left the room soon after. The baby girl was discovered by the mother who met her unconscious and bleeding profusely from her genital area and raised an alarm.
The suspect who is presently cooling his heels in a cell in Noman’s land police station is said to be in his mid to late 20’s. All efforts to get DSP Baba Muhammad, the Kano command’s PPRO proved abortive as he was not on seat, but Daily Triumph can report authoritatively that investigations are in top gear and the suspect will soon be arraigned before an appropriate court of law.
In another development, a minor traffic misunderstanding between two Ibo traders in Freetown Street of Sabon Gari has resulted in the death of one of them.
This occurred between the hours of 10 and 11p.m. on Saturday night in front of a popular drinking place on Freetown Street, where the vehicle of the suspect (names withheld) broke down and obstructed the passage of the deceased.
According to an eyewitness, both parties got involved in a hot argument that resulted in fisticuffs and in a fit of rage, the suspect picked up his car jack and hit the deceased on the head.
The deceased who was to get married in December, thereafter slumped immediately and was rushed to the hospital where he died two days later without regaining consciousness.
Meanwhile, the suspect is in police net awaiting his fate at a court of law.

Posted by Publisher at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

KNSG to make inland dry port attractive -- Gov

IN a move to boost the economic position of Kano state, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau, has said that his administration is committed to making Kano Inland Dry Port attractive to prospective investors.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

The governor made the remarks at the turning of sod at Kano Inland Dry Port, Zawachiki in Kumbotso local government area of the state.
Malam Shekarau noted that the development of such facilities will encourage both domestic and foreign investors to invest in the state.
The governor further noted that the state government has also consented to partake in the equity shareholding in the project investment.
According to him, the concept of inland Container Depot was introduced in Nigeria way back in 1979, and the first to be established in the country was in Kano when a British company named United Kingdom West African Liner Company (UKWAL) partnered with NICON Insurance Company to float Inland Container Nigeria Limited (ICNL).
To this end, the governor said, it is not wrong to say that the Kano Inland Dry Port is the pioneer among the six proposed inland container depots by the federal government, adding: ‘’This goes to show the position of Kano in the economic spheres of our great country.’’
He pledged to support the project facilities through the provision of basic infrastructures particularly the construction of the access road to the site and provision of water and housing facilities very close to the port.
Governor Shekarau advised the Inland Dry Port and Kano Free Trade Zone to develop synergy in their operations based on the significant services they will offer in the commercial and industrial growth of our country.
He then called on members of the organised private sector in the state, particularly manufacturers, importers and exporters to ensure optimum utilisation of the Kano Inland Dry Port facility in their business operation.

Posted by Publisher at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

KTSG proposes N8bn supplementary budget

KATSINA state government has presented a supplementary budget of over N8.1 billion to the state House of Assembly.

From MU’AWUYA B. IDRIS, Katsina

Highlights of the budget shows that the proposed state university project will gulp over N4 billion while substantial provisions were made for the newly Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman College of Legal and General Studies, Daura.
Other sectors such as health, education and rural electrification programme will gulp substantial amount of money from the budget.
The supplementary budget, it was learnt, will be backed by a law to be enacted by the state Assembly.
Already, a bill for the law that provides for the supplementary budget has undergone first and second reading at the House.
Shortly after deliberations and adoption of the bill, the House mandated its Appropriation Committee for Various Projects to study the budget.
The Speaker of the House, Alhaji Kabir Ahmad Kofa directed that relevant ministries and parastatals should immediately be invited to defend what were projected for their respective ministries.

Posted by Publisher at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

Kure decries branding Muslims terrorists

Governor Abdulkadir Kure of Niger state has decried what he described as ''the collaboration of Western powers to brand Muslims across the world as violent people and terrorists''.

Kure expressed his feelings in Minna on Monday when he received the Moroccan Ambassador to Nigeria, Alhaji Mustapha Cherqaovi.
Such uncomplimentary names ascribed to Muslims in the world represented an unjustifiable attempt to portray Islam in bad light, he said.
The governor's remarks coincided with the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre and parts of the Pentagon in the U.S.
Around 3,000 people were killed in the attacks carried out by a terrorist gang.
Kure said: "Today, Muslims all over the world are unjustifiably looked upon as violent people and terrorists through the grand connivance of the Western powers.
"It is not true that Muslims are violent because Islam teaches its followers to be peace-loving and of good moral conduct through the observance of five daily prayers."
He urged the ambassador to strive to cement the existing relationship between his country and the Nigerian Muslim community through mutual cooperation.
Earlier, Cherqaovi had said that he was in Niger state ''to explore more avenues for beneficial relations between the people of the state and Morocco''.
According to him, the ties between Muslims in the two countries date back to the early days of Islam on the African continent.
The ambassador expressed his hope that such ties would further be cemented through socio-economic cooperation between Nigeria and Morocco.

Posted by Publisher at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

Shehu Shanono is dead

FORMER Kano state commissioner for local government during the Second Republic, Alhaji Shehu Muhammad Shanono is dead. He died at a hospital in China.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

Alhaji Shanono who served as commissioner under the administration of the first civilian governor of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar Rimi, died during the early hours of Monday at the age of 61.
Before his death, Alhaji Shanono had been an active politician in the state and a one-time gubernatorial aspirant in the state.
Governor Ibrahim Shekarau was among the early callers at the Kwairanga Road, Kano residence of the deceased to condole with his family.
Malam Shekarau who described the death of the politician as a great loss to the state, prayed to Almighty Allah to grant the soul of the deceased eternal rest.
According to the family sources, the deceased has since been buried in China in accordance with Islamic rites.

Posted by Publisher at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

Shekarau condoles with Governor Aliero

GOVERNOR Ibrahim Shekarau has led a powerful delegation comprising politicians, civil servants, business community and representatives of Kano Emirate Council to condole Kebbi state governor, Alhaji Muhammad Adamu Aliero over the death of his father.

Governor Aliero and former Kebbi state governor, Abubakar Musa, Garkuwan Yawuri received the delegation at Aliero local government area.
He then prayed to Almighty Allah to grant the soul of the deceased an eternal rest and give the governor and the rest of the family the courage and fortitude to bear the loss.
Responding, Governor Aliero expressed happiness for the condolence visit and hoped the existing cordial relationship between the people of Kebbi and Kano states would be sustained.
Governor Aliero told the Kano delegation that his father died last Saturday in a German hospital at the age of 79, and left behind five children and over 35 grand children.
Those in company of Governor Shekarau include ANPP presidential aspirant, Alhaji Bashir Usman Tofa, Kano state ANPP chairman, Alhaji Sani Hashim Hotoro, commissioner for local government, Alhaji Musa Sulaiman Shanono and representative of Emir of Kano, Sarkin Dawaki Maituta, District Head of Gabasawa, Alhaji Abubakar Bello Tuta Rufa’i.

Posted by Publisher at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

Jigawa guber race: I’m still in contention, Hadejia insists

JIGAWA state deputy governor, Barrister Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia who is also aspiring for the state governorship seat on the platform of the PDP has debunked claims by some politicians that he has withdrawn his ambition in favour of another aspirant.

From ISMAILA MUHAMMAD, Dutse

Alhaji Hassan pointed out that there was never a day he thought of compromising his bid to anybody, saying: ‘’It was a blatant lie, machination and diversionary tactics to hamper or geopardise my chances come 2007.’’
Addressing a large crowd of who is who of the state politics organised formally to launch his aspiration at the Murtala Muhammad Library Complex, Kano, Sunday, Barrister Hassan stated that before he made the formal declaration of his intention to contest for governorship election in 2007, he had consulted all stakeholders through series of meetings and thought for their advice.
He said: ‘’I heard one of the candidates was saying that in my capacity as his son, I am supposed to step down for him and my answer is who is supposed to step down between the son and the father.’’
The aspirant who was touched and overwhelmed with the unprecedented crowd of people in attendance from the nooks and crannies of Jigawa state, said he acknowledged and appreciated the level of support, cooperation and unflinching love they have shown him and pledged that God-willing, he forms government, he will do his best to the upliftment of the welfare of the citizens in the state.
Barrister Hadejia however, warned that he will not tolerate political thuggery, saying those who instigate youths to take hard drugs and carry weapons hardly allow their children or relations to involve in such a menace, adding that his will only go with youth who are decent and those who exhibit good moral character.
‘’I pledge to also discourage politics of threat and intimidation or blackmail. Ours is a disciplined and decent politics which shall be conducted peacefully,’’ the deputy governor reassured.
Barrister Hadejia who disclosed that the notion that Governor Ibrahim Saminu Turaki has a gubernatorial candidate is not being fair to the governor,’’ insisting that it is untrue.
Earlier in his opening remark, the state commissioner for information, who is also the state secretary of the PDP, had said that the journey without fear of intimidation, threat or contradiction will continue until they swear-in Alhaji Hassan Hadejia as the governor of Jigawa state in 2007.
Another speaker, Alhaji Uba Maranjuna noted that Barrister Hassan is the only one among the aspirants who can go to all nooks and corners of Jigawa state freely without fear of molestation, due to his good virtues, honesty, respect to elders and transparency.
Commissioners, special advisers, special assistants, party stalwarts, local government chairmen, councillors and well-wishers attended the meeting.

Posted by Publisher at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

Coalition carpets Makarfi

KADUNA state Coalition of Political Parties has accuse Governor Ahmad Muhammad Makarfi of an attempt to put their progressive coalition workshop on halt, the state chairman Kaduna Progressive Coalition, Alhaji Kabir Umar has disclosed.

From MUSTAPHA SAYE, Kaduna

Speaking with pressmen yesterday in Kaduna, Alhaji Umar who spoke through the state secretary, Malam Sulaiman, explained that the coalition of political parties had intended to organise a workshop to sensitise the citizenry on the forthcoming election and how the electorate would checkmate election fraud, rigging and other vital issues.
He, however, lamented why the state government under Governor Makarfi refused to allow the workshop to take off.
Alhaji Umar explained that the existence and activities of coalition of political parties for the past three years as progressive is to enlighten and educate the general public especially politicians on the political trend in the country.
Said he: ‘’Considering the existence of the present multi-party system of our democratic practice, we agree to constitute ourselves into a body to enable us strengthen and checkmate any system of leadership that ventures into exploitative socio-economic activities.’’
Umar opined that corruption and the collapse of value system in the society are the direct products of the criminal nature of few members of the unpatriotic class who sustain themselves in strategic positions within and outside the government for decades, adding: ‘’The Coalition of Political Parties in Kaduna has as its principle mission a revolutionary transformation of the society by going into activities of propagating in a peaceful and constitutional manner, the concept and ideas of a people’s democracy predicated on the doctrine of social economic justice, sustainable peace, national unity and patriotism.’’
He maintained that the coalition is strongly opposed to any form of sectional, ethnic or regional politics or any form of propagation of divisive tendencies as the means of attaining any form of political or socio-economic goals.
‘’We stand for a knitted Nigeria, devoid of exploitation and deception of the political elite,’’ adding: ‘’Coalition stands opposed to any attempt by either an individual or group who think to incinerate the state or the country for a goal that does not serve the interest of the masses,’’ he added.

Posted by Publisher at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

Plateau Assembly postpones sitting

Plateau state House of Assembly has postponed its sitting which was earlier scheduled to hold yesterday.

From CHRISTIANA GOKYO, Jos


This postponement was due to the prevailing circumstance in which the Speaker, Bar. Simon Lalong, his deputy and five other members of the state House of Assembly are being held in Lagos at the instance of the EFCC on charges of collection of car loans and constituency projects allowance.
A statement signed and issued to newsmen in Jos by the Clerk of the House, Mr. Cornelius Shiolbial, stated further that the said postponement of the Plateau state House of Assembly sitting is a practice that is common at National Assembly, state assemblies and at the local government areas.
According to the statement, while expressing their resolve to protect their mandate and discharge their constitutional responsibilities without hindrances, the members appealled for the understanding of their constitutients and the general public for a new resumption date that will be announced in due course.

Posted by Publisher at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

Shekarau, Odili are Bauchi fedpoly fellows

KANO state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and four other notable Nigerians have been conferred with Fellowship of the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi.

From SULE ALIYU, Bauchi

The other four are Governor Peter Odili of Rivers state, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Dr. Charles Soludo, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmad and the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Sulaiman Adamu.
Addressing the combined 23rd and 24th convocation of the polytechnic, the chairman of the governing council, Prince Tom Anuge, explained that the award of the fellowship was in recognition of the awardees’ selfless service to the nation.
Prince Anuge urged the recipients to sustain the commitment and appealed to other Nigerians to emulate them for a more prosperous society.
Responding on behalf of the recipients, Governor Shekarau thanked authorities of the institution for the honour and promised continued zeal toward making the country great.
He congratulated graduands of the polytechnic for successfully completing their studies and charged them to be good ambassadors of the institution.
Governor Shekarau had earlier commissioned a multi-million naira auditorium, inspected projects in the polytechnic and commended its management for ensuring a good teaching and learning environment.

Posted by Publisher at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

Criminal activities in Niger Delta can be stopped – Obasanjo

President Olusegun Obasanjo Monday expressed optimism that criminal activities including bunkering and hostage taking in the Niger Delta can be stopped advising Nigerians not to lose hope rather support government's policies and programmes.

From KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

“Let us substitute violence with peace and development. Let us substitute harassment with harmony and good neighbourliness’’, President Obasanjo said at an audience he granted a delegation of traditional rulers from Bayelsa state.
The President stressed that the traditional rulers had a pivotal role to play in ensuring peace, security and development in their domains, reminding them that traditional institutions are well known in ensuring peace in their respective domains.
He told the traditional rulers that some youths in the Niger Delta region had become “obstacles to development, adding that continued harassment of contractors and service providers in the region had slowed down the execution and completion of projects.
The President said that government had awarded a lot of contracts for the benefit of the people in the region, lament that not only had some contractors threatened to abandon projects, but even the cost of execution rises in periods of restiveness.
While thanking the delegation for the “wonderful show of support and solidarity’’ especially on his government’s war against corruption and other vices, the president solicited the support and cooperation of all Nigerians so as to achieve the desired objectives.
Speaking earlier on behalf of his colleagues, King Joshua Igbagara, OON, the Chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, commended the President for “the purposeful and foresighted manner in which the affairs of the nation are being steered’’
King Joshua Igbagara who commended the outstanding performance of the present civilian administration, also said: “No one is in doubt that this country is now set on the path of stable social and economic development’’,.
He declared: “The war against corruption, the efforts to instill the culture of discipline, accountability and transparency stand out as giant strides to bring back our true African culture’’.
The king pledged that they would always lend “every support to ensure that the lingering problems in the Niger Delta are systematically solved,’’ he concluded.

Posted by Publisher at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

Multiple ethnicity, a plus for Nigeria -- Obasanjo

President Olusegun Obasanjo says Nigeria is multiple ethnicity should be seen as one of its strengths.

Receiving a delegation of Itsekiri National Youths Council at the State House Monday in Abuja, Obasanjo said every ethnic group had an identity and an interest which must be respected in the context of collective national interest.
``If the interests of the whole country are taken care of, then the interest of the individual groups would have been met.
``It is not the interest of the individual group that determines the national interest, but vice versa,'' he stated.
Obasanjo assured all groups in the country that government had a responsibility to all Nigerians.
``Whatever group you belong to, you are a Nigerian and government has a responsibility to all,'' he added.
He recognised that minorities were struggling for a sustainable identity in most states, but stated that ``everybody must be understood, protected and sustained within the federation''.
Earlier, the council's president, Mr Daniel Reyenieju, had requested for assistance
from the federal government as emergency relief to victims of the Warri crisis.
He also requested for the provision of infrastructural facilities, a military barracks in the area and the immortalisation of the late Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, first republic minister of finance.

Posted by Publisher at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

Atiku cancels vacation

Vice President Atiku Abubakar has put off his one week trip that would have taken him to the United States of America by Sunday night.

A statement signed by Garba Shehu, the Vice President said he decided to suspend the leave out of respect for the National Assembly, in case they required his attention on any issue concerning the false and malicious accusations sent to them by the President.
The Vice President would have done his annual medical check-up in readiness for the rigours of the impending presidential campaigns.

Posted by Publisher at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

Kano compol delighted over prestigious award

Kano State Police Commissioner, MD Abubakar (mni) is feeling great that efforts of officers and men of Kano command are being appreciated by the larger society just as he received two prestigious awards from Security Watch International, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

By GAMBO KANNO

Reacting to the recent awards of ‘Best Crime Bursting Commissioner, and Best Human Rights Complaint Commissioner conferred on him by Security Watch, in Abuja, Abubakar told Daily Triumph that “the award will ginger him and his officers to keep the flag flying``.
Asked on how he became the only recipient of two awards, the commissioner said a team of technocrats and human rights experts visited all commands in the federation but chose Kano in view of improved conditions of cells.
The Security Watch awards, which is sponsored by DAAR Communications started in 20004 and was instituted to show appreciation to those who protect the nation and to make the security agents aware that the nation is watchdog to their achievements or otherwise.
``My philosophy is that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and all fundamental human rights must be respected as decent people are sometimes involved in cases which might lead them to being detained``, he said.
According to him, to achieve this, he had to change the attitude of his officers, the environment had to change, there is promptness in every office now, he said adding: “We have provided a common room, fully furnished, for the rank and file were receive their guests and we have beautified the command to make it a cleaner and more conducive working environment”.
Abubakar thanked the Inspector General of Police Mr. Sunday Ehindero for giving him the opportunity to show- case his innovative ideas on policing.

Posted by Publisher at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

Kano gov, deputy, others bag awards

KANO state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and his deputy, Engr. Magaji Abdullahi have been awarded by Northern Youth Coalition Movement for their contributions to youth development.

From UMAR DANLADI ADO, Kaduna

Malam Shekarau was presented with the award of Golden Leader of the North, while Engr. Abdullahi bagged the award of Excellent Performance of the Youth 2006.
Other recipients of the award included former Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Alhaji (Dr.) Maitama Sule, former governor of Kano state, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi, and Hajiya Naja Muhammad respectively.
The event, held at Arewa House, Kaduna last Friday, also honoured Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former ANPP presidential flag bearer and military head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari and governors of Benue, Adamawa, Plateau, Niger, Abia, Lagos and Sokoto states.
Speaking at the occasion, president of the movement, Alhaji Muhammad Yusuf Gabasawa enjoined youths to desist from any act of political violence and emulate the legacies of the leaders.
He stated that the selection of the recipients was to encourage the leaders toward contributing enormously to the development of youth.
Also, the guest speaker described the honour as well deserved and enjoined youth to work hand in hand with politicians to produce a credible leadership in the future.
He also advised youth to engage in the culture of revolution aimed at producing a qualitative and credible leadership in the country.
Responding on behalf of the recipients, Kano state deputy governor, Engr. Magaji Abdullahi thanked the organisers for the honour done to them and advised youth across the country to shun politicians who will want to use them to achieve their selfish ends.

Posted by Publisher at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

Society renovates Dandalin Turawa mosque

THE World Islamic Call Society of Nigeria, Kano office, has renovated a mosque at Dandalin Turawa in the Municipality to the tune of 21,000 dollars.

By NASIRU MUHAMMAD

Briefing Daily Triumph, a representative of the office, Mr. Naji Altarhouni, said apart from renovating the mosque, they have also provided it with an electricity generator and other equipment.
He said they have programmes to renovate other mosques in the state as well, adding that they have done similar exercise in some other state of the federation.
According to him the society has through another programme sank wells and renovated others in places like Shanono, Dawakin Kudu, Rimin Gado, among others.
Speaking at the occasion, the ward head of the area, Malam Aliyu Abba Bashir, expressed happiness for the job, stating that for 13 years, they have been looking for any organisation or individual that will undertake the project but did not find one, until when the Islamic call came in.
Commenting, the Imam of the Mosque, Malam Bashir Bature Sani Shatsari, thanked the call for the renovation as it was done during his time and prayed God to guide them so that they will continue to render services to the cause of Islam.
The Mosque, one of the oldest in Kano, was constructed in 1886 by Hajj Bishir, during the reign of the Emir of Kano, Bello.
In the year 1910, the first Eid prayer was conducted at the Mosque during the reign of the Emir of Kano Abbas, while its first Imam was Sheikh Muhammad.

Posted by Publisher at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

KNSG urged to convert c’ttee into translation centre

IT has been observed that the establishment of a Translation centre similar to Baitul - Hikmah established during the Abbasid dynasty in Baghdad can render Shari’ah implementation in Kano state effective and durable.

By ALIYU UMAR
Albishir Editor

The observation was made by a one-time Nigeria’s ambassador to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prof. Shehu Galadanchi while speaking on the occasion of launching of translated version of Sahih Bukhari book at Sani Abacha Indoor Stadium Kano, last Sunday.
According to him, the role played by the Baitul Hikmah as referred to the educational revolution needs not to be emphasised as it was widely believed that the contemporary world is proud of the works done by the scholars who worked tirelessly in translating works on Greek, Persian, Indian and Chinese sciences into Arabic.
Prof. Galadanchi maintained, that the scholars employed by Khalif Haroun El-Rashid and his son El-ma’amun to translate sciences of other nations were able to translate Greek works on astronomy, Indian Mathematics persian literature, Portuguese Navigation beside other branches of disciplines like medicine, chemistry, Biology etc, gave birth to educational revolation.
For this reason, Prof. Galadanchi charged the incumbent governor of Kano state, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau to look into the possibility of establishing similar translation centre to replace the present committee that handled the translation work on Imam Bukhari Hadith book.

Posted by Publisher at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

Rector predicts collapse of Katsina Islamic Versity

The Rector, Hassan Usman polytechnic in Katsina state, Dr. Kabir Ibrahim Matazu has predicted that Katsina Islamic University will soon close down due to lack of focus and source of fund for its sustenance.

From Muawuya B. Idris, Katsina

Dr. Matazu told newsmen on Monday in his office that it is a great mistake for the members of Katsina Islamic Foundation, owners of the university to run the university with donations from individuals and organizations.
The rector who spoke against the refusal of the owners of Katsina Islamic university to allow Katsina state government to take over the university sressed the need for adequate funding, saying only government can do that.
Dr. Mastazu who is a member of technical committee set up to look into the possibility of setting a new university or taking over current university by the government further said it is unfortunate that the issue of religion was used to frustrate effort for the taking over of the university.
“In my own opinion, government should take over the running of Katsina Islamic university, for its sustenance and adequate funding” he said.
He further said, “I cannot see the miracle for continued existence of Katsina Islamic University, I assure you that the university will soon collapse.”
The rector explained that although the board of trustees of the university has claimed investing the donation collected for the University for its continued existence, the trustees should make the investment known to the people of Katsina state.
“If they claimed that they invested for the sustenance of the university, where is the investment, there is need to make the investment public” he added.
On the proposed new university which is expected to take off January next year, Dr. Matazu said the university will become one of the best university in Nigeria, adding that the management of the polytechnic has provided a site for the take off of the university pending the construction of the university new site.
He assured that the management of the university is ready to ensure successful take-off of the university.

Posted by Publisher at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

Fasting means being conscious of Allah - Imam

An Abuja-based Islamic scholar, Imam Fouad Adeyemi says the essence of fasting is to fear Allah and eschew all forms of unrighteous living.

Adeyemi said this on Sunday in Abuja at a talk on ''Fasting and its Rulings'' during the monthly meeting of Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) Abuja chapter.
Quoting Qur'an 2 verse 183, the Islamic scholar noted that fasting instills the fear of Allah into the consciousness of Muslims.
He, however, urged Muslims to engage in a lot charity during the month as it was a most rewarding act of worshipping and obeying the command of Allah.
Adeyemi, who is the founder of Al-Habibiyah Academy, Abuja, opined that Ramadan period was a time of universal peace, as everybody was at peace irrespective of faith or creed.
While listing the kinds of fasting in Islam, he said, under aged, aged and sick people, traveller, pregnant women and those breast feeding were exempted.
Commenting on the controversial sighting of the moon, Adeyemi urged Muslims to follow the direction of their leaders, who would face the consequence of misleading adherents.
He advised the media to be wary of the information they publish during and after Ramadan, ensuring that strict observance of professional ethics was embraced.
Fasting, he stressed, was prescribed by Allah for the good of mankind, ''if only we know the benefits''
Earlier, the coordinator of MMPN, Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Balogun said the topic was chosen to sensitise Muslims to know their duties during the forthcoming Ramadan.
Balogun added that as media men, it was the responsibility of the professionals to publish accurate and correct information.
NAN reports that Ramadan, which is the ninth month of Islamic calendar starts worldwide on September 24 when Muslims are expected to commence the 30-day compulsory fasting.
In attendance at the meeting were representatives of NTA, FRCN, NAN, New Nigerian, Daily Trust, The Nation, The Sun, and AIT/Ray-Power. (NAN).

Posted by Publisher at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

FERMA decries destruction of roads by cable companies

Companies that lay cables on federal roads will henceforth be compelled to use concrete on areas dug beforeburying their cables, according to an official.

FERMA Zonal Coordinator (North Central) Chude Agbakoba told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) today in Abuja that there was need to protect the roads from the activities of such firms.
FERMA had blamed the collapse or poor state of some federal roads on the activities of NITEL, NEPA and cable companies for cutting open the road shoulders and leaving them prone to erosion.
Last month, FERMA blamed the contractor laying cable for Multi Links Communication Company for the washing out of the top soil on some parts of the Abuja-Gwagwalada road.
On Aug. 21, a box culvert at a stream on the road collapsed and caused the flooding of parts of Gwagwalada, submerging houses, farms and vehicles.
Agbakoba said that henceforth any companyor individual that infringed on the right-of-way by either digging to lay pipes or cables wouldhave to compact the soil in the area with concrete.
``You will see that while laying their cables or pipes they dig too deep on the shoulders of the road, thereby making the soil weak,'' he said.
He said the insistence of FERMA for the cableoperators to compact the areas dug was just one of the options, adding that failure to do so might make the agency to sanction such a company.
The coordinator said that some of the cable companies were using those who were notprofessionals to lay cables for them.
``Because they are nor professionals they dig deep into the shoulders and embankment of the road which at the end of the day makes the road lose its alignment leaving it prone to erosion,'' he added.

Posted by Publisher at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

Tsamiyar Kara eulogises Shekarau

KANO state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau has been described as a man of peace, honour and tranquillity since his assumption of office in May 2003.

By MUHAMMAD HAMISU

This description was made by the chairman of Gezawa local government area, Alhaji Abdullahi Yahaya Tsamiyar Kara in an exclusive interview with Daily Triumph in his office recently.
Alhaji Tsamiyar Kara explained that the recent award of the best governor on security and police matters conferred on Governor Shekarau by Security Watch International was as a result of good intentions exhibited by him administering in the state.
The chairman further said that under the present civilian administration in Kano state, a lot of achievements have been made not only on security matters but also in other areas to do with agriculture, health and road construction, commerce and industry as well as the general prevalence of peace, law and order among the diverse ethnic groups living in the state.
He said that crime rate has dropped considerably while the activities of political thugs has been minimised to the barest level due to untiring efforts of the state government to address social problems squarely by introducing various programmes which have taken care of employment, drug addiction and other social vices among youths in the state.
Alhaji Tsamiyar Kara remarked that the award conferred on the Governor Shekarau is timely and indeed an honour given to a man who deserve to be honoured, giving his track record which has made him excel among his peers.
The chairman also touched on fellowship award conferred on the governor by Federal Polytechnic Bauchi as yet a culmination of a testimony of the charismatic qualities of the governor even in the field of academics.
Alhaji Tsamiyar Kara who was apparently overwhelmed by the achievements of the state governor in various spheres of human efforts used the occasion to drum more support for him and urged people of the state not to relent in their efforts in ensuring his success at the polls come 2007.
He congratulated the governor for his achievements which according to him, will reflect on the dignity and honour of the entire people of the ancient city.
He promised to ensure that his local government remains peaceful as part of his contribution maintenance of peace, law and order in Gezawa local government area.

Posted by Publisher at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

Bichi records success in immunisation -- Coordinator

THE just concluded immunisation against polio in Bichi local government council has recorded 99% support from parents, traditional leaders and religious bodies.

By HAMISU ABACHA ZAKIRAI

The Primary Healthcare Coordinator of the council, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdurrahaman Zakirai, gave this assurance while speaking to Daily Triumph in his office.
Alhaji Zakirai said the success was recorded through the good and early responses of the council chairman, Alhaji Lawan Shehu.
The coordinator said to ensure the success of the programme, the council has employed casual staff, pointing out that the expected target on OPT was 65,000, while that of DPI was 15,000 and all the said target were met.
He assured that before the end of the exercise, Bichi will be a polio free zone.
Speaking on the activities of COMPASS in Bichi local government area, the Co-ordinator said the COMPASS is doing its best in the area of enlightenment on the importance of polio immunisation.
Alhaji Abdurrahaman, therefore thanked the District Head of Bichi, Alhaji Idris Bayero (Barden Kano) and his village heads for passing good messages to their communities.
He said Bichi local government is focusing its attention on Healthcare services and called on the people to give more support to the exercise.

Posted by Publisher at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

Jigawa has lowest health indices -- Commissioner

JIGAWA state commissioner for health, Hajiya Hajara Usman Nagado, has expressed concern that the health Indies in the state was among the lowest in the country with very high malnutrition and infant mobility.

FROM ISMAILA MUHAMMAD, Dutse

“Our immunization coverage remains very low with high death rate of children under the age of five mostly from childhood vaccine preventable disease, she lamented.
Hajiya Nagado made this observation in a welcome address she delivered on the occasion of a one-day advocacy workshop on child survived intervention, organised by UNICEF D Field Office, Bauchi, held in Dutse recently.
The commissioner said that currently health care delivery is fragmented with very poor linkages between primary, secondary and tertiary levels which was also characterised by poor out reach services leading to poor community participation and ownership.
Hajiya Nagado maintained, that there was also very low attendance in the health facilities due to poor service delivery, shortage of qualified manpower and lack of appropriate equipment and medical supplies. The management of health care services. Is similarly effected by weak supervision and monitoring activities to mention but a few.
She said the polio eradication initiative is currently in its final stage with the target date of interruption of Wild Policy Virus (WPV) transmission by December, 2006, adding that in Jigawa state statiscal data have shown that the WPV is still circulating freely in 22 local government areas covering 54 wards out of/689/as at the end of August, 2006. The number of confirmed cases of WPV stands at 117 as at that date thereby contributing 15 percent of the WPV in the world which placed Jigawa as the 3rd highest after Kano and Katsina in the confirmed cases, she disclosed.
According to her the reform in the health sector in the country and Jigawa state in particular become necessary in order to reverse the negative trends, pointing out that in pursuance of the reforms of the present administration, the ministries of health and local government and community development in collaboration with National Programme on Immunization (NPI), International Development Partners Who, UNICEF, DFID Paths, compass as well as other key stakeholders in the health sector are working together using comprehensive participatory approach with view to reforming the health sector in the state.

Posted by Publisher at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)

Zango expends N18.2m on roads

ZANGO local government council in Katsina state has expended about N18.18million for the construction of three major roads, chairman of the council, Alhaji Abubakar Rogo has revealed.

FROM MU’AWUYA B. IDRIS, Katsina

Speaking with newsmen, Alhaji Rogo, explained that the roads constructed Yardaji-Niger Republic Kwari-Gwadandam and N10.2million for Komo-Yantube road N2.8 million.
He said the construction of the roads is aimed at improving economic activities and communication between communities with others.
On education, the chairman said the council has constructed 28 classes, provided materials in primary schools.
Alhaji Rogogo explained, that the council is providing scholarship allowances to about 320 indigenes studying at various higher institution.
The council has in its effort to minimise unemployment problem recruited about 3,500 youth and placed them on monthly allowances, adding that arrangement was concluded to train youth in different handcraft such as tailoring, carpentry, motor mechanic among others.

Posted by Publisher at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

Kware LG spends N68m on projects

Kware Local Government Council in Sokoto State has spent more than N68 million on the construction of various projects in the area.

The Chairman, Alhaji Mohammadu Mannir, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) today in Sokoto that about N15 million of the amount was spent on the construction and renovation of clinics and dispensaries.
He said all the health personnel had been retrained at the School of Health Technology, Gwadabawa, to promote health care delivery to the people.
Mannir said drugs and medical facilities had also been provided to the health centres and called on health officials to continue to work hard.
He urged the people to report any outbreak of epidemics to the nearest clinic for prompt action and promised to protect the health of the people.
The chairman said more than N7 million had been spent on the construction of boreholes and another N14 million on the provision of social amenities.

Posted by Publisher at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

Don’t hijack parties, Iwu advises politician

The Independant National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, prof. Maurice Iwu, has advised leaders of political parties in the country not to allow their parties to be hijacked as was done in the past.

Iwu gave the advice in Abuja while addressing leaders of political parties, ahead of the commencement of nationwide voters revalidation slated to commence on October 7.
'' The idea remains that we must not allow our collective aspiration and the _expression for a new beginning to be hijacked as in the past, by few people'' he said.
He noted that political parties were never the property of any one or two people, thus'' there should be no proprietors for them''.
Iwu opined that political parties were public institutions that belonged to as many citizens within the society as share the beliefs on which the parties were built.
He said such beliefs, must not be such that only a cabal could subscribe to them.
''I implore the leadership of all the political parties to eschew the undemocratic bad habits of the past in which political parties running systems that foreclosed any prospects to some members in the selection of candidates, he said.
INEC boss called on political parties to be thorough in their activities and to familiarise themselves with the relevant provisions of the 2006 Electoral Act and sections of the 1999 constitution.
Iwu told the political leaders that the commission had approved the guidelines for the registration of voters, asking them to step up mobilisation of prospective voters for the registration.
He reassured the leaders of the parties that the commission would continue to consult with them and other stakeholders in the political process.
Iwu used the opportunity to launch a collaborative programme with political parties dubbed: Party Administration and Cost of Election (PACE).
He explained that the scheme was to encourage internal democratisation of political parties as they commenced selection of their candidates for the 2007 elections.
PACE, he added, would equally be used to have practical ways to monitor and enforce the regulation of use of money in politics.
Said he:'' The PACE initiative will simply strengthen administration and compliance along this line. PACE will enable us to revisit the issue of the Code of Conduct for political parties''.
Before the meeting went into executive session, 33 out of 45 registered parties were in attendance.

Posted by Publisher at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

Dandawaki secures municipal people’s mandate

HUNDREDS of Youth and elders in Kano Municipal have recently besieged Murtala Sunusi Dandwaki’s office and passionately appealed with him to contest for the forthcoming Kano House of Assembly election, on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

By Rabi’u Abdu Fagge

One of the agitators, Malam Haruna Ibrahim Sa’id stated that: “We have confidence in Murtala that we can never regret our trust, if we vote him into the position”.
Also commenting, Malam Labaran Hassan said, “Murtala is an honest and respectable young politician who always tries to alleviate the sufferings and problems of his people. We therefore believe that he will bring tremendous developments to our local government, if given the mandate to represent us at the Assembly”.
Contacted, Murtala remarked that, “people from all the wards of the Municipal local government have been asking him to contest for the post, during next coming elections and there is nothing I can do but to respect their wishes”, he said.

Posted by Publisher at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

Kwaru solicits more support for Shekarau

THE chairman publicity committee of the Kano ANPP, Alhaji Mukhtari Kwaru has once again called on the people of the state to rally round Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and his lofty ideals of promoting unity and understanding among all the tribal groups in the state.

ByABDULLAHI YKUBU

Alhaji Kwaru made the assertion shortly after he returned from the national convention of the ANPP, held at the FCT, Abuja.
According to him, since the election of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau as the state chief executive, he has recorded tremendous improvement, in the area of peace among various tribes and religious sects in the state.
He said, Malam Shekarau has through his style of leadership carries anyone along, without any kind of disenfanchisement.
According to the publicity chairman, even the much talked Sharia implementation has been given a boost.
He said, this was manifested in the establishment of the Zakkat commission, Sharia commission Hisbah commission where more people are now fending for themselves as bonafide staff.
Kwaru further reavealed that, Malam is presently at peace with virtually every sector of the society.
He cited as example, the good working relationship existing between the governor and pensioners and civil servants in the state, adding that he is peaceful with the traditional institution and Ulama too.
He also said, malam is at peace with all the NGOS in the state, likewise all the labour members, farmers, traders and political class, among others.
Kwaru who drew the attention of all and sundry to these laudable performances by the governor said, people should be very careful about being diverted from the real path to create unhealthy environment that would mar the chances of achieving their dreams.

Posted by Publisher at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

Voters revalidation: Zarewa calls for participation

PDP gubernatorial aspirant in kano state, senator Isa Hayatu Zarewa has called on the entire people of the state to came out enmass and participate in the nationwide voters revalidation exercise ,coming up on October 7th.

Speaking during an interview with Daily Triumph senator Isa Zarewa explained that, though the exercise will be conducted when the entire Muslim community will be observing the Ramadan fast, there is need for all eligible voters to participate in the exercise ,as it is the only yardstick for voting candidates of your choice during the 2007 election”.
The aspirant therefore advised the entire people of the state to consider the exercise as first step toward the election .
He expressed his appreciation to the entire people of the state who are constantly identifying with his aspiration and assured them of credible and good governance when he emerges governor of the state in 2007.

Posted by Publisher at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

EFCC report on vice president (I)

Your Excellency’s attention is being drawn to the request made by the United State Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice via a letter Ref: MEW:DPW:KDL:AV 1 File 182.23818 dated June 22, 2006.

The US Attorney’s office requests for certain investigations to be carried out by the EFCC with regards to a business venture involving iGATE an American company and NDTV, a Nigerian company. Pursuant to this request I caused an in-depth investigation to be conducted. I append below a detailed report of the investigation as follows:-
FACTS: The United States Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia, The United State Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, and the Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI) are investigating possible violations of federal law, including offences involving bribery of public officials, wire fraud (depravation of honest services and scheme to defraud), bribery of a foreign public official and conspiracy.
The US Central Authority request that Nigerian Authority locates and provides the documents and information on some government officials/institutions, private companies and individuals in relation to the official acts of the congressman in promoting US business ventures in Africa as its relate to IGate/ NDTV business venture, iGate/Rosecom among others. The request of information revolves around the following individuals and companies.
S/N Full Name
1 Atiku Abubakar 2 Otumba Fashawe
3 Vernon Jackson 4 Maureen Scurry a.k.a Maureen Edu 5 NDTV 6 Rosecom.Net 7 Life Energy Technology Holdings (LETH) 8 TDC Oversees
9 Arkel Sugar
10 Arkel International 11 IGate 12 ANJ Group 13 W2-IBBS, Limited 14 Diverse Communication
15 Global Energy& Environmental Services 16 Jefferson Interest Inc
17 IBILE Holdings Limited 18 International Broadband Services, Limited 19 William Jefferson 20 Andrea Jefferson 21 Jamila Jefferson 22 Jalilah E. Jefferson 23 Nailah A. Jefferson 24 Jelani F. Jefferson 25 Akilah A. Jefferson 26 Tory Bullock 27 Philips Jones, Jr 28 Mose Jefferson 29 Bennie Jefferson 30 Archie Jefferson 31 Coy related to the above
The Requests are as Follows: Provide U.S. Law enforcement authorities whatever information the government of Nigeria may have with respect to the witnesses including employment history, history of travel outside Nigeria , criminal history and other biographical information. In addition, please permit U.S law enforcement authorities, including the prosecutors and agents who will travel to Nigeria , to communicate directly with the lead investigator in Nigeria involved in collecting this information.
Provide the certified copies of the listed documents, records and articles of evidence stated below: a. Any and all documents in the possession of NDTV and its present or former officers, employees, or representative (including, but not limited to, Otunba Oyewole Fashawe, Ahmed Vanderpuije, Dumebi Kachikwu) relating to or involving some of the above listed individuals and entities
b. Any and all documents in the possession of any Nigeria public official or agency- including but not limited to the Nigerian Communications Commission, Ministry of Communications, Nigerian Embassy to the United States, Nitel, and the Managing Director of Nitel- relating to or involving some of the above listed individuals and entities
c. Correspondences between United States Congressman Williams Jefferson and Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar relating to any U.S. based business venture in Nigeria
d. Correspondences between United States Congressman Williams Jefferson and Jamilah Jennifer Atiku- Abubakar , wife of Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, relating to any U.S. based business ventures in Nigeria
e. Correspondence between IGate, including its officers and representatives and Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and any other Nigerian Public official
f. Correspondence between NDTV, including its officers and representatives and Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and any other Nigerian public official
g. Correspondence between Atiku Abubakar (or any of his subordinates or representatives), and any government official or agency, including Nitel, relating to some of the above listed individuals and entities
h. Any and all documents in the possession of Rosecom.Net and its present or former officers, employees, or representatives ( including Suleiman Yahyah) and any Nigerian public official or agency ( including Nitel and its officials, employees or representatives) relating to business ventures involving iGate or W2-IBBS Limited i.Any and all records and documents relating to any concessions for petroleum products transferred to some of the listed individuals or entities
j.Toll records from January 2001 to the present for telephone 23410803504000, which number has been used or subscribed by Atonte Diete –Spiff
k. Any and all documents in the possession of the Nigerian Embassy in the United States related to any travel to Nigeria by Congressman Williams Jefferson in connection with U.S. business ventures in Nigeria , including, but not limited to l. Records from the Sheraton Hotel & Towers related to the stay of Congressman William Jefferson, Vernon Jackson, and any other party affiliated with Jefferson and Jackson during the February, 2004 trip m. Records from the Sheraton Hotel & Towers related to the stay of Congressman William Jefferson, Vernon Jackson, Patrick Gerdes, Adolfo Lambaren, BK Son, and any other party affiliated with Jefferson and Jackson during the May, 2004 trip n. Records and filing relating to some of the listed entities. The requested documents include, but are not limited to company formation documents, shareholder documents, ownership record, management documents, documents relating to payment of fees related to company filings, and any other company information. The request was particular on Diverse Communications Limited, a company associated with William J. Jefferson through which he was to collect kickback in form of percentage of profit for his official act in respect of NDTV / IGate deal o. Bank records of accounts held by Ahmed Vanderpuije, Otumba Fashawe NDTV, and Dumebi Kachiku from January, 2003 to present, including, but not limited to, accounts held in Trans International Bank, Transcontinental Bank, Citizen International Bank, Standard Trust Bank, and Continental Trust bank p. Bank records relating to any payment or transfer of funds from the Petroleum Trust Development Fund to any accounts held by NDTV, Vanderpuije, Fashawe and Kachiku (including but not limited to any accounts held at the Trans International Bank) q. Bank records relating to any payment or transfer of funds from PTDF for or on behalf of NDTV, Ahmed Vanderpuije, Otumba Fashawe, or Dumebi Kachikwu, to any accounts held by some listed entities and individuals r. Bank records of accounts held by Hajiya Aisha M. Buhari from January, 2001, to present, including, but not limited to, accounts at Citizen International Bank, Plot 130, Ahmadu Bello Way , Victoria Island, Lagos , Nigeria . The bank records should include documents relating to any wire transfers of $10,000 or more s.Bank Records of accounts held by Maureen Scurry, also known as Maureen Edu, from January, 2003 to the present.

Posted by Publisher at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

Dispelling myth of political jinx in Kano (I)

We are on the match again towards the democratic dispensation of the country. The much talked about 2007 is around the corner. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has already released the timetable for the democratic journey.

By SAKA RAJI AUDU
sakaraj@yahoo. corn
We have been told that on Saturday, 14th April 2007 would be the D-day for the elections of both governorship and states’ assemblymen and women. It is just seven months away from now. See how time flies! The heart is beating and tension is rising especially for those aspirants that have nothing to showcase their election or re-election. Come as it may it should not be a do or die affair, but a matter of good work and mere contest.
I have always held the belief that nothing good is easy to come by and like a journalist, one should be able to portray the true situation of things at all times. I also believe that where a leader is wrong, I should be bold enough to say the leader is wrong, and where a leader has done something worth commending, I should not shy away from applauding as loudly and clearly as I could, not minding whose ox is gored.
In my recent publication, I tried as much as possible to satisfy my conscience by examining Shekarau’s achievements and weaknesses. At the end of the day, I came to realize that Allah (SWT) created chance for Malam Shekarau in 2003 to become the governor of Kano state as an arrow to be used for enhancing the progress and well being of the people. Even some of us who thought that Shekarau’s predecessor was a messiah held the opinion under the influence of the popular adage, which says, “In a country of the blind, one eyed man is a king.” Naturally, the immediate government before the present one did what it could to impress its admirers. As things would happen, the government was defeated paving the way to the present government led by Malam Shekarau, an educationist, teacher and Islamic scholar.
When Shekarau took over the leadership of Kano state government in May 2003, some political juggernauts thought that he was just going to warm the Chief Executive seat and leave the stage without achievement. It is now more than three years since Shekarau assumed office at the African House. From the volume of his various performances, he has proved his critics beyond reasonable doubt that he has the interest of the common man at heart. He has religiously executed laudable projects and enhanced the living standards of the people.
From his societal re-orientation, which involves value orientation, respect for elders and traditional values; he revitalized the various sectors of agriculture in order to boost the production of food for the good people of Kano state. The education sector under Shekarau was highly improved upon as he enhanced the well being of teachers, and recruited numerous new ones. He abolished school fees in all state science colleges as well as gave free education for all girls and the physically challenged. Again, many schools were rehabilitated and in many cases, new ones constructed. Water works undergone civil works and refurbished. The government of Shekarau also embarked on laudable projects in housing, transport and construction works. The appalling environmental sanitation within the Kano metropolis was improved, which now make the state a cleaner environment for quality life.
In this respect, about ten roundabouts and many roads were rehabilitated and constructed. Shekarau paid high premium to security and a lot of rural areas were electrified. He promoted and upheld the principle of freedom of expression in the state. He gave spoils a befitting face-lift. Shekarau government does not also neglect health. Medical doctors, nurses and paramedical staff were employed. Drugs were also purchased and many health centers renovated.
Women affairs and social welfare ministry was created by Shekarau for the emancipation of women through empowerment programmes. He has restored sanity to urban planning and management, ensure speedy dispensation of justice and decongestion of prison through review of cases, strengthened sharia legal system, etc. At least, not less than one thousand motions were deliberated at the state assembly, as many bills were also passed into law. Shekarau has been financially prudent through publication of monthly expenditure, as he also makes contract competitive and transparent. There has been prompt and regular payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities.
All of the above good deeds of Malam lbrahim Shekarau made the good people of the state to be grateful to Allah (SWT) for giving Shekarau to them as he improved literacy level, rekindled the hope of teachers in the state, highly gracious to farmers, demonstrated the burden of leadership, acted as a voice of the voiceless and made Kano environment hygienically clean. Shekarau is further described as a kind hearted and humble governor who doesn’t discriminate, as it could be seen in the recent inclusion of three nonindigenes in his government as Special Advisers. To demonstrate Shekarau’s penchant for the well being of the people, one is glad to note that the Pensioners now smile in Kano as Shekarau equally runs transparent government and women are generally empowered, having a heart for the less privileged.
So, what else do the people of Kano state want, knowing fully well that nothing good is easy to come by? Going by the above-enumerated achievements recorded by Shekarau administration in Kano so far, the governor should ordinarily get the majority vote to continue his good work in African House after April 14, 2007, at least, for another four years. Presently, this particular vote should constitute eighty percent of the eligible voters of the Kano populace. The balance of twenty percent constitute the Pull Him Down (PHD) bandwagons, the envious ones that hardly see good in any thing that benefits the majority, except where they are directly affected or their cronies.
If this does not happen, they simply resort to blackmail, distortion and rumour mongering, thinking that they could achieve their inordinate but vaulting ambition through such negative traits. Recently, for the first time in the histoiy of Kano government and politics, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau found it expedient to include non-indigenes in his government by appointing three non-indigenes namely Messrs Mikail Adebayo Adeniyi, Chris Chukwugbuzor Azuka and Adams Salahudeen as his Special Advisers. This singular action by the Shekarau led government has really given hope to peaceful co-existence among the different tribes in the state.
It further portrays Malam Shekarau as a detribalized man who sees every body as one (the kind of Unma community during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Unfortunately and sadly too, this noble decision received knocks rather than kudos from two tiny groups. These include the comment attributed to the state party Chairman of PDP, condemning the appointment of the three non-indigenes as a ploy by the ruling party to lure vote. The second group is the statement also credited to Thomas Makama (Chairman) and Othman Onghenarianihe (Secretaiy) of the so-called South South Renaissance Group (SSRG) in the New Nigerian Newspaper of September 1, 2006 on page six.

Posted by Publisher at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

Menace of cultism in tertiary institutions

The Advanced Learner's Dictionary defined a Cult as a small group of people who have extreme religious beliefs, but who are not part of an established religion.

by Ijeoma Nwagbara
Cultism, a word derived from cult, is used to mean in Nigerian context adherents to a clandestine group found mainly in tertiary institutions in the country. The membership cuts across students, lecturers, and highly influential members of the society.
In 1952, a group of seven students led by Prof. Wole Soyinka formed the ``Pyrate Confraternity" (a.k.a Sea Dogs), the purpose was to use it to fight colonialism, ensure dignity of man and rid the society of elitism and tribalism.
With time, due to rancour and misunderstanding factions started to emerge within the confraternity leading to the formation of a splinter group known as the Buccaneers confraternity (a.k.a Sea Lords) in 1972.
The formation of Vikings followed, this group took the form of renowned sea adventurers and monopolistic tendencies of sailors.
As a result of continued divisions students who wanted to ``belong'' started to come together and ended up with the formation of other groups.
These groups include Black Beret, Black Axe, Eiye, Panamas, Dragons, Mafia, Ashana, Third Eye, Black Brassieres, Hot Pants, Sea Girls, Sharo Sisters, Daughters of Jezebel to mention just a few.
A survey carried out recently in the tertiary institution has shown that more than 100 student cult groups exist in the country. Cultism is no longer confined to the Southern part of the country as was the case in the past, the finding revealed that there are traces of cult groups in tertiary institutions in the North.
In addition, there are male and female cult groups as well as heterogeneous ones. The male cults, however, are the most violent while the female cults serve as ``call girls, spices and spies'' to the male cult groups.
The most worrisome is manifestation of the groups in post primary schools. The question is why do students, lecturers and influential members of the society join cult groups?
The reasons, according to a book ``Citizenship Education: A Complete Guide'' by Emma Luka Angbale, range from psychological, economic and egoistical. It added that these need arise as a result of lies and blackmails spread by cultists.
The members want to be seen as the "real men" those that have "arrived" and not a "civilian" as those who are not members are labelled. The members use drugs, attend parties and fashion parades regularly as well as engage in high profile lifestyle.
Hatred and jealousy is another reason students join cults. Most times, it is the desire to avenge lawful conduct of innocent students which the cultists consider offensive. Example is sharing a girlfriend with a cult member.
Lecturers on their own join cults in order to be protected from students harming them when they refuse to dance to their tunes. To be feared and respected by students and fellow lecturers are other reasons lecturers adduce for joining cults. Students become afraid of any lecturer who is involved in cultism and find it difficult to approach him concerning any academic problem and this some times lead to exam malpractice.
The highly influential ones, especially politicians join cultism in order to get students that will serve as thugs and help them in silencing the opposition.
To assist them in elections is another reason politicians join cults. The politicians use the students to campaign and force voters to vote for them either by giving them bribe or issue threat to the voters.
Different processes and intimation rites are adopted to recruit members. Some cults adopt aggressive strategies while some standardised groups such as the Pyrate Confraternity go about their recruitment by adopting a more subtle approach.
The author of the book, A complete guide, who was a lecturer at Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia, said that recruitment centers include "popular joints" such as bars, restaurants, drug zones, and ``happening places''.
A case in point happened at a hotel in Nsukka during the 1995/96 session where some students were forcefully marched out of a party and initiated.
On initiation, he wrote that here were three stages through which cultists carry out the exercise. They are the oral stage, the treasure hunting stage and the selection stage.
Different cult groups have different ways of recruitment as shown in a report by Anchor Magazine on Cultism (1999) and Weekly Trust Newspaper (2005).
The oral interview stage also known as the recognition day by some cult groups is not harmful, the true identity and objective is not revealed, but forms are given to new comers (if there is any) to fill and submit.
The treasure hunting stage which is also known as "football" or ``drilling" time. It is the stage where manhood is tested. At this stage, the new members are blindfolded and forced to search for a hidden treasure which may not be in the forest.
While the search continues, they are tortured with various weapons and they are not expected to cry or flinch. The aim is to toughen them and test their level of endurance. The reality is beginning to unfold at this stage it may be difficult to back out as reported in Anchor ``Secret cults activities on campus exposed'', by A. Onadarho (1999).
The selection stage is also known as the arms day by some cults. This is the last stage .Those who fail at this stage are excommunicated . During this stage, records at the first and second stages are reviewed. New members are stripped naked while cables and chains are used to drill them.
At this stage of the initiation lives have been lost. There are reports that those who died parts of their body are used for initiation rites. The initiation rites is the first step in which there is swearing of an oath of allegiance and secrecy.
Mr H. Thomas, stated: ``In Nordic Journal of African Studies'' (2005) that the eyes of those to be initiated are closed with the blood of members collected and mixed with some concoction in a human skull and drank by members. The high priest presides over the gruesome and macabre dance of evil and spilling of blood and songs of horror.
The entire initiation process is a ritual of human degradation .The purpose of this is to differentiate the members from the "Jews" and create a spirit of violence and make them fearless ready to kill and be killed.
Assignments such as raping very popular female students or even a female staff are given to new members.
For the female cultists the initiation rites might include undergoing six rounds of rigorous intercourse in quick succession as observed by N Brown ``In Nordic Journal of African Studies'' (2005).
They may also be asked to fight with other girls and strong boys to safeguard themselves from harassment and molestation. They move in groups of three or five. A jolly day is organised for celebration for new members who are thought to communicate in a coded language they alone understood.
But the question is of what benefit is membership of these groups. Most students who become members end up not realising their dreams while they face untold hardship with the authorities. Cultism is now a menace in institutions of higher learning. Rival gang activities have led to the deaths of many of the members including the innocent.
Involvement in cultism has turned many youths and into social misfits, blackmailers, rapists, terrorist and murderers. Cultism have led to disruption of academic activities resulting in low educational standard. Destruction of structures have cost parents and government millions of naira. Cultists are drug addicts and peddlers. They engage in robbery to finance their activities. They are disobedient to constituted authorities.
New students are warned against accepting invitation to attend activities organised by groups not registered with the students affairs department. Such students should stand firm and reject their approach and not be intimidated. Say no as it makes them unsettled. Report any problem to the students affairs department and the security services.
To eradicate the menace parents have a role to play. Parents should seriously monitor the development of their children both in school and at home. They should watch the company their children keep, what they say, do and where they go to. Serious ethical norms and values must be set and met by parents and their children.
Government should provide funds for effective mobilisation and efficient prosecution of identified trategies for fighting cultism such as improving existing obsolete and dilapidating structures and checking of overcrowding of hostels or lack of it. School authorities will be in a better position to overcome cultism and their changing innovation if government should provide all the funds needed.
Communities should also provide the institutions with reliable information on strange things students do at odd hours since students due to lack of accommodation or insufficient accommodation do rent houses outside the school.
Cult activities sometimes take place in the community where the students reside. Training of security men in most tertiary institutions should include modern ways of getting information which will help in tracing the changing mode of operation of cultists.
God's intervention should also be sought as Nigerians are well known for their abiding faith in religion. The three religion teaches fear of God, honesty and respect for human life.

(NAN Feature)

Posted by Publisher at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

Despair over Darfur

WESTETRN policy is in near despair over Darfur, and governments are turning to Russia and China to see if they can put pressure on the Sudanese government to accept a UN peacekeeping force.

By Paul Reynolds
"There is a critical period now when the whole international community has to use its influence on Sudan," the British Minister for Africa Lord Triesman told reporters.
"Russia and China abstained in the security council vote authorising the UN force but said it was a question of timing not issues. I expect Darfur to be raised when the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao comes to London next week. China is as powerful an anyone in Africa these days.
"I won't disagree that the situation looks awful. Things have been going in the wrong direction except at the UN."
Western policy therefore does not accept that Sudan has said a final no to a UN force.
"At the end of this period, in which florid rhetoric is being used, Sudan's position will be impossible to sustain," said Lord Triesman.
However, he said that even if Sudan held to its view and did not accept the UN force, it was "not realistic to invade Sudan".
The problem is that while the government of Sudan has said the current and cash-starved 7,000-strong force from the African Union can stay after its current mandate runs out at the end of September, it insists that the AU troops cannot be incorporated into a more powerful replacement UN force of up to 17,300 soldiers and more than 3,000 police.
At the end of this period, in which florid rhetoric is being used, Sudan's position will be impossible to sustain British Minister Lord Triesman.
It said that such a UN force, mandated only last week by the Security Council, would violate its sovereignty and suggested that it was a bridgehead for the removal of an Islamic-oriented government. It hinted that the force might attract Islamic fighters to combat it, because Osama Bin Laden has already identified Darfur as a battlefield.
Instead, the government says it intends to send its own troops to fight against the rebel forces that did not accept the recent peace deal agreed in Nigeria, especially the National Redemption Front.
The UN fears an increase in fighting, making the provision of aid difficult or impossible.
However, Africa does not always follow the script. The African Union force apparently does not even have enough money to pull its troops out, so it might stay anyway and if a deal can be worked out, it might yet form part of a UN force.
Britain is willing to finance some at least of the costs and the British government has not given up hope that the AU force will be converted into a reinforced UN one.
"The General Assembly is coming up later this month in New York and there is a good opportunity for discussion there," said the British official. "Sudan said once that it would not accept the African Union force but did. It could change its mind again."
However, throughout this crisis, Sudan has managed to stave off UN intervention and it is not yet clear whether the UN force will ever get in.
The United States insists that because Security Council resolution 1706 is written under the enforcement chapter of the UN, the force could go in regardless of what the government of Sudan wants, but obviously that is not the preferred option.
The US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, went to see Sudanese President Omar Bashir to deliver a message from President George W Bush, urging Sudan to allow the UN force in.
In a briefing on her return to Washington on 31 August, she said the resolution was "the key step to ultimately ending the crisis in Darfur, and the United States continues to support strengthening the African Union force in Darfur and having those troops become the core of a UN mission in Darfur".
Since the start of the crisis, Sudan has managed to avoid having an effective peacekeeping force in place - and it is still playing that diplomatic game.
Darfur has found itself a crisis that neither the UN nor the relatively new African Union can solve. The UN has lacked the will to intervene and the African Union has lacked the means.
Despite the statement from the then US Secretary of State Colin Powell in September 2004 that genocide had taken place in Darfur, a UN commission that reported in January 2005 concluded that while there had been crimes against humanity and war crimes, the government of Sudan "had not pursued a policy of genocide". A finding of genocide would have forced the UN to intervene more strongly.
Yet the scale of suffering is huge. Tens of thousands are reckoned to have died and the UN commission said 1.65m people had been forced from their homes, with another 200,000 as refugees in Chad.
Source:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/5317796.st

Posted by Publisher at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

NEPU’s 56th anniversary: The legacy of travails

August 8 of every year since the early 1980s when the two Northern states of Kano and Kaduna were administered by Malam Aminu Kano’s People’s Redemption Party(PDP) have come to be celebrated yearly.

By Dr. Muhtari AhmadU Kura
doktamutari@yahoo.com
This year, the celebration was limited to simple prayers organized by the two surviving foundation members namely Alhaji Mudi Spikin and Alhaji Magaji Dambatta at the (Malam Aminu Kano) Center for the Democratic Research and Training-Mambayya House.
The congregational prayers were conducted by a renown Islamic scholar and prominent silent activist, Malam Na’ibi Sulaiman Wali and many other activists and supporters at the supporters less prominent in the society.
The purpose of this year’s anniversary was t o pray for the repose of the souls of those NEPU activists and supporters who had departed this world during or after the victory song - that was the attainment of independence, the granting and entrenchment in the constitution of Nigeria the universal franchise for all (including women) adult, the upholding of free speech, movement as well as security of life and property, freedom from first labour, persecution and the holding of political opinion of any kind. Last but not the least is the freedom for the Talakawa to vote and be voted for.
Those and many more important landmarks were the pillars of NEPU struggles. The NEPU believed and trusted that if the common people (Talakawa) of this vast country, Nigeria could achieve half of the above mentioned items, the country would be rolling in riches derived from the vast natural resources endowed Nigeria by the Almighty Allah.
There would not be hunger, robbery, bribery and corruption, cultism, examination malpractices, political thuggery, vote rigging or any other negative tendencies in the society. There would not be any need for rich to exploit the poor, or the strongest among us to manipulate the weaker ones and exploit their potentials for their (strong) services.
There would not be any illiterates among the society, because everybody would have equal opportunity to acquire both the Western styled education as well as Islamic one without any hindrance. The NEPU was not given chance to translate those lofty aims into action due mainly to the manipulation of politics by those forces aim it had been fighting for decades and of course the banning of all political parties of the First Republic at the dawn of the military era.
However, one would have failed in his analysis if he does not admit the roles the military institutions played in implementing many of the NEPU programmes as they coincided with their (military) interests. In their effort to gain cheap popularity, the military institutions were guided by the remnants of NEPU activists to open up the recruitment and training of all cadres to the sons and daughters of the common people (the Talakawa).
As you may possibly know, before the military coup of the 1966, the number of sons and daughters of Talakawa in the armed forces were conspicuously absent in the ranks and files of the military hierarchy, but thanks to the efforts of the NEPU leaders (Malam Aminu Kano, Yahaya Abdullahi Yarima Bello, Abubakar Zukogi, Tanko Yakasai, Bala Keffi and mony other patriots). The story today is really different, because the military institution and the political landscape is full of them (Talakawa).
The great awakening and political education of the people more especially those of us from the Northern states could directly be attributed to the dogged pursuit of the NEPU patriots, who had been persistently advocating for equal opportunity for the Talakawa to vote and be voted for into any competitive political office in the country. That is, from the presidency to the local government councilor. In fact, this is one of the main achievements the NEPU struggles recorded and the NEPU activists should be given due recognition for that.
On the educational front, the NEPU clarion call was and still remains the implementation of free education from “cradle to grave” for all no matter what it takes to achieve it. If the NEPU policy was and is being strictly enforced, Nigeria by now would have achieved the status of one of the strongest and richest both technologically and financially among the comity of nations.
What is obtained today, more especially in the Northern states, is the bastardized form of education, where only the favoured crooks in the education industry do make some waves, while the genuine sons and daughters of the Talakawa are left to languish in total ignorance, and the few that filtered through the system are rendered helpless even in the most important subject of medicine, engineering, arts and technical areas.
Lastly, let me say this once more, it is not fair for the governments to ignore and underrate the contribution of NEPU patriots, who were known to have laid their lives for the betterment of the Talakawa and had lost their most vibrant and youthful days in the struggle to free us from the persecution, illiteracy, political wilderness and in the end died without any semblance of recognition. This is a very sad affair.
To correct this mistake, I am urging the Kano state government to lead in renaming some of the metropolitan streets(there are nanny streets in Kano with ridiculous names such as Tsamiya, Chediya, Balbela, Kanya, Balatus, Faransa, New Road and others) that could be substituted with the names of those patriots. What is wrong with naming one of our streets at Fagge after Malam Mudi Spikin who is still very much alive and being effectively consulted on many political and religious matters?
How about naming the street from Wudilawa to Dan’Agundi after the NEPU patriot Babba Dan’Aguridi? In fact, this exercise would do a lot of good to the reputation of this government of the people led by Malan Ibrahim Shekarau and his able lieutenants. Do not give the youth any wrong impression that being patriotic is a thankless job.

Dr. Muhtari Ahmadu Kura is with Kura Surgery and Maternity Clinics, 25/26, Dalili Town Kura, Kano state.

Posted by Publisher at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

Media and challenge of political transition

Being a communique issued at the end of the 3rd all Nigeria editors conference held in yenagoa, Bayelsa state. September 6-10, 2006 and signed by both President, Baba Halilu Dantiye and AG Secretary, Johnn Ndekauba .

The conference reviewed the political situation in the country and the challenges facing Nigerian editors today, observing that the 2007 elections really pose a serious challenge to our professional calling in ensuring a successful transition. It therefore urged media practitioners to be impartial and be above board in the discharge of their duties during the forth-coming national Poll. The conference noted the strategic influence the media can exert on the course of events and agreed that it had a role to act as a stabilising influence in our present political environment That is being heated by bitterness and threatened by anti-democratic forces.
As a matter of priority, the conference stressed the need for the executive and the legislature at national and state levels to provide a good working environment for the media to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities and rise to the challenge in their areas of specialisation1 so as to impact positively on the nation. Taking cognizance of the effects of corruption on our national life, the conference was of the view that the media should have zero tolerance for corruption, build public confidence in the anticorruption agencies, the EFCC and the ICPC; and remain in the vanguard of the war against corruption.
Resolutions
Accordingly, the conference resolved thus:
• Agrees to promote continuous dialogue amongst stakeholders to ensure increased scrutiny of INEC1s preparations for the elections and expose potential areas that may discredit the polls.
• To provide a platform for public discourse by ensuring that all contestants are provided equal opportunities to access the media in order to reach the electorate and thus ensure a level playing field for all.
• Condemns the use of political violence, thuggery, character assassination and unwholesome practices by politicians and appeals to all aspirants to eschew these evils and address issues rather than personalities and their campaigns.
• Resolves to protect the gains realised by our democracy by constantly monitoring police investigations into reported cases of political violence and assassinations.
• Delegates considered the realistic impossibility of absolute objectivity, but resolved to continue to maintain a stabilising influence on the practice of journalism in the country by regulating the behaviour of subordinates with a view to enforcing standards and the ethics of the profession.
• Notes the dangers inherent in appointing non professionals as Editors-in-Chief, Editors in media organisations and accordingly urged proprietors, especially public-owned media, to ensure that only professionals are appointed into these positions.
• The conference commends the role of the media in the discharge of their duties and appeals to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for balance in its treatment of both the public and private broadcast organisations so as to foster professionalism in the industry.
• The conference recognizes the different orientations of the registered political parties, and urges all the parties to avail themselves of the equal opportunities given by the media to reach out to the electorate.
• The conference also endorses the civic education and agenda setting responsibility of the media and urges media organisotions to ensure that all political parties pursue issue-based campaigns.
• The conference notes implications of media obligations to their staff. ensure that salaries and when due.
with concern the negative owners failure to fulfill their It therefore urged proprietors to other staff entitlements are paid
• To strengthen the capabilities of media organisations, the conference endorsed the need to form alliances amongst themselves to promote capacity building and provide synergy in
The discharge of their professional duties.
• Calls on the National Assembly to pass the Freedom of In formation Bill without further delay, so as to facilitate the media’s role in enhancing accountability, good governance and preserving the fundamental rights of all Nigerians at all times.
The conference expresses its appreciation to the government of Bayelsa state under Governor Good luck Jonathan for partnering with the Guild of Editors in making its conference a success and also thanks the people of Bayelsa state for their warm reception and hospitality.
Similarly, the administration development targets on the Guild wishes to encourage in the state to continue with projects so as to uplift its people Millennium Development Goals( MDGs).

Posted by Publisher at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

Polo no longer for rich-Atiku

Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has expressed delight that the game of polo is no longer an exclusive sports for the rich but a game for all and sundry, especially “those who are courageous enough to ride a horse.”

From KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja
Speaking on Monday in Yola when he hosted members of the Nigerian Polo Association (NPA) led by its national chairman, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, Atiku noted that Polo as a sport has become very popular not only as a sport amongst the “aristocrats but among the generality of Nigerians.
“Before now Polo as a sport was viewed as reserved for the military, later it was termed a sport for the rich. But today I am glad it is a game for everyone,” he said.
The vice president who expressed amazement at the large turn out and participation at the just concluded Yola National Polo tournament, commended the players and participants for their interest and commitment to the game.
“I am particularly surprised at this years’ participation, most especially when it is a general knowledge that travelling to Yola is not an easy thing due to the distance and the inavailability of flights,” adding, “I am also, greatly impressed at the level of the competitiveness exhibited at the competition”
Earlier, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi had said that the Nigerian Polo Association would ever be grateful to Atiku, because of his contributions and support which have greatly developed the sport to its present enviable level.
“We appreciate all the tremendous things Vice President Atiku has done towards the development of sport in the country. And for us the Polo people, it has been very fantastic. His contributions to Polo, nationally has been tremendous.His interest and support has strengthened us and have brought the sport into more limelight,” he said.
Alhaji Shinkafi and other members of the association also offered prayers to God to continue to strengthen the Vice President, reward him abundantly and enable him conquer all tribulations in life.

Posted by Publisher at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

GRASDO urges govt more support

KANO state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau has been called upon to continue partnership with voluntary sports associations toward eradicating youth from social vices within the community.

By ADO SALISU
The state chairman of the Grassroots Soccer Development Organisation (GRASDO), Alhaji Garba Abdullahi made the call recently during the openning match of this year’s Shekarau U-18 soccer competition at the Kano Pillars Stadium.
According to him, organising regular soccer competitions by such organisations are keeping the teeming youth busy and at the same time taking them away from engaging in social vices and other notorious activities in the community.
Alhaji Abdullahi further said that such organisations have greatly assisted government in that direction, adding that with more government support, the era of such notorious Yandaba activities and other crimes will definitely be over.
The chairman, while commending the state government for the recent financial assistance to GRASDO, appealled for more support towards the upliftment of sporting activities in the state.
He then expressed appreciation to the state government for the recent donation of N250,000 to various state football clubs which he described as highly motivation.

Posted by Publisher at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

Nigeria 'suspends' NFL chief

A war of words has broken out between the board of the Nigeria Football League (NFL) and its executive secretary Salihu Abubakar.


The NFL board on Tuesday announced the indefinite suspension of Abubakar for allegedly misappropriating funds.
They also accused him of adopting a "reckless style of management".
But Abubakar hit back and told BBC Sport that he has only heard about the suspension through the grapevine.
"I've not seen any letter with regards to my suspension from the board of the NFL," Abubakar claimed.
"Until I receive official confirmation to that effect, I will continue to regard these accusations as mere rumours."
The NFL board insists that Abubakar has a lot of explaining to do with regards to US$220, 000 allegedly missing without proper documentation.
"We're accountable to millions of Nigerians who follow the game passionately, so we must deal with any form of unprofessional conduct," NFL chairman Jackson Oyuiki Obaseki told BBC Sport.
With Abubakar apparently on suspension, the head of the NFL's competitions department, Tunji Babalola, has been named as his replacement.
Obaseki accused Abubakar of running the NFL secretariat "without recourse to discussion" with other board members.
Meanwhile, BBC Sport understands that investigations into allegations of match fixing levelled against Akwa United are still underway.

Posted by Publisher at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

Welcoming commissioner Garba (III)

Sir, last week, I wrongly informed you that the government has spent over N160,000,000.00 on Kano Pillars FC this football season. That was an error which I regretted and hope to be forgiven.

The true figure is N47,000,000.00 which was spent on the team this football season. The error is highly regretted.
Sir, as I said it before, this government has invested a lot in sports more than any other successive government in the state.
But as I said last week, much is still required to be done in order to sanitise sports in the state.
Sir, one of the major problems militating against sports development in the state is its urbanisation. Despite having 44 local government councils in the state, we don’t seem to have them participating in sports.
Kano local councils don’t or are not allowed to participate and contribute their quota in sports development at all in the state.
Sir, this has negatively affected sports in the state, as no one can remember or tell when last the state organised and conducted annual inter-local government sports competitions be it in football, basketball, handball etc.
secondly, no one can equally remember when any local government name was seen in either state’s challenge cup competition or any state leagues in Tofa Premier, state division one, two, three etc.
Sir, this is not good for development, because we need local governments contribution to fill the vacuum the last administration’s rationalisation exercise created, we need local governments contribution to indigenise our sports.
It is a fact that, there are undisclosed number of hidden talents in all our 38 local government areas in the state which we need to unearth and utilise.
Sir, we all believe your coming to sports is a blessing and you need to do something to change this ugly situation. There is a need for a machinery to be put in place to bring our 44 local government councils into the mainstream so as to have their maximum contribution in sports development.
They should be encouraged to have confidence in their local sportsmen and women in their dormains not the situation whereby they should register for a competition but run to the metropolis for their players registration.
Similarly, there exist some people in the state who have no business in sports organisation but now resort to sending proposals direct to government for approval to organise one or another competition.
This should be discouraged and ask whoever wants delve into organising sports to first of all register with the association and always look for sponsorship outside rather than from government.
Another serious thing affecting sports in the state is facilities. Most of them are not within the reach of our people. And to bring sports closer to the state’s indigenes, there is the need to relocate the training ground of state handball, volleyball, boxing, weightlifting etc from Ado Bayero Square to either Kofar Mata Sports Complex, Goron Dutse Sports Centre or Hausawa Hockey Center.
This will bring our youth closer to these games and make them develop interest in no time and participate in the games that were previously dominated by non-indigenes.
On Kano Pillars Stadium, there is a need for arena fencing and plastic sitting arrangement like that of Sani Abacha Stadium.
Sir, for Kano State sports Council (KSSC), there is also the need to urgently reconstitute its board. The council is the only parastatal without a board in the state.

Posted by Publisher at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

In memory of Late Kano SWAN chairman

Friday last week, we received a shocking and sad news of the death of Late Kano SWAN chairman, Mal. Umar Sulaiman.

Late Umar’s death was communicated to me in the early hours of Friday by Mal. Ado Salisu via an SMS message same day
the Kano state chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) on Friday lost its chairman Malam Umaru Sulaiman to the cold hand of death.
Sulaiman, a native of Kebbi died after a protracted illness at the age of 50.
The late chairman was described as a pillar for all to rest on by his colleagues as he always carried everyone along in his day-to-day affairs.
The late SWAN boss started his journalism career with Rima Radio, Sokoto state from where he moved to Concord Press Ltd where he was served in various states in the Northern part of Nigeria as chief correspondent.
He was with Complete sports Communication as its correspondent before his sorrowful death.
A member of various sporting committees, late Sulaiman served as a member of Kano state mini-sports festival, state official contigent to national assignments as well as media officer during the Abuja 2003 All- Africa Games.
He was the chairman of national electoral committee of SWAN that organised the last SWAN election in Yola, called SWANECO .
Buried last Friday in Kano according to Islamic rites, Sulaiman was described by many who know him as a big loss and one who have respect for all irrespective of their differences.
May his soul rest in peace, Amin.

Posted by Publisher at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

NFL hails Super 4 coverage

Executive secretary of the Nigeria Football League (NFL) board Salihu Abubakar has praised South Africa satellite station SuperSport for the splendid coverage of the just concluded 2006 Nigerian football League season.

According to Abubakar, the coverage has given a new lease of life to the much-troubled league; hence massive confidence that interested corporate sponsors will be attracted to invest in it.
"They created a massive landmark by first showing the highlights and the positive comments from various parts of the world were simply unbelievable," Abubakar told KICK OFF in Abuja.
"People could not even believe they were watching the Nigerian league on satellite which is an unprecedented feat. The coverage of the Super Four was highly hailed by clubs, fans and several people in the football management.
"Supersport has really proved that we have a good product to package, we believe both of us will go a long way in doing business together.
"The players are greatly motivated just like the NFL as well, it has clearly shown that we play good football and with the professional coverage as displayed by Supersport, the sky will be the limit.
Newly-crowned champions Ocean Boys were also impressed with the television coverage.
Captain Blessing Okardi, voted as the MVP of the Play-Off told KICK OFF that his profile has since been on the rise, due to the TV coverage.
"I must confess that several people from Bayelsa and different parts of Nigeria are calling me to tell me how delighted they are with my form in the Super Four," Okardi told KICK OFF.

Posted by Publisher at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2006

Shekarau wins security award ...Treated to rousing welcome

Owing to his steadfastness in ensuring the prevalence of peace and tranquillity as against state of insecurity which characterised life in the ancient city of Kano prior to ascending to power on May 2003, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau has won the coveted award of best governor on security and police matters.

Stories From GAMBO KANNO, Abuja & ADAMU ABDULLAHI

The award was conferred on the governor by Security Watch International for his efforts to keep the state safe for lives and business to thrive.

The governor emerged the best after painstaking screening by a committee of eminent technocrats, security experts and media practitioners.

The committee concurred that the Shekarau administration devoted huge financial resources to the provision of logistics and welfare of policemen, creation of jobs for youths and fostering understanding among various communities leading to reduction in the rate of crime in the state.

At an epoch making ceremony, held at Abuja Sheraton Hotel and Towers, the national coordinator, Security Watch Awards, Mr. Patrick Agbambu, explained that the awards were meant to acknowledge selfless and purposeful service to humanity.

Similarly, Kano state commissioner of police, Muhammad Dikko Abubakar was presented with ‘’Best Crime Busting Police Commissioner and Best Human Rights Compliant Police Commissioner.

