October 14, 2009

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September 24, 2009

Michael Jackson vs. Britney Spears: Pop Go the Singles!

Michael Jackson, Britney Spears Get ready for two new singles from two—like it or not, Britney haters—pop icons: One whose recording career hasn't exactly been showing signs of life lately and the other whose, well, life hasn't exactly been showing signs of life lately.

That's right, just in case a feature-length documentary, unrelenting media coverage (you're welcome?) and a tribute milkshake weren't enough to slake the public's thirst for the King of Pop, Sony Music Entertainment today announced it will be releasing Michael Jackson's first posthumous single, "This Is It," Oct. 12.

We're guessing if sales go as hoped, this definitely won't be it...

Little is being revealed about the track, including when or where it was recorded, though Jackson had seemingly spent the last few years perpetually prepping for a comeback, with will.i.am and Akon among his confirmed in-studio collaborators.

And as with all things Jackson, the new single will be a family affair.

Jackson's brothers provided the background vocals on the song, which will play over the closing credits of This Is It.

"This song only defines, once again, what the world already knows—that Michael is one of God's greatest gifts," said Jackson estate coexecutor (and longtime music exec) John McClain.

Clearly, the man has been taking promotional lessons from Papa Joe.

The single will also launch a new two-disc greatest-hits collection set for release this October. In addition to the track, the set will include one album of Jackson's greatest hits and another featuring unreleased versions of said hits. The second album will also feature a spoken-word poem from Jackson, "Planet Earth."

As for Brit-Brit, she's been keeping a relatively low profile lately, but expect that to change soon. Like, next week.

Next Tuesday, Spears is releasing "3," a brand-new single that will hopefully also help springboard her own greatest-hits album into the charts.

The Singles Collection, to be released Nov. 24, marks 10 years since the risqué pig-tailed schoolgirl wedged herself into our pop culture consciousness.

The album will be available in two editions, both standard and an ultimate fan box set. The bonus-packed latter will feature B-sides and remixes, additional artwork and a DVD of Britney's video career in chronological order. It also boasts 29 tracks compared to the standard set's 17.

Bank MD loots N97bn • Invests N12bn depositors’ funds in personal firm

Following the second round of banks’ audit exercise conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), officials of the apex bank found that a managing director (name withheld), whose shareholders have strong political influence in the current administration, allocated to himself share capital of N85 billion that is yet to be paid up.

Daily Sun source also revealed that the same MD allocated shares to a local airline to the tune of N18 billion as corporate investments. The airline, the source said, denied knowledge of the deal. The bank MD is also alleged to have invested N12 billion depositors’ funds in a supposed subsidiary of the bank.

The source said the company was found to be the MD’s private firm. The conclusion of the latest audit has already sparked fear in the financial sector. The CBN examiners were said to have concentrated on liquidity; loan verification such as loans to stockbrokers, petroleum products importers, performing and non performing loans; corporate governance issues; processes and resources spent on information technology.

The funding is contrary to CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido’s conclusion that the remaining banks were not as bad as the others.
According to him, he did not expect many surprises as the remaining 14 banks were not significantly different but latest development had proven him wrong.
It was gathered that the apex bank was yet to conduct what they described as forensic accounting investigation on any of the 24 banks in the country.

The managing director of at least one bank has reportedly visited the State Security Service (SSS), to deposit his passport. This is to prevent him from travelling abroad.
Bankers are of the view that two or three banks may be affected by the decision of Mallam Lamido not to allow family banks in the country anymore.
The CBN governor’s policy to end family owned banks, the bankers believed, may be partly responsible for the fate of Oceanic Bank and Intercontinental Bank, seen as being dominated by the personality of their managing directors.

Sanusi at a forum on Wednesday while briefing capital market operators warned that CBN would not allow banks to be run as a sole proprietorship but as institutions that would imbibe the tenets of good corporate governance, promising to treat shareholders of the affected banks fairly and also ensure that, henceforth, banks in the country were run as institutions rather than as sole proprietorships.

Sanusi also allayed fears of nationalizing the five troubled banks whose managing directors and executive directors were sacked following their gross misuse of shareholders’ funds and inability to meet up with other banking statutory obligations.

The governor said the results of the remaining banks would be made known in October 2009, but opined that their results would be better than those of the 10 banks examined earlier from which five were summarily sacked.
The CBN governor had on August 14 sacked the managing director of and executive directors of Afribank Plc, Finbank Plc, Intercontinental Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc and Union Bank Plc. The examination was conducted by a joint team of CBN and NDIC officials.

According to the CBN audit the major findings on the five banks were excessive high-level non-performing loans, which led to poor corporate governance practices, lax credit administration processes and the absence or non-adherence to the bank’s credit risk management practices, leaving the percentage of non-performing loans from 19 per cent to 48 per cent. The five banks will, therefore, need to make additional provision of N539.09 billion.

The total loan portfolio of these five banks was N2, 801.92 billion. Margin loans amounted to N456.28 billion and exposure to oil and gas was N487.02 billion. Aggregate of non-performing loans were N1,143 billion representing 40.81 per cent. The five banks accounted for a disproportionate component of the total exposure to capital market and oil and gas, thus reflecting heavy concentration to high risk areas relative to other banks in the industry.

The five banks were either perennial net-takers of funds in the inter-bank market or enjoyed liquidity support from the CBN for long periods of time, a clear evidence of liquidity problem. In other words, these banks were unable to meet their maturing obligations as they fall due without resorting to the CBN or the inter-bank market.

Further checks revealed that the outstanding balance on the EDW of the five banks amounted to N127.85 billion by end July 2009, representing 89.81 per cent of the total industry exposure to the CBN on its discount window while their net guaranteed inter-bank takings stood at N253.30 billion as at August 2, 2009. Their liquidity ratios ranged from 17.65 per cent to 24 per cent as at May 31, 2009. The banking regulatory minimum is 25 per cent as spelt out by the apex bank.

September 17, 2009


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September 14, 2009

**AS GANI GOES HOME : How he ‘breathed’ life into political parties

PRIOR to 2002, Nigeria had only three officially recognised political parties- Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alliance for Democracy (AD) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

However, due to the various contradictions inherent in the three existing parties, coupled with the desire of many Nigerians who don’t believe in them and the necessity for fresh political alternatives, it became inevitable for the emergence of several political associations.

Buoyed by the liberal provisions in the 1999 constitution on the formation of political parties, these individuals formed about 33 political associations which applied to the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) for registration.



However, the INEC, on May 17, 2002, rolled out what it termed guidelines for registration of political parties, contrary to the provisions of the constitution particularly sections 222 to 224. The 33 political associations under the aegies of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), led by Chief Gani Fawehinmi, met to reject this extra-constitutional guidelines.

When it became obvious that the INEC was still intransigent to follow due process, Fawehinmi filed a case at the Federal High Court to challenge the INEC illegality. But for the doggedness and resilience of Fawehinmi, who was the chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), by going to court on this issue, there would not have been Action Congress (AC), Labour Party, Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and the rest of the opposition parties we have today.

The case was fought up to the Supreme Court which gave judgment in favour of the political parties, thanks to the resilience of Gani who literarily worked day and night for three days along side one of his counsel, Adindu Ugwuzor, to make sure that the appeals at both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court were filed within time and the briefs of argument ready on time.

Work in progress on Gani's final resting place

Work in progress on Gani's final resting place

The case was lost at the Federal High Court. This led to an appeal at the Court of Appeal, which, in a landmark decision, upturned the Federal High Court’s decision and upheld the appeal, agreeing substantially with the submissions of Fawehinmi.

The INEC, in its attempt to buy time and stultify the implementation of the Court of Appeal epochal decision, decided to lodge an appeal at the Supreme Court which, in a monumental and historic judgment on November 8, 2002, altered the political landscape of the country by allowing for more political parties in the country, hence the deluge of parties that we have today.

The unanimous Supreme Court’s decision was given by Justices Muhammadu Lawal Uwais (who presided), SalihuAlfa Belgore, Idris Legbo Kutigi, Anthony Iguh, Akintola Ejiwumi, Emmanuel Olayinka Ayoola and Niki Tobi.

Excerpts of the lead judgment read by Justice Ayoola: “The plaintiffs were associations seeking registration as political parties. By virtue of section 221 of the Constitution, “No association, other than a political party, shall canvass for votes for any candidate at any election or contribute to the funds of any political party or to the election expenses of any candidate at an election.

