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FRSC Confirms 10 Dead In 26 Auto Crashes During Easter In Kogi

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) said on Thursday that 10 persons lost their lives in 26 road accidents recorded in different parts of Kogi during the Easter holiday.

The Kogi Sector Commander, Mr Godwin Omiko, told newsmen in Lokoja that the dead included nine male adults and a female adult.

Omiko said 120 people, comprising 98 men and 22 women, were involved in the 26 accidents which occurred between April 16 and April 21.

He said that 71 of them were rescued without injuries, while the remaining 49 persons sustained various degrees of injuries, and were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

He said that those rescued without injuries included 55 men and 16 women, adding that no child casualty was recorded in any of the accidents.

Omiko said that relations of the victims had been contacted following laid down procedure in the organisation.

The sector commander said that the corpses of the deceased were released to their families. (NAN)

« Previous Article Poverty: Nasarawa Govt Disburses N5m Grant To Rural Communities

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Two retired professional table tennis players, Mrs. Modupe Amoo and Mrs. Omowunmi Muse have sued the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Plc at the Lagos State High Court for allegedly using their photograph in a brand advertisement without their consent.

They are claiming N25million as exemplary/punitive damages for unlawful use of their picture and 21 per cent interest on the sum from the date of judgment.

The claimants sought a declaration that the use of their picture and goodwill without their prior knowledge is unlawful and amounts to invasion of their privacy “through misappropriation of their images/likeness.”

They sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further publication of the pictures without their consent, and demanded N650, 000 as costs incurred in the suit.

The claimants, through their lawyer Mr. Kennedy Atuenyi of J.D. Oloyede’s Law Chambers, joined an advertisement agency, STB-McCann, as the second defendant.

Amoo and Muse had represented Nigeria in the 1972 Commonwealth and World Table Tennis tournaments held in Wales and Sarajevo-Yugoslavia, and jointly won three gold medals and a silver medal in the 1973 All Africa Games held in Lagos.

The picture displaying their medals was published on November 1, 2011 to celebrate NBC’s “60 years of refreshing Nigeria.”

According to them, when they contacted NBC for settlement, they were offered vouchers worth N200, 000 each to be used at a particular shopping complex, and were asked to sign documents regularising the use of their photographs in the advert.

Their lawyer subsequently wrote to NBC twice, demanding a public apology, removal of the adverts including those pasted on delivery trucks, and N25million each to the claimants as compensation.

“Till date, the first defendant (NBC) has failed/refused to accede/respond to any of our demands, as well as communicate/discuss with our solicitors,” the claimants said.

However, NBC urged the court to dismiss the suit with substantial cost for being frivolous, vexatious and totally lacking in merit.

 

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A non-governmental organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has urged the United Nations to intervene and secure the release of abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that more than 100 girls were abducted on April 15 by members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect.

The civil society group made the plea in a statement issued on Thursday in Lagos by its Executive Director, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni.

The group said the continued detention of the girls had negative impact on their well-being and long-term education.

It urged the UN, through its various agencies, to provide international assistance and support to the Nigerian authorities to secure the release of the girls.

“We are urging these bodies to move swiftly to support efforts to protect schools, teachers, and students from deliberate attacks in the North-Eastern part of the country.

“In particular, we urge the UN Security Council’s Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on Children and Armed Conflicts to take strong action by referring members of the Boko Haram and their backers to the International Criminal Court.

“Accountability for attacks on school children and education, including prosecuting perpetrators, is critical to deterring perpetration of crimes under international law,” the group said.

SERAP said the International Criminal Court had explicit jurisdiction over intentional attacks against school children and buildings dedicated to education in both international and internal armed conflicts.

It said that the abduction of the girls was also an attack on their right to education which calls for a strong international effort.

“The attack against children is leading to dramatic decrease in school attendance rates.

“When attendance remains low over a long time, there are negative knock-on effects on the economy and on key development indices such as measures of maternal and child health,” the group said.

According to SERAP, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its two additional protocols and customary international law is also binding on parties to the conflict in the North-East Nigeria.

It urged the Federal Government to specifically criminalise attacks on students and teachers, and prohibit the use of schools for military purposes.

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Poverty: Nasarawa Govt Disburses N5m Grant To Rural Communities

Nasarawa State Government has disbursed more than N5 million grant to rural communities towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing extreme poverty and hunger.

Dr Salisu Rajj, Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Umaru Al-Makura on MDGs, presented the cheques to agro-based cooperative societies in Lafia on Thursday.

Rajj said reduction of extreme poverty and hunger was a cardinal policy thrust of the administration.

The aide said the first phase of the grant covers Awe, Nasarawa-Eggon, Kokona and Nasarawa Local Government Areas.

According to him, three cooperative societies were selected from each of the four local government areas and given N450,000 as grant to boost their agro businesses.

He said the gesture would go a long way in turning around the economic fortune of the people, provide employment at the local level and recapitalise small scale businesses.

Rajj said the grant would be monitored by the MDGs office to ensure proper utilisation.

He urged the chairmen of the various cooperative groups to ensure that every member benefited maximally, adding that the grant was expected to have a multiplier effect on the community over a period of time.

In a remark, Mr Emmanuel Brass-Yaji, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives lauded the initiative, saying it would help to ameliorate the plight of the extremely poor people in rural areas.

Brass-Yaji, who was represented by the Director, Cooperative in the ministry, Mr Danlami Yakubu, however, cautioned the beneficiaries against misusing the grant for “personal pleasures”.

He charged the beneficiaries to see the grant given to them as seed money that should be allowed to grow so as to impact on the lives of other people within the community. (NAN)

« Previous Article World Cup: Argentina Must Create Right Climate For Messi To Shine - Sabella

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Three men, Dickson Bala, 32; Kurah Jonathan, 28, and Kennedy Ogochukwu, 32, were on Thursday arraigned in an FCT Senior Magistrates’ Court Abuja, for buying stolen property and causing grievous hurt.

The accused, who work as supervisors for Nujuma Estate firm, Galadimawa, Abuja, allegedly bought laterite stolen from Julius Berger Nigeria Plc on April 15.

The prosecutor, Cpl. Paul Anigbo, told the court that the case was reported at the Lugbe Police Station by one Abiola Kayode, a worker of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.

According to the prosecutor, the company got information that two of its tippers sold laterite to the estate firm without the authority of its management.

He said that when the company representative came to the estate firm to carry out an inventory on the laterite, he was disallowed.

Anigbo said that instead, the three accused confronted and engaged the representative in a fight and inflicted injuries on him.

According to the prosecutor, the representative’s blackberry phone bought at N30,000 and wrist watch worth N2,800 got damaged.

He said the offence contravened the Penal Code

However, the accused denied the allegations.

The Senior Magistate, Simisola Adeniyi, granted the accused bail for N2,000 with two sureties each.