Mr. Agbambu praised the awardees and hoped the awards would propel them to render more selfless service to humanity.

On his part, the chairman, board of trustees of Security Watch who expressed concern on the deteriorating security situation in the country, stressed the need for innovative approaches as well as developing human resources capable of withstanding recurring security challenges.

He said all levels of government must collaborate even as law enforcement agencies and private security agencies must play a greater role towards strengthening security in the country.

Speaking on behalf of the awardees, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai and Governor Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom state, thanked the organisers and described it as a challenge to render better services.

Personalities honoured during the occasion included the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, the governors of Akwa Ibom and Zamfara states, the Comptroller General of Immigration, Mr. Chukwurah Udeh among others.

Meanwhile, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano state was yesterday treated to a warm reception by a mammoth crowd of people upon his return from Abuja where he was conferred with an award of ‘’Best Governor on Police Matters,’’ by the Security Watch International.

The reception which began from Tamburawa village about 15 kilometres away from Kano city saw thousands of party supporters and admirers of Malam Shekarau lined up to welcome the peoples governor.

The crowd was led by all commissioners, special advisers and heads of parastatals as well as party officials in the state.

On arrival at Tamburawa, the governor along with his convoy drove in a motor-cade to the city amidst cheers from people who lined up along streets to welcome him.
Addressing the gathering on arrival at Government House, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, described the award as an honour done to the entire citizens of Kano.
He noted that, the award would not have been possible without the strong support and cooperation of the people of the state.

Malam Shekarau explained, that Kano was singled out for his effort in providing to the police force both logistics and equipment support.
The governor commended the organisers of the award for recognising the effort of the state towards ensuring peace and tranquillity in the state.

Malam Shekarau also praised members of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) for their courage and determination during the just concluded national convention of the party where they defied heavy rain and voted leaders to steer affairs of the party.

Posted by Publisher at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2006

Call Mantu to order ...Plateau govt urges Obasanjo

The Plateau state government has called on the federal government to prevail on Senator Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu to order for making attempts to destabilize the state through the activities of hoodlums whom he said have been hired to unleash all forms of terror on citizens of the state.

From CHRISTIANA GOKYO, Jos

In a press statement signed and issued to newsmen in Jos yesterday by the Press Secretary to Governor , Mr. John K. Agam, Governor Goshua called on President Obasanjo to seriously warn Senator Mantu to desist henceforth from mingling into the affairs of Plateau state which he said at the moment is heating the state polity.

“It must be understood that there is no parallel government in Plateau state, and as a responsible government, we cannot sit back and watch the state being plunged into a state of civil unrest. We wish to advise the likes of Senator Mantu to work towards winning elections through the ballot box and not by act of violence aimed at heating up the polity thereby bringing about civil unrest and chaos,” he said.

Governor Dariye on the other hand, urged people of the state to remain patient over what he described as act of lawlessness and political intimidation being perpetrated by Senator Mantu and his political supporters, saying that Plateau state government is doing everything possible “to be at the top of the whole situation.”

Daily Triumph recalled that during the investigation of alleged money laundering and abuse of office by Governor Dariye, the probe panel members set up by the state House of Assembly were invited by officials of the EFCC for questioning.

However, the eight-man panel members who comprised of the Speaker of the House, his deputy, the majority leader , the Clerk of the House and other four members did not honour the invitation.

The lawmakers however, suspended the House sitting for three months to enable them avoid being arrested by the men of the EFCC.

Posted by Publisher at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2006

FG allocates N6bn for teacher scheme

THE federal government has allocated N6 billion for the take-off of the Federal Teachers Scheme, minister of state for education, Dr. Sayyadi Abba Rama has said.

From MUSTAPHA SAYE, Kaduna

Speaking at the flag-off of the nationwide re-training programme for primary school teachers at Government College Kaduna, the minister said the federal government has observed that without quality education, the nation will never attain global relevance, nor create a good society.

He said under the scheme, 40,000 NCE teachers shall be recruited and posted to areas with acute shortage of teachers, adding that teacher training college are being strengthened and expanded so that they can become in admission capacity.

According to him, “it is an example to enhance the capacity of the serving teachers that the federal government decided to intervene, by non-training the 145,000 primary school teachers across the country“.
Dr. Ruma explained that, this is funded from proceeds of the debt relief, which is being channelled towards attaining the Millennium Development Goods (MDGs) noting, that “their expectation is that the states, work closely with the federal government in developing a framework for institutionalising professional development for teachers.

Earlier in his welcome address, the director and chief executive of National Teachers Institute, Dr. Ahmad Moddibo Muhammad had said that the objectives of the ownership will be achieved with the high calibre of resource persons assembled for this workshop.

Dr. Moddibo urged participants to approach to workshop with proper frame of mind and high level of seriousness, adding that the knowledge and skill acquired by the end of this training should be strengthened for greater performance.

Dr. Moddibo expressed his profound gratitude to the federal ministry of education for embarking on the initiative and ensuring that the necessary funds were made available.

Also in his remark, the Senior Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo on the MDGs, Hajiya Amina Ibrahim, represented by Alhaji Awwal Aboki stated that, the Millennium Development Goals are to set for eight time-bound goals agreed to in 2000 at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.

He said Nigeria was one of those countries that signed the declaration which set the target date of 2015, noting that “the goals include poverty eradication, primary education, gender issues, child and maternal health, HIV/AIDS, malaria, environment, water and sanitation, debt, trade and aid.

Posted by Publisher at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2006

INEC approves 3 coys for DDC units supply

Ahead of nationwide revalidation of the voter register on October 7, INEC has approved three companies to supply 33,000 Direct Data Capture (DDC) units meant for the exercise.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt yesterday in Abuja that the three companies were among the initial 700 companies that had sent bids for the supply of the units.

Already, talks have begun between INEC officials and the representatives of the three companies on the modalities for the delivery of the equipment to meet the deadline.

NAN learnt that 5,000 units had been respectively allotted to two firms while the third company was asked to supply 23,000 units of DDC bringing the total to 33,000.

INEC sources told NAN that one of the companies was still in the process of mobilising facilities needed to procure 50 DDC units required for demonstration.
The INEC source said that going by agreement reached, all the three companies would have supplied the demonstration units by the end of August, but that only one beat the deadline.

Meanwhile, INEC has fixed Sept. 6 as date for the commencement of the Train-the-trainers programme on the usage of the DDC units, notwithstanding the fact that two of the companies have not supplied their own consignments.

It was learnt that by INEC arrangement, the support and logistics for the training programmes were also supposed to have been put in place by now.

Commenting on the training, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Andy Ezeani, said in a telephone interview that all the materials needed for the exercise had been supplied.

Ezeani assured that the training would commence as scheduled, saying there was no cause for alarm

Posted by Publisher at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2006

Niger-Delta: U. S. to assist Nigeria in security provision

The Special Assistant to the President on Security in the Gulf of Guinea, Ms Linda Greenfield, says the U.S. is eager to help Nigeria address security challenges in the Niger-Delta.

Greenfield who is an American, said this in a chat with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja.
“The U.S is willing to help Nigeria tackle security concerns in the Niger-Delta through offshore surveillance and interdiction,’’ Greenfield said.

She said in taking practical steps to combat oil theft, the U.S. would propose raising industry awareness, tightening bills of lading and supporting surveillance under the U.S. propose Niger-Delta security initiative.
According to her, the U.S. propose security initiative will provide Nigeria with a network of sensors, radar and communication gear to enhance control of territorial waters.

“We want to work with Nigeria and the oil majors to collaboratively fund more sensors, aerial surveillance, and other facilities that would address fisheries violations, oil bunkering, piracy, smuggling and environmental degradation,’’ she said.

She said the U.S. would also assist and fund efforts for the destruction of weapons with the assurance from the highest level of authority.

She said the U.S. was interested in seeing concrete steps towards reducing the availability of illicit arms and light weapons in the country.

The special assistant said the U.S. believes in Nigeria as an anchor for Africa’s security and prosperity.
“There is no alternative in the Niger Delta than dialogue and cooperation,’’ she said.

NAN reports that NNPC officials, representatives of the U.S., UK and observers from Norway and the Netherlands met in Abuja for three days on energy security in the Gulf of Guinea.

Posted by Publisher at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2006

Airport security operative stabbed dead...By unknown assailants

AS the nation continues to witness gruesome political killings and other forms of assassinations of prominent citizens in addition to escalation of armed robbery cases, last Friday another murder was added to the long list of those killed in yet to be unravelled circumstances.

By MUHAMMAD BELLO,
Assistant Editor, Sunday Triumph

This time around, the victim is an airport security operative at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA).

The official, Abubakar Tahir who resides in Gwammaja Housing Estate in Kano metropolis was stabbed to death by unknown assailants who attacked him in front of his neighbour’s house.

An eyewitness told Daily Triumph that he was coming back from the roadside where he went to buy tea. ‘’It was about 11 p.m in the night. He was holding a thermo flask in his hand. Shortly after, he left us we heard shouts of thief, thief twice, then there was silence,’’ the eyewitness said.

A short while after he was found in a pool of his own blood in front of his house where he fell dead.
Our correspondent gathered from a family source that his wife who had earlier reacted to the alarm she raised by locking the door of their house was shocked to learn that the victim was her husband.

It was also gathered that one of the attackers who was in a haste to flee the scene left behind his cap and the knife he used to attack him. ‘’We also gathered that one of the attackers who was in a haste to flee the scene left behind his cap and the knife he used to attack him. ‘’We also extracted the victim’s cellular phone and scrolled to the last call he made. We called the number but there was no answer,’’ said the family source.

There is an unsubstantiated allegation that Tahir have knowledge of the trafficking of a substance believed to be hard drugs through his duty post.

It was learnt that he refused to collect a bribe of N5 million offered him by a faceless baron two months ago when the deal was first busted.

Earlier information we got indicate that a name sake of the victim, an SSS official, was the one killed was clarified by the state director as in correct.

According to him, their official bearing the same name was involved in an accident three weeks ago.
He said SSS operatives attached to airports have nothing to do with drug trafficking cases. ‘’Our operatives in any airport are only concerned with traffic control,’’ he explained.

When the police spokesperson in Kano, Superintendent of Police, Baba Muhammad was contacted, he said the command was not aware of the murder. He advised that he should be contacted today.

Posted by Publisher at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2006

War in Lebanon: Bitter lesson for Israel -- NSCIA

THE Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), has said that the latest war in Lebanon should have taught the Israelis the bitter lesson of the balance of terror in the troubled Middle East.

From MUSTAPHA SAYE, Kaduna

‘’Any nation in the region in future would think twice before venturing to violate the territorial integrity of her neighbours,’’ the council stated.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting last Monday and signed by its Secretary-General, Dr. Abdul-Lateef Adegbite a copy of which was made available to Daily Triumph correspondent in Kaduna.

The council praised the United Nations for ensuring a cease fire in Lebanon, pointing out that unless the Palestinian question is addressed and Israel withdraws from occupied Arab territories, the cease-fire would be a mirage and a mere postponement of another battle royale between the freedom-fighting Hezbullah and Zionist Israel.

The council also expressed appreciation over the role played by President Olusegun Obasanjo in the fund raising exercise for the rehabilitation of the National Mosque, and noted with appreciation the gesture of state governors and eminent Muslims who graced the event and contributed generously to the fund.

The council also expressed worry at the upsurge in political violence and assassination of political big wigs in the country, calling on the federal government to give adequate security to prospective candidates in the forthcoming elections and ensure that the next election is not marred by violence and anarchy.

It also called on government to fish out perpetrators of political assassinations and punish them accordingly so as to serve as a deterrent to others who may have murderous intention.

Posted by Publisher at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2006

My vision for Shekarau’s return...Zinder gov predicts

FACINATED by the high level of massive support being enjoyed by Kano state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau from people of the state, the governor of Zinder in Niger Republic, Alhaji Yahaya Ibrahim ‘Yandaka has predicted victory for the people’s governor in 2007.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

The governor of Zinder who was in the state on a two-day visit made the statement during a dinner organized by the Kano state government in his honour, held at Africa House, Government House, Kano.

Alhaji ‘Yandaka explained that physical development coupled with an exemplary leadership of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau have greatly enhanced the position of the state in the region.

‘’The level of mass support and cheers we received during one of our outings with Malam Ibrahim Shekarau within the city indicated the readiness and commitment of people of Kano to ensure his return in 2007,’’ the governor of Zinder has asserted.

The governor added: ‘’With what I saw on the ground, I can simply tell you that by 2007, I would come back to congratulate the people of Kano for re-electing such a man that values human development in all its ramifications.’’

He enjoined Nigeriens residing in Kano to support the administration of Malam Shekarau who he described as gentle and humble person.

He remarked that a good leader must show concern about the development of his people and prayed that the existing cordial relation between the people of Niger and Nigeria particularly Kano would continue to wax stronger.

Earlier, the governor of Zinger, Alhaji Yahaya Ibrahim ‘Yandaka had paid an inspection visit to the multi-billion Naira Tamburawa water project, noting that he had seen one of the greatest surprises in terms of project execution.

Alhaji ‘Yandaka explained that any government that fails to provide potable drinking water to its people should be considered as irresponsible government.
He noted with pleasure the level of physical development in term of social amenities in the state and charged the governor to continue to discharge his duties diligently.

On his part, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau said the relationship between Kano and Zinder has a long historical background and thanked the governor of Zinder for accepting their invitation to visit the state.

Malam Shekarau assured people of Niger residing in Kano that his administration would ensure provision of security of their lives and property.

He expressed appreciation for the immense contribution of Nigeriens in Kano towards the peaceful co-existence of different nationals in the state while urging them to maintain the spirit.

Posted by Publisher at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2006

Severance pay: NITEL staff reject package

Some 6,428 NITEL staff have rejected the decision of the presidential task force on NITEL privatisation, which provides for a five-year pension pay-off for those to be rationalised.

The staff, under the National Association of Telecommunication Employees (NATE) were angered that neither the task force nor the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) had involved them in the disengagement negotiations.

General Secretary of the association Muhammad Abacha told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja, that in spite of series of protests, the two had negotiated the fate of the 10,355 NITEL staff without the workers inputs.

He said, NATE would resist the imposition of this decision, which according to him, was meant to shortchange the staff.

``The road to lasting solution to the contending issues lies in the convening of an all stakeholders meeting to agree to an acceptable payment of outstanding allowances and the severance package,'' he said.

He said that the staff had at an extra ordinary meeting, demanded for a 10-year pension severance pay to all NITEL staff, instead of the 7, 022 staff slated for rationalisation by the task force, BPE and its new owners, Transcorp.

According to Abacha, as a Grade A parastatal, the 10-year severance pay was the standard set by the federal government, as was the case with the CBN and NNPC.

He noted that certain actions of some stakeholders in NITEL were meant to create confusion, ``to sabotage the good intention of the federal government on privatising the organisation".

Other demands of the workers, he said, were the immediate payment of the back-log of allowances, payment of four months outstanding salaries and the release of operational funds to zonal and territorial offices of NITEL.

He noted that these problems have led to a ``systematic collapse of the company."

Posted by Publisher at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2006

Hon. Farouk Adamu Aliyu Recall process marred by contradictions ...INEC says results to be declared in Abuja

IT was still hazy as at press time yesterday as to who had actually won in the recall referendum against the House of Representatives member from Birnin Kudu/Buji constituency in Jigawa state, Hon. Farouk Adamu Aliyu as there were conflicting reports on the result said to have been declared by INEC, our findings revealed .

From ISMAILA MUHAMMAD, Dutse

Other views have however, insisted that the result was declared. While reports have widely held that the embattled legislator had won and therefore ‘’stands not recalled,’’ others held that it was the government that won even though there were doubts if it had secured the required two-third majority votes.

The copy of the result slip was distributed to newsmen Saturday around 11:03 p.m instead of the INEC officials to declare it on camera at the constituency office.

There was also apprehension among voters as to why the result was withheld by INEC who was alleged to have done so because it reportedly wanted to announce it from Abuja.

It was gathered that this development has made people to believe that INEC could not conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2007.
Earlier, on Saturday morning, six people were arrested with parcels suspected to be thousands of ballot papers.

Sources said those arrested were alleged to be prominent politicians and senior officers in the Jigawa state government, among them a councillor in one of the local government councils in the state.

Even though the state commissioner of police, Alhaji Abubakar Sardauna had declined to comment on the arrests, Daily Triumph source said the suspects were helping the police in their investigation.
It could be recalled that recently , there was a recall move against Hon. Aliyu alleged to have been sponsored by the Jigawa state government, but for which the lawmaker instituted a court case, praying an Abuja High Court to grant an interim injunction stopping INEC from conducting the referendum, pending the determination of the motion on notice.

However, last two weeks, an Abuja High Court gave a ruling that it has no jurisdiction to stop INEC from conducting the referendum, which paved the way for INEC to conduct the referendum.
It could be also recalled that Hon. Aliyu had been in the vanguard of the anti-thrid term chorus which was later buried by the National Assembly.

The lawmaker has also of recent been dogged in the fight against another game plan B the interim national government plot purported to have been hatched by the present administration to perpetuate itself in office.

Posted by Publisher at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2006

Makarfi denies presidential running mate position

Kaduna state governor, Alhaji Ahmad Muhammad Makarfi, has refuted media reports that he has agreed to become a running mate to a southern PDP presidential aspirant in the 2007 election.

In a press statement yesterday in Kaduna, the governor's Director-General, Media and Publicity, Alhaji Mukhtar Sirajo, described such media reports as ``false and untrue''.

``The reports are not a true reflection of what the governor said at an interactive session with the media last weekend in Lagos,'' he said.

He stated that what Markafi actually said was that the emergence of candidates was a process that entailed consultations and negotiations.
He said that Makarfi, as a believer in party supremacy, would abide by whatever decision the party ultimately takes.

``He will abide with the decision regardless of his own personal interests, especially if such a decision is a product of wide consultation and concensus within the party`.

On the governor's recent meeting with Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Sirajo stated that the duo did not discuss the political aspiration of any individual.

He, however, said that their discussions bordered on issues and ``means of solidifying Northern unity toward the attainment of greater national harmony and stability''.

Posted by Publisher at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2006

Aggression against Lebanon: Group wants war crime charges on Ehud ... says Israel must be out of UN

THE Global Network for Islamic Justice, Zamfara chapter, has strongly condemned what it described as the current Israeli aggression on the defenceless and innocent citizens of Lebanon.

From ABBA ABUBAKAR KABARA, Gusau

A release signed by the president and secretary of the organisation, Malam M.A. Dankande and Ibrahim Tudu respectively, also condemned the United Nations (UN) for refusal to condemn Israel or order it to stop the persistent attack.

The release further urged the UN to charge the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, for war crimes and expel Israel from the world body.

The release further challenged the UN that if it actually has the capacity relevance, it should then shoulder and guarantee the complete reconstruction and future security of Lebanon as a legitimate member of the UN.

The Global Network also called on President Obasanjo to condemn and disassociate Nigeria from the carnage, as ‘’it is uncivilised, undemocratic and illegal as well as a war crime by all international laws.’’

Posted by Publisher at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2006

Transcorp to sack 7,022, NITEL staff

More than 7,020 of the 10,391 staff of NITEL PLC have been pencilled down for sack by Transcorp, the new management of the company.

The Acting National President of the National Union of Postal and Telecommunications Employees (NUPTE), Mr Sunday Alhassan, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lokoja at the weekend that Transcorp had decided to retain 3,329 of the workers.

He said that the 3,329 staff were mainly technical personnel, explaining that at a meeting of the union with BPE officials in the office of the Minister for Labour last week in Abuja, it was agreed that five years cumulative salary be paid to the affected staff.
Alhassan explained, that the cumulative five years salary was to serve as exit settlement.

He further said that it was also agreed that no staff should be served with sack letter if there was no money to effect immediate payment of his or her entitlements.

“It was equally agreed that money for the settlement of backlog of salary arrears owed the workers would be made available this week,’’ the union leader added.

Alhassan, however, frowned at the arrangement, on the ground that some staff would be shortchanged.
He explained that all workers should rather be sacked and be paid their entitlements “and let the management give fresh appointment to those it wants to retain’’.

On the present management of the company, the acting national president said there was no difference between Pentascope and Transcorp.

“We have no proof of their technical competence and have not heard where they operated and had a success story.
“If they are competent to handle the company well, they should come with their own technical expertise, why are they trying to retain our technicians?’’ he queried.

Alhassan attributed the problems of NITEL to “general inefficiency inherent in civil service mentality among staff and management’’.
He expressed the hope that there would be no replication of such scenario.

Posted by Publisher at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2006

Lar’s PDP fights on... Says more court cases linger against Ali

The Solomon Lar faction of the PDP has said that it has four cases before various courts on the leadership crisis rocking the party.
The acting national chairman of the faction, Sen. Ibrahim Safana, disclosed this yesterday, while briefing newsmen in Abuja.

He explained that the case struck out by an Abuja High Court challenging the competence of the Ahmadu Ali-led executive was just one of them.

‘’We have four cases before different courts. The one struck out yesterday (Tuesday) by an Abuja High Court is just one of them.
‘’We are meeting today to consider the merits and demerits of the judgment with a view to appealing or not,’’ Safana said.

He said that one of the other cases is pending before a Federal High Court, Abuja, regarding the closure of their faction’s secretariat by the police as allegedly directed by Ali-led PDP faction.

According to him, Governors Orji Kalu and Boni Haruna of Abia and Adamawa state, respectively, have also filed a suit challenging the legality of the Ali leadership.

Similarly, Safana said that his group had secured a judgment of an Abuja High Court in Gwagwalada which had “nullified the Ali executive”.

He, however, conceded that the defendants had filed an appeal challenging the ruling of the court.
Safana noted that Tuesday’s ruling was largely based on technical grounds, as the judge averred that INEC was not joined in the suit and that the case was wrongly filed as a writ and not as an originating summons.

According to him, the group is primarily challenging the ‘’affirmative convention’’ that brought in Ali’s leadership.
He added: ‘’That convention was not only unconstitutional, but it had also been roundly rejected by majority of party members’’.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Safana was the last Deputy National Chairman (North) and Acting National Chairman of the PDP when Chief Audu Ogbeh resigned as the party’s chairman.

Safana who was at the briefing with other party chieftains, including Alhaji Ahmad Song, Alhaji Inuwa Labaran and Mr Baba Dala, recalled that their faction emerged on May 16 because of the dispute.
Safana, however, said that they are still legitimate members of the PDP, adding that they are also working for the party’s victory in the 2007 general elections.

Posted by Publisher at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2006

No moves to impeach Shekarau...Says Speaker Gani, members embrace each other

THE Speaker of Kano state House of Assembly, Hon. Balarabe Sa’idu Gani has refuted speculations of moves by the House to impeach the state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau.

By ALIYU YUSUF

Speaker Gani who made the revelation yesterday while speaking to Daily Triumph at the Assembly’s Guest House shortly after the adjournment of the House sitting to today, described the allegations as baseless.

Hon. Gani explained that the House had never made any plan to impeach the state governor, rather, they were making their deliberations to protect the integrity of the House and the interest of the generality of Kano people.

On what was the agenda of their Kaduna meetings last week, the Speaker pointed out that they were there to have an enabling atmosphere with a view to articulating on how the House proceedings will continue without further disruption as witnessed last week.
He then called on the people of Kano to disregard such allegations and remain peaceful as the House will remain committed to the progress of the state.

Explaining further on why yesterday’s session was adjourned to today, Hon. Aminu Sani representing Kumbotso constituency, said it was done to enable the members discuss further on how to resolve the crisis emanating between the executive and the House of Assembly.

He said all are aware of the tension in the Assembly as a result of the disagreement especially on the issue of the state ANPP’s order for the removal of the House’s Majority Leader, Hon. Ahmad Tambaya Dawanau.

Hon. Sani added that ‘’all the ANPP members in the House have met today with the Speaker and discussed on how to come up with a lasting solution to the problem so as to forge ahead.

‘’In the course of our discussions, we have realized that whatever cannot be achieved peacefully, will never be achieved by means of violence, that was why we solicited for the adjournment till today (Tuesday) so that we would further discuss,’’ on how to resolve the problems,’’ Hon. Aminu stressed.

According to him, ‘’we are no longer interested in seeing the House in problems as our respective electorate will not be happy, hence the need for us to attack the problems once and for all.’’

Daily Triumph observed that from the situation of the House yesterday both the members who are in support of the removal of Hon. Dawanau and those opposed to it were embracing each other which signified rekindling of harmonious relationship among them.

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July 31, 2006

States, LGs shared N6trn...From 1999--2005, says ministry report

More than N6 trillion was shared to states and local governments from the federation account between June 1999 and December last year.

A federal ministry of finance publication released under the transparency initiative, captured the funds released to include federation shares, excess crude and value added tax.

The allocations to the 36 states and FCT and the 774 local government councils indicated that the oil producing states of Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Ondo, recorded the highest earnings of between N321 billion and N238 billion.

Bauchi state which got more than N146.2 billion was placed among the top 20 states that collected more than N140 billion during the period.

The state also ranked among the top three in the North with Kano which got N254.4 billion and Kaduna N177.4 billion.

Bauchi received more than N58.2 billion for its 16 local governments with the Metropolitan and Toro councils as top earners.

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July 27, 2006

Kano LG commissioner announces voluntary resignation...Challenges to be probed

AMIDST the political controversy raging between the Kano state House of Assembly and the executive arm of government, the state commissioner for local government, Alhaji Abdullahi Sani Rogo, apparently in the centre of the crisis, has, on matters of principle, voluntarily resigned.

Announcing his resignation as a commissioner at exactly 8.34 p.m yesterday night during an emergency press conference in his office, Alhaji Rogo said he resigned his appointment for the love and progress of Kano and its teeming populace.

‘’I believe,’’ he opened up, ‘’members of the press are aware of the happenings at the House of Assembly culminating into the resolution seeking for my removal.’’

To this end, the commissioner informed the press that, ‘’having carefully analysed the situation, I have indicated my intention to voluntarily resign my appointment as commissioner for local government.’’

He said in an emotion-laden address, that his decision to resign was based on personal discretion predicated on the events at the state Assembly which seemed to have pitched itself against the government ‘’on account of their opposition against me personally.’’
According to Rogo, as a responsible citizen who believes and commits himself to the lofty vision of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau’s administration which charts the destiny of the state on the basis of Sharia, he felt morally inclined to avoid what would derail this worthy course of the government.

‘’As a stakeholder, I remain prepared to make any sacrifice in or outside the government to ensure that no effort to sabotage or discredit the government under any guise is allowed to prevail,’’ he told the crème of journalists present.

Hear him again: ‘’I will hasten to underline that the opposition to my position is a long standing effort directed at ruining my image and political career for reasons best known to few individuals and their sponsored cohorts in the Kano state House of Assembly.’’
He recalled how a similar resolution for his removal was passed by the same House in 2004 but which came to pass, pointing out that the resolution was only the latest of such design in the game plan of his adversaries.

Alhaji Rogo observed further that the principled stand of the state government is resisting to be stampeded to act irrationally and contrary to the tenets of Sharia, ‘’by removing me as a commissioner without proper investigation of allegations concocted against me by some elements in the House,’’ adding that this situation had impeded the affairs of government and its concomitant effect on service delivery for the general good of Kano citizens.

‘’With all sincerity and belief in ultimate accountability to Allah,’’ he stated, the allegations of withholding as much as one billion Naira as well as other allegations were all misplaced.
‘’As the record will bear me out, the whole amount approved for the purchase of fertilizer for the 44 local governments for the 2006 fiscal year is just N496,500,000, but the House said that the ministry for local government under my supervision has collected the sum of N2.4 billion,’’ he explained, asking how the House as the approving body can reconcile this?

The commissioner elaborated further that the allegation by the House ‘’is more of a pigment of imagination of mischievous minds seeking to implement the long-standing sponsored agenda to ruin my political career.’’

For this reason, he said, he had appealed to the kind understanding of the governor to allow him to resign which he has now done ‘’in good faith and as a personal sacrifice I have to make for the continuity of public-spirited and morally-inclined government in its efforts to cater for the aspirations of our people.’’

The commissioner then challenged anybody ‘’even outside the government for any probe on this or any other issue the House may wish to take up with me regarding management of the affairs/transactions in the ministry for local government and the 44 local governments in the state.’’

Expressing his gratitude to Governor Ibrahim Shekarau for according him the opportunity to serve as commissioner, Alhaji Rogo further thanked the governor for the trust he bestowed in him in spite of ‘’the cruel efforts to derail the government not on account of any shortcomings but just for hatred being perpetrated against me.’’

The commissioner concluded by saying: ‘’In my own case, I have now stepped aside leaving the stage for posterity to judge me and the state Assembly,’’ adding, ‘’but since the noble pursuit of the government will continue, we live to see what other gimmicks will emerge from adversaries of the government and their sponsored agents in our midst.’’
See page 5 for the full text of the briefing.

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July 11, 2006

2007: INEC parleys with religious groups

INEC will organise a stakeholders parley with all religious groups in the country this month to get its message across to the grassroots.

The INEC Director of Voter Education, Alhaji Ibrahim Biu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja last weekend that the parley would come up in Kaduna and Asaba.

He explained that the country had been divided into Northern and Southern part, with all religious groups expected to send their representatives.

Biu added that each of the 19 Northern states would send in a Muslim and Christian representatives each to the Northern parley, slated to hold in Kaduna.

Similarly, the Southern meeting will hold in Asaba, with all the 17 Southern states participating, he added.

The director pointed out that the newly created Voter Education unit of the commission was primarily to carry out civic education on electoral matters.

He said that the unit had lined up a number of programmes to educate Nigerians and empower eligible them on their role in the electoral process.

After the sensitisation of religious groups, the unit would also talk to the academia, women groups, labour unions, civil society, among others.

He appealed to Nigerians to support the activities of the commission ``to conduct a credible and acceptable election, come 2007''.

Posted by Publisher at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2006

No room for spoiler candidates in ANPP - Tofa

THE chairman, elders committee of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Kano state, Alhaji Bashir Otham Tofa has said that the party will not allow spoilers to contest on its platform any longer.

By ABDULLAHI YAKUBU

Alhaji Tofa made he assertion while speaking exclusively to Daily Triumph during an interview in his Rukkayat House Kano recently.
According to him, gone were the days when people from other parties would be allowed to decamp to the party for the sake of contesting elections only.

He observed that some people have turned contesting elections as a project whereby they will be negotiated with for money.
He said the ANPP in Kano state would not allow that to happen again because it is inimical to the party’s progress.

While commenting on the party’s position on 2007 governorship election in Kano, Alhaji Tofa said there has not been an official endorsement of any candidate.

He said every Kano state indigene has the right to contest for the position or any post in the party, adding that, it is left for the people to vote candidate of their choice.

He, however, advised interested aspirants to indicate interest on time.

On the recent step taken by Kano state House of Assembly in discharging its oversight function, the former presidential candidate of the NRC in the controversial June 12, 1993 election opined, that the legislators were merely discharging their legislative function.
Although he said, he had a mixed feeling about the whole scenario, he quickly pointed out that the exercise was good as it ensures the principle of check and balance as enshrined in the constitution.

Tofa specifically cited the case of the commissioner for local government and noted that he (the commissioner) was not being charged for financial impropriety or taking graft, rather the matter was purely an administrative lapses, which according to him the assembly want it rectified.

‘’I have personally visited the state Assembly and told the Speaker not to blow the issue to get out of proportion.’’
He said, he personally believes that there are a lot of talks going on and the matter would be resolved.

Commenting on the administration of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, Alhaji Tofa who recently declared his presidential ambition on the platform of the ANPP, commended the governor’s performance, disposition and humility.

He said though as a human being the governor might have his weakness, but on general assessment, he has an express integrity and is man of conciliation.

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July 06, 2006

FEC approves N467bn contracts...Kano-Maiduguri road project inclusive

Barely, ten months to the expiration of the Obasanjo administration, just in one stting, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved a four-year span contracts worth a whopping N467.3 billion for infrastructure projects across the country.

From; KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

These contracts include, construction of roads (N438.9b); power projects (N13.03b); water supply (N12.56b) and marine transportation (N2.8b).
Briefing the State House press corps, immediately after the meeting which lasted for just about 72 minutes, the Minister of Information, Frank Nweke Jr., told newsmen that the need to reverse years of infrastructure decay as well as lay the foundation for future developmental strides informed the decision of the cabinet members to approve the huge contract sums.
According to the minister, out of the total sum, N183.1 billion was set a side for the dualisation of about 600 kilometers road from Kano through Wudil, Shuwarin, Azare, Potiskum, Damaturu, up to Maiduguri in the Northeast geopolitical zone .
The minister who said that out of the money , N180.8billion will be sourced from the Stabilisation Fund while N2.3 billion has been provided for in the Supplementary Budget. He further said dualisation of Kano, Wudil to Shuwarin will cost N39.5billion , than Shuwarin to Azare will cost N38.5billion, Azare to potiskum N31.6billion, Potiskum to Damaturu N33.6billion, and Damaturu to Maiduguri will costN39.9billion.
As for the dualisation of the 238-km in the South East- South West roads traversing five Niger Delta states, which is to be handled by four different contractors, he said the project will gulp a total of N235 billion: with Warri-Kaiama section (N67.5b); Kaiama-Port Harcourt (N83.4b); Port Harcourt-Eket (N52.2b) and Eket-Oron (N32.06b).
The minister explained that, only N45.82 billion of the amount has been provided for mobilization to the contractors this year with N16 billion drawn from the NDDC, N9.82 billion from Supplementary Budget, andN20 billion from the Stabilization Fund.
Reacting to allegations that the latest move was part of the administration’s plot to fritter away the savings made in the last seven years before quitting next year, Nweke said it was not the first time Obasanjo government was awarding massive contracts, adding that government was doing this since the time it come into power.
In his words: “This is not the first time this government is committing huge resources to infrastructure projects. It is a well thought out plan and it is consistent with what government has been doing. “These were not just thought of yesterday but the design contract for them had been awarded long ago``.
``So, if anyone chooses to see it otherwise, we wish them good luck”. But he also expressed the hope that a successive governments will take a cue and make efforts to fund the projects to completion,‘’ he said.
These projects he said will take four years to be completed.
Another stretch of the five contractors handling the project are to complete the road within three and half years.
The concern over the accident-prone Abuja-Lokoja expressway was also addressed as its immediate dualisation at a cost of N20.8 billion was approved by FEC.
The Abuja-Abaji section will cost N11.2 b while the Abaji to Lokoja section will cost N9.6 billion. Out of the total sum, N5b will come from the Stabilisation Fund.
For the power sector, a total of N13.03 billion was approved for new transmission lines of various capacities and associated projects running through several towns mainly in the Niger Delta region.
Nweke added that the move was to support the increased generation capacity expected from the new power plants to be commissioned in the region. Although he noted that immediate results are not to be seen because of the long-term nature of the projects, the minister said the transmission lines would pass through towns like Afam, Port Harcourt, Abakiliki, Ikom, Obudu, Ninth Mile, Enugu, Nsukka, Nkalagu, Kwukwuaba, Abuja, Okada town, and Benin.
The power plants at Akoka, Amuwo, Itire and Apapa in Lagos state are to be rehabilitated at a cost of N421.3 million. The N12.56 billion earmarked for the water projects was for desiltation and rehabilitation of the Galma Dam in Kaduna state (N4.93b); rehabilitation of Owena dam in Ondo state and asphalting its access roads (N6.82b); purchase of machinery for clearing waterways clogged with weeds and debris ($3.1 million and N392 million).
These projects will boost water supply to Zaria, Akure and their environs. The transport sector got a total of N2.8 billion. Rehabilitation of Apapa Wharf will gulp N1 billion while that of Port Harcourt Wharf will cost the government N1.8 billion and these will be done within 15 months.

Posted by Publisher at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

Obasanjo to launch Gamma Irradiation facility today

All is set for the inauguration of the Gamma Irradiation Facility for the preservation of foods and agricultural products at the Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO) in Abuja.

Addressing newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja on arrangements for the launch, SHESTCO Director General Ayodele Cooker said that President Olusegun Obasanjo would officially launch the facility today.
Cooker said that the Gamma Irradiation plant was a multipurpose facility for both industrial and research applications.
He said that the innovative design of the facility had significantly enhanced its versatility, adding that it possessed the flexibility to irradiate a wide spectrum of products.
“The state of the art technology behind the plant, no doubt is reputed as one of the most modern facilities in the world and the only one of its kind in Africa,’’ he said.
He said that the facility would enhance food and agricultural products preservation, pest control, healthcare delivery, packaging and improvement of mechanical, thermal and electrical properties and materials, including plastics.
He said that the facility has the capacity to treat more than 20 metric tonnes of products daily.
Cooker said that the facility has numerous potentials and possessed the ability to attract both local and foreign entrepreneurs to establish manufacturing industries in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and packaging.
“The main objective of the facility is to among other things, preserve food and agricultural products thereby reducing post harvest losses as well as assuring food security and price stability,’’ he said.
Others, according to him, are to improve primary healthcare delivery through radio sterilisation of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics products and packaging.
He said that the facility would also add quality to locally manufactured cable and wire products, plastics and natural rubber through radiation induced cross-linking.
He said that the scope of services expected from the facility include sprouting inhibition of onions, potatoes, yams, insect disinfestation of grains and cash crops for export as well as the reduction of microbial load in spices.
Cooker expressed optimism that the presence of the facility at Sheda would open up a vista of investment opportunities in many sectors of the economy.

Posted by Publisher at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

Worries over raising insecurity in Plateau

OWING to the state of insecurity in Plateau state, especially with recent assassination of the general manager of the state Tourism Corporation, Mr. Jesse Aruku last weekend, people in the state have been expressing concern on the devastating effect of the situation.

From CHRISTIANA GOKYO, Jos

Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Alhaji Usman Zumuta Musa condemned attitudes of some politicians alleged to have been behind such dastard acts.
He said the ugly trend was being perpetrated by unguided politicians who have no political ideology, principles and focus but resorted to eliminating their perceived rivals as the only means to achieve their myopic goals.
According to him, the security system operating in the state should be beefed up with immediate effect to avoid future occurrence.
He further appealed to members of the public and people of the state to corporate with the police and other security agencies to enable them fish out the culprits.
Alhaji Musa called on members of the public to join hands with the police to meet up the challenges.
He however observed that there are lapses on the security of the state and urged the police to beef up its presence so that such killings and assassinations could be stamp out.

Posted by Publisher at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

2007: Lema Jibril urges Nigerians to resist electoral frauds

AS the 2007 general elections approaches, Nigerians, have been urged to stand firm and fight any form of electoral fraud and manipulation.

From MUSTAPHA SAYE, Kaduna

Former presidential aspirant on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), Alhaji (Dr.) Lema Jibril, while speaking in his residence in Kaduna on Tuesday, Jibril said: ‘’As the nation march towards 2007 general elections, there is urgent need for Nigerians to elect leaders with vision and mission who will salvage the masses from the hard times and take them to the promised land.’’
Dr. Jibril said that it is high time for Nigerians to have a God-fearing leader, who has the spirit of fairness, equity and justice that can guarantee the sustenance of peace, unity and stability in the nation.
Lamenting on the high level of poverty in the country. Dr. Jibril who is also the Dan Iyan Katsina, stated that unless the nation has visionary leader who can curtail the menace of corruption, poverty and insecurity the nation will continue to be plunged into state of uncertainties.
Commenting on political situation in the country, Dr. Jibril described it as unfortunate, noting that all the political parties are disorganised, without focus and marred by internal crises which to him made the whole game uninteresting.

Posted by Publisher at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)

Asils academic staff suspend strike* Call for removal of principal of officers

THE Academic Staff Union of Aminu Kano School of Islamic and Legal Studies and Allied Institutions has on Tuesday suspended the indefinite strike it has earlier embarked upon on condition that they would not resume work until Kano state government remove the college provost, registrar and bursar.

By BASHEER MUSTAPHA SANI

Secretary general of the union, Malam Muhammad Lamido who disclosed this during a press conference at the state NUJ secretariat, stated that they took the decision in order not to allow the said leaders of the institution interfere with smooth implementation of the college’s law.
Malam Lamido alleged that the college provost and his lieutenants have for long being maltreating both students and lecturers, adding that the use of abusive words, denial of rights and benefits to deserving academic staff characterised their management style.
He further accused the college leadership for deception, lack of security and insincerity, stressing that the appointment of one Dr. Shehu Rufai was terminated and salaries of two lecturers were withheld, while some were issued with warning letters simultaneously by the authorities.
According to the secretary, a three-month suspension letter was also given to the union’s public relations officer among other calamities that stagnated the college to prosper shortly after the college management fixed a letter on the notice board purportedly written by the Office of the Secretary to the State Government denying the staff the right to air their views in the public media which was later realised to be forged.
‘’Even the elders that mediated have realised that the provost is not ready to do things for the progress of the college and have notified us (union) of their withdrawal as mediators because they do not want to loose their respect,’’ he averred.
This according to the secretary clearly indicated that the college management has no respect for government or its representatives as even advise from office of the SSG directing them to rescind actions based on the forged letter was ignored by them.
Malam Lamido sympathised with the students, disclosing that what the union did was to salvage the college from the hands of autocratic leaders, assuring that at the end of the day, the whole college community will benefit.

Posted by Publisher at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)

Obj challenges African public services to be result-oriented

President Olusegun Obasanjo has charged heads of African public services to be more result oriented by ensuring the transformation of public services on the continent.

The president gave this charge yesterday in Abuja at the opening of the 3rd Forum of the African Public Services, with the theme: “Transforming African Public Services’’.
Obasanjo, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government, Chief Ufot Ekaete, expressed the hope that the forum would provide a veritable platform for charting a course toward the emergence of a more creative and innovative as well as efficient public service.
“I thank the Commonwealth Secretariat for this creative and worthwhile initiative,’’ he said.
He emphasised the imperative of the public service reform, saying that it was dictated by the facts of higher levels of expectations from the people.
The president added that there was also the need for partnership with development partners, the private sector, NGOs and non-state actors.
“This will facilitate the cultivation of the synergy that is required and necessary for effective service delivery,’’ he said.
The Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Mrs Florence Mugasha, noted that a sustainable transformation of the public service should be underpinned by the political will and commitment to deliver desirable services.
“I can confirm to you that African Heads of government have at different fora, demonstrated their readiness to respond to needs of the citizenry,’’ she said.
She noted that the 2005 Commission for Africa Report and the Human Development Report of the same year both concluded that Africa was the only continent that “is getting poorer and continues to register negative growth on human development scale.’’
Mugasha, who was a former Head of Public Service in Uganda, said that as a prerequisite to transformation and modernisation, African public services needed to refocus and prepare themselves for a radical paradigm shift of accepting the notion that “consumer is the king” in the public sector.
Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, in his welcome address, said that the forum was unique and noble as it was designed to bring the people together to share ideas and experience and build a collective roadmap and foundations development and prosperity.
“The challenge is to build a forum which will serve, among others as a veritable instrument for major initiatives toward effective transformation of our economies and livelihood of our citizens,’’ Ahmad said.
NAN reports the Forum of the African Heads of Public Service was initiated following the first meeting two years ago at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London when it focused on the role of African Public Services in the implementation of Africa’s economic growth.
The 2nd Forum of the African Heads of Public Service was held in Arusha, Tanzania.

Posted by Publisher at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

Mid year review: Kano land ministry receives N400m

THE sum of N400 million has been received by the Kano state ministry of land and physical planning for the provision of infrastructure at the Kofar Na’isa Aviation plots.

By ALIYU YUSUF

This was disclosed by the commissioner in charge of the ministry, Alhaji Garba Yusuf Abubakar while briefing Kano state House of Assembly on the 6 months financial expenditure of his ministry yesterday.
The commissioner pointed out that the money was released by the state treasury as a loan to be paid back from money realised through plots allocated to respective beneficiaries, saying, already, the project was in progress.
On the total money released to the ministry for the payment of salaries between January-June 2006, he said, the sum of N24,296,707.84 was received and paid to the staff, while the sum of N2 million was received and expended as overhead cost.
He further disclosed that a total of N56,852,532.96k was released for capital projects where N48,694.740.00 was so far paid for the projects between January-June 2006.
Alhaji Yusuf revealed that 3 road construction projects have been awarded by the ministry at the total cost of N453,627,396.43 which include the road that started from Sharada Juma’at mosque, Turbar Kura-Yahaya Gusau, Sardauna Crescent-Eastern Bypass and that of Dala to Makafin Dala respectively.
On revenue generated by the ministry during the period under review, Alhaji Yusuf explained that the sum of N78,475,327.36 was realised out of the N100,000,000.00 targeted for the whole year.
The assembly while advising the commissioner to speed-up so as to achieve more successes before the year runs out, it also commended him for the revenue generated by the ministry, describing it as a welcome development.
In the same vein, the state commissioner for women Affairs, Dr. Gaji Fatima Dantata has told the House that her ministry during the period had received the sum of N58,513,006 out of the N217,000,000 budgeted for it in 2006.
According to the commissioner, the sum of N20,971,067 was earmarked for personnel cost, N27,033,975, overhead cost and N10,507,964 capital projects from January-June 2006.
Some of the projects implemented as highlighted by Dr. Fatima include; the improvement of Dambatta Social Welfare offices, construction of mechanised borehole at Kwalli VVF hostel and resuscitation of Gyadi-Gyadi day-care.
Others are the purchase and distribution of 150 grinding machines, 40 deep freezers, 40 sewing machines, 10 spaghetti machines and 100 bags of flour for Shekarau Widows Empowerment through A.I.E among other projects.
The House then congratulated the commissioner for making her ministry vibrant even with AIE, observing that she has demonstrated sense of concern to her duties.
She was then cleared without single question or observation by any member.

Posted by Publisher at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

Obasanjo appeals over pending bills on gas

President Olusegun Obasanjo has appealed to the National Assembly to expedite action on all pending bills on the management and exploitation of the country's natural gas resources.

Obasanjo made the call at a meeting with members of the House of Representatives' Committee on Gas Resources at the State House.
He reiterated his administration's commitment to the establishment of a functional framework for the development of the country's abundant natural resources.
Obasanjo reaffirmed his belief that the country
could earn more revenue from the exploitation of its natural gas reserves than it was currently doing from crude oil exports.
He called on the National Assembly to provide the needed legislative support for government's effort to boost national income from gas.
``Nigeria is really more of a gas nation than an
oil nation,'' he said, adding that in 2002 alone, the country lost about 2.5 billion dollars through gas flaring.
Obasanjo, however, said that the loss of revenue through gas flaring had now been drastically reduced through measures taken to curb flaring and boost profitable exploitation of the vast gas reserves.
``It is currently estimated that by 2009, Nigeria will be earning about 12 billion dollars per annum from exports of natural gas,'' the president said.
The Chairwoman of the committee, Chief Mercy Almona-Isei, assured the president that the committee would continue to exercise its
oversight responsibility on the gas sector.
She pledged that the committee would do everything possible to create an enabling environment for the sector to grow.

Posted by Publisher at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

A Daidaita Sahu makes Kano crisis-free, says Igbo leader

CHIEF Boniface Ibokwe, president general, Kano Igbo community, said it was as a result of the impact of A Daidaita Sahu that Kano became a crisis –free community.

By AKILU ABDULLAHI
He made the disclosure when executive members of Kano state Directorate for Societal Reorientation (A Daidaita Sahu) paid a fraternal visit on Kano Igbo community.
“We have noticed the impact of A Daidaita Sahu,” Ibokwe said, “because of a complete change of behavior for the better among all residents of the state, which transformed Kano from a crisis-ridden to a crisis-free community.”
He said Igbos are partners-on-progress to Kano because aside from Lagos, no other city in Nigeria has a large concentration of Igbo population other than Kano.
The president-general said the association had branches in all 44 local government areas of Kano state hence, on a better position to spread the gospel of A Daidaita Sahu to all their members.
He the commended the magnanimity of Kano state governor, Malam Ibrahim shekarau to Igbo victims of a fatal auto accident where the government gave huge sums of money to those directly or indirectly affected assuring of full support and cooperation of Kano Igbo community to all government’s programmes.
Earlier, the director general of A Daidaita Sahu, Malam Bala Muhammad had said the visit was intended to reach all settler communities to intimate them on the aims and objectives of the reorientation programme.
“You and your children are part and parcel of Kano community. We are here to solicit your cooperation to ensure that your children, who are also our children, are fashioned toward sound moral characteristics,” Muhammad said.
He assured that the state government would work hand-in-hand with all communities to move Kano forward economically, politically, socially and culturally.

Posted by Publisher at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)

KTSG to introduce vet drugs revolving fund

KATSINA state government is to introduce Veterinary Drug Revolving Fund scheme, the state governor, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua has said.

From Mu’awuya B. Idris Katsina

Declaring open the 91st Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN) Meeting in Katsina Monday, Governor Yar’adua explained that the revolving fund is to assist livestock farmers.
Yar’adua who spoke through his deputy, Alhaji Abdullahi Garba Aminchi further explained that plans are underway to establish an Artificial Insemination munation Centre and re-equipping all veterinary centres and clinics with modern equipment.
According to him, government already rehabilitated all the veterinary clinics in addition to establishing new ones at Malumfashi and Batsari.
He told the meeting that his administration has great concern for livestock sub-sector which prompted it to commission a committee to review livestock development projects in the state and advise government accordingly.
Governor Yar’adua hoped that the outcome of deliberations of the participants of the meeting will positively impact on livestock farmers in Katsina and country in general.
Earlier in his speech, the state commissioner of agriculture and natural resources, Alhaji Husaini Dutsin-Ma has explained that Katsina has estimated livestock population of 1.2 million cattle, 1.5 million sheep, 2.5 million goat and 5.2 million poultry.
Alhaji Hussaini explained that government is focusing on the improvement of the veterinary health care facilites in phases, since 1999 and expected to be completed in 2007.
According to him, government has maintained mass annual vaccination of cattle against major devastating diseases of livestock.
In his speech, president of Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), Dr. Junaidu A. Maina called for enforcement of all regulation relating to poultry trade, restriction of movement of both poultry and poultry products from infected to non- infected areas

Posted by Publisher at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2006

Disparity in income distribution: Nigeria sitting on time-bomb, says Shonekan

Former Head of State, Chief Ernest Shonekan has said “the country is apparently sitting on a time-bomb’’ with the prevailing widening disparity in income distribution.

Shonekan gave the warning in a paper titled ‘The Role of the Anglican Communion in Economic Development’ which he delivered yesterday at a conference on Welfare of the Nigerian nation and the Role of the Anglican Communion in nation-building.

The former Head of Nigeria’s Interim National Government (ING) said that, in the absence of reliable official data on poverty level in Nigeria, “what we can see suggests that poverty remains pervasive’’.
He expressed concern that the unemployment rate, particularly of young school leavers and graduates, remains intolerably high, while infrastructure and capacity utilisation in the real sector remain weak.

Shonekan described as “horrendous” government’s domestic debt of about N2 trillion with its crippling impact on local economic activities.

He also described as “unhealthy” the economy’s continued dependence on the oil sector, and called for urgent and decisive steps to “pursue economic diversification initiatives.

“In terms of the economy, the vast majority of Nigerians have yet to feel the impact of the economy in a significant way,’’ he said further.

On how the country arrived at such dire straits, the former head of the ING identified faulty economic management strategies of previous governments, “the frightening ascendancy of counter norms that we have witnessed over the years’’, as well as a largely unstable political environment.

He said the church could help in remedying the situation by promoting an ethical and caring society which believes in, and adheres to, acceptable norms and values.

According to Shonekan, by investing in education and healthcare delivery, and by implementing economic empowerment programmes that it is well positioned to manage, the Anglican Church could help promote economic development.

“The Church can invest its surplus funds directly in the economy and this can target various sectors of the economy,’’ he said, adding, “the Anglican Communion can actively participate in policy advocacy in support of appropriate policies that can help promote economic development’’.

“It is common knowledge that part of Nigeria’s problems is lack of will to effectively enforce laws, rules and regulation. When we begin to do this, we can expect a better society for all Nigerians,’’ he said.

Posted by Publisher at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2006

Sharia responsible for moral change in Kano-- D-G ascon

FULL implementation of Sharia system in Kano has been responsible for change in the moral and intellectual rectitude as well as the boost of the commercial image of the state.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

This observation was made by the Director-General of the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) who was represented by Dr. Jimmy Chijoke during the opening ceremony of the batch 11 of ASCON workshop for senior officers aspiring for managerial position held at Murtala Muhammad Library Complex, Kano.

Dr. Chijoke said the persistent support the Shekarau administration gives to the Sharia institution and the transparent disposition of the government have tremendously changed the outlook of the state.
He maintained that Kano under the present administration has been rated high for the strict adherence to the principles of good governance, adding that United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other international bodies in Nigeria have attested to this deserving credit.

Commenting on the workshop, the director said it is practical in nature and will combine various management teaching tools and techniques as well as expose the participants to the general body of management and provide avenue for mutual diffusion of experience.

Dr. Chijoke further noted that the workshop will equip the participant with requisite skills to identify clearly the objectives and development priorities of Kano civil service.

In his address, the Kano state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, said the vision of his administration is to have well equipped, adequately staffed and well trained civil service, manned by skilled and morally-oriented civil servants.

Governor Shekarau explained that government has noted with satisfaction the increasing zeal among civil servants to acquire more knowledge and professional skills as confirmed by the increasing number of staff sponsored for local and overseas courses.

Malam Shekarau also expressed appreciation on how the public and the service have embraced the doctrines of Societal Reorientation, A Daidaita Sahu by imbibing its tenets, particularly the ethics of morality.

The governor noted that motivations by his administration such as prompt and regular payment of salaries and allowances as well as incentives such as vehicle loans, upward review of duty tour allowance and overheads made the state civil service a shining example in the country and is being emulated by many states.
He urged the participants to pay serious attention to acquire more knowledge and skills that will make them able to effectively and efficiently face managerial problems and challenges in their respective organisations.

Earlier in his welcome speech, Kano state Head of Civil Service, Malam Rabi’u Zakariya’u had said since the inception of the present administration a total of 9,481 civil servants have benefited immensely from keen manpower development drive through acquisition of additional skills and techniques.

The head of service said the workshop is designed to expose and acquaint the participants with the basic skills of decision making and other aspects of modern management.

He said that since the inception of the present administration, special attention has been accorded to training and re-training of civil servants of different cadres in the service.

Posted by Publisher at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2006

Obasanjo says disloyalty is now a virtue

President Olusegun Obasanjo has declared that loyalty is now a scarce commodity in the country.

Speaking at the weekend on politics at a reception given in his honour by the Ondo state government, Obasanjo said stupidity and disloyalty had been upgraded to a virtue.
He said because of the widespread scarcity of loyalty, it is important to cherish it whenever it is exhibited.
Obasanjo said the PDP chairman, Dr Ahmadu Alli, who was also on his entourage had remained loyal at all times.
“When he was coming in, we were told he would be in Obasanjo’s pocket,” he said, pointing out that he (Obasanjo) did not have a pocket big enough to carry Ali-must-go’’.
Obasanjo said the PDP chairman has remained ‘’consistent, sturdy, reliable and unwavering,’’ stressing that Alli has proved he is not one that could be easily pocketed.
He reiterated that God is not a God of abandoned project, saying it should not be interpreted to mean ‘’I did not want to leave this job.
“Project Nigeria is God’s project, and God will never abandon it,’’ he said.
Obasanjo stated that Nigerians at all levels have a role to play to actualise the popular dream of the great country that they all want it to be.
On non-payment of pensions by the federal government to retired military and civilians, Obasanjo said arrangements are being finalised with some banks to settle the backlog.
Obasanjo said before the end of the year, the federal government arrears of pensions would be paid, adding that ‘’bonds will be given to some banks, and they will raise money to pay off all pension arrears.
“When we serve the country and retire, we must not be denied the benefits of our retirement,’’ he said.
Obasanjo said soldiers who fought to unite the country during the civil war deserve their pensions.
He also said his administration would continue to work towards lifting women, adding: “A little bit of affirmative action is needed to lift up women, and I am not ashamed of anybody that says this president likes women.”
Obasanjo said the federal government would assist the state to complete the Owena dam, and to construct a water treating plant to provide potable water to the people.

Posted by Publisher at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

ANPP holds national convention August 24...Membership registration begins July 7

ALL Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has fixed August 24, 2006 for its National Convention to elect party officials.

From ABDULRAUF IBRAHIM, Abuja

Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the Party/Governor of Borno state, Senator Ali Modu Sherif who announced this at the party’s NEC meeting in Abuja at the weekend, said that the party will commence its membership registration between now and July 7, this year.
Ward congress, Governor Sharif said, will begin from July 7-27, 2006, local government congress July 28, state congress, August 10 while the national convention will take place on August 24, 2006 respectively.
The chairman explained that the proposed new time-table will guide them and the party to set up new machineries aimed at dethroning PDP come 2007 general elections.
At the meeting, the former minister of water resources, Isah Muhammad formally decamped to ANPP.
In attendance were Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano state, Ali Modu Sherif of Borno, Adamu Aliero of Kebbi, Ahmad Sani of Zamfara and two ANPP former governors, Abubakar Audu of Kogi and Abu Hashidu of Gombe states as well as General Muhammadu Buhari.

Posted by Publisher at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2006

Recall: Mantu`s judgment day July 26

A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday fixed July 26 for judgment in a suit seeking to compel INEC to conduct referendum for the recall of Deputy Senate President, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu.

The court adjourned till the date after conclusion of argument by counsel representing contending parties to the suit.

The suit was filed by a retired Captain, Chief Joseph Mangtup-Din, in the representative capacity of “teeming voters of Plateau Senatorial Zone’’ which Mantu is representing in the National Assembly.
In the suit, Mangtup-Din is asking the court to issue an order of mandamus to compel INEC to perform its constitutional duty of conducting referendum for the recall of Mantu.

In an affidavit in support of the suit, the applicant said that the voters met several times and considered “the poor and dastardly performance’’ of Mantu and took a decision to recall him.
He said that he was mandated by the voters to write and present to INEC, a letter for the recall of Mantu which he did by a letter dated December 12, 2005.

INEC was said to have replied the letter requesting the applicant and Mantu to submit names of agents for the recall exercise.
Mantu, on March 3, secured an interim order of injunction issued by a Federal High Court sitting in Plateau, restraining INEC from carrying out the exercise.

The interim order was however, vacated on March 15 and the applicant said he wrote to INEC to resume the recall exercise.
INEC was alleged to have ignored the letter and several personal follow-up measures taken by the applicant.

A newspaper report was attached to the suit as an exhibit in which the National Commissioner of INEC in charge of political parties, Dr. Ismael Igbani, was quoted as saying that the commission had dropped the recall exercise.

In the course of hearing, counsel representing the applicant, Mr. Garba Pwul, had argued that his client had satisfied all the conditions for the court to grant the order.

He alleged that INEC introduced extraneous conditions to forestall conduct of referendum for the recall.

Pwul contended that the expiration of 90 days stipulated by the 1999 Constitution for INEC to conduct the referendum could not stop the court from granting a mandamus order.

He submitted that the provision of the 90 days was not a mandatory period but a mere directory to guide INEC in performing its duty.
Pwul also posited that the failure to act within the stipulated 90 days was not the fault of his client but a negligence and dereliction of constitutional duty of INEC

“Section 69 of the 1999 Constitution only requires INEC to conduct referendum the moment a petition is presented in accordance with subsection 69 (a) of the Constitution. “It is not disputed by INEC that the applicant submitted petition in accordance with the provision of this section.

“INEC on its own introduced a new factor of verification which is neither stipulated in Section 69 nor within the contemplation of the Section and the 1999 Constitution in general,’’ Pwul had told the court.

Counsel representing INEC, Mr. Osaze Uzzi, filed an objection asking the court to dismiss the suit.

Uzzi, in his argument, contended that the applicant had no “locus standi” to institute the suit in representative capacity of the electorate in the constituency.

He also argued that the applicant failed to join Mantu as co-defendant to the suit when he knew that the outcome of it would affect him.

He contended that INEC was desirous of conducting the referendum and in deed, had commenced the process before it was aborted by the court order secured by Mantu.

“By the time the court order was vacated, the 90 days stipulated for conduct of the referendum had expired,’’ he said

“If the applicants are desirous of the recall, my Lord, the only option left for them which they are at liberty to do is to file another petition,’’ he added.

Uzzi urged the judge, Justice Babs Kewumi, to dismiss the suit in its entirety.

Posted by Publisher at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2006

I`ll make Gwarzo an investors’ hub if...-- Special Adviser

A HOUSE of Representatives aspirant on the platform of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), from Gwarzo/Kabo federal constituency in Kano state has rolled out, as his manifesto, a strategic development plan aimed at making his constituency an investment hub for investors from within and outside the country.

By OUR REPORTER

The aspirant , who is also Special Adviser to Governor Ibrahim Shekarau on Solid Minerals, Alhaji Musa Umar Gwarzo outlined how to go about what he called ``Strategic Development Project`` in an interview with Daily Triumph.

He noted that in order to achieve this initiative if elected in 2007, he would first of all embark on massive industrialisation and mineralization through aggressive agricultural development, cottage industries and small miner projects within the constituency and the state at large.

According to Gwarzo, with abundant kaolin deposits, fertile soil, flat land with good drainage system and four earth dams, the constituency would no doubt be a safe haven for investors.
On agriculture, he said, the land can be used to grow large quantities of cotton, groundnut, sugar cane, maize, beans, soya beans, cassava, wheat, rice in addition to growing fruits and vegetables such as mango, guava, oranges, tomatoes, pepper, lettuce among others.

He said with the vast fertile land and huge able-bodied human resources, highly disease–resistant and intelligent population, according to a recent medical survey all the needed qualities abound for accelerated development in the area.

Alhaji Umar Gwarzo who solicited for the mandate of his people, further observed that he would, if elected, push for the enactment of a law towards the realisation of mass production of these items in order to attract international markets that would bring about capital development to improve the living standard of the people of the area.
He said that he would also develop the tourism potentials of the area with the use of its earth dams to create and accommodate big fishing festival and construction of tourists resorts among other goodies.

Posted by Publisher at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2006

Katsina forum’s meeting: Buhari unhappy with Yar’adua

THE interim chairman, Katsina State Elders Forum, Gen. Muhammad Buhari has described as unfortunate the failure of Governor Umaru Musa Yar’adua to attend the last meeting of the state chapter of Elders Forum.

Stories from MU’AWUYA B. IDRIS, Katsina

Speaking at the maiden meeting of the forum last Sunday, held at Gidauniya Office in Katsina, Gen. Buhari said: ‘’I understand that the governor was approached and he accepted to attend the meeting.’’
He expressed concern on how the meeting was frustrated by the Nigeria Police Force who prevented the holding of the meeting at the office of Gidauniya.

He, however, said that the meeting later took place elsewhere and a good number of members of the National Assembly and elders from the state attended.

Gen. Buhari told the meeting that during the last meeting, it was observed that there is the need to set up Katsina Elders Forum as it exists in Kano state.

He cited the example of Kano Elders Forum which always meets to discuss current issues as they affect Kano and its people.
‘’For example, he said, before the confab, Kano Elders Forum meet, discuss extensively on the agenda and articulate a position which, in fact forms the bedrock of the Northern delegates’ position at the conference.’’

Gen. Buhari further explained: ‘’It has been generally observed that such out-fits exist in many other places but Katsina and those out-fits have become tools for the respective states to use and fight for the rights of their people at the federal level, be it on appointment or project allocations.’’

He explained that based on the role played by the Elders Forum during the last meeting, an Interim Elders Forum was set up with the appointment of four members.

Also speaking at the meeting, Galadiman Katsina, Justice Mamman Nasir (rtd) stressed the need for the people of the North to unite and fight for the region’s cause.

Posted by Publisher at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2006

We didn’t declare Zamfara Sharia state - Gov Sani

Governor Ahmad Sani of Zamfara has said the introduction of Sharia laws in the state did not necessarily make it a Sharia state.

Sani made this known while speaking with newsmen at the weekend in Osogbo during a personality interview tagged “Executive Chat”, organised by the Osun state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

He said the government of Zamfara only responded to the yearnings of the people as provided for in the country’s constitution.
“Sharia has been with us in Nigeria; we only expanded it to include criminal offences; we did not declare our state a Sharia state,” Sani stressed.

The governor explained that there were different kinds of courts such as the magistrate, high court and the appeal court in Zamfara, saying that non-Muslims residing in the state have nothing to do with Sharia.
“We believe in freedom of religion and we make all necessary provisions to protect non-Muslims living in Zamfara,” the governor added.

He said the state government believes seriously in “moderation and peaceful co-existence of all religions”, stressing that Sharia is meant for the Muslims only.

Sani said the objective of the state government is to guarantee peace and tranquility for all residents, saying that Zamfara, in his opinion, is the most peaceful state in the country.

Sani, who is also a presidential aspirant under the All Nigeria Peoples Party, (ANPP), commended President Olusegun Obasanjo for implementing all his economic and social reforms but said his team had failed him.

“His policies are not working very well because everybody is doing it the way they like. Mr President has good intentions for this country and he has tried his best,” Sani reiterated.

The governor, however, said if he is elected as the country’s president, he would improve on defence and foreign policies, although he never had military experience.

Posted by Publisher at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2006

Adamawa ANPP courting Atiku, Boni

The ANPP in Adamawa state says it has set up a machinery to woo Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and Governor Boni Haruna to defect to the party.

The party’s caretaker committee chairman in the state, Muhammad Abba told newsmen in Yola yesterday that, “ANPP has become a safe haven for most of the PDP members involved in the crisis in that party”.
The chairman, also the Minority Leader in the state Assembly said, majority of the founding members of PDP in Adamawa had moved along with their supporters into ANPP.
“Governor Boni Haruna had since stopped flying PDP flag in his office and on official vehicles and we are making frantic efforts to make them come into ANPP,” Abba added.
Meanwhile,the chairman has lamented the poor state of infrastructural developments in the state, saying “none of the hospitals in the state can handle an emergency case, because there are no generators in the hospitals.
“I personally carried out survey on the hospitals in the state and came with a disturbing finding that, there is no single functional hospital in the state and I present this on the floor of the Assembly as a matter of urgent public importance” the legislator said.
He noted that,”after seven years of completion,the state secretariat and Assembly complexes were still adorned on the 2006 calendar as major achievements, because there are no other projects executed by the state government”.
Abba, however, called on Governor Haruna that,since he is constitutionally banned to contest the office again, he should use the remaining one year to massively execute people oriented projects.

Posted by Publisher at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

FG won’t sack PHCN staff...Minister assures

Power and steel minister Liyel Imoke has assured the staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) that the government has no plan to retrench them.

Imoke gave the assurance in Omotosho, Ondo state, on Wednesday while reacting to the planned strike by members of the Electricity Workers Union of Nigeria at the end of the month.
He told energy correspondents that the planned strike was based on misinformation and communication gap between the union and the government.
‘’I think that the alleged threat is borne out of misinformation and a lack of communication, but a lot of communication had taken place after the alleged threat was issued by the union,’’ he said.
Imoke said the union officials, after their talks with the government, had begun to appreciate what the government was going to do during the transition period for the PHCN as new companies emerge.
Imoke said: ‘’The transition phase does not translate to the disengagement of staff and we continue to repeat that we have never spoken on disengagement of staff.’’
He said the government had no plan to retrench staff during the transition period when the successor companies would be created.
‘’The power sector is a sector that needs support and all hands must be on deck; we cannot realise what we want to realise without the support of the PHCN staff.’’
The minister said government is aware that it must approach the transition with great caution in its management.
‘’We want to assure the staff that there will be no disengagement or retrenchment,’’ he said.
Earlier this week, the electricity workers union had warned that its members would go on strike over the planned phasing out of the PHCN and the emergence of new companies by month-end.
The union had accused the government and its agencies of not carrying it along in the planned phasing out of the PHCN and its implications for its members.
A stakeholders retreat was held in Kaduna but the union was not invited to participate.
The union is using the non-invitation as one of the reasons for the planned strike.
Under the unbundling arrangement, the corporate headquarters of the PHCN will be dissolved and 18 new companies licensed to operate.
The new companies are expected to report directly to the Federal Ministry of Power and Steel on the completion of the unbundling process.
Meanwhile, about 50 PHCN engineers are to be trained on the operation and maintenance of gas turbines in China, Power and Steel Minister Liyel Imoke has said.
Imoke told energy correspondents in Omotosho, after inspecting the 335MW thermal plant being constructed by a Chinese firm that the training was part of a contractual agreement between the government and the company.
He said that the first set of 25 engineers had already undergone the training and had since returned to the country, while another set of 25 engineers would soon depart for China for thetraining.
He said that the training programme was designed to ensure that the engineers had the necessary knowledge to handle the two thermal stations being built at Omotosho and Papalanto by two Chinese firms, SEPCO and CMEC respectively.
Imoke urged journalists on the trip to convey actual progress on the construction of the plant, so that Nigerians could appreciate the level work already done.
“Nigerians are very sceptical but it was a good thing that you journalists have come along to see the level of progress on site, so that each time, we speak about the 10,000MW target by 2007 Nigerians will appreciate it.
“We are committed to it and we meant it and we believe that we will deliver it by the year 2007,’’ he added.
The minister expressed confidence that the firm handling the plant would meet the contractual deadline and commended the firm for the levelof work already done.
He said that the contractor had promised to maketwo turbines functional by the end of this year, byproducing 84MW, while the six other turbines would come up by April 2007 bringing the total energy to be generated at the plant to 335MW.
Imoke said that the government had paid N13 billion counterpart fund for the project while the Chinese Nexim Bank would provide the balance credit facility for the project.
NAN reports that Omotosho and Papalanto thermal plants are expected to produce 335MW each, while the Geregu plant is expected to produce 414MW by the first quarter of 2007.
The development will put additional 1084MW to the national grid with substantial megawatts made available before the end of the year.

Posted by Publisher at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2006

Child labour mechanism for Nigeria

A Child Labour mechanism to track, withdraw and rehabilitate child workers has been established in Nigeria.

Dr Timiebi Koripamo-Agary, Nigeria’s Head of Delegation to the expert meeting of the 95th session of the International Labour Conference disclosed this on Monday in Geneva.

She said the mechanism sited in the cocoa producing area of Ondo state was under the West Africa Cocoa/Commercial Agricultural Project (WACAP).

Nigeria had also taken steps to formulate a National Policy and National Plan of Action on Child Labour, she said, adding that the document is currently awaiting the approval of the Federal Executive Council.

Koripamo-Agary said a clause on combating child labour had been added to the country’s new labour standard bill currently at the National Assembly.

According to her, “this is an improvement on the old Labour Act which did not take into consideration the realities of child labour and was limited to the protection of the young ones.’’

She added that with the enactment of the Child Rights Act in 2004, government is poised to promote and protect the rights of children from inhuman and degrading treatment.

She solicited for increased technical assistance to ILO member states of African region to deal with social vices confronting them.

Posted by Publisher at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2006

NITEL: Finance ministry releases N1.7bn

In a bid to resolve the lingering nationwide strike by NITEL workers, the federal ministry of finance yesterday in Abuja released N1.7 billion for the payment of outstanding salaries owed the workers.

A statement issued by Mr Akinloye Oyebanji, special adviser media to the communication minister, said that a team had been set up by the technical board of NITEL to arrange with the management for the immediate disbursement.

The team also has representation from the ministries of communication, labour and productivity, finance as well as NITEL.
Meanwhile, the minister, Cornelius Adebayo, has appealed for cooperation and support of the workers in efforts to resolve the impasse.

The minister urged the workers to return to work in order to facilitate the process of disbursement.
It will be recalled that the workers had on June 5, embarked on a nationwide strike to press home demand for the payment of their four-month outstanding salaries.

Following the one week strike, connectivity to other networks as well as other parts of the world has been difficult.

Posted by Publisher at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2006

Challenge 2007: ANPP big-wigs to reposition party

Ahead of the 2007 general elections, the ANPP has inaugurated two committees as part of the process to rejuvenate the party.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that to realise this goal, the party has formed an eight-member committee to review the constitution of the party.
Fact finding committees, comprising four members each, have also been constituted for the six geo-political zones of the country.
The committees were inaugurated by the acting chairman of the ANPP National Caretaker Committee (NCC) and governor of Kano state, Ibrahim Shekarau on Wednesday evening in Abuja.Shekarau said on the occasion that “the NCC has been working hard to move the party forward, moving from the known to the unknown’’.
He charged the constitution review committee headed by Jimoh Ibrahim to critically observe the flaws, receive memorandum from stakeholders, make recommendations and submit report within one month.
The chairman also tasked members of the fact finding committee to visit and assess the status of the party in all states under their jurisdiction, discuss with members and identify grievances or problems.
They would also find out if there are individuals or groups wanting to join the party and their hindrances, fashion guidelines for resolving such issues and present their report within two weeks.
According to him, the North-East committee will be led by Chief Mike Ahamba, North West Chief Perry Ajuwa, and North Central Rtd. Adm. Lanre Amusu.
The South-West committee would be headed by Alhaji Lema Jibrillu, South-South, Alhaji Dauda Birma, while Sen. J. K. Umaru would lead his colleagues to the South-East.Fielding questions later from newsmen, Shekarau described as unfortunate the defection of some members to other parties, but acknowledged that it was part of democratic tenets.
However, he said that: “It is totally untrue that ANPP governors are joining the PDP.I can confirm that we are discussing with others to join us or have a working understanding with us on wresting power at all levels from the PDP in 2007.’’
The chairman warned that severe sanctions would be visited on members caught committing anti-party activities or acts of indiscipline.
Responding on behalf of his colleagues, Jibrillu thanked the party for giving them the opportunity to serve and pledged to reposition ANPP.
In his vote of thanks, the Secretary of the NCC, Mr Nya Asoquo, said the formation of the committees is part of the process of rejuvenating the party ahead of 2007.

Posted by Publisher at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2006

South Africa police kill Nigerian... Protesters besiege embassy

Consular activities were yesterday grounded at the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg as a group of Nigerians protested against the killing on Sunday of a Nigerian by South African police.

Southern Africa correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the placard-carrying protesters numbering over 100 barricaded the main entrance to the mission and prevented visa applicants and other visitors from entering the chancery.
Twenty-eight-year-old S.U. Ugoh, was shot dead in central Johannesburg on Sunday, by a South African policeman in mufti during a raid on street traders.
``We won't allow the embassy to issue visa or conduct any consular services until justice is done on the killing of this innocent soul", said Sam Iweka, spokesperson for the protesters.
The protesters said they would continue their ``passive resistance and civil disobedience" by protesting at the mission everyday until Nigerian and South African authorities respond to their demand for justice.
``It's a long-drawn protest against the continued killing of our people by the South African police.
``This is a killing too many. Enough is enough", said Pupa Sepher a South African-based Nigerian musician.
The protesters said they took their protests to the embassy and not to the police because they did not want anyone of them to be another victim of police shooting.
``It is Ugoh today, it may be any of us tomorrow'', ``These Killings Must Stop", read some of the placards carried by the protestors.
The Consul-General in Johannesburg, Michael Kuforiji, who led other officials to address the protesters, said the Nigerians have "genuine grievances" to protest.
Kuforiji condemned the police for "disrespecting" his officials when reporting the matter and the local media for "distorting the truth" by insinuating that the Nigerian was killed while attempting to seize a gun from the policeman.
He said the embassy had taken up the matter with South African authorities to ensure that justice is done.

Posted by Publisher at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2006

Buhari stays put in ANPP - Kanti Bello

GENERAL Muhammadu Buhari is still a card carrying member of the ANPP and has no intention whatsoever to decamp to any party, Senator Kanti Bello has revealed.

From MU’AWUYA B. IDRIS, Katsina

Senator Bello who spoke with newsmen on Sunday in Katsina, explained that the speculation of possible decamping of General Buhari is being spread to create problem within the ANPP.

``We sat with General Buhari and ANPP chairman and he reaffirmed to us that he is still a member of ANPP,’’ Bello added.

He further described General Buhari as a complete gentleman, somebody who has concern of ANPP in his heart unlike other politicians who can any time decamp from one party to another because of money.

Senator Bello urged all supporters of General Buhari to remain calm and continue to support ANPP for victory come 2007.

He said all Katsina people and especially ANPP members, are still behind General Buhari’s ambition to emancipate the masses.

On recent decampaing of Governor Ibrahim Saminu Turaki of Jigawa state and his Sokoto state counterpart, Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa to other parties, Senator Bello said both the two men are opportunists and have no principle.

He said ANPP made them what they are, explaining that both men got money during Abacha time which gave them the opportunity to pick the ticket of ANPP and luckily became governors.

According to him, if governors Turaki and Bafarawa are principled-men, they should have coped with whatever pain and remain in ANPP.
‘’In the first instance, who is Bafarawa and who is Turaki, they are all good people within their own right, but this a party that made governors, they came because of the quick transition of Abdulsalam Abubakar,’’ he said.