Originating summons
The plaintiffs each applied to the Independent National Electoral Commission (“INEC” or “the Commission) for registration as a political party. On 17th day of May, 2002 INEC released guidelines for the registration of political parties.

Being of the view that guidelines 2(c) and (d), 3(a), (c), (d)(iv), (e), (f), (g), (h); and 5(b) (“the impugned guidelines”) were “inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 relating to registration of political parties” and that they should not be made to comply with the guidelines, the plaintiffs commenced the proceedings from which this appeal arose by originating summons whereby they sought, among other things, declarations of invalidity of those impugned guidelines and also of sections 74(2)(g) and (h), 74((x), 77(b), 78(2)(b) and 79(2)(c) of the Electoral Act, 2001.

INEC is one of the Federal Executive Bodies established by section 153(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. Its composition and powers are by virtue of section 153(2) contained in part 1 of the third schedule to the Constitution, paragraph 15(b) of which empowers it to: “register political parties in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution end an Act of the National Assembly”, while paragraph 15(c) and (d), respectively, provided that the Commission shall have power to “monitor the organization and operation of the political parties, including their finances” and “carry out such other function, as may conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly.”

“To put the issues in the appeal in proper perspective, it is expedient to pause to emphasise that by section 14(1) of the Constitution the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice.

Political parties are essential organs of the democratic system. They are organs of political discussion and of formulation of ideas, policies and programmes. Plurality of parties widens the channel of political discussion and discourse, engenders plurality of political issues, promotes the formulation of competing ideas, policies and programmes and generally provides the citizen with a choice of forum for participation in governance, whether as a member of the party in government or of a party in opposition, thereby ensuring the reality of government by discussion which democracy is all about in the final analysis.

“Unduly to restrict the formation of political parties weakens the democratic culture. However, to leave political parties completely unregulated and unmonitored may eventually make the democratic system so unmanageable as to become a hindrance to progress, national unity, good government and the growth of a healthy democratic culture.

Between the two apparent extremes over-regulation and complete absence of regulation is the need for balanced regulation. In interpreting the provisions of the Constitution and enactment relating to the formation, regulation and monitoring of political parties the recognition of the need for balanced regulation is essential.

“However, although section 40 of the Constitution entrenched the right of every person to form or belong to a political party, it is clear from the provision to that section and several other provisions of the Constitution that the makers of the Constitution did not opt to leave political parties unregulated by the State.

Regulation of political parties by the State manifests in the fact that the Constitution itself has set conditions for the existence and recognition of political parties – and empowered the National Assembly to legislate for the regulation of political parties that may have already fulfilled the conditions of eligibility to function as political parties as prescribed by section 222 of the Constitution.

Regulation of political parties by the State therefore comes in two forms, namely: regulation directly by the Constitution as in section 222 and regulation authorized by the legislature or other agency of the state as may be permitted by the constitution.

It follows that any attempt to regulate political parties not by the Constitution itself or by its authority is invalid.

In the final analysis, this case is about the supremacy of the Constitution. Section 1(3) of the Constitution provided that: “If any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.

“The National Assembly has powers, by virtue of section 228(d) of constitution, to confer by law powers on INEC as may appear to the necessary or desirable for the purpose of enabling the Commission more effectively to ensure that political parties observe provisions of sections”

ASUU strike dangerous to growth of education – Ajibola

FORMER judge of International Court of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola has said in Ibadan that the current face-off between the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is a dangerous signal in view of the low rating of the country’s university system.

He said other countries of the world had found alternative to incessant strike as a means of settling dispute and the earlier the Nigerian university system chooses a better approach, the better for our dwindling education standard.

Unless something is done that would bring about quick resolution of the crisis between ASUU and FG, both parties in the impasse would turn our country into an illiterate country considering the fact that none of our universities could be rated among the 1,000 universities in the world.

“It is sad and the earlier our people in the ASUU can sit down and see how best to keep our universities on, the better. If you go round the world, you will find that what is happening here is unique”, he lamented.

The renowed jurist,at the first annual lecture organised by the Muslim Ummah of South West of Nigeria (MUSWEN), weekend, said the fees paid in the government universities across the country could not be compared with what is paid in private varsities.

government and the academic in order to ensure that they can live together and can move things on and make progress. If we continue to say that the country is going down and everything is a failure, we are also contributing to that failure”.

Continuing, he pointed out further a lot of these things could be ironed out by ordinary dialogue, looking into the situation and finding solution anytime that we are having problem of this nature””.

He defended the action of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria , Alhaji Sanusi Lamido on the five prominent banks saying ““there is nothing wrong with the CBN’s line of action to look into whatever is wrong with our banking system and the activities of our private banks”.

“To start with, if there is anything wrong in the way they have been operating the banks, let them be done in a very judicial manner. Let the matter be taken to court; let the parties be heard and let the decisions of the court hold”” the legal icon stated.

“It is very frightening and very disturbing, with all the allegations that they have made against the banks, particularly those who are operating the banks as chief executives. Now, they are still all allegations. We have not heard their own sides of the story”.

“The principle of justice and fair play and fair hearing is such that they must hear them too. Once they are heard and if they have done something wrong, they should be accordingly sanctioned. If not they should be allowed to go on operating their banks, the way they have operating before now. That should be made abundantly clear”, said he..

CBN considers 3 sales options for 5 banks

LAGOS — THE management of the Central Bank (CBN) is considering three options to recapitalise the country’s five troubled banks.

The banks are: Intercontinetal Bank; Oceanic Bank; Union Bank; Finbank and Afribank.
CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had said that the CBN will not sell the banks to foreign investors and that the N420 billion injected into the banks which he initially said, in his letter to the banks, was tier two capital was now long-term loan from the expanded discount window to the affected banks to be paid back over a long period of time

Option 1: Rights issue

However a CBN official who spoke with Vanguard said that “The Central Bank is considering three local options aimed at acquisitions of the five troubled banks following the seeming collapse of its offshore investment mission.

The three options which the apex bank is considering are: Rights Issue — in which the apex bank hopes to execute a rights issue, converting the tier two capital (the amount injected) to 80 per cent stake in the affected banks’ shareholding, leaving the other shareholders with 20 per cent.”

This will mean converting the N420 billion injected into the five banks into equity holding. But there is a division in the CBN ranks regarding this option because of its legal implication, moreover, CBN does not have the legal backing to execute a rights issue.

Government lawyers are said have advised the CBN against this option.
Insider sources say most of the more experienced Deputy Governors and Directors of the apex bank have also kicked against this option, pointing to the legal loopholes inherent in the current exercise which has attracted criticisms from some quarters.

“The argument here,” the CBN official said, “is that as a result of huge non-performing loans in the five banks, their capital has been eroded and so new investors hold greater share through fresh capital. But with the aggressive loan recovery, this may not stand the test of time as the positions of the banks have been highly enhanced.”

Option 2: Scheme of Arrangement

The CBN management is said to be considering the alternative of getting the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange NSE, to do a “Scheme of Arrangement”. The thinking in the CBN is that this option is the most viable now and if applied, it will involve a legal means of bringing shareholders of these banks to an extra-ordinary General Meeting to agree to a merger or acquisition arrangement.

According to the officials, only SEC and the NSE have the statutory power to initiate and enforce this option. It was learnt that the apex bank will, this week, commence discussion with other financial regulators on how to implement this arrangement.

Option 3: Acquisition

CBN insiders also told Vanguard that if the first two options fail, the apex bank would then go for the third option which is acquisition.

This involves nominating a bank in the country to acquire any of the five banks and then backing the action with statutory powers.

The implication of this new initiative is that for now, the ‘foreign investor’ route appears to have been jettisoned by the CBN.

It will be recalled that the CBN Governor, on August 14, said that “the huge provisioning requirements of the five banks have led to significant capital impairment. Consequently, all the banks are under-capitalised for their current levels of operations and are required to increase their provisions for loan losses, which impacted negatively on their capital.

“Indeed one is technically insolvent with a Capital Adequacy Ratio of (1.01%). Thus, a minimum capital injection of N204.94 billion will be required in the 5 banks to meet the minimum capital adequacy ratio of 10 per cent.

