November 20, 2008

Shehu Musa Dies in London

Secretary to the Government in the Second Republic, Alhaji Shehu Musa, is dead. He was 73 years old.
Musa, who held the chieftaincy title of Makama Nupe, died yesterday in a London hospital.
Details of his death were sketchy last night but a press release by the family said the remains of the former Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC) would arrive Abuja this morning from London.
His remains will be interred on Friday at Bida, Niger State, his hometown, according to Muslim rites.
Musa was born on January 16, 1935.
His last public service appointment was as a National Commissioner of the Independent National Ele-ctoral Commission (INEC) under the late INEC Chairman, Justice Ephraim Akpata.
Musa served as Secretary to the Government under President Shehu Shagari in the Second Republic.
He was a frontline member of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), which held sway at the centre in the Second Republic.
In the aborted Third Republic, Musa pitched his tent with the National Republican Convention (NRC) and even vied for the party’s ticket to contest the presidency which he lost.
Musa was the chairman of the NPC that conducted the 1991 Census under the defunct regime of military President Ibrahim Baban-gida.
He was also chairman of the Red Cross Society of Nigeria.
A distinguished retired public officer, Musa studied at the University College, Ibadan and graduated in 1960 with a B.Sc (London) degree in Mathematics and Physics.
He later proceeded to the University of Minnesota where he obtained a Masters degree in Public Administ-ration in 1962. Upon graduation, he joined the Nigerian Public Service where he rose to the position of a permanent secretary.
Musa was said to be a detribalised Nigerian who believed in the indivisibility of the country.
Responding to a question on the achievements of the country in an interview with a national newspaper on the occasion of Nigeria’s 48th independence last October 1st, he said: “This is a very general question in terms of expectations which differ but there are areas where one can say we should feel fulfilled and there are areas where things have really not been what our expectations are; they are much less.
“When I talk about where we should feel fulfilled, it is in the area of unity of the country. The country with all the hiccups here and there, I think we have done what I call satisfactory achievement. Like I said we have had hiccups here and there, both through very serious civil war but today, we are doing everything possible to remain united.”
Hajia Mamuna Jumai Musa, the eldest child of the deceased, said the former SGF would be buried in Bida, Niger State on Friday, adding that his body would be flown in from London where he was taken when he complained that he was not feeling fine.
“Daddy will be buried in his hometown, Bida on Friday. His body will leave London tomorrow morning (today). We are all moving to Bida for the burial,” she said.