Posted by Publisher at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2006

Overheating polity: Presidency takes swipe against media

The federal government yesterday appealed to the media to refrain from heating up the polity as the nation enters the build-up to the 2007 general elections.

In a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mrs Oluremi Oyo, said it was “in our collective interest, that the media must refrain from irresponsibly heating up the polity by inundating the public with malicious and inciting falsehood.
“The Nigerian media will do well to give greater regard to the observance of the rules and ethics of true journalism’’ she said.
“The domestic media have been awash in recent days with much needless speculation as to who will receive President Olusegun Obasanjo’s blessings to succeed him as president of Nigeria next year’’.
She said that while those stories had remained the speculations that they were, a Sunday newspaper carried the speculation to a “new height of irresponsibility and professional misconduct’’ by falsely quoting the president as saying that he will never hand over to an “enemy of his government”.
“For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, choosing the president’s successor remains the inalienable right of the entire Nigerian electorate.
“As a true democrat who believes that all legitimate democratic governments must derive from the freely expressed will of the people, President Obasanjo has never arrogated that right to himself alone.
Oyo said there was “absolutely no factual basis to the claim that President Obasanjo has “sworn severally” to “groups of his think-tanks who went to sound him out on his own preference as a successor” that he will “never hand over to any presidential aspirant known to have played the role of an enemy by sabotaging his government.
“All the quotes attributed to the president in the report are the figments of the demented imagination of the author and his faceless, and in all probability, non-existent “State House sources.
“President Obasanjo fully recognises that the many significant achievements of his administration would not have been possible without the whole-hearted support and endorsement of the majority of Nigerians.
“He could never, therefore, have described as an “unappreciative populace”, the Nigerians who elected him to office in 1999 and re-elected him in 2003 to consolidate the gains of his first term.
“Furthermore, President Obasanjo does not consider any Nigerian his enemy and has not described anyone as such in any conversation with anybody,’’ she added.

Posted by Publisher at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2006

2007: Gwamna faces Goje over Gombe seat

A GUBERNATORIAL aspirant in Gombe state, Alhaji Jamil Isiyaku Gwamna says he is poised to take over power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) come 2007.

From MUSTAPHA SAYE, Kaduna

Speaking at a dinner organised for pressmen at Chinese Hotel, Kaduna, Alhaji Gwamna stated that his campaign machinery has been fully mobilised to face the challenges of incumbency factors, adding: ‘’Incumbency factor can not scare my mission.’’
The gubernatorial aspirant who is aspiring on the platform of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), explained that if he becomes the governor of Gombe state, poverty alleviation will be on top of his priority followed by education, noting: ‘’Gombe state is the most backward state in terms of education and the present administration under Danjuma Goje had refused to take a strong measure on it.’’
Alhaji Gwamna said that the menace of Kalare is not only a source of concern in the state but if he comes on board comes 2007, he will control the menace through the establishment of vocational centres to absorb an army of the unemployed who constituted the nuisance called Kalare or ‘’Area Boys’’ in other parlance, adding: ‘’The Kalare group is rooted in poverty, and if they are put in the scheme of things, the menace will be reduced drastically.’’
Alhaji Gwamna, a graduate of London Metropolitan University where he obtained his Masters degree in Business Economics and Finance and he is the first executive chairman f Gombe state Water Corporation where he demonstrated a high sense of commitment, hardwork and dedication in the service of his people.
Some of the honours conferred on him include the traditional title of Sardaunan Gombe by the Emir of Gombe, Alhaji (Dr.) Shehu Usman Abubakar, and also a recipient of the most prestigious award of Nigeria Youth Organisation and many more.
He is the first president of Gamji Memorial Club and co-founder and president genera, Gamji Members Association 1987 to 1998.
Alhaji Gwamna is currently the chief executive of Amstrade Venture Limited.

Posted by Publisher at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2006

Uwais decries disobedience to court orders

The out-going Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Muhammad Lawal Uwais, has reiterated that the disobedience of court orders portends danger for the country’s democracy.

Uwais said this in a lecture entitled “The evolution of constitutionalism in Nigeria: The role of the Supreme Court under the 1979 and 1999 constitutions,’’held yesterday in Abuja.
The CJN, who spoke on some selected cases within the period, said that non-compliance to court orders by the authorities was a matter of great concern for the rule of law.

“Let me state here, perhaps for the umpteenth time, that failure to obey orders of the courts is a breach of the constitution. It is a major affront to the constitution.

“It is certainly not open to those at the helm of governmental affairs to pick and choose which court order to obey.
“In times past, it used to be the orders of the High Courts that were often flouted with impunity. However, no court is now spared,’’ he said.

According to him, unfortunately, the judiciary does not possess a separate machinery to ensure that its orders are obeyed.
Uwais said that disobedience to court orders send wrong signals to the international financial and investment community whose patronage is needed to ‘oil the wheels’ of the nation’s economy.

“It is an invitation to anarchy and total break down of law and order and a resort to Thomas Hobbes’ “State of Nature,’’ he said.

The judge urged Nigerians to support the courts, “if the society is not to resort to self- help in the matter of dispute resolution.’’
“Unfortunately, this cooperation which the courts expect in terms of compliance with and obedience to their orders, rulings and judgments falls short of expectation,’’ he noted.

Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, who was chairman of the occasion, had earlier commended Uwais on his efforts to reposition the legal profession.

Gowon said that such efforts must be retained to ensure the independence of the nation’s judiciary.
He said that the plan to privatise the Nigerian Law School (NLS) must not be allowed as it would lower standards in the legal education.

Posted by Publisher at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2006

Third term: Yobe gov on knees, begs for forgiveness

GOVERNOR Bukar Abba Ibrahim of Yobe has begged for forgiveness from those, who disagreed with his stand over the aborted constitutional amendment.

The governor had supported extending the tenure of the president and some governors.

Ibrahim also urged for reconciliation among citizens of the state in a broadcast to people to mark this year’s democracy day celebration.
He said: “Now that the constitutional amendment issue is over, we shall tolerate those who betrayed our support for it and reconcile, for tolerance is a mark of maturity.

“At this point I feel it is appropriate for me to set the ball rolling by offering forgiveness to all those, who were against us as a result of the patriotic position we took in support of constitutional amendment,’’ the governor said.

He called on those who did not support his stand to accept reconciliation, adding: “All must put divergent views behind, step out to mend the wounds of acrimony so that we can match forward.”
However, he commended his party loyalists from the 17 local government areas who converged at the Government House, Damaturu, to support his failed attempt to ensure there was constitutional amendment.

The governor had been in the forefront of the promoters for constitutional changes that would facilitate tenure elongation for the president and governors until it was thrown out by the National Assembly.

At the peak of his clamour for the change, the governor had accused past leadership of being unfair in the provision of amenities and infrastructure to the North-East since independence, but for President Olusegun Obasanjo.

He had also described his initial criticism of the PDP administration as a mistake until he changed opinion recently to support President Obasanjo’s long term development policies.

Meanwhile, the Yobe government says it has spent about N14.9 billion on the construction of roads and drainage in the last seven years.In a broadcast to people of the state to mark this year’s democracy day, Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim said N3.8 billion was expended on the construction of roads and drainages in Damaturu metropolis.

He said another two billion naira was spent on the Nguru-Machina road.
Ibrahim said the 100 km Gujba-Ngalda road was executed at the cost of N2 billion, while the 55 km Katasko-Goniri road gulped N1.1 billion and that another N1.5 billion was spent on the Geidam-Bougamari road.
He said the Nguru-Gashua road and the extension of the Karage road, gulped N600 million, while the road that would link the state and Niger Republic gulped N700 million.

He said the construction of township roads in Potiskum, Gashua and Nguru had gulped N1.5 billion.

According to the governor, we will not spare funds in the development of the state through the construction of road networks, especially considering that it will improve socio-economic activities.
In the area of commerce and industry, he said within the past seven years a fertilizer blending plant, a plastic factory, woven sack industry, abattoir, spring water plant and soda ash plant were provided.

“Arrangements are on to establish a cassava plant, a diary plant, as well as processing plants for onions, tomatoes and sesame, while a cement factory will be established,’’ he added.
The governor also explained that the decision to earmark N502 million for the construction of a three star hotel was to attract investors and tourists.

He said: “My administration will provide land for those, who intend to invest here without too much bureaucracy’’.

Posted by Publisher at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2006

INEC sets up election training institute

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has established a professional training institution for election purposes.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja on activities toward 2007, INEC chairman, Prof. Maurice Iwu, said that the first batch of the diploma awarding institute would start lectures at the University of Ibadan in June.
Iwu said that courses to be offered by the institute were designed to train professional electoral personnel as well as ad-hoc officers.
According to him, modalities are being worked out to also affiliate the institute to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
He said that the school would be the first of its kind in Africa, adding, ``we have started receiving applications from member African countries for enrolment and participation.''
The chairman therefore urged politicians, political parties, journalists, the academia, security agencies and the civil society to patronise the institute in order to enhance the country's democracy.
He said that N600 million had been earmarked for disbursement to all political parties this year to strengthen their activities.
Similarly, the national chairman of the ACD, Chief Alexis Anielo, advised INEC to be more transparent in its operations so as to earn the confidence of politicians.
Anielo also said that his party was opposed to the ``testing of EVMs'' by the electoral body.

Posted by Publisher at 07:42 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2006

Russia opposes force against Iran

Visiting Russian National Security Council Chief, Igor Ivanov said yesterday that Moscow opposes any use of force against Iran over its disputed nuclear programme.

Ivanov made the remark during a meeting with the Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Larijani in Tehran.
‘’Unlike the U.S., Russia believes Iran’s nuclear programme needs to be resolved only through dialogue.
‘’Any use of force will further complicate the issue and will cause tension in the region,’’ Ivanov said.
The senior Russian official’s visit to Iran is to focus on Iran’s controversial nuclear activities.
It is also in connection with the new proposals by the EU trio of Germany, France and Britain that had offered incentives if Tehran suspends uranium enrichment.
Diplomats of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany met in London on May 24 and discussed the new EU proposals.
They, however, stopped short of making a final agreement.
Foreign ministers of the six nations are expected to hold more talks on the EU package late this week.
Washington had accused Tehran of using its civilian nuclear programme as a cover to develop atomic bombs.
Iran had denied the charge and insisted that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.
Russia offered last year to produce nuclear fuel on Russian soil for Iran in order to ease fears that Iran would divert uranium into warheads.
Talks broke down when Iran insisted uranium enrichment had to be carried out on its own territory.

Posted by Publisher at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2006

Is General Buhari quitting ANPP?

THE chairman of the Committee for General Muhammadu Buhari’s 2007 presidential campaign, Alhaji Sule Yahaya Hamma, has called on the General’s supporters nationwide to await the decision about to be taken on weather Buhari would remain in the ANPP or take his exit finally.

By OUR REPORTER

Speaking on the BBC Hausa Service programme monitored in Kano yesterday, Alhaji Hamma said the call became absolutely necessary given the nature of how the credibility of General Buhari is being impugned, adding that as a great man of substance he should have been deservingly treated with kid-gloves.

‘’I really don’t see any need for one to remain in a party he is no longer earning respect, by all standards the general deserves respect. We are not saying Buhari is leaving the party today. Consultations have so far reached an advanced stage on what should be done,’’ Alhaji Hamma declared.

According to him, Buhari’s contributions to the ANPP are enormous courtesy of his political ingenuity and acumen, stressing that had it been held in high esteem ANPP as a formidable opposition party would have been repositioned adequately.

‘’As he loses credibility and no longer being respected in the party, there is the absolute need for wider consultations on what should be the next line of action. All that needs to be done is for his supporters nationwide to patiently await the outcome of the consultations,’’ Alhaji Hamma further stressed.

While describing the former ANPP’s presidential aspirant in 2003 election as a true political patriot, Alhaji Yahaya Hamma said, General Buhari is one personality who has the interest of ANPP at heart affirming that, with his laudable contributions to the party, his name should be written in gold.

Hamma’s sudden prouncement came on the heels of an apparently brewing crisis of confidence rocking the ANPP in the past few days accentuated by the non-appearnace of the general at the just-concluded ANPP stakeholders meeting held in Kano.

Posted by Publisher at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2006

Election 2007:ANPP is open to all --Sherrif

ALL Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) has reassured its members that no one will be denied the right to participate in the forthcoming 2007 general elections.

By UMAR DANLADI ADO

The chairman, national caretaker committee of the party, Senator Ali Madu Sheriff reaffirmed this while briefing newsmen shortly after a stakeholders meeting of the party held in the state capital yesterday.
He explained that the meeting which comprised all the ANPP state governors, senators, state chairmen, party leaders and members of board of trustees discussed various issues aimed at re-positioning the party towards successful 2007 elections.

Senator Sheriff who is also the governor of Borno state said, the meeting further discussed about fund raising for the party, where it resolved that every member should contribute for the progress of the party.

Responding to questions on possible merger with other political parties, the chairman said the party had already set-up a committee to that effect, adding that the doors are open for a working relationship with any political association in the country.

On the dissolution of state chapters and wards executive members of the party, Senator Sheriff said it is a constitutional matter that caretaker committees must be constituted at all levels of the party.

Posted by Publisher at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2006

Death of third term: Mbeki hails Obasanjo’s statesmanship

PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has hailed President Olusegun Obasanjo’s call for national reconciliation in the aftermath of the National Assembly’s rejection of the proposed constitutional amendment as an outstanding act of statesmanship.

From KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

In a letter to President Obasanjo yesterday, President Mbeki praised him for urging members of his party to accept the decision of the National Assembly as a victory for democracy and for urging all Nigerians to heal the wounds of acrimony and march forward together”.
In his words, “with no reservation whatsoever, I would like to thank and salute you for these comments as you responded to the decisions of the Nigerian National Assembly.

“The comments communicate an outstanding act of statesmanship that I am convinced most and will inspire all Nigerians, our own people, and our brothers and sisters in the rest of our continent, as we all strive to empower the masses of our peoples democratically to participate in their own system of governance,” President Mbeki wrote.
President Mbeki cited Obasanjo’s call on all Nigerians to focus on continuously repositioning Nigeria for unity, security, stability, democracy in its broadest sense”.

The letter further read: “Even though you were speaking to the leadership of the PDP and the Nigerian people, we the rest of Africa, should apply what you said, to our own countries, it is only in this way that we will achieve the objective we share of genuinely respecting the aspirations of our people and placing Africa where she rightly belongs among the world’s commity of nations.

“I am truly inspired that you, a tried and rested leader of the people of Nigeria and Africa, spoke on all of us in unequivocal terms to reaffirm our sacred task to outreach democracy throughout our continent,” President Mbeki concluded.

Posted by Publisher at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2006

ACD AD, ANPP in merger talks — Dalhatu

A chieftain of the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu says the party is negotiating with AD and ANPP to form a stronger political force against PDP.

Dalhatu, who disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse at the weekend said the talks had already reached an advanced stage.
He said he is optimistic that with the calibre of people in the ACD, the party would form the government at the centre as well as win in all the states of the federation.
“This is because the party has good manifesto which aims at improving the socio-economic wellbeing of the masses,“ he explained.
Dalhatu further said: “ACD is the only solution to the current political and economic problems of the country’’.
He, therefore, urged all Nigerians to join the party, saying that it is the only party that would take them to the “promised land“.

Posted by Publisher at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2006

Reforms: FAAN swaps staffers

As part of efforts to ensure productivity and enhanced service delivery, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has embarked on the re-posting of some its workers nationwide.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the action was designed to move around some of the workers, who have stayed for ``too long'' in their present area of duty, as well as reposition them for greater efficiency.
A competent source at the FAAN headquarters, told NAN in Abuja at the weekend on telephone that the movement, which involved middle-level and senior cadre staff also cuts across all the departments in the organisation.
``Already some of the workers have started handing over to those taking over from them, while others are making efforts to move to their new stations,'' the source said.
It also said that the realignment of the workforce was part of the ongoing restructuring exercise in the country's aviation sector to conform with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standard and ensure optimal performance.
``For your information, FAAN is being repositioned, as part of the federal government's re agenda, to ensure better service delivery, so that is why we are transferring our personnel and also retraining others,'' the source told NAN.
The source said that it will be recalled that President Olusegun Obasanjo had in October, last year approved the implementation of recommendations to professionalise the organisation following a manpower audit exercise.
``The audit identified the manpower levels required to refocus the parastatal organisation for efficient and cost-effective service delivery,'' it added.
NAN learnt that the restructuring involved the drawing up of a new organisational structure, recommended manning levels, the establishment of a new Directorate of Aviation Security and Safety and the appointment of experts as departmental heads.
Already, the development had swept away the erstwhile Managing Director, Mr Olorunfemi Shittu, and some directors, as well as other workers in the organisation.
The aviation minister, Prof. Babalola Borishade, had recently warned airport managers against corruption, noting that ``EFCC was invited into the aviation industry because of the high level of corruption there''.
He urged the airport managers to evolve new work ethics that would promote efficiency in their daily activities and warned that the era of shoddy business at FAAN was over.
He said government would not tolerate excuses for non-performance, adding that it had done enough to enhance performance.
NAN reports that FAAN, formerly Nigerian Airports Authority (NAA) was established in 1996 to develop, provide and maintain airports and other facilities for air operations within Nigerian airspace.
It manages the airports in the country, including the four international ones located at Lagos, Kano,Abuja and Port Harcourt.

Posted by Publisher at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2006

Never sholl I ever return to PDP — Na’Abbah

Former Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Na’Abba has said that he would never return to the PDP.

President Olusegun Obasanjo had at the party’s NEC meeting yesterday in Abuja urged members, who had left the party for one reason or the other to return in the spirit of reconciliation.
However, reacting to the call, Na’Abba told newsmen yesterday in Abuja that he should be counted out of those who might return to the party.
“Already I ask them to count me out because the call is not sincere’,’ he said.
He said he could not cohabit with some people in the party, who had “first class brains, but third class minds.’’
Na’Abba had resigned his membership of the party to protest the alleged imposition of the present National Working Committee on the party.
He is presently a chieftain of the newly registered Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD).

Posted by Publisher at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2006

Nigerians swell British prisons, says Gozney

Despite government's concerted efforts to check smuggling, British prisons are filled with Nigerians arrested with different types of contraband.

``There are too many Nigerians in British prisons for smuggling all kinds of contrabands especially cocaine,'' British High Commissioner to Nigeria Richard Gozney said in Abuja yesterday.
Gozney who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), called for a renewed check on the activities of the smugglers as the trend was ``not good for Nigeria's image.''
He declined to release the statistics of such inmates, opting to keep that a ``close secret for now.''
Gozney however commended the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for its efforts to minimise the activities of the smugglers. He lauded the current management of the body over the increased levels of interception and sustained investigation into identified cases.
``It shows the country is doing well. It shows that Nigeria is not a safe haven for the crooks,'' he said.
He said that his country was prepared to continue to assist Nigeria in the efforts to get rid of smugglers, saying that Britain had provided forensic equipment to aid its activities.
Gozney also lauded the activities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and pledged Britain's readiness to assist Nigeria to check the rot going on.
He also spoke on activities in the Niger-Delta and expressed support for government initiative towards checking the violence there.
He challenged governments in the oil producing states to strive toward creating jobs to check idleness largely responsible for the youth restiveness.
``They have enough to execute all kinds of projects. They receive a lot from the presidency and should use it for the benefit of their people,'' he advised.
Gozney condemned the incessant taking of oil workers as hostages and declared that there was ``simply no reason for that behaviour.''

Posted by Publisher at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2006

Nigeria signs agreements with G-8 countries

Nigeria yesterday signed two agreements with seven other members of the group of eight developing countries (D-8) to enhance trade among them.

The agreements on “preferential trade” and administrative assistance on customs matters were some of the major highlights of the one-day summit meeting of the D-8 leaders, which opened in Bali, Indonesia, today.

The minister of state for foreign affairs, Alhaji Abubakar Tanko signed the agreement, while his counterpart at the ministry of Industry, Fidelis Tapgun signed the second agreement on administrative assistance on customs.

The D-8 countries, comprising host Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran and Nigeria agreed at this fifth summit meeting of leaders of the group to adopt measures that would enhance trade among them.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that shortly after the signing ceremony, which was witnessed by the leaders, they proceeded into a closed door session to deliberate on measures to promote and enhance trade between them.

Meanwhile, the summit of developing eight countries (D-8) which opened in Bali, Indonesia, today, has condoled Nigeria over the death of more than 100 people in a pipeline explosion near Lagos on Friday.
Speaking at the opening of the D-8 summit yesterday, the outgoing chairman of the group and president of Iran, Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, sent the special condolences of the group to President Olusegun Obasanjo, who arrived in Bali earlier on Friday for the summit.

More than 100 people were reported to have been killed at a site near Lagos where they allegedly trooped to scoop petroleum from a burst pipeline.

Ahmadinejad said that a lot of challenges lay ahead of the group and urged them to work more closely together to develop closer trade, enhance their economies and also ensure justice in the world.
The incoming chairman of the group and host president, Dr Susilo Yudhoyono, said the group was very clear about the way it sought to move forward for the mutual benefits of members and their peoples.

“We were very clear about how we wanted to go forward, that is through peace not war; dialogue not confrontation, cooperation not exploitation, justice not double standards, equality not discrimination and democracy not oppression,” he said.

Yudhoyono said the group must embrace modernity by becoming forward looking, knowledge-driven and through the advancement of a culture of excellence.

“We are about half a billion people, with a total GDP of more than 1.2 billion U.S. dollars, we are a growing market with rising buyer power and our grouping also consists of energy producers and consumers,” he said.

He said that with membership cutting across Asia, Africa and Europe, the D-8 represented “an innovative and modern economic grouping that serves as an alternative model for relations among developing countries in the global economic system”.

He said that between 1999 and 2004 the D-8 had recorded significant and positive achievements with intra-trade among them growing up to 33 billion U.S. dollars, about 127 per cent in the five years under review.

“We could have achieved more but there were problems that stood in the way, some of these problems are not economic but are political and security-related and some of them do not even originate within our borders but outside,” he said.

He stressed the need “to intensify our cooperation in combating infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and Tuberculosis”, adding that a Bali declaration emphasising trade would be made at the summit.

Posted by Publisher at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2006

Rousing welcome for Chedi in Kano

KANO state Hisba Commander-General, Sheikh Yahaya Farouk Chedi and his deputy, Ustaz Abubakar Rabo were yesterday received by a mammoth crowd of sympathisers upon their release from detention by an Appeal Court in Abuja.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

The duo were arrested about three months ago by the police and taken to Kuje Central Prison in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and later arraigned before a Federal High Court, Abuja on alleged charges of unlawful gathering.
Upon refusal by the High Court to grant the application for bail for the Commander-General and his deputy, their counsel, Barrister Aliyu O. Yusuf (SAN) filed an application before the Appeal court seeking their bail which was granted during the court’s sitting on Tuesday, May 9, 2006.
Sheikh Chedi and Ustaz Rabo who arrived Kano via Malam Aminu Kano International Airport were received by Hisbah guards and throusands of symphasisers and later accompanied to Kano Government House.
Receiving the released duo, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau reminded them to regard their arrest and detention as a test from God.
The governor maintained that his government would continue to recognise any constituted authority and would pursue the issue of Hisbah legally.
Malam Shekarau therefore charged the Hisbah guards to be law abiding citizens while pledging to ensure the success of Sharia legal system in the state.

Posted by Publisher at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2006

Adegbite wants education system restructured

THE Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Dr. Abdulltaeef Adegbite, has advocated for the immediate restructuring of the Nigerian educational system.

From ADAMU ABDULLAHI, Ibadan

Dr. Adegbite who was speaking during the fund raising and foundation laying ceremony of a mosque and hostel of TAAS College, of Badeigbo Ibadan, Oyo state.

He said the present educational system in the country does not address the Muslims’ needs.

He said anything or system that is neglecting the religion is unacceptable saying the education system in the country has neglected Mulsims and therefore it would not be accepted.

The secretary general further explained that the set up of the system is colonial in nature which is Christian oriented, adding that any education without religion is naked and uncompleted.

Dr. Adegbite therefore advised Muslims that in the event of government failure to address the issue, Muslims should wake up and help themselves.

He also expressed concern that most of the best schools in the country are owned by foreigners and therefore challenged all members of the Muslim community to support education through the establishment of schools.

Earlier, the proprietor of the college, Alhaji Tajudeen Kunle Salaudeen had said that the college was established to give those parents who do not have the opportunity of standard schools in the neighbourhood to have one.

He added that the school can afford parents to give their children, in addition to Western education, proper and adequate Islamic education.

Alhaji Salaudeen maintained that while Nigeria got embroiled in Western democracy, there is need to ensure that the future generation who will operate it are those who have fully imbibed the principles of social responsibility with religious and moral values.

The proprietor stated that the main objective of the establishment of the college was not just to bring up an educated child but enlightened and complete child who is socially responsible and morally upright.

Posted by Publisher at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2006

NUJ rejects tenure extension ... commends media for consistency

THE Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has added its voice to the growing opposition over the contentious amendments of the nation’s constitution.

By HASSAN MUSA K/MATA

A communiqué issued at the end of a one-day Zone A meeting of the union, held at Royal Tropicana Hotel, Kano, at the weekend, noted that given its role as watchdog of the society, it cannot afford to be neutral, as its silence can be misconstrued.

‘’The meeting therefore categorically condemned any amendment that would pave the way for elongation or extension of the tenure of any office holder,’’ the communiqué stated.

The NUJ commended the media for its persistent stand against the tenure elongation and urged it not to relent as the agenda is capable of derailing the democratic role which the media is at the forefront to achieve.

The meeting also advised the government to collaborate with media in stepping up vigorous sensitisation campaign on the current review of voters register.

It also frowned at the persistent epilepsy of electricity supply and distribution across the country, considering the enormous resources being committed by government towards revitalising the sector.

The communiqué which was jointly signed by Abdullahi Abubakar Shanono and Salisu Daura Ahmad, vice president Zone A and ex-officio respectively, expressed concern over the ongoing national strike by NITEL workers and called for the quick intervention of the federal government in addressing their grievances.

The meeting then called on the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the media enhancement bill.

Posted by Administrator at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2006

INEC threatens not to conduct polls in violent areas

Apparently disturbed by the increasing spate of violence in some communities in Plateau state, INEC has warned that it will not conduct any election in any area identified as a flash point.

The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Chief Elkanah Akintade, gave the warning during a familiarisation and sensitisation tour of local government areas in the state on the forthcoming voter registration and revalidation exercise.

Akintade said that the commission would be forced to put on hold all electoral activities in crisis prone areas.

While imploring the people in the state to embrace peace, he cautioned that electoral activities could only take place where the commission was sure of the safety of its staff, other officials assigned to carry out such duties as well as the commission's materials and equipment.

``Electoral activities would only be successful if the environment was conducive for the commission to perform its assigned roles,'' he said.

According to him, the commission is embarking on revalidation of voter registration, because the previous voters card have become invalid, which made it imperative for eligible voters to turn out en masse to register and obtain the new cards.

The commissioner further explained that apart from being security proof, the new card would have the photograph and thumbprint of the voter.

He warned against multiple and under-aged registration as well as registration by proxy during the exercise, stressing that a tough penalty awaited the perpetrators of such malpractice.

Akintade further explained that the revalidation of the voter register was in preparation to the 2007 general elections and therefore appealed to political stakeholders to cooperate with the commission as it embarked on the exercise.

Responding to complaints by some council chairmen, traditional rulers and other politicians on the creation of ward and polling units, the commissioner said the state office had no power to do so, but that their request would be forwarded to the INEC headquarters, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the commissioner, who assumed duty recently, has so far toured 11 of the 17 local government areas in the state.

Posted by Publisher at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2006

Presidency: Atiku is North East's most popular material - C4D

The Coalition for Democracy (C4D) says Vice-President Atiku Abubakar remains the most popular presidential aspirant in 2007 from the North-East region.

C4D, a non-party organisation promoting the presidential ambition of Atiku, said in a statement yesterday in Abuja, that the Vice-President has grassroots support in the zone and is liked by the people and governments in that region.

The statement signed by the National Secretary of the organisation, Alhaji Ali Abacha, was copied to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
C4D explained that Atiku is liked by even ANPP governors, including Bukar Abba Ibrahim of Yobe and Ibrahim Saminu Turaki of Jigawa states.
``The Turaki of Adamawa has exhibited qualities of a capable president that can continue with the reform agenda of the present administration,'' it said.

According to the body, the recent feud between the president and his deputy was a propaganda meant to create bad blood between the country's leaders.

Meanwhile, C4D has called on Nigerians to resist the third term agenda and ensure that a full blooded politician takes over from President Olusegun Obasanjo in May 2007.

It said in a communique issued at the end of an enlarged NEC meeting in Abuja, that: ``Unless we Nigerians, especially politicians, insist on the mission above, and ensure success, we will, by ourselves, create a jinx situation that only military can rule the country in or out of uniform''.

While urging for ``justice, equity and fair play'' as the guiding principle of democracy, it explained that civilian politicians possess all democratic credentials for good governance.
C4D emphasised that Atiku had the ``sterling qualities of focus, courage, reliability and well apprenticed political structure'' to provide such leadership.

Posted by Publisher at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2006

Zero tolerance for election violence in 2007 - Iwu

INEC Chairman, Prof. Maurice Iwu, has said that election results in 2007 will be based on what actually happen at the polling centres.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Iwu made this known in Newark, U.S., on Saturday at a symposuum on the challenges of the 2007 elections.

He said the reforms carried out in the electoral body and the election system would take care of the problems that had marred elections in the past.

INEC, he explained, is determined to have credible elections by eliminating factors that had prevented fair outcome.
''One of the efforts is zero tolerance for election violence by canceling results from any polling area where there is significance violence.

''Similarly, elections will also not be held in areas where voting would not be credible,'' he said.

Iwu said INEC had shown this resolve by canceling the result of a recent election in Ekiti state where there was significant violence during the elections.

In addition, he said, INEC handed over the speaker of the state house of assembly to the police to be prosecuted for his involvement in the violence.

The same approach would be applied in 2007, he said.
Iwu pointed out that the electronic voting system being put in place by INEC would also eliminate rigging.

He said electronic voting system include, electronic register with voters' picture and biometric information to prevent multle registration and multiple voting during elections.

During elections, he said, a system would be in place to authenticate voters using the electronic register.

''There will also be a system for simultaneous electronic transmission of election results from the polling centers to collation centres and to INEC's state and national headquarters,'' he added.

The chairman said the system would eliminate situations where results would be tampered with as they would be moved from voting centres to collation centres.

According to Iwu, ''INEC also intends to use electronic voting machines but only after it has done a pilot test and found to have met the requirements of a fair election.''

He said those who had opposed the use of electronic voting machines would have no problem with the use of the three other elements of the electronic voting system.

''These involve, the voter register, validation of voters at the polls and immediate transmission of election results,'' he added.
He said the electronic voting system would be done in such a way that with some education, even illiterates would be able to use it.
He explained that the electronic voting machines would generate ballots when coming to vote and leave a paper trail to prevent the faking and snatching of ballot papers to rig elections.

Iwu also spoke about INEC's independence, explaining that the institution had political independence, stressing that there is need to improve its financial independence.

He said the constitution guaranteed INEC's political independence, ensuring that the appointment of its chairman and commissioners were nominated by the president.

He said the nominations went through the council of state and final approval by the Senate.

Iwu said, the integrity of INEC's leadership is important to its political independence, and determined not to compromise his integrity.

The chairman assured that he had not come under any pressures from the administration on the organization's policies and programmes since his appointment nearly a year ago.

''We have to restore credibility to elections. The issue of financial independence is not going to be used as an excuse for not having free and fair elections,'' he said.

As part of positioning INEC for its responsibilities, Iwu said, ''he has carried out personnel changes, bringing in young people from outside the civil service who can offer new ideas.''

A UN consultant to INEC, Amb. Brownson Dede said the international community would support INEC to ensure that Nigeria has a transparent and credible election process.

He said the EU, U.S., Canada and other partners are assisting INEC through the UN Election Support Unit in areas of capacity building and education of stakeholders.

Posted by Publisher at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2006

Third term logjam: Northern gov s assign duties

THE Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) has resolved that, members of Constitutional Review Committee should go ahead and consult with their respective constituencies.

From MUSTAPHA SAYE, Kaduna

Reading the communiqué at the end of their meeting yesterday, at Hassan Usman Katsina House, Kaduna, chairman of the forum, Governor Abubakar Bukola Saraki of Kwara state, said that ‘’the NGF has decided to seek immediate action to update the New Nigerian Newspapers (NNN) and immediate action to conclude the transfer process of the newspapers as well as to ensure that the revoked plots of land belonging to the company are recovered.
The forum also directed the immediate reinstatement of the sacked editor of the New Nigerian Newspapers, nothing that the executive governor of Kogi state was not in any way involved in the matter.
On the recapitalisation of the NNDC, the forum decided to give full support to its capitalisation efforts through ensuring that all states sign the ISO without further delay, adding that such payments will be lodged in an escrow account and will only be accessed by submission of investment proposal to the forum by the NNDC.
NGF also expressed delight with progress so far recorded in the consolidation process of the former Bank of the North with Unity Bank Group and condemned the early conclusion of the integration processes concluded before the deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
On the law revision, the forum noted that some of the laws of the Northern states require urgent attention and therefore advised each state to immediately take steps to review their laws.
The NGF also condemned in very strong terms the incidence of the recent unfortunate sectarian/religious crises in some states of the North with a resolve to check future occurrences as contained in the recommendation of a peace conference held in the year 2004, adding that the forum had approved the meeting of assembly of traditional rulers in Northern states to assist in further promotion of peaceful co-existence in the region and the assembly is to be inaugurated on May 28, 2006.
However, on the eve of Northern governors meeting, the officials of 2007 Movement, an association of anti-third term legislators had invaded the venue of the meeting and presented their letter to the governors’ meeting.
The letter which was signed by Senator Uche Chukwumerije who is also the chairman of the movement, stated: ‘’We are members of 2007 Movement, which is a bi-partisan platform of federal legislators committed to the sustenance of the cannons of constitutional democracy, rule of law and true federalism.’’
The letter said: ‘’For now, these cannons face a deadly threat and we all shall be victims of a calamity and culprits of history if the tension predicated by the third term agenda detrimental to an unmanageable scale and our dear country comes to grief.’’
It further stated: ‘’Your Excellencies, you know better than many of us that Nigeria is once again at the crossroads: Do we turn to the left or to the right? A turn to the left will lead us to political instability and economic retardation and a turn to the right will lead us to the consolidation of our democracy and peaceful economic development.’’
Senator Chukwumerije, further appealed to Northern governors to rise to the full potential of their greatness as leaders of the nation and keep Nigeria on the track of untrammelled growth by rejecting the satanic temptation of executive tenure extension.
Subsequently, after the meeting, Governor Ahmad Sani of Zamfara state, Boni Haruna of Adamawa state and Abdulkadir Kure of Niger state also called for an immediate press conference which was chaired by Governor Ahmad Sani.
He said they condemned in strongest terms the whole idea of the on-going constitutional amendment which primary objective is to achieve the third term agenda.
He said they also equally condemned other dangerous aspects of the amendments which seek to bring about unitarism as against true federalism that is anchored on devolution of powers to the constituent units of the federation.
Governor Sani also appealed to all Nigerians to raise up to the occasion and resist the unpardonable attempt to foist on people of this country the third term project which is not only selfish but the path to dictatorship, anarchy and total reversal of democratic re-birth.

Posted by Publisher at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

Kano’s economy: Summit reels out indices to progress

PARTICIPANTS at the just concluded First Kano Economic Summit have identified the major causes of the economic decline of the state.

By MUHD. HAMISU ABDUILLAHI

Reading the communiqué of the event to journalists shortly after the closing ceremony of the exercise yesterday in Kano, the state commissioner of commerce, industry and cooperatives, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmad Yakasai said human capital is one of the problems.
The commissioner, who is also the chairman, steering committee of the summit said participants also observed that there is inadequate manpower in the state due to low enrolment of Kano youth into tertiary institutions, and lack of technical and vocational education that would foster entrepreneurship development.
This, he said, is in addition to inadequate investments in education, pointing out that another factor responsible for the decline is inadequate infrastructure in terms of erratic electricity supply, bad road networks and inadequate water supply.
He told journalists that the summit has identified lack of well thought-out industrial and cooperative policies for eradicating the development path of the state as another factor.
Others are insecurity due to political crisis and sporadic social unrest, unutilised Information and Communication Technology (ICT) opportunities as the state is yet to take full advantage of the business, investments and knowledge opportunities offered by the ICT and inefficient property documentation and registration system.
In view of the above, the summit recommended the development of versatile human capital fully equipped to competently handle the emerging knowledge-driven economy and that basic education should encompass the values of society such as religion and culture.
It recommended that to ensure offerings in Kano University of Technology and other tertiary institutions must cover disciplines that are related to manpower needs.
It further recommended that the state must exploit existing opportunities in all national and international support programmes relevant to the educational system in addition to the need for it to introduce computer education and produce properly trained teachers in a cheap but efficient way.
Another recommendation of the summit, according to the commissioner is on the need for good democratic governance anchored on strong institutions like legislature, judiciary, the police and civil service, which are imperative in nurturing democracy.
Also efficient service delivery was identified as crucial to economic development and that the state government was advised to strengthen the public media in the state through the provision of the necessary facilities and training.
Traditional institutions in the state, the summit recommended, should be actively involved in public affairs, adding that especially such institutions should be the platform for conflict resolution.
Greater effort in women empowerment especially in the area of education and income was recommended too.
It was also recommended that visionary, effective and focused leadership at all levels of the polity and society should be in place, while participants acknowledged and commended Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of the state and the Emir of Kano, Alhaji (Dr.) Ado Bayero in promoting societal reorientation, providing leadership by example and creating an atmosphere of peace and stability.
Other recommendations are on the need for supportive, open-minded, selfless and industrious society in which individuals and groups are motivated to invest their energy and resource in promoting the common goal, modernising agriculture, creating a business environment which supports growth of manufacturing and industrial activities and recognising digital technology as the emerging dominant factor in global economic growth and property and positioning Kano to fully exploit the new opportunities.

Posted by Publisher at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

Govt to consider recommendations

KANO state government has pledged to consider recommendations of the First Kano Economic Summit with a view to implementing them for the economic development of the state.

By UMAR DANLADI ADO

The state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau gave this indication in his message at the closing ceremony of the three-day summit, held at the Murtala Muhammad Library Complex, yesterday.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Engr. Magaji Abdullahi hoped that the seminar would be the beginning of the state’s fruitful journey to prosperity.
He assured that the present administration will ensure that the summit’s noble objectives are attained within a short possible time, and at the same time be a catalyst in providing a good leadership that would partake in achieving this goal.
The governor who observed that the summit has rekindled both awareness and patriotism in the people of Kano and said: ‘’It is from the ashes of a war that springs prosperity.’’
He further observed that in the last two decades, the economy of Kano had declined to its lowest ebb, both economically and socially, noting however, that presently there is a new hope for a new beginning.
Malam Shekarau wished that the summit was held in the past few months of the beginning of the present administration in the state, adding that with the remaining one year in office, the recommendations of the summit will be considered for implementation.
Daily Triumph gathered that the summit recommended among other things the need for attitudinal change, utilisation of earth dams for irrigation farming.
Others include, the establishment of independent power source, need to increase the level of awareness open to all categories of businesses and the need for greater efforts in women empowerment especially in the area of education and income.

Posted by Publisher at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

Plateau finance commissioner denies EFCC charges

PLATEAU state finance commissioner, Mr. Emmanuel Agati who was arrested by the London Metropolitan police in connection with money laundering in September 2003, has denied all charges of financial crimes levelled against him and Governor Dariye by the EFCC.

From CHRISTIANA GOKYO, Jos

Mr. Agati who was arrested along with Governor Joshua Dariye, made the denial yesterday while being cross-examined by the probe committee, set up by the Plateau state House of Assembly to investigate charges of financial crimes, case of conspiracy, abuse of office, official corruption and money laundering.
The embattled commissioner alleged that the EFCC had forged some documents including names of dead persons.
He also denied that some of the names included in the EFCC documents were not employees of the state government, arguing that they have no connection with the state government whatsoever.
Mr. Agati further added that there was no authentication of cheques of the banks alleged to have conducted the transactions to ascertain its genuity.
He also named that at no time the state government siphoned money from the state coffers into his private account.
According to him, the alleged N1.1 billion ecological funds is still lodged in the state government account which is still being used for that purpose.
He further submitted that at no time did he approve the sum of N160 billion state money for the private use of the government.

Posted by Publisher at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

Chinese president addresses NASS

CHINESE president, Mr. Hu Jintao yesterday addressed a joint session of the National Assembly, saying that the Peoples’ Republic of China is ready to bring development to Africa.

From IDU OKECHUKWU, Abuja

In his extensive speech which was mainly linked to a programme of action designed to bring economic development to Africa, Jintao said that as a communist nation, China still has much to be desired in view of its teeming population.
The communist president said that promoting bi-lateral relationship with Africa remains his uppermost priority, stating categorically, economic development is of great importance to stable and good health, education for all etc.
How to achieve this, he said, global security is another area of great concerned.
He, however, said that his people would throw their weight in support of the nation’s bid for the offer.
The president also pointed out that since Africa is a market potential, his people will do all it could in trying to bring development to their neighbouring countries.
According to him, China is already preparing for a joint summit of African countries with China in the Chinese capital, Beijing come November 2006.

Posted by Publisher at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

KNHA investigates U/Uku land dispute

KANO state House of Assembly has set up a six-man adhoc-committee to investigate a land dispute among some traders at Unguwa Uku Motor Park in Tarauni local government area.

By ALIYU YUSUF

Announcing the setting-up of the committee during the Assembly’s session, yesterday, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Balarabe Sa’idu Gani said the committee was set up to investigate the issue with a view to finding out the truth about the matter for necessary action.
In view of that according to the Speaker, the committee is directed to discuss with the Amalgamated Traders Association (AMATA), Unguwa Uku branch (the complainants), other bodies that claim the ownership of the land in question, ministry of lands and Tarauni local government council so as to ensure a fair hearing on the matter.
The adhoc committee include Hon. Ahmad Tambaya Dawanau, the Majority Leader of the House as chairman and the chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Hon. Gambo Sallau as member.
Other members are chairman, House Committee on Land, Hon. Aminu Sani, chairman House Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations, Hon. Salisu Sa’ad Lili and the chairman House Committee on Environment, Hon. Bala Salisu Kosawa, while Alhaji Bala Yaro will serve as the committee’s secretary.
The committee has been given one month to conclude its findings and submit its report to the House for further action.
In a related development, the House has commenced the third reading of the Kano state Pension and Gratuity Law 2006 with some amendments in Section 1 and 2 of the law.

Posted by Publisher at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

APCON to prosecute illegal practitioners

THE Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has once again vowed to prosecute illegal practitioners who practice without registering with the council, just as it called on all those seeking registration as advertising practitioners to possess the prescribed academic qualification or sit for APCON diploma in advertising examination.

By UMORU IBRAHIM

This was made known by the acting registrar of the council, Mr. Bola Agboola at the opening ceremony of continous training workshop, organised by the council in Kano, Wednesday.
Mr. Agboola who advised the practitioners to observe the ethics of the profession in their daily engagements, was optimistic that knowledge acquired in the workshop will be of tremendous help to them and their profession.
In his opening remark, the chairman of the council, Dr. May Nzeribe who called on the members to use every available opportunity to improve on their profession said: ‘’We must always guide the media owners about the right thing to do.’’
He is of the opinion that the interest of consumers must be considered whatever the profession they practice.
Urging the practitioners to always uphold its ethics, the chairman said: ‘’We must always advise the media owners about the right of our client’s just as he warned them against short changing their customers.
In his speech, the permanent secretary CTV 67, Alhaji Farouk Umar Usman who represented the commissioner for information, frowned at activities of the practitioners especially as they concern Hausa jingles and advertisements.

Posted by Publisher at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

KNSG solicits USAID’s assistance for irrigation programme

KANO state government has solicited for the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) towards the implementation of its irrigation programme.

By UMAR DANLADI ADO

Exchanging views with the managing director, USAID Markets, Dr. Richard Cook in his office yesterday, the state deputy governor, Engr. Magaji Abdullahi maintained that such efforts would improve the economy of the state.
According to him, the state is blessed with many agricultural potentials including earth dams, vast irrigable land and population where farmers are only being supported with farm inputs and implements to boost their productions.
He also expressed appreciation to the agency for installing internet facilities at Dawanau Grains Market which he said has given proper access to world market through computer services.
Responding, the USAID Market representative, Dr. Richard Cook intimated the deputy governor on the new office established by his agency in order to assist the state particularly in boosting commercial activities.
Similarly, the deputy governor received another USAID delegation which was in the state to assess some health programmes for possible assistance.
The leader of the delegation, Prof. Emmanuel Dipo Otolorin said the agency has a package of programmes aimed at offering technical assistance to countries in order to strengthen the link between the prevention and treatment of malaria and ante-natal care services.
Responding, the deputy governor, Engr. Magaji Abdullahi restated the commitment of the state government to work in partnership with any organisation with a view to improving the living standard of the people.

Posted by Publisher at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

How Kano’s economy can prosper, by Wali

AS the first Kano Economic summit kicked-off Tuesday at Murtala Muhammad library complex in Kano, it has been observed that no educational system can succeed without looking at the community itself.

By Muh’d Hamisu Abdullahi

The observation was made by Dr. Hafiz Wali one of the speakers at the plenary session.
Dr. Wali, who lectured participants on ‘Basic Education’, said in order to restore Kano’s economic prosperity, the values of the people must be looked into.
An educationist who served in different capacities both at home and abroad recommended to Kano Peace and Development Initiative (KAPEDI), organisers of the event to form a team to actually brainstorm and discuss on the outcome of the summit for better performance of Kano.
He also emphasized on the need for technical and vocational education, reiterating that no country can succeed without them.
Another speaker, Dr. Aminu Dorayi who is a former commissioner of commerce in the state, spoke on ‘technical education’, where he advocated for setting up of ICT-based secondary schools with a view to improving human capital of the society.
Dr. Dorayi further suggested that auto-mechanic and auto-trade among other things should be looked into while talking on improving the human capital.
On his part, Prof. Adamu Beki, who talked extensively on ‘Higher education’, expressed the need for knowledge-driven economy, a concept which he stressed entails the idea of Knowledge work.
Prof. Beki also talked on chances and challenges for Kano’s restoration of economic prosperity.

Posted by Publisher at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

Jigawa sugar coy begins production December -- Adviser

THE N16 billion Jigawa state Sugar Factory in Hadejia will begin production in December, 2006.

From ISMAILA MUHAMMAD, Dutse

The Senior Special Adviser to the state governor on Sugar and Cotton Production, Engr. Baba Aliyu Sintali told President Olusegun Obasanjo while conducting him round the factory, during his official inspection to the site on Tuesday.
He told the president that the construction work of the company has reached advanced stage with work on all administrative offices, the factory and laboratory has began in earnest.
Engr. Sintali said that presently, the state government has sunk about N14 billion in the project which includes payment of land compensation, purchase of equipment, payment for construction work, feasibility studies and other things.
The special adviser said that the company is wholly owned by the Jigawa state government, saying that this is a testimony that Governor Turaki is justifying what the state is receiving as monthly allocation from the federation account.
He emphasised that the farm where the sugar cane will be grown to feed the factory is five and seven kilometres on both sides, adding that establishment of a company is not an easy job, because it needs a lot of studies, consultations, travellings across the globe as well as technical advice from many quarters before it becomes a reality.
The president did not make any speech at the site but described the project as ‘’gigantic and marvellous.’’

Posted by Publisher at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

Masari faults FG’s claims on poverty level

Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Bello Masari has faulted the claims of the federal government that poverty level has dropped to about 50 per cent.

Speaking at a two-day conference on poverty alleviation yesterday in Abuja, Masari said that indices used in arriving at the figure were suspect.

The event was organised by the House Committee on Poverty Alleviation.
The National Coordinator of National Programme on Poverty Eradication (NAPEP), Dr Magnus Kpakol, had earlier at the event said that the poverty level had dropped from 70 per cent in 1999 to 54 per cent in 2005.

Kpakol attributed the drop to the various measures taken by the federal government to combat poverty, including good governance, fight against corruption, reform programmes and reduction of uncertainty.

However, Masari said the statistics by the NAPEP coordinator, compared to what obtained in reality, was not true, adding, ``I don't know how and where he got his statistics''.

He said that, based on the UN poverty index of living below one US dollar a day, more than 70 per cent of Nigerians lived below the poverty level, as very few can spend N140 and above on a daily basis.
He identified lack of sound and qualitative education and lack of political will as the main sources of poverty, and lamented the absence of political leaders and the private sector at the event.
He condemned the over-reliance on NGOs and foreign countries in the fight against corruption and called for private-sector participation as well as effective implementation of government policies to eradicate poverty.

In his address, President Olusegun Obasanjo called for assessment and reassessment of government policies toward poverty eradication.
Obasanjo, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly, Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa commended the committee for its collaboration with NAPEP to map out strategies to combat poverty.


Posted by Administrator at 12:29 AM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2006

Nigeria’s looted funds hit $30bn abroad - Dr. Idama

AN erudite scholar, Dr. Adamu Idama has said that the scale of corruption in Nigeria is frightening that an estimate has it that about $30 billion of stolen money from Nigeria is stashed in European and North American banks with an amount held in assets believed to be even higher.

From SULE ALIYU, Bauchi

He made the observation in a paper titled: ''Effective and Efficient Implications of Nigeria's Anti-Corruption Legislation: Assessment of the Just concluded Three-day Workshop on National Anti-corruption for Top Local Government Functionaries and Local Government Policy Makers in the North-East Sub-region, held at the Banquet Hall of Zaranda Hotel, Bauchi.

Dr. Adamu said that corruption has since become a way of life in Nigeria because it has been institutionalized and has been around for so long that its taproots have gone deep and the lateral roots are widespread to a long distance, saying that so pervasive is corruption that no segment of the Nigerian society can stand out to say, ''our hands are clean.''

According to him, a resource person said politicians, civil servants, traditional and community leaders, religious institutions, the media, private enterprises as well as non-governmental organizations are all involved in corruption, adding that corruption is responsible for the broken promises, the dashed hopes and the shallow dreams on the last few decades.

He explained further that for the past year, Nigerian media has been awashed with reports of shady deals in the executive and legislative corridors, with the reports attracting the usual concerns and criticisms from the civil society including religious organizations that have been vocal in the condemnation of the vice, stressing that little has come of the allegations and only few people have so far been prosecuted.

Referring to the findings of the Nigerian Corruption Index (NCI), a new survey conducted by Independent Advocacy Project (IAP), he stated that 58 per cent of respondents opined that corruption is Nigeria's major problem with the Nigeria Police ranking highest where bribe is usually demanded in the open followed by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and the Nigeria Customs Service, noting that in Nigeria of today, nepotism, extortion and bribery have become a way of life and not just with the politicians, except in their own case, they exhibit it more shamelessly.

He further said that it is no more news that corruption is endemic and the in-thing in Nigeria, “it is the way business is done, the acceptable weapon of sealing a deal, securing contract, facilitating business, ensuring you get whatever you are looking for,'' he noted.

Dr. Adamu maintained that there are plenty of Nigerian conscience on sale around the country for a suitable or Ghana-must-go full of cash with the exotic palaces, mansions and houses that glut the landscape in Lekki, Asokoro, Maitama, MKO Gardens, Victoria Garden City, Old Ikoyi, Garki, Gbagada, Sun City and other over built areas in Abuja, which are vivid evidence of stealing and corruption, suggesting that unless Nigerians unite and wage a more sincere and honest war against the cankerworm, there will not be lasting solution to the problem.

Posted by Publisher at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2006

ACD to provide 1m houses annually ... Ogbeh says, as Rimi, Na’Abba urge Nigerians to resist third term

The Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) yesterday in Abuja unfolded its action plan for the country, including the provision of one million houses annually if elected into power.

From KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja with agency report

Chief Audu Ogbeh, chairman of the technical committee of the party who stated this at the launch of the group at Shehu Yar'adua Centre, Abuja said that it is unfortunate that Nigeria is short of 16 million houses for the people.

``The ACD will provide one million apartments annually to reverse the current shortage of between 12 million and 16 million houses in Nigeria," Ogbeh said, adding that the project would produce jobs for many people.

Ogbeh used the occasion to explain the exit of many prominent members of the ruling PDP for the new political organisation, saying that his former party is full of ``midnight rascality."

``Democracy is a very precious item like gold or diamond which needs to be jealously protected under the rule of law and respect for constitutionality," he noted, arguing that PDP had been hijacked for personal needs.

He said that older democracies of Europe and India succeeded because their citizens nurtured the system with great care.

``If we want democracy to succeed in Nigeria, then we should not go to sleep after every election," Ogbeh admonished, and called on professionals to join ACD with their ideas on how to develop the country.

He also announced the plan of the party to boost power supply in the country, through the utilisation of nation's gas, coal, hydro, wind and solar potentials, arguing that no industrial growth could occur without steady electricity.

``In spite of the fact that more than N300 billion has been spent on power supply in the past seven years, the power sector is the most urgent matter confronting Nigeria today," he said.

He argued that the four billion dolar energy project being planned by the government to improve the nation's power supply would not succeed unless the Niger Delta crisis is resolved in favour of the region.
As part of an ACD strategy toward the resolution of the restiveness in the coastal areas of the country, Ogbeh said that top officials of the regime would be compelled to live in the Niger Delta for a while before such persons could make input to the debate on the issue.
``Some people always speak on the Niger Delta from outside without consideration for the utter devastation caused to the environment, lack of water supply in the area and other environmental issues there," he noted.

In the area of transportation, the ACD boss said the party would revive the railway system, dredge the coastal water ways and build canals to reduce the cost of haulage.

He said that an ACD government would strengthen the participation of women in both the party machinery and the administration, including the promotion of girl-child education and economic activities.
Ogbeh announced that the party would embark on merger talks with other political organisations that compose of people of like minds, saying that ACD would not impose candidates at its primaries, which would be conducted through option A-4.

Meanwhile in his address’ the former communication minister, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar Rimi has described the move by Obasanjo’s administration to actualise third term as illegal, unconstitutional and undemocratic.

Rimi who is also the former governor of the defunct Kano state who said that any attempt to amend the present constitution in order to pave way for extending the tenure of Obasanjo administration is against the interest of Nigeria however said it is only ‘’Nigerians that can put a stop to this unconstitutional plan.”

He further said, ACD’s emergence is a clear indication that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is on its way to the grave and rejection of third term as well as laying the foundation stone of a real democracy to Nigeria and for Nigerians.

‘’Registration of our party will bring the much awaited end of the Peoples Democratic Party and its illegality, unconstitutional and undemocratic move. We Nigerians must come out and reject third term agenda because it will only pave way for dictatorship in the most populous African nation,’’ he added.

Alhaji Abubakar Rimi who unveiled the ACD plaque to launch the party’s logo and flag urged Nigerians to join hands with their party to ensure true democratic rule in Nigeria as well as say ‘no’ to those whom he described as enemies of democracy.

Also addressing the thunderous cheers of mammoth party supporters who graced the occasion including Chief Audu Ogbe, Chief Tom Ikimi, Lawan Kaita, Bashir Dalhatu, Musa Gwadabe among others, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’Abba stressed the need for Nigerians to resist any amendment that would extend Obasanjo’s tenure beyond May 29, 2007.

According to him, in the present Nigeria only strong opposition and serious commitment from Nigerians especially those who love Nigeria will save the country from the illegal move from those who are not wishing Nigeria well. ‘’Our resistance to the third term and joining hands together is the way to achieve our desire goals,’’ he stressed.
He charged Nigerians to ensure that their action is geared towards ‘’freeing ourselves from those people who hold the country to ramsome,’’ adding: ‘’ACD is seriously concerned about the future of Nigeria and Nigerians.

‘’Let me remind you that today is a very significant day in the history of our dear nation and democracy. Our gathering symbolises how Nigerians are tired of dictatorship of President Obasanjo administration. Therefore we should not relent in our efforts to see that Obasanjo’s tenure ends as stipulated in the constitution,” he concluded.

Posted by Publisher at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2006

Nigeria exits Paris Club...Obasanjo confirms

President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday formerly briefed members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the final exit of the country from the Paris Club debt tangle.

Speaking shortly before the commencement of the council’s meeting, Obasanjo said that with the final approval of the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) for the country by the IMF, Nigeria is set to finally exit the Paris Club by the end of the month.

The president thanked members of the council and in particular members of his economic management team for working hard to achieve the much desired debt relief for the country.

By Friday, the federal government is expected to pay the final instalment of about four billion dollars to the Paris Club in line with the debt relief agreement which granted the country 60 per centdebt relief.

He told the council that the country would remain focussed on its economic programme.

Earlier on Tuesday, the president had met with members of the economic management team to appraise the approval of the country’s Policy Support Instrument (PSI).

He noted that the ratification of the PSI is expected to facilitate the exit of the country from the debt clutches of the Paris Club underan agreement that was concluded last year.

“Many thought it was not possible. All of you made contributions in one way or the other,” the president told members of the team.
He pledged that his administration would remain focused on achieving rapid economic growth and development in the country.

“Government will remain focused in ensuring service and growth for our people,” the president had declared at the meeting.

Posted by Publisher at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2006

Why we’ve had coups, counter coups - Rimi

ELECTION in Nigeria has always been characterised by political imbriglio in which the final result does not reflect the votes cast by others since independence, a situation that brought about coups and counter coups.

By ABDULLAHI ABBA HASSAN

These were the words of the first civilian governor of old Kano state, Alhaji (Dr) Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi at a one-day lecture in memory of late Malam Aminu Kano organised by Centre for Democratic Research and Training (Mambayya House) Bayero University, Kano yesterday.

“Both men and women with their children and babies on their back line up defying rain, thunder and sun to vote, unfortunately in the end, the result will be different from the people’s choice,”, adding what they voted for is not what is in government house, in the parliament and at local government councils,” he lamented.

Dr. Rimi who was the chairman of the occasion, further revealed that the theme of the lecture: `Your Vote is Your Voice” How do we promote and guaranty that Norm in Nigeria?` is very very relevant and very important in Nigeria particularly this time, explaining that the lecture would greatly assist towards enlightening Nigerian people in enhancing true democracy.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University Kano, Prof. Attahiru Muhammad Jega said the lectures for the Aminu Kano Memorial Forum were carefully chosen from among distinguished scholars, politicians, contemporaries, associations, disciples and admirers of late Malam Aminu Kano, adding that they are people of vast experiences in government, politics and other related fields of human endeavour.

“It would be recalled that the first in the series of the annual Aminu Kano Memorial Forum was organised by the Bayero University Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House held in 2001 and since then the centre organises annual memorial forum yearly in the form of either a symposium or lecture to discuss issues of national importance in remembrance of the late political giant, namely, late Malam Aminu Kano”, he further stated.

Prof. Jega who was ably represented by his deputy academics, Prof. Kabir Ahmad appealed to public spirited individuals and organisations, both governmental and non-governmental to continue to support and patronise the services of the centre so as to achieve the objectives for which it was established.

Among the personalities who attended the occasion included former Secretary to the Federal Government, Alhaji Aminu Saleh; Kano state commissioner of information, Dr. Tijjani Muhammad Naniya, Director General of Kano state Societal Re-orientation Programme, Dr. Bala Muhammad, Prof. Dandatti Abdulkadir, former Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, Managing Director of Triumph Publishing Company, Malam Mahmoud Adnan Audi; and the family of late Malam Aminu Kano.

Posted by Publisher at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2006

There’s vacancy in Aso Rock ...Gov Sani says, as Shekarau decries inconsistency among politicians

THE Zamfara state governor, Alhaji Ahmad Sani Yariman Bakura has said that vacancy exists in Aso Rock come 2007, just as the third term agenda is a dead issue.

The governor who was speaking during the 23rd memorial lecture of Malam Aminu Kano, yesterday explained that the election of 2003 was rigged because votes were not defended, noting, “we defended nothing but “we have learnt from Ukraine”.

“This time around people will go out on the street in 2007 until those who are calling themselves third termers leave Aso Rock or wherever they are”, the governor remarked.

He said the same people who just few years were fighting other governments that were elongating themselves are still much around.
Governor Yarima who was the special guest further stated that government should be fully aware that Nigeria has changed, saying Nigeria of today is a country of people who are aware of their rights, belief in democracy, human rights and must be protected by the constitution as provided by the law of the land.

On his part, the chief host and the executive governor of Kano state, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau extolled the virtues of late Malam Aminu Kano.
Governor Shekarau observed that lack of consistency on the part of the Nigerian politicians made people to lose confidence in them.
He explained that politics is not all about winning election alone but identifying with people’s aspirations.

Malam Shekarau said Malam Aminu Kano stood for more recognition than people who won election today because of his consistency.
He advised politicians to be upright and consistent in their belief, saying that God will not discard whoever stands by the truth.

Posted by Publisher at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2006

Kano pressures for Independent Power Plant -- Yakasai

IN order to make Independent Power Plant (IPP) project a reality, Kano state government has been making frantic efforts toward actualising it.

By MUHD. HAMUSI ABDULLAHI

Revealing this while talking to a team of Triumph Newspapers’ editors in Kano on Friday, the state commissioner of Commerce, Industry and Cooperativves, Alhaji Ahmad Ibrahim Yakasai said since he assumed office September last year moves have been made toward the realisation of the project.
Alhaji Yakasai said the power project has been in the pipeline for a very long time, adding that it must be brought to reality.
According to him, so many contacts were made and a number of countries were visited to include United States of America, Canada and Dubai all in an effort to actualise the project.
After water, he said, the next priority of Shekarau administration would be electricity, a gesture which if actualised would relieve people of Kano of the persistant power failures bedevilling them for years.
Another effort, made by the government at home, he said was the visit paid to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) by four commissioners namely, Prof. Abdu Salihi, Works Barrister Aliyu Umar, Justice, Alhaji Salihu Sagir Takai, water resources and himself from commerce to make the West African Gas Pipelines pass through Kano so that the project could be a reality in Kano.
He said the SGF then directed them to meet the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the gas pipeline to be linked to Kano.
Initially, he said the gas pipeline project was designed to go through Zaria, Funtua, Katsina and Algeria, adding that the only way for Kano to benefit from the gas pipeline project is through its redesigning which a letter has since been written to visit the NNPC on the matter without which even tapping from the initial one would be a problem.
Again on Inland Container Deport (ICD), the commissioner said the team of the commissioners did not relent in its effort to pay a visit at night to the minister of transport on the need for a license for the Inland Dry Port billed to be established in Kano soon.
He said on returning, a memo was written in relation for the license, which was initially private sector driven started by Dala Inland Dry Port Nigeria, adding that now another international organisation with technical experts is in to put all the machinery for its take-off between January and February next year.
Kano state government, he said had initially given flat land of 200 hectares at Zawachiki for which already compensation has been paid for the dry port.

Posted by Publisher at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

FG okays N19.5bn for aviation upgrade

President Olusegun Obasanjo has approved the release of N19.5 billion for the repositioning of the aviation industry to meet the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ICAO is scheduled to carry out a technical audit of the Nigerian aviation sector in November.
Minister of Aviation, Prof. Babalola Borishade made known the presidential nod for the release of the money, in a chat with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the weekend in Abuja.
``Already, Mr President has directed the federal ministry of finance to release the money to the aviation ministry, in order to address the problem of decayed infrastructure in the sector and overhaul the aviation industry,'' Borishade said.
He said that the ICAO audit, scheduled for November, is meant to confirm the level of country' s aviation compliance with international standards in terms of facilities.
``Also, they will inspect and monitor the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on its level of regulation in the country's aviation industry, as well as see how autonomous the NCAA is, in carrying out its responsibilities,'' he said.
``This special fund will be utilised for the upgrading of the four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt in order to bring them to ICAO's Category 111 standard.''
The minister also said that part of the money would be deployed to improve the facilities of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
``In fact, I have instructed the aviation parastatal agencies, particularly the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to upgrade, repair and replace obsolete equipment that had been neglected in the past,'' he noted.
Borishade further expressed optimism that the intervention strategies of the federal government and the World Bank would start yielding positive results in the sector soon.
NAN learnt that about N6.7 billion out of the amount would be used to procure new equipment to replace obsolete ones at the control towers of the four international airports.
Nigeria stands to be blacklisted if it failsthe test by the world aviation regulatory body.
Most facilities at the various airports across the country are obsolete and in dire need of replacement.
In the last quarter of last year, the sector recorded series of mishaps that claimed more than 200 lives, including school children.
NAN recalls that Obasanjo had in December, last year summoned an emergency dialogue following the plane crashes, pledging to do everything to ensure that the aviation industry is sanitised.
He had also ordered the inspection of all the domestic airlines operating in the country, and an audit and the restructuring of the aviation agencies and their personnel.

Posted by Publisher at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

Wedding: Shekarau plays guardian to Buhari’s elder brother’s daughters

GOVERNOR Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano state Saturday gave out two daughters of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s elder brother Alhaji Mamman Daura, Safinatu and Fatima to marriage.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

Malam Shekarau acted as the guardian of the two brides and gave their hands to marriage to Basiruddeen and Ahmad Tijjani after their guardians paid the required dowry.
The bridegroom, Basiruddeen paid N30,000 as dowry for Safinatu while Ahmad Tijjani paid N10,000 for Fatima through the guardians as part of the obligations for contracting legal matrimony in Islam.
The nuptial knots of both marriages were solemnised by the Chief Imam of Daura, Malam Abdullahi Sabon Kwami after all requisites were fulfiled.
Malam Shekarau was accompanied by the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Balarabe Sa’idu Gani, commissioners, special advisers, state ANPP leadership and other top government officials.

Posted by Publisher at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

Easter message: We must not be ‘Wretched of the earth’ -- Obasanjo

President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday in Ota, Ogun, said the country must not be found among the ``dead and wretched of the earth.''

``For any human organisations to make progress, at the individual, family, community, national and the world levels, they must not be among the dead,'' Obasanjo said at an Easter Sunday Service in his Ota farm.
``The Nigerian situation in the past was more or less like being among the dead, a country where nothing worked, but it is not the same today.
``If we have not risen, our situation would have gotten worse, we must rise, we must be living and we must not be found among the dead,'' he said.
``Our prayer is that just as Christ rose from the dead and was not found among the dead, we must also have to rise and must continue to rise to the cruising height,'' the president added.
Obasanjo explained that to reach the cruising height, the country must first of all reach the cruising speed, which he said required a lot of manoeuvres through clouds and turbulence storm.
He said the nation had to rise up at the individual and at community levels to achieve its desired goals and that his prayer was for the country to attain its goal of sustained development and better the lives of its citizenry.
The president offered special prayers for peace and stability in the country.
``There could never be pleasure without displeasure or joy without a certain amount of sadness. We pray our joy would over-ride our sadness,'' the president added.
He also prayed God ``to touch the hearts of those who do not understand.''
He noted that all sections of the country were well endowed with gifts of God within their soil or under the sea, adding that all that was required was for the country to work hard.
In his Easter message entitled ``some clouds have no rain'' one of the officiating Ministers, Archbishop Peter Okoduwa, said many politicians had nothing to offer ``except their agbada.''
He said equating the country to old democracies like the U.S. and UK was wrong because it had not yet mature to that level and appealed for peace.
Okoduwa said: ``Nigeria is no longer a big for nothing country. It is now a lion that must be reckoned with.''
He prayed that any misunderstanding in the polity be resolved amicably, stressing that Obasanjo had achieved a lot in the last seven years.
``When your heart is good, God will promote you,'' he noted.

Posted by Publisher at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)

Iran, US face-off: Devil’s alternative for ‘world policeman’

Iran is expanding its uranium conversion site at Isfahan and reinforced its Natanz underground uranium enrichment plant, new satellite imagery showed.

A U.S. think tank described the revelations as hidden preparations by the Islamic Republic to deter possible military strikes.
In an e-mail sent to news media along with some attached commercial satellite photos, the Institute for Science and International Security, led by ex-UN arms inspector and nuclear expert David Albright, stated that Iran is currently building new tunnel entrance at Isfahan, where its scientists prepare uranium for enrichment.
“This new entrance is indicative of a new underground facility or further expansion of the existing one,” said ISIS.
The email included four satellite images taken during the period between 2002 and January 2006. The images show Natanz’s two subterranean cascade halls buried under various layers of earth, concrete slabs as well as other materials.
“Iran is taking extraordinary precautions to try to protect its nuclear assets. But the growing talk of eliminating Iran’s nuclear programme from the air is pretty glib,” Albright told Reuters by telephone from Washington.
“Centrifuges are rather small machines and could be built again quickly, and Iran could store UF6 in a garage somewhere that would be pretty impossible to find,” he said.
“It will be very difficult to erase the knowledge they have achieved,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, nuclear affairs expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.
It’s been reported that last week, Isfahan site stockpiled 110 tonnes of feedstock UF6 gas, 25 more tonnes than it had reported to the UN nuclear Watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency in February.
The Iranian government announced recently the concentration of uranium’s fissile U-235 isotope to 3.5 percent, sufficient to run nuclear power plants, in a pilot cascade of 164 centrifuges.
“Even if this is exaggerated, they are close to (enrichment ability) and the world faces a new reality,” Fitzpatrick said, stressing that:“War with Iran will do U.S. more damage”.
A recent investigative report written by reputable journalist Seymour Hersh and published by the New Yorker magazine earlier this month, suggested that the U.S. is readying plans to launch a massive military strike targeting Iran’s nuclear sites.
Richard Clarke and Steven Simon, both former U.S. National Security Council experts are warning against a possible U.S. military action against Iran, saying that using force in dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue will cause damages to U.S. interests than the current struggle in Iraq has been, AFP reported Sunday.
“Iran has forces at its command that are far superior to anything Al Qaeda was ever able to field,” the experts, who coordinated counterterrorism policy in the Clinton and Bush administrations, wrote in The New York Times.
“Any United States bombing campaign would simply begin a multi-move, escalatory process.”
“The Lebanese organization Hezbollah has a global reach, and has served in the past as an instrument of Iran.”
“The Badr Brigade and other Shia militias in Iraq could launch a more deadly campaign against British and American troops,” the two wrote.
“There is every reason to believe that Iran has such a retaliatory shock wave planned and ready.”
They warned that striking Iran, would provoke the Islamic Republic to attack Persian Gulf oil facilities and tankers, which could cause oil prices to spike above $80 a barrel.
Iran is in a position to make the situation in Iraq far more worse for the United States, the two experts said.

Posted by Publisher at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2006

PDP can try Atiku if... -- Shema

PDP disciplinary committee chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, said on Tuesday in Abuja that the trial of Vice-President Atiku Abubakar would be done only if due process is followed.

``We can deal with any issue or anybody brought before us, including the Vice President, if the due process is followed,''Shema told journalists at the end of the committee's meeting.
He counselled Nigerians to read the PDP constitution for proper appreciation of the powers vested in the committee by the provisions of its Article 16 which dealt with discipline.
``Under Article 16 of the PDP constitution, the committee is mandated to deal with all disciplinary cases, including cases of anti-party activities, resort to litigation without exhausting party mechanisms, among others,'' he said.
Shema, who denied speculation that Abubakar had been summoned by the committee ahead of Thursday's meeting of the party's national executive committee said, however, that discipline is integral to all organisations.
Abubakar had, in the recent past, insisted that PDP and other political parties in the country lacked internal democracy, a comment that attracted sharp reactions from some leaders of the ruling party.

Posted by Publisher at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2006

Report on constitution review: Mantu submits 103 areas for amendment ... Third term agenda inclusive

DEPUTY Senate President and Chairman, National Assembly Joint Constitutional Review Committee, Senator Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu yesterday submitted his committee’s controversial report on the public hearing regarding the constitution review.

From KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

Immediately after the presentation to the Senate, the Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani announced the dissolution of the committee which received a lot of criticisms not only from members of the National Assembly but from millions of Nigerians.

The committee which consisted of 80 selected members from both chambers of the National Assembly, has identified and digested over 103 issues needed to be amended in the constitution including the clause talking about extending the present tenure of four (renewable) year term to another four years.

The Senate President who commended the effort of the committee set up since 2000, however commended its members for their commitment and dedication.

Giving insight of how the report will be treated before the National Assembly, the chairman Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Umar Tsauri explained that his committee would release it in the National Assembly’s journal since there is no more Gazette.
According to him, immediately after that, his committee will consult the upper chamber on when to present the report before the entire Senators for hearing before debating.

Answering questions if his committee has confidence in the Mantu report, he said, ‘’I can’t say so, because report reaching us indicated that Mantu as the committee chairman used his chair against people’s wish.’’

Senator Tsauri who said that Mantu took side in the whole exercise further noted: Definitely some of the issues identified need amendment but may not see the light of the day while some may get the blessing of the chambers”.

He pointed out already, some Senators who believe that Mantu took side and manoeuvred the exercise have faulted the report.’’ Senator Dansadau and one other Senator had separately sent their petition letters before my committee,” he added.

The Rules and Business Committee chairman described as unfortunate that the committee of just 80 members out of over 409 members would think that it can play with the entire two chambers of the National Assembly, urging Nigerians to bear with his committee.
‘’Just let Nigerians be patient and see what their representatives will do at the end.’’

It could be recalled that due to Mantu’s role towards ensuring that third term agenda scales through, last week a motion calling for his suspension was moved by Senator Nuhu Aliyu (PDP Niger state).
Currently, the embattled Senator Mantu is facing investigation on the allegations levelled against him by some of his colleagues and his utterances viewed as denigrading to themselves in an interview with AIT television.

Posted by Publisher at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2006

Ngige yet to hand over to me - Obi

Barely one month after Governor Peter Obi of Anambra state was sworn-in, he says his predecessor, Dr Chris Ngige is yet to hand over to him.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that on March 15, 2006, an Appeal Court sitting in Enugu confirmed the victory of Mr. Peter Obi as governor of Anambra state in the 2003 governorship elections, and on March 17, he was sworn into office.

Reacting to the criticism that his take-off was slow, Obi said that he was being careful, and meticulous, adding that he has to take time to study files and other documents he met on ground.
Addressing members of his political parties, the APGA on Sunday in Awka, Obi complained that he read the affairs of the government on pages of newspapers, lamenting that no one officially handed over to him.

``I am begging people to bear with me and give me more time to avoid making avoidable mistakes. As I am talking to you, no one has handed over anything to me.

``So, I am trying to acquaint myself by studying the files, at least to know where to start from. Even the governor's lodge has not been vacated," he said.

On the establishment of development projects in Anambra, Obi said he would consolidate those good projects started by his predecessor.
He said he built about 25 new industries yearly and encouraged improved agriculture as part of his effort to tackle unemployment.
The governor expressed his readiness to reconcile all warring factions in APGA, promising to reward party members who distinguished themselves.

He further called for support from Anambra people, adding that ``government is a collective responsibility.''
Reacting swiftly when contacted, Ngige through his former Media Adviser on Publicity, Mr. Fred Chukwuelobe said he would respond to Obi's assertion in due course.

In his remark, the National Chairman of
AGPA, Chief Victor Umeh enjoined people of Anambra state to be patient with the present administration.

``It's difficult to believe that one month after Obi was sworn-in, his predecessor in office is yet to hand over the reins of government to him," Umeh said.

The national chairman said the party welcomed back to its fold every of its member who wishes to return, stressing that now is the time to solidify the party structure.

He also said that APGA is fine tuning its strategies for the 2007 general elections such that it won't be taken unawares.
``APGA is ready to participate in the 2007 general elections. I want also criticise the open ballot system which subjected and humiliated people in 2003.

``A better system than that if tested, may be the electronic voting system, for the purpose of transparency," he said.