“The five banks were either perennial net-takers of funds in the inter-bank market or enjoyed liquidity support from the CBN for long periods of time, a clear evidence of liquidity.

In other words, these banks were unable to meet their maturing obligations as they fall due without resorting to the CBN or the inter-bank market. As a matter of fact, the outstanding balance on the EDW of the five banks amounted to N127.85 billion by end July 2009, representing 89.81% of the total industry exposure to the CBN on its discount window while their net guaranteed inter-bank takings stood at N253.30 billion as at August 02, 2009.

Their Liquidity Ratios ranged from 17.65% to 24% as at May 31, 2009. (Regulatory minimum is 25%).
“Consequently, the CBN is injecting a total of about N420 billion into these five banks with immediate effect in form of Tier 2 Capital to be repaid from proceeds of capitalization in the near future. This injection is sufficient to resolve and stabilize all the institutions and enable them continue normal business.

The injection of fresh capital by the CBN is a temporary measure as government does not intend to hold the shares for long and shall divest its holdings as soon as new investors recapitalise these banks”.

Court rules on bail application on bank chiefs today - As CBN may give soft landing to 11 bank chiefs

Justice Dan Abutu of the Federal High Court in Lagos will today rule on the bail applications of some bank executives and others that were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the 31st of August over alleged insider abuse and financial crimes running into billions of naira.

Those who will know their fate today include Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, the former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank; the former Managing Director of Afribank Plc, Sebastine Adigwe and Peter Ololo, the Managing Director of Falcon Securities Limited.

Others are the Ex-MD of Union Bank, Bartholomew Ebong and his co-accused, Henry Onyemem and Niyi Albert Opeodu. The court will also rule on the bail applications of Mr. Okey Nwosu, Ex-MD of FinBank Nigeria Plc and the seven Executive Directors of Intercontinental Bank Plc on Tuesday.

At the last adjourned date, the court ordered that Sebastine Adigwe and Peter Ololo, be remanded in prison custody while the rest, including the seven Executive Directors of Intercontinental Bank Plc, were remanded in EFCC custody.

The anti-graft commission opposed the bail applications of all the accused persons. Meanwhile, there are indications that the release of the audit result of 11 banks which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) promised a fortnight ago may not materialise as the apex bank decided to give the banks a clean bill of health

The apex bank is said to be seriously considering the option of making the affected banks correct any unethical practice noticed in the course of auditing the 11 banks while a list of debtors in the audited banks would be made public.

According to the Nigerian Tribune findings, the apex bank decided to shelve the release of the audit reports to avoid the problems encountered when the audit results of the initial five banks were released.

Troubled banks begin audit of staff

A major crisis that may exacerbate the fragile state of the nation’s banking sector is looming. This stems from the ongoing staff audit in the five troubled banks, which may see thousands of bank workers lose their jobs.

Investigations by the Nigerian Tribune revealed that the mass purge would not be limited to the crisis-ridden banks but even some banks certified satisfactory by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and those whose audit probe reports were still being awaited.

Meanwhile, the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) and National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), the umbrella bodies of junior and senior staff of banks, and Trade Union Congress (TUC), which are yet to recover from the recent sack in FirstBank and Wema Bank are threatening to cripple the operations of the banks while the banks are insisting on going on with their plans.

A competent source at one of the troubled banks told the Nigerian Tribune in Lagos that the staff audit was in line with the mandate of the CBN to the new managements of the banks, stating that the apex regulatory body clearly instructed the banks to restructure their operations and cut costs accordingly.

In his reaction, CBN’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi, said the CBN governor, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s major concern now was to ensure the banking industry remained safe and sound.

Only recently, FirstBank was reported to have sent packing hundreds of its staff but the bank’s Head, Media Marketing and Corporate Communications, Mr. Steve Omanufeme, said there were no plans for a “mass sacking” by the bank, adding that on the contrary, as part of the bank’s staff replenishment strategy, the bank had employed a total of 506 fresh graduates in the last three months.

He noted, however, that “In our multi-generational existence, FirstBank will naturally have a number of staff that qualify for retirement each year. Their scheduled exit from the institution has, sometimes and regrettably, been misconstrued by some labour unions as “sacking,” thus fuelling misinformation in the press. In the financial year just ended, the number of staff due for retirement, by virtue of age and length of service, is less than 100 which is a far cry from the 450 reported in some newspapers.”

Wema Bank disengaged 151 of its workers, in what was described as the first phase of the work force trimming exercise. A statement signed by the bank’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Tunde Olofintila, said the decision to send packing some of its workers was to enable it to create a bank that could compete in the current banking landscape, adding the development was in consonance with the three-phase transformation plan of repositioning, stabilising and growing the bank to enable the 64-year old financial institution to regain its prime position as a leading bank in Nigeria.

He added that as part of the bank’s adjustments to survive these times, such internal services currently provided in the bank by workers like secretaries, drivers, security guards, office assistants and cleaners would henceforth be out-sourced.

According to Olofintila who said “the new management has implemented a new Service Delivery Model (SDM) with some redeployment effected to support the new SDM. The bank is already implementing some new initiatives which will dovetail into 500 former staff of Wema Bank Ventures of various cadres and over 200 former youth corps members being offered jobs in Wema Bank while another set of over 240 Wema Bank Ventures Staff would be converted into tellers to support the bank’s branch operations.”

In his reaction, NUBIFIE’s National President, Mr. Hassan Adeleke, said the union could not be a party to any sack of its members under any guise, stressing that the workers should not be made scapegoats of the current developments in the sector.

According to him, “as a trade union organisation, we wish to caution the new interim managements of the affected banks not to transfer, in any form or anyway, the effects of the reckless loan saga and other management failures to affect the continuity/security of jobs of employees who, often, are themselves victims of such unwholesome actions of management.”

Also, Acting National President and Secretary-General of the union of ASSBIFI, Mr. Olusoji Salako and Jarvis Erhomosele, stated that the respective managements of such banks must follow due process, as stated in Article 5(b) Part II (Section I) of the Collective Agreement relating to redundancy and S.20 of the Labour Act, adding that it was an irresponsible union that would fold its arms in the present circumstances.

They opined that they would ensure banks that dispensed with the services of their employees without due process were shut down.

N6.1bn V-mobile shares scam: FG orders probe of ex-govs’ clearance - Tinubu, Ibori, Attah stand cleared - AGF insists

AS controversy rages over the alleged clearance of three former governors fingered in an alleged $38 million (about N6.1 billion) V-mobile shares scam, a new twist has crept into it with the Presidency said to have ordered investigation into the issues in contention between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa (SAN).

The former governors are Senator Bola Tinubu of Lagos State, Chief Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom State and Chief James Ibori of Delta State. Aondoakaa stirred up the hornet’s nest when he said in Abuja, on Thursday, that the trio had been cleared by the anti-graft commission over alleged money laundering in the sale of their states’ shares in V-mobile through a private firm, African Development Funds Inc.

He also stated that he refused to cooperate with Britain, which was also probing the former governors over the matter, because the anti-graft commission had cleared them.

But the commission, in a swift reaction 24 hours later, put a lie to the minister’s claim, disclosing that the three former governors were still being probed over the alleged scam.

Aondoakaa is the commission’s supervising minister. The institutional crisis between the commission and the minister, according to a highly-placed source, could not be ignored by the Presidency, which reportedly ordered the anti-graft agency to get to the root of the controversy surrounding the alleged clearance.

Nigerian Tribune further gathered that the presidential directive had seen the commission swing into action with its intelligence unit after a purported letter said to have been written in the name of the commission to the Metropolitan Police in London clearing the former governors.

The letter, according to the Nigerian Tribune source, was said to have been made available to some media houses for publication by a certain top government official with the source, adding that the person that released the letter might have told those who had it for publication not to go ahead yet, due to the presidential intervention in the matter.

It was learnt that the commission had resolved to arrest and prosecute whoever signed the purported letter once it could lay its hands on it, describing the letter as forgery.

Nigerian Tribune source reasoned that since the commission could not exchange any correspondence with any country that has Mutual Legal Agreement Treaty (MLAT) with Nigeria without going through the office of the AGF, it stands to reason that the purported letter of clearance to the Metropolitan Police could not have been issued by the commission.

Investigation is also said to have been intensified on the alleged scam. However, the embattled minister has insisted that the former governors stand cleared on the shares saga, despite the commission’s protestation.

