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.

EFCC declares Ibru’s associates wanted

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has declared the Chairman, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Dele Oye and Mrs. Nananshettu Bedell wanted in connection with the ongoing investigation in the banking sector.

Both suspects who are close associates of the former Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Oceanic Bank, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru are wanted for offences bordering on conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and money laundering running into billions of naira.
The anti-graft agency in a statement on Sunday said the suspects were declared wanted after all efforts to get them to honour the Commission’s invitation failed.

“The Commission enjoins anyone with useful information that could lead to their arrest to contact any of its offices in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Gombe, Port Harcourt and Enugu,” it added.
On August 14, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) headed by Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had sacked five banks including those of Intercontinental Bank, Finbank, Oceanic Bank, Afribank and Union Bank over unethical and illegal practices.

The anti-graft agency quickly stepped in to recover the N747billion non-performing loans granted by the banks to corporate entities and individuals, with a seven-day ultimatum to the high profile debtors to pay up. The ultimatum expired last week. While at least N40billion has been recovered so far, the EFCC has stepped up manhunt for debtors yet to meet their obligations to the banks.

Mrs. Bedell, former personal secretary to Mrs. Cecilia Ibru’s husband, who is believed to be Priscillia Bedell and Nanashetu Abdulai, according to the list of debtors released by the apex bank, is said to be indebted to Oceanic Bank to the tune of over N16billion.

The former Oceanic Bank managing director who was declared wanted penultimate Sunday reported to the EFCC Ikoyi, Lagos office on Wednesday and has since been in detention. sunnewsonline