Posted by Publisher at 12:58 PM | Comments (1)

Muslims mark Eid-el-Maulid* as Sultan, Bayero, Sheikh Bauchi,Oba of Lagos preach peace

Muslims all over the world yesterday celebrated Eid-el-Maulid to mark the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

By ABDULLAHI D. ABDULLAHI (Group News Editor) & HASSAN MUH’D,(Bauchi) with agency reports)

A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent in Sokoto reports that Maulud is being celebrated on the 12th of Rabi'ul Awwal, the third month of the Islamic Hijrah calendar each year.
The federal government, therefore, declared yesterday, which is equivalent to the date as public holiday to mark the event.
The day was marked with various religious festivities and programmes organised by Islamic groups, Islamiyyah schools and individuals.
Political, religious and traditional leaders have been sending messages of goodwill and felicitations to celebrate the day.
Peace, unity and harmonious co-existence were the central themes of sermons by the Chief Imams of mosques across Sokoto state.
Sultan Muhammadu Maccido, the Sokoto state governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, as well as his deputy, Alhaji Garba Muhammad, all called on Nigerians to continue to live in peace with each other.
``We should learn to live in peace irrespective of our religious, political and ethnic backgrounds,'' the Sultan said.
Meanwhile, Christians in Sokoto state on Sunday joined their colleagues globally in the celebration of Palm Sunday.
This was to mark the triumphant re-entry of Jesus Christ into Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago.
In Kano, Muslims spent Sunday night celebrating the Eid-el-Maulid through recitations of the Glorious Qur’an, the history of the holy Prophet and his virtues as well as religious songs in praise of the Holy Prophet.
Islamic scholars across the state enjoined Muslims to emulate the Prophet’s virtues and live in harmony with one another and non-muslims alike.
The Emir of Kano, Alhaji (Dr.) Ado Bayero who reiterated the significance of peaceful coexistence enjoined all and sundry to assist the needy and prayed for peace and tranquillity in the country.
Daily Triumph reports that throughout the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal, Muslims commemorate the occasion with special gatherings where they engage in religious activities.
From Bauchi Daily Triumph reported that Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi charged Christians to the lofty ideals of Jesus Prophet Isa (AS), justice and sympathising with their Muslim counterpart.
Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi made the appeal during the occasion to mark the birthday of the Holy Prophet, held at Bauchi IBB Square, Bauchi, Sunday.
He explained that most Christians are not following teachings of Jesus (Prophet Isah).
The scholar gave an example of the just concluded census which the Christians were alleged to have sabotaged.
He stated that Islam is a true religion which promotes peace, unity among the nation as well enjoined the Christians to ensure fairness int he final census figures.
Giving a short history of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Sheikh Bauchi said the Prophet always encourages his followers to ensure peace and unity among themselves and people of different religious persuasions.
He explained that Maulid as an occasion for which Muslims gather for the sake of Allah and present the love of the Holy Prophet.
Sheikh Bauchi explained that during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, Christians and Muslims lived in peace with trust, but now Christians have abandoned all the cordial relations between the two religions.
Thousands of Muslims from different parts of the country attended the Maulid. On his part, the Oba of Lagos, Chief Rilwan Akiolu advised Nigerian leaders to be law abiding and to be honest in dealing with issues affecting the people.
Akiolu gave the advice yesterday in Lagos at the ``7th NTA Majolagbe/Shopeyin Maolud Nabiyy Public Lecture", organised by NTA Channel 10, Lagos to mark the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
The monarch implored public office holders not to engage in anti-government acts, stressing that what Nigerians need most is a peaceful environment where there would be equal opportunity for all.
Akiolu noted that the principles of Prophet Muhammad, "whose attributes include honesty and tolerance among people", should be emulated by Nigerians despite their religious differences.
``Every Muslim is expected to be his brother's keeper and this is one of the ideals of Prophet Muhammad,'' the Oba said.
In his contribution, Dr. Muiz Banire, Lagos state commissioner for transport, said that if Nigerians could imbibe the principles of discipline in their daily activities, the nation would be a better place for all.
In his remark, Alhaji Yakub Balogun, Head of Service, Lagos state, reminded Muslims that the celebration of Maolud Nabiyy should be a sober reflection on the ideals of the Prophet towards a peaceful world.

Posted by Publisher at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2006

Nassarawa bye-election: ANPP sweeps polls

LAST Saturday’s keenly contested bye-election into the Kano state House of Assembly for Nassarawa constituency saw the emergence of Malam Yahaya Musa of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) as winner after polling 13,598 votes to beat his opponent from People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Ibrahim Sani Muhammad who scored 13,253 votes.

By MAJE T. SANUSI, Political Editor

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) returning officer in Nassarawa local government area, Malam Sani Ahmad Kabara who announced the results, also declared that Malam Sulaiman Isa Aliyu of Peoples Salvation Party (PSP) scored 206 votes.

He added that Alhaji Auwalu Umar of ND and Hamisu San Turaki of Alliance for Democracy (AD) polled 112 and 61 votes respectively.
Alhaji Kabara congratulated the candidates and the parties for the successful conduct of the bye-election and wished the winner God’s guidance in all his future endeavours.

The bye-election however, proved to be the toughest battle for both the ruling ANPP and the PDP in recent political development in Kano state, Daily Triumph can reveal.

It was also observed that most of the principal actors had perceived the Nassarawa bye-election to be a litmus test for clearing the ground for the forthcoming 2007 general election while the opposition allegedly implored all forms of tactics and election maneuovres, with a view to winning the battle.

Daily Triumph similarly gathered that some disenchanted members of the ANPP had also allegedly joined forces with the opposition PDP, so as to beat the ruling ANPP hands down, but which proved unsuccessful.

Eventhough the effort had left the ANPP with some broken fences because a valuable polling unit has been lost to the PDP, the ANPP had however, proved its supremacy by emerging victorious at the end of the battle.

Posted by Publisher at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2006

19 Northern govs approve bid for oil blocks -- Garba Duba

CHAIRMAN of the New Nigerian Development Company (NNDC), General Garba Duba (rtd) has said that in spite of the challenges of the economic reforms and the operating environment, the company has performed impressively.

From MUSTAPHA SAYE, Kaduna

Speaking yesterday at the 37th Annual General Meeting of the company, held at its corporate headquarters, Kaduna, Gen. Duba said the ‘’gross earnings of N387.51 million was recorded during the period under review,’’ adding: ‘’An increase of N107.3 million or 38 per cent over the previous years gross earnings figure of N280.21 million.’’
The chairman stated that the profit before taxation stood at N172.72 million which represents an increase of N88.84 million or 106 per cent over the preceding year’s figure of N83.91 million.
He further stated that the profit after taxation before exceptional and extra-ordinary items of N136.17 million were recorded against last year’s figure of N62.46 million, noting: ‘’Exceptional expenditure of N36.71 million and extra-ordinary income of N519.02 million were also recorded during the year under review.’’
On the dividends and other appropriations, General Duba said, the directors proposed for approval a gross dividend of N25 million which represents an increase of 150 per cent over previous year’s figure of N10 million and an additional appropriation of N10 million each for the Young Professionals Development Scheme and Learning Resource Centre Funds.
He also commented on the business development of the company, saying that the 19 Northern states have approved the NNDC’s bid for four blocks for oil exploration activities in Chad Basin and Benue Troughs, adding that the owners have approved the recapitalisation of NNDC by additional payment of N4.75 million.
According to him, the four oil blocks approved for NNDC have been confirmed by the federal government of Nigeria, Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR) pointing out that, a sum of $72.5 million approximately N11.0 billion is committed by NNDC to undertake and spend in collaboration with potential local or foreign investors.
He maintained that NNDC has already paid the sum of $2.04 million to the federal government of Nigeria for the signature bonus with respect to the four oil blocks.
General Duba (rtd) explained that NNDC is poised to take up the challenges being offered by the Nigerian economy and globalisation and with its recapitalisation, adding: ‘’It is certainly being more ambitious to become not only a national but also a global player.’’
He further explained that the company’s bold initiatives are in such ventures as oil and gas, solid minerals, information technology, mass housing scheme, agriculture in particular and cassava project.

Posted by Publisher at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2006

Obasanjo’s reforms should be irreversible - Atiku

AMIDST controversy over President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure extension, his Vice, Atiku Abubakar has suggested the setting up of an institutions backed by requisite legislations to ensure that fundamental reforms put in place by his boss are not reversed by any succeeding government.

From KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

According to him, there are fundamental reform programmes put in place by Obasanjo’s administration since its inception in 1999 to prop-up the economy toward rapid development that needs not to be reversed by any succeeding government.
Alhaji Abubakar made the suggestion in an address he delivered during a dinner organised by the minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Nasiru el-Rufai in honour of participants of the National Assembly Roundtable on the Fiscal Responsibility Legislation, held at the Transcorp Hilton, last Monday night in Abuja.
He pointed out that ‘’with such legislations in place, reversal of such fundamental reforms would only take place if the people truly have widespread support for it.’’
Vice President Atiku however, said, Obasanjo’s administration has been engaged in fundamental reforms of the nation’s economy in the last seven years, while it is a truism that no government binds its successor, ‘’as responsible leaders, we can take important steps to protect these over due reforms.
‘’The least we can do in this regard is to set up an institution, backed by requisite legislations, to ensure that possible reversal of these reforms by succeeding administrations will be difficult,’’ he said.
Alhaji Abubakar however, identified lack of consistency as the major obstacle to national development, saying Nigerians have a responsibility to entrench these needed reforms through institutions and laws, adding that the reason the country needs a fiscal responsibility bill at this time is because of the complete nature of the Nigerian society.
While describing Nigeria as a society which has multiple jurisdictions but with one economy, he said, a coherent legislation for injecting fiscal discipline into the system is therefore critical for the country’s long term economic health.
The modern economy, he said, is like a biological organism in which an infection on one part affects the whole organism… ‘’If one ministry or department or a state government borrows recklessly or mismanages its resources, the consequence will extend to more than the specific ministry or department or state government,’’ he said.
In his words: ‘’State governments did not borrow at the same rate nor did they manage the borrowed funds well. Because of these failings, the consequences for the whole country has been immense and largely negative.’’
Alhaji Abubakar who urged members of the National Assembly to expedite action in passing the bills, however said, the widespread support which the fiscal responsibility legislation has garnered is a testimony to the people’s desire for greater accountability in the management of public resources.

Posted by Publisher at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

Kano House Nassarawa by-election holds Saturday

AFTER all the intrigues that characterized the nullification of election of the member representing Nassarawa constituency in Kano state House of Assembly, Hon. Sani Ibrahim Ahmad, it has been resolved that by-election will take place on Saturday, April 8, 2006.

By BASHIR MUSTAPHA SANI

Speaking with newsmen during an interactive session, held at the state headquarters of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday, the commissioner, Prince Solomon Adedeji Soyebi confirmed that there is higher probability that the election would take place at the local council.
He said the rule governing by-election is the same rule that governs general election, adding that no restriction of movements at the council during the election exercise.
According to him, 11 different political parties have collected their nomination papers and only six of them were able to return their papers to the commission including the AD, ACD, ANPP, ND, PDP and PSP, saying however, that only ACD is denied the chance to contest the election.
The commissioner however, stated that despite the fact that the commission is seen as the most suspicious organization in the world, he assured that there is going to be a transparent, peaceful and zero tolerance to any kind of evil in the election.
He urged the contestant to appear before the election arena in a proper and orderly manner, adding that among the stakeholders expected to take part in the election are the electoral officers, security personnel, accredited persons and journalists.
On voters card registration exercise, Prince Soyebi stated that this time around, its going to be sophisticated one, stressing that finger prints and photographs of the individual voters would be used to address malpractices.
‘’I want to inform the general public that only people of 18 years upward would be registered and the registration is going to be a continuous one,’’ he concluded.

Posted by Publisher at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

FG spends N48.3bn on UBE

The federal government has between 2000 and 2005 spent more than N48.3 billion on the implementation of Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme.

Prof. Gidado Tahir, Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) made this known yesterday in Abuja at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum.
He pointed out that the commission and the Education Trust Fund spent part of the amount on the construction of more than 30,000 classrooms during the period under review.
The UBEC boss also said that the two agencies similarly provided 228,175 units of pupils’ furniture to various schools during the period.
Tahir said that State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) in 28 states and FCT similarly provided 748,595 units of furniture for the programme in the period.
He explained 20,005 units of new furniture were constructed by SUBEBs in 34 states and FCT to boost the number of furniture available for effective implementation of the programme.
“This is in addition to the 40,926 classrooms renovated by SUBEBs in 34 states and FCT during the same period.
“Increasing the stock of furniture had become compelling following reports from various parts of the country that pupils were studying under the trees in some states.
“We had to increase the stock to provide a conducive learning environment for the pupil and to make learning more attractive to children mostly in the rural areas,’’ he said.

Posted by Publisher at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)

Iran test-fires new land-to-sea missile

Iran test-fired a new medium-range land-to-sea missile yesterday during a military maneuovre held in the Persian Gulf, state television reported.

The medium-range missile, dubbed ``Kowsar'', is capable of resisting electronic jamming systems and is equipped with remote-control and searching systems, the report said.
It said Iran had the capability to mass-produce the new missiles.
The launch of Kowsar is the Islamic Republic's fourth successful test-firing of new models of weapons during the week-long war game in the Gulf which started on March 31 and will last till April 6.
The ongoing military maneuovre involved more than 17,000 soldiers and 1,500 naval vessels of various types and sizes.
Iran has test-fired a radar-dodging and multi-targeting missile, an underwater high-speed missile and a powerful torpedo in the previous days of the war game.

Posted by Publisher at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)

UBEC takes modern education to Qur’anic schools

The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) plans to take modern education to the door step of pupils of Qur’anic schools.

UBEC Executive Secretary Gidado Tahir told a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja yesterday that teachers would now visit Qur’anic schools to teach the pupils rudiments of western education.
Tahir said the commission studied peculiar needs of Nigerian communities before arriving at the decision in collaboration with affected state governments and other stakeholders.
He said that the idea is to ensure that basic education, which is compulsory and free, got to every Nigerian child irrespective of whatever background.
``We discussed with the malams (operators of Qur’anic schools) and they agreed that we can provide modern education in their schools for at least one hour every school day.
``We cannot afford to miss out the seven million children in Qur’anic schools so we want to tap those children to benefit from western education,'' the executive secretary said.
He said that the initial attempt to send such children to modern schools was resisted by both parents and religious leaders, explaining that the only way out is to take modern education to them in their domain.
Tahir said that UBEC is in consultation with Islamic scholars and leaders to develop a curriculum for introduction into Qur’anic schools to teach the pupils the rudiments of western education.

Posted by Publisher at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

How Nigeria can achieve 10% economic growth, by Obj

FOR Nigeria to achieve its planned 10 per cent economic growth by 2010, President Olusegun Obasanjo has observed that Nigerians must see themselves as actors in the struggle with the private sector remaining as an engine of the growth.

From KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

Chief Obasanjo explained that government must continue to streamline and reduce the role of government in the economy to that of enabler, enhancer, regulator, monitor and facilitator as it is the only way to ensure creativity, innovation, productivity among others.
The president who stated this at the second quarter of the stakeholders meeting on growing the Nigerian economy held at Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, yesterday explained that to achieve this goal, all hands needed to be on deck with commitment, dedication, focus and consistency.
‘’Our economy is yet to get to the cruising level where it can be on autopilot, our institutions are still too fragile and vulnerable and our infrastructures are only beginning to receive the well-deserved attention. This means that all Nigerians must see the stability growth and progress of Nigeria as a duty and a challenge,’’ he said.
He pointed out that leadership and good governance remain at the heart of his administration’s reform agenda, adding that with leadership on the positive track, followership can be expected to respond appropriately, stressing the need for Nigerians to see themselves as actors.
On its part, he said, government shall be intimidated, distracted, deterred, diverted or discouraged by anyone or organisation, saying: ‘’The interest of the Nigerian people is the number one factor that continues to propel us to greater heights.’’
Chief Obasanjo further said, irrespective of class, gender, profession and political disposition, government must see itself as leaders with the task of protecting Nigeria and pushing the frontiers of creativity, innovation and productivity.
‘’We must imbibe the core value of honesty, hard work, spirituality, compassion, patriotism, creativity and loyalty at all times, of course only leaders with these values can be expected to understand, appreciate and embrace good governance,’’ he concluded.

Posted by Publisher at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

Ghana calls Chanchangi Airline to order

The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, has warned Chanchangi Airlines to rectify some deficiencies in its aircraft few days after it began international flights into Accra.

Chacahangi Airlines, had its inaugural flight to Accra last week, but the Ghanaian aviation authority in a letter, dated March 28, charged the airline to make amends in its plane to avoid sanctions.
According to the letter, the Ghanaian aviation authority gave Chachangi a 14-day period to put its plane, which plied the route, in order.
It also urged the airline to respond in seven days with its correction plan, which would prevent a recurrence of such deficiencies.
Among deficiencies listed were that an oxygen button on the B737-200 aircraft was not well tightened, absence of safety cards on some seats and absence of noise certificates.
The Ghana aviation authority also frowned at one of the crew members of the airline whose competence certificate had expired.
The Coordinator of Chanchangi Airlines, Alhaji Muhammad Tukur, who confirmed the development in Ikeja on Monday, said the issues raised were minor ones and that the airline had taken steps to make amends.
He said the development did not mean that the airline had been barred from Ghana as it was touted in some quarters.
Tukur explained that the airline was already communicating with the Ghanaian aviation authority on its plans as directed by the letter.

Posted by Publisher at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

Katsina inaugurates 10-man ecological fund c’ttee

KATSINA state government has inaugurated a 10-man State Ecological Fund Committee with N500 million as a take-off grant.

From MU’AWIYA BALA IDRIS, Katsina

Inaugurating the committee, Monday, Governor Umaru Musa Yar’adua said the amount was realized from two per cent deductions from the state and local government accounts.
Governor Yar’adua explained that from September last year, two per cent of the federation account of both the state and the 34 local governments were deducted from source.
He said the state Ecological Fund Committee is to collate and examine cases of ecological fund.
Governor Yar’adua also said the committee would supervise the application of the fund through transparency and accountability.
He revealed that the account of the committee will be audited annually by the state Office of the Auditor General.
Responding, the chairman of the committee and commissioner for land, survey and environment, Alhaji Danlami Garba Musawa said the fund will help in addressing ecological problems in the state.
Alhaji Musawa commended the state government for its foresight in solving the ecological problems through the establishment of the committee.
He assured members of the committee will work toward the set goal.

Posted by Publisher at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

Katsina expends N305m on salary arrears

KATSINA state government has expended N305.1 million for the settlement of 12.5 per cent salary arrears to civil servants in the state.

Stories from MU’AWUYA B. IDRIS, Katsina

The state Head of Service, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdallah who revealed this at a press conference yesterday, said the payment of the salary arrears covers only the period of one year.
Alhaji Abdallahi explained that with the payments of the arrears, government has fulfilled the agreement earlier reached with leaders of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in the state.
“With recent payment of arrears of 12.5 per cent salary increase, government has fulfilled its promise. We expect workers to reciprocate the gesture toward rededicating themselves to duty,” he said.
The head of service explained that the delay in the payment of arrears was as a result of administrative bottle necks, adding that the government is committed to the welfare of its workers.
His words: “Let me make it clear without fear of contradiction that Katsina state government is the only state that ensures payment of pension and gratuity as well as workers salary as and when due.”
On training, Alhaji Abdallah explained that government has make provision in this year’s budget for training of civil servants.

Posted by Publisher at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

Gani lauds FRSC’s activities

SPEAKER of Kano state House of Assembly, Hon. Balarabe Sa’idu Gani, has commended the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) for their untiring effort of bringing sanity in the road usage nation wide.

By ALIYU YUSUF

Hon. Gani made the commendation while receiving the Area commander of the FRSC in charge of north west and his entourage on a familiarization visit to the Assembly.
He said in view of its effort to improve road usage and strict adherence to rules and regulations governing its usage and minimizing the rate of accident in the state, Kano Assembly has amended the state traffic Law and was already gazetted.
Hon. Gani also revealed that the Assembly had already directed the Judicial arm of government to translate the gazette into Hausa language to enable the users understand the provisions for proper compliance.
While assuring the visiting team of their total support and cooperation, the speaker congratulated the new Area commander for coming to Kano, saying he will find the state accommodating and law abiding.
He pointed out that Kano state government had already taken a step in the repairs and construction of new roads with a view to facilitate good transportation network and curtail the problems of regular accidents.
The speaker then expressed the need for the FRSC to soften the Law of seat belt to affect only motorist driving out side the state metropolis.
In his remarks earlier, the new Area commander, Alhaji Abubakar Dutse, said they were at the Kano Assembly to familiarize with the legislators as well as maintain the cordial relationship existing among them.
Alhaji Dutse explained that the commission which was established in the year 1988 was aimed at making Nigerians roads safe for its users, public enlightenments, prescription of speed limit, conducting researches on roads and giving appropriate advices for their repairs as well as rendering First Aids to victims of accidents among others.
The area commander however, appealled to the Assembly to address the menace of commercial motorcyclists whom he described as people that behave with out legal consciousness.
While commending the activities of Hisba board especially on traffic assistance in the state and prayed that the federal government will allow their full operation considering their vital roles to humanity.
He also called on the Assembly to assist them in reviving their information processing and zonal replacement centres with necessary working materials, as well as revisiting the issue of their state headquarters.

Posted by Publisher at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2006

...Stop Katsina ACF meeting

Police in Katsina at the weekend barred members of the Katsina state chapter of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) from holding its meeting.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the ACF members, including a former head of state, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari, former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Gen. Kanti Bello and Gen. Abu Ibrahim were prevented from meeting.

The venue of the proposed meeting, Gidauniya Jahar Katsina, was surrounded by the police at about 11a.m. on Saturday to prevent the proposed meeting from taking place.

In a reaction, Coomassie, who is the secretary of ACF in the state, told newsmen he was highly surprised by the police action.
“We are surprised because the governor, Alhaji Umaru Yar’adua, was informed about the ACF meeting and he even promised to attend.
“We do not know why the police prevented the meeting from holding,’’ he said.

However, the state Police Public Relations
Officer, ASP Adamu Yusuf, told newsmen that the police did not receive any written application for a permit from the ACF.

He further said that the police were drafted to the venue of the proposed ACF meeting in order to ensure security, “as the police command had learnt that some people who were against the ACF meeting may cause trouble’’.

Posted by Publisher at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2006

150 persons mostly Nigerians, feared drowned ...As boat capsizes

A ferry carrying 150 passengers sank off the coast of Cameroon, and 23 people were rescued, officials said Thursday. The rest are feared dead.

The boat was bound for Gabon from a town in Nigeria on Cameroon’s border. Fishermen found bodies floating Wednesday off the port town of Kribi, said top regional official Gregoire Mvombo.

He cited survivors as saying 150 people from Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast were onboard. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

Many ferry masters in Africa pack passengers aboard old or poorly maintained ships, and few ferries keep proper passenger manifests. Because the continent is plagued by poor road and rail systems, goods are transported to market by river or ocean routes.

In September 2002, the MS Joola ferry capsized off the coast of Senegal, killing 1,863 people — more than were on the Titanic.

Posted by Publisher at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2006

Census kicks- off nationwide ...Obasanjo, govs enumerated amidst hiccups

The five-day national population and housing census took off yesterday as scheduled.

In Abuja, President Olusegun Obasanjo and members of his immediate family were enumerated this morning at State House by a delegation from the National Population Commission, led by its Chairman, Chief Samui’la Makama.

After identifying themselves as enumerators from the commission, Mr. Victor Aisaborhale and Ms Vitalene Nnadi, asked President Obasanjo his name, age, place of birth, state of origin and local government.
They also demanded for his place of residence, how long he had been living there as well as his place of usual residence.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president answered all the questions diligently.

From Sokoto came the report that Governor Attahiru Bafarawa was counted at about 7.50am at his personal residence.
Bafarawa told newsmen that he was asked 19 questions which he answered diligently.

The governor said he would ever remain grateful to God for giving him the opportunity to participate in this year’s population and housing census.

He advised enumerators to leave no stone unturned toward simplifying the census questionaire for the people.

NAN further reports that members of the governor’s household were later enumerated.

In Enugu, the late distribution of census materials delayed the take-off of the exercise in some parts of the state.

NAN Correspondent who monitored the exercise reports that as at 12 noon, coordinators and enumerators were still collecting materials from the headquarters of the Enugu North and South council areas.
Also at Enugu North, the situation was chaotic as more than 100 trained enumerators alleged that their names were replaced by NPC officials.

One of the affected persons, Mrs Ijeoma Igwe, in possession of her identity card, said that her name was replaced on the posted list with another person.

Emmanuel Odo, and Ali Christopher were among a host of others protesting their non-deployment to their enumeration areas.

The NPC Controller for Enugu North, Augustine Chinwuko dismissed the claim of the protesting enumerators calling them “gate-crashers.”
The atmosphere at Enugu South was peaceful although the co-ordinators received their materials late.

The Controller for the area, Mrs Ekwutosi
Elibe, said that the materials arrived late for distribution, pointing out that enumerators in the area had been paid.

A report from Minna says that Governor Abdulkadir Kure of Niger, his wife Zainab and members of his household were enumerated 6.30 a.m.
NAN reports that Kure at the occasion had queried the long process of the census questionnaire, which started yesterday nationwide.

Speaking after being enumerated, Kure expressed reservations on the possibility of completing the exercise within the stipulated period.
Kure, however, urged the enumerators to master the interview process quickly and make it snappy so that the rural people could be counted before the end of the exercise.

Kure further urged the people of the state to endure for the questionnaire process and give the census officials maximum cooperation and support for the success of the exercise.

NAN reports that as early as 6 a.m., enumerators and other census officials had started the exercise in most parts of Minna and that as at 6 a.m., all materials for the exercise had reached the various local government headquarters.

In Lagos, the nationwide census began on a rather slow note as residents remained at home for enumerators, because of the 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. restriction on movement by the Lagos government.

NAN reports that although the restriction was observed, it had a backlash effect on the 54,000 enumerators recruited for the exercise in the state, as most of them trekked to their places of assignment.
As at 9.00 a.m., three hours after they were supposed to have picked up materials for the exercise, most of them were still at their assiigned NPC offices.

NAN was also reliably informed that some of the enumerators might not go into the field today unless they were paid their outstanding training allowances.

“The delay was caused by the banks which did not have the manpower, we have been assured that payment will be completed on Monday,’’ the federal commissioner of the NPC in Lagos, Yerima Aliyu Giade, said on Monday.

All roads in Lagos metropolis were devoid of the usual heavy human and vehicular traffic, forcing youths to turn them into football fields.

Apart from a few motorcycles, commercial vehicles were completely off the roads and only empty stationary vehicles were visible at all the usually busy luxury bus parks in the metropolis.

The Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, looked deserted as most airlines had rescheduled their flights till after the restriction period by 4 p.m.

NAN reports that filling stations in some areas in Lagos witnessed panic buying of fuel on Monday as motorists were unsure if the stations would open for business on Tuesday.

Some of the markets in the metropolis were also jam-packed on Monday evening as shoppers stock-piled food stuffs for the five-day national head count.

In Gombe, the housing and population census started with Gov. Mohammed Goje being the first to being counted.

The governor was counted at about 6.30 a.m. by officials of the NPC, led by the Federal Commissioner in charge of the state, Mr Fabian Nwachukwu.

Speaking, Goje called on the people of the state to fulfil their civic duties by ensuring that they were counted.

Goje expressed satisfaction with the arrangements put in place by the NPC for the conduct of the exercise in the state.

In a related development, the 11 committees set up by the government to ensure the success of the census exercise are to be held responsible for any failure in their areas.

Goje who announced this at an interactive session with members of the committees said he would not accept any excuse if members of their communities were not enumerated.

Goje emphasised the importance of the exercise, adding that all hands must be on deck to ensure that it succeeded.

In Katsina, as the census started with hundreds of enumerators in Katsina local government protesting against non payment of their allowances.

NAN reports that in the area, the exercise did not start as enumerators stayed put at the ATC census training centre demanding payment of their allowances after they had collected their materials.
The aggrieved enumerators were shouting slogans such as ‘no money ‘no work’ and ‘we want our ID cards and feeding allowances’’.

The council Chairman, Alhaji Bala Saulawa and other top officials visited the protesting enumerators to appease them.

As at the 12.15 p.m., the census was yet to start in Katsina metropolis due to enumerators’ protest, but the remaining 33 council areas started the exercise by 9 a.m.

Posted by Publisher at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2006

Third term: Names of anti-democracy MPS to be published...TMG warns

Leading pro-democracy organisations met at the weekend in Abuja with a resolve to frustrate lawmakers pursuing the alleged third term agenda.

The meeting was convened by the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), a coalition of 170 election related NGOs and the Electoral Reform Network.

The chairman of TMG, Mr Innocent Chukwuma, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday on the outcome of the forum, said participants had resolved to publish names of all politicians who are anti-democracy.

“Our resolve is to publish the names of the legislators and public office holders who support undemocratic sentiments, especially as regards the review of the constitution,’’ he said.

He explained that Nigerians would be urged to send text messages to the lawmakers on the GSM to confirm if what their performances tallied with the interest of the electorate.

“We are more concerned about the attitude of some politicians who were with us in the struggle for democracy only for them to join forces with the enemies of democracy,’’ he noted.

He said the group rejected any attempt to alter the constitution to grant the executives at the state and federal levels three terms of four years, adding that eight years are enough for any leader to prove his worth.

“Apart from exposing the enemies of democracy to the Nigerian public, the TMG and other groups will soon stage a mass rally at the National Assembly to express the views of the people,’’ he said.

Chukwuma also disclosed that the forum resolved to mobilise the electorate at the ward, local government, state and national levels to resist unpopular moves by government officials.

Part of the strategies of the coalition to ensure that no unpopular law was passed by the National Assembly, he said, included a resolution by the group to hold weekly meetings to monitor the lawmakers.

Posted by Publisher at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2006

How police aborted ACD’s rally - Exclusive

POLICE in Jigawa state at the weekend dispersed a mammoth crowd of an estimated 600,000 supporters of the newly registered Advanced Congress for Democrats (ACD) who converged in Dutse for the maiden national rally of the party.

From ISMA’ILA MUHD. Dutse

Daily Triumph reliably gathered that former civilian governors of Kano and Jigawa states, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi and Barrister Ali Sa’ad B/Kudu respectively were said to have been invited to the state police command where they spent hours discussing about the aborted rally.

Investigation showed that other prominent politicians and ACF stalwarts like the former Minister of Power and Steel, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu, Walin Dutse, the immediate past minister of state for mines, Alhaji Saleh Shehu, national publicity secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Muhammad, former Commandant, Command and Staff College Jaji, AVM Ishaq Abdurrahaman (rtd), former Labour and Productivity Minister, Alhaji Musa Gwadabe, former Nigerian Ambassador to North Korea who was also the state ACD chairman, Alhaji Daudu Sulaiman and several other supporters of the party were invited and questioned for about three hours and released unconditionally.

It was gathered that no fewer then 50 people sustained injuries which was occasioned by throwing of tear gas canisters by armed mobile policemen in their efforts to disperse the unprecedented crowd. Daily Triumph gathered that many of them fell into a nearby open well at the venue to escape the tear-gassing. A nearby mosque, where some faithful were observing prayer was not spared.

Daily Trust correspondent in Dutse, Malam Hassan who was covering the rally with others also collapsed due to suffocation before he was saved by his colleagues after he was taken to the hospital.
The assistant commissioner of police, who led the operation, Mukhtar Garko allegedly at a gun point, ordered Alhaji Abubakar Rimi and others on his entourage to drive into the police headquarters to explain their role in the aborted political rally as the police action triggered up reprisal attacks by youths who made bondfires along the major roads in the city.

It was learnt that the Advanced Congress of Democrats Jigawa state chapter had three days ago informed the police about the rally in Dutse, but it was said that the police in Dutse had replied that the ACD request ran foul of Public Order Act of 1990.

Alhaji Abubakar Rimi and several other chieftains of the party despite the heavy police presence had stormed the venue shortly after the Friday prayer and were prevented by the police from entering, forcing the state party chairman to climb his car and direct the mammoth crowd to disappear in line with police directives.

Our correspondent reports that the party supporters defied the police order as they refused to leave the venue, a situation which led to the burning of tyres along major streets in the metropolis of Dutse, insisting that the former communication minister, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi must address the crowd before they depart.

Checks by Daily Triumph indicated that in the ensuing confusion that trailed the police assault, no fewer than 30 people were said to have been arrested.

Addressing newsmen shortly after they were released unconditionally by the police, the national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammaf confirmed to bewildered journalists that they were arrested at gun point.

“We witnessed a power play, a clear message that opposition elements no longer have the right to enjoy freedom of association and confirmation that Nigeria has slipped to one party dictatorial state,” Lai explained.

When contacted, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi blamed the police for over- zealousness, stressing that the brutal attack on the crowd was provocative, disclosing that they wrote to the police and sought for permission to hold the rally in Dutse.

“Gentlemen, they have explained maximally the coercive power to disrupt a lawful gathering, I don’t know what they stand to benefit from it, the police action to say the least is provocative and sheer over zealousness”, Rimi quipped.

Reacting to the turn of event, the Jigawa state police boss, Abubakar Sardauna explained that they were compelled to stop the rally following the refusal of the organizers to comply with the Public Order Act of 1990.

Posted by Publisher at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2006

Saluting Obasanjo over budget: Reps in another rowdy session

For the second day running the plenary session of the House of Representatives was engulfed in another rounds rowdiness.

The bone of contention was a motion that sought to commend President Olusegun Obasanjo for his early assent to the 2006 budget.
On Wednesday the session was pervaded by a rowdy session that almost resulted into a physical combat between the pro-motion and anti-motion members.

The situation forced Speaker Aminu Masari to adjourne debate on the motion till today.
However, rather than to soft-pedal on their positions, the members became more aggressive.

Immediately the session commenced, Masari called on Rep Abdullahi Faruk (ANPP-Kebbi) to move the motion, the House became rowdy as a result of incessant interruption by Rep Datti Ahmad (ANPP-Kaduna) who tried to cite a constitutional order.

At that point, the pro-motion members descended on Ahmed before he was finally saved by some of his colleagues who opposed the motion.
After an order was restored by Masari, who threatened to invoke the House Rules to deal with the situation, Faruk continued to present the motion.

He said the mis-conception attributed to the motion was wrong as it was only intended to commend the National Assembly and Obasanjo for the early passage of and assent to the budget respectively.
He said, unlike the previous budget, the 2006 budget was balanced because of the involvement of the lawmakers in the budget presentation.

Immediately the motion was moved and seconded by Rep Ike Chigbo (PDP-Rivers), Rep. CID Maduagbo (PDP-Anambra) and Ahmad raised a point of order and a constitutional provision, to the effect that the motion had violated the House rules, but their observations were overruled by Masari.

After another round of rowdy atmosphere, Masari directed five members each for those who supported and opposed the motion to debate it.
Rep Chigbo, Rep Sunday Idoko (PDP-Benue), Rep Prince Adeyemi (PDP-Osun) and Rep Independence Ogunewi (PDP-Imo) said the motion was meant to thank all those who participated in the passage of the budget as a means of encouragement.

However, Rep Uche Onyegwucha(APGA-Anambra), Rep Femi Gbamijiala(AD-Lagos), Rep Balarabe Wakili (ANPP-Kano), Rep Muhammad Ndume (ANPP-Borno) and one other member opposed the motion as according them “it is self-serving”.

They argued that as public servants, they swore to do their job and they were being paid for it.

After the debate, Masari put the motion for vote, saying that the House would be divided if there was a controversy on a voice vote.
Immediately after the voice vote, which was not ruled on by Masari the pro-motion members embarked on a winning song, a situation that pervaded the chamber for several minutes before the session was hurriedly adjourn to March 28 by the Speaker.

Meanwhile, the police in Anambra say it has arrested one person over alleged illegal removal of government property following Governor Chris Ngige’s ouster by the Court of Appeal.

It also denied receiving a directive from force headquarters Abuja to arrest and detain Ngige.

The state’s commissioner of police, Mr Moses Anegbode told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka yesterday that no report of looting of government property had been received by his command.

He, however, said an employee of the state’s internally generated revenue office was picked up for allegedly removing a fridge from the office.

Meanwhile, two senior government officials alleged to have looted government property have denied removing items belonging to the state.

One of them,Chief Chris Atuegwu, the Commissioner for Special Duties, told NAN that what he removed from his office were personal belongings and tendered receipts to back up his claims.

On his part, a Senior Special adviser to the former Ngige, Mr Fred Chukwuelobe said he took away his personal generator and “some personal belongings from my office’’.

‘’ As we speak, I have returned my official vehicle to the state government and other government property in my possession,’’ he added.

Posted by Publisher at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2006

Disregard for court orders: Kano NBA joins boycott

BASED on the resolution taken on February 24, 2006 by the National Executive Council of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the Kano branch has joined the two-day national boycott of all court activities which started yesterday.

By GAMBO KANNO & ABDULLAHI ABBA HASSAN

Commenting on the action, the state chairman of the NBA, Mr. Chris Oshomegi Esq at a press briefing said the boycott is pursuant to the manifesting and incessant disobedience to lawful orders of competent courts in the federation.

“Thus”, he reiterated, “this boycott is a clear signal and presentation of the danger inherent in disobedience of court orders so as to save our society from imminent anarchy.’’

Mr. Oshomegie stressed that the NBA had a more holistic reason, for embarking on the boycott, which goes beyond the Ibrahim Mantu case, which is still in court, to the larger picture of all aims of the society who disregard the rule of law.

According to him, the NBA, through the boycott has succeeded in getting both national and international become interested and that he said, was a step in the right direction.

“The steps taken so far, we consider them sufficient enough to give sufficient result, our role as guidance and beacon of the society is equally enough to do anything that will totally bring the society to a better.

‘’We sent signals and warnings bringing people to order in manner that society itself will not be bad, the action is sufficient for now,” he stated.

The NBA chairman however revealed that it is mandatory upon them to take action to discharge their obligation with a view to bringing to an end,” the disregard of court order in the federation.

“By this action all people in authority will learn today to abide by rule of law and obey court order so that the society can move forward,” he added.

Meanwhile, courts across the state could not sit as their activities were halted due to the two-day boycott of the courts by law.

Investigations by Daily Triumph indicated that all courts from 1-6 at Kano High Court did not sit because they were deserted by the lawyers.
Similarly, same was the case at magistrate and appeal courts in the state. The boycott enters its second day today.

Posted by Publisher at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2006

National ID card distribution for completion 2007 - Minister

DISTRIBUTION of the National Identity card is to be completed in the first quarter of 2007, minister of internal affairs, Alhaji Magaji Muhammad has assured.

From MU’AWUYA B. IDRIS, Katsina

Speaking with newsmen in his hometown, Dutsin-Ma over the weekend, Alhaji Magaji said the identity card is now being produced to ensure its availability and adequate distribution within the period.
‘’the cards are now being produced and we are doubling our effort to ensure complete distribution of the cards before the end of this year or first quarter of 2007,’’ he explained.

The minister further explained: ‘’We hope probably by first quarter of 2007 to complete distribution of national identity card.’’
Alhaji Magaji explained that his ministry has so far distributed the card in 14 states, saying that the next states for the flagging off of the distribution exercise are, Ondo, Kano and Katsina.

He described national identify card as very important project for the development of the nation, but blamed successive governments for abandoning the project which commenced since 1978.

On prison reforms, the minister explained that the federal government has designed new policies to dicongest prisons and rehabilitate the inmates.

The minister explained further that government has already settled debt of N2.5 billion owed contractors supplying food to prisoners.
Alhaji Magaji explained that currently government is spending N150 on each inmate per day on food, but a proposal has been submitted to review upward the amount.

He commended some state governors for complementing the effort of the federal government in rehabilitating prison and reforming the inmates.

Posted by Publisher at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2006

Stopping constitution review: I was wrongly reported, judge says

Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of an Abuja High Court sitting in Zuba, yesterday clarified the order she reportedly gave stopping the review of the 1999 Constitution.

The judge, on March 6, reportedly directed the federal government and the National Assembly (NASS) to stop the on-going review of the 1999 Constitution.
Speaking at the resumed hearing of the case filed by eight members of PDP seeking to stop the review, Goodluck said that the order she made was not the true reflection of what was reported in the dailies.
The judge said that she did not grant an order of interim injunction stopping the review, but that she only gave a “regular blanket directive that the Res in the case should be preserved in the case’’.
She said that she would not have granted an interim order of injunction since the application to the effect was yet to be heard by the court.
Goodluck directed the Court Registrar to play a portion of her ruling in the recorded proceedings of that day and it was done in the open court.
The order partly read “Both counsel are reminded that this suit is now subjudice.
Accordingly they are enjoined to advise parties herein on the need to preserve the Res in this case’’.
Counsel representing the plaintiffs, Chief Mike Ozhekhome, responded that the order of the court was unambiguous and clear in interpretation to mean that the respondents were enjoined not to take steps to tamper with the subject matter of the suit.
He contended that the Res of the case was the process of reviewing the 1999 Constitution, which the plaintiffs complained about and seek restraining order of the court to stop.
He said that the March 6, directive of the court translated to mean that the federal government and the National Assembly were legally barred from taking steps on the subject matter.
Ozhekhome alleged that the defendants flouted the court directives because the Senator Ibrahim Mantu-led Committee on the review continued sitting in Port Harcourt after the court’s directive.
He said that even though the ruling of the court which contained the directive was served on the respondents, the committee still went ahead with the process of review.
He alleged that his colleague, Chike Okafor, who accompanied the Court bailiff to serve the order on the respondents in Port Harcourt was molested and clamped into detention for one hour.
Ozhekhome contended that the respondents were in contempt of the court and that he had filed two separate affidavits to halt further
proceedings in the case until the issue of contempt was trashed out.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Chief Bayo Ojo, personally appeared for the federal government leading the Director of Public Prosecution in the Ministry of Justice, Mr Salihu Aliyu, and other key officers in the ministry.
Ojo said that he had not been served with the affidavit of the plaintiffs and that he was not willing to receive service in the court.
He said that he had filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter and the locus of the plaintiffs to file the suit.
The AGF said that his application on jurisdiction took precedence over any other application and should be heard first.
Ozhekhome on his part said that his affidavits on contempt took precedence because his contention was that the AGF could not be heard at all having been in contempt of the court.
Goodluck said the affidavits on contempt had not been properly served on the court and the respondents and so was not ripe for hearing.
At this stage, Ozhekhome asked for adjournment of the case to effect proper service of the affidavits on the court and other parties.
He also said that he would need time to respond to the preliminary objection of the AGF.
Goodluck then adjourned further hearing in the case to March 16.

Posted by Publisher at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

8 policemen in police net...Over bribery, corruption

EIGHT policemen have been arrested on charges of bribery and corruption in Kano state in a bid to rid the state of bribery within the rank and file of Kano police command.

By GAMBO KANNO

This was disclosed by the state police commissioner of police, Alhaji Muhammad D. Abubakar during his familiarisation tour to Noman’s Land police station yesterday.
Abubakar reaffirmed his resolve to fight criminals, bribery and corruption and any act of criminality by making Kano police command a more conducive environment to work in.
‘’The era of bribery and corruption is over,’’ he warned, adding: ‘’Every police officer should buckle up to protect and serve with integrity and dignity.’’ He also advised all officers to always pray everyday and to work hard.
As part of plans to fight crime, he further stated, henceforth, from 12 midnight, stop and search patrol teams would conduct polite enquiries on anybody found on the streets in Kano, and promised to promote, give a ‘’commissioner’s commendation’’ as well as provide monetary incentives from his personal purse to any officer who arrests armed robbers.
In a welcome address by the Sabon Gari division of the Police Community Relations Committee chairman, Chief Boniface Ibekwe conveyed the committee’s appreciation for the police chief’s effective handling of the tensed security situation in the state some weeks back.
The police commissioner then called on the general public to go back to the old traditional way by being ‘’the brothers keepers,’’ through checkmating the children and cautioning neighbours who break the law and to give useful information to the police.

Posted by Publisher at 04:04 PM | Comments (0)

Obasanjo thumbs-up women in govt

PRESIDENT Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday said his administration will continue to appoint women politicians into positions of high responsibility due to their abilities to deliver, transform and often times with utmost transparency and accountability.

From KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

According to him, women especially those appointed in positions, have exhibited exceptional abilities to deliver and their utmost transparency has further confirmed his belief in equality of opportunities and gender polity.
Chief Obasanjo who revealed this through Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmad at the commemoration of 2006 International Women’s Day held at the Transcop Hilton Hotel, Abuja, explained that women’s day is a day the world set aside to review and restrategise for enhanced women’s participation in all spheres of development.
He, however, said the theme of this year’s celebration which is “Women in Decision Making” provided him a forum to rightly accord Nigerian women an excellent performance rating especially who have been appointed by this administration into various positions.
The president said, to strategically respond to the advancement of women under gender equality, development and peace, his government is geared towards improving the standards of women especially in the areas of balancing the perceived gender inequality “through appointment of women into those portfolios that were in the past seen as men’s exclusive schedules’’.
While stating that currently eight of his cabinet ministers are women out of which two are heading finance ministry, another two in charge of education and solid minerals sectors, he also said, Bureau of Public Enterprises and NAFDAC are being headed by women.
In the political arena he said, his administration promotes the participation of women in policy and decision making process citing example that out of 50 presidential delegations for the National Political Reform Conference held last year, 20 was allotted to women so as to give them voice in the affairs of their country.
Chief Obasanjo said, in further recognition of the plight of African women and particularly the Nigerian women, the movement has approved the appointment of six women zonal coordinators to increase their political participation in the 2007 elections.
The president who stated that currently, the Executive Bill with regard to the convention of all forms of discriminations against women is before the National Assembly, further called on the National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the bill submitted to it last year.
He reminded women across the country that they have the right to live in dignity, in freedom from want and freedom from fear, assuring them that, his administration will continue to promote policies that will enhance their advancement of women.
“Over the decades from 1985 till date we have seen tangible progress on many frants for instance, there is a growing recognition that gender equality is a prerequisite for eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development as stated in the Millennium Declaration,’’ he stated.

Posted by Publisher at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

Experts consider ECOWAS draft convention on arms

Experts on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) have begun deliberations on a draft convention aimed at fashioning a convention on small arms for the sub-region.

The draft was submitted by two ECOWAS consultants.
UN SALW expert Richard Fung who is chairing the discussions in Abuja, said in an opening speech that the deliberations would aid ECOWAS in its quest to check the proliferation of small arms.
He lamented that the proliferation of small arms had continued to work against the search for permanent peace in the sub-region.
ECOWAS Executive Secretary Muhammad Ibn Chambas, who also spoke at the occasion, recalled that the ECOWAS Moratorium on the importation, exportation and manufacture of SALW was agreed upon in 1998.
He said the heads of state at a Summit in Dakar, Senegal, decided to transform the Moratorium into a convention.
Chambas said that ECOWAS had established a small arms unit as part of efforts to check the menace, using funds from the European Commission, Canada and Switzerland.
He urged the experts to go through the document and make necessary amendments to give the sub-region a very “valid and workable convention.’’
The draft convention that will be approved by the experts is expected to be sealed at an ECOWAS ministerial meeting in Bamako, Mali, in May, for onward presentation to ECOWAS Heads of State in June.

Posted by Publisher at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)

Kano Assembly asks council chiefs to defend budgets

KANO state House of Assembly has directed all the 44 local government council chairmen and their management staff to come for the defence of their 2006 budget estimates at the assembly’s complex.

By ALIYU YUSUF

Making the announcement, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Balarabe Sa’idu Gani said the defence exercise will commence from Monday 13th to Monday 20th March, 2006.
Speaker Gani further disclosed that for the House to successfully carry out the exercise, the members were divided into seven committees.
One of the committees is to be chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Aliko Shu’aibu Mukhtar while Hon. Aminu Sani, Hon. Haruna Ali, Hon. Abdullahi Lawal Adaraye, Hon. Aminu Abdullahi Jingau and Hon. Bello Ado Yandadi will serve as members.
The second committee will be chaired by the majority leader, Hon. Ahmad Tambaya Dawanau, while the members include Hon. Balarabe Sa’idu Gani, Hon. Abdulaziz Garba Gafasa, Hon. Sa’idu B. Garba, Hon. Ali Sa’id Wak and Hon. Ibrahim Mu’azzam Bichi with Abdullahi Alfa as secretary.
Also, the third committee is to be chaired by the Chief Whip, Hon. Alhassan Uba Idris and the members are: Hon. Muhammad Idris Ayiye, Hon. Tafida Tijjani Gaya, Hon. Umar Saleh Muhammad, Hon. Gambo Sallau and Tafida Shehu as the secretary of the committee.
The fourth committee according to the Speaker, will be chaired by Hon. Ibrahim Zakari Sarina, the Minority Leader, with Hon. Salisu Sa’ad Lili, Hon. Ya’u D. Muhammad, Hon. Isah Musa Kumurya, Hon. Garba Umar Durbunde and Hon. Yusuf Ibrahim Lajawa as members while Lawal Badamasi will serve as secretary.
The Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Idris Bako Beli is to chair the fifth committee while Hon. Haruna Ahmad Garo, Hon. Sani Muhammad Aliyu Rano, Hon. Isma’ila Yusuf Yaryasa, Hon. Habib Hassan el-Yakub and Hon. Abdulrrazak Isma’il will serve as members with Zailani Umar as secretary.
Moreover, the sixth committee to be chaired by the Majority Whip, Hon. Halliru Danga Maigari and Hon. Yunusa Yusha’u, Hon. Wada Naba Tudun Kunya, Hon. Isyaku Ibrahim Kunya, Hon. Kabiru Muhammad, Hon. Usman Ali Maitsindau as members with Abdullahi Tela Dangora as secretary.
The seventh committee will work under the chairmanship of Hon. Isa Garba Warawa, the Minority Whip, while Hon. Bala Salisu Kosawa, Hon. Idris Haruna Zago, Hon. Sani Ibrahim Ahmad, Hon. Yunusa Haruna Kayyu with Ali Maje as secretary.
While calling on the council chairmen to comply with the directives, Speaker Gani explained that the House will suspend the third reading of the Kano State Local Government Law 2006 for the meantime to enable them finish the defence exercise.
Shedding more light, the chairman House Committee on Information, Hon. Umar Saleh Muhammad said the House has adjourned its sitting to Monday, March 27, 2006.
Hon. Saleh Muhammad added that the adjournment was done to allow the members carry out the defence exercise of the local government council’s 2006 estimates as well as to fully supervise the on-going census activities.

Posted by Publisher at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

Shekarau commissions new CTV 67 studio

KANO state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, has commissioned new broadcast studio for the state owned television station CTV 67.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

Performing the ceremony yesterday, the governor disclosed that very soon order would be placed for the purchase of new digital transmitter worth over N300 million.
Malam Shekarau explained that his administration is fully satisfied with the role played by the state media organisations, particularly in information dissemination.
Governor Shekarau further noted that the well articulated programme of the state government’s Societal Reorientation, A Daidaita Sahu has been making positive impact on the lives of people of the state due to the wide coverage by the state media particularly the broadcast.
‘’As a result of the coverage by the media, our Societal Reorientation Programme has been impacting on the lives of our people,’’ adding that ‘’there are no hoodlums to burn tyres and cause trouble in the state,’’ the governor submitted.
On his part, the state commissioner for information, youth, sports and culture, Dr. Tijjani Muhammad Naniya expressed gladness for the governor’s attention on the three media houses owned by the state.
Dr. Naniya who cited Triumph newspapers as the part of Shekarau’s administration’s accomplishment, stated that the newspapers could compete with any in the country in terms of quality.
The commissioner thanked the governor for approving to purchase the new digital transmitter for the TV station, while commending the government for turning round the state radio on both A.M and F.M stations.
Earlier, the permanent secretary and chief executive of CTV 67, Alhaji Farooq Umar Usman had intimated the governor on some of the achievements recorded by the management of the station which included up-grading and digitalisation of two studios A and B with required equipment.
According to him, over 75 per cent of the staff of the station have benefited from one training or another while a new broadcast studio C has been fabricated.
During the occasion two new information vans for the state ministry of information were commissioned by the governor.

Posted by Publisher at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

UNICEF, DFID hail Jigawa education policy

THE United Nations Education Children’s Funds (UNICEF) and the Department For International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, had jointly described Jigawa as the best interms of educational planning and policy implementations.

From Isma’ila Muhammad, Dutse

This was made known by the officials of the two organizations while giving a report of an Output Purpose Review (OPR) visit to some selected schools and local government areas under the Girls Education, Project (GEP) in the state led by Dr. Jim Ackers and Dr. Macrae.
In a press release signed by the public relations officer of the state universal basic education board Malam Abdullahi Wada, the joint team of the DFID and UNICEF officials also noted an increase in enrolment of about 150 percent in both boys and girls in focal schools and generally in Jigawa state.
They also commended the efforts of the state Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) on the commencement of the non-formal education classes, where they observed that there was a correlation between adult and pupils education.
The DFID and UNICEF observed that the polling booth money introduced by the present administration of Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Saminu Turaki popularly known as “Kudin Akwati” has greatly endeared the communities to self help projects.
The officials stated that Social Mobilization and the Establishment (SBMC) has promoted the concept of Early Child Care Development (ECCD) in the state.
While acknowledging the quality of Girls Education Project (GEP) co-ordinators in the state, they also reiterated the relevance of Essential Learning Packages (ELP) in meeting the needs of their various schools.
Responding, the executive chairman, SUBEB, Alhaji Babangida Hussaini pledged to replicate the Output Purpose Review (OPR) to non GEP schools in the state.
Alhaji Hussaini further explained, that the board has commissioned the services of consultants from the department of English and European languages of Bayero university Kano to suggest ways of improving the quality of English language teachers in their schools.
The executive chairman said, the board has also undertaken various trainings for teachers of mathematics, sciences social studies, computer and pre-primary schools.

Posted by Publisher at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

Foreign investors keen on Nigeria's mining sector

Hope is on the way for Nigeria's mining sector as investors from various countries have shown keen interest in investing in the sector at a meeting with the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili to discuss ways of doing business with Nigeria on Tuesday in Toronto, Canada, various investors expressed readiness to come to Nigeria.

Those who spoke at the meeting, held on the sideline of the on going Prospectors Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) trade show, said they were impressed with Nigeria's success story in the sector and convinced that it is a good place to ``look for the next mineral commodity.''
Ezekwesili told them that Nigeria ``has a lot to offer including the right legislation, which guarantees secure land tenure and reduces government's discretion in mining affairs, has been put in place.''
She said although the sector had suffered a total neglect for over three decades, a new dawn had arisen because the whole world was aware of the mineral potentials of Nigeria now.
She said Nigeria, had in the past, exported gold and was also a major world producer of cassiterite and columbite.
Currently, she said, ``there is no mining activity going on, but the commencement of the privatization of the mining and coal corporations and two bitumen blocks, are the beginning of a new era for Nigeria's mining sector to return to global reckoning.''
She said the mining sector had also been reformed, and ``the reforms have made us to realize that we have to diversify our revenue base from oil''.
Speaking at the meeting the Managing director Global Mining and Metals corporate finance, Mr Gordon Bell, promised to carry the message around, adding ``Nigeria has a good story and we will speak for her to the right people''.
He said he was impressed with the enormous, though untapped, mineral resources in Nigeria and was optimistic that his organization would take investors to Nigeria to do business.
Also speaking Michael White of IBK Capital Corporation, said ``with the reforms and the right legislation already in place, investors would naturally migrate to Nigeria shortly''.
He said since the sector was a small village it would not take time for Nigeria's success story to spread and it would not take time for investors to begin finding their way to the country.
He said his corporation would ``help finance mining exploration and bring good people, good money and good opportunities.''
``The steps taken by the government of Nigeria are positive and have awakened the country to foreign capital, and will increase value for the people,'' he added.
He urged the minister not to relent until the sector started reaping the desired revenue and the people of Nigeria uplifted.
André Bourassa, Senior International Policy Advisor, International Division Minerals and Metals sector of Canada, said the forum was an opportunity to see Nigeria in different perspective, ``other than `oil and corruption''.
He said with the government privatising the mining sector and the varieties of minerals that could be found in the country investors would be confident to do business in the sector.

Posted by Publisher at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

Benin polls transparent, peaceful- ECOWAS

As the Beninoise await the outcome of their national elections held last weekend, ECOWAS observers have described the polls as ``transparent, peaceful and credible.''

A statement from the ECOWAS headquarters issued Wednesday in Abuja, specifically noted that no violence was recorded throughout the exercise.
It said that voters displayed a high sense of civil responsibility and were generally patient, disciplined and calm.
The statement lauded the Benioise electoral body for ensuring confidentiality and protecting the secrecy of the ballot.
ECOWAS, however, noted some deficiencies, among them the late arrival of electoral officials and insufficient electoral materials, but said that such hitches did not affect the overall integrity of the exercise.
The ECOWAS mission to Benin led by Mr Bitokotipou Yadninim, comprised representatives of member states, Parliament, ambassadors and well trained observers from Kofi Annan International peace training centre in Accra, Ghana.

Posted by Publisher at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

Salamatu Garba reiterates improved staff welfare

In continuation of the familiarizaiton tour of health institutions under the ministry of health, the permanent secretary of Kano state ministry, Hajiya Salamatu Garba has reiterated the state government’s determination to improve the welfare of the staff for them to provide qualitative service to the teeming citizens of the state.

The permanent secretary stated this when she paid a familiarization visit to School of Nursing and School of Midwifery.
Hajiya Salamatu said the state government under the leadership of Governor Ibrahim Shekaru is very much concerned with the health of its people which is why the government is investing a lot in order to improve the deteriorated health sector it inherited.
She appealed to teachers in all health institutions to be patient and redidicate themselves to produce competent health workers as the government is looking in- to the possibility of improving their welfare.
In their separate remarks, the principals of school of Midwifery, Malama Hannatu Muhammad and School of Nursing, Alhaji Sa’idu Muhammad Fagge, espectively, thanked the state government for providing all the necessary teaching facilities in the schools and appealed to the ministry to look into the possibility of staff welfare by paying them the Hatiss salary structure as it is the practice in schools of its type across the country.

Posted by Publisher at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2006

Appeal court refuses Faseun, two others bail

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, yesterday refused to grant bail to the factional leader of Odua Peoples Congress, Frederick Faseun and two others.

It will be recalled that the federal government had arraigned Faseun, Gani Adams and other four leaders of OPC for treasonable felony, illegal possession of prohibited firearms and belonging to an unlawful society.
Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Abuja Federal High Court sitting on their trial had earlier refused to admit the six accused to bail.
Faseun had subsequently approached the appellate court to seek for bail on health ground.
His counsel, Chief G.O.K. Ajayi (SAN) and Kayode Ajulo had told the court that the octagenarian was failing in health in detention.
The lead counsel, Ajayi had said that his client needed medical attention on an eye surgery he had undergone earlier.
The other accused persons who filed bail application along with Faseun are Ajayi Olusola and Mudashiru Adeniji.
The court of appeal refused the bail application on the ground that it was premature.
The court held that an application seeking to quash the entire charge for lack of court jurisdiction was still pending before the lower court.

Posted by Publisher at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2006

Third term: 2 PDP senators near fisticuffs at Senate sitting

Proceedings at the Senate was yesterday disrupted for more than 10 minutes as two Senators yelled at each other over a statement made by Sen. Idris Kuta (PDP-Niger) on third term.

Kuta had while contributing to a motion on sectarian violence in some parts of the country, chided the Senate for not finding solution to the various economic crisis in the nation but was instead busy trying to extend the tenure of some political office holders.

While Kuta was still speaking, Sen. Lee Maeba (PDP-Rivers), raised a point of order citing order 53 (4) of the Senate rules, saying that Kuta was digressing from the issue being discussed.

Sen. Sule Gandi (ANPP-Sokoto) who disagreed with Maeba, argued that Kuta was on course.

This resulted into serious argument between the two Senators, leading to the use of unparliamentary language such as “You are a Taliban, shut up and walk out of this chamber’’.

Attempts by other Senators, including the Chief Whip, Sen. Udo Udoma, to bring the situation under control proved abortive as the two senators yelled at each other.

Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, who was apparently taken aback, watched in total disbelief.

Nnamani, who later stood up to address the Senate, said that this would be the first time he would be standing up to address the Senate, because, according to the rules, when the President is upstanding, others should sit down.

“You like to be described as distinguished Senators. Such title goes with responsibilities,’’ he said.

He reprimanded the two senators for their conduct and asked them to apologise to the Senate.

The Senate had while deliberating on the motion sponsored by Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Publicity and seven other Senators, condemned the violence that erupted in Maiduguri, Bauchi, Katsina as well as reprisal attacks in Onitsha over the infamous Danish cartoons.

It asked the federal government to set up a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the mayhem with a view to not only apprehending the perpetrators, but also prosecuting all those responsible for the violence.

The Senate, however, commended the federal government for sending relief materials to all victims of the crises.

Posted by Publisher at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2006

Amending constitution:Kano resolute on opposition

EMINENT persons from Kano state yesterday stormed the venue of the public hearing on 1999 Constitution amendment holding in Katsina and re-affirmed their stand against extension of tenure of the present administration.

Stories from MU’AWUYA B. IDRIS, Katsina

The delegation led by Alhaji Magaji Dambatta (OFR) expressed their view that it is a sheer fraud and rape of democracy for those elected into office on the basis of the definite terms provided for by the constitution to engage in the process of changing such provisions in order to extend their stay in office.
Alhaji Dambatta who read the stand of Kano people before the Joint Committee of National Assembly, explained that amendment of the constitution to extend tenure of political office holders does not only reek of corruption but actually amounts to a fatal subversion of the constitution and the people’s will.
He said it is part of the surreptitious agenda to perpetuate in power became particularly unfolded in the days of the National Conference where it was detected and vehemently opposed.’’
Alhaji Dambatta explained that Kano people opposed zoning of the event, adding: ‘’The limited nature of your public hearing is undemocratic and corrupt by any stretch of imagination and cannot be accepted or be seen to be a serious or well-intentioned attempt, even as a pilot scheme to gauge what view the public holds on the issue.’’
He told the committee members that ‘’conducting the hearing under the watchful eyes of security operatives who have swarmed the city of Katsina and in an atmosphere of intimidation and further curtailment of uninhibited movement of ordinary Nigerians who desire to make point could only dent the credibility of the entire exercise.’’
Dambatta, who is also the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) explained that should the National Assembly by any chance be presented with a recommendation from the Review Committee that was contrary to the popular views of Nigerian, ‘’we are hereby calling the respresentatives of Kano state at National Assembly to take note of Kano’s position and ensure that they abide by it as well as act as the vanguard for its actualisation,’’ he concluded.
Among Kano delegation at the public hearing included former civilian governor of the state, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi and Architect Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya, Alhaji Sule Yahaya Hamma, Alhaji Musa Gwadabe, Alhaji M.T. Bello and Malam Ibrahim Khalil.
Others were Prof. Auwalu Yadudu, Alhaji Kamisu Yola, Engr. Bashir Karaye among others.

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February 23, 2006

Makarfi prescribes rotational presidency

KADUNA state governor, Alhaji Ahmad Muhammad Makarfi has advocated for rotational power between the six geo-political zones of the country.

In his submission to the Joint Commission of National Assembly on 1999 Constitutional Amendment Public Hearing in Katsina, Monday, Governor Makarfi said every geo-political zone should be allowed access to political powers.
The governor further submitted that the position of the government in states should also follow senatorial zones in states so as to allow full participation of persons, interest groups and stakeholders in sharing of power.
He further called for devolution of power between states and local governments, pointing out that over centralisation of power makes for much attention unnecessary at the centre.
“This devolution of power should be followed by appropriate revenue sharing formula that will enable the states and local governments to discharge their responsibilities,’’ he said.
Governor Makarfi called for ensuring of checks and balances in the constitution, adding that the state Houses Assemblies should be able to check the executive effectively and hold them to ransom.
Said he: “There should be adequate checks and balances, not on paper, the state legislature should be able to check the state chief executive effectively not to hold one to ransom as hostage but checks and balances for good governance.
“It is also in our recommendation that we should give due constitutional recognition to continue with reform programme, but should be in such a way and manner that we do not give the national resources to a few to the detriment of the majority”, he emphasised.
He called for separation of position between Accountant General of the Federation and Accountant General of the federal government.
According to him, the Accountant General of the Federation should be reporting to the National Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Federal Commission and the commission should be reporting to National Assembly.
He said the Accountant General of the federation should be empowered to collect federal revenue, account for it and distribute it in accordance with the law.

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February 21, 2006

Obasanjo, govs stay put till 2019...Defunct NPRC members allege new constitution in circulation

MEMBERS of the defunct National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) representing the North-East zone have uncovered a new constitution for Nigeria in circulation which provides incumbent president will be in power for the remainder of his active life while the 36 state governors will also rule for a further 12 years from 2007.

From KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

Addressing a world press conference at NICON Hilton Hotel, Abuja, the spokesman of the delegates, Talban Bauchi, Dr. Ibrahim Tahir explained that the so-called public hearing intended to commence tomorrow in Maiduguri, is aimed at providing a new constitution and not meant to amend the 1999 Constitution.
In his words: ‘’The very little of that document reads: ‘invitation for the public presentations and submission by citizens of Nigeria to the development of a new constitution,’ adding: ‘’The first sentence on the body of the document states quite clearly that the intension of the committee is not to amend the 1999 Constitution but to produce a new constitution.
Dr. Ibrahim Tahir who said that the committee responsible for the hearing is calling for materials that will assist in the development of a new constitution, however, charged Nigerians to note that the proposed effective date for their intended ‘new constitution’ is in May 2007.
According to him, it is unfortunate to note that in spite of the court injunction halting the validity of the public hearing exercise, the committee has finished all necessary arrangements to carry on with its proceedings regardless of the constitution which makes the courts the final arbiter on such matters.
He pointed out that even the delegates to the defunct National Political Reform Conference were unanimously agreed that the tenure of office of the president and governors would remain as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution which provides a term of four years including a possible re-election of incumbent for another term of four years.
Delegates, he added, agreed that holders of the offices of the president and the governors currently serving a second term should be barred from seeking re-election to the same office. ‘’We want to emphasise in connection with this that the political reform conference was emphatic in its resolution.
‘’We have looked for reasons why in a plural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious country of our sizeable population and history of vigorous political activism should we agree to crown 36 things in the states and an emperor at the centre for the next 20 years?’’ he questioned.
Dr. Tahir, who said that they have already uncovered the new constitution currently in circulation in some quarters in Kaduna, further said there is sufficient reason that this exercise of amending the constitution should be left alone until after the election of 2007.
The conditions under which a country may need a complete remaking of a constitution are well known and clearly spelt out he said, adding that none of these conditions are present in Nigeria today.
He said: ‘’We have a constitution which has made provisions for its own amendment and these provisions do not give room for a review or development of a new constitution, neither does it provide for any zonal public hearings.’’
The spokesman further said Nigerians should know note that the constitution which has been operated for only seven years in a country that has lived with several unconstitutional governments, needs time for weaknesses if any to manifest.
The much talked about amendment, they are agitating, he said, has absolutely nothing to do with the welfare of the masses of this country concerning their ways of life and general welfare, nothing at all on the operations of the economy, not on education, agriculture, health or poverty alleviation which all have direct bearings on the well-being of the people.

Posted by Publisher at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2006

Bird flu: JGSG confirms 5000 chickens dead

JIGAWA state government has confirmed that at least 5,000 chickens died following the outbreak of a dreaded disease suspected to be H5N1 Avian Influenza or bird flu.

From ISMAILA MUHAMMAD, Dutse

Confirming this to newsmen in Dutse yesterday, the state commissioner of agriculture and research extension, Alhaji Kabiru Ali, implored the people of the state not to panic as the killer disease is yet to be fully ascertained.
He said that more than 5,000 chickens died from the suspected bird flu in four local government areas of the state which include, Maigatari, Ringim, Kirikasamma and Auyo and that the affected chickens are expected to be sent for analysis next week to enable the state government take further action on the matter.
He, however, gave the assurance that at the moment, all poultry farms in the remaining 23 local governments of the state are safe.
To further reassure the public and prevent spread of the contagious disease, the state government has set up four committees on enlightenment, diagnoses, technical action and control to monitor the situation.
He said if the present disease ravaging the state is found to be the dreaded birds’ flu, the state government might increase the rate being paid as compensation by the federal government.
The commissioner explained that already, experts have been invited from the National Veterinary Research Institute (Vom) near Jos to verify whether the killer disease ravaging birds in those areas is the dreaded Avian Influenza otherwise known as bird flu..’’
Alhaji Ali said reports on the death of the chickens were received from staff of the ministry of agriculture following the red alert put by the state government as a result of cases of bird flu reported in the neighbouring Kano and Kaduna states.
The commissioner said experts from Vom had since collected samples of the poultry farmers by enabling them to recoup their losses.
Meanwhile, prices of chickens and eggs have gone down drastically as a result of the reported cases of the disease in some parts of the state.

Posted by Publisher at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2006

160,000 federal workers to go...FG approves c’ttee’s recommendations, NASS gives nod

FEAR has gripped both senior and junior federal civil servants across the country as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved the guidelines presented to the government by El-Rufa’i Committee on Right-sizing and Professionalisation of Federal Civil Service on how a total of 160,000 workers will be sacked.

Sturies from KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

To give the planned retrenchment legal backing, last two weeks, the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly had approved that the federal government can sack at least 160,000 federal civil servants in line with the government’s reform policy.
According to the minister of information and national orientation, Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr, who briefed State House press corps shortly after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, the vision behind the exercise is to have a public service with a vision and mission.
Mr. Nweke who stated that statistic available to government, showed that over 72 per cent of the total staff has no relevance to work with the federal ministry of finance and that more than 25 per cent of the staff of the federal ministry of solid minerals are administrative staff which should not be so.
‘’The issue of reform in public service is very high in the agenda of this administration and the vision is to provide for Nigerians a public service that work efficiently and effectively for people. And the key of the overall reform agenda is right-sizing and professionalisation of the federal civil service.’’
‘’I will give you example, like in the ministry of solid minerals development, about 25 per cent of the total staff are administrative staff. Now what do you do with administrative staff in the federal ministry of solid minerals development,’’ he question.
As for the ministry of finance, the minister further said: ‘’The same thing with the ministry of finance where about 72 per cent of the entire staff has nothing to do with economy, has nothing to do with accountancy or management. Only administrative people by their people background. So you cannot expect effective, efficient service delivery. This is the kind of thing the federal civil service is going to address.’’
The minister who said that the council has approved the commencement of the action plan, however, said the meeting agreed that as a pilot scheme, the exercise will start with ministries of finance, solid minerals, FCT, women affairs and information.
He further said that at the end of the whole exercise, government wants to come up with integrated personnel and pay-roll for a public civil service, lamenting that currently government does not know the actual number of civil servants in the country.

Posted by Publisher at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2006

Murtala's 30th anniversary: Obasanjo, Who-is-Who for Kano today

ALL roads lead to Kano today as Who-is-Who from within and without the country, including President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Namibian President, Dr. Sam Njoma and Vice President Atiku Abubakar will gather for the 30th Memorial Anniversary of General Murtala Ramat Muhammad.

By HASSAN MUSA K/MATA & SALISU MARAFA

According to the synopsis of the programme which is organised by the Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House, Bayero University, Kano, there will be a symposium on Leadership Question and the Quest for Africa Development, a presentation of a book titled: A Tale of Two Africas: Nigeria and South Africa as Contrasting Visions, authored by Prof. Ali A. Mazrui.
Speaking to Daily Triumph, Director, Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House, who is also chairman organising committee of the event, Dr. Haruna Wakil, said it is being organised in recognition of Gen. Murtala Muhammad contribution to the unity of Africa.
He said six months of the general regime had witnessed tremendous achievements as the founding father of the present Nigerian democratic government through the 1979 constitutional review, the presidential system of government in Nigeria and the establishment of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja

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Chicken sale drops in Katsina

Following the panic caused by recent discovery of bird flu in Kaduna, sales of chickens and eggs have sharply dropped in Katsina metropolis.

Investigation conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the weekend in the metropolis showed that sales of chickens have reduced to about 50 per cent in the last one week.
The investigation also indicated that the market drop had affected both the farm and
traditional breed.
At the Yarkutungu, Gobarau and Katsina central markets, all situated in the metropolis, a traditional-breed chicken which cost N450 last week now costs N250.
Similarly a farm chicken which cost N1200 last week is now being sold for between N700 and N750.
Prices of eggs have also gone down as a crate, which last week, sold at N400 now costs N350.
A chicken seller at Yarkutungu market, Hamza Yusuf said similar drop have been observed in some towns bordering the state capital.
“I usually sell more than 200 chickens a day, but now I hardly sell 20 chickens as buyers are not forthcoming for fear of the suspected bird flu.’’
One of the poultry farmers in Katsina, Alhaji Iyal Rabe, confirmed a drop in chicken sales.
The state government on Friday closed down a poultry farm in Katsina for suspected outbreak of bird flu .

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... FAO experts arrive Nigeria

Five experts from FAO arrived Nigeria at the weekendto provide technical assistance in the fight against the outbreak of bird flu in the country.

FAO Representative in Nigeria, Mr Helder Muteia, made this known in an interviewwith the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
The 5-man team is led by Dr William Amanafu of the Animal Health Organisation at the FAO Headquarter in Rome.
Other members are Dr George Chizyika, FAO—Ghana, Dr James Kitching and Dr Marna Sinclair, FAO-South Africa and Dr B.M. Seck, the Coordinator West Africa FAO Regional Project on Avian Influenza.
Muteia said that other members of the team would arrive the country before Wednesday.
He said that FAO would provide logistics and work in collaboration with World Animal Health Organisation (WAHO).
He said that all the required support would be given to Nigeria to check the spread of bird flu in the area.
Meanwhile, medical experts from the Sokoto state ministries of health and agriculture will soon meet “to chart a pre-emptive programme of action on the bird flu outbreak,’’, says the health commissioner, Alhaji Abubakar Amale.
He announced in Sokoto at the weekend that “these experts will meet immediately to brainstorm on what to do and not to do.
“They will meet and advise the state government on how to tackle the problem in case of an outbreak.
“So far, we don’t have any report in the state, but that does not mean that we will fold our arms and sit down.’’
According to Amale, the state government is in contact and consultations with sister states where the outbreak has been reported.
‘’Our people have already left for Kaduna in this direction,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the commisioner has cautioned people against eating chicken and eggs, describing them as “the sources of infection which we should be cautious of ‘’.

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Acute water scarcity: Shekarau rescues Shanono inhabitants

BEDEVILLED by acute water scarcity, inhabitants of Shanono local government area have every course to rejoice as Governor Ibrahim Shekarau has at last come to their rescue with the construction of a borehole-based water scheme that would supply potable water to over 70 pumps across the area.

Inspecting the recently conpleted project, last weekend, the commissioner for water resources, Alhaji Salihu M. Sagir appealed to the residents of the area to reciprocate the effort of the present administration through taking proper care of the pipes and pumps.
He stressed that water is an essential commodity to human life and precious in the basement areas.
A release signed by Mustapha Ibrahim Fagge, Public Relations Officer of the ministry stated that the commissioner further disclosed that government is determined to provide potable water to all the 44 local government areas, affirming that people need to be patient in addition to supporting policies and gigantic projects that are designed to improve the well-being of people, to enable the government achieve desired goals.
In the same vein, Alhaji Sagir however, expressed dismay over the way and manner some people are jeopardising the efforts of the government by spoiling the on-going reticulation of pipe projects in areas such as Kawo, Giginyu and Badawa layout in the metropolis.
Meanwhile, the waster resources commissioner has, also visited Watari water treatment plant in Bagwai local government area.
On his part, the district manager, Watari Regional Water Supply Scheme, Alhaji Mahmoud Musa Tahir disclosed that residents of Bagwai, Bichi and Dawakin Tofa are now fetching potable water without tears regularly.
The water policy of Shekarau administration as encapsulated in this year’s budget proposal was unanimously applauded by the people of the areas, who described the initiative as a feat ever to be introduced.

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Virgin Nigeria fined N.5m

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has imposed a fine of N500, 000 on Virgin Nigeria for violation of Nigerian Air Navigation Regulation (ANRs)

The sanction was contained in NCAA press statement entitled “NCAA sanctions Virgin Nigeria for Violating Safety Regulations, Turn Down Request to Ferry Nigerian Deportees’ with cargo plane’’.
The statement dated Feb. 10, was signed by Mr Sam Adurogboye, Media Assistant to the Director of NCAA.
Similarly, he said, the pilot-in-command of the flight and the certifying ground engineer were fined N50, 000 each.
The sanctions have been communicated to the airline for immediate compliance, he said.
He said the authority had also refused clearance and turned down the request to return Nigerian deportees using a cargo aircraft IIyushin, IL-76.
Adurogboye, however, quoted Dr Harold Demuren, Director General of NCAA as saying in a letter conveying the authority’s disapproval, insisted that appropriate passenger aircraft be used for the exercise.

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Dutse water station near completion

RESIDENTS of Dutse, capital of Jigawa state and its environs have a course to smile, as their long standing perennial water scarcity will soon become a thing of the past as the work on three additional water stations in the city had reached 90 percent completion.