In a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Sunday and signed by his spokesperson, Mr. Taye Akinyemi, the minister stated that “If EFCC says that the ex-governors have not been cleared on the issue of the professional fee paid to the ADFI, we won’t join issues with the commission.

“But I want to think that the EFCC chairman was misquoted. “What I believe the EFCC Chairman could have said was the fact that they have been cleared on this issue of the professional fees paid to the ADFI does not mean that other investigations on other issues are not ongoing.

“Nevertheless, I can’t see any conflict in what the AGF has said and what EFCC is saying. “The issue in question is the professional fee and brokerage paid by these ex-governors to ADFI with respect to the sale of the shares owned by their respective states in V-mobile.

“The press statement issued by my boss on the case relates to the issue of the professional fees paid by them to the ADFI which is the subject-matter of criminal litigation before the London court.

“He has said that the Federal Government would refuse prosecution of any Nigerian before a London court on offences which ingredients are domiciled in Nigeria.

“In this case, the Metropolitan Police are before the London Court against ADFI on the grounds that the professional fees paid by the three ex-governors to it are proceeds of crime (money-laundering).

“And the fact of this case is that the issue of the professional fees paid to ADFI has been investigated in Nigeria by EFCC and those involved have been cleared.

“The court case by EFCC started in Nigeria against the ADFI itself has been withdrawn by EFCC upon its discovery that no prima facie case stood against the incorporation.

“The Attorney-General has no problem with EFCC, even on this issue. They have a cordial working relationship,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has described Aondoakaa as a man of doubtful integrity and stated that no amount of campaign of rebranding can clean the odious image of Nigeria in the comity of nations with men as the minister still holding public office.

Calling for his immediate sack, the group recalled in a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Osita Okechukwu, that for the first time, the EFCC had unveiled and exposed the serial role of the minister as a chief law officer whom it alleged blatantly obstructed justice, perverted the law and dampened the anti-graft war and exposed his comments to the effect that EFCC has exonerated three corrupt ex-governors when the matter is still pending in court.

It noted that it was a paradox that the chief law officer who requested the US Justice Department to invoke the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in the Halliburton matter is today obstructing and rejecting the request from the British to invoke the same treaty.

The CNPP was of the view that Aondoakaa never served the cause of justice nor the collective interest of Nigeria in the discharge of his assignment to coordinate Siemens, Wilbros, Halliburton and other scams he was mandated to oversee.

The group went further to allege that when the Federal Executive Council (FEC) mandated Aondoakaa to review the Uwais Electoral Reform Committee Report, he not only bastardised and mutilated the report but rejected the core ingredients which can guarantee a truly independent election commission and violence free and fair elections among others.

Also, the Monitoring Group (TMG) has condemned the statement credited to Aondoakaa that the EFCC had cleared the former Delta State governor, Chief James Ibori and called for his resignation.

The TMG chairman, Mr. Moshood Erubami, in a statement in Ibadan on Sunday said that the statement credited to the minister but later proved to be untrue had reopened the doubt of Nigerians on whether the minister was not a big threat to the war against corruption by the Yar’Adua administration.

According to TMG, the statement was least expected from a number one law officer of the country and capable of tarnishing that image of Nigeria and Nigerians in the eyes of the international community.

I’m not on the run – Akingbola

Deposed managing director of International Bank Plc, Dr Erastus Akingbola has said he was not on the run.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had declared Akingbola wanted over its investigation into the affairs of Intercontinental Bank and four other banks whose Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) were sacked along with Akingbola by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on August 14, 2009.

However, Akingbola who is also the President of Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB), has debunked the insinuation and speculation in the media that he had gone underground to evade arrest as he was in United Kingdom.

Speaking through his media assistant, Suleimon Adefajo in a statement, dated September 13, 2009, Akingbola breaking his silence for the first time since his dramatic removal from office, categorically stated that he was neither evading arrest nor ‘on the run’ as being claimed.
According to the statement, the detention of the ex-bank chiefs being was a deliberate move to silence and prevent them from presenting their side of the story.

The statement reads in part:
“He is not guilty of any wrongdoing but appears targeted for persecution and for character desmirchment. He is currently in the UK.
Our client believes that the prime objective of detaining all those arrested is to prevent them from presenting their side of the story.
“All persons should be presumed innocent until proved guilty by a court of law. As soon as it was alleged that he was evading arrest, Dr Akingbola notified the UK authorities of his whereabouts and provided full contact details through his legal representatives.”

The statement noted that Akingbola had already challenged his removal from office by seeking judicial review of the (CBN/NDIC) ad-hoc committee report that reportedly recommended his sack, while absolving himself of any wrongdoings to warrant his removal.
While calling on all parties to respect the ongoing judicial process in the matter, the statement warned against making prejudicial statement capable of undermining the court process.

Four ex-bank chiefs currently in detention whose bail application will be decided today by Justice Daniel Abutu, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court includes, Sebastian Adigwe of Afribank Plc, Okey Nwosu of Finbank Plc, Bartholomew Ebong of Union Bank Plc and Dr (Mrs) Cecilia Ibru of Oceanic Bank Plc.
They, along with some directors including non-executive directors of Intercontinental Bank are facing prosecution for sundry offences in which over N400 billion was said to have been lost by the banks.
Akingbola, following his removal filed a suit before Lagos Federal High Court challenging his alleged illegal removal from office.

In the suit filed by his counsel, Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN), he joined both the Governor of CBN, Lamido Sanusi and the CBN as co-respondents.
Specifically, he prayed the court for an order of certiorari to remove into the court and quash the order of CBN governor of August 14, 2009 made on behalf of the apex bank which terminated his career as the CEO of the bank.

Following the permission sought and obtained from the court to serve the both Sanusi and CBN through substituted means, process in the matter were advertised in six national dailies as ordered by the court.
Among other reliefs, Akingbola in the substantive suit is praying the court to declare that no ‘special examination’ was conducted into the affairs of Intercontinental Bank by the ad-hoc committee of CBN/NDIC as statutorily required under the Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOIF) Act Cap. B3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (2004) during the management headed by the applicant.

He also prayed the court to make an order nullifying and quashing the appointment of Joseph Ajewole and Lai Alabi as the Deputy Managing Director and Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank respectively and order his reinstatement in office.
The suit which was commenced by the retired Chief Judge of the Court, Justice Mustapha Abdullahi will be taken over today for adjudication by Justice Ibrahim Auta.

September 3, 2009

Chelsea banned from making transfers

FIFA have banned Chelsea from registering any new players until January 2011, meaning they will not be able to recruit any new signings for two transfer windows.

Gael Kakuta; Moustapha Salifou


Gael Kakuta up against West Ham's Moustapha Salifou on August 25

World football's governing body imposed the sanctons after investigating a complaint from Ligue 1 Lens over the transfer of Gael Kakuta in 2007.

FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber passed the decision on a contractual dispute between the French club and their English counterparts.

A statement from FIFA read: "The DRC found that the player had indeed breached a contract signed with the French club. Equally, the DRC deemed it to be established that the English club induced the player to such a breach

"As a result the player was condemned to pay compensation in the amount of €780,000, for which the club, Chelsea, are jointly and severally liable, and sporting sanctions were imposed on both the player and Chelsea in accordance with art. 17 par. 3 and 4 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.

A restriction of four months on his eligibility to play in official matches has been imposed on Kakuta. Chelsea are banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for the two next entire and consecutive registration periods following the notification of the present decision.

"Furthermore, the club, Chelsea, have to pay Lens training compensation in the amount of €130,000."

September 1, 2009


After registering on freedom website ,install and input the following settings:
click on port;tick sock 4/5,web proxy port and open vpn.
click message: tick AUTOSCROLL and under MINIMUM LEVEL check DEBUG
click status-configure:SERVER CONNECTION enter (ems24.you-freedom.de).connection mode-udp..the port will automatically change to 53.
Also check:automatically switch server,automatically connect on startup,recconect after server shutdown,sock4/5,enable encryption,enable re-keying.save and exit.
click settings and check (do not allow pop up)
Click on proxy settings and enter as proxy address and 8080 as port.username/pswd-web.save and exit.
After all the above settings,go to ur browser,click on tools,internet option and change your network i.p and port settings to port-8080.