Adeniyi said one of the sureties must be a Federal Government worker and live within the court’s jurisdiction and adjourned the case to May 20 for commencement of hearing.

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World Cup: Argentina Must Create Right Climate For Messi To Shine – Sabella

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has urged his side to create the right climate to allow Lionel Messi to flourish at this summer’s World Cup.

Messi has faced criticism in recent weeks after falling below his usual extraordinary performance levels for Barcelona, notably in the Champions League quarter-final defeat to Atletico Madrid and the 2-1
loss to rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.

Sabella is unperturbed by those criticisms, however, and is confident Messi can shine in front of the world audience when Brazil hosts the World Cup later this year, providing his team-mates provide the right assistance.

“Messi is fine but we must try to be the best possible team to help him,” Sabella told reporters.

“We have to get the team to be more compact, occupy the spaces.

“Messi has matured as a person, he has interior peace, but we have to create a climate that will allow him to be happy, I think we have to let him be calm.”

The 26-year-old has netted 39 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona this term.

Messi previously featured for Argentina at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, but was unable to help the Albiceleste past the quarter-finals in both instances.

« Previous Article APC Women Forum In Oko Reiterates Loyalty To Party, Leaders

Next Article » Poverty: Nasarawa Govt Disburses N5m Grant To Rural Communities

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A former President of Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami has said that corruption, disregard for due process, insensitivity and impunity allegedly on the part of government functionaries have considerably contributed in weakening Nigeria’s electoral process.

He spoke while delivering a lecture during the 2014 Justice M.M.A. Akanbi Faculty of Law annual public lecture at University of Ilorin on Thursday. The lecture was titled, ‘2015 general elections and sustainable democracy: judicial challenges and public expectations.’

“On their part, public officials have scant regard for the common good.  All these have far reaching implications for good governance, accountability and sustainable development. In this context, the popular expectation is that the Independent National Electoral Commission should brace up for the challenges which the conduct of the 2015 elections will throw up,” Salami said.

He stated that the cost and dangers of enthroning true federalism via an enduring democracy remain enormous. “We agree with the contention that with the country’s complex ethnic makeup, and the now   bitter relations between the major religious
communities, Nigerians know that they live over a political sea of magma that could, at almost any time, erupt,” he said.
Salami said the courts, lawyers and very importantly, the law makers, must tackle the identified lapses in the country’s democracy and federalism.

He added that rather than being passive, they  must actively seek out ways to free and fair elections fundamental policies of the nation’s democratic experiment. He stated that for  Nigeria’s democracy to become well entrenched, the rule of law must form part of the ingredients of the country and government activities. According to him, this must include the observance of due process in the conduct of elections.

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The expanded National Security Council meeting convened by President Goodluck Jonathan to tackle the security challenges in parts of the country is underway at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The National President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, are also attending the meeting which has state governors, security chiefs and some key ministers in attendance.

The meeting which started by 12.10pm with the arrival of the President was declared open by prayer sessions led by Oritsejafor and Abubakar following which the session entered into a closed door meeting.

At the time of filing this report, state governors in attendance were: Willie Obiano (Anambra), Theodore Orji (Abia), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Martins Elechi (Ebonyi), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto), Ramalan Yero (Kaduna ), Garba Umar (Taraba), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Seidu Dakingari (Kebbi), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Lyel Imoke (Cross River), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe) and Isa Yuguda (Bauchi).

Governors of Jigawa, Imo, Oyo, Rivers, Kano, Ogun, Edo, Plateau and Yobe states were represented by their deputies.

The National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), led the Minister of Defence and heads of the Army, Navy, Airforce, Police, Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Immigration Service, Federal Road Safety Corps as well as the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to the meeting.

Ministers in attendance included those of Interior, Defence, Police Affairs, Foreign, Agriculture, FCT and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

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Communications Minister, Mrs. Omobola Johnson

By Mohammed Aminu 

Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, Thursday said the Federal Government was committed to bridging the digital divide in Nigeria, with a view to further strengthening the country's transformation and global competitiveness.

She made the remark Thursday, at a workshop on sustainability of Community Research Centres (CRC) in Nigeria organised by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) held at Giginya Hotel, Sokoto.

The Minister, who is also the Chairman of the USPF, said the Board had been working on a number of initiatives that would reduce the digital divide within the country and ensure that no Nigerian was excluded from the benefits of information and communication technology, irrespective of location, gender or income levels.
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A 32-year-old labourer, Isaac Asuquo, was arraigned in an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court in Lagos on Thursday, charged with attempting to kidnap a nine-month-old baby.

Asuquo, who gave no fixed address, is facing a count of child stealing.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Prosecutor, Sgt. Victor Eruada, told the court that the accused committed the offence at 7.15pm on April 19 at Jakande Housing Estate in Lekki, Lagos State.

Eruada alleged that Asuquo attempted to kidnap the baby from the home of her parents.

He explained that the accused was arrested when neighbours who caught him in the act raised the alarm.

According to the prosecutor, the offence violates Section 275 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Section 275 recommends 14 years imprisonment for anyone convicted of stealing a child.

The Magistrate, Mrs O. Oshin, granted the accused bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum and adjourned the case until May 14 for mention.

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APC Women Forum In Oko Reiterates Loyalty To Party, Leaders

APC Women Forum in Oko, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara, on Thursday pledged to work for the victory of the party in the 2015 general elections.

The groups, who made the pledge at a meeting on political developments in the state, said the party deserved their support at this critical period.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that said at a meeting convened by the party council woman leader, Hajia Mariam Awoso, it would visit all the 11 wards of the council to drum support for the party.

Mrs Abigail Babalola, the leader of the group, said the achievements recorded by ex-Governor Bukola Saraki and his successor, Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed, would ensure the party’s victory in next year’s general elections.

“With our support and the achievements already recorded by the duo of Sen. Bukola Bukola Saraki while governing the state and his successor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, would definitely give the party the edge.

“The success of our great party remains paramount to us as we have seen no genuine reason to abandon the party at this critical period.”

Earlier in her remark, Awoso said the sensitisation meeting across the ward became necessary in order for the party supporters to be abreast of recent positive developments in the party.

She said the meeting would also avail the party leaders the opportunity to rub minds with the supporters on various issues.

Awoso solicited for more cooperation and understanding of party members in the area while assuring them of more dividends as they remain loyal and committed to the party’s objectives. (NAN)

Poverty: Nasarawa Govt disburses N5m grant to rural communities
Nasarawa State Government has disbursed more than N5 million grant to rural communities towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing extreme poverty and hunger.

Dr Salisu Rajj, Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Umaru Al-Makura on MDGs, presented the cheques to agro-based cooperative societies in Lafia on Thursday.

Rajj said reduction of extreme poverty and hunger was a cardinal policy thrust of the administration.

The aide said the first phase of the grant covers Awe, Nasarawa-Eggon, Kokona and Nasarawa Local Government Areas.