We Won’t Reduce Fuel Prices, Says FG

Hopes that the falling crude oil prices would lead to cheaper petroleum products in Nigeria have been dashed by the Federal Government.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the end of its weekly meeting yesterday foreclosed any pump price reduction.
Minister of State for Energy (Petroleum), Mr Odein Ajumogobia, while briefing State House Correspondents, said the inability of the government to opt for a reduction in the domestic prices of petroleum products is because the sector is not deregulated.
The latest pronouncement of the Federal Government would seem to contradict earlier positions that the periodic hikes in the prices of petroleum products resulted from high price of crude oil in the international market, since Nigeria imports a significant percentage of what it consumes because of the inadequacy of local refining.
But the price of crude oil has fallen from a high of $147 per barrel last July to below $54 a barrel by yesterday.
U.S. crude fell to $53.30 a barrel, its lowest since January 2007, while London's Brent crude (equivalent of Nigeria’s Bonny Light) was off 54 cents at $51.30.
The current petrol pump price of N70 per litre was fixed when crude oil was selling for $80 per barrel June last year.
It had been expected – and government had consistently argued – that lower crude oil prices would lead to lower pump prices.
Ajumogobia said: “We can't enjoy the benefit of deregulation because it's only Automotive Gas Oil - AGO (diesel) that's deregulated. PMS (petrol) and kerosene are still regulated. Now we need to take a holistic view of the sector and see how we can put all petroleum products in one basket, so that as the prices go down in the international market, they'll also go down locally.
“However, the implication of that is that if the international prices of petroleum products go up, we'll also have to pay more locally. We need to look at the situation holistically and find a solution. We can’t eat our cake and have it. We agreed with Labour last year that the pump price would be N70. We don’t have a regulated market for PMS. It is something that we are looking at seriously and we will take a decision about it very soon.”
Last May, Ajumogobia had, while making a case for the removal of subsidy, put the total projected cost of subsidy for 2008 at about N700 billion when crude oil was selling for over $100.
“We are trying to be more systematic and thorough in handling the subsidy issue. We cannot sustain it. We believe that we must go through deregulation of the price. We are engaging the stakeholders work with us. The N700 billion subsidy is over N100 billion above this year’s capital vote,” he had said.
He did not say if the subsidy bill would still be as high with crude oil now selling for a little over $50.
In 2003, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) took the novel step of reducing petrol price by 50 kobo in line with a slight drop in crude oil price in order to demonstrate the “benefits of deregulation”.
Also briefing the press yesterday, Minister of Information and Communications, Chief John Odey, said FEC had approved a draft bill that would guarantee the security of jobs and freedom of people living with HIV/AIDS from discrimination.
The draft bill provides the legal framework for the prohibition of discrimination against affected people.
He said: “Council approved a proposal for the enactment of a bill for an Act to make provision for the prevention of HIV/AIDS based discrimination and to protect the human rights and dignity of people living with and people affected by HIV/AIDS and the related purpose. The Attorney General and Minister of Justice came to Council with a memo, seeking Council's approval for a bill for an Act to make provision for the prevention of HIV-based discrimination and to protect human rights and dignity of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and other related purposes.
“The Act is meant to prevent all forms of HIV-based discrimination in the work places. The Act is fundamental because it would help in the enforcement of fundamental rights of people as well as enhance a more supportive and proactive workforce that does not discriminate against employee for the mere reason that such employee is HIV-positive.”
Towards implementing this, the Council mandated the Minister of Labour to conduct periodic inquiries to ensure compliance and make recommendations when necessary.
He also said to increase generating capacity and sustain the functionality and reliability of existing generating units, the Council approved the award of contract for the supply of combustion inspection materials for Delta IV (4) at Delta electric power Business unit, Ughelli in the sum of N62,042,400 for a period of three months.
FEC also approved the award of contract for the construction of Block/concrete wall fence phase II at the permanent site of the petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Osubi, Okpe LGA of Delta State in the sum of N55,581,499.43 to be completed by the end of December, 2008.

UK announces £148m health programme for Nigeria

The United Kingdom has begun moves to boost healthcare services in Nigeria with a £148m initiative aimed at improving the financing of the sector in the country.

An officer of the UK’s Department for International Development, Chris Hindley, who disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, said the health care plan was announced by the International Development Minister, Ivan Lewis, on Tuesday.

According to Lewis, the initiative will assist the Federal Government and selected states to build up the health system by identifying where the money should be spent.

He said that the initiative, known as Partnerships for Transforming Health Systems 2, would ensure that government provided health care and services rendered by non-governmental organisations.

The minister said, “The £148m will help ensure Better services across the country – not just in the cities - such as rural clinics to support pregnant mothers and provide immunisations to children.”

He added that it would assist government in planning and management by ‘ensuring it is spent where health needs are greatest.

According to him, it will focus on preventative health support to ensure people are better prepared to fight disease and illness.

“The scheme is expected to boost the use of health facilities by 25 per cent, reaching 30m people living across six states,” he said.

Under the scheme, Lewis added, £21m worth of drugs and equipment would be provided for 1,500 clinics and hospitals with a focus on maternal and child health.

He said, “With the programme’s money in partnership with other initiatives, the number of births where skilled birth attendants are present will rise from just a third to over a half, while full immunisation rates will rise from 18 to 60 per cent, to slash infant mortality.”

Men's fashion mistakes to avoid

WE all make fashion errors now and again, but some fashion mistakes made by men are just unforgivable. Outlined here are some fashion mistakes to avoid at all costs:

* wearing socks with sandals - Who decided this was okay in the first place? It is understandable that when it is chilly outside we all dream of the warmth of the hot sun, but wearing socks with sandals doesn't make the seasons change any faster;

* spotting novelty ties, shirts, boxer shorts, etc.- There is nothing lasting about novelty clothing nor does it project a stylish, put together image. Leave the smiley faces, hearts, reindeer, shamrocks, animal and various other prints on the racks of the store where you found them;

* blaring designer labels - Who says it is chic to be a loud walking advertisement for designers. It's not a sophisticated look. Just because you are wearing a designer's name on your chest, sleeve, or wherever, doesn't make you stylish. Keep it understated and simple;

* parading in chunky shoes - These were okay back in the 90s, but the big chunky shoes, especially those with square toes, should be retired at this point. Choose something classic that stands the test of time;

* shiny or glittery shirts and suits - If you are looking for something to go out nightclubbing in, think of much better choices than those that are glittery, shiny and ultimately tacky. If you are at a loss, try a form fitting black T-shirt or black dress shirt, which can be worn with jeans or trousers and dress shoes or casual shoes.