August 31, 2009

5 troubled banks to be run as going concern until... –CBN •As Intercontinental Banks directors petition EFCC


entral Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the weekend told prospective investors in London that the five troubled banks will be run as a going concern until new investors can be found to recapitalise them.

While wooing investors at a parley with international banks, lenders and rating agencies, the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi hinted that Nigeria was likely to see a robust non-oil economic growth of more than six per cent this year even after bailing out five banks earlier this month.

Sanusi assured prospective investors in the five banks that he would not stand in the way of any foreign banks taking a 100 per cent stake in the five Nigerian institutions, adding that the injection of N400 billion ($2.6 billion) into the banks and the sacking of their senior managers was because of laxed governance which made the five banks so weakly capitalised that they posed a systemic risk.
He noted that the banking sector is key to Nigeria’s economic prospects, saying that the private sector credit outstripped the entire spending of the country’s federal, state and local governments last year and this year banks are expected to provide much of the government’s estimated N1.6 trillion ($10.6 billion) borrowing needs.

The number one banker in Nigeria also said, in an agency report, that Nigeria’s consumer inflation dipped to 11.1 per cent year-on-year in July from 11.2 per cent the previous month. He said that he cut interest rates to 6 per cent from 8 per cent in July in his first monetary policy meeting as governor.

Amidst the outcry of the accumulation of more debts by Nigeria after the exit of Paris and London Clubs loans, Sanusi used the occasion to announce that the Federal Government has concluded plans to take another $2.8 billion Special Drawing Rights from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the country expects double digit growth between 2010 and 2011.

“We expect non-oil Gross Domestic Product(GDP) growth to be robust above 6 per cent in 2009. I have no doubts that by 2010-2011 we will be looking at double digit growth in Nigeria ... We were growing at 6 per cent without electricity, without peace in the Niger Delta. We are a country of 150 million people but with only 23 million bank accounts. So, there is a lot of room for growth,” he said.
Meanwhile, nine detained directors of the Intercontinental Bank Plc have petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over their continued detention.

The petition dated August 28 and addressed to the chairman of the anti-graft agency, Mrs. Farida Waziri was also copied to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mike Aondoakaa.
The detained directors include Dr. Raymond C. Obieri, Chief Samuel Igbayilola Adegbite, Mr. Chris A. Alabi, Dr (Mrs.) Toyin Phillips, Mr. Bayo Dada and Elder (Dr.) Sanni Adams. Others are Engineer Hynacinth U.F. Enuha, Alhaji Isyaku Umar and Mrs. Seinye O.B. Lulu-Briggs.
In the petition, the counsel to the detainees, Professor G.A. Olawoyin (SAN), called the attention of Waziri to the ruling of Justice R.I.B. Adebiyi of a Lagos High Court that ordered that all actions against the directors be suspended till the case was determined.

The court had last Thursday granted a leave to the directors to enforce their fundamental rights against EFCC. Justice Adebiyi held that the leave should operate as a stay of all actions that might infringe on the fundamental rights of the directors pending the hearing and determination of the proceedings.

“It is hereby ordered that the respondents admit the applicants to bail and release the applicants forthwith from detention upon the provision each of two sureties, either two sureties who shall be an individual employed in the civil service in Nigeria at a grade level not lower than level 14 or one civil servant and the second surety being an individual with landed property in Lagos,” Justice Adebiyi ordered.
The counsel to the detainees, Professor G.A. Olawoyin, appealed to Andoaka to use his good offices to ensure that EFCC complied with the court order.

The petition read in part: “We consider it imperative to draw your attention to the fact that in the case of our clients, there was a prior and subsisting court order in respect of the conditions of bail which by law supersedes your commission’s term of bail as stipulated during your press conference.
“In the premises, we therefore request that our clients be admitted to bail on terms as stipulated by a duly constituted court of law with jurisdiction to grant the orders. For the avoidance of any doubt on this pint, we draw your attention to Section 46 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria 1999 and Order 1 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules which states that ‘court’ means the Federal High Court or the High Court of a state.”

For the detainees to be admitted to bail, EFCC had sought for a deposit of a bank guarantee in the sum of N1 billion in favour of the commission, tax clearance certificate for the past three years and a serving Minister in the country who must provide a landed property in Victoria Island, Lagos or Ikoyi, Maitama or Asokoro in Abuja as surety in respect of each suspect.

The shake-up in banks: Matters arising

One of the outcomes of the sacking of five bank chief executives by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on August 14, is that frenzied feeling still runs deep in the banking sector.

The fear factor has inexorably crept in. There is so much anxiety over the fate of other banks, whose financials are still being audited. All of these seems to have eroded confidence, which is critical in the financial service sector.

This does not bode well for our banks which play a pre-eminent position in the economy. It is, therefore, safe to say that without a return of confidence in the banks, the bearish run in the stock market will persist for a long time to come.

We have no reason to doubt that the leadership of the CBN under Lamido Sanusi means well for our country in the current effort to reshape and stabilize the financial system.

The recent bold decisions the apex bank took, among them, the removal of the five MD/CEOs, we believe, are geared towards making the banks safer. One of the lessons of history in countries that had faced similar crises is that government’s action through its key regulatory authorities can help stem the pain. That, the CBN maintains, is what it is determined to do.

The worry, however, is that the panic that has enveloped the sector should not be allowed to last too long. Urgent and pragmatic measures are needed to restore sanity in the system.
Again, the twist in the current quake in the sector is that every passing day, new developments are unearthed, suggesting that the extent of the crisis, especially that of toxic debts, is perhaps much deeper than had been earlier imagined. Nonetheless, we feel that a well-thought out solution should be devised immediately. Such solution has to be both systematic and comprehensive enough in order to achieve the desired results.

Solution to the failure of confidence in the sector must go beyond insolvency and risk, which some of the indicted banks were said to have indulged in. Our fear is that no aspect of our economy would be spared from the financial equivalent of a heart attack if the current effort to sanitize the banks is bungled. While endorsing the measures so far initiated by the CBN, we advise that the regulators, including the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), should henceforth take much firmer intervention measures, and indeed, show much more interest in the running of banks in our country.

They should not wait until things get very bad before intervening. Oversight on the banks should be a continuous exercise. More reasonable regulations need to be put in place, which must not be such that run the risk of blocking innovation and creativity in any of the banks. Also, this is the time for bank executives who are used to ducking behind corporate veil, to begin to develop a new mindset and embrace a new set of tools that will put the banks in good stead.

Beyond that, our economy must be strengthened through enhanced performance of the real sector. We are not unmindful of the fact that, of the four-point agenda of the CBN governor, the need to strengthen regulation and supervision through enhanced disclosures by financial institutions ranks high. We urge that the current reforms be tempered with reasoned discussions and dialogue with the key stakeholders.

This is time for the CBN governor to talk less. He should be guarded in his utterances in order not to be misinterpreted. There is no denying the fact that there is so much sleaze in the banking sector and this has not been helped by the ostentatious lifestyle of some of the bank CEOs. We believe they have learnt the necessary lessons and would, henceforth, adopt a more sedate lifestyle.

Altogether, the consequences of the ongoing happenings in the banking sector call for deep reflection. The stakes are too high and require a hands-on solution. It needs restating that a healthy banking system promotes not just confidence but corporate governance and social responsibility.

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Sacked Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Chairman, Ambassador Sam Edem has said that he was not against peace and reconciliation in Akwa Ibom State.

Apparently reacting to news report that he was working behind the scene for a rapprochement with Governor Godswill Akpabio, Ambassador Edem said: ‘I am not against reconciliation in Akwa Ibom State, but I have not been approached and has not sent emissary to anybody”, noting that “peace and progress are of paramount importance to his people”.

The former envoy, who has been embroiled in a controversy that he paid N715 million to a herbalist to help restore his manhood, stated this while reacting to a newspaper story (not Daily Sun) that he had been sending emissaries to Governor Akpabio.

He stated further that “I call on the people of Akwa Ibom State to give peace a chance and provide the enabling environment for infrastructural, economic and man power development. Believe me when I say I have not wronged anybody and have no grudge against anybody.”
It would be recalled that Edem was removed as NDDC chairman on allegations that he had contracted a witch doctor to eliminate both Governor Akpabio and the former NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Timi Alaibe spiritually.