According to him, three cooperative societies were selected from each of the four local government areas and given N450,000 as grant to boost their agro businesses.

He said the gesture would go a long way in turning around the economic fortune of the people, provide employment at the local level and recapitalise small scale businesses.

Rajj said the grant would be monitored by the MDGs office to ensure proper utilisation.

He urged the chairmen of the various cooperative groups to ensure that every member benefited maximally, adding that the grant was expected to have a multiplier effect on the community over a period of time.

In a remark, Mr Emmanuel Brass-Yaji, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives lauded the initiative, saying it would help to ameliorate the plight of the extremely poor people in rural areas.

Brass-Yaji, who was represented by the Director, Cooperative in the ministry, Mr Danlami Yakubu, however, cautioned the beneficiaries against misusing the grant for “personal pleasures”.

He charged the beneficiaries to see the grant given to them as seed money that should be allowed to grow so as to impact on the lives of other people within the community. (NAN)

« Previous Article LEADERSHIP Person of the Year 2013: Gen. Yakubu Gowon

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Gen. Yakubu Gowon: Above the Fray

The plot of Nigeria’s nation-building drama has been no less chequered in 2013 than in the other 52 years of our existence as an independent nation. Replete with many twists and turns beyond the best construct of the most imaginative novelist, screenplay writer, poet or playwright, our country took another full stride, albeit a constrained one, along the path of nationhood, with the forces for good and those of contrary inclinations battling it out all year long.

In Nigeria, 2013 was a year largely defined by the politics of 2015, into which orbit many influential Nigerians were drawn, creating a frenzied milieu and pulling the country’s unity cords taut. However, the LEADERSHIP Person of the Year 2013, General Yakubu Gowon, rose above the fray to break new grounds in his humanitarian and developmental work in the country and beyond. Through the Yakubu Gowon Centre for National Unity and International Cooperation (YGC) and personally, General Gowon has been the voice of moderation that called out to many warring factions across the country in 2013, to embrace peaceful means of resolving seemingly intractable differences. The year 2013 has also seen president heed the call for a National Dialogue. Seizing on this, some rabid secessionists have served their notice of intent. The dew of time may have fallen on the trying times when Gen. Gowon took on the mantle of leadership in our dear country, but those times were similar to now.

Citizens old enough at that time would today recall the first decade of Independence and the tumultuous events that postmarked 1966, ’67, ’68, ’69 and 1970. Clearly, if Gen. Gowon had not happened on Nigeria on July 29, 1966, the story of this country would have taken a different trajectory. Unmistakable was the voice of that young head of state, urging patriots and secessionists alike to “Go on with one Nigeria.” It is a refrain Nigeria needs today more than ever before. And it is an exhortation Gen. Gowon sounds aloud everywhere he goes in the country.

As the country continues to grapple with its public infrastructure deficit, many Nigerians become nostalgic at the thought of the rapid progress made in this area under Gen. Gowon, through his National Development Plan. Many development experts still trace Nigeria’s infrastructure quagmire to the abandonment of Gen Gowon’s blueprint, especially the Third National Development Plan, which would have placed Nigeria on the same path with the Asian Tigers of today.

Gen. Gowon is a study in humility and how to be a true statesman. He lives above the fray of partisan politics and inordinate chase after pecuniary gain, which appears to have become a national rat race. Although his graceful bearing as an elder statesman is rarely rewarded in the country, Gen Gowon’s very modest lifestyle as a former head of state is exemplary. Given the rampant corruption associated with public offices today, many Nigerians hold Gen Gowon in high regard for, among other reasons, not enriching himself in office at a time the country was flush with funds – the oil boom era.

That Gen. Gowon did not help himself to the public till became evident soon after his ouster from office. Living in London as an exile and attending the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, he was at a point almost defaulting in the payment of his house rent and school fees, only to be helped out by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. He is a model father of the nation.

On the spiritual level, Gen. Gowon’s Nigeria Prays initiative erases denominational lines; it continued to unite all religions in the country throughout 2013. And through the Yakubu Gowon Centre for National Unity and International Cooperation, the septuagenarian continues to offer vital interventions for good governance purposes and the wellbeing of the Nigerian masses, by combating infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, guinea worm and malaria in many states.

When he turned 79 recently, tributes for “the man who taught Nigerians humility and forgiveness” poured in torrents. In tribute to Gen. Gowon, another former head of state had this to say, “Gen. Gowon is one of Nigeria’s most courageous and transparent officers, who led the country during the civil war and came out without a single allegation of corruption. He is a true Christian; his practice of Christianity is unquestionable. He is ever a forgiving and patient human being. This is why immediately after the civil war he declared the famous ‘no victor, no vanquished’ slogan. He is living his life in the true spirit of Christianity, as he now pursues prayers of peace and unity for the country.”

Another tribute goes thus: “Gen. Gowon ruled the country for nine years and prosecuted a civil war to keep Nigeria one and up till today, the general has not changed from that conviction that we are better off in one united Nigeria. In retirement, Gen. Gowon has not let go his interest in public-spirited activities, as symbolised by his prayer project aimed at promoting peaceful co-existence among Nigerians, as well as his engagement in the task of eradicating guinea worm, river blindness and other communicable diseases. His moral values, exemplary humility and service to humanity are an inspiration.”

And yet another, “Gen. Gowon is the symbol of statesmanship, patriotism, vision, and courage. These are some of the excellent leadership qualities that have guided him through his years of active public service life. Although the former Nigerian leader was thrust into leadership at a rather young age, he found the ability to rally distinguished political leaders and technocrats to work with him for the preservation of the nation’s unity. We salute General Gowon for his ingenuity in coupling back the constituent regions that make up Nigeria in the wake of a tragic civil war. In and out of office, Gen. Gowon has continued to display amazing degrees of charisma, charm, uncommon patriotism, and has continuously rendered himself to the common man.”

For his life-long belief in the indivisibility of Nigeria and his humanitarian services to the masses of this country, General Yakubu Gowon is the LEADERSHIP Person of the Year 2013.

We also celebrate, in the following pages other Nigerians who have shone brightly in several spheres of human endeavour in the year, notably in politics, business, the arts, sports, technology, public administration and governance.

LEADERSHIP Governor of the Year 2013: Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan

For his vision and efforts towards placing the economy of Delta State on a solid footing beyond its current dependence on oil as its major source of revenue, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan is the LEADERSHIP Governor of the Year 2013.

Like most natural resources, crude oil is finite and Nigeria will indeed run out of the “black gold” one day. If that very real scenario is as far off as officialdom would want us to believe, consider an equally real situation of the developed countries – who consume most of the oil produced in the world – discovering new sources of energy today. Clearly, the revenue-generation capacity of all oil-producing countries would take a huge dent, a situation the serious ones among them have envisaged and are preparing for.

In the light of the fact that Nigeria as a nation is patently unprepared for the dry day, a state governor, enjoying oil revenue yet deciding to stand back from the current life of ease and direct his thoughts to a post-oil existence as Dr. Uduaghan has done for Delta State, makes for compelling contemplation and is a demonstration of rare vision on his part.