From Isma’ila Muhammad, Dutse

Our correspondent who went round the projects sites, reports that already, the work at Marabusawa and Takar quarters water stations have been completed, while that of southern bypass had reached appreciable level of completion.
Briefing our correspondent at bypass water station on the progress recorded, the assistant general manager, operations, of the Jigawa state Water Board, Engr. Muhammad Sani Birnin Kudu, disclosed that, the board has already drilled 12 model motorised boreholes that will supply sufficient water to people of Dutse town.
He amaintained that, the Marabusawa water station has been completed, and over tank and generating pumping house have been completed adding that, five boreholes have been provided within the old Dutse.
The general manager pointed out that three of them were tested, adding that similar project has been completed at Takur quarters, while laying of pipes had also been completed at the site.
Engr. Sani stated that work at the bypass, was progressing, adding laying of 250 meters pipe at the legislature quarters, and Dutse Model Secondary school have been completed, saying that work on the pump house where two 50 KVA generators and 250,000 cubic meter production capacity plus two water booster will be installed which can supply water to Yadi, legislatures quarters and the Model Secondary school.
He said that Dan masara water station will supply water to the village, 744 housing units known as “Turaki quarters” and Dutse Centre for Malaria Control and Tropical diseases Hospital, pointing out that when all these projects are completed, water shortage in Dutse and its environs will become a history.
The AGM who noted that the project which is being handled by Gethel Nigeria Limited, explained that a thorough survey and feasibility study has been conducted with a view to a certain the capacity and sustainability of each borehole, pointing out that, those that cannot take pipe are connected with hand pumps.
It was gathered that multi-million Naira water projects, has earned the board more encomiums citing an example of a recent letter from the people of Garu through the Emir of Dutse, Alhaji (dr.) Nuhu Muhammad Sanusi.

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Poverty, bad governance affect Nigerians negatively, says Gambari

Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, UN's Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, has said that poverty, bad governance and corruption have affected Nigerians negatively.

Gambari made the remarkslast Thursday in Kano while delivering a lecture titled ``Nigeria: The Challenge of Nation Building and External Relations'' at the first Ado Bayero lecture series.
According to him, the international community considers Nigeria's myriad of problems to be self-induced, due to high level of corruption in the country.
``They refuse to accept that a nation with so much wealth can be so indigent. To them, our country and the challenges it faces, present a paradox,'' he said.
Gambari said the country's population had ballooned from 55 million at independence to nearly 130 million, stressing that the population explosion had compounded the country's problems.
He said ``in Nigeria today, many children go
to bed hungry and most families subsist on less than one dollar a day''.
He appealed to government policy makers to put more efforts in fighting corruption.

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Staff of Egypt Air in Kano embark on strike

Employees of Egypt Air in Kano demanding pay rise have embarked on an indefinite strike to press home their demands.

The workers want their Kano branch manager, Mr Gamal Abdul-Aziz, to pay them the approved new salary scale.
A spokesman for the striking workers, Mr AbdulKareem Motajo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano that they went on strike because the management refused to implement their new salary scale approved since September last year.
He said their counterparts in the Lagos office had started to enjoy the new pay since September last year.
Motajo said the Kano office manager of the airline promised to pay them the new salary in December, but had failed to fulfil the promise.
He called on the home management of the airline in Cairo, to immediately replace the manager because of his ``arrogant and insensitive nature to the plight of the workers''.
When contacted, Abdul-Aziz, appealed to the workers to give him two weeks to pay them all their entitlements.

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Kano emirate restates commitment to A Daidaita Sahu

EMIR of Kano, Alhaji (Dr.) Ado Bayero once again reiterated that the support that A Daidaita Sahu is receving from the Kano Emirate councils is as a result of the massive support the programme enjoys from the entire Ummah in the state.

By Akilu Abdullahi

The monarch revealed this in Kunci town while launching A Daidaita Sahu committee for Kunci local government area last Saturday, during the second phase of his tour of all 44 local government areas of Kano state.
“We are supposed to be the most disciplined, morally upright people,” Bayero reminded the multitudes that thronged the palace of the district head of Kunci, venue of the event, “we should endeavour to project an image commensurate with our religion and rich cultural heritage. We should be the role models for others to follow.”
He then enjoined members of Kunci A Daisdaita Sahu committee to live above board while discharging their duties in ridding their community of social evils.
Emir Bayero also used the occasion to call on people to turn out en masse to be counted during the forthcoming national head-count
“Do not be left out,” he warned. “The national ensus is of utmost important so that a true figure of our population in this part of the country could be accurately reflected.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the chairman, Kuci local government council, Danlami Zakari Unguwar Gyartai told the emir that, “we are proud to state that as a result of A Daidaita Sahu, there is not a single brothel throughout Kunci local government area.”
Malam Bala Muhammad, director general, Kano state Directorate of Societal Re-orientation, A Daidaita Sahu, in a brief remark during the launching, harps on how God’s bounties significantly altered the narrowness of Kunci into wideness.
Toward the end, the district head of Kunci Dandarman Kano, Alhaji Bashir Bayero, after accepting a certificate of honour from the emir, declared readiness of his office to work closely and monitor all activities of the committee to enable it attain the objective of why it was established.

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Nassarawa councillor pledges support for Shariah

A councillor in Nassarawa local government council Kano state, Alhaji Ali Ibrahim Giginyu has thrown his weight behind the Shariah legal system in the state.

By BALA ABUBAKAR

Speaking to Daily Triumph in an exclusive interview over the weekend in Kano,he said that there is the need for Kano people to unite themselves for this cause.
The councillor who observed that Kano being predominantly Muslims state cannot afford to avoid the Shariah legal code for political reasons.
The councillor who is representing Giginyu ward in Nassarawa local government area explained that as Muslims the people in the state would do everything possible so as to show their support for the cause.
Hon Ali noted that since the government belongs to them, they would do everything to unite themselves for the success of Shariah legal code for the overall development of the state.
He promised to give moral support to the present administration towards achieving the success of Shariah in the state.
The councillor further disclosed that Shariah can certainly not be implemented in Kano without unity, and called on all the stakeholders including Muslim Ummah to support the Shariah legal system.
The councillor who observed that the state governor Malam Shekarau is under pressure on the issue of Hisbah guards, as such he advised him to continue with the good job of implementing Shariah in the state.
Hon. Ali Ibrahim noted that governor Shekarau is hard working, dedicated and honest leader who provides selfless service to humanity and advised the people to give him more support to achieve his objectives.
Alhaji Ali hoped that Shariah would soon be fully implemented in the state, because according to him the majority of Muslims are supporting.
The councillor how ever called on all the youths in the state to support the implementation of Shariah legal code in the state.

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Kano bizman suspends export to Denmark

IN compliance with the call by Muslim leaders to boycott Denmark products for the devilish publication against Prophet Muhammad PBUH in Denmark and Norwegian newspapers, people in Kano state, especially businessmen have started taking action.

By IBRAHIM A. MUHAMMAD

One of the businessman in Kano who is also the organising secretary of Kano Youth Promotion Council KYPC, Alhaji Muhammad Bello who is one of exporters of goods to Denmark country said that he has cancelled shipping to the country as earlier planned.
Alhaji Muhammad Bello told newsmen in his office that, he took the action, to support the call and demand of the Muslims around the globe, about the devilish publication.
The organising secretary of the council therefore commended Kano state government for cancelling all the agreement entered into with Danish authorities as well as members of the state House of Assembly for passing the resolution.
He then thanked the state government, for protecting the interest of its people and urged the businessmen in the state to take action on the issue.
He also called the attention of the federal government on the need to take action in the interest of Muslim communities to expel the ambassador of Norway and Denmark from the country.

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...as colleague supports KNHA resolution on cartoon row

A Kano-based businessman, Alhaji Zubairu Yahaya Adamu has supported the resolution adopted by Kano state House of assembly against the devilish publication of some western dailies, saying that it is right.

He, at this juncture, called on Muslims dominated states in the country to follow the footsteps of their counterparts, members of Kano state House of Assembly by vehemently condemning the satanic cartoon.
Alhaji Yahaya who made his stand on the issue known in an interview with Daily Triumph, further maintained that all good Muslims should condemn Denmark and Norway for the evil deeds.
He further said that Muslims worldwide should endeavour to get themselves united so as to face the common enemy who work every time to disfigure Islam by calling its adherents with all sort of names like terrorists or extremenists and so on.
He then advised Muslims and non-Muslims alike to get to know that Islam is not man made, as such any attempt to disfigure it from all angles will attract divine wrath, adding that ‘’you would never ever succeed in achieving what you intend.

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Kano NUPENG chief applauds lands comm

THE Kano state commissioner for land and physical planning Alhaji Garba Yusuf Abubakar has been advised to be steadfast in the discharge of his civic responsibility.

By BALA ABUBAKAR

Similarly the land commissioner has also been urged to speed up effort in providing democracy dividends to the people.
Speaking to Daily Triumph in an exclusive interview, the chairman NUPENG Kano state branch Alhaji Salisu Muhammad said he was impressed by the performance of Alhaji Garba Yusuf Abubakar in the ministry of land.
The NUPENG boss expressed happiness over the appointment of Alhaji Garba Yusuf Abubakar as commissioner in Shekarau’s administration saying that the people of Kano never had a commissioner like him who always renders selfless services to his people both in office and at home.
Comrade Salisu prayed to Almighty God to reward Garba Yusuf Abubakar and his family abundantly, calling on his colleagues to emulate his good gesture.
The NUPENG chairman reminded the staff of the ministry of land to give maximum support and cooperation to the commissioner so as to enable him achieve remarkable success in the ministry.
Alhaji Salisu explained that the former commissioner of Information deserved the commendation from all and sundry considering the successes he recorded while in the ministry.
He noted that during his stay as commissioner of Information the state owned media outfit suffered no intimidation, while both the print and electronics media were fully equipped with modern facilities.
Comrade Muhammad however stressed the need for people in the ministry of land to fully support to achieve his targeted goals.
In order to promote peaceful coexistence in the state, the NUPENG chairman advised politicians to always be constructive in their criticism.
Alhaji Salisu Muhammad who rated the Shekarau administration high in the state enjoined the individuals, corporate bodies and traditional institutions to rally round the present administration in order to ensure its success.
Comrade Salisu urged Alhaji Garba Yusuf Abubakar to speed up effort in discharging his assignment as the Almighty God will reward him abundantly.
The NUPENG boss who was commenting on the present administration’s efforts in the state, appealed to the citizens to support the state governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau to succeed in 2007.

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Shekarau commended for healthcare delivery

KANO state governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau has been commended for providing medical facilities to various hospitals in the state.

The disclosure was made by the Infectious Diseases Hospital chief medical officer Dr. Yusuf Muhammad Sabo in an interview with newsmen in his office.
The medical officer, who rated the present administration high enjoined the staff of the hospital to support its cardinal objectives.
He also commended the state commissioner for health Dr. Sanda Muhammad for providing medical facilities to various hospitals in the state and urged him to keep up the trend.
The chief medical officer at the Infectious Diseases Hospital said (IDH) Dr. Sanda Muhammad no doubt has achieved a lot in the state on areas of health and urged the people to rally round him to ensure that he succeeds.
Dr. Yusuf explained that the health commissioner is always ready to grant the request of health outfits when the need arises, explaining that what ever is requested by the hospitals the state ministry of health is ready to grant.
The (CMO) said the commissioner of health had done a lot of work by providing healthcare facilities to various hospitals in the state.
The chief medical officer said the state is proud to have Dr. Sanda as commissioner for health, stressing that he had rendered selfless services to the people of the state.
He then prayed to Allah (SWT) to reward him and the state governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau abundantly.

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Jigawa PDP denies chairman’s defection

THE secretary, Jigawa state PDP, Alhaji Abba Anas Adamu, has refuted allegation that the party’s chairman in Birnin Kudu Local Government Area, Alhaji Garba Liman Jangargari has defected to ANPP.

By Maje T. Sanusi

Alhaji Abba Anas wondered why some media in the country should allow themselves to be used as instruments of mischieve and propaganda.
In a statement made available to Daily Triumph, Anas described the report on the Chairman’s defection as false and baseless, adding that the story was a creation of idle minds, who trade in buildings castle in the air, to claim undue credit.
Anas stressed that, Garba Jangargari who is serving his second term, is the authentic PDP chairman in Birnin Kudu, pointing out that the other person, claimed to be chairman in the report was an impostor, who never carries the party’s membership card.
He advised the newspapers, which carried the false report and the Jigawa state radio to always cross-check their materials before feeding their audience.
He noted with dismay that the media in Jigawa state didn’t report the unfortunate death of the late ANPP chairman of Gwaram Local Government and many who were injured, during a recent ANPP meeting.
According to him, the late ANPP chairman was brutally lynched on broad day light, while many of the party’s leaders, including elected officials were beaten to a pulp and hospitalised, but regretted that non of these incidences were reported by the media.

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2007 polls, acid test for Nigeria’s democracy -- Don

A U.S. based don, Prof. Ebere Onwudiwe says the 2007 polls will be an acid test for the country's democracy.

``What happens in 2007 will determine whether Nigeria's democracy will be consolidated or derailed,''Onwudiwe, director of African Studies, Ohio Central University, U.S, said in Lagos last Thursday.
Delivering a lecture entitled ``Towards 2007,
the challenge of political succession in Nigeria'', the don said it would be a major achievement if the country could successfully transit to another administration in 2007.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture, organised by Concerned Professionals (CP), was part of activities marking the 50th birthday of Prof. Pat Utomi, who chairs the CP - an NGO.
``If we are able to change from this administration to another one without divisive rancour and destabilising violence, we would have told the world that we have come of age and that our democracy has come to stay,'' he said.
Onwudiwe said it was important for the country to repeat the feat it achieved in 1979, 1999 and 2003.
He identified concentration of political power at the centre as the bane of the country's political succession, noting that the concept of checks and balances had lost its meaning in the Nigerian context.
Onwudiwe called for devolution of powers to allow states to develop at their own pace.
He said executive supremacy was affecting good governance as the executive had always lorded it over the legislature, who according to him, should be at par.
``Unless legislative parity replaces the current presidential supremacy, the job of the presidency will remain so attractive that the premium put on it will continue to derail the process of succession in the country,'' he said.
Onwudiwe urged President Olusegun Obasanjo to restructure the federal government and give more powers to the National Assembly.
Also speaking, Mr. Femi Falana, President, West African Bar Association (WABA), said that there was need to renew the commitment to make democracy work in the country.
He criticised those calling for power shift to zones in 2007 without thinking of the welfare of the people.
Utomi on the occasion urged professionals to go into politics to ensure quality governance in 2007.
He said the Concerned Professionals would continue to empower Nigerians through capacity building and also establish standard institutions in the country.

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How yellow journalism united Ebonyi lawmakers

Analysts say that the emergence, in June 2003 of Chief Christopher Omo-Isu as the Speaker of Ebonyi State Assembly was greeted with varied opinions.

By Francis Onyeukwu,
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

They explain that opinions were divided on whether the new speaker, who represents Afikpo North/West Constituency, could fit into the shoes of his predecessor, Chief Julius Ucha.
Ucha was the pioneer speaker of the Assembly between 1999 and 2003.
It was during his tenure that famous political crisis between Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, then Senate President and Gov. Sam Egwu, which nearly tore the young state apart, was recorded.
The role of the state Assembly in such a political fight was quite glaring.
According to experts, the legislature, the hub of any democratic arrangement, could either help to ignite such fire or toe the path of peace.
It will be recalled that Ucha had, through his characteristic broad-minded leadership, helped to contain the then ``Abuja group'' and thus was able to keep the lawmakers as members of one family till the end of his tenure in 2003.
This invariably explains his elevation to the National Assembly as the senator currently representing Ebonyi central zone.
Analysts equally say that the feat of keeping the Ebonyi lawmakers intact was in addition to the numerous motions and bills that were passed into laws between 1999 and 2003 by the Ucha-led Assembly.
Such records of Ucha, many insist, were quite enormous for a new speaker to equal, considering the fact that
Ebonyi state was then less than 10 years after its creation out of old Abia and Enugu states.
When Omo-Isu was named the Speaker in June 2003, a number of constraints appeared to have faced him.
Prominent among them was the fact that he was a newcomer in the PDP family in the state as he had just defected from ANPP a few months before the 2003 general polls.
Another apparent obstacle had to do with the fact that Omo-Isu is of the Afikpo bloc of the state, generally regarded as the minority zone of Ebonyi, population-wise.
For such obvious reasons, some political watchers in the area believed that it would be very hard for Omo-Isu to book a place in the mind of the state Governor who hails from the other side of the divide - the Abakaliki bloc.
Against this backdrop, many especially pessimists, believed that Omo-Isu's tenure would be a very short one.
This position appeared to have gathered momentum when, between February and August 2005, two floor functionaries of the House were flushed out of office for allegedly committing various criminal and corrupt offences.
It appeared the prediction would come to pass when the Jan. 4, 2006 edition of one of the nation's highly reverred
newspapers, published a news story, claiming that 11 out of the 24 lawmakers had signed for the impeachment of Omo-Isu.
Instead, the report helped to unite the lawmakers. The lawmakers contended that the publication was designed to ignite passions in the assembly reputed to be the most peaceful House of Assembly in the zone, if not in the entire country.
For Mr Kenneth Ochigbo, who fired the first shot, when the legislators reconvened after their Christmas and
New Year recess, ``Omo-Isu is a man of his word, a true democrat and a team leader who has been able to maintain peace and harmony in the Assembly''.
Ochigbo, whose position came as a vote of confidence motion on the Speaker, equally stated that through the purposeful leadership quality of Omo-Isu, the assembly had passed 28 bills into law.
Twenty-six substantive motions and
nine subsidiary motions have sailed through the floor of the House, he happily recalled.
He named these laws to include, the Ebonyi State Agricultural Development Projects Law, the Ebonyi State Rural Electrification Board Law, the Ebonyi State Universal Basic Education Board Law, the Prohibition of Secret Cult Activities and Carrying of Offensive Weapons Law.
Other laws are the State Poverty Reduction Agency Law, the Right and Responsibility of the Child Law, Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Law, and the Abakaliki Capital Development Authority Law.
Ochigbo, after chronicling the achievements of Omo-Isu, added:
``I have to state categorically that the Speaker, Omo-Isu, remains our Speaker because he has performed well''.
Seconding the motion, Elder Patrick Edediugwu, representing Onicha East constituency, stressed that the Speaker had been carrying all members of the assembly along and had remained a role model in leadership.
On his part, Ugorji Ama Oti said members were shocked to read the publication that there was problem in the House, stressing, "there was no problem in this assembly, and we do not anticipate any. Because of the way we feel, each member of this assembly has confidence in our Speaker".
For Emmanuel Nwobo, representing Ezza North West, the newspaper publication was frivolous and must be condemned by every peace- loving Ebonyi man.
Also for Mr Paul Ogbonnia, a jounalist-turned-legislator, the record of Omo-Isu in Executive/Legislative cordiality has remained exemplary, while his infrastructural development at the Assembly complex has been significant.
These include building of an administrative and library complexes, staff canteen, police post, healthcare centre, installation of V-sat Internet technology, which, he said, now linked the assembly to the rest of the world.
It will also be recalled that speaker after speaker condemned the publication, and supported the Speaker.
Analysts say that lawmakers should always try to understand that showing confidence in their leadership as a major step toward making the public believe that they have worthy and mature representaives.
Through such confidence, they say, the nation will certainly march to greater heights in its quest for an enduring democratic system.

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February 09, 2006

Kano traders boycott Danish, Norwegian products

TRADERS and retailers in Kano have apparently complying with the directives to boycott Danish and Norwegian products to express dismay over the recent blasphemould cartoon of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) published by a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten and reprinted by a Norwegian magazine.

By SALISU IBRAHIM & SALISU MARAFA

Investigation by our reporters who went round Singer and Gidan Wanka at the Abubakar Rimi Market in the state capital confirmed that, the traders have already stopped patronising all Denmark and Norway products.

A dealer at Singer market, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman (Danfulani) said before the incident, he used to buy and sell Denmark products of especially Dano powdered milk but has now stopped patronising the products.

“Before I heard the blasphemous, I personally bought N2 million worth of Dano milk but I have now stopped and consider the money of such products as Haram (unlawful) to me,” Danfulani said.

Also speaking, another dealer of the same product in the market who spoke under anonymity expressed his dismay over the publications, stressing that he had a large stock of the products in his store which he vowed not to stop selling until he heard nothing from Denmark government.

“For now I would stop dealing with their products. I have plenty of them in my store until I hear from the Denmark government and that would determine my decision”, he said.

When our reporters visited another shop at Gidan Wanka, where most of these products are being sold, one Alhaji Kabiru Tudun Murtala said they have already stopped selling the products.

According to our investigation, most of the traders have complied with the directives.

Our investigations also revealed that one of the traders at Singer market has destroyed two bags of Dano milk immediately after he heard news of the devilish publication.

It could be recalled that Muslim leaders all over the world have condemned in totality the publication and urged all faithful to stop patronising products from Denmark.

These are the list of some of the products Dano milk, Lurpak, Suntop orange, KDD Soap, Zeta soap, Gainplus, Elella, Ochy, Fucilin, Sun Quick, Alkabeer, Foot care, Lega Harmonie and Muss.

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February 08, 2006

Kano MPs torch Danish Norwegian flags

TO further express its concern over the devilish publication on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by a Danish newspaper and a Norwegien magazine, Kano state Hosue of Assembly yesterday burnt the national flags of the two countries before public glare.

By ALIYU YUSUF

Setting the flags ablaze in the Assembly’s premises, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Balarabe Sa’idu Gani said as representatives of Kano people, the burning was done on behalf of the Muslim Ummah in the state.

He therefore advised the people in the state to remain calm as the House had only represented the interest of the Ummah.

The Speaker however, called on the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Koffi Annan to expedite action in punishing the devilish publications according to the UN's Charter of 1945.

Hon. Gani lamented that despite the provision of the Charter which was signed at San Francisco on June 26, 1945 to guarantee the respect of everyone's religion, UN has failed to take necessary disciplinary action on the publishers.
The lawmaker also explained that the Kano Assembly has agreed to adjourn its sitting for two days to further show its worry over the incident as well as flying the national flag half mast.

He also used the opportunity to commend Triumph Publishing Company for publishing the Assembly's resolutions on the devilish publication as well as its immediate posting on its website.

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February 02, 2006

Sun eclipse: 31-minute total darkness imminent -- FG alerts nation

RESIDENTS of Kwara, Niger, Katsina, Oyo and Zamfara states will experience about 31-minute total darkness from 9.15 a.m to about 9.46 a.m of Wednesday 29th of March 2006 as scientists attached to the federal ministry of science and technology have predicted a total solar eclipse.

From KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

According to the minister of science and technology, Prof. Turner Isoun who revealed this to State House press crew shortly after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, explained that the total solar eclipse will be experienced from the North-Eastern part of the hemisphere, cornering Brazil, parts of Europe and Africa including the five Nigerian states.

The minister said the meeting which was presided over by President Olusegun Obasanjo, has directed all stakeholders in this regard especially the ministry of information to with immediate effect embark on public enlightenment campaign for proper handling of the situation.

Prof. Isoun however, said other states of the federation to be affected including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, will only experience partial eclipse, as situation brought about by the shadow of the sun, cast by moon, will fall on planet earth.

He, however, pointed out that the enlightenment campaign became necessary so as to forestall rumours, riots and hearsays, especially in the affected states as it happened during past total eclipses on the continent.

As for the national geo-special infrastructure policy brought to the council, the same council has set up an inter-ministerial committee headed by himself to ensure that important data are collected both in figures and map images.

Other decisions taken by the council, include the approval of the contract for the rehabilitation of water supply to the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) to the tune of N410 million with a completion period of one year.

The minister of state water resources, Engr. Bashir Wataribo who revealed this to press, explained that the project is targeted to improve water supply even to Zaria town and also to upgrade the water supply system to 13.4 million litres per day which will double the present capacity.

Also, the meeting approved the award of contract of N105 million for the track-doubling in the railway system between Iju and Iddo terminus so as to reduce traffic congestion in the Lagos metropolis.

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January 25, 2006

Drama: Reps chase away minister over budget

It was a mild drama yesterday as House of Representatives committee chairman chased away a minister over his apparent inability to defend his ministry’s budget proposal.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the incident involved Rep Ezekiel Anaka, chairman, House committee on Culture and Tourism and Minister of Culture and Tourism, Amb. Frank Ogbuewu.

The drama began with Anaka's introductory remarks on the purpose of the meeting, saying the committee wanted the minister to explain the performance of 2005 budget and defend the budget proposal for 2006.
The minister accompanied by some of his ministry staff, said he was not with necessary documents that would enable him explain the previous year's budget and that of 2006.

Ogbuewu noted that what he prepared for his ministry for 2006 was not what he saw in the appropriation bill for his ministry, hence he could not defend what he ``did not know anything about''.

All attempts by members of the committee to guide the minister toward saying something about the budget failed as he insisted that he had nothing to say and stood his ground throughout the encounter.

Apparently angered by the minister's refusal to shift ground, Anaka asked the minister and his entourage to excuse the committee since they were not ready for them.

NAN reports that a provision of N4.5 billion was made for the ministry in the Appropriation Bill under consideration before the House.

When newsmen cornered the chairman of the committee, he said the committee was not likely to invite the minister again unless he was ready to answerall their questions ``as such is customary with budget defence''.

Meanwhile, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Yahyale Ahmad, yesterday defended the budget proposal for the service while committee on education met with some parastatals under education ministry yesterday for budget defence.

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January 20, 2006

Dariye: EFCC tenders 20 indicting documents to Assembly

OVER 20 documents indicting Plateau state governor, Chief Joshua Dariye of financial crimes were tendered by the EFCC before the nine-man committee set up by the state House of Assembly for further investigation .

From CHRISTIANA GOKYO, Jos

The representative of the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, Director of Operations, revealed that Dariye had continuously used a fictitious company, Ebeneze R. Ventures to siphon millions in both local and foreign currencies.

The document also made `shocking` revelation on how Governor Dariye in connivance with officials of All States Bank opened an account in the name of one Ebeneze Retina Ventures.

He further stated that the document presented by the EFCC showed that the wife of Chief Dariye, Mrs. Volentina Dariye also holds foriegn account with an excess of over 100,000 pounds.

The EFCC submitted to the committee names of government officials, friends and banks who allegedly connived with the governor to siphon public funds.

Some of those accused by EFCC included Daniel Dariye, Joyce Oyebanjo, Mandan Dashe, Christabel Bentu, former and present Accountant Generals of the state.

Details of how N6 billion ecological funds from the state was diverted to Pinacle Communication account by Dariye under the name of Ebenezer at All States Bank was also revealed.

Hand written communication between Dariye and the bank officials instructing them to secure foreign currency for onward transfer to his account in Barclays’ Bank and Intercontinental Bank in London were also made available to the committee.

The EFCC further submitted that the account of the state government has been withdrawn by over N800 million within the last two months.
It also said that some ministries and parastatals lodged over N32 million into Dariye’s private account in Diamond Bank and others.
The committee has adjourned sitting till January 27, 2006.

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January 19, 2006

Gay, single sex marriage banned...FG slams 6 year jail term for offenders

THE federal government yesterday approved a bill banning gay or single sex marriage anywhere in the country in an effort to put a stop to homosexuality and lesbianism.

Stories from KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

The Attorney General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice, Mr. Bayo Ojo who revealed this shortly after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting yesterday, explained that Section 6 of the proposed bill prohibits such marriage or friendship.

Mr. Ojo who said that the bill is so rich to the extent that such a relationship must be stopped, adding that the bill also provides six-year imprisonment for anybody found involved or gives his/her support to the act.

He, however, said that the bill is a move to support Islam and Christianity which all prohibit such relationship, adding that even based on these two religions such bad relationship needs to be stopped.

Similarly, the council has approved the construction of Abaji-Toto-Loko road in Benue state with a Loko bridge which will link North Central to North East and South East to the tune of N5.4 billion.
The minister of works, Senator Ogunlewe Ogunseye who stated this during the briefing, explained that the project involves 74 kilometres with two years as completion period.

Senator Ogunleye explained that the meeting approved N440 million for the Onitsha-Enugu dual-carriage way, while the sum of N2 billion has been approved for the completion of Okegbhe road in Imo state at the sum of N508 million as variation for the completion of road projects in Ebonyi.

The minister explained that the present administration is seriously committed to the 5000--kilometre road reconstruction and rehabilitation nationwide as well as rehabilitation of major bridges and strengthening of others.

‘’Government gives equal opportunity and treatment to all the six geo-political zones in the country. So our projects are spread across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja,’’ he said.

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January 18, 2006

Sa’adatu murder trail: Police inch-in on culprits...As Kano bizman lands in their net

FOLLOWING the intensified man-hunt for the killers of late Sa’adatu Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi , the police in Kano have apparently inched-in on unravelling the mystery behind the murder.

By GAMBO KANNO

Briefing newsmen yesterday, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) ‘D’ Department who relocated to Kano over the murder case, Ogbonna Onovo, said a prominent Kano businessman (names withheld) has been arrested by the police in connection with the brutal murder of the former state governor’s wife.
The DIG who described the killing as professional, however, added that the police are working round the clock to recover the weapon(s) used on late Sa’adatu.used on late Sa’adatu.
According to him, 13 and not 15 people as reported earlier, have been arrested, adding that the security guards in custody have vital inputs to give to the police in their investigations.
Onovo also said that no sign of forced entry was seen at the scene of the incident and revealed a possible insider connection to the murder.
He added that information which led to the arrest of the businessman was got through a text message sent revealing a meeting at his residence just before the killing.
The DIG therefore solicited the support and cooperation of the mobile phone company whose service was used to send the message to enable the police further dig into the matter.
Meanwhile, dependable sources have informed Daily Triumph that the prominent Kano business man was alleged to have spearheaded the July 10th Kano rampage which resulted in the destruction of government property to include ministries, parastatals and other organisations such as Radio Kano and Triumph Publishing Company.
It could be recalled that the same person was alleged to have been behind the brutal killing of the political adviser to the then Kano state governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi, late Dr. Bala Muhammad and his visitor as well as setting the house ablaze.
Similarly, the businessman was alleged to have helped rig the 1999 governorship election from Gabasawa local government area which saw Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso emerging as state governor.

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... Killers are heartless, Shekarau tells Kalu

DESPITE the gruesome murder of Hajiya Sa’adatu Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi by unknown assailants last Friday, the principles and aspirations of the bereaved husband and all those who share same political ideology would remain unshaken, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano state has said.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

The governor made the statement when he received his Abia state counterpart, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu who came to Kano to condole with the first civilian governor of the state, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi over the death of his wife, Hajiya Sa’adatu murdered in cold blood, last Friday.
Said he: ‘’The motive behind the killing of late Hajiya Sa’adatu Rimi would not shake the principles and aspirations of all those who share ideology with Alhaji Rimi.’’
Governor Shekarau noted that whoever were behind the gruesome murder of late Sa’adatu are heartless and prayed to Almighty Allah to expose them.
Malam Shekarau described late Sa’adatu as peaceful and loyal wife to Alhaji Rimi who was kind to his close associates while praying for God to grant her soul an eternal rest.
Earlier, the Abia state governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, had described the murder of Hajiya Sa’adatu as painful and sorrowful.
Dr. Kalu urged people of the state to take heart and pray for the repose of her soul to have eternal rest.
He used the forum to commend Governor Shekarau whom he described as a man of people who always put the progress of his people topmost priority.
Governor Kalu later paid a condolence visit to the bereaved husband at his Durbin Katsina Road and the Emir of Kano, Alhaji (Dr.) Ado Bayero at his palace.

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FG targets 10% economic growth in 2006

President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the federal government will target a 10 per cent economic growth in 2006 and beyond
Speaking at a stakeholders forum on growth and development of the Nigerian economy in Abuja yesterday, Obasanjo said government would also strive to double economic growth after every seven years.

He said the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) programme of his administration was designed to end next year, but that there was the need to prolong it.
The president said under NEEDS regime, the country had recorded successes in various sectors of the economy in the last three years, with agriculture recording an average of 7.5 per cent growth.
As 2007 approaches and the end of the NEEDS programme in sight, Obasanjo emphasised the need to evolve a strategy that would build on the achievements recorded and also to consolidate them.
He suggested that attention should be concentrated more on three vital sectors, which included agriculture, industry and services, adding that these would include the development of oil and gas and manufacturing.
“We should set for ourselves a little bit higher targets than the six per cent growth rate set in the NEEDS document,’’ he said, while assuring that a 10 per cent target growth in the economy was attainable.
He said under the NEEDS programme, poverty was reduced from more than 70 per cent to about 54 per cent over the last three years, but emphasised the need to create more jobs.
“We have had growth, but we still need to create more jobs,” the president said, adding that his administration was anxious to create jobs through agriculture.
On security, which he described as an important element of development, the president said that he had directed the police to set up a panel for critical self-evaluation for better service delivery.
The forum brought together governors, local council chairmen, as well as banking and private sector managers to discuss how to further move the economy forward.

Posted by Publisher at 09:29 AM | Comments (0)

Military/police clash averted in Bauchi

A JOINT police/military patrol has been set up in Bauchi state in order to protect policemen from attacks by persons suspected to be military men in the state.

From SULE ALIYU, Bauchi

Daily Triumph recalls that last Wednesday, crisis had ensued between policemen and a motorcycle rider who was later identified to be a soldier who mobilised his colleagues and invaded some rented quarters of the police located at Bayangari during which some policemen were seriously injured.
Sequel to this crisis, the Bauchi state acting governor, Alhaji Abdulmalik Mahmud called an emergency security meeting in which the commissioner of police and Brigade Commander were asked to caution their men to maintain law and order in the state.
A statement signed by the state commissioner of police, a copy of which was made available to Daily Triumph said the combined patrol in the state is to restore normalcy.
According to the statement, despite this measure, at about 2.00 a.m on Saturday, some people suspected to be military personnel set ablaze a police officers’ mess along Bauchi-Jos road during which some police officers were seriously injured and the mess razed down while a car was burnt and three others vandalilised.
Police commissioner, Mr. Ibiyinka Kayode warned his men not to retaliate.
Meanwhile, the 33 Field Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Bauchi has said that its attention has been drawn to a press release being circulated by the state police command alleging that some military personnel have attacked police residents and an officers mess last Saturday.
A statement signed by the Army Public Relations Officer (APRO), Major Shu’aibu Abba denied the allegation, saying that the army could not have descended so low to perpetuate such act.
The statement observed that the culprits are impersonators using military uniform.
Major Shu’aibu Abba however, stated that investigations are going on and if the culprits are found to be military personnel they would be punished militarily.

Posted by Publisher at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

Senators divided over Ladoja’s removal

Senators were yesterday divided over whether or not to entertain a motion on the constitutionality of the removal of Governor Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo state.

Sen. Olorunimbe Mamora (AD-Lagos) and nine others had moved a motion urging the Senate to call on all parties in the crisis to return to the path of constitutionalism and the rule of law in the interest of peace and democracy.
Mamora argued that the impeachment and subsequent removal of Ladoja from office by Oyo state House of Assembly were done in “a rather controversial manner” taking into cognizance the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
“Arising therefrom, constitutional crisis of immense magnitude has enveloped Oyo state where there now appears to be two ‘governors’ with conflicting legitimacy,’’ he added.
He noted that the demise of the First Republic took its roots partly from the events in old Western Region which the present Oyo state was a part of.
However, while some Senators were in support of the motion, others were against it.
But Senate Leader, Sen. Dalhatu Tafida, citing Order 53 (5) of the Senate Rules, said that the matter was already in court and should not be entertained by the House.
Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, then ruled that the matter was against the Senate rule.
Speaking with newsmen later, Mamora said the Senate was misled into taking the decision not to entertain the motion, because there was nothing before it to show that the case was in court.
Also briefing, Sen. Teslim Folarin (PDP-Oyo), said that there was nothing unconstitutional with the removal of Ladoja.
“There is a process for electing a governor and a process for impeachment. The House of Assembly believes that what they did was constitutional,’’ he added.

Posted by Publisher at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

1,500 Kano pilgrims stranded...K/Mata reacts

ABOUT 1,500 Kano pilgrims are presently stranded at the King Abdul-Azeez International Airport, Jeddah despite arrangements to evacuate them on time by Kabo Air.

From ABDULLAHI YAKUBU, Makkah

Investigations conducted by our correspondent at the airport revealed that the pilgrims are facing problems ranging from lack of food and toilets.
It was gathered that a plate of food cost nothing less than 15 Saudi Riyals, a development that makes it impossible for some of them to afford.
However, some pilgrims interviewed on condition of anonymity expressed dismay over how pilgrims from other states could be airlifted on time while they are left stranded.
In a telephone conversation with Captain Dilli, a senior pilot with Kabo Air, he exonerated the airline from the blame.
When contacted, Executive Secretary KSPWB, Alhaji Sani Lawan Kofar Mata said there was no time when Kano pilgrims were not on the ground since the beginning of the return airlift.
He said what Kabo Air has done is unbecoming of an airline the government and people of the state has entrusted their confidence in.
Alhaji Sani said from the onset Kabo Air had provided each state with its schedule but later decided to change it without notice.
He said if he failed to clear issues with Kabo Air on why the state pilgrims were left stranded, he won’t hesitate to seek clearance from Governor Ibrahim Shekarau to look for an alternative airline.
Meanwhile, at the time of filing this report, the state pilgrims were said to have been on screening for evacuation back home.

Posted by Publisher at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

3 NUJ presidential aspirants take-up Adeyemi

AS the tri-ennial delegates conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) slated for Port Harcourt, Rivers state at the end of next month draws closer, three leading presidential aspirants in the forthcoming union election have levelled an allegation of financial impropriety against the incumbent president, Mr. Smart Adeyemi.

From ADAMU LADAN, Abuja

Speaking at a crowded press conference in Abuja last weekend, the aspirants, Comrade Muhammad Garba, Mrs. Funke Fadugba and Mr. Amechi Dike demanded explanation from Mr. Adeyemi on the over N66 million revenue generated by the union during his six year tenure.
The aspirants who were led by Comrade Garba alleged that the amount were generated from the union’s guest houses under the management of Royal Tropicana Motel, Abuja who paid NUJ N11 million annually.
The amount according to them, did not include other revenue accrued to the union from other sources such as grants from International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).
They, however, expressed surprise that instead of Mr. Adeyemi to render account of the revenue, hem was even claiming that the union is owing him N15 million.
‘’This is moreso when at the last NEC meeting of the union in Abuja, Adeyemi claimed that the union is owing him the sum of N15 million, the trio added, stating that this was ‘’coming at a time when the union has never in its history generated so much revenue as in the present leadership.’’
The aspirants further alleged that the present leadership of the union had sold its (union) plots of land located beside Customary Court, Utako, Abuja, despite all efforts to develop the said land by previous leaderships.
‘’Another disturbing matter that genuinely concerns our members is the recent unfortunate development which led to the taking over of our Area II National Secretariat at Abuja which the union has been using since 1999,’’ the aspirants lamented.
They added that this has brought to the fore the non-challant attitude of the leadership of the union, saying that the development has left members of the union in dilemma as to where to contact one another when dealing with national secretariat.
Another issue raised by the aspirants was the multiple constitution of the union currently in circulation which will be used to guide the conduct of the forthcoming conference.
‘’It is necessary for us to seek this clearance as regards the valid constitution of the union in view of the contradictory circulars, instructions and memos being sent out to councils by the national secretariat as per matters affecting the conference,’’ they asserted.
They, however, said this situation has further compounded their fears that the present leadership of the union wants to manipulate the prevailing confusion to suit their interest in organising the conference.
They also faulted the union’s national secretariat for not meeting basic requirement in preparing the conference, explaining that important things like delegates list and mode of their selection/election were not yet clear.
While calling for the support of members of the union to deliver it from unpatriotic leadership, the aspirants alerted them on bid to disqualify them on frivolous grounds.
‘’We therefore wish to state that we are ready to pay whatever supreme sacrifice for this our stand but we want to assure members of the union that we will not be cowed, and will pursue the noble cause of salvaging the union in a more responsible manner,’’ the aspirants concluded.

Posted by Publisher at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

Muslim forum disappointed over Hajj

THE Nigeria Muslim Forum (NMF UK) has expressed disappointments over the poor management of the airlift of intending pilgrims for this year’s Hajj which has been a trend in recent years.

According to a press release jointly signed by Muhammad Jameel Yusha’u and Adam Abubakar Gumel, Ameer and Secretary-General respectively, the forum noted that the magnitude of the crisis this year and its implications on Nigeria’s image has become a source of serious concern to all Nigerians.
The forum therefore called on the Nigerian government and all stakeholders involved in Hajj operation to take appropriate steps and bring to an end the continuing national embarrassment arising from failure of Hajj operations in Nigeria.
It suggested among other measures, that an independent ministry for Hajj affairs be established with full autonomy and responsibility for organising and supervising Hajj operations as well as other relevant functions.
“There is need for a critical re-examination of Hajj operation in Nigeria and call on the government and all the stakeholders in countries like Sudan, Malaysia, Pakistan and Indonesia with the aim of proferring the best way forward,” it said.
The forum had in the past hosted a conference of experts on Hajj operations in Africa, Asia and Europe promising to contribute to the outcome of this conference to the appropriate body.
The Nigeria Muslim Forum United Kingdom (UMF-UK) is an umbrella of Nigerian Muslims in the United Kingdom for mutual discourse based on Islamic injunction.

Posted by Publisher at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

Obasanjo directs 10 % of debt relief for HIV/AIDS

President Olusegun Obasanjo has directed that 10 percent of Nigeria's $18 billion debt relief be used in the fight against HIV and AIDS epidemic in Nigeria.

Some ministries have also been directed to set aside special funds to combat the virus.
Speaking at a NAN forum in Abuja last weekend, the chairman of NACA, Prof. Babatunde Osotinmehin said the directive was encouraging and would boost the funding of the national action committee on AIDS.
He commended president Olusegun Obasanjo's administration for the total support given to the agency since 1999, pointing out that budgetary allocation to the agency before then was very insignificant and paltry to have any effect on the objective of the programme.
``We are enjoying great support from the federal government and we are really challenged while the support is yielding results,'' he said.
He said however, that funds were never enough, adding that ``there is a lot of work to be done and funds will always be required.''
Osotimehin said that the agency funding comes through two sources, the World Bank Credit on HIV/AIDS and donor agencies. African heads of state meet in Nigeria on AIDS.

Posted by Publisher at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

...African heads meet May over HIV strategies

African heads of state are to meet in Nigeria in May to review the gains and the strategies of HIV and AIDS on the continent.

This is a follow-up to the 14th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA), which Nigeria hosted in 2005, according to Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin.
Osotimehin, chairman of National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA), said at a NAN forum that the summit would enable countries to assess levels of implementation of recommendations made at the conference and plan for the way forward.
While commending the efforts of the organisers of the international conference, he said that a lot of progress had been made.
He said until 2005, Nigeria had not hosted the yearly conference partly due to the perception of the country by outsiders especially during the military era.
``There is the need to follow the success made and monitor the implementation of recommendations made, which the ``May 2006 heads of states summit is set to do,'' he said.
Osotimehin asked African leaders to provide funds independent of donors to sustain the fight against the pandemic.
He said last year's tsunami in South East Asia revealed what could happen to such funds in the event of more disasters.
``If there are five tsunamis, you can imagine what will happen to AIDS funds from the donors,'' he said.
He said that budgets for such funds by the donor countries remained the same every year while the donor was at liberty to decide where to put the money.
Osotimehin said African leaders needed to be alerted on this so that gains already made would not be lost in the face of dwindling donor funds.
He cited Brazil which had overcome the problem of treatment, saying the country totally funds its anti-retroviral programme for people living the HIV and AIDS.
He dismissed insinuations that some African countries were rich enough to fund their HIV and AIDS campaigns, explaining that poverty on the continent was endemic.
Osotimehin said that even with Nigeria's oil wealth, its external reserve was equivalent to the endowments of one university in the U.S.

Posted by Publisher at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

Jigawa reaffirms commitment to legionnaires

THE Jigawa state government has said that it appreciates the plight of the fallen heroes and remain committed to the upliftment of the living condition of the surviving ones and their families.

From Isma’ila Muhammad, Dutse

Governor Ibrahim Saminu Turaki who made the statement in a speech he delivered at this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day and Emblem Appeal Week, in Dutse, Sunday, confided that it was an occasion, which provide them with an opportunity to annually remember and honour their ex-servicemen who paid the supreme sacrifice by laying down their lives so that, they can live a comfortable, peaceful and worth while lives.
Represented by the state commissioner for housing, Alhaji Yusuf Shitu Galambi, Governor Turaki, disclosed that the essence of the celebration and central focus of the commorative event was remembering the dead and living heroes and looking into the plight of the living ones and their family especially the welfare of those of them who suffered various deprivation, in capacitating, anguish and frustrations as a result of wars.
He maintained that the state government has absolutely valued the contributions of the fallen heroes and their living colleagues as well as truly believe that they have sacrificed their lives for the unity and peaceful co-existence of the beloved country.
He said that since the inception of the administration, they have been able to formulate and execute policies and programmes that have direct and positive bearing on the lives of their people, pointing out that the administration, had created departments and agencies such as Millennium Village Commission, Research Institute, Informatics Institute of Technology, various Skills Acquisition Centres for Information and Communication Technology, Capacity Development and empowerment of their teeming populace.
On the part of Ex-service, in particular, Turaki said this year alone they had directed all affected government departments, organizations and individuals to honour their earlier pledges to the legion.
He said government has also directed state ministry of land and regional planning to as a matter of priority provide land for the construction of its permanent secretariat, noting that the state government had allocated one tractor to the legion to ease its farming activity.
In his address, the state commissioner for youth and sports, Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammad Balangu, who was represented by his Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Rabiu Yarima, stated that government has been extending its full co-operation, understanding and support to the ideals, principles and aspiration of the Nigerian legion.
He, however charged ministries, departments and individuals to make good their pledges, to the legion.
In his speech, the state chairman of the Nigeria legion, Mallam Lawan Kazaure, said the legion find it difficult to get its pledges redeem especially from government organizations.
He cited an example of the state House of Assembly which he said for the last two years, that 2004/2005, it has yet to settle its pledges, and state ministry for local government and community development.
About N4 million was realised at the launch with the highest donation of N1 million from the state government, while governor Turaki made a personal donation of N200,000.00 and each of the five emirates gave the sum of N25,000.00 as their donations.

Posted by Publisher at 09:23 AM | Comments (0)

LEEP executes 13 micro projects in Katsina

KATSINA state Office of Local Empowerment Enrolmental Management Project (LEEMP), has completeD over 13 micro-projects in the state.

From Mu’awuya B. Idris, Katsina

The project coordinator, Alhaji Salisu Musa Yar’adua told newsmen that the completed projects consist of provision of drinking water, healthcare services and education.
Alhaji Yar’adua revealed that a total of 39 projects were directly being executed by 30 benefiting communities of the programme in three local government areas in the state.
He explained that 10 communities each selected from Baure, Batsari and Musawa are the beneficial of the programme.
The coordinator said six additional local governments would be selected this year for the programme.
According to him each of the benefiting community would be given N6.5 million for the execution of various developmental projects in their villages.
He said about N50 million had so far been explened on the micro-project across the three benefiting local councils.
The coordinator said the state government and benefiting communities contributed 20 and 10 per cent while the World Bank provided 70 per cent.

Posted by Publisher at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

Gov Shekarau stresses need for accelarated immunisation

KANO state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, has stressed the need for evolving new innovations aimed at accelerating immunisation in the country.

By Ibrahim A. Muhammad

Declaring open a two day Retreat on innovative ways of Accelerating Immunisation Activities, organised by the National Programme on Immunisation, held at Royal Tropicana Hotel, Kano, Monday, Governor Shekarau observed that reports indicate that poliomyelitis and a host of other child killer diseases are yet to be eradicated.
He, however, expressed the hope that government has contributed immensely in bringing to an end the controversy on oral polio vaccine and in mobilising the public for intensive National Immunisation Days (NIDs) in 2005 through series of flag offs and hosting of synchronised cross border workshop for religious leaders and traditional rulers.
Governor Shekarau who was represented at the occasion by the Acting secretary to the state government and Head of service, Malam Rabiu Zakariyya’u, explained that six out of the millennium Goals are health related and four of these goals can be achieved through effective immunisation.
He called on the new leadership of the NPI ensure that vaccines and other logistics are made available to all health centres and sensitize the populace for service acceptability as well as involve all stakeholders and grassroots communities.
The governor also charged the NPI to come up with innovative strategy with a view to achieving polio eradication this year and to raise routine immunisation to sustainable levels.
In her welcome address, coordinator/Chief executive, National programme on Immunisation, Dr. Edugie A. Abebe, said she assumed office over two weeks ago with a mandate to achieve accelerated polio eradication, higher level of routine immunisation coverage within the shortest time.
She said Nigeria remains the major source of wild polio virus (WPV) globally with almost 700 in circulation.
Dr. Abebe said the retreat is to provide opportunity for stakeholders and respected opinion leaders to rub minds on ways of reaching children with polio vaccines.

Posted by Publisher at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

KASALCAF sends Shekarau, Emir Bayero Sallah message

The Kano state ANPP Local Government Chairmanship Aspirants Forum (KASALCAF) has sent good-will messages to Governor Ibrahim Shekarau, his Deputy, Engr. Magaji Abdullahi; the Speaker, Hon. Balarabe Sa’idu Gani and the entire members of Kano State House of Assembly;

the Sole Administrator ANPP Kano state, Alhaji Isyaku Abdullahi; the mir of Kano Alhaji (Dr.) Ado Bayero and the entire people of Kano state on this year’s Eid-El-Kabir Sallah festival.
The forum, in a statement signed by its publicity Secretary, Muhammad Baba Ali Dala, also commended the executive and the legislative arms of government for the timely submission and signing into law of the 2006 budget proposal, which it described as a good omen.
It enjoined the entire people of Kano state to continue praying for peace and successful implementation of the 2006 budget and to have a hitch-free execution of viable projects contained in the budget for the benefit of the people.
KASALCAF then prayed to Almighty Allah to accept all our worships and for safe return of our pilgrims from the Holy land.

Posted by Publisher at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)

Madobi council pledges to complete projects

MADOBI local government council has pledged to complete the on going projects in the area by March this year.

The council chairman, Dr. Musa Iliyasu Kwankwaso, stated this while inspecting Kubarachi Chindo electrification project.
He urged the people of the area to rally round the council and pray for continued peaceful co-existence in the area.
Dr. Musa further said that Gora and Shafa electrification projects would be completed soon.
Alhaji Iliyasu reassured the people that his council has achieved a lot on areas of human endeavour and enjoined the people to reciprocate the effort of the council.
The Madobi council boss however, commended the people of the area for their support and cooperation to the present administration.
The local government chairman who spoke on the achievement recorded in the state, commended governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau for improving on the lives of the citizens in the state.
The LG boss appealed to the people to support the council as everything was being done to improve, on their lives.

Posted by Publisher at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)

Voluntary organisations advised to join hands with govt

VOLUNTARY organisations have been advised to join hands with government to ensure maximum security in the state.

Speaking at the meeting of Yankatako timber sellers association, a philanthropist, Alhaji Ado Mai Kusa, advised those concerned to rise to the challenge of protecting lives and property of the citizenry.
He described the assassination of the wife of first civilian governor of the state, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar Rimi as unfortunate.
Alhaji Ado however expressed appreciation to the state governments for its effort to provide adequate portable water to its teeming populace.
The Timber seller however advised the state government to provide adequate security to the citizens in order to restore peace in the state.
Alhaji Ado commended the effort of Shekarau administration for improving on the lives of the people across the state.
The philanthropist urged youths and the wealthy people to speed up effort and support governor Shekarau to achieve success in the

Posted by Publisher at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

Council to educate people on govt policies

SHEKARAU promotion council in Kano state has pledged to educate people on government policies and programmes.

The chairman of the council, comrade Ubale Kawo, made this known while speaking at a meeting with some members of the council.
Comrade Ubale said the council was established two years ago to enlighten the public on the need to complement effort by the present administration in making life better for the people.
The chairman expressed appreciation to the government for ensuring even distribution of social amenities to every part of the state, and called for continued support and cooperation of the people to achieve maximum result.
Comrade Ubale urged all citizens to reciprocate the effort of the present administration cardinal objectives to achieve its desire results.
He noted that the administration has achieved successes in the state since its inception and called on the rural populace to reciprocate its effort on improving on the lives of the citizenry. state.

Posted by Publisher at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

Council urged to speed up Bompai - R/Kebe road project

PEOPLE of Rimin Kebe in Nasarawa local government council, Kano state have appealed to the council administration to speed up the reconstruction of Bompai-Rimin Kebe road in the area.

The resident of the area, Malam Auwalu Mai Tireda Rimin Kebe made the appeal in an interview with Daily Triumph.
He said the council has done a lot for the community in the area in term of developmental projects and called on all to support the council.
Malam Auwalu commended the efforts of the council as everything is being done to improve the welfare of the people in the area.
He observed that the administration of Alhaji Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna has achieved tremendous success and urged the council to maintain the tempo.
The spokesman of the community enjoined the youths to reciprocate the effort of the present administration as every thing is being done to improve their lives.

Posted by Publisher at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

KNSG urged to revive health sector

Kano state government has been advised to revive the health sector to enable it achieve health for all by the year 2007.

By BALA ABUBAKAR

The advice was given by the senior community health officer Gwammaja Maternal Child Care Delivery Services Malam Balarabe Maitama while speaking to Daily Triumph in an exclusive interview.
The senior community health officer who rated the administration of Governor Ibrahim Shekarau high in promoting the health sector, enjoined him to speed up effort in that direction.
He expressed delight with the progress and developmental programme recorded in the state since the inception of the present administration and urged the government to keep up the tempo.
Malam Maitama however, commended the state government and the ministry of health for their commitment towards the improvement of the health sector in the state.
The senior health officer also advised the health personnel in the state to support and cooperate with the present administration in order to achieve the set objectives.
The Gwammaja maternal child care officer noted that with a gigantic effort, the present administration under the leadership of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau deserves the support of all the people in the state.
Malam Maitama who lamented some of the problems bedevilling the sector which include lack of adequate drugs in some various clinics and dispensaries among others, called on the state government to employ more health personnel to man various clinics in the state.
The senior health officer commended the state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, commissioner of health and members of the state House of Assembly, emir of Kano for bringing peace and stability in the state.
He therefore advised Kano people to give their maximum support to the state government for the lot it has done in respect of developmental projects.

Posted by Publisher at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

Who killed Sa’adatu Rimi? Asks Ujudud Shariff

The news of the brutal assassination of Hajiya Sa’adatu Rimi, the wife of former Kano State Governor, Alhaji Mohammad Abubakar Rimi hit us on Saturday morning while attending the 40th anniversary of the assassination of the former Premier of Northern Nigeria, Alhaji (Sir) Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto.

It was a great shock to say the least as I saw her only a few days ago. The shock was not so much of her death but in the sadistic manner in which she was murdered: slaughter!
Our greatest concern is whether she was the actual target or her husband who traveled to Kaduna the previous day for the Sardauna anniversary. If Alhaji Rimi was the actual target, the next question is WHY? Was the murder politically motivated? If it were, the police should be advised to start looking at the PDP especially the Third Term prophets, bearing in mind the interview he granted the NEWSWATCH magazine last week and his position as one of the opposition leaders that left the PDP and formed the Movement of the Restoration and Defense of Democracy (MRDD). At the same time, they should not overlook the wrangling within the Kano Chapter of the PDP. The fundamental issue is to determine the motive and those likely to benefit from the death of Rimi. So if we take the murder as politically inspired, we will then assume that the assassins having missed their target, they butchered the poor woman in order to send a message to her husband to probably get him to shut up. If this were so, they are greatly mistaken.
At 65, Rimi is a fulfilled man as God has given him almost everything a man could ask for a good wife, children, grand children, good name and reputation, education, millions of admirers and supporters, relative comfort and you name it. Thus, no matter how, Rimi cannot be gagged or made to capitulate before anybody.
But even if the murder was not politically related, the police should have no problem identifying the murderers.
Unfortunately, this is a nation where similar high profile murders were hardly solved. We are still waiting for the murderers of the late Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige as well as those of Harry Marshall and Chief A Dikibo and many others. It would appear that the murder of Mrs. Rimi is one murder too many and the Nigerian Police must find her killers as the consequences for not doing that are better imagined.

Posted by Publisher at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

Makarfi wants northern politicians emulate Sardauna

GOVERNOR Ahmad Muhammad Makarfi of Kaduna state has enjoined Northern politicians to embrace the virtues of the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello.

Such virtues were needed to ensure the survival of the country as a single geo-political entity, he said at the weekend in Kaduna.
Makarfi, who was speaking at a ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of the late Sardauna, said Nigerian politicians needed to embrace the virtues of unity, honesty and tolerance.
He warned that lack of unity and religious tolerance might be inimical to the political and economic interests of the northern parts of the country.
In his address on the occasion, the Chief of Wukari, Malam Shekarau Angyu, condemned Northern leaders, who using the name of the late Sardauna to deceive people.
He said it was regrettable that majorityof northern leaders trained by the late Sardauna had abandoned his virtues of honesty, discipline and fairness.
According to Angyu, such leaders are needed to reverse their habits and embrace the virtues of the late Sardauna, in order to move the North forward.

Posted by Publisher at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

Gbenga's drama, good for Nigeria Says Crispin Oduabuk

The drama this past week involving the son of the president, Dr Gbenga Obasanjo, is indicative of the peculiar quixotic/pragmatic paradox of this country.

crispinoduobuk@gmail.com

On the one hand (please note this as 'hand one' and subsequent points in the appropriate 'hand'), there is the relative non-issue of a man engaging in, among other things, one of the nation's favourite pastimes--armchair criticism--supposedly within the confines of a 'private discussion'. And then there is the significant matter of the personages--from a newsman's point of view--involved therein, beginning from the lead discussant to some others mentioned in the discussion.
Like an Indian goddess, this matter has many hands
Imbuing this subject with the likeness of that Indian goddess that has more arms than the usual two would see another hand holding the important points raised by the controversial conversation. Yet an additional hand would clutch on to the sleazier elements, the details of which, having been thoroughly digested by all, need not concern us here.
Having identified four different aspects to the discussion under review, we may begin the process of elimination. There can be little doubt that 'hand one' is of little consequence. As it is well known, in living rooms, restaurants, motor parks, airports, indeed virtually everywhere, armchair critics abound, holding forth on everything from the perennial corruption to spousal abuse among serving public officers. 'Hand two' is trickier to deal with. Should the words of a person be considered important because he happens to have the blood of a very senior public servant running in his veins? Does combining that with 'name-slaying' (instead of name-dropping) up the ante? Your correspondent takes the position that, although every time someone screams 'thief!' doesn't necessarily mean there's one about, it may be risky to become nonchalant.
Some 'hands' are worth more than others
'Hand three' is a darling. A failed bank's funds used to fight the 2003 elections? Americans passing messages that contrast with their public utterances through the man? Hmm. "A lot of intelligent and smart corrupt people," possibly among them governors such and such? Few things bring the sort of conviction that flows from having widespread suspicions supported however transiently. As such, without doubt, 'hand three' on its own has enough warmth to heat things up if not burn a few people for good.
The final 'hand' though has probably too much heat for its own good. Besides the obvious mud slinging, there is an incredible display of concern with how the lead discussant is perceived that raises more than eyebrows. Protesting that one is not stupid and asking if one doesn't sound intelligent enough are pointers to a deeper malaise that this writer would rather not speculate on. Moreover, the ludicrous idea--formed from one episode in one part of the country--that "press boys are a hungry bunch," certainly cannot endear the purveyor of that thought to those in this corner. Neither does a vainglorious ill-feeling towards dead and living relatives make an 'intelligent' man more agreeable.
Yet one believes the business of public commentary, while stemming from the personal, requires a separation of the private from the more important purpose of pursuing the common good. As such, regardless of its unpleasantness, 'hand four' cannot be ignored for it is in the sordid details that some interesting revelations are to be found. Whether these are matters that can be forwarded with adequate evidence to Mallam Nuhu Ribadu's EFCC for possible prosecutions remain to be seen.
Now though denials, as would be expected, have poured forth, your correspondent, having reached Omoyele Sowore--the other party in the 'private discussion'--via email, has no reason at this time to question the major points of the chat.
This drama is good for Nigeria
Whatever the case may be, of greater importance, there is a sense in which this entire drama has worked positively for Nigeria and Nigerians It is in this light that some usefulness in the commotion caused by the 'private discussion' can be seen. At least on one level, there has been an 'insider' depiction of some of the murkier aspects to the conduct of the nation's business. And the younger Obasanjo's seemingly unshakeable if mistaken belief in his father's readiness to give up power in 2007 is a point to his credit, even if some may choose to see that as a red herring to be dismissed out of hand. Yet, the son's reasoning on this matter is more convincing--even if wretchedly so--than the parent's clever-by-half "I'll uphold the Constitution" promise, when Nigerians know changing the Constitution can't be harder than rigging an election, especially with the agent-provocateurs around him. How, you may wonder, can your correspondent find faith in the younger Obasanjo over the elder? The answer is embedded in the quixotic/pragmatic paradox of this country that perennially defies logic.

Posted by Publisher at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2006

Jigawa ANPP suspends Gov Turaki

THE caucus of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Jigawa state has suspended indefinitely, state governor, Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Saminu Turaki from the party pending disciplinary action to be taken against him for alleged anti-party activities.

From ISMAILA MUHAMMAD, Dutse

Announcing the suspension, the party’s caucus chairman in the state, Alhaji Hadi Ukashatu Gumel said during a press conference at the state’s NUJ Press Centre, yesterday, a six-man panel has also been constituted by the party under the chairmanship of Alhaji Gumel, who is also the chairman, Elders Committee with the following as members of the committee: Alhaji Mudi Sarkin Makera Kazaure, Alhaji Usaini Garko, Ibrahim Sani Maigatari and Alhaji Ado A. Maitama Gwaram to investigate the allegation levelled against the embattled governor.

Ukashatu disclosed that the committee has been charged with the responsibility of recommending to the party on whether or not further disciplinary action should be taken against the governor.

However, the chairman announced that the Jigawa ANPP has dissociated itself from the national chairman’s decision and strongly opposes any plan or arrangement to host the said NEC meeting by Jigawa state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Samuni Turaki for some reasons which include the governor’s registration as member of the PDP with a card No 148 at Unguwar Gabas ward, Kazaure, Jigawa state during the just concluded re-validation and re-registration exercise of the PDP.

Other reasons according to him, were that the governor also directed all members of the cabinet, special assistants, members of National Assembly to defect from the party.

Ukashatu added that Governor Turaki had sought to have control of the leadership of the PDP in Jigawa state by attempting to make some of his commissioners, state party executives, but lost out to a stronger faction of the PDP, thus struggling to make a U-turn back to the ANPP, through the national chairman of the party, Chief Don Etiebet.

The caucaus chairman explained that the proposed ANPP NEC meeting is being organised to ensure Governor Turaki is elected as the ANPP National Convention Committee chairman to pave way for Obasanjo’s third term agenda, pointing out that the ANPP in the state has no confidence in the leadership of Chief Don Etiebet.

He announced that a panel of investigation had earlier been given a week within which to submit its report but due to the fact that Governor Turaki is supposed to appear before it was not in the country.

He assured that the governor will be given a fair hearing to defend himself.

Alhaji Ukashatu disclosed that for the avoidance of any doubt, the Jigawa state ANPP has specifically and unequivocally called on the national secretariat to consider the national chairman’s decision.

The protest letter against the proposed NEC meeting in Jigawa state was signed by Hon. Farouk Adamu Aliyu, Hon. Sa’idu Yusuf Miga, Barrister Sani Hussaini Garun Gabas, Alhaji Bala Ibrahim MAMSER, ANPP national organising secretary and eight other ANPP stalwarts together with ANPP chairmen in the 27 local government areas of the state.

Posted by Publisher at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2006

Dastardly! How Rimi’s wife was hacked dead ...Kano people mourn Sa’adatu

THE festive Sallah mood was on Saturday disrupted in Kano when people were sent into shock and grief following the gruesome, dastardly and heinous murder of the wife of first civilian governor of Kano state in the Second Republic, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi in her living room.

By ABBA ABUBAKAR KABARA

As the chilling murder of Hajiya Sa’adatu went round at dawn, an atmosphere of mixed feelings currently prevail in the ancient commercial city.
Daily Triumph learnt that the assassins using sharp object, slit the throat of the former minister’s wife between 2.30 a.m and 4.30 a.m eventhough they did not remove anything from the house situated along Durbin Katsina Road, off Hadejia road, Kano.
A family source informed our reporter that the deceased was awake uptil 1.30 a.m that fateful morning, watching some religious films with her niece and one Halima making phone calls.
Halima told newsmen that they were watching the movies when Rimi’s wife noticed they were dozing and she advised them to go to their respective rooms to sleep.
She further told newsmen as tears of grief cascaded down her mournful cheeks that she woke up late in the night to drink water and noticed the house was in darkness.
Another witness who saw the condition of the corpse while the police was conducting the initial investigation was Alhaji Hamisu Danwawu who is Rimi’s close political associate and loyalist.
He told the Daily Triumph that there are evidences which tend to indicate political assassination attempt on Alhaji Abubakar Rimi as a direct target, but ended up on an innocent, helpless lady.
Danwawu said there are valuable items, such as gold bracelets, necklaces and other removable things left untouched.
According to him, he is strongly suspecting a sinister attempt ‘’to scare us from our struggle to stop Obasanjo from his bid to extend his tenure and the struggle to actualize the agreement on shifting presidency to the North come 2007.”
He said Obasanjo must go by 2007, no matter the threats and intimidations, ‘’we resolve to sacrifice our lives in the struggle to save the nation and this incidence serves as a source of strength and added courage to us.’’
Another Rimi’s loyalist and a traditional title holder, Alhaji Gambo Muhammad Danpass (Dan Saran Kano) also expressed strong belief that the action has political motive.
He said however, that no amount of political force or coercion can ‘’stop us from our struggle to correct both political and leadership abnormalities in the country.’’

Posted by Publisher at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

...Police step in, arrest 15 persons

AT least 15 people have been arrested in connection with the gruesome murder of Hajiya Sa'adatu Abubakar Rimi, wife of maverick politician in the early hours of Saturday.

By MUHAMMAD BELLO, Assistant Editor Sunday Triumph

According to a police source, the arrest was effected to facilitate investigation into the mysterious and dastardly act.
Although the details of those arrested have not been disclosed, it was gathered that some of the personal security staff of the bereaved politician may be among. Said the souce: ''We included them in order to broaden our investigation.''
Before AIG Onovo was detailed to pursue the case, Kano state commissioner of police, Ganiyu Alli Dawodu had led the preliminary investigation. Indeed, the commissioner along with the state director of State Security Service (SSS) and an officer of the state Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) handled preliminary checks which included an autopsy carried out by the police on Saturday.
Daily Triumph reports that forensic details are expected to come from the clothes the deceased wore on the fateful night, her caked blood, damaged jewelleries and hair samples. Already the police have taken away these items in order to study them.
The deceased, who was conveyed to Tarauni Graveyard in an ambulance with registration number KNGH 193, has since been buried according to Islamic rite.
Our correspondent recalls that the murder of Hajiya Sa'adatu Rimi is the second politically motivated assassination that her husband has experienced in the last 35 years. On July 10, 1981, Rimi's political adviser, Dr. Bala Muhammad was killed by arsonists following a political mayhem that enveloped Kano then when he was the executive governor.
A year before then, in 1980, a notorious sectarian Muslim leader, Muhammadu Marwa Maitatsine, held the entire state to ransom for many months, killing hundreds of citizens until his infamous bringandage was curtailed by an army troop led by Brig.-Gen. Yohanna Yerima Kure.
In September 2005, Rimi told a team of Triumph editors that threat is not only an integral part of his over four decades political career, it has refused to abate as his life is still under threat.
‘’If you stand for justice, if you have the courage to say the right thing should be done and when you see wrong you point out that wrong. those who are doing that wrong can only threaten you,’’ Rimi said during the interview.
He also added: ‘’My problem with these criminals is that when I see that they are wrong, I say it and they regard this as exposure, insubordination or indiscipline. They say I am threatening their positions or painting them black…and the next thing they is ’we can deal with anybody who opposes us: But they forget that there is God and God doesn’t sleep. He doesn’t get tired and he is competent. Everybody in this world will go back to Him and account for what he has done.’’
Despite the on-going high-powered police investigation into the case some loyalists of Rimi are pointing accusing fingers at rival political groups.

Posted by Publisher at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

Madina trip: Engr. Abdullahi’s convoy in autocrash, one dead

THE convoy of the Kano state deputy governor, Engr. Magaji Abdullahi is believed to have been involved in an accident along Madina road in Saudi Arabia.

From ABDULLAHI YAKUBU, Makkah

Report indicates that the incident occurred in the early hours of yesterday as the convoy was just about to enter Madina.
It was gathered that an Islamic preacher who was in the convoy was reported dead, while Alhaji Sani Babankowa, a member representing Nassarawa local government in the state House of Assembly sustained serious injuries.
The deputy governor told Daily Triumph in a telephone conversation that one of the vehicles somersaulted leading to the death of Malam Mahmoud Yusuf.
Engr. Abdullahi prayed Allah to grant the soul of the deceased eternal bliss.
In a related development, Yusuf Adamu Minjibir, messenger of the chairman of Minjibir local government is also confirmed dead during the stampede at Jamaratul-Akba where over 360 were reported dead.

Posted by Publisher at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

Hostage: Kidnappers demand release of Alamieyeseigha, Dokubo

Kidnappers of some staff of Shell Petroleum (SPDC)at the EA field in Ekeremor local government, Bayelsa, have given condition for the release of the hostages.

The militant youths who kidnapped the staff on Wednesday are demanding for the release of former governor of Bayelsa, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.
They also want the release of the Niger Delta Peoples’ Volunteer Force (NDPVF) war lord, Alhaji Mujaheed Asari Dokubo.
Security operatives are keeping a tab on the situation.
Unconfirmed reports reaching the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa shows that the militants wanted the unconditional release of Dokubo and Alamieyeseigha.
Meanwhile, the nine host communities of the EA facility have dissociated themselves from the kidnap.
They made their position known at the weekend in a statement.
It was signed by Chairman and Secretary of the Dodo River Communities Regional Development Council, Messrs Berry Negerese and Franklin Simon.
They alleged that the kidnappers belonged to a militant group of neighbouring communities in Delta.
The Commander, Joint Military Task Force, Operation Restore Hope, in Warri, Maj. Sa’id Hammed, said the situation was under control.
NAN gathered that the security agents were in touch with the kidnappers and efforts are on to secure the release of the hostages.

Posted by Publisher at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

Atiku, Shekarau, Emir Bayero, Buhari condole with Rimi

THE Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Kano state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau Saturday led hundreds of prominent Nigerians to attend the funeral prayer for the wife of the first civilian governor of old Kano state, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi, Hajiya Sa’adatu.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI and SHEHU M. TAHIR

Hajiya Sa’adatu was murdered on the early hours of that fateful day by unknown assassins at her husband’s residence along Durbin Katsina road in Nassarawa GRA in Kano metropolis.
The vice president who was together with Governor Shekarau and some Northern governos as well as some prominent Northerners including the deceased’s husband were attending a function at Arewa House, Kaduna when news of the killing was broken.
Vice President Abubakar and Governor Shekarau have both cut short attending the function and proceeded to Kano aboard presidential jet to attend the funeral prayer which took place at the Emir’s palace, Kano Kofar Kudu amidst mammoth crowd of people.
Among the early callers at the residence of the bereaved husband included the former governor of Kano and current defence minister, Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’Abba, former deputy governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, and former minister of labour and productivity, Alhaji Musa Gwadabe.
Others who attended the funeral prayer included Alhaji Lawal Kaita, former foreign affairs minister, Alhaji Sule Lamido, Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd), AVM Mukhtar Muhammad (rtd) and former governors of Kano and Jigawa, Arc. Kabiru Ibrhim Gaya and Barrister Ali Sa’adu Birnin Kudu respectively.
In a related development, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji (Dr.) Ado Bayero has led all his district heads to a condolence visit to the deceased’s husband, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi on Sunday.
Also, Governor Shekarau has led members of his cabinet to a condolence visit to the bereaved husband.
In their separate condolences, both leaders described the incident as unfortunate and the death as a great loss to the entire people of the country.
Meanwhile, people have been trooping to the former governor’s residence to condole with him. Among them were Jim Nwobodo, Solomon Lar, Alhaji Kabiru Sani Kwangila, Alhaji Ahmad Muhammadu Makarfi, governor of Kaduna state. Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Sulaiman Adamu, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, former Speaker National Assembly, Hon. Ghali Umar Na’Abba and Hon. Barau Jibrin, member National Assembly, representing Tarauni local government.
Others were General Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, Alhaji Tajudeen Aminu Dantata, Alhaji Aliko Gote, Alhaji Muhammadu Gambo Danpass, Dan Saran Kano, former Kano state governor, Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former Makoda local government chairman, Alhaji Ali Haruna Bukar Makoda, Alhaji Sani Zangon Daura, Alhaji Salisu Sambajo, Engr. Kanti Bello among others.

Posted by Publisher at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

FG votes N1bn to resettle displaced border communities

The federal government is to spend about one billion Naira to resettle communities displaced by international border adjustments.

Already seven centres had been identified in Ogun, Kwara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina and Adamawa states for the project, he said.
The Director General of the National Boundary Commission, Alhaji Dahiru Bobbo, stated these at the weekend when he appeared at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum.
Of the figure, Bobbo said that N200 million had been spent on the Adamawa centre, while N250 million would be spent on the Kebbi centre.
He said that the Kwara centre would gulp N200 million, while N150 million, N80 million and N90 million would be expended on the Ogun, Katsina and Sokoto centres respectively.
Bobbo, who could not give the total figure of people affected, however said that they were affected by the adjustments of Nigeria’s boundaries with Cameroon, Chad, Benin and Niger.
He said that most of the villagers were Nigerians who moved from Nigerian border communities into the neighbouring countries following the disappearance of the original demarcation marks.
Among such initial demarcation marks were pillars, trees, and rivers most of which were eroded by natural developments.
The director general said that those affected would be given the option of either remaining in their new countries or be fully resettled at the centres.
He said that a Border Region Development Agency would soon be set up to cater for such people and ensure they did not suffer.

Posted by Publisher at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

Tough time awaits criminals -NSCD boss

If the words of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps boss Dr. Ade Abolurin are anything to go by, tough time awaits criminals and pipeline vandals alike.

From Yusuf Shuaibu, Abuja

Speaking to Daily Triumph in Abuja, Dr. Abolurin explained that his mission as Commandant General of the NSCDC is to dislodge criminals in addition to protecting public utilities and infrastructure.
He, however, vowed that his administration would fight all forms of crimes, by way of intelligent information gathering.
Responding to a question, Dr. Abolurin noted that his men would not clamp down on any member of the public unlawfully but that they will be protected instead.
“Just like the police, the NSCDC will perform their duties to the best of their knowledge without fear or favour,” he said.
In an answer to another question, the commandant general pointed out that unlike the military/police, his men do not go on holiday anyhow, stressing that 95 percent of them were on alert during the last festive period.
According to him: “I will not give any criminal the slightest chance to use the advantage of any public holiday to circumvent government’s effort”.
Commenting on the NSCDC’s relationship with the police, he said; “We have a cordial relationship with the police, military and all other security agencies and that none of them is complaining,” instead we all complement each other’s effort” he added.
Speaking on the training and re-training of the officers abroad, he noted that when the time comes and arrangement concluded from the top, he will comment on that.

Posted by Publisher at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

Atiku decries godfatherism in politics

VICE President Atiku Abubakar has expressed concern over the emergence of godfatherism in the national political affairs, saying this unhealthy development if left unchecked could undermine the democratic structure that ‘’we have been trying to build.’’

By ABDULLAHI BABA ALAWUSA

Alhaji Abubakar stated this over the weekend while speaking at the 40th commemoration of the death of late Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto and the only Premier of Northern Nigeria at the Arewa House, Kaduna.
The vice president was quoted by the BBC as saying: ‘’The concept of godfathers as owners or sponsors of political parties is a threat to the development of democracy.’’
He said godfathers must not be allowed to dominate the political stage no exert their influence on members of political parties during elections, saying: ‘’The moment has come for Nigerians to clearly define their goals and aspirations but we can only achieve these when we elect credible people.’’
Alhaji Abubakar therefore called on political office holders to implement meaningful policies that could improve the lot of their people and urged politicians in the country to always be conscious of their duties and responsibilities in favour of the citizens who elected them.
In another vein, former head of state, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has declared that Nigeria is yet to recover from the grievous crime of killing the country’s forefathers, some 40 years ago.
According to the BBC report, General Buhari, also speaking at the occasion said: ‘’Though it is imperative to forgive what has happened but, at the same time we must remember the incidents that led to the unfortunate events.’’
Other top Northerners who spoke at the occasion included former President Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido, Kaduna state governor, Alhaji Ahmad Muhammad Makarfi and retired Justice Mamman Nasir.
Others included the chairman Board of Trustees, ACF, Alhaji (Dr.) Magaji Dambatta (OFR), Alhaji Adamu Ciroma and Chief Sunday Awoniyi, chairman, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi, former Kano state governor, the current state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and some other Northern governors.
The event was organized by the Arewa House, Kaduna, in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the death of Alhaji (Sir) Ahmadu Bello, the first Premier of the defunct Northern Nigeria.
He was brutally murdered along with one of his wives in his Kaduna residence by some dissident soldiers in the first military coup in the country on January 15, 1966.