The controversy generated by the alleged assassination plot against the duo, led to his sack, arrest and prosecution in court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

NAFDAC impounds N24m unregistered drugs

The National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has impounded a truckload of unregistered medicines valued at N24million.
Director General of the Agency, Dr Paul Orhii, who made the disclosure at a press conference in Abuja, said the truck with Benin Republic registration number, IPN 0955RB, conveying 5000 cartons of intravenous fluids in 500ml packs labeled in French language, was intercepted on Monday August 21, by the agency’s regulatory officers on routine surveillance along Dutse-Kano-Maiduguri road in Jigawa state.
Disclosing that the intravenous drug products had no NAFDAC registration number, the DG said the driver of the truck initially refused to stop when flagged down by the agency’s officers until after a hot chase.

“When the driver was interrogated, he claimed that the consignments were construction materials and he quickly brought out a document to support this claim. On close examination, however, it was discovered that the truck contains 5000 cartons of intravenous D5 Glucose A Drip. On the ground of this inconsistency the truck was impounded and the three foreign occupants were arrested and interrogated”, the DG disclosed.
Orhii said the main reason this agency impounded the truckload of the drugs was because they were unregistered and the source and destination of the products unascertained.
However, to ascertain the potency and quality of the drugs, the DG said samples have been taken to laboratory for tests.

He further disclosed that a similar seizure was made three months ago when a container load of fake Maloxine and Amalar, anti-malaria drugs, worth N32million was intercepted at Apapa Port in Lagos.
Announcing the promotions of the uncompromising officers on the operations as a reward and incentive to boost their morale and encourage others, the DG reiterated his Agency’s resolve to rid the nation of fake drugs and other consumables, warning that NAFDAC would deal decisively with anybody or companies who seek to compromise, harass, intimidate or blackmail NAFDAC regulatory officers in the course of discharging their lawful duties.

FG told to re-open talks with ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) has never demanded 109 per cent pay rise. This was disclosed by a member, Federal Government/ASUU negotiating team, Dr. Suleiman Abdul in Bauchi.

Abdul of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi chapter who spoke at a one-day symposium organized by ASUU in Bauchi accused the Federal Government of avoiding its responsibility by blackmailing ASUU.

He opined that the Yar’Adua regime was 15 per cent grossly short of the mandatory international recommendation for funding education.
According to him, ASUU only demand for an average to curtail the country’s perennial brain-drain problem.
Explaining why ASUU was on strike, Abdul said the condition of service in Nigerian universities was deplorable.

He condemned in strong terms appeals by President Umaru Yar’Adua for ASUU to suspend the strike in the spirit of Ramadan.
“No one can practice his or her religion in bondage or in an unfavourable condition including empty stomach,’’ he stated.

The university Don said ASUU was the common man’s hope for any reasonable opposition in the country.
Earlier, the ATBU Bauchi ASUU Chairman Dr. Ibrahim Garba had asked the Yar’Adua government to forget Vision 2020.
According to him, the government negotiating team had resorted to series of lies and blackmail to address the rot in the nation’s education sector.
In his comment, Professor Agbo observed that Nigerians should be told that it was the Federal Government that is on strike and not ASUU, stressing that the Union has been doing everything possible to ensure that qualitative education is obtained in Nigerian universities.

To Babayo Jibril, a teacher with General Hassan Usman Katsina Primary school, teachers are willing to co-operate with ASUU in their struggle.
Yusuf Lawal who represented the Students’ Union President berated NANS leadership for selling out on the ASUU demands, which are meant to enhance quality education in the country.

How Clinton’s security guards dazed uss

•Dr. Agary, former Perm Sec

Dr Timiebi Koripamo Agary made history in 1997. She was and still the first woman in Nigeria to host a president from the United States of America (USA). Her hosting of President Bill Clinton while she was the Executive Secretary of the National Women Centre in Abuja is today more historic. It remains one of the memorable events in her life. “

The visit of Bill Clinton to THE National Centre for Women Development when I was there was memorable. I remember in the report that it was only my name that appeared in the report from the US Embassy and I think it was a very good event. That was also the day I think HIV/AIDS pandemic was seen in human form.

That feat is proving stubborn for her to brush aside even though she is known more in the Civil Service of the federation. A former Permanent Secretary in three Ministries – Science and Technology, Labour and Information, she made considerable marks on the Labour Ministry. Timiebi has been at the very heart of policy formulation of key labour matters through her membership of negotiating committees. Since her retirement, she has been running an NGO.

Timiebi is definitely a woman to watch. She is an alumnus of the University of Ibadan where she read Biochemistry. After her graduation, she joined the Federal Civil Service. She rose to become the Permanent Secretary, recording in the process of history one of the few Nigerian women to attain such an office. She was retired in a rather curious circumstances, an act which forced those retired to place the matter before a court of law.

In retirement, she went into the running of an NGO and it climaxed with the founding of Gender Action. That NGO is to assist brilliant but indigent and less privileged children in the Niger Delta region. That she hails from Odi in Bayelsa State is beside the point of her setting up of the NGO. She is gradually spreading the message of hope to the hopeless children in Nigeria. And as she puts it, it is only a matter of time for children outside Bayelsa to benefit. “Don’t forget I am a retiree,” she said.

In the realm of politics, she also has a background. She was the mobilizer in her days at the University of Ibadan as a member of the Student Union Government. In Nigerian polity, Timiebi is emerging into something of a voice for the Nigerian government in the Niger Delta region. Her campaign now focus on the need for the militants in the region to drop their guns and embrace peace, believing that a peaceful resolution of the contentious issues in the Niger Delta can only be resolved through peaceful means.
Her minority background also informed her position on her involvement in the Niger Delta issue.

What have you been doing since you went on retirement?
Some consultancy: But mostly, my focus has been on my NGO. It’s a developmental NGO and my focus is on human capital. I also focus on my local community and I hope to expand to other communities in the Niger Delta. I think that I need to give back something to where I come from and I think education is so critical to the development of the human person. I’m talking here today because education opened the door for me and because my parents had the ability to also support me. There is pervasive poverty in the Niger Delta, but there are also very brilliant kids who need to be supported to be able to assess resources that are available and there are resources all over. I’m looking forward to having one or two kids score very high JAMB results and getting out of that place or even scoring very high SHA results and having a scholarship to go to Harvard. So, my challenge is to go there and challenge young men and women to focus on their education, be patient for the girls.

There is, of course, high teenage pregnancy, which is a fallout of the irresponsible actions of oil and gas workers. So, we also need to enter with reproductive health information for the girls. Whether we like or not, HIV/AIDS is real and we need to do some of those things. I also want to now begin to talk about the issues of democracy and governance. Until we all decide to take a stand for change, we will continue in this cycle of motion without movement. I want to begin to let people know they have rights to make requests and demands of their representatives in government. I want to give voice to not just the young people but the women.

The men are so much involved with your testosterones flowing in your veins and you don’t think that women need to be given a space. So, we need to work on the men to also open up space for women to join in the process of effective social, political and economic change; at least, in my community and by extension, other communities around the Niger Delta. I don’t have the resources because I’m a pensioner. But I’m willing to spend my money to start doing something. This year, I got teachers to work with the children and I managed to get past WAEC and GCE exam questions. My focus was on Math and English because these are challenging subjects where you don’t have too many good teachers in the rural areas.

So, my challenge was to assist them to improve on their grades in those key subjects. I was preparing them for JAMB, WAEC and NECO. But unfortunately, a few things happened. With this Gbaramatu incident, my coordinator advised that we stop because the kids were just coming in, writing their exams and taking off. Of course, Odi also had some real threats again, but fortunately, the community took a proactive action.

What is the name of this NGO?
Gender Rights Advancement and Development.

When you say you’ve been doing some consultancy, what area do you specialize and who are your clients?
I do consultancy in the area of labour. Some of my clients are in the oil and gas sector mostly. I also give advice to my friends in government.

As a woman from the Niger Delta, you have really made your marks on the national scene. What are the peculiar challenges of one being a woman and girl child from the Niger Delta?
My father believed in the girl child education. So, I didn’t have that challenge. My mother at 98 is literate. She is a very highly educated nurse midwife. My parents encouraged us to go for the sky and they were ready to give us the support. I must also say that at the time, we were in the university and the time we finished, life was good. With the encouragement of a father who tells you I’m sending you to school, so that you would be able to look after yourself, not because I want you to find a good husband, you know that’s a 21st century mind. So, with that kind of background, I was just encouraged.