While Delta State produces about 30 per cent of the country’s oil and gas output and is clearly in a comfort zone of sorts, Dr. Uduaghan’s farsighted plans to leverage the oil revenue of today for the purposes of regenerating wealth should serve as a cue for others in the Niger Delta and the country as a whole.

Dr. Udughan’s master plan to wean Delta off oil revenue spans the massive integrated development of road transportation, railways, ports, telecommunication and an airport. It also includes an eight-lane ring road round the state, with spots for four ports – a sea port, oil and gas terminal, fishing terminal and general cargo terminal – all linked by rail. This plan is crucial to the development of all parts of the state and to leapfrogging Delta into the industrial stage, creating massive employment and raising the state’s competitiveness as a haven for business.

By the state’s calculation, the funding of this massive development would be more than N3.5trillion. The visionary leadership provided by Dr. Uduaghan knows that this massive sum cannot come from oil and gas resources only and has thus actively involved the private sector in the initiatives. Already, the Asaba Airport has been delivered as part of the Uduaghan Master Plan for Delta. Other aspects are in the works and Dr. Udughan is in line to deliver them all to Delta State, because he strongly believes that “the future lies in investments that will make the state more prosperous without oil” and that “that future starts today!”

As Delta State continues to forge ahead under Uduaghan’s stewardship, the difficult circumstances under which the governor took up leadership, including a temporary loss of office after an election tribunal judgement, are now fading memories for many; a fitting testament to the hard work Governor Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan has put into executing the people’s mandate in Delta State.

Uduaghan: The Scorecard

Infrastructure Development:
• Construction of Asaba International Airport
• Upgraded Osubi Airport to international standard
• Construction of over 250 roads, including the dualisation of Ughelli-Asaba expressway
• Construction of over 60 secondary/primary schools across the three senatorial districts
• Construction of modern markets in Ibuzo, Sapele, Warri and Ughelli
• Completion of Asaba Township Stadium
• Renovation of Sapele Township Stadium
• Construction of drainage systems in the three senatorial districts
• Construction of a new Government House with over N3bn
• Construction of two flyovers in Warri and Asaba
• Construction of motor parks and bus stops across the three senatorial districts
• Renovated courts across the state and donated over 50 vehicles to the judiciary

Health:
• Free medical services for children between the ages of six and 15
• Free medical services for senior citizens aged 60 and above
• Free maternity health care
• Upgrade of Oghara Teaching Hospital to international standard. The hospital now handles kidney transplants
• Renovated hospitals across the state

Education:
• Free education and payment of enrollment fees in all public secondary schools in the state
• Scholarship for first class graduates from Delta State to master’s degree level, as well as the award of scholarships to deserving Delta indigenes in tertiary institutions
• Promotion of teachers at the primary and secondary schools levels
• Awarded scholarships to the best sportsmen and women graduating from secondary school
• Inaugurated Edu-Marshalls to check the school dropout syndrome

Others:
• Created employment for over 3,000 youths across the state
• Paid all outstanding workers’ salaries
• Gave employment to over 150 physically challenged persons
• Interventions in agriculture as a key factor to achieve the objectives of the Delta Beyond Oil initiative
• Provided loan facilities to farmers through a micro-credit scheme
• Gave succour to over 300 widows
• Establishment of a fertiliser plant and farm settlement in Koko
• Provision of over 600 boats for riverside residents in Burutu, Patani and Bomadi local governments
• Provision of over 300 buses and cars, including Keke Napep, as a palliative measure for banned commercial motorcyclists
• Provision of vehicles and other operational aid, including walkie-talkies for the police, for effective policing
• Granted amnesty to Ijaw and Itsekiri warring youths
• Resolved the crisis between the Olu of Warri and his subjects
• Approved land for the NUJ Delta State Council for its permanent site and donated vehicles to the union
• Rewarded sportsmen and women who won laurels for the state

The Man Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan

Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan was born into the family of Chief Edmund D. Uduaghan and Mrs. Cecilia Uduaghan on October 22, 1954. As a child and young student, Dr Uduaghan was precocious and focused, a trait people thought showed him as having the potential for leadership. His academic career began in Baptist Primary School, Mosogar in the then Ethiope Local Government Area of Delta State, where he was a pupil between 1961 and1966. He went to Federal Government College, Warri for his secondary school education from 1968–1974. On successful completion of secondary school in 1974, he attended the University of Benin from 1975 to 1980, graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) degree. In 1981, Dr. Uduaghan was posted to Kwara State for the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) year. Here again, he excelled and stood out as a shining star. He was honoured as the most outstanding Corps doctor in Kwara State at the end of the service year.

Career Life

Dr. Uduaghan started work as an employed medical doctor at the Delta Steel Company (DSC) Medical Centre, Aladja in Delta State, where he continued to demonstrate his desire to contribute his best in service in his chosen career. He won the DSC General Manager’s prize for outstanding service and rose to the rank of Senior Medical Officer (SMO) within a period of six years.

Between 1989 and 1994, Uduaghan served in a number of healthcare facilities, such as Shell Clinic Ogunu, Westend Hospital Warri and Benoni Clinic Benin City, Edo State. Propelled by the urge to offer satisfactory service to the people free of the constraints of paid employment, Dr. Uduaghan opted to become a private medical practitioner by setting up his own Abode Clinic in Warri, in memory of his grandmother.

Outside his professional field, Uduaghan’s main preoccupation has been politics. A grassroots politician, he was chairman and foundation member of the All Nigerian Congress Association, Warri South Local Government, a founding member of the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM) and executive officer of the party. He is today a foundation member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Before then, he had served as Secretary, All Itsekiri Politicians Forum.

When Nigeria returned to democratic rule in May 1999, Governor James Ibori, recognising his ability to perform appointed him into his cabinet as the Commissioner for Health. During his tenure as Commissioner for Health, all the public hospitals in Delta State were rehabilitated and many upgraded. New hospitals were built across the state, while equipment was provided for better services. The out-of-stock syndrome for drugs at the hospitals became a thing of the past. Medical staff were motivated through enhanced allowances and other benefits. In reality, the health sector came back to life and was better positioned to serve the people. In recognition of his efforts, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) honoured him as the most outstanding Health Commissioner in the South-South Zone of the country.

Against this sterling backdrop, most Deltans welcomed his appointment on June 6, 2003 to the exalted position of Secretary to the State Government, the engine room of government. As Secretary to the State Government, he continued to display transparency, honesty and hard work.

Since becoming Governor of Delta State on May 29, 2007, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan has made stability of the oil rich state the focus of his administration’s governing policy. His policy of peace and security has insulated his state from the crisis that engulfed the region. Delta State under him has been widely acknowledged as the most peaceful and stable state in the region.