Posted by Publisher at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

Katsina governor’s wife tasks judges

Wife of Katsina state governor, Hajiya Turai Yar’adua has called on judges in the state to be lenient in their judgments and consider giving bail to reduce congestion in the prisons

Stories from Mu’awuya B. Idris, Katsina

Hajiya Turai who spoke during distribution of food items to inmates, further called on authorities concerned to revisit cases of inmates, especially those awaiting trial so as to reduce prolonging their stay in prison custody.
At the state Mental Asylum, Hajiya Turai gave donation of N200, 000 for the construction of a mosque at the hospital.
She cautioned parents to be watchful on their children and discourage them from illicit use of drugs.
Speaking at the VVF Centre Babbar Ruga, Hajiya Turai observed that negligence and refusal to visit hospital for ante-natal care by pregnant women has remained the major causee of the VVF problem.
She enjoined husbands to always allow their pregnant wives to attend antenatal clinic for their health since government has made it free for them.
In his remark, the permanent secretary, ministry of health, Dr. Salisu Banye commended the wife of the governor for the gesture.
He promised that the materials given would be used for the purpose they were meant.

Posted by Publisher at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

Makama charges media on census

The chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Chief Samuila Danko Makama, has urged the media to exercise restraint and exhibit high sense of balanced judgment in reporting all issues relating to the 2006 census in order to ensure accuracy and transparency in the exercise for better result and for proper planning and development of the nation.

From Abdulrauf Ibrahim, Abuja

Chief Makama who made the call at the commission’s Annual Interactive Session with Bureau Chiefs and Population Correspondents in Abuja, said with the patriotic disposition of the Nigerian media to the 2006 census so far, the commission would stand firmly on the side of an accurate, reliable and acceptable conduct of the 2006 Population and Housing Census effectively.
According to him, the journey towards the 2006 census is on course and that the prospect for conducting an accurate, reliable and acceptable census remains brighter than ever before.
Commenting on civil society groups, the chairman said that the commission would organize sensitization workshops for the groups in the six geo-political zones.
He explained that the workshops would among other things come out with a mutually acceptable mechanism for the monitoring of the 2006 census by the civil society groups, thereby paving the way for the acceptance of the census results.
Chief Makama assured that the response of the rural dwellers that many of the negative prejudices that marred previous censuses would not be experienced in the 2006 census enumeration.
On why the census was postponed from November to December 2005 to March this year, the chairman said that the postponement came as a result of inability of the commission to print the OMR/OCR forms (enumeration forms) which he said the first consignment of the forms has been delivered, adding that the commission is confident that all them required (52 million units of the forms) would be delivered before the date for the 2006 census.
Chief Makama maintained that the data processing for the census would be carried out in the seven Data Processing Centres (DPCs) in Kano, Kaduna, Yola, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Lagos and Enugu respectively.
About 1.5million applications are being processed out of which those who are fit to count Nigerians successfully would emerge as census field workers for the exercise.

Posted by Publisher at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

FRSC cautions motorists on speed limits during harmattan

Kaduna state zonal commanding officer of the FRSC, Mr Bake Kwaga, has cautioned motorists to maintain speed limits in order to avoid unnecessary accidents during the harmattan.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna weekend that drivers had to maintain speed limits ``particularly during this time when visibility becomes poor``.
According to him, ``most of the accidents on the roads are a consequence of bad judgement on the part of drivers.
``If drivers maintain speed limits, they would be in control of their vehicles.''
Kwaga, whose zone comprises Kano, Jigawa, Kaduna, Zamfara and Sokoto states, noted that ``relatively fewer accidents were recorded during the New Year and Sallah festivities than last year.
``The few accidents that were recorded at Sallah were due to bad tyres and the use of cell phones while driving,'' he said.
Kwaga noted that the sustained campaign by the FRSC against the use of cell phones while driving was beginning to yield dividends.
`` But some drivers, especially the elite, are still adamant,'' he said.

Posted by Publisher at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

Sokoto faces acute kerosene scarcity

An acute scarcity of kerosene and cooking gas has hit Sokoto state, as a result of which firewood sellers are enjoying a boom in their business.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that consequently, a 50-litre gallon of kerosene now sells for N4,500, 20 litres sell for N2,000 while four litres go for N420.
In the case of cooking gas, a 3-kg cylinder sells for N1,000, while a 50-kg cylinder goes for N11,000.
The situation has exerted pressure on the demand for firewood, jerking up prices.
''Now you need firewood worth between N 20 and N50 to cook one meal for a family of three,'' a housewife, Malama Hassana Malami, told NAN at the weekend in Sokoto.
In his comments, the Sokoto state chairman of NUPENG, Alhaji Mai'akwai Texaco, said there had been no supply of petroleum products to the state since the beginning of 2006.

Posted by Publisher at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

Commissioner gives contractor ultimatum

Contractor handling the construction of Multi-Purpose Assembly Hall at Government Girls Secondary School, Ajiwa in Katsina state, has been given three weeks to complete the project or have the contract revoked.

The state commissioner for education, Dr. Mustapha Muhammad Inuwa, gave the directive during an inspection visit to the project site.
Dr. Inuwa lamented that in spite of the warning given to the contractor to complete the project as scheduled, the contractor is yet to abide by the directive.
He explained that at the initial stage, the project was supposed to have been completed by the end of October last year.
“I warned you to ensure that the project is completely executed in accordance with the contractual specification”, the commissioner emphasised.
He, however, expressed satisfaction with on-going electrification project at Government Day Secondary School Babban Mutum.
The commissioner who inspected the project was told that the contractor has completed concrete works preparatory to installation of a new transformer.

Posted by Publisher at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

2007: Assalamu Alaikum gives support to Shekarau

In consideration of the laudable achievements recorded by the present administration in Kano state, an Islamic scholar and former chairman Malumfashi local government in Katsina state, Malam Lawan Ibrahim Assalamu Alaikum has reiterated his support to Governor Ibrahim Shekarau to continue for second term in office come 2007

By Abbas Tijjani Madabo & Salisu Baso

He stated this during a courtesy call to the managing director and editor-in-chief of TriumpPublishing Companny, Malam Mahmoud Adnan Audi, last Thursday.
The former chairman expressed satisfaction with the level of achievements recorded by the Kano state government in laudable execution of meaningful development projects for the benefit of the people.
Malam Assalamu Alaikum who was three-time chairman of Malumfashi local government also commended the Triumph Publishing Company for its efforts in enlightening the people of Kano state and the country at large.
He then thumbed up the company for the continuing publication of newspapers on its stable all with a view to educate and enlightening the people in the Northern states.
Malam Lawan who is contesting for the 2007 chairmanship of Malumfashi local government, said he and other ANPP members were on their way to pay Sallah homage to the 2003 ANPP presidential candidate General Muhammad Buhari in Daura and decided to call on the camp any enroute..
Addressing the visiting ANPP members from Malumfashi local government, the managing director and Editor-in-Chief of Triumph Publishing Company for Malam Mahmoud Adnan Audi denied the speculation among within the party members that the Kano state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and General Buhari are at loggerheads.
He described the rumour as the handiwork of the opposition party, citing the example of the first civilian governor of Kano state, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi and the late founder of PRP, Malam Aminu Kano and urged them to do away with the rumour.
Malam Adnan then called on the ANPP members to continue to support the party to ensure that if clinches the state and the presidential elections come 2007.
The managing director who commended Governor Shekarau for his development projects in the state.
Malam Assalamu Alaikum was accompanied during the visit by the ANPP chairman of Malumfashi local government and youth leader, Musa Kankara.

Posted by Publisher at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

Shekarau’s sterling quality extolled

THE general manager fortune Oil Mills Kano, Alhaji Ibrahim Muhammad Gerawa has described Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano state as a dedicated leader who has given Kano the desired leadership expected any- where in the state.

By BALA ABUBAKAR

He made the remark in Kano while speaking to newsmen in his office over the weekend.
According to him, the present administration in the state has done well, and called on the people of the state to support the candidature of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau in 2007.
Alhaji Ibrahim reassured the people that leadership is not kolanut that would be shared on trays, but determined by the wishes of the majority.
The general manager who rated the leadership quality of Governor Shekarau high in the state, urged the wealthy individuals to put their hands on deck to ensure the success of his administration in 2007 and beyond.
Commenting on the economic situation in the country, the general manager appealed to the federal government to improve ways to alleviate the suffering being experienced by the masses.
Alhaji Gerewa however, called on the federal government to provide jobs to the teeming unemployed youths in the country.
His words:’’ Cases of armed robbery, criminal activities would reduce to the barest minimum if the unemployed youths are given jobs’’ he emotionally remarked.
The general manager appealed to our leaders to exhibit the fear of God in their minds in the discharge of their civil responsibilities.
Alhaji Gerawa enjoined the people of the state to give maximum support and cooperation to the present administration in order to achieve its targeted goals.

Posted by Publisher at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

Pilgrims airlift: Meridian explains JGSG’s role

ONLY Jigawa state government has selected, the Meridian Airline, all over the country, for its Hajj operation spokesman of the Meridian Airline Alhaji Ibrahim Karaye, revealed while entertaining questions from newsmen in his office last week.

By IBRAHIM A. MUHAMMAD

He said that the procedure for selecting airlines for Hajj operation is federal government’s responsibility through Directorate of Pilgrims Affairs, saying that the federal government selected Kabo Knight, International Trans Air and Meridian Airlines but only Jigawa state selected Meridian Airlines seven days before the operation started.
Alhaji Karaye said that after successful airlifting the intending pilgrims from Jigawa, Meridian Airlines assisted other states like Borno, Bauchi and Katsina.
He said that before the operation, Katsina and Bauchi state had wanted to engage the Meridian Airlines, but later turned it down for reasons better known to them.
The spokesman of Meridian Airline further said the only way to solve Hajj problems in the country is that the federal government and state pilgrims welfare boards should work hard, to provide planes before the operation.
He therefore assured that Meridian Airlines will do its best to airlift pilgrims as long as it is involved in the exercise in future.

Posted by Publisher at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

Learn from Eid-el-Kabir lessons, Gwarzo people urged

GWARZO local government council chairman in Kano state Engr. Abdullahi Tijjani Muhammad has enjoined people in the area to learn from the lessons of Eid-el Kabir.

Engr. Tijjani gave the advice while exchanging views with newsmen.
He pointed out that Eid-el-Kabir is a period for sober reflection and therefore, stressed the need for them to be more devoted to the worship of God, the Almighty as well as assist one another.
Engr. Gwarzo used the occasion to remind the people on the need to participate fully in the forthcoming national census.
The chairman then reiterated the council’s readiness to continue to execute projects that would improve their living standard and called for their support and cooperation for the desired objectives to be achieved.
The council boss enjoined the rural community that effort is being intensified by the council to improve the standard of their living.

Posted by Publisher at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

Alkaleri chairman counsels politicians on peace

THE chairman of Alkaleri local government council in Bauchi state, Alhaji Bello Ahmad Arabi has admonished politicians aspiring positions in the state not to ‘’heat up’’ the polity in the interest of democracy, peaceful co-existence and socio-economic development of the state.

From SULE ALIYU, Bauchi

According to Alhaji Arabi, the recent incident that occurred five kilometres to Azare town where the convoy of the state governor, Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu was attacked by a group of hoodlums armed with dangerous weapons and believed to be the supporters of a 2007 gubernatorial aspirant, does not augur well for the steady growth of democracy.
He opined that as a serving governor of Bauchi state, Alhaji (Dr.) Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu does not deserve such a primitive and barbaric treatment from those he is struggling to ‘’scale through’’ to Bauchi government house by the use of thugs is not only deceiving himself but should be seen as an enemy of democracy.
The council boss revealed that Governor Mu’azu has so far given his contribution to the development of Bauchi state and Nigeria, and it is now for the people to reciprocate by at least being loyal and supportive of the administration to perform much better.
Arabi said: ‘’To over heat the polity is not in the interest of any responsible person whether in or out of politic and the electorate should be extra careful in according recognition to such political opportunist who are determined to derail the system’’.
He appealed to the people of Bauchi state to maintain their known culture of peaceful co-existence and rally round the present administration in the state for better dividends of democracy, adding: ‘’Bauchi state is today a model and the most developed in the entire North-east sub-region and one of the best in the country.’’
Arabi used the forum to commend the courage and patriotism of the able governor in handling the affairs of the state and urged him not to be discouraged, as opponents and enemies would like to happen.
It could be recalled that on Friday the 30th of December 2005, at about 2:30 pm some suspected hoodlums attacked the convoy of Governor Ahmadu Adamu Mu’zau on his way Azare town in Katagum local government of the state.
The Bauchi state governor had described the attack, ‘’as a grand plot to assassinate me,’’ expressing deep shock at the criminal manner with which the hoodlums carried out the operation that damaged some vehicles with some members of the entourage sustaining various injuries.
The gun-men engaged the security men-accompanying the governor in a fierce battle that resulted in the arrest of 43 suspects.

Posted by Publisher at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

ANPP: Full congresses not state election please!

PERMIT me a space in your most popular paper the Triumph to lay the ground work (necessary for success), via a prayer to the esteem caretaker chairman of our great party, the ANPP to hold full congresses, not just state election.

By SABO I. WUDILAWA

Being selected and not elected, a caretaker should should have no business running any party office in a democratic setting. He is only mandated to conducted election (under specified terms reference) and then fades away immediately. Often never heard from again, ever!
This is very much so because nature abhors vacuum and all vacancies should be filled under due process, as provided for in the party’s constitution, with dispatch! But this is Nigeria, a country of anything goes. Those of us under ANPP have been under this dictatorial menace of caretaker for as long the current dispensation is concerned. And I must point out that, we party members are suffocating under this arrangement
I’m however not unaware that this caretaker business has turned out to be a gold mine for the officials sent to Kano from Abuja. I heard that a former caretaker is warming up to contest the governor’s seat in his home state which is about 1000km away from the Northeast of Kano. Never mind that he had no decent car when he came to Kano. ANPP had to take care of it, but he is now rich enough to want to unseat a serving governor!
Our courteous disposition of providing them with cosy accommodation, Air conditioned cars, new clothing and generous touring advances) make them lose their sense of mission. The caretaker chairman I mentioned earlier had not for once gone to the party secretariat. For the six month he was in Kano, his official car was his office. As soon as these people arrived and settled down, you hear them making pronouncements contrary to their terms of reference.
I have a feeling that very soon we may have a caretaker chairman who will come to Kano, look us in the face and tell us that he has only been sent to shake the hands of some selected party men and women and then report back to Abuja head office that all is well in the Kano chapter of the party. What a Pity!
Much as they would like to compromise their primary assignments by accepting some gratifications, let them not overlook the danger inherent in killing internal democracy within a political formation. We don’t need any brain cracking to remember the devastation that has befallen a sister party right here in Kano because, stupidly some of its operators assumed they could force anything on the membership.
If our caretaker chairman is a true party man, he should work towards ensuring that similar fate does not befall the ANPP in the upcoming council polls, this first quarter of the year 2006 and 2007 general elections. We are making the same mistakes, made by our brothers in the opposition party and we should not go back to that after just one term.
If I have understand our esteem caretaker chairman very well, he was reported as saying that his assignment is only to conduct elections for state executives of the party. That, according to him is his mandate from the Abuja office. May I then call him to quickly report back to base and tell them that what Kano ANPP urgently needs is a full congress, failure of which there will be a serious problem, come 2007.
This caretaker should have seen the dangers awaiting the party by now and the hand writing is on the wall and very clearly too. The options for the party are now only two: full democratisation or disintegration. I’m not a prophet of doom but some of the receptions he had received during his visits across the state is a pointer to this fact. I will not go further on this because I wouldn’t want to wash our dirty lines in public.
Mr. Chairman is lucky that there are people like me who are sounding warning out of sheer love for the party. Otherwise, I can also choose to keep quite, watch the drama, bid my time and wait for 2007 to extract my pound of flesh just like the others are doing.
What the simple majority of 51 per cent of party membership (in Kano) wants is a full election of all party executive positions i.e. from ward levels up; and nothing less. Gen Muhammadu Buhari recently mentioned this at Birnin Kudu in Jigawa state and it was reported by the national media.
Anything short of Gen. Buhari’s (and our collective) desires will be met with unpleasant consequences. Let me also caution the national leadership (most of who are new comers to ANPP) that we shall equally resist any attempt to frustrate our collective aspirations as embodied in the candidature of General Muhammadu Buhari in the upcoming 2007 general elections.
To most of us, Buhari is God sent and larger than life. He does not have ill-gotten wealth to contract out the destruction of our opponents; but he has our support and prayer which can do the job just as well. We are resilient and resolute to see to the end of our journey to Aso Rock Villa.
We have our own ideas of what the Nigeria of our children should be and we are working toward the actualisation of those ideals. Our past leaders mismanaged our future; which to some of us who are in our prime; is today. We now want to take it back, clean it up and hand it over to whom it rightfully belongs – in the hands of our children and in turn our grand children. It is Allah that will help us; not truck loads of money.
I have been long enough in the ANPP to know that without Gen. Buhari, there is no ANPP. There should be no fooling around over this fact. And neither can the party survive and succeed at the polls if it fails to meet our yearnings for new leadership at all levels. Some of us paid a heavy price of being in the opposition before the 2003 elections. We were bruised and traumatised and can still feel the pains. So you can appreciate our concerns whenever we suspect that someone is trying to kill the hen that lays the golden egg!
Most of those clowns who parade themselves as party executives were simply put there. 95 per cent of them were selected NOT elected. No matter which way they come about their positions, I challenge them to come up with a statistics of their recruitment effort (of new members) and how many times they conducted rallies (or any earth-shaking event) since 2003 elections. What have they done to improve on the fortunes of the party or does their job now only involve ‘chopping’ the spoils of war?
By failing to re-invigorate and re-position the party (over the past 32 months and beyond) they have already ceded their moral authority to continue holding their party offices. Let them give others a chance to take us to the promised land in 2007.
I for one, and indeed most of us,have nothing against them, or the benefits they derive in terms of Hajj seats, new wives, etc. But what they forget is that when you take a horse to the river, you can’t just force it to drink! We don’t want that to happen in 2007.
I can tell them first hand the pains of loosing a contest very much. So when you already had a taste of the pudding, it becomes embarrassing to even attend a wedding fatiha or move around freely in any social gathering after the ‘fall’. Ask any of our ex-this, ex-that and you will hear stories.
By their action of wanting to stay for over six years, they are undermining the party vis-à-vis the government. I hear that they even threaten the state executive that is was their effort that saw the party into government as such removing them will spell doom to the fortunes of the party come 2007. Methink that victory comes from God.
Election should be put on hold while arrangements are quickly made for a full congress culminating in a national convention of the party. Anyone desirous of becoming a party executive (at whatever level); can come out and contest. If he wins, we shall obey and work with him as loyal members of ANPP. It is that simple. But we shall not allow sit-tigtism. If it is forced to be that way, other options avail and we shall not hesitate to explore them. A word is enough for the wise!
WUDILAWA, wrote in from B/Giji, Tarauni Local Government A rea, Kano.

Posted by Publisher at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

Taraba Assembly probes LG chairmen

Barely three montghs to the termination of Local Government chairmen tenure, Taraba State House of Assembly has commenced investigations into the activities of local government chairmen in the state.

The move to investigate the chairmen followed a resolution by the House to summon the chairmen to account for their stewardship.
The resolution which followed a motion sponsored under matters of urgent public importance by Mr Tanko Tamti (Takum II), said the chairmen would present the expenditure of their councils since assumption of office.
The resolution requested the council chairmen to submit a list and photographs of capital projects executed by them.
They were also requested to produce two copies of the annual budgets approved by the council legislature, and the total monthly salary bills of their staff.
Tamti, who is the House committee chairman on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, said the motion was necessitated by the myriad of complaints over use of funds meant for the council.
In his remarks, the Speaker, Mr Istifanus Gbana, advised the legislators to acquant themselves with projects in their constituencies to ensure that council chairmen did not claim what they never executed.
Gbana directed the Rules and Business committee of the House to prepare a time-table for the chairmen to appear before the House.
He directed that all documents required from the chairmen be taken to the House before January 23, when members were expected to resume from their recess.
Gbana directed the Clerk of the House to communicate the decision of the House to the appropriate authorities.

Posted by Publisher at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

Political crisis and profiteers

It is said that our politicians never seem to learn from the past, with eleven coups but real ones and the cooked up ones.

By Prince C Dickson - pcdbooks@yahoo.com -

I see that we have the unfortunate bliss of having leaders that simply have lost focus or that have no sense of the past from which they are coming from. So how they keep telling us they are charting a future by making the same mistake of the past is mind raving. Our leaders are playing a chess game of instability.
“Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand ten percent, those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so they can remain in office as Minister or VIPs at least, the tribalist, the nepotists, those that make the country look big for nothing in international circle; those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds”. The words of late Major Kaduna Nzeogwu during the 1966 coup.
Its forty years now and not much has changed, rather we as a nation have perfected the act of playing chess on a board of instability, going on with the myth that we have a Nigerian god who sees us through all our gaffe. However how far we go, is the question in 2006 as our political players have continued the game of profiteering, they have continued to swindle the poor masses, releasing figures that have received the ten percent treatment, patting themselves on the back, clicking the wine glass cup with choice wine.
As we enter the year 2006, the question is, have our collective enemies changed, are they different from the enemies of yesterday, if there was a monumental error then what has the present crop of leaders leant.
For our beloved Nigeria, we still have enemies, plenty of them, political profiteers, despite the best of efforts, a visit to all the corridors of power, you see them hassling for the spoils, looking for office so that the nation can continue her downward slide. These political profiteers have turned the PDP into a den of thieves, the political class to a collection of ‘prostitutes’ that has served different masters in as little as six years. Need I mention names; today we have them everywhere, from the Chris Ubas, to Adedibus, Saraki, Ahmadu Alis, Tony Anineihs, Ojo Mduekes, Olabode Georges, Ganas, Fani-Kayodes and others that have contributed absolutely nothing to nation building other than political profiteering moving in a direction of ‘anywhere belly face’. They are quickly found in any political geometry that emerges, the list is not confined to them alone. With their different titles…Senators, Governors, Representative Members, LG Chairmen, all they have done is continually stayed put and destroy the nation and most of them have won accolades and national honours for doing so too. Forty years on we have more swindlers in and outside the government. Swindlers who have swindled their local government, States and the nation, we have earned more money in six years than the past thirty four through increased oil revenue and the money has continued to disappear into private pockets, Paris club and the foreign reserve. Thus the ordinary Nigerian has also become a swindler by commonly turning beggar on the Internet, crafting some ‘fantastic’ letters claiming to be wife, brother, cousin, and grandma to the late Samuel Doe, Mbotu Sese Seko and others. But for the EFCC we have seen an Inspector General swindle his way to billions- the swindling has continued unabated, the moment you identify yourself as a Nigerian you are double checked.
In 1966 men in high and low places sought bribes and demanded ten percent. In 2006 men like Wabara and co have demanded ninety percent, by this bribes nearly all government official is a ‘big man’ at the expense of the poor man, that has also developed his trade on low level through the Police constable, traffic warden and Union officials that harass commercial cab operators to part with 5,10 and 20 Naira. With the due process and diligence route we have still seen plenty of ten- percent men scale through by the grace of presidential fiat.
“…Those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so they can remain in office as Ministers or VIPs at least”. This is most certainly the case today. With the intense arguments going on in the political chessboard, the South-North dichotomy is surely benefiting some folks. Once in a while I smile at the tactics of our leaders but often that smile makes way for tears as I see the effect on the masses that sometimes care less as they are the victims of the dividing schisms. Today Nigeria needs leadership that is strong, a peoples’ leadership that has a sense of focus, direction, a will to drive the nation, not the present old senseless men and women out there crying it is our turn to thief (despite my sympathies).
Today, the political discourse has so much so turned us into enemies, tribalists, ethnic parapoists who expend the larger part of our energy arguing on a Yoruba thing, an Ibo question, the Arewa threat, the Niger Delta oil, Middle Belt, Upper Belt, Lower Volta and all such irrelevancies. When indeed what the nation should have is a nation of people who are proud of their heritage. An Arewa Nigerian, an Igbo Nigerian, an Ijaw Nigerian, Yoruba Nigerian, Hausa Nigerian even an American or Chadian Nigerian. Rather than unite the nation over forty years we still remain a nation plagued by our ethnic sentiments and differences and the political class have kept profiteering from it.
Lately as much as I believe Obasanjo will leave InshaAllah, I wonder too why it has proving difficult for any of his foot soldiers to come out and say “master go waka by 2007” instead they are all talking like kids caught stealing meat from the soup pot---the truth is they all want to remain relevant, to be VIPs at least. Like Atahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto puts it “you don’t want to get used to the free life”. A whole lot of them are just too used to the free life even in the face of abysmal failure, they want to stay put. And keep enriching themselves, their family (which was even in the past because now they do not trust family they use wives, concubine and kids finito), that way the loot ‘go dey inside’ the family.
I am not an apostle of the Nigerian Ph.D. Pull Him/Her Down syndrome, in those forty years since the first coup, this nation of ours has seen development, has witnessed the emergence of great minds, intellects of high standing, winning awards and prizes for the right reasons outside the shores of the nation. Yet the awards won by the Tafa Baloguns and Governors that have bought Degrees even from Serbia and Montenegro, yet our inability to have a standard aviation sector, an intellectually challenging and competitive education arena, a disastrous health sector, grossly corrupt political class and many more all contribute in making us look big for nothing in international circles.
By talking of a third term in whatever form our political actors have indeed taken our political calendar back by their words and deeds. We have been forced to see the Gowons warn this government, the Jimetas form opposition, we are witnessing people compare this government to that of Abacha’s era, in terms of terror, the IBB era in terms of corruption. We have heard the President and his men both kitchen and siting doom cabinet say unbelievable things. They have acted in very unjustifiable manner such that the military is warning them again. That is why the President wants military styled loyalty with the word opposition sounding alien. Indeed the political calendar is on the reverse.
The nation has moved from one crisis to another, most of these crises, all products of an inept leadership, I would end this essay with then Brigadier Sani Abacha’s broadcast overthrowing the Shagari government on Dec 31 1983, it is instructive. I challenge any of the present fraud called government to a debate to state otherwise, because if there was a change of government today that same broadcast would sound like this
“We are all living witnesses to the grave economic predicament and uncertainty which an inept and corrupt leadership has imposed on our beloved nation-I am referring to the harsh intolerable conditions which we are now living. Our economy is still being hopelessly mismanaged. There is inadequacy of food at reasonable price for our people who are now fed up with endless announcements of reforms-Health services are in shambles as our hospitals are reduced to mere consulting clinics without drugs, water and equipment…
That is why a whole Ambassador died from bleeding wounds because he could not access quality Medicare, no functional ambulance between Akwanga and Abuja, a distance of less than an hour, and Akkwanga itself have hospitals without equipment.
“…Our educational system has deteriorated to an abysmal low. Unemployment figures including graduates have reached embarrassing and unacceptable proportions.
In many States, workers are being either owes or earning ‘survival’ salaries, there are threats of Job cuts. (And the National Assembly watch on like robots). Yet our leaders revel in squanderrmania and corruption, and indiscipline continues to proliferate public appointments (the Ahmadu PDP Style) in complete disregard of our stark economic realities.

Posted by Publisher at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2006

Hajj: Pilgrims begin return journey Jan 15...Says Mantu, exercise hitch-free

RETURN airlifting of pilgrims from this year’s Hajj will commence January 15 with Nasarawa and Sokoto states in the first batch.

From MARYAM HASSAN, Makkah and Agency report

Briefing newsmen in Muna yesterday, head of the federal government delegation to this year’s Hajj, Senator Nasiru Ibrahim Mantu said.
He said the Nigerian government has concluded standby arrangements with Saudi Air should there be any failure with regard to the carriers.

Senator Mantu explained that to avoid congestion, no pilgrim will move to Jeddah airport unless there is a plane on the ground.
According to him, so far, only two Nigerian pilgrims from Sokoto and Benue states have been reported as dead.

In another development, hospitals in the holy sites treated on Monday about 6,000 patients, including two critical cases that were transferred from Arafat to Al-Nour Specialist Hospital in Makkah. Health ministry officials said the rituals went off without a hitch in terms of public health.

Ministry spokesman, Khaled Merghaliani said there were neither births nor surgeries performed so far since the start of the Hajj.

“May God keep these doctors well,” said an elderly South African woman who received minor treatment at the Muna General Hospital yesterday. “I was feeling exhausted and immediately checked into this hospital. The doctors here have been excellent. They administered painkillers and then I slept like a baby,” she said.

“I had gone to the Jamarat Bridge to complete the stoning ritual. The mass of people near the bridge unnerved me and I was on the verge of collapsing when I reached the Muna hospital. The doctors here took full care of me. I am very thankful to them,” said Shujauddin Anwar Muhammad.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of pilgrims yesterday hurled pebbles at the Jamrat Al-Aqaba, one of the three walls representing Satan.
The ritual was conducted in a very organized manner in this tent city. All previous tragedies occurred during this ritual.

This year the Saudi government showed how organization and logistic support can save human lives. Gen. Marwan Al-Sobhi, the head of the Emergency Special Forces, said there were 10,000 soldiers for organizing the movement and flow of the pilgrims at the Jamrat Bridge, where the three walls are located.

The ritual took place with military precision. Lines of police directed the crowds. A fleet of ambulances was lined up nearby but there was little need for their services. Too often the pilgrims did not help themselves in the ritual.

Many still insisted on toting large bundles and bags to the stoning area despite being instructed not to do so.

A very relieved Dr. Hamad Al-Manie, the health minister, told Arab News that the Jamrat ritual went off without a hitch.

“There were, by the grace of God, no injuries and no deaths as more than two million pilgrims performed the stoning of the devil ritual,” said Manie. “It is an achievement that the whole exercise went off in a much, much better way than last time. We always try to achieve the best possible results. This will not stop us from further streamlining and improving health services in the future.”

The minister also said that there have been no reported cases of serious contagious diseases or outbreak of epidemics.

Pilgrims were frantically throwing pebbles at Satan with disdain very much evident on their faces. A tide of white-robed faithful had gathered around the site from early morning. Carrying their pebbles, no bigger than a bean, in plastic bags or small empty water bottles, the pilgrims chanted “Allahu-Akbar” as they threw each pebble.
Relatives threw protective rings around women and the elderly to prevent them from falling or being shoved.

Makkah Governor Prince Abdul Majeed said the movement of pilgrims from Muzdalifah to Muna was smooth and accident free in the morning. Some 15,000 buses were deployed to transport the pilgrims.

The General Statistics Department of the Economy and Planning Ministry put the total number of pilgrims this year at 2,130,594. Of them, 1,557,447 came from abroad while 573,147 performed Haj from inside the Kingdom. Most of the pilgrims from inside the Kingdom were non-Saudis.

Yesterday also marked the start of Eid Al-Adha, the feast of the sacrifice, which recalls Prophet Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son as God tested his faith. At the last moment, God substituted a sheep for the son, Ismael.

Municipal authorities at the holy sites prepared slaughterhouses to cope with the rush. There are three main slaughterhouses in Muna for sacrificing sheep. This year the municipality added a fourth for sacrificing camels and cows.

Returning from the stoning, the pilgrims looked extremely pleased. The act itself seemed to have a great cathartic effect. After the stoning, those who had not deputized others to perform the sacrifice on their behalf proceeded to the abattoirs. Others went to have their heads shaved.

At the abattoirs, the poor congregated to take away their share of the sacrificial meat. There was also a long line of refrigerated trucks.

Before returning to Muna from Arafat, the pilgrims spent the night in the plain of Muzdalifah where they collected pebbles for the stoning ritual.

After completing the rituals of the day, thousands of pilgrims lined up to phone home. “The pilgrimage has gone much easier than I expected,” said Shahnawaz Ahmad, a 36-year-old Indian from Calcutta.
Sabeel Norani, another pilgrim from India, praised the improved arrangement at the Jamrat that has made it easier for pilgrims to do the stoning.

“Everything went according to plan and, by the grace of Allah, we have had no untoward incident at the Jamrat,” said Ibrahim Sulaiman, a Syrian.

“I finished the stoning ritual in less than 15 minutes,” Jalal Abdel Fattah, an Egyptian, proudly said.

“It was a piece of cake this year,” said Sulaiman Fallatah, 26, a Saudi native of Makkah, as a barber shaved his head with a razor.
The shaving or shortening of hair by male pilgrims is the first step of ending their state of ihram, or sacred dedication, which they entered into before the Hajj started Sunday.

Fallatah who has performed the annual pilgrimage 10 times was to head next to Makkah to perform another key rite, Tawaf Al-Ifadah which involves circling the Kaaba in the center of the Grand Mosque.
Pilgrims will mass again at the Jamrat Bridge today, this time to stone all three walls representing Satan.

Posted by Publisher at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2006

KNSG approves N64m for Pillars

KANO state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, has approved N64 million for Kano Pillars Football club for the 2005 campaign season.

Governor Shekarau who has on several occasions expressed the state government’s satisfaction with the performance of the club approved N64 million out of the N130 million budget proposal made by the club management.
The governor’s approval of N64 million is a shortfall from the N75 million approved for the club in 2005 out of which only N45 million was released by the state government.
The amount will cover salaries, stay-on and sign on fees of both old and new players, transfer fees for new players as well as running cost of the club.
Governor Shekarau charged Alhaji Sani Muhammad Usman led management committee to do their best towards winning a national title in 2006 in order to afford the club the opprtunity to play in any of the continent’s championships in 2007.

Posted by Publisher at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)

Kanu blow for Nigeria

Nigeria and West Brom striker Kanu Nwankwo is in danger of missing the start of Africa Nations Cup because of a head injury.

X-rays have revealed a head injury sustained in Saturday's 1-1 FA Cup third-round draw with Reading is in fact a depressed fracture.
Kanu, who had been given special dispensation by his country to delay his arrival until next week, is definitely out of Sunday's English premiership clash at Wigan.
The 29-year-old is still expected to join the rest of the Nigeria squad in Egypt next week, but with the injury taking two to three weeks to heal, he is a doubt for the Super Eagles' opener with Ghana on January 23.
Sympathetic Albion boss Bryan Robson said: "I feel a little bit sorry for the Nigeria officials because they have been very fair to us.
"It's unusual for an international team to be as flexible as they have been and, unfortunately for them and for us, Kanu has suffered this injury.
"I just want to thank the Nigeria FA and their manager for being so fair to us and allowing him to stay.
"We will always try to be fair with them in the future."
The tournament in Egypt starts in Cairo on January 20, and Nigeria's first game, against Ghana, is not until January 23.
Former Ajax and Inter Milan forward Kanu, 29, has 39 Nigeria caps and has scored six goals.
He has bagged five goals for West Brom this season, including both in the 2-0 victory over Tottenham at The Hawthorns on 28 December.

Posted by Publisher at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)

Morocco thump DR Congo

Morocco delivered coach Mohamed Fakhir a 3-0 debut win over the Democratic Republic of Congo in a friendly in Rabat on Monday.

Fakhir was appointed to the post at the start of the month after the surprise departure of Frenchman Philippe Troussier, taking the reins just three weeks before the African Nations Cup finals.
The Atlas Lions have a tough opening round group featuring hosts Egypt, Libya and World Cup finalists the Ivory Coast.
Marouane Chamakh's 32nd minute goal gave Morocco a 1-0 lead at half-time.
Strikers Hicham Aboucherouane and Mohamed Armoumen staked their claims for regular places in the squad with a goal apiece.
Morocco are expected to announce their 23-man squad for the Nations Cup on Tuesday.
Morocco had appointed Troussier in November to rebuild the national side after narrowly missing out on qualification for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.
However, the Frenchman lasted just two months in the job before departing in a move that saw several key officials of the Moroccan football federation also resign.
Morocco are scheduled to play two more friendlies against Zimbabwe and Angola in Marrakesh on 14 January and 17 January.
Monday's match also served as a Nations Cup warm-up for the Congolese, who are grouped with Angola, Cameroon and Togo.

Posted by Publisher at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)

Obinna Nsofor dropped

Chievo Verona sensation Obinna Nsofor has been left out of the Super Eagles final squad for the Nations Cup in Egypt.

Nsofor was put ?on standby? by the coaches along with Turkey-based Promise Isaac but he said he prefers to return to his base in Italy.
Also out of the final squad are Moroka Swallows of South Africa goalkeeper Greg Etafia, Flying Eagles defender Bayo Olufemi and John Owoeri, who is on the books of Dutch club Feyenoord.
Arsenal Kiev striker Emmanuel Okoduwa was also dropped from the party to Egypt.

Enyimba goalkeeper Dele Aiyenugba has been preferred to Etafia, who was at the last Nations Cup in Tunisia, with team officials arguing they wish to encourage players from the local league.
The tournament starts on 20 January.

Posted by Publisher at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

An encounter with Naniya

In my write-up last week, my readers will recall that, I promoted my visit to my former lecturer who is now the state image maker in person of Hon. Tijjani Muhammad Naniya in his office penultimate Tuesday.

As I said, the then visit was on his invitation when we met last two weeks at the premises of ministry of finance Kano. As I was passing through Audu Bako Secretariat on my way to the state Assembly Complex to see an Honourable member, that day, I spotted Dr. Naniya standing with two others. Being my former teacher in BUK, I stopped my car and went to pay homage to him.
Thereafter, as I was about to introduce myself to him, he laughed and told me not to bother about that. I asked but sir, why? He said what he cannot say easily about me was my name but he knew I was his ex-student.
That really surprised me and before I said anything further, he asked, “where are you now?” In Triumph Publishing Company, I replied. Dr. Naniya then invited me to his office. But when I asked for the date and time, his answer was any day but should be in the morning time.
Following week Monday was a public holiday, so I made up my mind to go to his office on Tuesday. I woke-up early and drove straight to the ministry of information, internal affairs, youth, sports and culture.
On reaching there, I met the environment quite and empty. In fact there was no sign or any movement of persons, even a cleaner or messenger talkmore of a top figure in his office.
That scenario made me to have a divided mind; while one was urging me to go upstairs and see if the commissioner was around, the other was telling me to go and check back one or two hours later.
After few minutes trying to decide on what option to follow, I made up my mind to go upstairs and see for myself what the situation was. On reaching there, I met about four men and a lady waiting. After exchanging pleasantries with both, I moved closer to one and enquired whether the Honourable Commissioner was around.
I was shocked for the answer, “yes he is in the office”. That was because I had never thought the commissioner would be in the office as early as eight o’clock in the morning.
That made me to believe once again that Dr. Naniya is a man of his words as I knew him to be. That also made me to despel the widely circulated notion that, most people do change when in corridor of power.
The next thing I did was to ask one of his aides to inform him about my presence which he initially obliged but when I told him that my visit was on his request, he went into the office and when he returned, he let me in.
Because of the nature of his work and time constraint, I was able to only asked few questions.
My first question was; During the closing ceremony of last Dala Hard Court Tennis Championship, you unfolded that the state government expended over N100 million on Kano Pillars FC. Similarly, during this year’s budget presentation, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau restated and added that they were satisfied with the team’s performance. Sir, that revelation goes contrary to the yardstick most bookmakers used in measuring the team’s performance. They used team’s position on the league table to measure their performance. What did his excellency use to become satisfied with the team that government spent a lot but only to finish ninth at the end of the season?
Dr. Naniya quickly corrected that, people have misunderstood his Excellency, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau’s statement. The governor was only satisfied with Pillars ability to retain themselves in the Premier League and not the position they occupied.
My next question was: Is government going to continue funding sports and its activities in the state despite low reward or poor result?
Dr. Naniya answered; “Yes”, adding: “this administration is a sports loving one. As it has invested a lot in sports from its inception to date before, the government will continue to support all sporting programmes but this time with adequate supervision on how approved funds are spent.”
On the reconstitution of Kano state Sports Council, Dr. Naniya said it will come very soon. “We have already started pencilling names of those to be nominated and very soon their names will be made public”.
That was how my few minutes stay in his office ended.
See you next week.

Posted by Publisher at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

Ailing Aeril Sharon: Who is your contact man?...Rice asking Israel’s Olmert

Recent news reports stated that the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s blood pressure rose during stimulation, as he recovers from last week’s major stroke and surgery.

But still his condition remains critical and as numerous Israeli politicians said, it’s unlikely that Sharon will return to the political scene even if he recovered.
Doctors discovered only this week that the ailing Israeli Premier was suffering from an undiagnosed brain disease that can be worsened by the blood thinners he’s been taking before last week’s stroke, the Ha’aretz newspaper reported.
Accourding to al-jazeera U.S. government which has embarked on a war to fight “terrorism” continues to embrace and support Israel, which was founded on terrorism and continues to commit terrorist acts and atrocities on innocent Palestinians.
Officials at Bush’s administration have been careful not to publicly suggest that Sharon has left power permanently, but Washington is keen on and already started planning for continuing this alliance after the departure of Sharon.
An article on DEBKAfile stated that the U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who canceled her six-day trip to Indonesia and Australia last Friday amid uncertainty over the condition of ailing Sharon, called the acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Friday January 6 asking him “who have you chosen as your contact man with the Bush administration? - Whom do we call when there is a problem?”
First that the Bush administration is preparing for Sharon’s departure from the political scene, and is feeling its way towards a different style of relations with the new Israeli leadership.
Olmert is known to have little in common with the Sharon’s senior advisers, Dov Weisglas, and Israeli ambassador to Washington, Dany Ayalon, or even Sharon’s political adviser Shlomo Turjeman. But most of Washington’s exchanges with Sharon are channeled through them.
DEBKAfile added that Olmert may in the interim period use Weissglas and connections he has with Washington, but after the March 28 general election, he will let him go.
Secondly, Rice’s telephone call can also be viewed as a test of the new Israeli leader’s ability to make fast decisions and judgments which is required for the new alliance with Washington.
Third thing is that as long as Dan Kurtzer, Jones’ successor, was there, the U.S. embassy had little clout. And that’s why Rice is trying to restore the importance and relevance of the U.S. embassy and its head.
If Olmert accepted Ambassador Jones for the long term, “he will buy into an arrangement which Sharon shunned: keeping contacts running between Israel and Washington through American emissaries,” according to DEBKAfile’s political sources.
Rice is preparing for Washington’s new plans, which include moving the acting Israeli Prime Minister away from the Sharon method of communication and “channeling his interchanges with Washington in future through Ambassador Jones and the new U.S. military coordinator Maj.-Gen Keith Dayton, who arrived in Israel Friday, January 6”.
Sharon’s political career seems to be over, whether he survives or not and the U.S., which “invested” so much in him, is beginning to consider alternative scenarios.

Posted by Publisher at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

Sallah message: Emir Bayero reminds citizenry on headcount

THE Emir of Kano, Alhaji (Dr.) Ado Bayero, has reminded Nigerian Muslims on the importance of active participation in the forthcoming National Population and Housing Census 2006.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

Dr. Bayero who made the reminder in his Ed-el-Kabir Sallah message, yesterday, saying Muslims are it duty bound upon them to cooperate for the success of the exercise.
He noted that it is through the figures indicated by the census, Nigerian communities would benefit whatever is due for them from the central government.
To this effect, the emir advised Muslims to unite themselves and face the challenges with determination, while urging them to maintain peace and tranquillity with one another.
The emir then expressed his appreciation to the Kano state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau for his support and cooperation to the Kano Emirate Council, while praying for the safe return of the Nigeria’s pilgrims from the Holyland.
Earlier, the emir was received by Governor Ibrahim Shekarau and his executive council members at Gidan Shetima where they exchanged greetings as part of Sallah celebrations.
The emir then proceeded to his house through Kofar Kwaru where he stopped and received traditional Sallah greetings (Jahi) from his district heads and other traditional titled holders from where he retired to his palace.

Posted by Publisher at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

Hajj Shame: Emir Sunusi takes swipe at FG

THE Emir of Dutse in Jigawa state, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammad Nuhu Sunusi, has observed as unfortunate the failure of the federal government to airlift thousands of intending pilgrims to the Holyland for this year’s Hajj.

From ISMAILA MUHAMMAD, Dutse

He made the observation in his Sallah address shortly after the Eid-el Kabir prayer at his palace, yesterday.
The emir stated that what happened during the exercise should serve as a lesson to the country and warned: ‘’If we don’t avoid selfishness in our daily activities, we will not escape from such shameful act.’’
Alhaji Sunusi explained further that such a situation has dented the image of the country in the eyes of the international community and jeorpadised the intention of our intending pilgrims to perform their obligation.
He noted with concern how officials involved in the operation gave contradicting statements on how aircraft for the operation were chattered.
Emir Sanusi debunked such claims citing the examples of some countries which are more far from Makkah than Nigeria like Indonesia and Malaysia, whose intending pilgrims pay not more distanced than $800 but had qualitative aircraft for airlifting their pilgrims to the Holyland.
He, however, observed that what is happening in Nigerian context is that Hajj operation has been turned to a way of accumulating wealth at the expense of the down trodden masses.
The Emir of Dutse then advised the federal government to establish a permanent commission which will have Hajj offices in 36 states and Abuja.
Dr. Sunusi also urged the National Assembly to quickly set up a panel of investigation with a view to finding those who are responsible for the unfortunate situation so that they could face the law and to avert future occurrence.
Alhaji Sunusi then urged his subjects to ensure that they are counted during the forthcoming national population and housing census, noting that the headcount is an important and integral part of our economy and political development.
He said his emirate will take punitive action against census deviants and warned all district, ward and village heads in his domain to enlighten their subjects on the importance of the census.

Posted by Publisher at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

BON assures stakeholders of consolidation benefits

CUSTOMERS, staff and other stakeholders of Bank of the North (BON) Limited have been assured of the multiple benefits of the bank’s merger with other banks to form a megabank, the Unity Bank Plc.

Among the benefits are the banks meeting the stipulated N25 billion benchmark by the December 31, 2005 deadline, a release by Baffa B. Muhammad, Head, Corporate Affairs of BON said.
Other benefits are branch spread along with broad customer base, variety of banking products and strong capital and asset bases.
Bank of the North is one of the major partners in the Unity Bank Group that emerged among 25 others from the Banking Reform of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Unity Bank Group has shareholders’ fund in excess of N30 billion with about 216 branch network around the country.
Meanwhile, Bank of the North Limited has issued Basic Travelling Allowances (BTA) to 38,353 pilgrims from 16 states of the federation and Abuja for this year’s Hajj operations.
The total number of pilgrims that collected their Basic Travelling Allowance (BTA) through the bank represented about 65 per cent of pilgrims nationwide.
The bank has also waived all charges to the pilgrims as part of its corporate social responsibility, which it has been discharging over the years.
The consolidation programme in the banking industry which saw the merger of the bank with others in the Unity Bank Group has not affected its Hajj exercise.
Furthermore, all other operations would continue to be rendered until full integration and take-off of the Unity Bank Group.
It is reassuring that given the close to N106 billion shareholders’ fund, huge tangible and intangible assets and human capital of Bank of the North and its associate, New Africa Bank Plc in the group, Unity Bank will continue to serve its customers better.
While full integration of the group has reached an advanced stage, the bank is also making effort towards staff pay-off.

Posted by Publisher at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

Man, with Parkinson disease, rapes teenager...Court told, remanded

A 66-year-old man afflicted with Parkinson disease, has been remanded for allegedly raping an under aged girl.

An Abakaliki Magistrate’s Court Monday committed the accused, Mr Benedict Ibekie, an engineer to prison custody.
He was arraigned on a two-count charge of unlawful and indecent assault and having carnal knowledge of the girl.
Prosecutor Thomas Onyibe alleged that the accused committed the offence on October 21, 2005.
He alleged that the accused targeted his victim, when other tenants were away at noon.
The accused forcefully locked her inside his room and tore her pant before having carnal knowledge of the 13-year old girl, he alleged.
The defence counsel, Mr Victor Okechukwu, raised preliminary objection to count two on the grounds that the victim was above 14 years of age.
The Presiding Magistrate, Mrs Nneka Abani-Uzoma, said the court lacked jurisdiction on the case.
She ordered the accused to be remanded in prison custody.
Abani-Uzoma also ordered the prosecutor to transfer the case file to the office of state director of public prosecution.

Posted by Publisher at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

Railway: FG delegation for China

A high level delegation would be travelling to China this week in a bid to secure finances for a comprehensive rehabilitation of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Alhaji Abdulrahman Abubakar, who disclosed this to newsmen at the weekend, said that the delegation would consist of ministers of finance, communication, transport, power and steel.
“The president is very serious about revitalisation of the railways and a lot is being done to ensure that rehabilitation is carried out promptly and efficiently,’’ he said.
Abubakar explained that the delegation is going with a view to securing a loan from the Chinese government.
He, however, said government’s concession of the railways is on course as a transaction adviser has been selected by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to handle this.
Abubakar said further that as part of efforts to rehabilitate the railways, discussions have reached an advanced stage with the Nigeria Ports Authority for the reactivation of the rail lines at the ports.
He said that within the first quarter of 2006, the rail lines at Apapa Port would have been reactivated.
He added that plans are also in the offing to construct standard gauge lines from Lagos to Abuja.
“This year, we are hoping to live up to the expectation of Nigerians,’‘Abubakar added.

Posted by Publisher at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

Makarfi may shut unviable industries

Kaduna state governor, Alhaji Ahmad Muhammad Makarfi has threatened to liquidate state-owned moribund industries and sack their staff.

He made the threat in Kaduna at the weekend, when he received the report of a technical committee on Kaduna Industries and Finance Company.
He said government would not continue to sustain any industry that constituted a burden.
Industries were established for profit making and for social service, he said.
The governor said the state invested 40 million dollar on Zaria Pharmaceutical Company but had never made any profit.
Any liquidated company, he said, would have its staff sacked.
“ If the company survives, the workers also survive but if the company collapses, they also collapse,’’ he emphasised.
He pledged to look into the recommendations by the committee on the Kaduna Finance Company.

Posted by Publisher at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

Water scarcity hits Minna ...Jerry can sells for N50

POPeople of Minna, Niger state capital celebrate New Year and Eid-el-Kabir without water and electricity supply to the town.

From Muhammad S.D. Wando, Minna

Daily Triumph that though there has been epileptic supply of the two essential amenities in most parts of the state, Minna, the capital city, was worse hit subjecting residents to a celebration of mixed – feeling.
It was also gathered that, the situation has also endangered the people who resorted to the use of pond water as a jerry can of water which hitherto sold for N5.00 rose to N50.00 even as packaged water commonly known as pure water is no where to be found.
Women and small children could be seen on the streets running helter-skelter looking for water while most areas of Minna metropolis are in perpetual darkness due to power failure (blackout).
Commenting on the issue, a cleric Moses Daniel Ndace, said the situation is very unfortunate, considering the fact that these are the periods that the two amenities are highly demanded.
A housewife, Aisha Baro blamed concerned authorities, saying it is a total neglect of the plight of the masses as the well-to-do have nothing to suffer from the problem as they have alternative sources.
Efforts made by our correspondent to find out reasons for the water scarcity proved abortive as none of the water board officials competent to comment, on the issue was available at the time the office was visited.
However, unconfirmed reports have it that, the problem was largely due to break- down of machineries at Chanchanga water treatment plants which are out dated.
The problem of light however, is a bit different as it only affects some parts of the town; with various reasons. For instance, at Sanka-ka-huta a suburb of Minna metropolis, our correspondent gathered it was due to the blowing off of the transformer in the area as a result of tampering by some youth in area where one of them was wounded in the process.

Posted by Publisher at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

Sallah period for sober reflection –Gov Turaki

As activities in Dutse marking the 2006 Eid-el-kabir celebration commenced yesterday, Governor Ibrahim Saminu Turaki of Jigawa state has urged people of the state to remember that the period is not just for merry making, but also a time for sober reflection and must be observed in accordance, with the teachings of Islam.

From Ismaila Muhammad, Dutse

This was contained in the governor’s Sallah messages in a statement signed by his director of press and public relations, Malam Muhammad Sani Jibrin a copy of which was made available to Daily Triumph in Dutse.
To the Jigawa state pilgrims in the Holy Land, Governor Turaki implored them to be good ambassadors of the state and also pray for the existing peaceful co-existence in the state to continue.
The governor also used the festive period to re-emphasise to the good people of Jigawa state to come out enmass and participate in the forthcoming national head count scheduled for the first quarter of this year.
He then wished the people of the state a pleasant and hitch-free Sallah celebration.

Posted by Publisher at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

...Gusau too

Acute water scarcity has again hit Gusau, Zamfara state capital, forcing women and children to spend long hours in search of the commodity.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the scarcity, which started four days ago, has forced people to trek long distances to get the commodity for their household chores.
Water vendors in the state capital have now capitalised on the perennial water shortage to exploit people.
A 25 litre container of water, which used to go for N10, is now being sold at between N50 and N60 depending on the distance covered by a vendor to fetch it. Similarly, a sachet of pure water is now sold at N10 as against N5.
Efforts to get the commissioner for water resources, Alhaji Hassan Nasiha, to comment on the water problem failed as he was said to have travelled to Kano for an official engagement.
A source at the state water board, who pleaded anonymity, attributed the problem to the damage of the main pipe supplying water to the pre-settlement area.
`` The main pipe supplying water to the pre-settlement area was recently broken by the Chinese Company (CGC) currently executing the Wanke Magami-Dansadam road project,’’ the source said.
According to the source, engineers are working round the clock to ensure that normal water supply are restored to the state capital.
`` I am assuring you that our people are working hard to repair the main pipe and as soon as they finish work, normal water supply will be restored,'' the source said.

Posted by Publisher at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

Census communication centre becomes operational

As a sign of its preparedness for this year's census, the National Population Commission (NPC) has established a communication centre, which became operational Monday.

A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who was at the NPC headquarters in Abuja reports that test run of facilities installed at the centre began as early as 8.00 a.m.
Two offices at the Information Technology Department and at the NPC board room were fitted with fax machines, Internet facilities, dedicated land lines and mobile telephones for easy communication.
Speaking on the development, NPC Chairman Samu'ila Makama said the essence of the centre is to enhance the operational efficiency of the commission.
With the facilities in place, Makama said NPC could easily communicate with its state and local government offices during preparations for the 2006 national population and housing census and during census moments.
He said members of the public could also lodge complaints about the exercise through the facilities, as there would be dedicated lines for such purpose.
Furthermore, Makama said that development partners and other stakeholders now have a faster way of communicating with the commission, as e-mail facilities installed would serve the purpose.
Also speaking, the Coordinator of the centre, Mr Jamin Zubema, said that NPC would soon release the numbers of its telephone hotlines through which members of the public could access NPC or lodge complaints.
He said that communication centres would be established in the state offices, in order to get regular information on how preparatory activities for the census were progressing.
On the test run, he said it had been successful so far with state offices, but that it was envisaged that there might be difficulty linking NPC offices in some local government areas.
He said the telephones used for the test transmission were procured by NPC, but that there was hope that mobile telephone service providers would deliver the package they had promised in support of easy communication for 2006 census.
Zubema said that the country had been divided into six geo-political zones for easy communication and that at least one land line and a mobile handset would be dedicated to each zone for now.

Posted by Publisher at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

Army calls for more cemeteries

The Commander of 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, Col. Lucas Logagwoma, has called for the establishment of cemeteries in all barracks.

Aside from using them for burying soldiers, the cemeteries would be used for the Remembrance Day celebrations.
He made the call at an interdenominational service to mark this year's Armed Forces Remembrance Week Celebration held at the weekend in Onitsha.
Logagwoma said fallen heroes died to keep the nation together.
``Nigerians would not have been alive if the soldiers had not died,'' he said.
`` We remember them for the struggle they went through. Some of them died of minor injury because nobody could help them then,'' he said.
He urged soldiers to change their negative attitude to work in 2006 by adopting the ``change management principles''.
In his remark, Rev. Aremu Ambrose of St. Peter's Anglican Chaplain, enjoined soldiers to be prayerful, saying: ``God will not leave or forsake you.''

Posted by Publisher at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

Al-Habibiyyah distributes food items to destitute persons

The Abuja branch of Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Movement has distributed food items worth about N2 million to destitute persons to assist them celebrate their Eid-El-Kabir festival.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who covered the event Monday in Abuja reports that the food items include rice, rams, groundnut oil and some beverages.
Presenting the items to the destitute persons at Durumi, Area 1 and the Abuja Children Home, Karu in the FCT, the Planning Committee Chairman of the movement, Malam Lawal Mika'ilu, said the gesture was aimed at assisting those, who could not afford basic items.
``It is a tradition of our movement to provide and distribute food items and other necessary things to less privileged people at every Muslims’ festivities,'' he said.
Mika'ilu also said that the movement would soon distribute drugs to people living with HIV and AIDS in the FCT in a bid to alleviate their suffering.
He said all these gestures were in accordance with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that enjoined Muslims to render assistance to the needy.
The planning committee chairman also thanked the Muslim Ummah for donating generously to the movement and appealed for more donation in the future.
Responding on behalf of the destitute persons, Malam Ali Isa, thanked the movement for the donations and appealed to other NGOs to emulate the Al-Habibiyyah Movement.

Posted by Publisher at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

Soldiers advised against politics

Bishop of the African Church, Egba Division, Rev. Adedeji Ateji, has advised soldiers against dabbling into politics.

Giving the advice on Sunday at Abeokuta at a service, to mark this year's Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Ateji said this had become unacceptable in the modern world.
``The trend is old fashioned. Countries in the world don't embrace such measure to settle political crisis,'' he said.
He said coups were illegal and should be shunned by the military in the interest of the nation's democracy.

Posted by Publisher at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

Sallah: Mu’azu urges Muslims to pray for unity

GOVERNOR Ahmadu Adamu Mua'zu of Bauchi state has called on Muslims and non- Muslims to continue to pray for peace, unity and prosperity of the nation.

Mua'zu made the plea Monday in a Sallah message to mark the celebration of Eid-El-Kabir.
He advised Muslims to observe traffic rules and regulations, ``so that we can reduce accidents on our highways throughout the festive period''.
The governor urged them to emulate the Holy Prophets by making sacrifices in their worldly dealings.
The celebration, he said, called for sober reflections and prayers.
He reiterated his administration's commitment to the provision of infrastructure and social amenities to uplift the people.
Meanwhile, intending pilgrims, who missed pilgrimage have been given N20,000 each as ``compensation'' to enable them shop for Sallah.

Posted by Publisher at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

Women leader thumbs-up Shekarau

A WOMEN leader in Nassarawa local government council Kano state, Malama Khadijah Hassan Giginyu, has acknowledged the effort of Shekarau administration on improving the lives of the citizens.

By BALA ABUBAKAR

Similarly, the Kano people have been asked to consider the re-election of Governor Shekarau in 2007 in order to move the state to greater heights.
The Giginyu youth forum coordinator Malama Khadijah Hassan while speaking to Daily Triumph in an exclusive interview said there is need for Kano citizens to give the present administration a second mandate to enable it accomplish its task.
The Giginyu forum observed earlier, that the Shekarau administration since its inception in office had achieved tremendous success on human endeavour and urged the people to rally round his cardinal objectives.
She however called on womenfolk, individuals, traditional rulers and wealthy individuals in the state to support the administration.
Malama Khadijah appealed to the people to re-elect Malam as Governor of the state, attributing that among the contenders no one could perform like him in the state.
She advised the present administration not to let the people down, for the second mandate quest.
Malama Giginyu said considering what the administration had done to the people there was need to seek for another mandate in order to move the state forward.
Commenting on the administration of Nassarawa local government council, the spokesman of the community said nothing could be seen as developmental projects in Giginyu ward.
She observed that the Nassarawa council only constructed drainage in Giginyu, and lamented various problems bedevilling the masses as the council refuses to listen to their problems in order to find a lasting solution once and for all.
Malama Khadijah however accused the council, and the councillor representing Giginyu ward Hon. Ali Ibrahim for non performance in the area.
The coordinator enjoined the people in the area to elect people of proven integrity in 2007 in order to move the area to a greater perspective.

Posted by Publisher at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

Emir Bayero wants LG chairmen committed to project execution

LOCAL government chairmen in Kano state have been charged to remain committed in the execution of developmental projects that have direct bearing to the masses.

By BALA ABUBAKAR

Emir of Kano, Alhaji (Dr.) Ado Bayero, made the plea while receiving the reinstated chairman of Ungogo local government council, Alhaji Falalu Umar, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Palace.
The emir said the councils have vital role towards ensuring peace, stability and socio-economic development at the grassroots.
Alhaji Bayero enjoined the re-instated council chairman, to cooperate with constituted authorities to achieve progress.
Earlier, the chairman Alhaji Muhammad Falalu Umar said he was at the Palace to express his appreciation to the government, the Emirate council and the masses of Ungogo on the recent development.
Alhaji Umar pledged to carry people along and solicited the support of the Emir in that direction.
It could be recalled that the reinstated chairman, Alhaji Umar was suspended about 15 months ago by the state House of Assembly for allged impropriately.
Our correspondent reports that the state high court recently passed a judgement which Alhaji Umar was reinstated as chairman of Ungogo local government council.

Posted by Publisher at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

Budget: governor Shekarau’s foresight commended

KANO state governor, Malam Ibrahim has been commended for announcing this year’s Budget with foresight.

The commendation was made by the chairman of Nassarawa local government council, Alhaji Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, in a statement made available to Daily Triumph.
Alhaji Gawuna, said that, this year’s budget, is different with previous ones, considering its contents.
He said that with the gigantic effort, the present administration under the leadership of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau deserved to be commended by the people of the state.
The chairman therefore called on the wealthy individuals to contribute in this direction, because government alone cannot shoulder all the responsibilities, as such they should assist morally or financially towards to the development of the state.
Alhaji Gawuna, also advised the people of the state to support and cooperate with the present administration in order to achieve the set objectives.
He further commended governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero and the legislators, for bringing peace and stability in the state.
Gawuna, then thanked the people of Nassarawa local government area for their maximum support to him to the extent that he did a lot in respect of development projects.

Posted by Publisher at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

Nassarawa people admonished

PEOPLE of Nassarawa local government area in Kano state have been advised to support and cooperate with government efforts toward providing social amenities.

This was disclosed by the member representing Nassarawa Constituency at state House of Assembly, Alhaji Sani Ahmad Ibrahim Baban Kowa, while distributing motorcycles to some youths in the area.
Alhaji Ibrahim said that, the motorcycles donated to them is just to make them self reliance, the member has similarly donated a car to Hajiya Mairo, the ANPP chairperson Nassarawa local government area.
He therefore advised them to make judicious use of the motorcycles given to them.
The legislator also assured to continue with the kind gesture and urged the beneficiaries to reciprocate the good gesture.
Hajiya Mairo, then called on other legislators to emulate him in order for democracy to succeed.

Posted by Publisher at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

Sheikh Jibrin admonishes Muslims on Taqwah

THE chief imam of Bayero University, Kano, Sheikh Abubakar Jibrin has reminded Muslims on the need to apply Taqwa in all their undertakings.
This was contained in his sermon shortly after he led the Eid-el-Kabir prayer at the University’s old site praying ground.

By ALIYU UMAR

According to him Taqwa whih is of Arabic origin simply means taking into practice the teachings of Islam as taught and practiced by Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Sheikh Jibrin, at this juncture, admonished Muslims to put fear of God SWT in dealing with people at all levels as well as to foster unity among the Ummah.
He quoted the Glorious Qur’an where the Almighty says ‘’O those who believe fear God accordingly and don’t die until you are Muslims”, adding that the verse teachers a lot of lessons among which the spirit of unity and fair-play.
Sheikh Jibrin also quoted the Prophet of as saying’’ Account for yourselves, before you are accounted for’’, stating that honesty remains the backbone of all good deeds, as such all should be honest.
The chief Imam enumerated the good deeds to include feeding, clothing and other humanitarian assistance to the needy.
He then prayed for peace, prosperity and stability in the country in particular and the world at large.

Posted by Publisher at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

Obasanjo’s third term, dead issue-Kaita

FORMER governor of Kaduna state and founding member of PDP, Alhaji Lawal Kaita has declared that the idea of third term bid of President Obasanjo is a dead issue. This is because of its total rejection from all sections of the country and international comities.

From Mu’awuya B. Idris, Katsina

Alhaji Kaita who spoke with newsmen in his home town Kankia, explained that Nigerians are tired of Obasanjo administration because of the level of poverty it inflicted on them.
“Third term is not feasible” he said, adding that it is not good for Nigeria and therefore is not a right”.
Alhaji Kaita warned those insisting on third term of Obasanjo administration to desist from doing so, saying their agenda of amending the nation’s constitution would not succeed.
Alhaji Kaita further explained, that no responsible politician would support third term agenda, pointing out that most state governorshave disassociated themselves from it “people are tired of this naked poverty brought to them by this regime,” he added.
The former governor wondered why Obasanjo insists on continuing in office despite mounting problems of poverty which Nigerians have continued to experience under his administration.
He pointed out that the reform programme introduced by president Obasanjo was a tactical plan to manipulate his continuity in office.
Alhaji Kaita explained that his struggle for practicing true democracy in Nigeria is not for any personal benefit but to make life for Nigerians easier.
“Whatever I do as an elder I am not doing for myself because I have nothing more to gain politically, but we are fighting for the younger generations.” He added.

Posted by Publisher at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

Third term: Olusegun Obasanjo, Mobotu and Idi Amin

While virtually all Nigerians were having one of the most distressful Yuletide celebrations with a New Year of doubts. Our leaders were still out there playing out their foolishness to the public.

By Prince C Dickson
pcdbooks@yahoo.com

I had taken a resolution on the New Year’s eve to try and see the good in my nation, try to be positive, tell myself and others that the present government maybe after all the best thing to have happened to Nigerians since amalgamation. Believe that, there is absolutely nothing wrong, maybe third, tenth or whatever term in any guise is in the best interest of the nation considering the miracles the present PDP thing has performed in the polity in the presence of difficult Nigerians.
However as I picked my pen, the truth, certainly bitter, could not be restrained, it also dawned on me that the present charade called leadership had come into the New Year without any plan to change. Besides the fact is that you do not change a habit you consider okay, you only improve upon it…so Nigerians are in for the beating. As the Year 2005 went away, the same trend played on, if it was not the old fools in Ibadan , it was the presidential aides telling the Americans to mind their business. The MDD/MRD noise fizzled out as they learnt of an “operation Ribadu” looking for us may be launched. If Marwa after service to the master can be so humiliated how much more us… Fani-Fatty Cheeks-Kayode sure had a lovely festive period making cool money as the President’s Public Address System having recently overtaken Jerry Gana (the Professor of Geography that has not be in a class in two decades) as ‘liar of the year 2005’. While the ‘third termers’ as I call them strategized, they added a dimension, the “Operation Put Mumu” (robot) that is if all fails, which they doubt much.
So as we entered this New Year, I was opportune to take an evening out with three of Africa ’s horrors in leadership. The beauty of the evening was that two of my guests were dead, but they offered insightful advice and made instructive statements which I am sure Baba Iyabo will learn from or naturally would discard. Both Mbotu Seseko and Idi Amin having seen hell were sober and strangely were on the people’s side although from time to time one could notice from their comments why they were culprits of a peoples’ revolt. They advised Obasanjo on the need to turn a new leaf, to change not just for the purpose of a third term but to leave a legacy. A legacy that would once more bring some semblance of pride to African leadership. To leave come 2007 with no fear as no one would probe him, like General Abdulsalami, and himself (Obj), and all Black Presidents that indeed hand over is a saint.
As they discussed I chipped in, and my additions to their conversation was primarily targeted at Obasanjo because of national interest and selfishness, but could he answer…my questions were blunt and direct devoid of the ism that they have used intellects in deceiving the common man. I asked Mr. President—“are you a crook, are you scared of going to jail a second time, why are you doing this to your birds at the farm, how suddenly you have changed from the smiling crook of 1979 that managed to hand over somehow to a manipulating don that now frowns each time you see a 2007 calendar? Mr. President how short could your memory have become that you were a slave some years back but now you have turned an entire nation into one big slave market? After resurrecting your farm you gained genius status by adding a library to the farm. As the Year 2007 approaches why are you suddenly seeing that every presidential hopeful ate from Abacha’s pot? Would you not soon arrest Buhari for heading PTF? Yet Mr. President you have pencilled down rogues that have stolen in bright daylight as possible replacements if you are forcefully chased out, this being the case there is no need for an election, we need not spend all that money”.
At this point Brother Olusegun ordered some of Adedibu’s thugs to throw me into a detention camp, surprisingly for the intervention of Brother Mbotu who philosophized loudly “Olusegun how many would you continue to persecute, how many would you put behind bars, leave the poor man alone?”.
“As a good Christian…” Idi Amin quipped in, “Brother Segun, do you so soon forget the scriptures you read at least every Sunday, take time you may soon be like King Nebuchadnezzar. The knee is not far from the grass, you may fall woefully, I have been there, and it would really hurt to see you eat grass. Those that lie to you (Obj) at per second rate, do you no good. As poor as you have made Nigerians become both in cash and in mind, does not necessarily mean that they have a blurred vision of the recent past…they certainly can pray on their feet, if an apple can kill a fellow General, a pineapple can be more dangerous. The Ganas, Maduekes and co are all the same bunch, the chameleon changes to adapt frequently but it never at anytime becomes a lizard”.
I summoned courage and continued… “Recently a group with a nice sounding name, something Policy Initiative being sponsored by Corporate Nigeria has already started running your own version of “whom the cap fits”…never mind he that the cap fits, history has shown wears it in the world hereafter”. Despite their best efforts they have categorically failed to see a President that has failed, a President for all he has ruled could not make a single refinery work, a President that has created oil moguls from the peoples’ collective sweat and made the same masses suffer for same oil.
For who he is, at this point Baba Iyabo asked me to shut up, he shook in his rage…” have I not promised there would be no fuel increase come the WHOLE 2006, I have been liberal with the crooks at the National Assembly, I have, I have…?”
Both Mbotu and Idi Amin answered simultaneously “we know these little tricks, it does not work all the time, when the peoples’ revolt did start in our various countries, it was really, really hot, tell them now that you are going back to those fatherless chickens, Stella has left then… you too, want to leave?
At this junction Obasanjo nearly twin-slapped both ex-despots, only to realize they were spirits, mere ghosts. A President arrogant even to the dead, sadly there is a soft spot I have for the President’s arrogance, that being, his arrogance hardly deals with the issue, he rakes, curses, swears, walks out on people even ghosts yet he has not dealt with the matter, say, like ask him are you going for a third term…the man would rake like the poor lion that was provoked by a prophet at the Ibadan University Zoo, The lion tore the man.
What an evening, while we walked, Brother Idi Amin, expressed his amazement, saying… Obj may not be as wicked as I was after all you can even write and what’s that Archibishop’s name…” “John Onaiyekan” I answered. He continued “the man would have been in my refrigerator by now”. At this point Obj smiles, “no, brother Idi Amin, the chairman of my fan club Fani Kayode has answered him, why really bother about a pastor for now, my problem are some disgruntled Generals, Journalists, and those ‘yeye’ civil rights coalition people and those persons who know all my secrets and moves.
Briefly I was in thoughts…It was not shocking as one more Governor…Gbenga Daniels less I forget he is Otunba, a man who is one of Obasanjo’s oil fronts had nothing to say other than “Obasanjo is the best President we have, he can run…there is nothing immoral”, even a pagan would not talk like this, but with enough flesh around the skeleton in one’s cupboard you must talk to please the master.
Suddenly the President brought me back by bringing up the issue of third term himself and said “look no one can intimidate me”, I interjected “but sir you are intimidating the nation by not being forthright”, SHUT UP! The President bellowed and thundered, “I installed a President in Ivory Coast , Sudan is my pocket, I have kept Charlie d Tailor against public opinion, you know how much I have…”
Field Marshall Brother Idi Amin Dada and His Excellency Brother Mbotu Seseko both smiled , and said “ Matthew Okiki, Aremu, Sege and the many names you are called by, REDEEM yourself, redeem us”, but Baba Iyabo would not listen…” after all the money I have sunk and still sinking into this 2007 project, he screamed in Yoruba ‘RARA’! Meaning no and both Mbotu and Idi Amin disappeared. As for me I just walked on in soliloquy…
…2005 would go down as one of the worst years in the annals of this nation’s short history in terms of hardship, yet the President based on available records spent billions on “butterfly projects”, all fancy, no bearing on the lives of the populace, hospitals are mortuaries, aviation infested with government witches and wizards, education producing more illiterates.
The North and South are out there certainly and foolishly playing unconsciously and knowingly to a well scripted selfish script of greed and senseless movement, stationary movement. Fighting for power that does not exist or has been shared already, as I thought to myself I wondered how we created the monsters like Mbotu, Idi Amin, Taylor, Mugabe Obasanjo et al and were aided by the so-called international community for their own self centered reasons to kill ourselves. I asked what kind of power makes a man blind, deaf and dumb to the reality of the sufferings of his fellow people, as I almost got to my house as usual, no electricity, and no portable water, the roads filled with death holes. I concluded Almighty Allah must have taken leave of us, but how can…we have seen this movie before, Abacha was indispensable, Mbotu, Samuel Doe, Idi Amin, even Gowon, Museveni, Paul Biya, Eyadema, no problem, I know that only Allah is indispensable.

Posted by Publisher at 04:28 PM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2006

Attack on Gov Mu’azu: 43 in police net

The police in Bauchi have arrested 43 suspects in connection with last Friday’s attack on the motorcade of Governor Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu at Azare.

Mu’azu narrowly escaped assassination when some hoodlums attacked his motorcade, leaving several people injured and some vehicles damaged.

Competent sources at the state police command told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi on Wednesday that those arrested were assisting the police in their investigations.

Police commissioner Ibiyinka Kayode had admitted in a statement in Bauchi on Tuesday that some people had been arrested in connection with the incident.
‘’Some people were arrested in connection with the incident and investigation is in progress,’’ the statement said.

Kayode denounced some media reports on the incident which, he claimed, were ‘’false and unfounded’’.

He said that contrary to the reports which stated that five people were killed during the incident, no life was lost while only three people sustained injuries.

The police boss had rebuffed attempts by journalists to make him comment on the incident after its occurrence.

Posted by Publisher at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2006

Council chairmen shun census workshops

Only 343 out of 774 local council chairmen attended 2006 census workshops organised for them by the National Population Commission (NPC) in the six geo-political zones.

A report of the workshop made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja showed that the effort was made to carry along the chairmen on preparations for the exercise.

The census is scheduled to hold from March 21 to March 25, this year.
The report stated that attendance showed that the North-West zonal workshop which held in Katsina on Dec. 3, 2005 recorded the highest number of 87 chairmen.

Further breakdown showed that South West came second with 70 chairmen, followed by North East with 69 chairmen and South East with 57 chairmen.

In South-South, the workshop which held in Port-Harcourt had 38 chairmen in attendance while North Central recorded the lowest attendance of 22 chairmen.
NAN recalls that at the South West workshop which held in Osogbo on Nov. 17, 2005, Osun governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola was embarrassed at the poor turnout at the opening of the ceremony.

When journalists confronted him with the issue of poor attendance, he promised that something would be done within the next two hours.

Just as he promised, the number of chairmen increased from less than five when the workshop was opened to 70 by the time it ended on the same day.
In Jos, where the workshop for the North Central zone was held on Nov. 5, 2005, the excuse was that the event coincided with the date for the state congress of the PDP, eventhough both activities took place at Hill Station Hotel.

In Port-Harcourt, council chairmen abandoned the workshop to accompany Rivers governor, Peter Odili to Abuja where he was honoured by the Anglican Church.
Officials of NPC, who spoke on the poor turn out, said that it appeared the chairmen preferred litigation after the exercise, rather than attend an event that would enlighten them on the census and how to do the right things to avoid court cases.

``If they say they are sharing money at the workshop, I am sure almost all of them will attend,'' a traditional ruler in Osogbo said.
Meanwhile, questions asked by some of the LG chairmen that attended the workshop, showed that many of them were not informed on preparations for census 2006 and what was expected of them.

However, eight decisions taken at the workshops held between Nov. 5, 2005 and Dec. 8, 2005 showed that Enumeration Area (EA) maps would not be used for resolution of boundary disputes, that EA demarcation has been completed and population figures would not be published below the level of EA.
The workshops agreed that before census 2006, locality lists of all local government areas nationwide would be published.