When I finished, I wanted to do my post graduate. Diette Spiff was then the governor and scholarships were given to anybody who had the requisite qualifications. So, I just went on, did my doctorate and came back. I did my Masters in London; did my Doctorate in the US and I have another Masters degree from Belgium. Really, I now went into nutrition. I did cardiovascular diseases – metabolism of sodium and calcium in the heart, which results in high blood pressure.

My second Masters is on Statistics and Epidemiology, because we needed to monitor things and I wanted to have some capacity for doing monitoring and evaluation in quantitative terms not just qualitative; to be able to do statistical analysis of date. I’m fairly good in Mathematics and just to help prepare me to provide better service. Of course, I went on to do several other courses in project management abroad. I have an Advanced Management Certificate from ALSCON. Just to improve on my knowledge and skills, I craved for more training and I did a lot of reading on my own. When I was posted to the Ministry of Labour, I chose to just read up on the laws and the Conventions of ILO just to get understanding of what I needed to do and that’s the way it’s been.

I wouldn’t think every man that came your way always thought like your father in terms of giving you the chance to excel?
You know, if you work hard, the man will respect you. I tried to work hard and be productive. Wherever I found myself, whatever task I was given, I tried to be productive. So, I did my best. But I also must say I do not suffer fools gladly and I do not tolerate any attempts at debasing me as a woman. You can go and ask el-Rufai. I don’t accept it because I’m very conscious of what my rights are. In fact, I have copies of the Constitution littered my bed and table here. So, very quickly, I would go through the Constitution to know where to draw the line. You have to search your boundaries even in the office with your bosses and subordinates. Whatever the challenges are, I think I got on with the men as my boss and I got on with the men as my subordinates. I maintain good relationship with my clients, my messengers and directors and we stay with good friends. Life is a question of give and take. I’ve tried to strike good balance.

All the years you spent in the Civil Service, what would you say is your most memorable event?
The visit of Bill Clinton to National Centre for Women Development when I was there. I remember in the report that it was only my name that appeared in the report from the US Embassy and I think it was a very good event. That was also the day I think HIV/AIDS pandemic was seen in human form. One HIV positive man came and publicly declared he was positive and called his wife and daughter. I’ve stayed in very good touch with him ever since because he’s always been a good role model. It was a very memorable day for me in the sense that it was a very good event. It’s also memorable for me in the sense that I see the security challenges our President has in this country. It confirms to me, indeed, that Nigerians are very peaceful people because if you see the trouble the US security people took to protect their President and I knew who they were; they were there for two weeks before President Clinton came.

They asked for the plans of all the buildings. I got an architect to put the seats in the auditorium in a plan. It was so meticulous and I kept sending words to them that I have not seen the President’s people. The day they came, they took over the entrance to the auditorium. They practised how the President was going to arrive and come in. They did what they call a walkthrough. It was just amazing that my President’s security people had no clue and we had practised it everyday. So, it wasn’t a question of he was going to come in and walk straight down. They came in, turned left, went down, walked out, walked back in and entered from the back and my President security men in their trench coats blocked the doors, thinking as he comes, he would go through the auditorium and walk down. That day, I just said God is really with us. With all those seats, I knew all the CIA people and they were all sitting on the ground. Nobody was hanging around and I was just amazed. There was this young man who was screwing something on the stage and I went to him and said you are destroying my stage. He said Mam, you see I’ve signed my life to die for POTUS – President of The United States. You know, they call him POTUS.

He was screwing this thing and it was a bulletproof shield. You wouldn’t know it because we had to cover it with a cloth. Clinton was sitting there and in front of him was this shield. I’m told if you want to get him from anywhere, you couldn’t because of the way it was placed. We had to make new drapes on the stage and it was covered with the same material. At the end of the day, they unscrewed it and said Mam, thank you very much. Another memorable incident was when el-Rufai decided I was less a Nigerian and threw me out in violation of my rights. I was actually attending a meeting at the UN in London. Fortunately, he was stopped and my things were taken back. He was stopped because of the uproar by the unions and I remain eternally grateful to the Civil Service Union. But he still had his way. On the 25th of May 2007, I was still evicted. The first one was in March of 2007.

Did you have anything with him?
When I graduated in 1970, how old was he? He may have been in primary one or nursery one. The problem was that I was a political office holder and I was offered a house for N15 million. I raised my N1.5 million draft, which is 10 percent to go and pay, but they refused to take it. They sent me a letter that I was a political office holder and would have to bid for the house. I bided for the house but my bid price was lower. I think it was just contrived. Somebody actually bided N65 million and that house was offered to me at N65 million. I didn’t have N6.5 million to pay and I was away at a meeting in Geneva. This happened in 2006. I applied to the bank and it took exactly 60 days to get the draft. When I went to pay, they said it was late.

Fortunately, my government had given Bayelsa people some grants to help pay. So, I had N13 million within 63 days because we had 90 days to pay 20 percent. I went back to pay but my PA said they brought out a list, saw my name and the Minister said they should take money from me. I think he didn’t probably like my position on some labour issues because I subsequently heard he said I was using the unions to work against the reforms. I know the one time I had met with him was just to draw his attention to the fact that the laws were very clear on certain provisions.

As far as I’m concerned, the reforms were declaring some workers redundant and the provision of the law requires that an employer discusses with the unions and reaches an agreement in terms of the severance. He didn’t like that but I don’t also owe him an apology. There was a contract of employment for Public Service officers. You are to retire at 35 or sixty years and at the time all of these were happening, nobody had changed that contract of employment and if the unions suspect enough and go to court, I feel they would have been able to stop it. But my position as a mediator was not to take sides. Some people were removed because of additional qualification.

That was not part of their contract of employment. If you wanted to change those requirements, you need to give them a time limit for them to acquire the additional qualification before you remove them. If you still go back into the scheme of service, I don’t even think those things have been amended. I was a mediator and I was just sitting there watching the unions and the government flex their muscles. Otherwise, it was such an easy thing to go to court. But Nigerians don’t like to go to court and I don’t know why.

Is it not too expensive going to court?
There are people who will do it for you free of charge. There are lawyers who are providing pro vono service and that might be one of the things I might get engaged in. The Civil Service has come under so much bashing. Everybody is bashing civil servants. We are not the problem of Nigeria. If the head gives a direction, they would follow, knowing that there are certain things they could not do in my Ministry. They would not even bring it up because they know I won’t tolerate it. So, let the head leads and we will follow.

For those people who don’t see the benefit in the rule of law, please, let us try the rule of the jungle as I experienced. The rule of law may take time, but ultimately, it’s better than arbitrariness. There was so much arbitrariness during that time and as a beneficiary of the rule of law and fair hearing because immediately this President came on board, I sent an appeal with all my documents and with the support of the present Secretary to Government, who was then the Head of Service, the two of us permanent secretaries that were removed were reinstated. But my house has not been returned to me.

Who occupies that building for now?
I haven’t actually been there. But people who have gone there tell me nobody is really occupying it because there is still a subsisting injunction on that property. The property is at 85 Kwame Nkruma Way, plot 112, Asokoro District. I really don’t know whether somebody is occupying it or not. I just want it back because it’s my right. I served this country, I’m entitled to it and they should give it back to me.

Where do you stay now?
I’m renting a house. That’s why you think the Civil Service is corrupt. I’m renting a house with money that I could have put to other good uses. That’s why I really must get my house back. I worked very hard and at every point in time, I served this country well. In Labour, I hardly slept. We managed to apprehend many labour crises. Obasanjo himself admitted that, at least, he had some peaceful moments.

On a typical eve of a meeting with Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, what kind of preparation would you do?
I have to read the labour laws, I have to study the issues in dispute and look at what the law says, whether the law supports it or not. Usually, we mediate between workers and the employers and we use the law. When it involves government, I use that law. I tell government you are an employer.

Do they listen to you?
I think there was relative calm. When the workers are wrong, I also tell them you are wrong. When employers are wrong, I tell the employers the law says this. Many employers in the private sector did not want unions in their organizations and I never mediated without the constitution and I tell them you cannot abridge anybody’s rights provided in the constitution. One has to be very familiar with the provisions of the law and, of course, the Constitution.