* clothes that are too loose fitting - In a word, sloppy. Unless you are a hip-hop artist, it's not the right look. Choose clothes that fit your body. This might take some experimentation by mixing and matching certain cuts and styles until you find the right fit for your body that is flattering;

* unflattering colours - The colours you wear should compliment your natural features such as your eye colour, skin tone and body shape. Keep this in mind when putting your look together. French blue is always a good choice. French blue, which is a rich medium blue, is a flattering colour for most skin tones. It makes a great dress shirt, which is mainly where you will find this sumptuous hue;

* stay away from bright, solid-coloured socks - Colourful socks are okay if they have a design like stripes or argyle. But bright, solid-coloured socks are simply not a good idea;

* donning loud patterns - They are distracting and ultimately not a good thing. If it was ever in, it was the 80s, but we've thankfully moved on;

* ties are great way to express yourself - but keeping it tasteful is your best bet. You can't go wrong with diagonal stripes, modern polka-dots, plaids and subtle patterns. Just make sure your tie compliments your shirt, suit, sweater or whatever you will be wearing it with. Novelty ties are best avoided since the novelty is short lived;

* always match your belt with your shoes - This is a good rule to follow and it keeps things simple. It's best to stay with traditional colours such as black, dark brown or a rich tan. Other colours will be difficult to match, and generally speaking, should be avoided.

* Culled from the Internet.

Nigerians in U.S. divided over 'missing' satellite

SHOULD the Federal Government seek the assistance of the United States (U.S.) space agency to help resolve the Nigerian Communications Satellite's (NigComSat-1) disappearance in orbit? Nigerians in the U.S. are offering divergent opinions.

While some of them are offering the Federal Government assistance regarding the satellite, which is facing an almost certain disappearance in space, others are urging caution since Nigeria had chosen to go with China and not the U.S. to launch it.

In fact, some U.S.-based Nigerians who are also American citizens have already contacted the Federal Government offering to get help through the U.S. National Space and Aeronautics Agency (NASA), according to Dr. Baba Adam, a top university administrator.

Adam, who spoke on behalf of some Nigerians who have access to NASA, said its competence in such matters is well known. He believed that the U.S. agency's intervention "may resolve the issue of losing N40 billion and also address the usage disruptions caused by the satellite's failure."

Adam, who confirmed that an initial contact has been made with top Federal Government officials, said even it was Nigeria that is being ridiculed. "This may be a technical or design flaw from the Chinese," who designed and installed the satellite.

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, Mr. Ahmed Rufai, had confirmed to The Guardian that the chances of recovering the satellite were very slim. He said although the project contractors, China Great Wall Industry Corporation, were yet to make any categorical statement on the possibility of recovery, yet he affirmed that "from our observatory here in Abuja, the chances are slim."

The Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat) may have, therefore, foreclosed the recovery of the parked NigComSat-1 powered down eight days ago as a result of a solar panel power shut-out.

But Adam insisted that NASA could help identify the problem, while also calling on the National Assembly to investigate the matter thoroughly in order to "avoid future embarrassments."

Stressing the urgency of the situation, Adam noted that "everyday the un-powered satellite loses altitude/orbit - as it happens right now - it will become harder to fix this problem - so sooner this issue is addressed the better."

Besides, Adam said the planned launch of the second satellite should put on hold until the issue of the current satellite is resolved."

He added that with "the exception of NASA - I am not sure who has the capabilities of quickly assisting Nigeria on this issue. May be a new battery pack or Solar Arrays may be installed on the Nigerian satellite - just like the upgrade to the U.S. Hubble Space telescope, International Space Station and other space-crafts and satellites serviced in orbit," all of which were handled by NASA!

On the other hand, there is also the concern among Nigerians in the U.S. that the NigComSat-1 crisis may have international political dimensions bothering on the possibility of a sabotage.

For instance, a Nigerian expert, who did not want to be named, said: "When China builds and launches a communications satellite for Nigeria and other African countries, it means rival powers are shut out from possible intelligence benefits of monopolistic access to communications (SIGINT) in the affected countries.