A staunch supporter of resource control, true federalism and other causes of the South-South people, he has remained an arrowhead for the attainment of the crusade.

Running for the office of governor, Dr. Uduaghan was clear in his mind about what he wanted to do if in charge. He once said, “The immediate direction of our government shall be to make our state accessible to all for investment, business, agriculture, commerce and improving on the welfare of the people through creation of jobs and safe neighbourhoods.”

Determined to reverse the poverty trap that had shackled the people, Governor Uduaghan’s focused policy activism through Delta Micro-credit Programme was so successful at reducing poverty and empowering the people, that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) honoured him with an award as the Best Governor in Reducing Poverty through a Micro-credit Scheme. His administration’s three-point agenda of Peace and Security, Human Capital Development and Infrastructure Development is being executed with precision, making Delta State one of the model states in development.

The Uduaghan administration has built a brand new international airport in Asaba, the state capital. It has been widely applauded for its programme in urban renewal and urbanisation and innovative policy in youth empowerment and development, which has seen Delta win the National Sports Festival for the fourth time. It is on record that Governor Uduaghan is the only governor from the Niger Delta region who has implemented forthrightly the policy of allocating 50% of the 13% derivation to the oil-producing communities through Delta State Oil Minerals Development Commission (DESOPADEC). His sincerity of purpose has made it possible for the state to enjoy peace.

Governor Uduaghan’s policy on healthcare has been adjudged the best in the country in the area of maternal and infant healthcare; the maternal and infant mortality rate in the state is by far the lowest in the national average.

In his professional field, Dr. Uduaghan served as Secretary, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Warri and Secretary, Association of Private Medical and Dental Practitioners, Warri Zone.
He is a member of the Jaycees International, under which auspices he has attended several world congresses and activities of leadership development. In 1989, he won the award of the Most Outstanding President of Area ‘B’ of the Nigeria Chamber of Jaycees International. He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM).

Since becoming chief executive, Governor Uduaghan has won numerous awards including the Central Bank of Nigeria Best Support Governor for Micro-finance and the Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award by the All Africa Students Union (AASU), based in Ghana.

A Christian of the Baptist Faith, Dr. Uduaghan is married with two children.

LEADERSHIP Politician of the Year 2013: The G-7 Governors

As a collective, the Group of Seven (G-7) Governors is the LEADERSHIP Politician of the Year 2013. The governors are: Admiral Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Alhaji Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Alhaji Abdulfattah Ahmed (Kwara), Dr. Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) and Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto).

The G-7 Governors are the recipients of the LEADERSHIP Politician of the Year 2013 award for their courageous break with obnoxious party tradition, at the risk of official vilification and persecution, to alert the country to the drift in governance under the current federal administration.

This was no mean feat in the opportunistic milieu of Nigerian politics, where the cardinal rule of the thumb is never to rock the boat while occupying a privileged post like these exemplars. In no other party is this rule more entrenched than the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where punishment for breaking it is swift and vicious – a casting out into political wilderness and relentless hounding by State security goons.
With their nationwide, non-partisan consultations with stakeholders in the Nigerian Project, the G-7 Governors became a beacon of unity in a country still reeling from the schism created via the 2011 presidential election and a federal government run on the basis of tribal or clan affiliations.

The G-7 Governors are proof that not all Nigerians can be silenced with the glamour of exalted offices and plush perks. They have provided the much-needed spark in and rejuvenation of the political space, hitherto squeezed in the stifling grip of the PDP behemoth. Their calm voice of dissent rekindled hope in millions of Nigerians disillusioned over the possibility of the country’s ever being pried out of the deathly grasp of the PDP.

Through their political activism, the G-7 Governors have rattled the self-acclaimed “biggest party in Africa” to the marrow, exposing the folly in its illusory ambition of holding Nigeria down for 60 years, regardless of the wish of the electorate.

LEADERSHIP Government Agency of the Year 2013: Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) was first introduced in May 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War within the then Federal Capital Territory of Lagos, for the purpose of sensitisation and protection of the civil populace. It was then known as Lagos Civil Defence Committee.

It metamorphosed into the present day NSCDC in 1970. At inception, the Corps had the objective of carrying out educational and enlightenment campaigns in and around the Federal Capital of Lagos, to sensitise members of the civil populace on enemy attacks and how to save themselves from danger, as most Nigerians living in and around Lagos territory then had little or no knowledge of war and its implications. Members of the Committee educated civilians, using the electronic and print media, on how to protect themselves during air raids and bomb attacks and on how to identify bombs.

In 1984, the Corps was transformed into a national security outfit and in 1988, there was a major restructuring of the Corps that led to the establishment of commands throughout the federation including Abuja, and the addition of special functions by the Federal Government. On June 28, 2003, an Act to give statutory backing to the NSCDC passed by the National Assembly was signed into law by then president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

As a federal para-military agency commissioned to provide measures against threat and any form of disaster or attack against the nation’s economic interest and the citizenry, the NSCDC has distinguished itself in the service of the country. NSCDC personnel are courageously battling vandals who target national infrastructure like oil pipelines and power installations across the country. They can be found guarding the sanctity of the ballot box during elections and are often deployed to provide security and prevent examination malpractices during national examinations like the WASC or UTME. They have even been in the news for clamping down on illegal miners, drug traffickers or peddlers and destroying illegal refineries in the Niger Delta. The NSCDC personnel are also actively engaged in the ongoing efforts against insurgency in the North-East.

The increasing role of the NSCDC in securing life and national assets has obviously caught the attention of many Nigerians, including our editors. For its personnel’s valiant efforts and professional conduct in protecting national assets and the citizenry under excruciating circumstances without blemish, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) is the LEADERSHIP Government Agency of the Year 2013.

LEADERSHIP Public Officer of the Year 2013: Dr. Akinwumi Adesina (Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development)

Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, is the LEADERSHIP Public Officer of the Year 2013. He clinched the coveted award for his robust implementation of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the Federal Government.

The ATA is the largest ever government-enabled, private sector-led effort to develop agriculture in Nigeria. This comprehensive effort is aimed at increasing domestic food production, reducing dependence on food imports and expanding value addition to locally grown agricultural products.

Adesina’s implementation of the ATA has resulted in a paradigm shift in the agricultural sector, focusing on agriculture as a business instead of a developmental project; utilising the transformation of the agricultural sector to create jobs and wealth and ensure food security; expanding the value chain where Nigeria has comparative advantage and promoting greater participation of youths and women in the agricultural sector.

In his position as the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Adesina has aggressively implemented bold policy reforms, ended decades of corruption in the fertiliser sector and pursued innovative agricultural investment programmes, to expand opportunities for the private sector to add value to crops produced in Nigeria. Through deregulation, attractive financing, concentrated infrastructure investments and competitive policies, the sector has become more productive, efficient and competitive.