It was also decided that enumeration would take place in all disputed areas, but that figures would not be assigned to any of the contending parties until disputes were resolved.

The chairmen agreed to forward to NPC, details of all localities with boundary disputes for proper documentation before 2006 census and that the number of localities should not be seen as a determinant of its population.
Participants also agreed that there was need for the harmonization of locality lists with the local government and NPC before the census.

Posted by Publisher at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2006

Suspected hoodlums attack Gov Mu’azu

A GROUP of hoodlums armed with dangerous weapons have attacked Governor Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu’s convoy on his way to attend a wedding fatihah in Azare town in the state.

From SULE ALIYU, Bauchi

The hoodlums who are suspected to be the supporters of the former minister of aviation, Malam Isa Yuguda ambushed the governor’s convoy some five kilometres to Azare town, headquarters of Katagum local government of the state firing random gunshots randomly at the convoy.

According to a press statement signed by the state commissioner of information, Barrister Ibrahim Zailani, a copy, which was made available to Daily Triumph, it took the governor’s security men about 45 minutes to disperse the hoodlums and clear the way for the governor and his convoy.

The governor was not hurt, but some vehicles in the entourage were damaged with some members of the entourage sustaining various degrees of injuries.

Mu’azu who was visibly surprised at such unexpected attack however, appealed for calm while the security agents were directed to commence investigation into the incidence with a view to fishing out those responsible for the despicable act.

While sympathising with those who sustained injuries, Mu’azu reiterated the commitment of his government to ensure that peace and security prevail in the state.

He also advised parents and guardians to inculcate discipline and high moral values in their children, stressing that no meaningful development can be achieved without peace.

The governor, however, warned that the state government will not fold its arms and allow acts of lawlessness by any person or group of persons no matter how highly placed to disrupt the peace and progress being recorded in the state.
All efforts to speak to former aviation minister, Malam Isa Yuguda proved abortive as he was said to have travelled out of the state.

Posted by Publisher at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2006

ICAO audit: Nigeria at cross-roads

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is scheduled to carry out a technical audit of the Nigerian aviation sector this year after a spate of deadly air mishaps in Africa’s most populous country that left over 200 people dead.

“The audit, scheduled for September, is meant to confirm the level of compliance of the country’s aviation infrastructure with international standards.

“Nigeria stands to be blacklisted if it fails the test by the world aviation regulatory body,” it said.

Nigerian minister of aviation Babalola Borishade reportedly had ordered the aviation parastatals, particularly the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to upgrade, repair and replace decrepit and obsolete equipment that had been neglected while scarce resources were spent on frivolities.

Most facilities at the various airports across the country are obsolete, the report said. According to it, some of them are the radar system, which is put off at weekends for maintenance, the airport runways, which had developed cracks, and ridden with potholes, obsolete fire cover and other navigation equipment.

In the past three months, three planes crashed in Nigeria, leaving more than 200 people killed. The latest happened on December 10 when a DC-9 operated by Sosoliso Airlines crashed on a final touch down to the runway in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt, killing 106 on board, most of them students returning home for the holidays.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo called an emergency meeting on air safety last month following the air crash, pledging to do everything to ensure that aviation industry is sanitized. He had ordered inspection of the airlines in the country.

Posted by Publisher at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2005

Galadima returns NFA chairman

THE incumbent chairman of the Nigeria Football Association, (NFA), Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima was yesterday re-elected into the baord of the association at Royal Tropicana Hotel, Kano.

By ADO SALISU

Galadima scored 2 votes to beats former NFA Secretary General, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi who polled 24. Others elected members, were Mr. Felix Anyansi-Agwu, 1st vice-chairman; Mr. Pickson Adejube, Suleiman Mu’azu, Kachako Bala Gana, and Ben Agary.

The rest include Suleiman David, Sabo Adamu Jumba, Tony Nnachetta, Peter Fabuku Singabeli, Sam Sam Jaja and Barr. Chris Green.

Speaking shortly after the election, the electoral committee chairman, Hon. Nduka Irabor, said that 33 states attended the congress with over 66 delegates representing two third of the quorum supposed to vote in the election.

Hon. Irabor said that they conducted the election on FIFA approved statutes.
In his post election speech after sworn-in by Barr. Halima Usman, the new NFA boss, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, said that the board would continue to work hand-in-hand with the federal ministry of sports for the promotion and development of the game not only in the country but the world at large.

He expressed appreciation to Kano state government for rescuing and hosting the NFA election, adding that the government has justified its interest for sports development in the country.

He commended the electoral committee members for their sacrifice, dedication and committment towards organising a credible election and called on the states FA chairmen to cooperate with the NFA towards upliftment of the game.

Posted by Publisher at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2005

Buhari, IBB disprove doubting Thomases ...Resolve to ensure democracy sustained

THE much-orchestrated sour relationship between two former heads of state,Generals Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida which over the years caused a serious division in Northern leadership, has of recent assumed a promising dimension that insinuations over this may after all, be mere pigments of black sheeps’ imagination.

This development was attested to last Tuesday when the two military leaders collectively restated their commitment, without mincing words, towards the continuity and progress of their motherland.
In a meeting under the aegies of Governor Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia state which also registered the presence of the defunct Biafran war-lord and APGA leader,Dim Chukwumeka Odumegwu Ojokwu, the two former leaders stressed their resolve to promote the sustenance of democratic political system for the nation.
Dispelling the no-love-lost relationship further, General Babangida said his rapport with General Muhammadu Buhari which spans 40 years, has been most ordeal.
Chippinig his contribution at the occasion during which some prestigious Igbo traditional titles were conferred on them by Governor Kalu, General Buhari, erstwhile ANPP presidential candidate in 2003 election, observed that Nigeria is endowed with enormous human and material resources which should be harnessed for national development.
Earlier, Governor Uzor Kalu had stated that what the country needs, is the experience of each of the nation’s past leaders especially when the country is now at cross-roads.
Others at the historic meeting were former vice president Alex Ekwueme and Governor Chris Ngige of Anambra state.
All of these Nigerian leaders, General Buhari, General Babangida, Dr. Ekwueme, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, Governor Ngige and host Governor Kalu later went into a closed door meeting at Igbere in Bende local government area of Abia state before gracing a cultural ceremony where the two former heads of state were honoured with the traditional titles.
General Ibrahim Babangida was conferred with the title of Nwannedinamba (kinsman in Diaspora) while General Buhari got the title of Nwannediahanma (kinsman who is pleasing to all).

Posted by Publisher at 04:14 PM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2005

Third term agenda: Presidency dumps idea, scouts for successor ...Kano reacts to announcement

Apparently yielding to the enormous pressure being visited on President Olusegun Obasanjo from within and outside the country over his purported third bid come 2007, the Presidency yesterday said that it had started searching for a credible successor, pointing out that the president is interested and willing to relinquish power at the end of his tenure in 2007.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Chief Femi Fani Kayode, said this in an interview with newsmen while reacting to the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Dr. John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan’s claim that the country was blessed with thousands of people that could succeed Obasanjo.
The cleric was quoted by some national newspapers at the weekend, to have said in an interview that there were over 5,000 Nigerians that could take over from the President.
Fani-Kayode, however, said the cleric did not only miss the point, but equally misunderstood the position of the Obasanjo administration on what qualities it expects from its successor.
However, reacting to this development on behalf of Kano people in a telephone interview, Alhaji Magaji Dambatta (OFR), said he welcomes the intention of the president not to perpetuate himself in power beyond 2007 as stipulated by the Nigerian constitution and not to even think of recontesting again in future.
Congratulating the president for listening to public opinion and bending to people’s wishes, Dambatta noted that by making it known that he is no longer for the bid, it is now clear to everybody speculations to continue in office were genuine, and this therefore, has portrayed all those people who were accusing others of mere speculation as “greatest deceivers of our time”.
To reassure Nigerians, he further observed, the president should urge the National Assembly to disband, immediately, the Mantu committee on constitutional review set up to start sampling public opinion next month.
According to him, by this development, the committee has no place in the new thinking since it was believed quite justifiably that their motive was to secure third term for Obasanjo.
“Admittedly, there are quite a few areas in our constitution that require amendments, this task is best carried out by the next legislature which would have ample time to do a thorough job and which we hope will consist of members who will be truly elected by the people,” he added.
In this regard, Dambatta stated, the president should waste no time in strengthening, equipping and funding adequately, INEC, so that it can start preparatory work in earnest for credible elections in 2007.
On the part of INEC, the ACF Board of Trustees chairman said the commission must itself ensure that it is truly independent by making all necessary arrangements leading to the elections themselves, diligently and transparently.
As to the choice of the next president, Dambatta noted that the shopping and eventual selection is not in the realm of the Presidency.
He said, instead, it is for the political parties and not individuals or group of individuals that can come up with candidates that are saleable to the electorate and worthy of leading the nation to peace, progress and prosperity.
It could be recalled that stakeholders from Kano state had recently kicked against any move by the present administration to review the constitution with a view to perpetuating the Obasanjo leadership for the third term in office.

Posted by Publisher at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2005

27 perish in auto crash

Some 27 persons were killed last Saturday at Bakura junction, in Bakura local government area of Zamfara state, following a ghastly motor accident.

The 911 lorry involved in the accident was on its way to Sokoto from Magami town in Gusau local government area.
Confirming the deaths, the FRSC sector commander, Alhaji Umar Liman, said the accident occurred at about 4:00 a.m. as a result of a mechanical problem.
``The vehicle was loaded with bags of maize, and when the accident happened, it fell under a bridge,'' he said.
According to him, three other injured persons had been taken to the Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto.

Posted by Publisher at 05:36 PM | Comments (0)

Refined politicking in Kano coming ...Says Sani Hashim, extends olive branch to opposition

A BRAND new and refined politicking is to be introduced in Kano state, if the consensus leaders of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) are adopted come next year.

By SANI AHMAD BICHI

This statement was made by the consensus chairman, Alhaji Sani Hashim Hotoro at Bachirawa ward in Fagge local government council when the elders and the consensus executives wound up their 44-local government tour of the state.
He said under the new political arrangement in the state, there will be no thuggery, political irresponsibility or confrontation with the opposition, calling on the opposition to come and have a dialogue.
The consensus chairman also called on the teeming youth to rally round the present administration in the state which he said has done a lot in promoting the welfare of the youth.
Alhaji Hashim cited the example of vocational training being given to over 1,000 youths, employment of over 2,000 sanitary workers in the state and all the local government areas.
The acting chairman of the Elders Forum, and former Majority Leader in the Kano state House of Assembly, Alhaji Ammani Inuwa, called on party members to start campaigning for the year 2007 elections.
He stated that ANPP is still one (SAK) as there are no divisions or factions.
Alhaji Inuwa appealed to the delegates to rally round and vote the consensus leaders during the next congress.
The chairman of Fagge local government council, Alhaji Nasiru Rabo assured of their support to the consensus leadership in the state.
In his contribution, the chairman of Municipal council, Alhaji Salisu Maje Gwangwazo called on party supporters to join hands together in moving the party forward.
Alhaji Rabiu Bako, the consensus secretary of the party, stressed the need for special prayers to enable Malam Ibrahim Shekarau continue with his laudable development programmes.
The rally was attended by thousands of party members.

Posted by Publisher at 05:36 PM | Comments (0)

Hajj: Kabo Air explains delay on airlift

Airlift of intending pilgrims by Kabo Air for this year’s Hajj will be completed on schedule in spite of the slow pace in flight operation since the exercise commenced on November, 17.

Kabo Air's Executive Director Operations, Alhaji Aliyu Aminu, explained that the delay was as a result of technical hitches caused by a new policy introduced by the Saudi authorities.
He said that adequate efforts had been made to ensure that the time lost so far would be taken care of by increasing the airline's fleet of four B747 with two air buses.
A statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the weekend in Abuja, quoted Aminu as saying that the Saudi's Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA) had in September introduced the new policy.
According to him, the PCA introduced an extra requirement called Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) which must be possessed by any aircraft flying into that country.
He said that the device was an advanced version of Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) which all ``our aircraft possess".
Aminu said that the new policy would have applied to the airports in the mountainous terrain and ``not Nigeria or Saudi Arabia where the risk is 95 per cent non-existent.
``But because it is a general policy we placed an order in October hoping that we will get supply in November.
``But probably because of high demand especially toward Christmas and New Year period Kabo did not receive confirmation order from the manufacturers in the U.S. until late November.
``The company gave a delivery date of January 10, 2006 for the supply of the customs made equipment,'' Aminu stated.
He said that in view of the development each time any aircraft possessing GPWS wanted to fly into Jeddah, it would obtain clearance from the Saudi authorities, noting that that explained why Nigerian carriers could not fly into Jeddah.
Aminu said that the airline had asked for a temporary waiver from the Saudi authorities for the first phase of the operation through the foreign affairs ministry.
He apologised to all the states that had selected Kabo Air for the airlift, including the Technical Committee on Hajj (TCH) for the delay.
Aminu said that by God's grace airlift of pilgrims would be completed on or before January 4, 2005, the closing date of King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.

Posted by Publisher at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

PDP ward suspends minister in Gombe

The PDP in Kumbia-Kumbia ward of Gombe metropolis on Sunday suspended the minister of special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, retired Col. Musa Muhammad from the party.

The ward chairman of the party, Alhassan Audu who announced the suspension in Gombe at the weekend, said the minister was suspended for alleged ``anti-party activities and insubordination.''
Audu alleged that the minister had exhibited acts of disrespect to the state governor, Alhaji Danjuma Goje during the last PDP national delegates conference.
The chairman said that the disciplinary measure was aimed at ``instilling sanity into the party.’’
In his reaction, the minister said that those claiming to have suspended him did not register him during the last party membership registration exercise.
According to him, although he is a registered party member, the ward leaders are not the ones who registered him, as such, could not have suspended him.
Muhammad refuted the allegation that he had been disrespectful to the state governor, saying that he was once a state administrator and therefore, had respect for that office.

Posted by Publisher at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

...Mantu shops for aircraft

Leader of the federal government Hajj delegation, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, says international negotiations are on for more aircraft to convey all intending Muslim pilgrims to the Holy Land.

Mantu told newsmen yesterday at Minna airport that with only 10 days to the closure of Jeddah Airport, contingency arrangement must be made to ensure that no Nigerian pilgrim is left behind.
He explained that while his committee appreciated the problems at hand, as only about 10,000 of the 60,000 pilgrims were conveyed, the committee would not allow a repeat of last year's episode.
He said that last year, many intending pilgrims could not make it to Saudi Arabia.
``We are aware that the operation is running at very slow speed but we are not resting on our oars at ensuring that we get more aircraft from any part of the world,'' he stressed.
He, however, noted that in spite of the urgent need for more aircraft, the committee would not compromise the new aviation standard set by the federal government and Saudi authorities to ensure safety.
The leader of the federal government Hajj delegation pointed out that that the National Assembly would, by March 2006, pass a bill that would establish a National Hajj Commission in the country.
The commission was the only panacea to smooth Hajj operations, having tried many options without success, Mantu said.
Meanwhile, the first batch of the 350 intending muslim pilgrims from Niger State had been conveyed to Saudi Arabia.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who witnessed their take-off at the Minna Airport, reports that most of them had spent nine days at the Tudun Fulani camp in Minna.
Although looking tensed by the long delay, they were, however, happy that at last their dream of performing this year's Hajj is achievable.
The leader of the federal government delegation, Ibrahim Mantu, advised the pilgrims to remain law abiding and steadfast in their worship.
Mantu urged the pilgrims to save their travelling allowance for necessary expenses and avoid excess luggage.
Governor Abdulkadir Kure of Niger state urged the pilgrims to pray for peace, economic prosperity and progress in the country.
The first batch consisted of intending pilgrims from Mashegu, Mariga, Shiroro, Kotonkoro and Rafin local government areas which took off at about 9.20 a.m. on board a Dubai airbus called Buraq.

Posted by Publisher at 05:34 PM | Comments (0)

BON now joins Unity Bank Group

Bank of the North (BON) Ltd has joined the Unity Bank Group in its bid to beat CBN's December 31 deadline on the N25 billion capitalisation.

Announcing this in Kano at the weekend, the bank's Managing Director, Alhaji Ahmad Ibrahim, said the decision followed BON's separation with the North-Omega Group.
He explained that with the new merger agreement with the Unity Bank Group, BON, along with the New Africa Bank Plc had decided to contribute a total of about N10 billion in shareholders fund to the group.
This, he said, was in addition to a network of 88 branches of the bank, its huge assets, as well as the human capital of BON.
Ibrahim said the merger would place the Unity Bank Group among the leading consolidated banks in Nigeria.
Members of the Unity Bank Group, the managing director disclosed, included Tropical Commercial Bank, Pacific Bank, Intercity Bank and Center-point Bank.
He added that the combined shareholders fund of the group was now in excess of the minimum requirement of N25 billion prescribed by the CBN.
BON had already secured the approval in the principle of the CBN for the merger with Unity Bank Group and efforts were on to meet other conditions for the merger, he stressed.
Before the latest agreement, BON had earlier been part of the First North Group, which, like its merger with the North-Omega
Group, was short-lived.

Posted by Publisher at 05:34 PM | Comments (0)

KNSG moves to reform Tsangaya education

DESPITE the daunting challenges facing the Islamiyyah and Ilmi schools in Kano state, the state government has taken steps to reform and change the situation of Tsangaya form of Qur’anic education with a view to consolidating the gains of Sharia implementation.

By MUHAMMAD BELLO, Assistant Editor, Sunday

Dr. Bashir Shehu Galadanchi, the Special Adviser to the state Government on Education and Information Technology disclosed this during a media launch to commemorate the Tsangaya Week which started Sunday.
Dr. Galadanchi said in spite of the total neglect of the sectors, the Islamic and Qur’anic forms of education have developed tremendously as Nigerian students, especially those from Kano have continued to excel in the annual Musabaqa held in Saudi Arabia.
Enumerating the problems militating against the sectors, as deplorable infrastructure, begging, lack of proper healthcare and lack of recognition of the graduands of such education, Dr. Bashir said all well-meaning individuals and communities must come to their rescue.
He questioned the rationale behind huge government investment in Western education, when the society still values the Islamic form of education 40 years after colonialism which set the agenda for its destruction.
Currently, the government has trained about 600 Qur’anic teachers on skills acquisition to make them self-reliant from its pilot feeding programme in three local government areas, namely – Ajingi, Makoda and Warawa.
There are about 14,000 Qur’anic schools and 4,500 Islamiyya schools in the state.

Posted by Publisher at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

Third batch of pilgrims airlifted

The third batch of Muslim pilgrims were on Sunday airlifted from Sokoto after being stranded for three days at the airport.

The pilgrims were airlifted by Kabo Air, Boeing 747.
Intending pilgrims from Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states were also being airlifted to Saudi Arabia from the Sultan Abubakar III International Airport, Sokoto.
The chairman of the state Pilgrims Welfare Agency, Alhaji A. A. Umarun-Kwabo, described the delay in airlifting as ''obnoxious''.
The inaugural flight for the 2006 Hajj was conducted in Sokoto on December 15.
The state had 449 pilgrims.

Posted by Publisher at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

Speaker Gani charges Hisbah Board to be tolerant

MEMBERS of Kano state Hisbah Board have been urged to be tolerant and discharge their duties according the provisions of the law that established the board for effective performance.

From ALIYU YUSUF, Kaduna

The call was made by the Speaker, Kano state House of Assembly, Hon. Balarabe Sa’idu Gani during the closing ceremony of the seven-day capacity building training organized for Hisbah Corps by the Kano state government, held at Hamdala Hotel Kaduna, over the weekend.
He stressed the need by all the Hisbah corps to be conversant with the provisions of the law and ask questions where necessary, saying that doing so will help them in the discharge of their responsibilities.
The Speaker therefore assured those who are yet to participate in the training to wait for their turn, disclosing that all the 9,000 corps must attend the training to enable them perform effectively.
“As the body that passed the Hisbah Law, Kano Assembly will continue to make necessary amendments in it so as to make the provisions meet the day-to-day needs of the people,” Hon. Gani asserted.
He commended the state government for organizing the training and congratulated the beneficiaries, calling on them to utilize what they have learnt.
Hon. Gani than presented certificates of attendance to the 60 participants at the occasion.
Earlier, the coordinator of the training programme, Dr. Shehu Mahdi had disclosed that the aim of the training was to upgrade the knowledge of the participants on how to carry out their duties effectively.
He revealed that about 580 Hisbah corps have so for benefited from such training which is to be carried out batch by batch.
Dr. Mahdi therefore expressed gratitude to the Kano state government and the state House of Assembly for their efforts in assisting Islamic activities for the betterment of the people in the state.

Posted by Publisher at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)

Influx of aliens worries Katsina NIS

MASSIVE influx of illegal aliens is becoming a source of concern to security agents and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Funtua area of Katsina state.

From MUA’WUYA B. IDRIS, Kaduna

The Immigration Officer in charge of Funtua zone in Katsina, Alhaji Nasiru Ahmad Dikko told a meeting of traditional rulers and community leaders that most of these illegal immigrants came from Niger Republic and neighbouring countries
“If has come to the notice of the zonal office that immigrants from Niger Republic and other neighbouring countries are either residing in Funtua or staying a while without official permit,” he added.
Alhaji Dikko cited Jibiri quarters as one area harbouring illegal immigrants and called for a joint effort to address the problem.
Contributing at the meeting, the Divisional Police Officers in charge of Funtua Central and Makera Police stations, DSP Aminu Ibrahim and DSP Usman Adamu respectively, alleged that some of the illegal immigrants are aiding crimes and other unlawful acts in Funtua.
They called on traditional rulers especially the village and ward heads to always report to the office of the district head or the police station, the movement of any illegal immigrant.
Also speaking, the District Head of Funtua, Alhaji Sambo Idris urged the zonal immigration of Immigrants through the village and ward heads to ensure more security.

Posted by Publisher at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)

Jigawa SUBEB promotes 5,000 teachers

THE Jigawa state Universal Basic Eduaction Board (SUBEB) has said that it has so far promoted a total of 5,000 primary school teachers across the state since its creation about two years ago.

From ISMA’ILA MUHAMMAD, Dutse

The director planning and moral who is also the state Teachers Welfare Committee chairman, Ustaz Muhammad Lawal Baldu made this known while exchanging views with our correspondent in Dutse, last Friday.
He said the gesture was part of the efforts of Governor Ibrahim Saminu Turaki’s administration to motivate teachers to perform their duties effectively.
Malam Baldu added that thousands of teaching and non-teaching staff have advanced to the next grade level within the period under review.
He explained further that seminars, workshops and symposia have been organized for teaching, non-teaching and management staff by the board as part of its capacity building programme.
The chairman who said that apart from motivation, discipline has also been instilled as they are twin brothers, pointing out that the board would not tolerate laziness, absconding, late coming or any act of indiscipline.
Malam Baldu said that while the motivational exercises will continue, warned the beneficiaries of the good gesture to reciprocate it by living above board so as to achieve the desired goals of improving the standard of elementary education in the state.

Posted by Publisher at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)

Customs impound N2.3bn contraband goods

The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’, Ikeja, of the Nigeria Customs Service seized prohibited goods worth N2.3 billion between January and September 2005.

The Controller of the Unit, Alhaji Umar Daura, who disclosed this to newsmen at his Ikeja, Lagos office at the weekend, added that his men recorded 1,084 seizures and arrested 42 suspected smugglers within the same period.
According to Daura, some of the arrested smugglers have since been charged to courts while cases against others are still pending.
He said that though, the seized items were varied and included different brands of vehicles, rice, electronics, assorted wine and vegetable oil, textiles materials formed the majority.
Daura appreciated the efforts of some members of the public who informed his office on the activities of smugglers during the period and appealed for more of such assistance from patriotic Nigerians.
“The issue of seizures and the arrest of smugglers is a daily phenomenon in this command,’’ he said, adding that his officials would not relent until smugglers have a change of mind.
Daura disclosed that the command had been further fortified with the provision of patrol vehicles, arms and ammunition by the federal government and warned smugglers to desist from sabotaging the economy or face the wrath of the law.

Posted by Publisher at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

Bauchi trains 30,000 youth on various skills, says gov

Governor Ahmadu Mu’azu of Bauchi State says more than 30,000 youth have been trained for various skills as part of government’s poverty alleviation scheme.

Mu’azu made this known in Bauchi when the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) delegation to the just concluded Guild of Editors Conference visited him.
He said beneficiaries were drawn from more than 500 communities and were trained in 22 different skills.
He explained that the programme was introduced to curb poverty which according to him was a major factor militating against the state.
He noted that before the introduction of the scheme, which was designed to cover various facets of the society, Bauchi state was one of the poorest states in the country.
The governor added that the state government had to intensify the training of its youth through skill acquisition and resettlement.
He pointed out that the state government had registered 5,959 cooperative societies with membership of 300,000, while 5,647 self-help projects were executed by different community-based organisations.
Mu’azu said about 2,000 women have benefited from the state’s interest-free micro-credit loans.

Posted by Publisher at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

Festivals: NSCDC to intensify security

Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has been advised to be vigilant as vandals usually intensify their activities during festivals.

The advise was made by the Commandant-General, Dr Ade Abolurin, while addressing the corps at a ``festival of nine lessons and service'' in Abuja.
He said there was no holiday for corps because vandals would seize the opportunity to have a
field day.
``You must continue to monitor and carry ou surveillance and general guard duties to protect life and property,'' he said.
`You are also aware of the heavy traffic on the roads during this season so you must be on hand to control the traffic,'' he advised.

Posted by Publisher at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

Anambra budgets N35.87bn for 2006

Anambra state government has proposed a budget of N35.87 billion for 2006, representing an increase of 16.73 per cent over the 2005 budget of N30.73 billion.

Addressing the House of Assembly in Awka last Friday, Gov. Chris Ngige said that the sum of N17.98 billion or 50.12 per cent of the budget was for recurrent expenditure while the sum of N17.89 billion or 49.88 per cent of the budget was for capital expenditure.
A breakdown of the budget showed that road construction got the highest allocation of N7.14 billion.
Education followed with an allocation of N1.83 billion, housing got N1.08 billion, health received N653 million, while water supply got N550 million.
He announced that a total of 16 new road projects would be executed next year in addition to the ongoing ones in different parts of the state.
“There is no doubt that the massive road development programme will erase the ugly stigma of the most undeveloped road network which the state had borne since its creation in 1991,’’ he said.
Ngige also said that government would partner with the private sector to carry out some housing projects next year and that some of them were estates already mapped out for development.
They are Hillview Estate, Nkwelle, Liberation Estate Nawfia/Enugwu-Agidi, Ikwodiaku Estate, Mgbakwu Estate and Amansea Estate.
He said that a new state secretariat for public servants would be started next year to ease office accomodation scarcity.
“The 2006 budget is based on the policies, principles and framework that guided the 2005 and 2004 budgets.
“The focus will continue to be on the revitalization of the state economy and creating the necessary socio-economic environment for increased productivity and sustained development and growth,’’ he added.
Acording to Ngige, the budget, tagged Budget of Consolidation, would be used to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people, pointing out that his administration had only one more year to go.
Receiving the budget, the Speaker of the state Hosue of Assembly, Mr. Mike Balonwu, assured that the Assembly would assist government ensure that the budget was fully implemented to satisafy the needs of the people.
The Assembly later read the Appropration Bill twice and directed its committee on Finance and Appropriation to study it.
The legislature later adjourned till Jan. 17, 2006 to resume work on the budget.

Posted by Publisher at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

INEC canvasses KMC’s co-operation

MUNICIPAL local government council, Kano state, has been advised to co-operate with the office of the Independent National Electoral Comission in the area for the success of future election.

The state INEC commissioner, Alhaji Umar Usman,, made the plea while inaugurating the local government, stakeholders forum in the area.
He appealed to members of the forum to offer useful suggestion to the commission that would guide it to avoid mistakes in the conduct of elections.
The INEC officer, Malam Abba Badamasi, had explained that one of the responsibilities of the forum was to find ways of avoiding conflicts during elections.
The representative of the chairman who is the supervisory councillor for agriculture, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim Khalil, said the setting up of the forum would go along way in solving problems encountered during the elections.
The forum has the LG INEC officer, Malam Abba Badamasi, as its chairman while his assistant Alhaji Tijjani Ibrahim would serve as secretary.

Posted by Publisher at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

‘put fear of God in your dealings’

MUSLIMS have again been urged to always have the fear of God while carrying out their activities.

By BALA ABUBAKAR

The emir of Kano, Dr. Ado Bayero, gave the advice while commissioning Launawar ‘Yargaya Friday mosque in Dawakin Kudu local government area.
The emir emphasised the need for Muslims to abide by the teachings of Islam, also stressed the importance of building mosques.
He advised the people of the village to make the best use of the mosque by observing five daily prayers in it.
Alhaji Ado Bayero commended the state government, the council and the mosque committee for their effort toward successful completion of the project.
Earlier, the chairman of the council, Alhaji Sani Adamu Gano, reiterated the council’s determination to assist towards promoting Islam and commended the emir for his contribution towards the development of the religion.
Alhaji Gano enjoined well to do in the society to always build mosques and assist the religion of Allah.

Posted by Publisher at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

D/Kudu assures clean environment

DAWAKIN Kudu local government council, Kano state says it would continue to do everything possible towards ensuring a clean and healthy environment.

The chairman of the council, Alhaji Sani Adamu Gano, made the remark at the opening ceremony of a one day orientation course for temporary health labourers organised by the state chapter of professional association of environmental health workers.
Alhaji Sani Adamu Gano said the council had employed one 100 temporary labourers aimed at ensuring a clean environment.
The chairman who was represented by an official of the local government, Alhaji Bashir Muhammad, explained that the council had also provided uniforms to them while four thousand naira had been earmarked as monthly allowance.
Alhaji Sani Adamu Gano called on the workers to work hard towards achieving the set goals.
The state president of professional association of environmental health workers, Dr. Bala Muhammad Tukur, said plans are underway to organise seminar for temporary health labourers in the 44 local governments in the state.
He praised the state government for approving the appointment of temporary labourers as well as Dawakin Kudu council for its support to members of professional association of environmental health officers.

Posted by Publisher at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

Bagwai people urged to participate in census

PEOPLE in Bagwai local government area, Kano state, have been urged to participate actively in the forth coming National Census.

By BALA ABUBAKAR

The district head of Bagwai, Danmadamin Kano, Alhaji Nura Shehu Ahmad, gave the advice while addressing the people of Gardo, Jarimawa villages in the area.
Alhaji Nura Shehu said the exercise was aimed at knowing the exact number of people in the country so that their council could plan well.
He appealed to the people to support other government programmes aimed at improving their wellbeing.
Speaking at the occasion, the national census comptroller in the area, Hajiya Amina Mani, appealed to the people to ensure that they are counted during the exercise.
The National orientation officer, Malam Bala Mato Dan Zabuwa called on community leaders non-governmental organisations to join hands with the National Population Commission for the success of the exercise.
The NOA officer, however advised the people in the area to always reciprocate the council efforts towards improving on the lives of the rural community.

Posted by Publisher at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

GWALSSA commends Gwarzo Council

PRESIDENT of Gwarzo Local Government Association (GWALSSA),Alhaji Aminu Ahmad Roya has commended Gwarzo local government council chairman, engineer Abdullahi T. Muhammad, over the council’s efforts in promoting education in the area.

Ahmad Roya who spoke to Daily Triumph said the council has between July and August spent about N5 million on scholarship to its indigenes who were sponsored for various vocational skills at Sani Abacha Vocational Training Centre.
He added that the council has also provided a standard and well equipped internet cafe for the council’s students in order to facilitate learning and other related research activities.
Roya further explained that to ease accommodation problem the council had rented a flat house 11 bedrooms at Na’ibawa quarters for those studying at kumbostso campus of the college of education, he added that similar facility has provided at Kabuga quarters and Rimin Gata for students of the Federal College of Education, (FCE), Bayero University, Kano (BUK) Kano state Polytechnic and Aminu Kano College of Islamic and Legal Studies.
Even secondary schools the presidents said were not left behind, as the council has constructed five new secondary schools, in various locations of the local government area.
He, therefore, called on the students to concentrate on their studies and shun bad behaviours and also appealed to the council to consider the remaining 200 students who have not been paid during the last payment exercise.

Posted by Publisher at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

ANPP‘ll resist rigging in 2007 -Buhari

ANPP presidential flag bearer in the 2003 general elections, Alhaji Muhammad Buhari, has restated that the era of election rigging and manipulations in Nigeria is over.

From ISMA’ILA MUHAMMAD, Dutse
He maintained that the 2007 elections are going to be dicey , where by justice will take its course.
General Buhari, while addressing a mammoth crowd of ANPP supporters in Birnin Kudu, during commissioning ceremony of a computer centre, declared that Nigerian masses were ready to sacrifice their blood in the defence of justice, fair play and protection of their voting rights.
He pointed out that no attempt, by any body to hijack election results in the country would be successful any more, stressing that only true winners of elections would be allowed to emerge.
The computer centre , which was named after him was established by the member, representing Birnin Kudu/Buji Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Farouk Adamu Aliyu,last weekend.
He described politics as neither an inherited property nor slavery, adding that due processe must be adhered to, stressing further that, people were poised to effect changes, for the betterment of Nigerians.
“It is only the Holy scriptures that cannot be changed, he said adding that everything possible shall be done to fight injustices, and ensure a true democratic governance in the country”.
General Buhari then charged Nigerians to always ensure conduct of fair voting exercise so as to elect credible leaders of their choice, who would tackle the problems of insecurity corruption, poverty, and power supply, among others.
General Buhari disclosed that in July, 2006, the ANPP will conduct congress from ward to the National levels, where by party supporters will elect delegates who in turn would elect candidates that are to contest elections.
He said this would be part of efforts to ensure, justice, fair play, equity and true democratic governance in the country.
He stated that he has already embarked on voter education campaign with a view to enlightening Nigerians on how to defend their civil right, especially during election times.

Posted by Publisher at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

Kano ANPP elections campaign train kicks-off

ANPP campaign organising committee in Municipal Local Government Area of Kano state has kicked-off its campaign activities with a view to ensuring success of the party in the 2007 general elections.

By IBRAHIM ZUBAIRU
In a meeting held with representatives of all the 12 wards of the local government last Friday at Aminu Salisu Zango campaign head office, K/Mata, the committee chairman, Alhaji Auwalu Kundi, stated that the meeting was part of the committee’s strategies to ensure unity and cooperation among the ANPP members in order to move it forward.
Alhaji Auwalu Kundi also stressed the committee’s resolve to back up Alhaji Aminu Salisu’s candidature to contest the chairmanship position of the Municipal local government area.
He said their support has become necessary in view of Salisu’s enormous contributions to the general welfare of ANPP members, as well as progress of the local government.
In his remarks, the chairmanship aspirant, Alhaji Aminu Salisu Zango, has expressed delight over the unity of the party members in the area and thanked them for supporting his candidature, praying to God to grant them success in achieving the set objective.
Alhaji Zango also used the forum to call on all ANPP supporters and the general public in Kano to continue to rally round the government of the state, under the leadership of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau for its untiring efforts to the general development
He then congratulated the governor on his 50th anniversary and prayed to Allah (SWT) to grant him more years of wisdom and purposeful leadership.

Posted by Publisher at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2005

Constitutional review: Kano spits fire..Says move reeks of immorality

THE people of Kano state have adopted a resolution kicking against the proposed review of the Nigeria’s Constitution calling the move as immoral.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

This position of people of Kano state was made known to newsmen yesterday, shortly after a stakeholders meeting held at Murtala Muhammad Library Complex, Kano.
According to the resolution read by the chairman of the forum, Alhaji Magaji Dambatta, OFR, it is gross fraud and rape of democracy for those elected into office on the basis of definite terms provided by the constitution to engage in the process of changing such order.
‘’It is immoral, unethical and contrary to the spirit and letter of the constitution for people in power to initiate constitutional changes that are primarily designed for their own benefit,’’ Alhaji Dambatta stated.
He explained that those elected officials seeking extension and stay in office, they do not only reeks of corruption but amounts to fatal subversion of the constitution and the people’s will.
The chairman maintained that it becomes imperative to allow subsisting rule and regulations informing the conduct of democracy governance to take roots in order to ensure our capacity to effect transition from one civilian regime to another.
He said it is part of the surreptitious agenda to perpetuate the current regime in power that the National Assembly Constitution Review Committee plans to visit only six state capitals ostensibly to sample public opinion in support of what is clearly a predetermined position.
To this effect, the forum called on all well-meaning Nigerians to come out strongly in opposition, as many Nigerians as possible should therefore troop to the six selected public hearing venues to demonstrate their opposition in a peaceful manner as it is their right.
The resolution, according to the chairman, observed that should the NASS by any chance be presented with a recommendation from the review committee that was contrary to the popular views of Nigerians, the majority should outrightly reject it in conformity with the wishes of generality of Nigerians.
He stated that in that regard the forum has called on Kano state representatives at the National Assembly to take note of Kano’s position and ensure they abide by it as well as be vanguards of its actualisation.

Posted by Publisher at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2005

I want to be remembered as teacher -- Shagari

FORMER president, Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, has observed that teaching is not only a noble profession but also one that produces the builders of the modern society, hence he will want to be remembered as a teacher.

Stories from ABBA LAWAN KURMAWA, Sokoto

Alhaji Shagari who made the observation on the occasion of the distribution of certificates during a three-day capacity building workshop and roundtable for teachers in Sokoto, stated that without professional teachers, no one will be able to build anything at all.

Said he: ‘’Throughout my long years of services up to my retirement period, I was a teacher which I want to be remembered for.’’

Shagari posited that the key to progress in any endeavour is learning but no one will be able to learn anything at all without a teacher, adding: ‘’that is why learners and the learned must always respect their teachers.’’

‘’We teachers do not need to demand respect from anyone because for a teacher/student relationship, respect is always taken for granted,’’ he said, adding that, ‘’there is always a natural feeling of pride and satisfaction from the teacher whenever he meets the one he has taught especially if he or she has been very successful in life,’’ Shagari remarked.

He regarded it as a great honour to be formally recognised as a licensed teacher among Nigeria’s professional teachers, and he thanked the TRCN for appreciating the little contributions he has made in the development of education in his locality in particular and the country in general.
‘’That explains why I grabbed your kind invitation to me to attend this occasion with enthusiasm,’’ he stated.

Posted by Publisher at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2005

FG uncovers alleged plots

FEDERAL government says it had uncovered what it described as dastardly plans by certain group of people to cause ethnic disaffection, thereby negating the positive results of the present administration’s efforts in the past six years to comprehensively reform the nation for the collective benefit of its citizens.

Minister of information and national orientation, Mr. Frank Nweke Junior, who made this disclosure yesterday at Presidential Villa, Abuja, warned that the planners and their collaborators should know that their reprehensive plots to destabilise the country are being carefully watched and monitored.

According to him, some heinous allegations and baseless rumours on the intentions of this administration being spread by what he called selfish, self-seeking later-day ‘’defenders of democracy’’ are falsely alleging that government had recalled Colonel Ibrahim A. Yakasai and Sgt. Barnabas alias Rogers into the Nigerian Army to help in the elimination of opponents of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

He maintained that the true of the matter is that, Yakasai was dismissed with ignominy from the Nigerian Army and after his application for presidential pardon, it was granted, he also applied for the conversion of his cashiering to voluntary retirement which was granted by the Army Council.

As for his colleague, Seargent Barnabas alias ‘’Sgt Rogers,’’ Nweke said, ‘’he is still very much in the custody of the State Security Services facing criminal charges in a civil court.

The information minister further said, another regrettable rumour being peddled by ‘’these frustrated persons’’ in their so called third term agenda campaign, is their claim that one of the strategies applied by government for the actualisation of the bid, was to precipitate a crisis in the Bakassi peninsula that will lead to a declaration of a state of emergency in Nigeria.

In his words: ‘’The facts as they stand on Bakassi is that Nigeria lost its case for sovereignty over the territory at the International Court of Justice. Since then, President Obasanjo has worked tirelessly with his Camerounian counterpart to find a political solution that will fully protect the interest of thousands of Nigerians who have the peninsula as their ancestral home.’’

Similarly, he added, these enemies of progress alleged that the planned 2006 Census is deliberately fomented to cause a national crisis in furtherance of its alleged third term agenda. ‘’The plan, they claim, will be to make it seem as if the country would be ungovernable, unless President Obasanjo continue in office.’’

Mr. Nweke who described all these allegations as a wild, baseless, and thoroughly laughable allegation, however said, Obasanjo’s administration remains fully committed to ensuring that Nigeria and Nigerians would continue to enjoy the dividend of democracy as well as peace, law and order.

‘’This administration remains fully committed to upholding the rule of law in our country at all times. It has never sanctioned the arrest or detention of any individual merely on account of their views or for being opposed to its programmes, policies or actions and has no intention to begin to do so now,’’ he concluded.

Posted by Publisher at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2005

Rivers Assembly joins Borishade -must-go chorus

Rivers state House of Assembly has passed a resolution calling for the resignation of the aviation minister, Prof. Babalola Aborishade.

Assembly members, in the resolution passed on Wednesday, asked the minister to resign for alleged mismanagement of the affairs of the aviation industry.
They also called for the punishment of all directors and personnel in the industry, if found guilty of misconduct, resulting in the current spate of air disasters.
They equally called on the federal government to carry out total overhauling of the aviation industry as it did in the banking industry.
They said overhauling the industry would assure the citizens and the international community of their safety in the aviation sector.
Speaking on the motion that led to the resolution, Mr John Bazia, representing Tai constituency, lamented that Nigerian aircraft and airports lacked maintenance, while most of the equipment on ground had become obsolete.
Bazia said he was dismayed that in spite of the annual budgetary allocations to the sector, the managers allowed very old aircraft to fly the country’s airspace and failed to take meaningful steps to enliven the sector.
Messrs Emeka Nwogu of Omuma and Henry Ogiri of Abua constituencies respectively, urged the federal government to expedite action in investigating the cause of last Saturday’s tragedy.
They argued that this was because of the strategic importance of the industry to the nation’s economy and the world at large.
The Leader of the House, Mr. Tamunosisi Jaja, said it was regrettable that the water engineers at the Port Harcourt airport failed to provide needed service during the incident.
Jaja said the level of casualty would have been lower if they had been alive to their responsibilities.
Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, commiserated with families of the victims of the air crash and the Rivers government over the incident.
“ God in His grace will definitely show His love by granting the affected families in the Sosoliso plane crash the fortitude to bear the losses,’’ he prayed.

Posted by Publisher at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2005

FG revokes River Niger dredging contract ...Orders EFCC to recover mobilisation fees

NINE years after General Abacha administration awarded the contract for the dredging of Lower River Niger at the sum of N8 billion, President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday formally revoked the contract, directing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to recover the N2 billion mobilisation fees paid to the contractors.

From KABIRU YUSUF, Abuja

The minister of information and national orientation, Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr who stated this after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, explained that the minister of transport drew the attention of the federal government to the failed contract.
According to the minister, the contract which was awarded by the Abacha administration through Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF) to Julius Berger and five other companies at the sum of N8 billion in which they have already collected N2 billion was formally revoked.
Mr. Nweke who stated that government had directed EFCC to assist in recovering the mobilisation fee from the contractors, further said already N600 million has been collected from the six companies involved.
‘’Already President Obasanjo has directed the minister of transport to repackage the contract again,” he said.
“President Obasanjo is also concerned about transport sector, that was why the president directed the minister to come out with blue-print on federal inland water ways on how they will be sanitised at very shortest time possible,” he said.
Also, the meeting, he said, has approved the rehabilitation of Allo dam in Maiduguri, Borno state at the cost of N437.7 million, adding that the dam is the main source of water supply to Maiduguri.
The minister further said the Federal Executive Council has equally approved the sum of N96.9 million as consultancy services for the ASAB water treatment plant in Ilorin with 18 months completion period.
It could be recalled that in 1996, the federal government awarded the contract for dredging the River Niger to six dredging companies at the cost of N8 billion but President Obasanjo stopped all contracts awarded by the PTF and scrapped them.

Posted by Publisher at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2005

Yusuf rests case over acquired K/Na’isa lay-out

KANO commissioner for land, physical planning, Alhaji Garba Yusuf Abubakar has re-emphasised that there is no controversy over the ownership of Kofar Na’isa vast land hitherto owned by National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) as Kano state is in full prossession of the land.

By UMORU IBRAHIM

The commissioner who disclosed this during a press briefing at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, stated that the delay in taking off of the project was caused not by any disagreement between the state government and the institution, but by the fact that no provision was made for it in 2005 budget.

He stated that now that the provision is made for it in the 2006 budget, work would be executed next year.

The commissioner who spoke extensively about roads in the metropolitan Kano, said the ministry’s most serious problem are federal roads in the metropolis most of which he said are in bad shape as they were neglected by the federal government.

According to him, the state government has always done its best to get its roads repaired, but added that each time this is done, the federal would always fail to re-inburse the expenses as promised the state government.

About the rich people in the state who spend millions of Naira to build houses without contributing any amount in the maintenance of roads in their areas, the commissioner appealed to the press to help enlighten such class of people to help in the development of roads in their areas.

According to him, if the people feel reluctant to handle the projects directly, they could contribute to the state government which will in turn handle the project.

He, however, told the journalists that with or without the contribution from anybody, the state government would not relent in its efforts to carry developments to the door-steps of everybody irrespective of class.

On the ANPP’s planned election in the state, the former commissioner for information argued that the decision to present the present committee to take over the leadership was from all stakeholders, adding that whoever is not satisfied with the arrangement can go ahead to contest any position when the whistle is blown.

Posted by Publisher at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2005

As ANPP SOLAD arrives Kano today... Concensus leadership explains nitty - gritty

KANO state consensus leadership of the ruling ANPP has set up a conciliatory committee aimed at consoling aggrieved members of the party following the recent appointment of the new leadership in the state.

By SANI AHMAD BICHI

Revealing this in a Radio Kano programme Saturday, the party’s chairman, Hon. Sani Hashim Hotoro further appealed to all members to see reason for the unity of the party as a duty upon all.
Observing that this becomes imperative to prepare the party for the 2007 election, Hon. Hotoro explained that the appointment of the sole administrator by the ANPP national headquarters was primarily aimed at ensuring that they work hand-in-hand with the consensus leadership to organise the state congresses of the party soon.
He observed that contrary to misconceived views that the new helmsmen of the party have been suspended by the national headquarters, the coming of the sole administrator is nothing other than a move by the party at the top to adopt the new leadership preparatory to the congresses in the state.
Hon. Hotoro further explained that in the course of the sole administrator’s work, any aggrieved party would be given free hand to contest any elective post along with members of the new executive.
On his part, the secretary of the party, Alhaji Rabi’u Bako stated how they were selected to lead the party, saying that the decision was arrived at by the elders of the party who proffered three options that could gear the party forward.
The options, he said, include one, all contestants were eligible to contest the elective posts, two, previous contestants should be barred from the race to allow for the emergence of new faces at the chairmanship, deputy chairmanship and secretaryship levels while the remaining elective posts should be shared among all the 44 local councils.
Alhaji Bako stated that the third option was that election should be conducted at all levels, adding that the elders however, settled for second option which was agreed upon by their majority.
Contributing, the organising secretary of the party, Alhaji Muhtari Saleh dispelled the rumour that some party members have been sidelined especially those identified with The Buhari Organisation (TBO).
According to him, ‘’no matter who you or what you, as long as you belong to ANPP, you are in it for the sake of General Buhari.’’
He emphasised that the consensus leadership was not imposed on the teeming party members except that the decision was people’s choice from all the local governments of the state.
The deputy chairman of the party, Alhaji Sulaiman Lawan Ligge in his comment, stressed the unity of the party, saying that no one among members is left behind in the struggle to fight and retain power in the state with General Muhammadu Buhari becoming Nigeria’s next president in 2007.

Posted by Publisher at 05:43 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2005

Abuja Carnival open:Nigeria exhibits rich cultural heritage...As Kano, Katsina, others withdraw from fiesta

Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage was yesterday on parade as the 2005 Carnival opened in Abuja.

The carnival which was declared open by President Olusegun Obasanjo witnessed colourful cultural procession by 32 states of the federation.
A mini Durbar was staged at the opening ceremony with more than 30 horsemen in attendance.
The Abuja Carnival, the first of its kind in the history of Nigeria, was aimed at showcasing the country’s rich cultural heritage and kick starting Nigeria’s dream of generating foreign exchange from the culture and tourism sector.
More than 20,000 participants are expected to ply their trade at the carnival which will witness 40 carnival music and costume floats and 10 private sector music and display floats.
Other activities of the carnival include 10 motorised regatta presentations, massive Durbar presentation of about 2,000 horses, three stages of live music provisions and a float for children performances.
The cultural float is expected to kick off at the Apo end of the Ahmadu Bello Way showing a combination of colours, music, dance, acrobatics and horse dexterity in a grand foot march that would attempt to give joy, pleasure and inspire creativity.
Performers, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), were of the opinion that the festival was long overdue, adding that Nigeria had all it takes to earn substantial revenue from the cultural sector.
Shehu Idama, a performer with the Nasarawa contingent, said that time and venue would not permit the participating states to showcase their heritage.
Idama said that the carnival was a welcome development as it would boost Nigeria’s effort to diversify the economy and avoid over dependance on oil.
Meanwhile, the Kano Emirate Council has announced its decision to boycot the carnival.
The council on Wednesday rose from a meeting presided over by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji (Dr) Ado Bayero unanimously adopted the report of a committee it earlier set up headed by the Madaki of Kano, Alhaji Abdullahi Sarki Sani Yola which was requested to study and advise on the participation in the carnival.
A statement from the emir’s palace indicated that the Madaki’s committee deliberated extensively on the invitation letter for participation in the carnival and it found out that the carnival has no relevance in relationship to the culture and tradition of Kano people.
Alhaji Yola said the council’s decision was also influenced by the provison of Jama’atu Nasril Islam on the carnival against the carnival.
In a similar vein, the Emir of Kazaure, Katsina and Dutse have kicked against it hence would not participate.

Posted by Publisher at 04:07 PM | Comments (0)

Carnival to strengthen cultural ties, boost tourism --- Obasanjo

President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed optimism that the Abuja Carnival would further strengthen cultural ties among the multi-ethnic groups in the country.

Declaring open the ceremony yesterday in Abuja, Obasanjo said that the fiesta was conceptualized to showcase the existing cordial relationship among Nigerians.
He urged Nigerians to support the carnival, which, he described, as a celebration of black African arts, aimed at portraying the image of the nation positively.
He said that the carnival, which is first of its kind in the world as it showcases boat regatta and durbar displays, would enhance the nation's economic development.
He said that Nigeria ranked the ninth largest market for tourism in the world, adding that the fiesta would not only promote domestic tourism but would showcase the nation's tourism potential to the world.
The president, who noted that globalisation was fast eroding African culture, said that the fiesta would reinstate traditional values and improve the society.
Obasanjo also said that the annual event would serve as a rallying point for blacks in the Diaspora, adding that ``we have the same history, experience and sentiments''.
He expressed the hope that the choice of Abuja as the host city of the carnival would provide a comfortable environment for tourists.
In his remark, culture and tourism minister, Frank Ogbuewu said that the carnival, which showcases the nation's unique heritage, was a cultural package with a high percentage of indigenous input.
Ogbuewu said that the apart from celebrating the unity in diversity of the country, was also an essential tourism product which would boost domestic tourism in the country.
According to him, tourism is a veritable tool for poverty alleviation, cultural integration, and global peace.
He further said that the theme of the carnival ``Experience Culture, Celebrate life'' was to present to the world the unique and original cultural heritage of the country.
Welcoming guests to the FCT, Malam Nasir el-Rufai said that the fiesta would further celebrate the role of the city of Abuja as a unifier and center of unity of the country.
el-Rufai noted that the carnival which would strengthen cultural ties among Nigerians would also promote cultural exchange.
NAN reports that other activities lined up for the celebration included Boat Regatta at the Lower Usuman Dam, Durbar display, food exhibition and arts and crafts as well as cultural floats round the FCT.
The total budget for the carnival is put at N600 million.

Posted by Publisher at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)

Alleged diversion of Emirate Airlines from Makia: Speaker Gani debunks rumours

SPEAKER, Kano state House of Assembly, Hon. Balarabe Sa’idu Gani has debunked rumours making rounds in the state that the activities of Emirate Airlines has been diverted from Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) to Nnamdi Azikwe Airport, Abuja, saying it is mere speculation.

By ALIYU YUSUF

He made the clarification in an announcement during the Assembly’s session, yesterday.
Hon. Gani explained that in order to get the clear picture of the situation, he had contacted the commercial manager of the airline in Abuja through phone who confirmed to him that the operations of the airline were not tampered with.
He added that such an issue is not only a matter of concern to the state House of Assembly but also to the governor, adding: ‘’The governor has already sought for an audience with Mr. President for further clarification on the matter.’’
It could be recalled that it was part of its efforts to revive MAKIA, the Assembly had during some foreign assignments by its members made contacts with the management of Qatar Airlines and Egypt Air, among others with a view to resuming full operations at MAKIA.
Such efforts have yielded a fruitful response in which apart from reaching an agreement with managements of the airlines, the ministry of aviation has increased the frequency of flight schedules of those airlines at MAKIA.

Posted by Publisher at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)

We’re no rubber-stamp of executive ---- Nnamani

Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, yesterday said that the National Assembly was not a rubber-stamp of the executive, as was being alleged in some quarters.

Speaking with newsmen yesterday in Abuja, Nnamani said that there was a need for the three arms of government to work as partners.
``It is our role to support the executive and that is why they say that we are rubber-stamp. We are inter-dependent,'' he stated.
``We are capable of standing on our feet but we need to carry everybody along so that we don't overheat the system,'' he added.
He said that the press had a major role to play in the nation's march toward sustainable democratic governance.
``If anybody rubbishes the National Assembly, the democratic set-up is indirectly rubbished,'' he said.
He urged the media to find time and investigate issues before going to press in order not to overheat the system

Posted by Publisher at 04:04 PM | Comments (0)

Nation-building: Yayale urges public servants to lead

Head of the Federal Civil Service Yayale Ahmed has called on the country's public servants to ensure that their activities are aimed at ensuring qualitative transformation of the people's lives.

Yayale gave the challenge while inaugurating the Ministerial SERVICOM Unit (MSU) of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) yesterday in Abuja.
Saying that the public service could no longer afford to do things in the old way, he stressed the need to improve the quality of public service delivery.
``Systemic change is required in the conduct of public affairs to create transparency and accountability in bureaucratic processes,'' he said.
``We have zero-tolerance for lethargy, corruption and indolence,'' he added.
He, however, conceded that the country was facing enormous development challenges which required concerted efforts to ``lift our people and our country from the scourge of poverty and underdevelopment''.
He noted that SERVICOM was designed to address the evils of inefficiency, corruption and negligence of duty in the public service in order to ensure the effectiveness of government policies.
``We must improve our attitudinal and institutional capacity to develop and translate government policies into actionable and achievable programmes,'' he said.
Yayale underscored the government's determination to provide the corporate direction and support for best practices through public service capacity building and the institution of a reward and recognition system.
He charged the newly inaugurated MSU
to develop targets and standards for improving service delivery and closing gaps between customer expectations and service delivery.
Also speaking, Mrs Grace Archibong, a permanent secretary in OHCSF, said that implementation of SERVICOM would attract other stakeholders, ``in our combined efforts to encourage foreign and local investors''.
``This compact has committed us to be transparent, free from corruption, prompt in attending to official matters, receptive to customers in a fair and equitable manner, among others,'' she said.
In his remarks, Mr Ad'Obe Obe, SERVICOM Coordinator, noted that the Head of Civil Service was one of the principal authors of the service delivery initiative.
He, however, said that service delivery was not a new concept but a natural concept that was evident in ``our system in the beginning''.
He noted that the public service had degenerated to such an extent that the system had become so perverted to the detriment of the people who constituted the demand side of service delivery.
He, however, insisted that it was a constitutional right of the citizens to get good services from all government institutions and agencies.
He reminded public officers of the ``pledge-to-serve'' clause of their oath of office, adding that the entire public service was primarily there to serve the people.
``The main purpose of SERVICOM is to convince the people that government had recognised a major fault in the way service is being rendered and has decided to put things right,'' he added.
He re-echoed President Olusegun Obasanjo's viewpoint that government could no longer accept excuses for bad service delivery, stressing that the new thinking was the only way out of the problem.
``We need to rectify the disequilibrium in service delivery,'' he said, adding: ``A functional equilibrium in public service delivery that guarantees the rights of customers is all we want.''

Posted by Publisher at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

Merger: North OmegaBank Group acts CBN’s nod …As Bugaje hands over

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted pre-merger consent to the NorthOmega Bank Plc comprising Bank of the North Limited, Omega Bank Plc, NUB International, New African Bank Plc, Trans International Bank Plc and Fountain Trust Bank Plc.

A letter dated November 23, 2005 and addressed to the merging banks, advised them to continue with the process of consummating the merger and update the CBN regularly.
A press release signed by Baffa B. Muhammad, head of corporate affairs, BON Limited, for the group, said a joint technical working committee of the merging banks has already been set up and is working in earnest for the actualisation of the merger and experts to obtain the approval in principle shortly.
The combined shareholders’ funds of the emerging bank, according to the release is in excess of N30 billion with a network of over 200 branches nationwide.
The NorthOmega Group is a powerful banking franchise with national outlook and spread. While some partners in the group bring wide branch network and assets base, others bring special niches and franchise in consumer banking and state-of-the-art e-banking products.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Bashir Muhammad Bugaje whose notice of resignation as managing director/chief executive of Bank of the North Limited expired last week, has handed over the affairs of the bank to the newly appointed acting managing director, Engr. Ahmad Ibrahim.
The handover took place on Monday November 21, 2005 at the Ahmadu Bello House, headquarters of Bank of the North Limited in Kano.
It would be recalled that a fortnight ago, Alhaji Bashir M. Bugaje tendered his notice of resignation as the managing director/chief executive of Bank of the North Limited.
Engr. Ibrahim is an Ahmadu Bello University graduate of chemical engineering and holds a master degree in business administration, with specialisation in finance.
Amongst others, he was a former managing director of NNIL Commercial Company Limited and chairman, Drake and Scul (Nigeria) Limited. Until his appointment, he was the managing director of Alpha-Proxis (Nigeria) Limited an engineering service company. He has also been a non-executive director in Bank of the North Limited since 2000.

Posted by Publisher at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

TCH to award compliance with luggage policy

The Technical Committee on Hajj (TCH) has introduced an award for the first three states that best adhere to the luggage policy and implementation.

The minister of state for foreign affairs, Alhaji Abubakar Tanko, disclosed this Wednesday in Abuja, at a one-day workshop on Luggage policy and implementation.
The policy postulates that all Nigerian pilgrims, including Hajj officials, must not exceed 40kg weight for the main luggage and 10kg for the hand luggage.
Tanko said that a monitoring group had been set up to go round the weighing centres in Makkah and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to among other things, monitor and assess the states' compliance with the policy.
``The purpose of awards to the best three states is not in any way intended to undermine the efforts of any state, but rather is just a sort of encouragement for others to follow suit,'' he said.
He advised the States Pilgrims Welfare Boards to maintain the standard specification of 75cmx50cmx24cm for pilgrims' main suit cases.
Tanko said the suit-case must be made with heavy-duty zip with two strong external belts and name holding window and should include national colours boldly displayed at the back ground of both sides.
He said that the luggage policy was conceived out of a genuine desire to put a stop to the hardship experienced during Hajj operations.
The minister said that the TCH decided to organise the workshop to intimate hajj officials of the need to rekindle ``our efforts in ensuring the success of this policy.''
He advised each state to workout a mechanism to control their pilgrims' movements and the movement and nature of their luggage in the holy land.
Tanko also advised airlines to reject the luggage of any hajj official who tried to violate the luggage policy and said that pilgrims and officials with excess luggage should take such to the Excess Luggage Weighing Centre and pay for it.
The address was read on his behalf by the chairman of the TCH, Prof Abubakar Gwandu.
Declaring the workshop open earlier, Gwandu called on all stakeholders to adhere strictly to the luggage policy.
``Both pilgrims and excess luggage carriers should give maximum cooperation to my committee by ensuring that evacuation of pilgrims along with their luggage is done according to the flight schedule,'' hesaid.
He warned that his committee would not tolerate any attempt by anybody or company to frustrate or destabilise the luggage policy designed for the benefit of pilgrims.
Gwandu urged the officials to embark on intensive
enlightenment campaign to educate intending pilgrims on the imperative of compliance with the luggage policy.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that participants at the workshop included chairman and secretaries of State Pilgrims Welfare Boards as well representatives of the three airlines contracted for the 2006 Hajj.
About 50,000 Nigerians are expected to perform the Hajj which is scheduled to begin on December, 17.

Posted by Publisher at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

We are ready for constructive criticisms - Abubakar

KANO State Commissioner for Land and Physical Planning, Alhaji Garba Yusuf Abubakar, has reiterated the resolve of Shekarau administration to listen and accept constructive criticisms from every angle of the society.

The Commissioner made the statement while receiving the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Kano state branch on a courtesy visit at his office.
Alhaji Garba Yusuf Abubakar, explained that allowing opposition to express their views in the State owned media outfits was part of the responsibilities of a responsible government aimed at correcting the wrong.
The Commissioner maintained that, settling the backlog of pensions and gratuity by the present administration was part of fulfilling the only promise made during campaign and assured to carry the pensioners along.
Alhaji Garba Yusuf Abubakar then congratulated them over their elections and urged them to justify he confidence reposed in them by their members as well as continue supporting and praying for the success of Shekarau administration.
Earlier, the new Chairman of the Pensioners, Alhaji Abdulkadir Ahmed Bushi, said they paid the visit to introduce themselves as new executives of Kano State branch of the Union.
The Chairman also expressed their appreciation to the present State government under the leadership of Governor Shekarau for settling the backlog of pensions and gratuity owed them by the government to the tune of over N4.4 billion, describing the move as a good initiative worthy of emulation by other State governments across the country.
Alhaji Abdulkadir Bushi assured to continue supporting the government and to work out modalities for the re-election of Governor Shekarau come 2007.

Posted by Publisher at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

Measles claims 500 children in Katsina -official

An out break of measles has killed about 500 children in Katsina state, General Manager of the state primary health care development agency, Dr. Qabisiyyu Ahmad Mahammad has revealed.

From MUAWUYYA B. IDRIS, Katsina

Dr. Qabisiyyu told newsmen that the number of death is out of 21,000 children affected by the disease this year.
He described the number of the death as the worse epidemic and appealed to parents to ensure immunization of their children against measles so as to avoid repeat of the epidemic.
Dr. Qabisiyyu explained that government has resolved to immunise 2.5 million children against measles scheduled to begin from 6-10 December this year.
He said about 1,907 immunization centres were established for the effective conduct of the exercise in all local government council areas.
According to him, about 13,000 personnel were mobilised for the exercise, adding that the personnel are currently under going training in five centres spread across the state.
He added that about 3 million vaccines doses were provided by the agency for the four days exercise, explaining that the agency in collaboration with local governments have began extensive mobilization campaign.
‘’We involved traditional rulers, religious leaders, and youth clubs in the mobilization campaign, that would be conducted in health clinics, schools markets and houses” he said.
On the just concluded State Polio National Day, the general manager said the exercise had recorded huge success with the significant drop in the level of resistance.
Dr. Qabisiyyu attributed the success recorded to the government political will to fight the dreaded disease, commitment of officials involved and proper strategic planning .

Posted by Publisher at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

N1000 note: Security features can’t be forged -- CBN

The CBN says it is aware that fake N1000 notes are in circulation but has given assurance that its features cannot be forged.

An official of the bank told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday that the disclosure of some of the security features of the denomination had made it possible for the public to detect fake notes.
“The detection of the fake notes show that the enlightenment campaign in the media is working,’’ the official, who prefer to remain anonymous, said.
He, however, said that there was nothing unusual about faking the denomination, which is the latest addition to the existing five denominations, “as currencies all over the world are being forged.’’
He said that no matter how hard the forgers might try, “they can only imitate the features but cannot successfully forge them because it has been produced with a special paper by the latest and most sophisticated technology available’’.
In addition, he said it was impossible for the forgers to acquire the machine as the company that produced the currency had the monopoly.
“Of the 11 security features of the N1000 note five are visible only under ultra-violet light,’’ he said.
On why the N1000 does not have the Naira sign, the official said : “it is the latest vogue in the industry worldwide and not a mistake as people think.’’
He explained that it was part of the currency reforms being carried out and that the other currencies in circulation would also undergo such restructuring.
“Because people are used to a particular mindset, they think it is a mistake that the N1000 note does not carry Naira sign. No, it is not.
“People are used to shirts with collar but we also have shirts without collars,’’ he said.
On efforts to crack down on forgery syndicates, the official said the police recently raided the Oluwole area in Lagos which is notorious for forgery activities.
He said the bank would ensure that the law was applied to the letter if any arrests were made in connection with the forgery of the N1000 note, to serve as a deterrent to others.
“As a bank, the CBN will continue to ensure the production of “fake-proof” currency notes, the official said, adding that the most important thing was the ability of the currency to withstand the activities of forgers.

Posted by Publisher at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

Triumph MD tasks VDO on sustainable democracy

From Salisu Marafa

The managing director and Editor-in-Chief of Triumph Publishing Company, Malam Mahmoud Adnan Audi, has tasked a non governmental Organization, Vangard for Democratic orientation (VDO) to stand against the current proposed constitutional amendment in order for the nascent democracy to succeed in Nigeria.
The managing director who dislosed this when receiving members of the organisation in his office, described the proposed amendment as dangerous to the socio-economic well being of Nigerians.
Adnan who described democracy as a concept that affect the whole life of the people add that it is the responsibility of every Nigerian to fight for a sustainable democracy.
The managing director then commended the organisation for their intention to depend democracy and urged them to double their effort for cause of democracy.
Earlier in his speech, the chairman of the organisation, Alhaji Sani Mudi Sipikin, said they came to the Triumph considering the vital role the company plays in orienting and informing people for the past twenty five years.
Alhaji Sani said their organisation which was established for the past twenty five years aimed at educating and enlightening people about their political rights.
Alhaji Sani also explained that the VDO honoured great Kano state people such as late Alhaji Lawan Danbazau, late Alhaji Adamu Dankabo, Late Alhaji Sani Abacha as well as other important personalities who played a vital role in sustaining democracy.
He then urged the Triumph management to fully cooperate with them in order for the organisation to succeed.

Posted by Publisher at 03:57 PM | Comments (0)

KSGRYM showers encomiums on Odili

Kano state Grass Roots Youth Mobilization Conail (KSGRYMC) has expressed gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Peter Odili, Rivers state governor, over his achievements in the state.

From Salisu Ibrahim

This was made known in press release by KSGRYMC and signed by the chairman, Comrade Aminu Nuhu and the Secretary, Dahiru Abdullahi Aisami in Kano, recently.
KSGRYMC, also described Dr. Odili as a great personality, talented and greatly endowed whose political sagacity is not in doubt,.
The Council noted that, that chief Odili has sponsors Muslims to Hajj annually irrespect of religious and tribal inclinations, He was also, refered to as the of the first governor to redeem his pledge after the national mosque rehabilitation launching at Abuja.
KSGRYMC pointed out that Dr. Odili during Ramadan took his time to give food items to Northerners in the state, saying that this gesture proved how friendly he is to muslims in Rivers state.
The council further noted that the history of democracy would not be complete if the achievement of such a governor is not mentioned.
KSGRYMS also expressed gratitude to Chief Odili for showing concern for muslims and Islamic related matters “We wish to re-affirm our un-alloyed support, co-operation and prayers to Peter Odili and the entire people of Rivers state”. Said KSG

Posted by Publisher at 03:57 PM | Comments (0)

Police Commissioner identifies factors for crime control

Three major factors were identified as the cause of declining of crime rate in Kaduna state.

From Gambo Kanno back from Kaduna

The factors are effective patrol and supervision of Policemen and duty on the full support, cooperation of state and local governments.
Mr. John. H. Ahmadu, the Kaduna state Commissioner of Police, made this disclosure during a special interactive forum with Daily Triumph in Kaduna recently.
“Kaduna state crime is no longer at an alarming rate”, the Commissioner confided, “it has been drastically reduced because of the cooperation the police are enjoying from state and local governments, and effective patrol system as well as supervision of officers and men on duty”.
On community policing, the Kaduna state number one cop said “we are having successful implementations in Rigasa Community, for example is a densely populated area that is already policing itself successfully”.
Mr. Ahmadu, disclosed that a seminar on the violations of Human Rights was held from 9th to 10th November, with participants fully understood the aims and objective of the seminar.
While calling on officers and men of Kaduna state to be more vigilant, the commissioner then advised the Public to be security-conscious period approaches adding that they should be extra careful in handling crime storing money and valuables.

Posted by Publisher at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

Speaker Gani condoles with Hons. Jingau, Warawa

The speaker of Kano state House of Assembly, Hon. Balarabe Saidu Gani, has along with other members of the house condoled with the families of Hon. Aminu Abdullahi Jingau, over the death of his grand mother, late.

From Aliyu Yusuf

Hajiya Turai Sarki, at Jingau Quarters.
Late Hajiya Turai died at the age of 110 after a protracted illness last Sunday.
She is survived by 30 children and many grand-children, among them is Hon. Aminu Abdullahi Jingau, member Kano state House of Assembly, representing Gwale constituency.
Similarly, Hon. Gani and his entourage paid visit to the families of Hon. Isa Garba Warawa over the death of his Grandmother, Late Hajiya Amina Garba at Tamburawa, Gabas Village.
Late Hajiya Amina who died at the age of 80 after a protracted illness is survived by 5 children and many Grand Children.
Among the grand children are Hon. Isa Garba Warawa, member kano state House of Assembly representing Warawa Constituency and kabiru Garba, education secretary of Ungogo local government
The disease were since buried according to Islamic rites.
May their Souls rest in peace and granted Jannatul Firdaus.

Posted by Publisher at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

Customs seize 6,500 bales of textiles - Adeyemi

The Nigerians Custom Service in the country says it had made seizure of over 6,500 bale of assorted textile material considered as contra-band this year.

From Christiana Gokyo, Jos

Disclosing this by the Public Relation Officer of the Nigerian Customs Service headquarters, Abuja, Mr. Wale Adeyime in Jos to newsmen on the forth coming National Comptroller Customs conference.
He said the textile Material was seized from smugglers in various parts of the country.
According to him, about three weeks ago, 16,800 bale of assorted textile contra-bands were seized in a location at Sharada in Kano state.
He said the arrest was made following tip to the intelligence unit of the customs, adding that the burning of the seized items by Customs was in lines with the federal government’s directive.
Mr. Adeyemi added that, in its effort to flush out band eggs within the Customs service, more than 17 officers and men of the command are currently facing disciplinary action for alleged connivance with smugglers.
He maintained that this year, the Comptrollers National Conference is slated to hold in Jos between 5th and 9th December 2005, saying about 100 senior, and Customs officer and several stakeholders across the country are expected to participate in the conference.
Adejemi observed that, the conference is to review its operation and government polices with a view to mapping out strategic for further challengers.
According to him, the executive secretary of ECOWAS Muhammad Bn Chambers and 3 others are resource persons.

Posted by Publisher at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

Northerners urged to embrace agriculture

THE only way for the northern region to re-position itself economically and do away with threat by oil rich states; its people must embrace agricultural sector.

From MUAWUYYA B. IDRIS, Kaita

The chairman of Chiranchi local government council in Katsina state, Alhaji Umar Dikko Radda, made the assertion while receiving a team from inspectorate of local government and chieftainly affairs.
Alhaji Dikko explained that God has blessed Northern Region with abundant land for agriculture, which if it fully utilised would be self without any grant from federal government.
According to him, time had come for the people to wake up to protect their integrity and free themselves from the nick name ‘’parasite’’ by the oil rich states.
‘’Our people have forced themselves to be poor, while God has given them the wisdom and opportunity to utilise abundant land of agriculture to empower themselves economically’’ he said.
Alhaji Dikko told the team led by permanent secretary of the inspectorate, that his council has purchased water pumping machine enough fertiliser and drilled wells for irrigation activities.
He appealed to youths of the area to fully participate in agriculture, saying the era depending on government to provide job to each and everybody is over.
Our correspondent reports that the meeting which was held at government house, Katsina, deliberated extensively on how the state government most especially the business community can benefit with the proposed bank.
The meeting was attended by members of the business community, top government officials and Ulamas.

Posted by Publisher at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

FG advised to overhaul grassroots administration

The federal government has been advised to use constitutional amendment to overhaul the local government system to accelerate development at the grassroots.

The Baba Adini of Yoruba land, Seriki Lateef Adegbite, made the call on Tuesday at the Ogun State cultural day in Port Harcourt court.
Adegbite said that the way the third tier of government was being managed did not solve the problem of development at the grassroots in the country.
He said though the 1999 constitution placed the responsibility of grassroots development on the states and local governments, the development of all parts of Nigeria remained federal government's primary responsibility.
Adegbite said that the states and local governments were only expected to speed up the process of development after the federal government had shown the way.
Adegbite called on Nigerians to support government's development initiatives as contained in its reform programmes.
In his remarks, the patron of Ogun state indigenes in the South-South and South-East, retired Big. Gen. Sam Oniyide said he was happy to identify with the new passion with which the Yorubas had taken on the challenge for a new Nigeria.
Oniyide who described Nigeria as a country for all, said the overriding initiatives toward peace which the people had adopted was an achievement for the country.
He congratulated the people of Ogun state for carrying the message of peace across the country.

Posted by Publisher at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

Kaita council boss counsels farmers, herdsmen on peace

THE chairman of Kaita local government council in Katsina state, Alhaji Rabi’u, has appealed to farmers and Fulani herdsmen to live in peace with one another.

From MUAWUYYA B. IDRIS, Katsina

Addressing a meeting between farmers and Fulani in his office, Alhaji Rabi’u explained that the two groups should consider themselves as brothers not enemies, saying farmers/Fulani clash is threatening peace and stability not only in Kaita but the state in general.
Alhaji Rabi’u advised Fulani herdsmen to desist from encroaching farms land until after harvest season, saying such act was the main cause of clashes that claimed lives and properties in the past.
He said that his council had beefed up security to arrest any body found guilty.
He then appealed to traditional rulers to assist in achieving the set goal.
Alhaji Rabi’u called on traditional rulers to report any suspect tryis to breach peace.
He warned that his council would deal with anybody or group of persons threatening peace in the area.

Posted by Publisher at 03:42 PM | Comments (0)

Council chairman passes on

The Chairman of Silame Local Government in Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Ganed is dead.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the late Chairman died last Monday at Silame after a protracted illness at the age of 43 years.
Ganed is survived by two wives, seven children and an aged mother.
The deceased has since been buried according to Islamic rites.
Meanwhile, the state governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa on Tuesday paid a condolence visit to the family of the late chairman.
Bafarawa described Ganed's death as a great loss not only to the people of Silame council area, but also the entire state.
``The chairman was very hard working and prudent,'' Bafarawa said, praying God to give the family the heart to bear the loss, and Allah to grant the deceased eternal rest.

Posted by Publisher at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

Governor advises LGs to fight poverty

Enugu Governor Chimaroke Nnamani has called on local governments to work out strategies for reducing poverty.

He made the call in Enugu at a meeting with the 17 Council Chairmen yesterday.
He urged them to implement the Local Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (LEEDS) in line with the state government programme of SEEDs.
Nnamani said: ``The essence of governance is to reduce poverty and address the welfare of the citizenry.''
He commended the Nkanu West Council for working on the document and urged others to follow suit.
The State Chairman ALGON, Mr Chidi Nwatu, pledged his willingness to emulate the council.

Posted by Publisher at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

Bauchi ANPP expels members

Nigeria’s second biggest party, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Bauchi state chapter and expelled six members associated with several court cases.