But mostly, it’s just good reasoning because one thing you must do when you are mediating in a labour dispute is to make sure that you settle the employer and the employee and they end up being friends because they are still going back to that environment to work. It’s not a law court. You appeal to people’s conscience and show them where they are wrong and I never did it with the two parties together. I always separated the employers from the workers. So, I would tongue lash the workers and screw the employers to concede to the demands of the workers.

Premier League: Utd beat Arsenal, Reds hit back

Manchester United battled back after a wonder-goal from Andrei Arshavin to grab all three points against Arsenal at Old Trafford with a 2-1 win. The Russian gave the Gunners the lead, but a Wayne Rooney penalty and Abou Diaby's own goal gave United the points.

Arshavin smashed home an incredible strike in the first-half, but Manuel Almunia brought down Wayne Rooney in the second, and the England man converted his spot-kick. Diaby then headed a free-kick into his own net to give United the lead and Arsenal never looked like coming back.

Robin van Persie had the ball in the net late on, but William Gallas was ruled offside and there was even time for a piece of comedy as Arsene Wenger was sent to the stands, only to go and take his place above the Arsenal bench, in front of the United faithful.

Chelsea deposed Spurs at the Premier League summit by maintaining their perfect start to the campaign with victory over newly promoted Burnley in the lunchtime game at Stamford Bridge. The Clarets were brought down to earth with a bump following their recent victories over Manchester United and Everton as the Blues cruised to a 3-0 win.

A first-half strike from Nicolas Anelka set Chelsea on their way before Owen Coyle's hopes of springing an unlikely Burnley comeback were abruptly rubbed out with a quick-fire brace just after the break. Michael Ballack and Ashley Cole supplied the finishing touches for the home side who top the table on goal difference.

Liverpool's stuttering start to the season was given a late boost in their game against Bolton with Steven Gerrard riding to the rescue once more to bag the winner in a 2-3 win against a Trotters side who had yet to score in the Premier League prior to Saturday afternoon.

A 33rd minute strike from Kevin Davies opened his side's account and put further pressure on Rafael Benitez's currently shaky Liverpool side, but Glen Johnson bagged his second goal in Liverpool colours to settle the visitors' nerves.

Benitez handed new signing Sotirios Kyrgiakos his debut in the Liverpool defence and favoured Albert Riera over Yossi Benayoun on the left but his side were unable to prevent Tamir Cohen netting a 47th-minute strike for the Trotters who had Sean Davis dismissed shortly afterwards. Fernando Torres responded swiftly with a second Liverpool equaliser but Gerrard had the final word with an 83rd minute goal that puts Liverpool's title bid back on track.

Tottenham's flawless start to their Premier League campaign continued with a last minute Aaron Lennon strike securing a 2-1 win against Birmingham City at White Hart Lane. Aaron Lennon drew an early save from on-loan Birmingham keeper Joe Hart and Sebastian Larsson went close when he tested Carlo Cudicini at the other end but Peter Crouch's first Premier League goal for Spurs put Harry Redknapp's side ahead.

A groin injury had forced Spurs captain Ledley King off and Lee Bowyer was able to capitalise with an equalising goal in the 75th minute but Lennon broke Alex McLeish's mens' hearts with his goal at the death.

Goals at the start of each half saw honours even as it finished 1-1 between Hull and Wolves at Molineux. A third minute goal from Geovanni shocked Mick McCarthy's side but Richard Stearman's goal just after the break pulled Wolves level. Neither side were able to find a decisive strike in a game that leaves both teams with four points from their opening fixtures.

Stoke City secured a 1-0 win at home to Sunderland courtesy of Dave Kitson's first Premier League goal for the Potters. Kitson added to his midweek strike in the Carling Cup with the ex-Reading striker netting just before the break against Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium.

With Stoke's new £5m signings, Roberth Huth and Tuncay Sanli, having to make do with places on the bench, Tony Pulis' side celebrated their second home win of the campaign so far.

Blackburn secured their first point of the new season with a 0-0 draw at home to West Ham and hauled themselves out of the bottom three after Bolton were beaten by Liverpool. David Hoilet went closest to winning the points for Blackburn who had Pascal Chimbonda making his debut in a game which carried few attacking moments.

On Sunday, Manchester City kept up their 100% start to the season with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Portsmouth. Emmanuel Adebayor scored his third goal in as many Premier League games to give his side the win against Portsmouth, who were being watched in the stands by new owner Sulamain Al Fahim.

Everton hauled themselves off the foot of the table with their first win of the season, over Wigan, thanks to an injury-time penalty from Leighton Baines that sealed a 2-1 victory.

The visitors, who picked up six bookings, took the lead after 56 minutes with a Paul Scharner header, but Everton equalised soon after through Louis Saha. Still, they had to wait until the third minute of added time for their winner.

Aston Villa ended the weekend's games with a 2-0 win over Fulham. The Cottagers looked tired after their trip to Russia in the Europa League and were always facing an uphill battle after John Pantsil put through his own net in the 3rd minute.

Gabriel Agbonlahor raced through in the second half to seal the win, but it looked as if Fulham boss Roy Hodgson couldn't get away quick enough.

Wenger to get an apology after sending off

Wenger takes up an unusual position after his dismissal.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been told he can expect an apology from Premier League referees chief Keith Hackett following his dismissal in the closing seconds of Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United.

League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan has spoken to Hackett about the Old Trafford incident which saw Wenger sent to the stands by referee Mike Dean on the advice of fourth official Lee Probert.

And he has been told that Wenger will receive an apology from the Premier Game Match Officials Board which appoints officials to top-flight games in England.

The Gunners boss caught Probert's attention when he kicked an empty water bottle down the touchline following a disallowed goal for Arsenal.

There was then confusion as Wenger seemed unaware of where he was supposed to go - moving first to the back of Arsenal dugout then starting to walk down the touchline as the whistle was blown.

On the decision to penalise Wenger, Bevan said: ''Although correct in 'law', it was completely out of context in the game and it was followed by the nonsense which followed over where Arsene Wenger should sit.''

He added: ''I've spoken to Keith Hackett and he fully recognises the situation was an error and an apology will follow to Arsene Wenger.

''Lee Probert totally failed to manage the situation and created a needless pressure point taking the focus away from the pitch in a big event with only a minute to go.''

Operation attack Tunisia•Go all out and humiliate Carthage Eagles – Iroha advises Amodu

Former Super Eagles’ defence marshal, Benedict Iroha, has advised Shaibu Amodu to line out the best in his arsenal against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia.
On September 6, at the Abuja National Stadium, Nigeria’s dream of getting closer to South Africa 2010 World Cup ticket will either be realised or scuttled.

In a chat with Daily Sunsport before his departure to Tunis with Heartland FC of Owerri for CAF continental duel against Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia, Iroha declared that he believes that the North African team could be successfully tamed in Abuja.

The FIFA Under-17 (Korea 2007) World Cup winning coach, said the best formula Amodu should apply against the Carthage Eagles would be attacking football.
Iroha stated that if the Super Eagles’ coach would use the best of his attacking formation, the visitors would definitely crumble like a pack of cards.
He expressed happiness on the list of invited players for the September 6 duel, adding that Tunisia lost the game on their home soil when they struggled to a goaless draw with Nigeria during the first leg encounter.

The Heartland FC of Owerri coach revealed that if his Naze Millionaires could bang in three unreplied goals against Etoile de Sahel that have most of their players in the Tunisian national team, during their CAF Champions League encounter, Super Eagles could equally do better in Abuja.
"Amodu should use the best of attacking football against Tunisia. He did it in Rades when we played the first leg, he should just intensify his formation in Abuja.

"I am happy with the players the coach has brought in for the September 6 encounter. I don’t see the Tunisian escaping from Abuja without defeat.
"In the CAF Champions League, Heartland were able to play the North Africans and won them with three goals in our favour. With this, I mean that Super Eagles can equally beat the Carthage Eagles, of which most of their players are in Etoile du Sahel. Based on our encounter with the team, I believe that we can subdued Tunisia with the best of attack," Iroha stated.

Super Eagles are trailing with five points behind Tunisia, who have seven points from three matches in Group B. Tunisia won two of their games against Kenya and Mozambique, but drew with Nigeria.
Super Eagles drew two of their games and won against Harambee Stars of Kenya in Abuja.