At the heart of the ATA is the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GESS). The GESS represents a policy and pragmatic shift within the existing Fertiliser Market Stabilisation Programme. It puts the resource constrained farmer at its centre through the provision of a series of incentives to encourage the critical actors in the fertiliser value chain to work together to improve productivity, household food security and the income of the farmer.

Under Adesina’s watch, millions of farmers – through their mobile phones – have been getting direct support to enable them procure agricultural inputs at affordable prices, at the right time and place. The scheme has also encouraged the participation of almost 48 million Nigerians in agriculture, creating directly an additional 174, 100 jobs in the fertiliser distribution supply chain in agro-dealer networks at the wards level, 3,483 jobs at regional distributor points and sustaining an additional 800-1,000 jobs at the importation/ blending/local production level of the value chain.

The Ministry of Agriculture under Adesina has also been able to put over N300billion in additional income in the hands of Nigerian farmers, injected over N350bn into the economy through the rice self-sufficiency initiative and put over N60bn also into the economy from the substitution of 20% wheat flour with cassava flour, under the cassava bread initiative.

In the area of food security, Adesina has been working assiduously to reduce Nigeria’s food importation bill by increasing production of key food staples by 20 million metric tons. His ministry has also been supporting the development of private sector-driven marketing organisations, to grow the agricultural sector through tax breaks on import of agricultural processing equipment; tax holidays for food processors located in food processing zones and provision of supportive infrastructure, especially complementary investment by the government in roads, logistics, storage facilities and power.

By and large, the agriculture sector has received a new lease of life under Dr. Adesina and is increasingly attractive and rewarding for millions of Nigerians engaged in the sector.

LEADERSHIP Business Person of the Year 2013: Mr. Olatunde Ayeni (Chairman Skye Bank Plc)

Mr John Olatunde Ayeni was born in Kaduna, Nigeria, where he started his early education and later obtained a degree in Law from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. An astute legal practitioner, Ayeni is the Principal Partner of Legal Resources Alliance – a reputable law firm he founded in 1995 and which specialises in Corporate/Commercial Law, Maritime, Energy and Environmental law, Oil & Gas, Civil Litigation and Real Estate practice.

Against the backdrop of rising insecurity in Nigeria’s maritime territory, Ayeni, working with his partners, established Ocean Marine Security (OMS) Limited in 2007, blazing the trail in private sector participation in maritime security in Africa. He is currently the Vice Chairman of this company, which has, through the provision of unique logistic support to the Nigerian Navy, made immense contributions towards mitigating the insecurity of Nigeria’s waters. This has helped to restore oil majors’ confidence in the country, as a place they can return to and run their operations.

He sits on the Boards of several multinational companies spanning across many sectors of the Nigerian economy. He is currently the Chairman on the Boards of Directors of Skye Bank Plc; Joint Marine Environ Guard Limited (JMEG); ASO Savings & Loans Plc.; JKK Plc. and Olutoyl Nigeria Limited, amongst others.

Ayeni is the LEADERSHIP Business Person of the Year 2013 for playing a major role in the ongoing privatisation of the Nigerian power sector. Ayeni, as the Vice Chairman of Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Ltd (IEDM) led this group to win the Ibadan and Yola distribution companies, the biggest distribution companies and consortium in the Nigerian power distribution/privatisation exercise, raising over US$350million for this venture. He is a pioneering member and a director in several corporate bodies, such as Olutoye Estate Development & Services Ltd., National Sports Lottery Plc, Prime Union Investment Ltd. and Prime Union Travels and Tours. He is a member of various professional associations, including the Nigerian Bar Association, International Bar Association and African Bar Association.

Ayeni was in May 2012 honoured by the Member representing California’s 37th District in the United States of America House of Representatives with a certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.

LEADERSHIP Banker of the Year 2013: Mr. Phillips Oduoza

Mr. Phillips Oduoza sits atop United Bank for Africa (UBA), Africa’s global bank with operations in 19 African countries including Nigeria, and offices in New York, London and Paris, providing broad-based banking services to over seven million customers. His bank offers a bouquet of banking services and products designed to meet the specific banking needs of its diverse multi-cultural and multi-lingual customer base in three uniquely different continents.

Oduoza assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director of United Bank for Africa Plc on August 1, 2010 with over two decades of banking experience in his portfolio. Mr. Tony Elumelu, former Group Chief Executive of UBA who piloted the banking group to an African financial institution in a short period of time, redefining banking not just in Nigeria, but also across Africa, upon his voluntary retirement seamlessly handed the wheel over to Phillips Oduoza, to continue to steer the ship of UBA Plc.

Oduoza, in conjunction with the extremely strong executive team that surrounds him, has played a determining role in delivering on the promises the bank makes to its customers, shareholders and staff. His appointment from an extremely able team is also a tribute to UBA’s longstanding commitment to nurturing talent and ensuring orderly succession planning.

Oduoza’s appointment coincided with the opening of UBA’s Zambian operations – the first Southern African business unit for the Group, emphasising UBA’s vision of bringing world class banking services to all regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, and followed its successful openings in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Under his able guidance, UBA is active in the financing of big-ticket deals, especially recently in the power sector, with potential long-term impact on the bank’s future profitability. Some of the major deals UBA actively participated in include taking up $120million (N19.44billion) of the financing in respect of the Transcorp Ughelli Power Plant.
His bank also acted as Mandated Lead Arranger, underwriting the entire facility of $122m (N20bn) for Kann Utilities’ acquisition of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, and financing the payment of 75 per cent acquisition of 60 per cent equity stake in Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company. The bank also threw its financial weight behind Aura Energy for the acquisition of Jos Electricity Distribution Company, acting as the Lead Arranger for a N9.6bn loan to finance the payment of 75 per cent of Aura’s 60 per cent equity stake in Jos Electricity Distribution Company.

The impact of Oduoza’s leadership on UBA’s revenue is evident, as the bank announced gross earnings of N188bn, representing a 12.5 per cent increase from N167.1bn in the same period of last year. While riding on the back of the expansion in loan book, interest income rose 18.8 per cent to N133bn from N112bn.

Also, customer confidence in the Group’s brand soared, as total deposits rose 22.1 per cent to N2.17trn. The bank was able to effectively leverage its branch network in Nigeria and across eighteen countries in Africa to generate cheap deposits. It is already seeing some of the benefits of its positioning with a significant 28.5 per cent increase in total comprehensive income for the period to N48.74bn, compared with N37.92bn in the same period of last year.

A profit of N43.4bn was achieved for the period, representing an increase of 2.8 per cent over the N42.2bn recorded in the corresponding period of last year. There was also significant increase in other key performance indicators, with total assets rising by 13.5 per cent to N2.58trn from N2.27trn, while total equity rose 17.2 per cent to N225.6bn from N192.5bn.

Oduoza obtained a first class B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in Civil Engineering and an MBA (Finance) both from the University of Lagos. He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School, having undertaken the Advanced Management Programme. Oduoza commenced his banking career in 1987 with International Merchant Bank (IMB) as a Credit Officer, where he trained in credit analysis.