Stories from Sule Aliyu, Bauchi

Reacting to the expulsion order the former care taker committee chairman of the party, Alhaji Muhammadu Dan Umma Bello describe it as baseless, malicious and an attempt by PDP hired agents to frustrate the efforts of the ANPP toward taking over the state in 2007.
“ I just considered the action as baseless and of no effect what so ever, and I am strongly advising our supporters to remain calm”.
“I can say this is just an element of sabotage from the PDP control government, because those people who expelled us from the party are paid agent.”
He stressed that “ Lamara Nhanu has never been an ANPP members, his name is not in the register at his electoral ward, so how can non member expel a bonafide member,” he asked.
A press statement signed by the state chairman and secretary of the party respectively, Alhaji Lamara Nhanu and Barrister Bukar Zhyadi indicated that following the rulling of the state High Court preside over by justice Ibrahim Zango, on November 15, 2005 on the case instituted by Alhaji Muhammad Dan Umma Bello and five others, challenging the leadership of Lamara Nhanu, and the composition of the Exo and having won the case in favour of the state Exco, the party at a seperate meeting decide to expel the six key officers for anti--party activities; and an attempt to factionalise the ANPP.
The release added that the names of the expelled officers shall be deleted from the party’s membership register for instituting a court case against the legitimate party leadership, without exhausting all constitutional avenues for reconciliation as spelt out in the party’s constitution.
Similarly, the party has constituted a disciplinary committee to examine the roles played by certain party members in causing the resolved crisis and make necessary recommendations for implementation to serve as a deterent to others.
The release further directed that all those expelled members should with immediate effect hand over their membership cards and other party properties to the nearest party officers or police station for onward delivery to the state party secretariat.
Those expelled include, Alhaji Muhamamdu Dan Umma Bello, Alhaji Ahmed Isa Tahir, Malam Muhammad S. Koli Hardawa and Alhaji Adamu Ibrahim Makera.
Others are, Alhaji Abdu Bako (Marafan Soro) and Abdulwahab Gombe.

Posted by Publisher at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

2007: PPA woos support

The Political Parties Alliance (PPA) has urged all politicians opposed to the alleged third term agenda to collaborate to check it.

PPA is an umbrella of some opposition parties in the country, who said they were canvassing good governance and sustainable democracy.
Making the call in a statement issued in Abuja, on Wednesday, National coordinator of the alliance, Maxi Okwu said the alleged agenda was ``illegal and undemocratic''.
He said the 1999 constitution remained supreme until it was amended.
The coordinator, noted that the outcry that greeted the last PDP congresses nationwide had made the coalition imperative.
``Now is the time for all patriots to come to the side of authentic democrats under the auspices of the PPA,'' Okwu said.

Posted by Publisher at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

...AAP chairman happy with party progress

THE Bauchi state chairman of the Action Alliance Party (AAP), Alhaji Usman Isa has said that the party is waxing stronger.

Isa made the assertion while inaugurating the 20 local government chairmen of the party held at the banquet hall of Zaranda Hotel, Bauchi.
The chairman explained that at a time when other parties are destroying themselves or thereby lossing membership, while the Nigeria masses have for long been crying for a new party that has a progressive ideology capable of reducing power and un employment.
‘’Our party is not tilled or tainted by sentiments, we do not admit selfish or reject membership on baseless or no reasons.
The chairman lamented the unfortunate situation in Bauchi state and indeed in the country in particular and link the unfortunate situation to lack of credible and responsible leadership.
According to him, this situation has left the entire machinery of governance in the hands of few self-serving despots, assuring that with Action Alliance Party in control, the situation is bound to change for the better.
He told the inaugurating chairmen that the national headquarters of the party has mandated him to empowered them to take the crusade to the grass roots.
He assured them of the support of the state national headquarters, and the executives of the party.
The chairman said the party under the leadership of Owelle Roches Okorocha, Dan Jikan Sokoto II Shows that it centred on people oriented policies.
Participants at the meeting were drawn from the 20 local government areas of the state, INEC, women and youth organizations.

Posted by Publisher at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

Let us poison Obasanjo's arrangement (II)

For the Peoples Democratic Party has raped our society, far worse than our man above.

By Prince C Dickson
pcdbooks@yahoo.com
The party has thrown to the wind the real true democrats, though I must state the democrats could do better than the pages of newspaper noise they make all the time. The other parties should find a melting ground that can be the bedrock of a formidable opposition that can lead the nation out of its present state. They can and should mobilize the masses to take their destiny in their hands.
The Peoples Democratic Party since, the advent of our recent democratic experiment (in Nigeria we are scientists experimenting all over lives without any discovery or invention of note) has been committing to heinous crimes and self-confessing to these crimes. From rigging, arson, assassination, and stealing without conscience. The confession of the rigging in Anambra by the President is a confirmation that the crime unashamedly was committed in virtually all PDP territory. Every state with the PDP in power is a rigged environment. The magic of the 2003 election would marvel the legendary magician Prof. Peller of Ibadan fame.
Nigerians should poison the PDP, it’s leadership and all it stands for. The present regime that has been priding itself as a democracy has continually spent its energies suppressing the demands of the people and suppressing all that is identified with the people, supervising the sale of all that stands for the masses’ collectively will. The PDP together with the administration is a colonial arrangement that is more concerned with pleasing the IMF, Paris Club and Brentwood Institutions. The colonialism must stop. The PDP is an imperialist conduit pipe.
A Peoples’ revolution that would be guided is the antidote to the political and democratic misbehaviour of the present era. The PDP’s fascism which is protecting capitalism with dangerous interest and subverting national liberation efforts as its ruthless apparatus is spread to stem the growing tide of a strong nationalistic opposition. We must arrest the economic robbers, who daily are in the game of mortgaging the lives of millions. If at all we are practicing democracy, it is obvious that we are in trouble, big trouble at that. As I watched the launch of the N1000 note I cried for our nation, all sorts of economic jargon were used to confuse the masses, the 100 and 500 notes came and the 1 Naira coin disappeared, gradually the 5 Naira note is walking to the museum. The topmost citizens shared our collective farm while smiling the President got currency note with number 001, the VP 002, Senate President 003 and the sharing amongst crooks continued.
Nigerians ought to stand up and be counted in this project of poisoning the PDP. If not the gradual (need I say) the soonest death of democracy in the land is not far away.
The PDP is now Obasanjo’s machinery for a life Presidency agenda, the House Of Representatives and Senate Northern block should do more than mere meetings, they should shout it loud for all to hear, their South-South, South-East counterparts should do same together with progressives in the West. Because anybody who says otherwise about Obasanjo having gained total control of the PDP to invent his own kind of democracy which is dictatorial "Obasanjoicy’.
As the PDP has in recent times had the President’s eyes fixated on it in the brouhaha of weeding it, it has used several armchair twisting tactics that reminds one of the military era in dealing with the opposition.
The PDP has turned the nation into a cult, doing most things in total secrecy and using ambush tactics, its recent revalidation and re-registration and congresses has been a show of brazenness. The new PDP unfolding is no new PDP but Obasanjo’s PDP, the real issues are still there, and there are no fresh ideals or philosophy, which will make it different from the PDP we know. A tree that is not productive, nor with a defined purpose and direction should be poisoned and cut down. May Allah help us.

Posted by Publisher at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

Bafarawa: A house in the village, not London

About two months ago, Governor Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto state was in the news, but not quite the way a politician would want it.

By Salihu Abubakar
Newspapers and magazines in the country were awash with stories alleging that the governor had used millions of the funds allocated to his semi-arid state from the federation account to purchase a house in London.
Coming about the time the Bayelsa governor was arrested in Britain on allegation of money laundering, the Bafarawa house story was a worrisome development.
It was a source of concern to the public that their representatives in government would be seen as helping themselves through funds entrusted to them.
However, Bafarawa in a spirited effort rose to defend himself of the corruption allegation and went on to ask the EFFC to investigate any allegation of financial misappropriation against him.
The governor further urged the commission to ensure that any funds found to have been stolen from the state should be returned to the people of Sokoto state.
Although his defence appeared to hold water, many, nonetheless did not believe the governor, prompting him to devise some more convincing ways to get his immediate constituency, if not all Nigerians, to believe his story instead of ``the falsehood'' published in the press.
One way to do that was to invite President Olusegun Obasanjo to pay his sixth visit to the state since he returned to power in 1999.
The president's visit was not only to inaugurate federal projects but more importantly, ``to see and commission many more projects that were initiated and completed by the state government''.
Obasanjo accepted to visit Sokoto again, the sixth since he was sworn in on May 29, 1999 having made the seat of the caliphate his first port of call barely three months after his assumption of office.
Sokoto came second behind Rivers where the president had understandably visited 11 times since 1999 in his continuing efforts to restore stability in the Niger Delta region.
The repeat visits to Sokoto were mostly on agriculture, health and education-related issues.
Principally, he was in town this time around, on a three-day visit to among others, inaugurate the more than 5,000 hectares of the first phase of the Falalia irrigation project at the Goronyo dam.
He was also there to inaugurate the Katsira bridge to link irrigation farmers to markets for their produce both in Nigeria and the neighbouring Niger Republic.
It is significant to state that the Goronyo dam itself was built while Obasanjo was military head of state and had remained dormant for more than two decades due to lack of irrigation channels to water the catchment land areas.
The resuscitation of the project, which cost the federal government about N5 billion was part of the president's campaign promise to farmers in the area.
The farmers had pleaded with the president to complete what he begun and was abandoned by subsequent administrations for more than 20 years.
While inaugurating the twin projects, Obasanjo had assured the farmers that government would not abandon them.
He pledged that the second phase of the project, comprising of more than 4,000 hectares of irrigable land, would be made ready for use through the provision of irrigation channels.
``We are going to collaborate with the state government, local government and the private sector to provide the channels and generate the more than 25,000 megawatts of electricity that could come from the dam.
The inauguration of these projects would not only be heart warming to Bafarawa because it had direct bearing to the welfare of the people and the economy of his state, but also ``the president will leave the state satisfied that this governor is a performer''.
In addition, technocrats in the state believe that there was more to gain during the visit than democracy dividends for the people, as they remain focussed to polish the seemingly declining image of their hero, Bafarawa.
``We reckon that if the president agrees to come over for the working visit, Bafarawa would have been cleared of any allegation of financial misdeeds in Sokoto.
``Because the president will surely not honour the invitation if the governor is proven to be corrupt.
``Not only that, we are set to show Mr. President and indeed the world that Bafarawa is clean and the allegations that made the rounds some weeks ago were the workings of mischief makers and political opponents of the governor,'' a senior aide to the governor said.
It was obvious that Bafarawa knows what was close to Mr. President's heart, whom, he said, had told him way back in 2001, that that there was no legacy worthy of emulation that any father could bestow to his children than education, so is it, with any governor to his state.
The Polytechnic, Sokoto and the Obasanjo Technical Secondary School Bafarawa, were two institutions of learning shown to Obasanjo during the visit and these had gone along way to further endear, Bafarawa, an ANPP governor, to a president who has a passion for education.
The Bafarawa Technical Secondary School, was built entirely and fully equipped with laboratories, workshops, a library, information technology and Internet centre by the Bafarawa administration.
The governor built the facilities during his time as education councillor in 1976 when the village also got its first primary school.
More than the technical school, however, the governor took time off the very tight schedules to take Mr. President to his country home, a modest one-floor structure to underscore his love for village life and his desire to live among his people.
While still providing some finishing touches to the house, the governor took Mr. President and his entourage there for some light refreshments and maybe an opportunity for them to see the modest taste of the man.
The administration rehabilitated the state polytechnic and spent more than N1.7 billion on the construction of laboratories, and ultra-modern library, auditorium, engineering workshops, classrooms and lecture halls.
While noting that Sokoto was not ``a resource control state,'' Bafarawa said that the state had endeavored to spend the little that came to it as its federation share, VAT and anything generated locally in a most prudent manner.
During his address at a state banquet he gave in honour of Obasanjo, the governor went on to say that his was the only state in the federation that had published its financial statement of 2004 since April this year.
He added that he had remained ``transparent, accountable and God fearing in the management of public funds''.
He read out the complete financial statement of his government since it came to power in 1999, stating that it had received more than N90.4 billion including VAT and internally generated revenue to date.
The governor said that a little more than N86.2 billion of the amount was spent on capital projects, personnel and overhead costs, consolidated revenue charges and subventions to parastatal agencies.
To further prove his case ``and shame his detractors, the governor also presented incontrovertible evidence to Mr. President at the dinner, to show that his state had a cash balance of N4 billion in its UBA account, havensettled all workers allowances for 2005 including leave grants''.
``We have not borrowed a kobo from within or outside the country, we are also not indebted to any contractor for all the works executed in the state.
``We have consistently paid salaries, pensions and all entitlements to civil servants as and when due,'' Bafarawa told the president at the dinner.
Obviously elated over the extent to which Bafarawa had gone to demonstrate his openness in the running of the state, Obasanjo, who had added ``roads master'' to the governor's names, stated that Bafarawa had been ``transparent, accountable and God fearing governor''.
An official of the state government had echoed Mr. President's response to what he saw during the visit to Sokoto that ``this governor is a performer''.
He said that all the negative things that had been said about the governor were the design of his detractors ``and what can they say now, after this endorsement by Mr. President?'' (NAN)

Posted by Publisher at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

Shekarau: The journey so far (I)

Ever since the inception of the ANPP government in Kano state about 55 months ago, the Malam Ibrahim Shekarau administration has exhibited an undiluted passion and commitment in its determination to redirect our societal norms and values in accordance with laid down principles of the Islamic Shari’a legal system.

While, the concept of human development geared towards economic self reliance has been pursued with vigour all in an attempt to achieve socio-economic enhancement.
Although the positive impact of these and many other meaningful policies of the state government could take a while to be felt, Abdullahi Baba Alawusa of our editorial department writes that some appreciable successes have been achieved in the Journey so far.
Since when he assumed office sometime in mid 2003, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau has declared that his administration will be totally committed in implementing the principles of Islamic legal system dedicated towards instilling discipline in line with societal reorientation programme. The amiable governor also pronounced his resolve to emancipate the ordinary people from the clutches of poverty, through a systematic policy of gainful employment and encouragment of self reliance. This is borne out of the fact that, a poverty-stricken society is prone to violence and lawlessness which inevitably leads to anarchy and chaos.
The governor’s idea of cleansing the society of all social filth and reducing (if not wiping) the high level of moral decadence as evident in our contemporary social (dis) order is borne out of the fact that the fear of Allah (SWT) and adhering strictly to the teachings of his chosen Prophet (SAW) is the most formidable factor in sustaining any meaningful development. This is so because a society which is imbibed with spiritual contentment tend to be more conscious of their individual duties to their lord and aware of their collective responsibilities in terms of interpersonal relations.
Shari’a commission
On the legal front, the Shekarau administration created, for the first time, the office of the Director General to oversee the affairs of the Sharia Commission. worried by the escalating level of street hawking in the state capital and its environs, the people’s governor directed the commission to put certain mechanisms that could curtail or discourage the social menace.
The Sharia Commission has been up and doing in regulating the sales and consumption of alcohol by applying stricter measures against those found to be contravening the Sharia Law, which prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol in the state. It is noteworthy, however, that apart from certain places predominantly inhabited by no n-Muslims, it is an offence to sell, promote or drink alcohol in any other parts of the state and those found guilty have severally been punished in accordance with the Sharia Law.
Only last week, about four Muslim Youths were sentenced to eighty strokes of cane each, after they have been caught drunk and malingering about in the streets, the 80 strokes sentence by a Sharia Court tells of the state government determination to stamp out numerous anti-social behaviours and attitudes that contradicts the Islamic Sharia.
The Sharia Commission has equally recorded considerable success in the area of instilling righteousness through an elaborate public awareness campaign, aimed at conscientising the people by organising several seminars and prepared lectures. Muslim scholars were evidently dispatched by the Commission to various government agencies and parastatals to educate people-the civil servants- on the need to conduct their affairs with the fear of Allah (SWT) in their mind. The logic is to encourage good virtues and discourage evil mechinations among the government workers. It goes without saying, that if all the people – particularly those reposed with the public trust will imbibe the spirit of transparency and accountability in accordance with the Islamic legal system, most cases of corruption and other social vices would have reduced drastically to the delight of all.
Zakkat and Hubsi Commission
Promotion of socio-economic transformation is another area where the Shakarau administration has scored a pass mark. The state government has successfully reorganised the Zakkat and Hubsi Commission which cardinal objective, as the name implies, include the procurement of Zakkat, an annual compulsory alms prescribed by the divine sharia upon wealthy Muslims and distributing same to the poor and needy etc. This civic responsibility does not lie squarely on the state government alone because according to the devine order as contained in the sharia legal system, giving out Zakkat is not only desirable but obligatory among the wealthy in any given Muslim Community.
The Islamic concept of Zakkat is hinged basically on the context of spiritual purification and the increase of wealth or economic development. Therefore it has a spiritual and ritual purport together with an economic and utilization purpose. First, because it purifies the soul of the giver by affording him regular training in depriving himself or a part of his legitimate possessions (wealth) for the sake of economic advancement of the community.
Secondly, it (the Zakkat) cultivates mutual sympathy amongst the various classes of society i.e. the rich and the poor. In Islam, it is compulsory ordinance on every Muslim, whose wealth has reached the “Nisab” (limit prescribed by sharia for paying the Zakkat). If he refrains, he will thus be pulling down one of the (5) pillars of Islam.
There are two main principles concerning Zakkat. First, the poor have a legitimate claim to the surplus wealth of the rich. It is the duty of those privileged to be rich enough to carter for their legitimate demands, to provide the poor needy with the necessities of life. In every community, there are many who live in perpetual grinding poverty; they are not properly fed or clothed and many suffer from various forms of ailments. This is largely due to the failure of the community to fulfil its civic responsibility with regard to giving out Zakkat, which is an equivalent of the western Social Security Scheme. Suffice to mention here, that a Muslim is bound under the Islamic Sharia to contribute his share of Zakkat for the economic benefit of the community as a whole.
The second principle to be borne in mind is that the disbursement of Zakkat is the personal responsibility of a muslim, so that his love for personal belongings and the instinct of hoarding may be kept under control. Several authentic Islamic Scholars have avered that if a community or the state has not set up any agency for collection and distribution of Zakkat, an individual is not exempted from giving or discharging his responsibility in the matter.
The interesting thing here, is that the Kano state government has put all the necessary machineries in motion, through adequate funding and provision of all necessary inputs for the Zakkat and Hubsi commission to succeed in discharging its constitutional responsibility. It is equally heartwarming to note that the people’s government has resolved to lead by example, to the effect that it has, for the past two and half years, paid and distributed Zakkat to thousands of needy people in the state.
It therefore behoves on wealthy individuals to complement such positive government effort in cushioning the harsh effect of the prevailing inflation in the country.
People should be informed that the concept of Zakkat holds broader, social significance since it involves both the government and the governed, in forging both material and spiritual cooperation in establishing a virtuous social order. The cardinal objective of Zakkat is that, it is distributed to the poor by the wealthy, to help them become better citizens which will equally guarantee peaceful co-existence within the community.

Posted by Publisher at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

Nigeria: Democracy or anarchy

We are here today as Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, to felicitate with Northern Members of the House of Representatives as you formally inaugurate your forum.

By MUHAMMADU GAMBO JEMETA
But more importantly, we are here to openly and unequivocally identify with the ideals and objectives of the Forum, amongst which are the pursuit of equity, justice, fairness and democracy in our county.
As a critical part of the House of Representatives and of the National Assembly at large, Northern members are within their rights to come together in order to identify, articulate and pursue their legitimate political and legislative interests.
The 1999 Constitution guarantees your right to freely associate, in addition to the fact that each one of you is here as a representative of a definite constituency located somewhere in the North.
Coming as it does at this critical point in the history of our county, this inauguration is at once an overdue and timely event. It is overdue because six and a half years into the life of the Fourth Republic, it is difficult to understand why a forum like this has not emerged earlier than now.
It is not as if any one of you was Iiving in Planet Mars when the House was transformed from a chamber for making laws for the good governance of Nigeria, of which the North is a significant part, into something resembling the New York Stock Exchange, where virtually anything could be bought and sold, as long as the price was right.
While we, at the MRD, believe that a good number of Members are as honourable as they claim, we still find it regrettable that Members have allowed their less-than-honourable colleagues to indulge in activities, which call into question the integrity of the House as a whole, leading many ordinary Nigerians into believing that the National Assembly cannot be relied upon to uphold or defend their interests and rights.
I must be frank with you, the sentiment that members of the National Assembly are merchants in disguise and are, thus, ready and willing tools in the hands of the Executive Branch to manipulate at wish, is very strong and widespread. As you well know, in politics as in business, the customer is always right and I regret that Members of the House have to bear their burden of proof, the other way round.
But the inauguration of this Forum is also timely, because it is coming at a time when principle and practice must either agree or collide. As the political choices become clearer and the issues leading to 2007 crystallize, politicians, including Northern members of the House, are running out of places to hide.
The review of the 1999 Constitution as an instrument for facilitating a third term agenda is placing every politician's integrity, Northern and otherwise, on the line and all Members, honourable as well as the not-so-honourable ones, must soon take a stand. It is then, and only then, we shall know who truly has the interest of the North at heart and therefore be able to sift the grain from the chaff.
Our solemn pledge to you today on the inauguration of your Forum is that we shall always be with you and walk with you whenever you decide to walk the walk. And we shall begin to watch you, every step of the way, because the future of our people and of our country depends on what you will do or you will fail to do from now on. As legitimate players and stakeholders in this democratic project, you can count on the fact that, in the struggle for the restoration of democracy in this country, we shall not be found wanting. We shall not forget our friends in this struggle, and we shall not forget our foes. The choices are clear enough: it is either democracy or anarchy.
Once again accept our felicitations and we pray that God may guide you and give you the strength to do what is right.

Muhammadu Gambo Jimeta, former Inspector General of Police, who is also the Danlawan of Adamawa, presented this as a good will massege from Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, at an occasion to mark the formal inuaguration of Northern Members' Forum of the House of Representatives on November 21, 2005 in Abuja.

Posted by Publisher at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

Mass resignation in Festival C’ttee...alledged sabotage

SOME members of the forthcoming 7th Kano Mini-Sports Festival have threatening to resign enmass for what they described as sabotage for the sports authority to execute the fiesta.

Investigations by Daily Triumph Sports learnt that some members are ready to resign from the committee as sign of protests the way and manner, the festival were posponing twice without concrete reason.
According to the investigations, some members had already confronted the chairman of the local organising committee, Alhaji Kabiru Waya and expressed their disatisfaction over the issue.
Their words: ‘’The fiesta which support to be a ground whereby athletes recruit from the competition will represent the state in the forthcoming Zonal elimination of the National Sports Festival tagged Gateway2006’’ in Abeokuta, Ogun state, is now turn to be wasted as a result of preparation of the zonal elimination scheduled hold from December 5-9 in Kano.
‘’What is the essence of Kano festival if the zonal elimination will take place before the fiesta. Something most be done in a proper way.’’ they explained.
Contacted, the Local organising committee chairman who is double as the Special Adviser to Kano Governor, Alhaji Kabiru Waya denied any knowledge of some members threatening to resign but he quickly admitted that there is problems in connection with festival.
Alhaji Waya said that his committee was doing everything possible with the Sports Council officials to overcome with the problems.

Posted by Publisher at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

Kano for Shell Cup q/final

Kano state football team has qualified for the quarter-final of the on-going Shell Cup competition after emerging overall winners in Northwest zone.

The competition which was held in Zamfara state, saw Kano played 1-1 draw with Sokoto, goaless draw with Katsina and pipped Kebbi state 2-1.
Speaking with Daily Triumph Sports, the head of school sports of Kano ministry of education, Alhaji Ibrahim Yahaya commended his boys for their wonderful performance in the competition.

Posted by Publisher at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

Jigawa votes N17m for stadium project

Jigawa State Government has approved about N17 million for the upgrading of the Birnin Kudu Mini Stadium.

When completed, the facilty would be capable of taking in about 7,000 capacity crowd, up from its present 3,000 capacity.
The chairman of the Youths and Social Development Committee of the Jigawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Illiyasu Yalwandamai, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse on Tuesday that the project would include a general renovation of the stadium, built several years ago.
Illiyasu said a consultant had already carried out a feasibility study of the facility, as a prelude to the commencement of work at the site. Work would be completed within three months.
The lawmaker who represents, Birnin Kudu Constituency in the House, explained that the project would also include the construction of a Hockey and a Basketball pitch as well as contruction of running tracks.
The measure, he said was to encourage sporting activities at the grassroots, promote unity and boost socio-ecnomic well-being of the people of the area.

Posted by Publisher at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

German FA seeks nine-month ban for referee

The German Football Association (DFB) is seeking to ban for nine months a referee it accuses of colluding with convicted match official Robert Hoyzer.

The DFB's control committee is seeking a suspension that would run from the end of January 2005, the DFB said on Wednesday. The punishment for Felix Zwayer would be more symbolic as the proposed nine-month period is now over.
Zwayer, who has not officiated since January due to the charges against him, will be given the chance to respond. The DFB's tribunal will then deliver a verdict.
Zwayer was a linesman during a regional league match between Wuppertal and Werder Bremen amateurs on May 30, 2004 that Hoyzer admitted he sought to fix.
Hoyzer, whom a Berlin court sentenced to two years and five months in prison last week, said he recruited Zwayer and passed on 300 euros (353 dollars) from an obsessive gambler, Croat Ante Sapina, who had placed a large bet on the outcome.
Zwayer had agreed to help ensure Wuppertal won, which they did 1-0, Hoyzer said. Zwayer himself has denied seeking to influence a game. Like Hoyzer, Sapina also received a jail term last week, of two years and 11 months, and also referred to a linesman who had agreed to help rig the Wuppertal game.
Berlin prosecutors dropped their case against Zwayer because of his limited role in the two million euro (2.35 million dollars) match-fixing scandal.

Posted by Publisher at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2005

Alleged N750m council scandal: House orders full investigation

THE Speaker, Kano state House of Assembly, Hon. Balarabe Sa’idu Gani has directed the Assembly’s Committee on Local Government to investigate allegations of financial scandal amounting to N750 million levelled against Sumaila local council chairman, Alhaji Zubairu Hamza Masu.

By ALIYU YUSUF

Droping the hint while briefing assembly correspondents on Saturday, Speaker Gani explained that such directive became necessary to enable the House know the authenticity of the allegation for further advice to the executive arm for necessary action.
Gani who said the committee should start the assignment today, has also directed the members to go to Sumaila local government council, Wudil branch of Tropical Commercial Bank, and Court 6, Miller Road, Kano to investigate and dig more factual information on the matter.
He pointed out that as the state’s Assembly member representing Sumailas, nobody has ever intimated him on the alleged financial scandal but woke up only to see it on the headline of Weekend Triumph of November 12, 2005.
‘’Whoever is found guilty after the investigation, government will not hesitate to punish him or them through appropriate legal action,’’ he stressed.
It could be recalled that the council chairman was taken to court by one Alhaji Muhammad Garba Rimi on the allegation of financial scandal worth millions of naira allegedly misappropriated from monthly grants of the local government.
Alhaji Rimi who filled the case in Kano state High Court 6 Miller Road Kano, was accusing the council chairman of collecting N750 million from the state government for the purpose of executing different projects in the council area, but was allegedly diverting the money to personal account.
The council chairman was further accused of lodging the sum of N135 million in his personal account with No 0042212342.
The court has however, adjourned the matter to November 28, 2005 for further hearing.
Last Saturday, our sister newspaper, Weekend Triumph carried as its lead story, the alleged financial scandal involving N750 million by Sumaila council chairman, Alhaji Zubairu Hamza.

Posted by Publisher at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

Kano HOS presents equipment to Hisbah guards

TWO motorcycles and 10 units of communication equipment, otherwise known as “walkie-talkie” and accessories were presented by Kano state office of the Head of Civil Service to Hisbah guards of Audu Bako Secretariat to complement the activities of law enforcement agencies in the state.

Presenting the motorcycles and communication facilities to the commander-general of the state Hisbah command at a colourful ceremiony attended by chairman of the state Civil Service Commission, some permanent secretaries and directors , the Kano state Head of Civil Service, Malam Rabi’u Zakaraya’u said the gesture was aimed at encouraging and enhancing the performance of the Hisbah guards for effective surveillance and checking of accesses in the security lapses within and outside the secretariat.
Malam Zakariya’u added that with the provision of such facilities by his office, the Hisbah guards deployed tio the secretariat are now fully prepared tio undertake their expected roles of security surveillance in accordance with the tenets of Shari’a implementation in the state.
The head of the civil service therefore urged civil servants and the public to support the guards in the quest to bring about an enhanced and condusive working environment as well as moral rectitude for overall performance of the state civil service.
Receiving the two motorcycles and the communication gadgets, the Commander-General of the state Hisbah , Ustaz Yahaya Farouk Chedi eulogized the office of the head of civil service for providing adequate working materials to the Hisbah guards deployed to the secretariat.
He said the efforts will go a long way in complementing the command’s obligatiions and responsibilities as well as that of the law enforcement agencies in the state for not only maintaining a virile and purposeful civil service, but also for a stable and peaceful society in general.
Sheikh Chedi therefore advised government establishments to emulate the initiatives by ensuring a uniform security network throughout government premises.
He assured the head of civil service that the facilities would effectively be used for the purpose they were meant.

Posted by Publisher at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

Liberia’s presidential run-off: Court rejects Weah's allegation

The Supreme Court in Liberia has rejected football star George Weah's allegation of fraud in the presidential run- off.

The court referred him to the National Elections Commission (NEC), Weah's spokesman Sam Quiah told Xinhua on Satruday.
Weah had protested to the NEC, over Tuesday's run-off that pit him against Harvard-trained Iron Lady Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
He alleged that pre-marked ballot papers intended to be stuffed in ballot boxes in favour of his challenger were intercepted by his supporters and presented photo copy of same to the NEC as evidence to prove his claims.
But while the case was pending before the NEC, Weah's party took flight to the Supreme Court, seeking a writ of prohibition on the NEC from announcing the results.
Johnson-Sirleaf was leading with 59.4 per cent as 97 per cent of all polling places had been counted.
``The Supreme Court did the right thing because it cannot go into the case in the absence of a ruling from the NEC,'' a Liberian legal expert told Xinhua.
International observers including the EU, ECOWAS and the Carter Centre were unanimous in their observation that the election was free, fair and transparent.
Calm has returned to Monrovia following Friday's demonstration in which at least two people were injured.
Thousands of supporters of the football star took to the streets in what they described as a ``peaceful demonstration to show to the international community that there were fraud in the presidential run-off''.
The UN police used tear gas to disperse some of the
demonstrators at the diplomatic enclave of Mamba Point in Monrovia, when, according to Liberian police sources, the demonstrators began ``throwing stones and attempted to go beyond police lines''.

Posted by Publisher at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)

Kuffuor wants African leaders refocus on economy

Ghanaian President John Kuffuor, has called on African leaders to develop and define their national visions for the economic advancement of their people.

Kuffuor made the call last weekend in Abuja at a lecture he delivered to the National War College Course 14 participants with the theme ``Global security: Our shared responsibility- an African response.''
He said that the measure when adopted, would prevent intra-state conflicts, civil wars and violence in Africa.
Kuffuor said that security and stability could only be achieved when founded on respect for human rights, establishment of democratic institutions, the realisation of sustainable development and economic prosperity.
He said that abject poverty and its attendant woes such as diseases, hunger and illiteracy must be eliminated from the face of the earth.
Kuffuor said that the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction must be halted, and a total ban on nuclear weapons should be imposed on all states.
``Peace must be allowed to reign throughout the world, especially in Africa; we cannot expect to integrate fully and successfully our economies, if conflicts are allowed to have free rein'', he said.
Speaking, President Olusegun Obasanjo, said that the vision of the African Union (AU), was that of peaceful, integrated Africa, driven by its people and a dynamic force in global community.
Obasanjo said that short, medium and long term strategic objectives were set for the realisation of the AU's vision which would lead to its integration as from 2015.
He said that NEPAD was the machinery for attaining economic integration and good governance through the ``peer review mechanism.''
Obasanjo, who was represented by the minister of state for defence, Chief Roland Oritsejafor, said that the AU would soon come up with a Common African Defence and Security Policy and African Standby Force (ASF).
In his address, the Commandant of the College, Rear Admr Anthony Isa, said that the participants population had grown from the modest beginning of 30 in 1992 to 100 now.
Isa said that additional responsibility had been added to the college when it became the Centre of Excellence for Strategic Level Peace Support Training for ECOWAS.
He, however, said that the temporary facilities were being over stretched, making it necessary for accelerated construction works at the permanent site.
Isa said that the college would continue to provide the appropriate learning environment to participants from within and outside the country.

Posted by Publisher at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)

Polio: 38m Nigerian children for immunisation -- Staurt

ABOUT 38 million children are expected to be immunised in Nigeria during the fourth national polio immunisation exercise, the Director, Rotary International, Mr. R. Stuart has announced.

By ADAMU ABDULLAHI

Mr. Stuart made the announcement when members of the Rotary International from California, United States of America paid a courtesy visit to the Kano state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau in his office last Friday.
According to Mr. Stuart, the Rotarians were in the country to monitor the polio immunisation exercise billed to have commenced on Saturday, November 12, 2005 with a view to rendering their assistance towards the success of the programme.
The Rotarian also disclosed that since 1985 there were 350,000 cases of polio each year, noting however that due to the effort of international organisations such as WHO, UNICEF and CDC along with Rotary, only 1,500 cases were recorded this year.
He added that because of government’s and individual efforts in Nigeria, polio cases have dropped from 590 cases last year to less than 480.
According to Stuart, over 163,000 volunteers are expected to immunise about 38 million children in Nigeria and in over 22 African countries, almost 80 million children are expected to be immunised.
He expressed appreciation with the government’s commitment towards the success of the immunisation programme in the state.
In his response, the state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, said the polio controversy is over in the state and nobody would raise an eyebrow over it.
Malam Shekarau explained that no amount of money or commitment would be too much to his administration in the pursuit of eradicating polio.
‘’I am very much aware that our community is among the areas that have prevalence of polio to a certain degree which is far higher than other parts of the world,’’ the governor submitted.
Governor Shekarau noted that his government was compelled to under-go scientific research of the vaccine because people were sceptical about the exercise.
To this end, Malam Shekarau said scientifically, the vaccine has nothing to do with politics, religion and culture therefore, all hands should be on deck to ensure the eradication of the disease.

Posted by Publisher at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)

Enwerem throws-in towel over Senatorial bye-election

Former Senate President,Evan Enwerem has withdrawn from the race for the vacant Owerri Senatorial seat.

Enwerem, a strong contestant for the position, said he opted out because, his opponents had been blackmailing him.
The seat was declared vacant following the death of Sen. Amah Iwuagwu few months ago.
Speaking with journalists in Owerri on Saturday, Enwerem, also a former governor of Imo, said that he withdrew because, he did not want to be involved in dirty politics.
``Returning to the Senate is not a do-or-die affair as far as I am concerned,'' he stated.
Enwerem said his friends and associates approached him to contest in the senatorial bye-election because of his experience in the affairs of the Senate.
On the 2007 gubernatorial election in the state, Enwerem said it was the turn of Owerri Senatorial Zone to produce the governor.
He, however, urged PDP members to close ranks and ensure the emergence of a credible person as governor.
``We must resist the imposition of a doubtful character as governor of Imo in 2007,'' he said.
He stressed that he was not satisfied with the brand of politics currently being played in the state and therefore, called for a change of attitude

Posted by Publisher at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)

ECOWAS observers hail Liberia's run-off election

The ECOWAS observer mission has hailed Liberia's run-off presidential election as "generally peaceful, free, fair and transparent."

The commendation was contained in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja from the observer team in Monrovia.
In its preliminary statement, the 45-member observer mission noted the complaints emanating from the election.
It appealed that these should be handled through due process to ensure fairness and justice for all the candidates and build confidence in the process.
The mission advised Liberians against being pre-occupied with ``this passing phase of the process''.
It rather advised that Liberians should ratherfocus on the "mammoth task of national reconstruction" such as the restoration of basic services, rehabilitation of roads and re-launching of the economy.
For that to succeed, the mission said that dialogue, reconciliation and unity were paramount.
While congratulating the political parties and candidates on the success of the elections, the mission urged the "losers to accept the result with dignity and grace while the winners must acknowledge victory with humility."
The mission praised the Liberian people and the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) for their determination, positive spirit and commitment to the process.
It also commended other institutions that worked tirelessly to ensure the successful conduct of the run-off election.
`'This election and the previous one of October 11, constitute remarkable landmark in the process of achieving peace, stability, security and democracy in Liberia," the mission added.
It urged the two political parties that participated in the run-off, their supporters and Liberians to remain calm and to await the final results.
The mission added that the election and its outcome should foster national reconciliation, unity, stability and national rebirth.
The mission, which was led by a member of the ECOWAS Council of Elders, Amb. Ebenezer Debrah from Ghana, was drawn from member states, ECOWAS parliament, ECOWAS ambassadors and ECOWAS secretariat.

Posted by Publisher at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

Fuel scarcity hits Katsina

Scarcity of Fuel has resarface in Katsina state with filling stations increase pump pricing from N65 to N77 per litre.

From Mu’awuya B. Idris, Katsina

Investigations revealed that long queue of vehicles has returned at filling stations while commercial motorcycle operators popularly known as ‘’Express’’ has increased their fares.
It was further learnt that the scarcity has extended to Daura and Funtua as most filling stations in these areas have no fuel to sale.
According to our finding, a gallon of fuel is now sold between N600 to N800.
In Katsina metropolitan areas, filling stations have been dominated mainly by black marketers known as ‘Yan bunburutu who also serve as middlemen between motorists and fuel attendants.
Our correspondent learnt that, the black marketers are now making brick business even as their presence at the filling stations has worsen the situation.
It was gathered that the problem of fuel scarcity in the state has cripped socio economic activities.
Commenting on the scarcity, chairman of Petroleum Independent Marketers Association, Katsina chapter, Alhaji Hamisu Maraya said the state only receive one truck of fuel every day instead of the required six trucks.
Alhaji Maraya further said that the scarcity was caused by the problem of bridging which is occasioned by repairs.
He dispelled rumour of possible increase of fuel price by the federal government.

Posted by Publisher at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

Jigawa police arrest hit-and-run driver

Jigawa state command of the Nigeria Police Force, has arrested one Haladu Sadiq who was accused of killing a motor cyclist with his jeep car.

From ISMAILA MUHAMMAD, Dutse

The Police Public Relations Officer of the command, ASP Nwakalor Christian Ejike told our correspondent that on November 3, at about 19.00 hours a fatal motor accident occured along Auyo -Hadejia road involving a vehicle with registration number F JS 01 SC Toyota jeep belonging to one Haladu Sadiq of No. 29 Ibo Road, Sabon Gari, Kano.
Mr. Ejike further explained that the suspect was said to have knocked down a motorcyclist, Abdul-Hamid Garba, 50, who died on the spot while the driver ran away. The corps was taken to Kafin Hausa Cottage Hospital for post motem and then later the body was released to his relations for burial.
Although, when the accident occurred, the driver absconded, the police’s discrete investigation uncovered him after which “he was arrested while investigation is still in progress”, the PPRO disclosed.
He stated that the Police investigation revealed that 15 bags of dried leaf suspected to be marijuana and two different plate numbers A.U. 683 KMC and AE 341 SKK also discovered in the car.
Mr. Ejike disclosed that the criminal aspect of the offence will be investigated by the police while the matters which borders on the prohibited drugs will be handled by the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for thorough appraisal.
He said that at the end of police investigation, if found guilty of committing the crime, the suspect will be charged to court.

Posted by Publisher at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

Customs posts N79.22 bn revenue

The Apapa Area 1 Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) realised N79.22 billion revenue between January and October this year.

A breakdown of the figure, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, shows that Import Duty topped the revenue chart with N47.68 billion.
Further breakdown of the report signed by the Controller, Mr Rasheed Taiwo, revealed that Port Levy fetched the Command N3.55 billion, 5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT); N16.99 billion, 5 per cent Sugar Levy; N13.90 million, and 0.5 per cent Ecowas Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS); N2.11 billion.
Other revenue are 10 per cent Rice Levy; N1.55 billion; 2 per cent National Automotive Charges (NAC); N471 million; collections from 1 per cent Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS); N3.51 billion; while N3.37 billion accrued from Fees and other sources.
Meanwhile, the Controller, had said that more revenues would have accrued to the Command but for the federal government's reform programme of de-emphasising imports.
The Controller, who made this known while receiving the Senate Committee on Finance in Lagos, said that though government's plan to stimulate the agricultural and manufacturing sectors was well intended, it affected revenue accruing from imports, adding that the bulk of duty to the Command in the past was from rice, steel products, wheat and sugar.
``Since the commencement of this year's fiscal policy measures, the importation of rice which is now 100 per cent rate of duty has drastically reduced, thereby affecting revenue,'' he said.
He also said that the reduction in tariff on all machinery from 10 per cent to 2.5 per cent also affected the command's revenue collection.
Taiwo further said that the various concessions given to pharmaceutical companies, glass producers, motorcycles and bicycle assemblers grossly affected collectable revenues of the command in the last seven months.
The Area Controller complained of lack of good working environment and funds to sustain operations.
He, however, expressed optimism that the Automated System of Customs Data (ASYCUDA) and documentation had made their operations less cumbersome.

Posted by Publisher at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

Be fair in Criticisms, Commissioner urges public

KANO state ministry of health has appealed to the public to be fair in their criticisms over the activities of the government, commissioner in the ministry, Dr. Sanda Muhammad disclosed this during an inspection tour to the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH).

By SALISU N. MUHAMMAD
He said that no hospital in the state has been neglected by this administration in terms of projects execution and provision of medical and infrastructural materials.
According to him, IDH is among the state- owned hospitals that have benefited from general renovation towards complementing the efforts already done in the hospital especially by installing new transformer and generator as well as procurement of multi-million naira medical equipment and infectious diseases drugs.
On the issue of outbreak of diseases, the commissioner explained that the ministry is now providing free treatment of cholera and other related diseases in almost all the health centers across the state with a view to reducing congestion at the hospital.
Dr. Muhammad also urged the public to shun baseless criticisms by some unpatriotic citizens hell bent on causing mischief in the society, according to a press release signed by Acting Public Relations Officer in the ministry, Ado Ibrahim.
Conducting the commissioner round, senior medical officer in the hospital, Dr. Samuel Ekpo thanked the commissioner for the visit and described it as a sign of good faith of the present administration towards improving health services in the state.
During the visit,the commissioner was accompanied by Hajiya Salamatu Garba, permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr. Hamza, executive secretary Hospital Management Service Board (HMSB) and other directors in the ministry.
In an other develoment, the commissioner has commended the effort of donor agencies in assisting the government toward providing effective health care services, especially in immunization exercise.
Dr. Muhammad stated this while receiving the visiting deputy director, Centre for Diseses Control, Atlanta, U.S.A, Dr. Bob Keagan who paid him courtesy call in his office.
The commissioner highlighted the areas which receive government attention similar to polio and measles which include infectious diseases and child survival among others.
He then called on the people to support the forthcoming routine immunization exercise which commenced over the weekend.
Earlier, Dr. Keagan had said that he was in the country to supervise the conduct of immunization exercise, and also to discuss some health related issues with stakeholders.

Posted by Publisher at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

KNSG releases N12m to Leventis Foundation

KANO state government has released more than N12m to the Leventis Foundation/Kano state School of Agriculture as part of its counter funding to the school.

Presenting the cheque, the state commissioner of agriculture and natural resources, Alhaji Ibrahim Garba said no meaningful development could be achieved without emphasis on agriculture.
He stated that each of the 84 students of the school will get N20,000 take-off loan after graduating from the balance of N7 million counter funding to enable them stand on their feet.
Alhaji Garba then appealed to the principal of the school to ensure adequate preparations for the school’s financial requirements for inclusion in the budget, while assuring proper monitoring of students activities.
Earlier, principal of the school, Alhaji Garba Aliyu Lere who collected the cheque, had expressed appreciation to the commissioner for the quick release of the money.
Alhaji Lere assured the commissioner of honouring the obligation by the state government and promised to ensure that the money is properly utilized.
Speaking on behalf of the students, Malam Hassan Garba expressed appreciation to the state government for its kind gesture and appealed for the construction of a mosque in the school.
At Bagauda Agric Show Site, the commissioner ordered for the clearance of the site and the Fish Seed Multiplication Centre with a view to providing adequate land to allow for private participation.
The commissioner also visited D/Kudu Cattle Market where clearing of grass has commenced.

Posted by Publisher at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)

Kano NUJ exco best —Triumph MD

MANAGING Director and Editor-in-Chief of Triumph Publishing Company, Malam Mahmoud Adnan Audi has described the new executive members of Kano state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) as the best.

By SALISU MARAFA
Speaking while receiving the executive members who visited him in his office, Thursday, Malam Adnan applauded the members, saying “the new exco is the kind of team the union needed”.
He described the new exco as dedicated and honest, and assured of his support to the union all the time.
Speaking on staff welfare, the managing director assured the union of good working condition for all Triumph staff, adding that his aim is to leave a legacy worthy of emulation.
Earlier, chairman of the union, Comrade Abdulllahi Datti Abdullahi Arzai had said that the aim of the visit was to establish and solicit for support from Triumph management on the march towards moving the union forward.
Comrade Arzai explained that the new excutive council of the union would focus on ensuring professionalisation of the practice of journalism like other credible associations such as medical or the legal practice.
He also stated that the present NUJ leadership would ensure constant training and retraining of its members.
The chairman, also pledged to introduce what he described as “NUJ Forum” which he said would be inviting professionals to discuss vital issues about the country.

Posted by Publisher at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)

‘Remain law abiding citizen’

PEOPLE of Giade local government council in Bauchi state have been enjoined to remain law abiding and respect constituted authority.

From SULE ALIYU, Bauchi

The council chairman, Alhaji Umaru Saleh Doguwa who gave the charge while speaking to Daily Triumph in Bauchi maintained that the call was necessary because with out peace no any meaningful progress could be achieved.
He said his council during the periods under review has expended a lot of money in line with governor Ahmad Adamu Mu’azu led administration that cares for human development.
The council boss congratulated Muslims in the area, over the successful completion of this year’s Ramadan fast and Sallah celebration and enjoined them to make good use of what they have learnt during the fasting period to bring about unity in the area and the state at large.
The chairman expressed his administration’s readiness to embark on programmes that are beneficial to the people of the area and charged them to reciprocate the gesture by the supporting government policies and programmes.
Alhaji Umaru Saleh also enjoined community and traditional leaders to mobilise their people to support government policies for better service delivery.
He used the forum to commend the state government under the able leadership of Alhaji (Dr.) Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu for the provision of rural infrastructures in his area.

Posted by Publisher at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)

Islamic scholar advises leaders

NIGERIAN leaders have been advised to fear the AlmightyAllah in the discharge of their responsibilities.

Stories by BALA ABUBAKAR

Speaking in an interview with Daily Triumph in Kano, an Islamic scholar Malam Ahmad Muhammad who gave the advice also urged the leaders to always embark on meaningful programmes and initiate policies that would ensure unity and progress of the society.
He reminded the leader that the present economic situations is to high for the bearing of the masses.
While calling for prayers from the people he urged them to give the needed support to the present administration in order to achieve its objectives.
The scholar also commended the present administration’s effort in ensuring peace and progress of the country.

Posted by Publisher at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)

Gov Shekarau commended

RESIDENTS of tokarawa quarters in Kano have commended the state government for executing developmental projects in the state.

A spokesman of the residents, Malam Salisu Kabiru Tokarawa said governor Shekarau has achieved alot in running the affairs of the state.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Triumph over the weekend he said the programmes of the present administration on rural transformation is quite commendable.
He urged leaders to emulate Governor Ibrahim Shekarau for improving the lives of the people.
The spokesman enjoined all the people to give maximum support and cooperation to the present administration in order to achieve its objectives.
Malam Salisu Tokarawa appealed to the youths to support governor Shekarau in 2007 elections.

Posted by Publisher at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)

Kusada to construct staff quarters

KUSADA local government council in Katsina state has concluded staff quarters for health personnel whereever clinic, dispensaries or hospitals are located in the local government area.

From MUAWUYYA B. IDRIS, Katsina

Already the construction of 18 such houses have been awarded by the local council.
The council leader, Alhaji Bishir Abdullahi Yashe told newsmen that each of the 18 houses would cost N1.7 million.
Alhaji Yashe explained that the gesture is to assist the health personnel to discharge their duties successfully.
He further explained that the construction of the houses would assist health personnel to live in the area and interact freely with the communities.
Alhaji Yashe called on the health personnels to respond to the gesture by discharging their duties effectively.
He appealed to the constructors handling the construction of the houses to ensure the completion of the projects within the stipulated time.

Posted by Publisher at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)

Ingawa to establish 12 new primary schools

INGAWA local government council in Katsina state is to establish and assist in the construction 12 primary schools through communal effort.

Stories from MUAWUYYA B. IDRIS, Katsina

The council chairman, Alhaji Bala Sani Yaya who gave the hint during a meting with traditional rulers and community leaders said the construction of 12 primary schools in the area is to assist in decongestion the existing ones.
Alhaji Sani said that the primary schools are to be located at Dandanaka, Nassarawa, Sandawu Manomawa and Yaya.
Others places are, Yari Batallawa, Koda Jowin among others.
Alhaji Sani noted that the council would provide building materials for the projects while communities are to provide labour.
He said the construction of the schools through communal effort is the best alternative for rapid progress of the society.
On the effort to ensure peaceful coexistence between farmers and Fulani, the chairman directed traditional rulers to employ all measures to ensure peace in their respective domains.
Alhaji Sani requested them to report any alleged cases of insecurity to the appropriate authority for prompt action.
He commended traditional rulers for their support and cooperation to his administration.

Posted by Publisher at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)

Katsina Assembly calls for intensive security

Katsina state House of Assembly has request the state government to intensify efforts aimed at curtailing the upsurge of crime in Faskari, with a view to avert further killing of lives and destruction of properties.

From Mu’awuya B. Idris, Katsina

The House explained that government should also prevail on state commissioner of police to beef up security at Unguwar Tsamiya Forest Reserve which has become a hide-out of criminals.
These were part of resolutions adopted by the House as announced by the Speaker, Alhaji Ahmed Kofa after deliberating on matters of urgent public importance, sponsored by a member representing Faskari, constituency, Alhaji Isah Abubakar Faskari.
Alhaji Faskari while presenting the motion requesting for building of police post, said Unguwar Tsamiya has been a threat to people of the area.
He explained that criminals are using the forest to kill and take away properties of innocent people.
Our correspondent reports that members from Kankara, Bakori Charanchi and Musawa constituencies who also contributed on the motrion, called for the urgent action from the state government.
Meanwhile, Faskari local government council chairman, Malam Nafiu Garba has said normalcy has return at Tsamiyar Forest Reserve.
Malam Garba commended the effort of security agencies for taking steps to avert the escalation of the crisis following the killing of one person by Fulani nomads.

Posted by Publisher at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

Rimi’s absence stalls PDP congress in Kano

KANO state People Democratic Party, Maijama’a, would have held its congress to elect state executive officers last Saturday, November 12, 2005, but for the absence of Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi.

By Akilu Abdullahi

Daily Triumph reliably gathered this from a staunch PDP Maijama’a adherant, Alhaji Ado Maikusa Muhammad during a chat in his office.
He also informed that currently, followers of PDP Maijama’a hadn’t resolved forming another political party for, as Maikusa placed it: ‘’All avenues have not being exhausted in reaching amicable solution among various factions of the party.’’
On why the prolonged stalemate among the warring factions, he said: ‘’Rimi, Gwadabe and the rest first wrote a letter to the other faction, suggesting a peace mission. Minister (Kwankwaso) replied to our letter but unfortunately, one of his aides refused to tender this reply for almost six months. This is because the aide and his likes thrive only on political turmoil.’’
Asked if PDP Maijama’a could make any impact on 2007, Maikusa said the impact was glaring as far back as 1992 when PDP under Rimi in Kano swept into victory 38 local government councils, 95 percent state legislators, 85.3 percent federal legislators and 100 percent at the senate, and urged people to compare this with what was obtained during the 2003 elections.
Does he think Rimi could clintch a presidential flag from any party in 2007 and Maikusa said: ‘’ that is an act of God, almost none in Kano ever dreamt of Shekarau winning the guber race. It is now history.’’
On the performance of the ANPP government in Kano he said: ‘’To be candid I am a PDP member but I appreciate what Malam is doing in Kano. The case of supply of potable water alone is a point. Water had been the scourge of Kurna, Bachirawa, Gobirawa and environs for over a decade. Today pipes have been laid all over the place while here in Na’ibawa where my office is, water has flowed through all dried up taps.’’

Posted by Publisher at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

Adamawa PDP congress: The ugly side of the coin

It is no longer news that the Adamawa chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is fractionalized between Senator Jibril Aminu and the Atiku/ Boni supporters groups, and so far two parallel congresses were conducted for both the local government delegates and the state executive of the party, this made the party’s congresses in Adamawa fascinating.

By Zayyad I Muhammad - zaymohd@yahoo.com
Adamawa occupies an exclusive position in PDP’s tome, Adamawa is so privilege to occupy this peerless position because of one man, vice president Atiku Abubakar’s indigeneship of the state, and the so called Obasanjo/ Atiku feud, which many believe is taken to the vice president’s door step, which is the genesis of the current internal squabbling in Adamawa PDP.
Internal party squabbling is nothing new in any political party, especially in a party like the PDP, which is composed of many diverse interest groups with array of ideologies.
Professor Jibril Aminu and his cohorts, many believe have the support of Abuja, were armed with the party’s registration cards, which give the group the liberty to openly exhibit some kind of hocus-pocus attitude and aver to themselves an imaginary triumph; this is so, because when one looks at: the manner at which the last membership registration exercise of the party was conducted in the state; the local government delegates elections and the November 5th state congress,are full of indiscretions, though irregularity are peculiarities in politics of most third world countries.
Out of desperation to have relevance in Adamawa politics and secure temporally relief, professor Jibrin Aminu and Gen. Marwa conducted what one would call ‘ the lazy man’ congresses.
had it been, those that appointed Prof. Aminu as the party’s link man in the state, know what had transferred at the local and ward congresses of the PDP, their hearts would bleed, it was a comedy!
Where the services of the members of the opposition ANPP were employed; so droll, that the mighty PDP is imploring their political adversaries to come and take over their party.
a funny example is the case of strategic Yola-North and Yola –South local government areas, where the entire executive of the ANPP from wards to the local government levels were automatically made the ward and local government executive of the PDP; resulting in Usman Marafa, the former ANPP chairman in Yola-South becoming PDP chairman in Yola-South and Usman Kaura of the Yola-north ANPP assuming vice chairmanship in Yola-North.
while most of the local government delegates presented to the PDP by the Jibril Aminu faction, are ‘wall-to-wall’ ANPP adherents.
well, it is politics, such things are not mind boggling; but what is really the ugly part of the episode is, the perilous dimension being brought into the whole issue by Prof. Aminu.
it is shocking to note the colossal lopsidedness in the politics of party membership registration, where an entire section of Adamawa people was wholly marginalized; though, it is not surprising when one reflect back on Prof. Aminu antecedent.
it is full of controversies and egoism; especially when it comes to political matters, he is so incline to doing things the ways he deems will suit his chauvinistic mind.
this started since his VC’s days at the university of maiduguri, where he wrote boldly on his desk ‘ DO IT MY WAY’ but in politics, our ways should always be an all encompassing; this bring us to the composition of the two PDP factions in Adamawa.
two scenarios are now happening in the politics of PDP in the state, the Jibril Aminu led group are with the opposition ANPP, while the other group are with the genuine PDP members, and another important edge the other group have over Prof. Aminu’s faction, is, more than 95 % of the elected people are with them.
out of the 21 local government council chairmen in the state, only Caleb Tabawasa of Girei and Dr. Mustapha of Song excluding their vice, are with the Jibrin Aminu’s faction .
while the remaining 19 local Government chairmen are with other faction; out of the 23 state House of Assembly members only 4 are with Jibril Aminu i.e. Jerry kundisi of Gombi who Prof. Jibril expelled from the university when the Professor was the VC of Unimaid, others are Alfa Bellel of Maiha, Salihu Audu of Mayo- Belwa, and Ibrahim Abdulmumini of Song; from the membership of House of Reps, only Njidda Gella of Mubi-North, Mubi-South, Maiha federal constituency and Anthony Madwete of Numan, Lamurde, Demsa federal constituency are with the Professor’s bloc; and all the wards and local government chairmen of the party are not with the faction.
One interesting thing about the just concluded state congress was, the Prof. Aminu’s faction conducted their congress in the professor’s personal office, while the other faction conducted their own in Stella Obasanjo Hall.
the Aminu faction used the voice voting while the other group used actual physical voting, though voice voting is an accepted pattern of voting, but sometimes politicians employ such, when they are not certain of the loyalty of the voters when secret voting are to be done.
Politics in Adamawa is of complex dimension, it is beyond personality and sentiments; local grass root politics is the key to success; i.e. one has to have a good bond with the locals through their traditional leaders throughout the five political zones of the state.
these zones comprise the northern zone, the central zone, Numan federation, Ganye chiefdom and the Mayo Belwa axis, but the Jibril Aminu faction is only left with the claim ‘ we are working for Obasanjo’ but one wonders if Obasanjo will condone: marginalizing a particular section of the society; working with the people that the greater section of the society are not with, or accepting sentiments as a weapon in gaining political supremacy.
The truth of the matter is Senator Jibril Aminu and his cohorts are busy perpetuating their personal agenda in the name of working for PDP; but gone are the politics of yesterdays; that we deliberately see things with an eye so as to avoid what our hearts doesn’t like; around are eras of seeing things with both eyes, so as to have the opportunity to see and appreciates the view, thought and wisdom of other people, because rainbow politics is about the people, not having one’s head in the clouds.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Nigeria

Posted by Publisher at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)

Galadima deserves second term

Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima is a simple gentleman. A soft spoken sports administrator who is highly respected by all and sundry.

By IBRAHIM ABDU ZANGO

A born simple administrator, you could hardly get a man of the people whose social status gives him all the love from the people than this gentleman.
Alhaji Galadima, was one time a commissioner in charge of sports administration in Kano state. He prefers to sacrifice his time to look for the pleasure of others, a dynamic sportsman who dislikes favouritism, ethnicity and scophancy, he always puts Nigeria first above other interests. He is known for his fluency and can represent Nigeria anywhere around the globe without a shame.
He is a man of the people for his social interactions and this gave him a social standard around the sporting world. It is this kind of man Nigeria should need and NFA is really respected world over because of his ability, initiative, humility and gentility.
This man should not be put aside because every country needs people like Ibrahim Galadima to manage its affairs, because he is transparent and can control his temper. Nigeria is lucky to have this simple gentleman as its chairman of the NFA for the second term.
I know that since the office of the chairman is democratically elective, you can not say others may not contest but I do know if Alhaji Galadima wishes to re-contest, I have no doubt he would emerge winner in view of his achievements and commitment to sports development. Nigeria did not qualify for the 2006 World Cup. This blame should not be put on the NFA alone. So many things had happened and so many factors are responsible for our inability to qualify.
Everybody has his or her own opinion about Nigerian soccer, but those of us who were former ex-this and ex-that in sports, especially football, knew where the problems lie. It is in our blood to accuse those who are not supposed to be accused.
Now that the whole world embraces football as the key game that attracts large spectators as can be seen in Europe and a lot of funds are put to make things more attractive. Nigeria, being a Third World country with its best players, looks very much at the receiving end.
Moreover, a mere look at the situation will reveal that no matter how good the officials of the Nigeria Football Authority are, things may not reflect the actual desire of the football lovers in Nigeria. Truly we have foreign based players who have money and, fame who dictate to NFA what to do and what not to do. This is not what is practiced yonder.
No matter how wealthy a player is, it is Nigeria that produced him therfore it is expected that his action and deeds must reflect some sanity and love for his country. That is why I always praise and pray to some of our foreign based players like Kalu, Okocha, Martins and lot more. Really, they love their country despite the fact that they got fame, wealth and are really loved by very many fans around the world.
Well, NFA under the good care of Alhaji Galadima had done all it could to get the ticket for the World Cup 2006, but things got muddled in view of the new world order of FIFA. If not that, of course, we deserve to be in Germany for the World Cup. So, nobody who thinks well could attest that it was the fault of the NFA. If by mere hard thinking one implicates or inflicts some unnecessary taboo on the NFA, I can say that is his opinion.
Therefore, foot ball lovers in Nigeria should sincerely pray for our Eagles next time to come; for it is not the end of the tunnel, we have to take heart and pray for the coming years. I know however, that no one ever suggest that countries like Togo, Ghana and Angola would be able to go to Germany for such International engagements but here they are and Nigeria had since been at that international soccer field for about twice. If this time we are not there, that is God’s willing and nobody could dispute that.
So, with all this in mind, I see no reason why another chance should not be given to this simple gentle, Ibrahim Galadima. This is really a task that must be done. Nigerians should for God’s sake remove the evil of ethnicity from all forms because if we continue in this mad pursue unnecessarly, we will be a laughing stock.
My sincere appeal to the sports ministry is that we know the level of their commitment and resolve from the initial stage in contributing too much failures where too much politics did rampage our chance. I know the current supports minister, Alhaji Samaila Sambawa is equal to the task. Certainly, he will be very simple, soft-solid rock for engineering a formidable NFA to get to the top in managing its affairs without much interference.
This will give them free hand to get to the bottom line in recruiting the best foreign based and the local footballers who are yearning to reactivate our good chances in future engagement. The Nations Cup must be prepared honestly for Nigeria to beat Ghana and Senegal. For Zambia cannot match us as we did a hard blow to its organisation when we met in Abuja for the World Cup engagement recently.
All I know is that Nigeria will miss the Germany 2006, but great number of football fans world over may not go there because Nigeria is not there. So, we have to thank God. Nigeria is rated the best in Africa only that luck is against us.

Ibrahim Abdu Zango writes from Kano Social Forum, Kano.

Posted by Publisher at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)

Open letter to Kano LG commissioner

SIR, find this letter in a better working atmosphere and a good faith, In Sha Allah.
I have every reason to write this letter to your good self believing in the famous saying “Give an honour to whom honour is due”.

First, I am giving you a good honour for your Islamic consciousness that gave you moral development and sense of hardworking as well as honesty. Many people will quickly agree with me that you are one of the most hardworking and the most respected who has Governor Shekarau’s confidence.
Second, I am giving you another honour for your firm belief in defending the right of the oppressed! You are known for this. I wish all other leaders were like you nationwide.
As far as contractors are concerned, things are not easy for us especially at local government level. In terms of prompt payment of our dues, we have from time to time suffered enough neglect. I have always expressed the fact that local government councils award more contracts than their financial capability. This, I believe, sir, has unnecessarily caused delay in settling our dues having effectively completed our projects. This problem persists in most of the 44 local government councils. Despite this, some of these councils are better than the rest.
Sir, contractors especially those who interact with local government councils have every right to believe that Governor Shekarau had, no doubt made a wise choice by appointing you as a commissioner of local government ministry. You are a good friend of LG service and project providers and of course, our well-wisher. Your successful attempt to bring contractors and local government council officials together recently in order to discuss mutual problems was a very wise decision that came at the right time when the government of Shekarau is Malam working round the clock to bring effective moral re-orientation of our society!
Just like my own self, other contractors have concluded that you are the first local government commissioner to do this in the interest of progress and mutual understanding between the contractors on one hand and the other. I am sure, the meeting has greatly produced bigger understanding between the two sides. As far as I am concerned, I was much delighted having heard of your approval for your ministry to organise a second meeting which had equally produced a better result. You personally attended the meeting together with your permanent secretary and all other directors. Chairmen, treasurers, DPMs and HODs for works were also there.
Hon. Commissioner, I sincerely thank you for giving us the chance to contact you for solution to our problems, if any. The understanding you created between us and the councils can not be easily calculated. That is why I sincerely accepted your call on us to work harder than before and with all transparency based on this mutual understanding which you created between us and the councils. Hopefully, other contractors too have already honoured the call.
In fact, I wish at the national level, the authorities concerned could emulate this good gesture. Be assured, sir, that all I have said above is my personal view, which is most probably the view of all my colleagues who attended the meetings. I have realised this through group discussion with my colleagues and I found it a duty to spare time to write you this letter which is a true reflection of our support for your tireless efforts to help our profession.
Thanks also for the local council chairmen and all other officials for their full cooperation to the commissioner’s effort. It is a proof of their loyalty to Governor Shekarau’s administration.
May Allah, the Almighty be your guide in all your undertakings.
Alhaji Kabiru Ibrahim,
Executive Chairman,
Muhalli Nasiha International (Nig.) Limited,
Kano.

Posted by Publisher at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)

Nigeria faces too many disasters

The present undemocratic prevalence, conditions, injustice and dishonesty that characterized the nation are some of the causes that are affecting Nigeria today.

By Sule Musa Dutse
Directly or indirectly, from the year 1979 to 2005, this nation has faced various tragedies, ranging from tribal and political conflicts. the plateau mayhem, the Ogoni killings, the political crises and civil unrests in various cities across the country, floods and other natural disasters are practical examples. These are unfortunate happenings that occurred during the so-called democratic system of government, 1999 to date. Judging from what has been happening, the trend of events, the system of direct and indirect rules, the dictatorship different from the military style in Cuba, Nigerians are today faced with abject poverty, hunger, disease and other vices. It was only through the continued prayers of prominent, civilized and God fearing Nigerians, that we did not find our country in the same situation like Niger Republic, despite the pathetic situation in our society today.
At the time when our heads of government were rushing to send food items, as assistance to Niger republic hunger victims, Nigerians were hungry too. Nigerians known for our tolerance and patience, remained calm and deliberately ignored their shortcomings and left everything in the hand of Allah.
Notwithstanding, everything went well and bumper harvest emerged in nearly all the northern part of the country. The millet was the first to have been harvested and its prices dropped in various markets. Both new beans, groundnutes and others were sold at an affordable cost, even though, the long traditional unscrupulous traders have been visiting various markets to purchases these cmmodities in bulk and stocked them, until such a time when the prices goes higher in future. If these unfortunate activities are left unchecked by the authorities, prices of food items may even be higher than the old ones.
By the time the remaining crops are harvested, the hardship being experienced by the common people would be minimized. However, the federal government should as a matter of urgency re-organise its so-called "poverty alleviation programmes" because it is only some privileged persons that are benefiting from the exercise. It is extremely difficult or impossible to see or hear people from far rural areas benefiting from the scheme.
Disasters:
As I have stated in my introductory paragraph, this country has witnessed various disasters ranging from air crash, tribal and religious fightings, mayhem among others. Going through our historical records, "it is only God Almighty who is keeping the country united". The political atmosphere is saturated with hatred, condemnations, sycophancies andothers. While in a civilized countries, "politics are games of "who wins or looses, in Nigeria, it is a do or die affair".
The recent air disaster involving a Boeing 737 aircraft belonging to Bellview Company is not the first that ever happened. In 1970 , during the civil war (Biafran), another Boeing 707 belonging to Sabena airline crashed near Lagos water ways killing all the seven crew on board. Similarly there was an air crash at Kano International Airport, which over 200 Pilgrims died. The Gwammaja air disaster will not be forgotten in the history of air disasters in Nigeria. But the recent one is said to be the worst because for more than 24 hours, Nigerians could not ascertain what was happening. Human beings were burning at Lisa village in Ifo local government area of Ogun state.
The 111 passengers and six crew members, involving high-ranking officials and good citizens of the great nation would continue to be remembered. It was an act of hopelessness on the part of those concerned not to have taken immediate action after the crash.
It has been in the aviation record that, Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA); the most neglected airport in the country (now) was the gateway to Nigeria.
From 1960-1978, aircrafts coming to Nigeria must speak to Kano control tower before any other airport or aerodromes. It was only when such aircrafts approach Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state, that Murtala Muhammad Airport Lagos (MMAL) but takes over control of such planes. Today, (MMAL) has more recognition than that of Kano. It was a deliberate conspiracy that is affecting business activities in Kano today. The natural visibility is clearer in Kano than in any of the airports in Nigeria. Foreign pilots in those days were more familiar with Kano situation than any other in the country. The control tower was fully equipped, staff ready to rescue and attend immediately to any disaster(s).
Unfortunately, some programmes and polices initiated in Nigeria are baseless and bias. Although no individual, could avoid disasters but some were through negligence from the aircraft operators, the untrained controllers, the strong headed pilots or the money mongers airline operators. These factors if left unchecked would continue to affect the operations.
Panels to probe the air crash:
On several occasions, when sympathetic things like the Bellview air crash occurred, government and other interested bodies announced painels of investigations.
Unfortunately, the previous panels appointed by successive governments or National Assembly never worked. They normally came up with paper submissions that never served the purpose of their establishment. The same panels or committees of investigations were set up for Gwammaja Air disaster in Kano among others. Yet, nobody can tell their outcome and the families of the victims are yet to be fully compensated.
Observers see such panels as "wasteful exercises" that do not help anybody. Instead of such panels, it is better to direct the airline operators or federal government to pay compensations directly to the families of the victims. There will be nothing better more than that.
In its usual broadcast after the disaster, the foreign media put the blame on our air space. The plane that crashed ought not to have been in Nigeria since it was said to have been manufactured in 1964. The foreign media monitored, further said that, Nigeria has become a "dumping ground" where used aircrafts, cars, cargos and other vessels are imported.
Imagine the number of lives lost through such careless use of such dumped automobile? By the way, what happened to Nigerian satellite sent into the sky two years ago? Was it not to be used to locate disasters, aggression and other conflicting issues approaching the nation? The federal ministry of aviation under Prof. Babalola Borishade, should give Nigerians complete report for keeping them over 24 hours without the full information of where the plane crashed. If not, we must therefore, regard the ministry, its officials and all those in Nigerian aviation industry as most "incompetent in the discharge of their responsibilities."

Sule Musa Dutse wrote in from Dutse, Jigawa state.

Posted by Publisher at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)

Gujrat and the Nigerian example

In recent years and times, it became no longer news that Indian has become death trap to both Muslims and Christians.

By Muh'd Hamisu Abdullahi
Features Editor
Followers of event across the world, and keen observers or analysts of international events have made so many analysis via media and even internet on the massacre of these two religious followers in some states or cities in that country. The most affected is the India's western state of Gujrat, where a controversial bill ostensibly designed to stop forced conversions was approved.
This, according to many opponents of the bill, could be used to target Christian and Muslim minority communities. Even the Freedom of Religion Bill was said to have been modelled on similar legislation introduced in the state of Tamil Nadu and as it is already on the statute books in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.
Various incidents have happened in various locations of that country. Such incidents were interpreted by many as being targetted to inbue fear in the minds of the Christian and Muslim minorities. A reference among others could be made to Jabalpur riot of 1962, Meerut riots of 1982 and 1987 and Mumbai riots of 1992 to 1993 - where some young Muslim boys in Suleman Bakery, near Minara Masjid were killed.
Also about 12 Muslims who took refuge in a bakery near the city of Baroda on March 1, 2002 were said to have been burnt alive. This riot was said to have sparked off by the earlier torching of Sabarmati Express train carrying Hindu zealots on their return journey from Ayodhya which was the catalyst for the riots in Godhra in February in the some year. A total of 58 people were killed on the attack and the blame was put on a Muslim mob.
Many people look at the Gujrat riots as a blot on India's secular image. The most unforfunate thing is the effort made by the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Narendra Modi to even, instead of cushioning the effect of the carnage, aggravate the situation through disrespectful remarks and speeches. In this respect, even the India's National Commission for Minorities(NCM), a constitutional body that oversees matters relating to India's minorities, had gone to an extent to which it demanded to hear tapes containing the allegedly disrespectful speeches of remarks, which it asked the Gujrat state government to hand over recordings of a speech Mr. Modi gave at an election rally, which was broadcast on television and published in newspapers then. In the speech, Mr. Modi apparently blamed Muslims living in refuge camps for the state's population boom.
As Gujrat was rocked by Hindu-Muslim violence in that year, between 1,000 and 2,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in the violence. It is really disheartening to deduce that even the police who are supposed to arrest such situations when they occur, were accused of being partisan.
A nation where countless dialects are being spoken and which is a home to more 100 million Muslims, 20 million Christians and throngs of Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists and tribals, India should have ensured effective protection of the rights of the minorities as provided by its statutory law. Inded, modern India's founding fathers, namely Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru have envisioned the country to be a pluralistic state, tolerant of all traditions.
In fact, only radical forces preach ''India for the Hindus, ''-a land reserved for '' one nation, one people,one culture.'' This, indeed, remains the most volatile idea for that country. Let it be accommodative of these minorities in order to make it a safe heaven for all. Muslims also should not be seen as the biggest and most despised 'enemy' for Hindu extremists.
However, it is interesting to note that even Amnesty international and other concerned non-governmental organizations (NGOs), have expressed displeasure and lack of support to the state of annihilation on the Muslim communities in that country. According to a public statement it issued on October 16, 2002, Amnesty International wanted hate speeches on the violence in Gujrat to be stopped. It thus stated:
''Annesty international is alarmed at repeated inflammatory statements made by Ashok Singhal, the international working president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a nationalist Hindu organisation, about the violence against Muslim population in Gujrat earlier this year, in which more than 2,000 people were killed.
''The organisation fears for the safety of many thousands of vulnerable people, should further violence be incited by the reported statement.''
Ashok Singhal was reported to have said on October 11, 2002 that ''what happened in Gujrat will happen in the whole of the country.'' Also on September 3, 2002, he reportedly termed the Gujrat massacre as a ''successful experiment which will be repeated all over the country.'' These are unguarded statements.
In fact, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion is a recognised criminal offence under Indian law. Therefore, because of people like Singhal, I picked interest in writing this piece. Let us all gear our attention towards fostering a global peace and that one's religion must be protected. This is because of the dangers inherent in not protecting it. I am a Muslim and I consider all other Muslims in the rest of the world as my brothers and sisters. So, I must be touched if anything of this nature happens to them (Muslims).
Take for instance, in Nigeria or Kano in particular, where I reside, there are a lot of Indians of Hindu faith who go about practising their religion without any molestation. There are indeed many temples in Kano and that worshippers in those temples do not receive any threat today from the Muslim dominated Kano community.
Therefore, I really begin to wonder why many people in many continents of the world begin to play it primitive and barbaric. It is really a pity that despite the fact that world itself is becoming a global village, some people of this world do not have a vision beyond their continent or horizon or confinement.
Unless people begin to think beyond their environment, they may continue to remain in backwardness, mercilessness and brutal to other races, sects or religions. It is really unhealthy for a country like India, which gained independence since 1947, to fail to accommodate different religious faiths, though it is a fact that religions on the Indian subcontinent have jostled with each other for millenniums.
Contrastingly, the Gujrat massacre could not be the same with the 1991 Kano Reinhard Bonke riot between Muslims and Christians or the recent upheavals in Kaduna, the Lagos Odua People Congress (OPC) terrorism and the Plateau (Yelwan Shendam) massacre of Muslims by Christians, all in Nigeria.
Most of these happenings in Nigeria were fully investigated because some committees or bodies were set up by the respective governments of those states which investigated their root causes. Gladly, as of today, many victims of such unfortunate incidents were even compensated by those governments. Some were already rehabilitated. This is unlike the Gujrat happening, in addition to those in other states or regions in India. According to report no investigation was carried out by relevant bodies or government into such massacres, talkless of even making some move towards compensating the victims.
The culprit of the 1995 Kano riot, Mr. Gideon Akaluka, was found to have used some papers of the Great Qur'an as toilet roll which Muslims felt it was blasphemous. Also in another incident a lady (Christian) wrote an article in one of the national daily newspapers which too appeared blasphemous and which Muslims felt it was an insult on them.
All thses are concrete evidences because the edition of the newspaper which contained that article is still in possesion of many Muslims. Muslims in Kaduna (though the newspaper is not based in Kaduna) and other places reacted against the act which led to the sanction of the sale of the newspaper in many Northern Nigerian states that are Muslim-dominated.
Also, other crises that happened in Nigeria in recent times had their links to, in most cases, tribal affiliation or ethnicity. Sometime such crises in Nigeria have certain political under-tone. But they were all invesgated.
In plateau state, it would be recalled that the Obasanjo administration had to declare state of emergency leading to the susapension of the state governor, Chief Joshua Dariye, because of his failure to contain the situation. And in place, an interim government was appointed with a sole administrator who took charge of the state for six months before reinstating Chief Dariye.
These were positive actions which many of us welcomed. But in Gujrat state such action was not taken against the Chief Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi.
The massacre of Muslims in that state continued for over three months. The only attempt made just to appease Muslim anger over Gujrat slayings was the decision of the United States government to deny visa to Mr. Modi who was scheduled to visit the US for five days. He was invited by the Asia Pacific Motel Owners' Association of United States of America to address their meeting. Many US and Indian NGOs protested against his visit to US. Two senators also threatened to move a resolution to denounce the trip.
Therefore, it was based on all these anti-Gujrat Chief Minister feelings that the US decided not to grant Mr. Modi a visa. It also canceled other tourist and commercial visas granted to him in 1998. But internally, no action was made against him by the Indian government as did by the Nigerian one on a governor like Mr. Modi. Even the visa denied him was seen by analysts as cosmetic in nature as the US is looking for ways to change its image before the Muslim world after attacking Afghanistan and Iraq, which are Muslim countries.

Posted by Publisher at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)