"It is not far-fetched, therefore, to envisage sabotage, followed by negative publicity and a reflexive review of the whole Sino-Nigerian or Sino-African relationship - resulting in an invitation for those same rival powers to get in on the show 'to help' and thus get access to previously unavailable secret data about Nigeria's space programme that until now was monopolised by the Chinese."

The Guardian yesterday learnt that preparatory to the eventual shut-down of the satellite, the power supply to the system had dropped from 42 amps to 33 and hit 18 amps by Monday night, a situation which may have created bigger problems for NigComSat and its owners, the Federal Government, if it was not powered down.

It was also gathered that the Chinese contractor was yet to properly handover the management of the satellite to NigComSat, and that this is due on May 13, next year. The Chinese had entered into an agreement for 15 years technical back-up, which began on May 14, last year when the satellite was launched.

Sources said that if the system was not powered down, the insurers would have denied any culpability for what could have amounted to negligence on the side of Nigeria and the managers of the system.

NigComSat-1 thus joins 18 other satellites that disappeared and parked in orbit since January this year.

In fact, it is the 18th. Its safe mode power failure occurred the same day, November 10, that Orbcomm satellite had its problems announced to the global community.

Meanwhile, Rufai yesterday said that satellite was insured for 120 million Euros (about N20.4 billion) by the Chinese company.

Rufai, who disclosed this at a meeting the House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, however, allayed fears that a lot would be lost, saying that it could still be rectified. He urged the committee to appeal to the Federal Government to still negotiate with the Chinese government and manufacturer of the facility for an alternative satellite.

Rufai also urged the committee to prevail on the government to approve the utilisation of $500 million (about N57.5 billion) China EXIM Bank concessionary loan for NigComSat-2 and 3 advance series for expansion.

He said the award of contracts for manufacturing and launch of the NigComSat-1 followed due process and was given to this Chinese while the supervision was given to Telesat, Canada."

He further said: "The short-term strategy involves minimising the company's exposure to contractual liabilities to its customers whilst provisioning for the many projects undertaken by the company, including the community TeleCentres, NITEL revitalisation plan, etc.

The short-term strategy includes the bulk purchase of bandwidth under a back-up services agreement with a foreign operator with a satellite with footprints and powerful eire as NigComSat-1.

"This will not only provide the necessary succour to the company's numerous customers but also go a long way towards restoring confidence in the company's goodwill."

Rufai, who maintained that the unfortunate situation was not the first incidence, explained that a private satellite operator recorded six failures on six satellites on the same day while the industry recorded a total of over 18 losses last year.

Rufai, who expressed regrets over the incident said: "The batteries are only supposed to discharge during eclipse and recharge when in non-eclipse situation while the solar array serves as the source of power to the satellite.

"This anomaly was noticed by NIGCOMSAT LTD engineers on night duty and reported to the satellite manufacturer.

"The satellite was consequently de-orbited to avoid total loss of power and control of the satellite which could result in damages to other satellites in the orbit or even aircraft in flight." guardian online

Budget '09 still hangs, Senate to screen 13 ministers

PRESIDENT Umaru Yar'Adua will not present the 2009 budget to the National Assembly today as earlier scheduled. The earliest the budget may be presented to the National Assembly is next week.

But the President yesterday submitted names of 13 ministerial nominees to the Senate for screening and confirmation.

The shift in the date of presentation of the budget was at the instance of the leadership of the National Assembly. It cited the need for more consultations between the Executive and the Legislative arms of government on details of the budget proposals.

A source said that there was a need for the harmonisation of areas of disagreement between both arms of government in order to ensure an easier passage of the Appropriation Bill when it comes to the national legislature.

The Presidency had earlier moved today's Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting to 2.00 p.m. in order to present the budget proposals to the National Assembly. With the change, the Council resumes today's sitting at its usual time of 10.00 a.m.

A source said: "It is not that the budget is not ready. Everything about the budget is ready for presentation. But the National Assembly is not ready. And we have to wait until they are ready to receive the President. We expect a new date to come from the leadership of the National Assembly."

Special Adviser to the President, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, had last Sunday told journalists that the President would present the budget estimates this week. He, however, stated that the actual date for its presentation would be decided by the National Assembly leadership.

Quoting Section 147(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, Yar'Adua in a letter read by Senate President David Mark named as his nominees Prof. Dora Akunyili from Anambra State; Senator Ibrahim Kazaure, Jigawa; Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, Kaduna; Dr. Ibrahim. Y. Lame, Bauchi; Dr. Shettima Mustapha, Borno; and Dr. Sam Egwu, Ebonyi.