He had a stint between 1988 and 1991 at Citibank, the world’s largest financial services institution, a period during which he was equipped with indispensable knowledge of banking operations, relationship management, credit/marketing, efficient implementation of technology, risk management and lean banking methods. In 1991, Oduoza worked with a small team of young and talented professionals to pioneer Diamond Bank Plc and built it into one of the strongest brands and most successful financial services entity in the country. As Executive Director, Operations & Technology at Diamond Bank in 1999, he elevated IT within the bank to global standards. In 2002, he became the Executive Director, Commercial/Retail Banking at the same bank until 2004.

He joined Reliance Bank Limited in August 2004 as Deputy Managing Director, where he worked briefly before joining the Management and Board of Standard Trust Bank PLC in December 2004. With the acquisition of the old UBA by Standard Trust Bank, Oduoza became part of the new UBA team. He has served as Executive Director of Retail Financial Services and has over two decades of experience, having worked with several banks.

He served as Chairman and Director of ValuCard Nigeria Plc until 2011, has served as a Director of UBA Capital Plc, a Director of InterSwitch Limited and has been an Executive Director of United Bank for Africa Plc since August 1, 2005. He has attended numerous banking, management and leadership courses and has strengths in execution, talent management, technology integration and lean banking. He is an honorary senior member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

LEADERSHIP Bank of the Year 2013: Diamond Bank

Having robustly engaged and nurtured many Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) to excellent business health through its business seminars and needs-specific innovative products, Diamond Bank is the unanimous pick of our Editors for the LEADERSHIP Bank of the Year 2013 award.

By continually cutting from the rough to create precious gems, Diamond Bank has improved its services to become the cornerstone of the Nigerian banking industry. Today, the bank is respected for its excellent service delivery, driven by innovation and operating on the most advanced banking technology platform in the market.

Diamond Bank has over the years leveraged its underlying resilience to grow its asset base and to successfully retain its key business relationships. In the third quarter of 2013, Diamond Bank posted impressive results despite the vagaries of the Nigerian economy. The Q3 results show a 10 per cent growth in profit before tax when compared to the corresponding period of 2012. The bank also posted a profit before tax of N25.6billion, demonstrating a sustainable growth in its business.

Diamond Bank’s Q3 2013 results also show improvement in various areas of the group balance sheet for the first nine months of the year, with total assets increasing by 17% to N1.3trillion; loans and advances to customers increasing by 17% to N681.8bn; and a 9% decline in non-performing loans ratio, amongst others.

Over the years, Diamond Bank has struck and retained excellent banking relationships with a number of well-known international banks, allowing it to provide a bouquet of world class banking services to suit the business needs of clients. These international banking partners include Citibank; HSBC Bank; ANZ Banking Group; ING BHF Bank AG; Standard Chartered Bank; Belgolaise Bank S.A; Deutsche Bank; Commerzbank and Nordea Bank Plc.

The bank’s A rating by Fitch Ratings, Agusto & Co and AA- rating by GCR reflect its sustainable liquidity and sound and efficient operations, driven by world-class professionals.

Diamond Bank Plc began as a private limited liability company on March 21, 1991. Ten years later, in February 2001, it became a universal bank. In January 2005, following a highly successful Private Placement share offer that substantially raised its equity base, Diamond Bank became a public limited company. In May 2005, the bank was listed on The Nigerian Stock Exchange. Moreover, in January 2008, Diamond Bank’s Global Depository Receipts (GDR) was listed on the Professional Securities Market of the London Stock Exchange, the first bank in Africa to record such feat.

LEADERSHIP Microfinance Bank of the Year 2013: LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited

Getting a loan from most financial institutions in Nigeria to get a business started or to support an existing one can be quite difficult, even for successful business people; and in most instances, the poor are never considered. This is one reason, among others, that the pro-loan and pro-poor focus of Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) Microfinance Bank Limited is remarkable and deserving of the LEADERSHIP Microfinance Bank of the Year 2013 award.

LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited is a ‘pro-poor’ financial institution committed to the empowerment of low-income Nigerians through access to responsive financial services, delivered on a sustainable basis. LAPO was founded as a non-profit entity by Mr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe while working as a rural co-operative officer in the Old Bendel State in the 1980s. In 2010, LAPO set up a microfinance bank and transferred the bulk of its microfinance operations to the new institutional vehicle. Since then, it has been addressing the powerlessness of a large number of Nigerians through the provision of financial services to micro and small enterprises on affordable terms.

LAPO Microfinance Bank provides a range of financial services that enable low-income households to enhance their productive capacity, build and consolidate their economic base and manage risk. These products and services include loans, savings, micro-investment and micro-insurance.

By the third quarter of 2013, LAPO had disbursed over N30billion to its clientele base of more than 800,000 individuals and small businesses.
The microfinance bank operates in 27 states in Nigeria and has more than 300 branches nationwide.

As a testament to the organisation’s performance, the lives of many poor Nigerians have been turned around through LAPO’s support. Last year, two micro-entrepreneurs supported by LAPO emerged winners of the entrepreneurial awards organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

LEADERSHIP Company of the Year 2013: Chi Limited

For meeting Nigerians’ need for high quality, healthy and refreshing fruit drinks, fruit juices and a range of dairy products, Chi Limited is the LEADERSHIP Company of the Year 2013.

Incorporated in 1982, Chi Limited is a part of the TGI conglomerate, with diverse business interests in everything from food to healthcare and engineering products. In providing safe and delicious products for Nigerians, Chi Limited leaves no stone unturned when it comes to quality.
The company’s factory complex in Isolo, Lagos showcases ultra-modern machinery of international standard, including state-of-the-art facilities for extraction and compounding of fruit concentrates, as well as meat processing machinery for Chi Snacks and the most advanced packaging technology to ensure that Chi juices retain the goodness of fruit and provide the essential vitamins and nutrients for consumers. The company’s facility for Capri-Sonne, the single largest fruit drink brand in the world, meets the highest standards, as demanded by Wild, Germany, with whom Chi Ltd. has an exclusive collaboration.

Today, Chi is one of the most favourite brands in Nigeria, with its wide range of juices, nectars and fruit drinks. Some of its more popular juices available on the Nigerian market are Chivita Premium 100% Pure Fruit Juices, Chi Exotic Fruit Nectars, Chi Happy Hour Fruit Drinks and Capri-Sonne Fruit Drinks.

Chi Ltd takes pride in its dairy products, which are sold under Hollandia, a brand that stands for superior quality and innovative products. Hollandia Evaporated Milk, Hollandia UHT Milk and Hollandia Yoghurt are a few of the favourites on the Nigerian market.

Chi Ltd also has a range of snack foods that includes Muff the Muffins, Beefie Beef Rolls, Chi Superbite Sausage Roll and Chi Classic Cake.

It has remained Chi Limited’s constant endeavour to provide Nigerian consumers with the most nourishing and healthy packaged food products.