Others are Mr. Nuhu Somo Way, Kaduna; Mr. Ibrahim Isa Bio, Kwara, Mr. Sani Mohammed Ndanusa, Niger; Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Ogun; Senator Bello Jibril Gada, Sokoto; Alhaji Jibril Maigari, Yobe and Alhaji Ikra Aliyu Bilbis, Zamfara.

Yar'Adua wrote: "It is my hope that this exercise will receive the usual kind expeditious consideration of the distinguished members of the Senate of the Federal Republic."

The President also told the lawmakers in another letter that he would be in the National Assembly to present the 2009 Appropriation Bill.

He wrote: "I crave the indulgence of the National Assembly to grant me the slot of 12:00 noon, Wednesday, November 19, 2008, to formally address the joint session of the National Assembly on Budget 2009.

"While I thank the distinguished members of the Senate of the Federal Republic for the constancy of your co-operation and understanding, please accept, distinguished Senate President, the assurance of my highest consideration.

The ministerial nominees and their profiles are:

Prof. Dora Nkem Akunyili: Current Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration (NAFDAC). Born on July 14, 1954, she holds a 1985 Ph.D. from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where she was Senior Lecturer before her appointment to NAFDAC. Prof. Akunyili is a Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of London, Fellow of the West African Post-Graduate College of Pharmacists, holds a Certificate on Senior Management Skills from Royal Institute of Public Administration, London, and is currently Chairman, West African Drug Regulatory Agencies Network and Vice Chairman, International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force. A member of numerous international professional organisations, she has received over 540 awards and recognitions, including from Transparency International, Time Magazine New York, International Chamber of Commerce, the International Pharmaceutical Federation, and holds National Honour of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, OFR. She became a professor in 2000.

Dr. Rilwanu Lukman: Currently Honorary Adviser on Petroleum to the President, Dr. Lukman was born on August 26, 1938. Trained at the Royal School of Mines, University of London, he has also attended the Institute of Prospecting and Mineral Deposits, University of Mining and Mineral Exploration, Austria, and McGill University, Canada. He was OPEC President for eight consecutive times, and later served as Secretary-General of the Organisation for two terms. His international awards and recognitions include honorary degrees from Italy, USA, Knight of the British Empire, Officer of the Legion d'Honneur, France, Order of Liberator, First Class, Venezuela, as well as doctorate degrees from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Maiduguri and University of Benin. He also holds the national honour, CFR.

Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin: Currently Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, he was born on February 6, 1949, and attended University of Ibadan, University of Birmingham, Cornell University Medical School, New York and Harvard Centre for Population Studies. A member of the Royal College of Physicians, Fellow of the Post-graduate Medical College of Pathology, Fellow of the West African Post-graduate Medical College and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London, Prof. Osotimehin is also member of numerous other professional bodies. He has been a consultant to the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, UNFPA and has published over 60 papers.

Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu, former Governor of Ebonyi State, was born on June 20, 1954. He holds a doctorate degree in agronomy from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology and was Commissioner for Education in Ebonyi State. He was also Head of Department of Crop Science, ESUT; Chairman, University Staff School Management Board, among many other positions. He has published over 10 papers and has 30 awards and 21 traditional titles.

Alhaji Ibrahim Isa Bio: Currently, the Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly. Bio was born on April 24, 1957 and holds a Pharmacy degree from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and an MBA from Ogun State University. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003. A two-term member of the State House of Assembly, Bio was the state Commissioner for Health between 1990 and 1992. He is a member and Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) as well as Commonwealth Parliamentary Association of Nigeria (CPA).

Dr. Shettima Mustapha, former Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was born on November 26, 1939, and holds a 1979 doctorate in plant breeding/agronomy from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. A Fellow of the Genetic Society of Nigeria and member of the American Society of Agronomy as well as the Agricultural Society of Nigeria, Dr. Mustapha has many publications and has the national honours of CON and OFR. He has been a consultant to the FAO, IFAD and UNDP. A consummate politician, Dr. Mustapha has participated in the formation of several political parties, including NPP/GNPP, PSP/SDP, APA, UNCP and the PDP. He was the pioneer National Treasurer of the PDP, a position he held between 1998 and 2001.

Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu Lame, B.Sc Political Science, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and Ph.D. higher education administration, Ohio University, Athens, USA, was born on February 10, 1953. An educationist of outstanding quality, he had been the Assistant Registrar of Bauchi College of Arts and Science, Bauchi State, in 1978 and rose to become the college's principal in 1984. He was Commissioner for Education between 1985 and 1987. Dr. Lame was elected senator in 1992. He was the PDP pioneer deputy national secretary in 1998, a position he held until he was appointed Senior Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo in August 1999.

Alhaji Ikra Aliyu Bilbis was born on February 13, 1957 and holds an advanced diploma in Public Administration. He was member, House of Representatives (1992-93). He was for a brief period, January 10 - May 29, 2007, Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment, Housing and Urban Development, 2007. Shortly before then, he had been the National Chairman of the Accord Party of Nigeria (May-November, 2006). Bilbis was also a two-term Chairman, Tsafe Local Government Council, Zamfara State (1997-2001 and has been a member of the Board of Trustees of ALGON since 2001.

Alhaji Sani Mohammed Ndanusa was born on May 5, 1957 and holds a master's of science degree in waste and waste water engineering from Louhborough University of Technology, UK. Ndanusa has extensive civil service experience that spans over two decades. He served as General Manager, Niger State Water Board between 1999 and 2001 from where he became a permanent secretary in charge of the board. He is presently the state Commissioner for Transportation and Infrastructural Development.

Nuhu Somo Wya was born on July 15, 1952, holds a master's degree in architecture from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. He worked briefly with the Kaduna Polytechnic from 1978 to 1981 before going into private practice. Currently the chairman/chief executive officer of Cibi Nigeria Limited, a Kaduna-based indigenous granite quarrying and processing company, Wya is a member of many business organisations including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and NACCIMA.

Senator Ibrahim Musa Kazaure was born on November 12, 1954 and holds a national diploma in building and civil engineering. He was Commissioner for Health in Kano State in 1983. He was elected senator in 1992 and served as the Majority Whip. He was Chairman, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (2000-2004) and thereafter served as Ambassador of Nigeria to Saudi Arabia with concurrent accreditation to Oman, Yemen and Qatar from 2003 to 2007. Within that period, he was also Nigeria's Permanent Representative to OIC Mission in Jeddah Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Alhaji Jibril Maigari: Born in 1958 he holds a higher national diploma in public administration and has held senior positions in the State Ministry of Agriculture.

Senator Bello Jibril Gada: Born in 1954, Gada attended Bayero University, Kano and Ahmadu Belo University Zaria. He was in the Senate between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) representing Sokoto East Senatorial District. guardian online

Victim of naval ratings’ assault back in hospital

Miss Uzoma Okere, the lady assaulted by six naval ratings recently in Lagos, is back in hospital over complaints of lumbar pains.

Her father, Col. Emeka Okere (rtd) told our correspondent on Wednesday that Uzoma had complained of spinal problem even though she was still receiving treatment for the injuries she suffered from the beating by the naval ratings.

Okere said Uzoma had the problems some time last year, but was treated by Dr. Felix Ogedengbe of the National Hospital, Abuja.

He said, “When she had the problem, she was treated by Ogedengbe early this year, but she seems to have relapsed into the problem after the beating.”

Okere added that Uzoma would begin treatment at the National Hospital under the supervision of Dr. Ogedengbe.

He said the intervention of the Lagos State Governor Mr. Babatunde Fashola, had given him some relief, but the new development was raising some concerns for his family.

Okere had earlier petitioned the Senate committees on Navy and defence for action to be taken against those involved in the maltreatment of her daughter.

While awaiting the action of the Senate committees, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello brought a motion before the Senate, complaining about her assault and that of Uzoma.

The military authorities have instituted a probe into the action of the naval ratings to redeem the image of the Nigerian Navy.

Meanwhile, the Oodua People‘s Congress has promised to render assistance Uzoma.

The Founder of the group, Dr. Fredrick Fasheun, said this at a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday.

Fasheun said the group‘s intervention in the case became imperative because of its belief that “injury to one is injury to all.”

He described as disgraceful to the military for their personnel to assault defenceless civilians, moreso a harmless lady.

Fasehun noted that the assault came at a time of worldwide condemnation of America troops’ excesses against prisoners of war and some civilians in Iraq and the Guatemala Bay.

He urged all Nigerians to support Okere by storming the court during hearings to show solidarity for the victim.

He said, “It will be very much in order to use these offensive naval ratings as scapegoats to curtail this unending harassment that uniformed men unleash against civilians. It is a shame that the military would defend this perfidy.”