Products List

Chi Milk, Chi Exotic Nectar, Capri Sonne, Chivita Premium (Orange Juice), Chi Ice Tea, Chi Health, Hollandia Evaporated Full Cream Milk, Hollandia Custard Powder, Hollandia Fruit and Milk Drink, Hollandia Gold Instant Full Cream Milk Powder, Hollandia Ready to Eat Custard, Hollandia UHT Milk, Hollandia Yoghurt, Muff the Muffin, Chi Classic Cake, Chi Super Bite, Beefie Beef Roll, Chi Beefie Spicy Treat.

LEADERSHIP Product of the Year 2013: Nagari Farm Yoghurt

In a country plagued by epileptic power supply like ours, keeping production going and sustaining the integrity of products, especially perishable ones, can really be an uphill task.

Against all odds though, Nagari Integrated Dairy Farms Limited, based in Keffi Nasarawa State has obviously kept its production process going and without quality compromise, especially as regards the firm’s flagship yoghurt brand – Nagari Farm Yoghurt.
Consumers of Nagari Farm Yoghurt – including our Editors – affirmed that the various flavours maintained their delicious taste all through the year, delighting millions of taste buds nationwide.

For retaining its integrity of taste and quality of product, Nagari Farm Yoghurt is the unanimous choice of our editors as the LEADRSHIP Product of the Year 2013.

LEADERSHIP Telecom Company of the Year 2013: Swift Networks Limited

Despite the huge capital outlay required and the stiff competition in the telecommunication sector, Swift Networks Limited has consistently expanded the frontiers of internet penetration in Nigeria in the last 11 years. For its commitment to providing high-speed broadband internet services to business and residential users, using top notch technology across the country, Swift Networks Limited is the LEADERSHIP Telecom Company of the Year 2013.

Founded in 2002 when it bid for and obtained a Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) Licence from Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to provide multi-service broadband connectivity services to businesses and residential subscribers, Swift Networks has invested heavily in “next generation” networking technologies, to build a multi-service network platform.

Swift Networks offers state-of-the-art broadband services for cost-effective and reliable deployment of a multi-service network, offering converged voice telephony, video conferencing, video surveillance, high-speed data transmission and Internet access services over a secure, high-speed and reliable telecommunications pipe.

For 11 years, Swift Networks has been creating a full-spectrum telecommunications institution of choice, differentiated by superior quality of service, consistently creating value for all stakeholders through innovative, leading-edge products, delivered by a high quality workforce, utilising the best in modern technology. The firm’s services include broadband Internet access that is fast, secure and reliable virtual private networking services, web and email hosting, collocation services video conferencing and surveillance solutions, among others.

Thousands of individuals and businesses in the country are currently running on the cutting-edge Swift 4G LTE service, which is significantly faster and makes Skype video calls, Youtube and/or live soccer streaming a pleasurable experience, while surfing the internet at very high speeds.

The revolutionary Swift 4G LTE service also enables people at home or the office to share the same broadband connection without multiple SIM cards. Subscribers can also connect even more devices including laptops, tablets, smartphones and televisions at the same time to the internet, using the same broadband connection from the SWIFT 4G LTE hub.

Swift Networks Limited has recently attracted foreign direct investment from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Investment Bank and Commonwealth Development Corporation under the Capital Alliance Private Equity II fund scheme, managed by Capital Alliance Nigeria.

LEADERSHIP ICT Company of the Year 2013: Jumia

For its pioneering efforts in moving Nigerian shoppers online in tandem with the global trend, Jumia is our choice for the LEADERSHIP ICT Company of the Year 2013.

Old habits die hard and one could say that as a statement of fact of the typical Nigerian shopper. Ours is a society where buyers, perhaps because they have too much time on their hands often spend more on transporting themselves to markets than they do on the items they eventually purchase. With the time and energy spent on such exercise added to this, you would think it only natural that people would seek an alternative to this stressful, albeit age-old shopping method. Not your typical Nigerian shopper; he or she must see, touch and weigh, etc, before buying!

Jumia’s online shopping portal has been up against this entrenched practice all of this year with remarkable success. Founded by two Harvard University alumni – Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Afaedor – Jumia took off in Nigeria as an e-commerce start-up with only three employees a little over a year ago. The company now employs over 500 workers and controls 70 per cent of the online retail market in the country. Recently, Jumia moved into its 90,000 square foot warehouse in Ikeja, Lagos. Underscoring the growth potential of Jumia in Nigeria, global investors have had no reservations about funding the firm. Consequently, Jumia has over $70million investment funding available to it from such world-class financial institutions as JP Morgan.

Jumia.com is where Nigerians now shop for the widest selection of electronics, clothes, home appliances, children’s items and more and have them delivered directly to homes or offices at the buyer’s convenience. It offers free nationwide delivery, free returns and has several convenient payment options to choose from, including debit/credit cards or cash on delivery.

With affordable prices and great products, Jumia allows Nigerians enjoy an awesome shopping experience. Ranked independently as the number one online shopping destination in the country, Jumia now services over 500,000 customers in the country and that number is growing by the minute, as more Nigerians take to Jumia’s online portals for the best bargains available anywhere around.

LEADERSHIP Brand of the Year 2013: Samsung

In a year when many technology buffs were of the opinion that tech giants may have ascended a creative plateau and would now only go round in circles, Samsung proved them wrong with the kind of innovative products one would think only science fiction could conjure up.

On March 13 2013, the tech giant unveiled its revolutionary Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone. Upon its release in late April, the handset became the fastest selling smartphone in Samsung history; the company sold 20 million S4 units worldwide in two months.

Samsung has since sold more than 40 million units of the S4, showing clearly that the Samsung brand leads the pack in the global smartphone market. Wall Street Journal analysts estimated that Samsung sold between 85 million and 89 million smartphones in the third quarter of the year.

The world had not yet recovered from the S4 when Samsung announced plans to release the Galaxy Gear. This smartwatch serves as a companion to all Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets. The Galaxy Gear can act as an extension to a smartphone by discreetly alerting users to incoming messages and calls. Galaxy Gear users can make calls secret agent-style, without getting out their phones. The Galaxy Gear also sports a camera and works with popular social media and fitness apps like Twitter and RunKeeper.

Also this year, Samsung launched three tablets – the Galaxy Tab 3 70, 8.0 and 10.1 – to global acclaim.

Samsung’s third quarter earnings report confirmed that the company’s performance had again climbed to new record heights on the back of its many innovative product lines. Samsung’s Q3 operating profit was up 26 per cent from the year ago quarter at $9.6billion.

For pushing the competition into obscurity with the launch of pioneering gadgets and tweaking existing ones with refreshing results to the amazement of the tech world this year, Samsung is the LEADERSHIP Brand of the Year 2013.

LEADERSHIP Author of the Year 2013: Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai

For his provocative autobiography “The Accidental Public Servant”, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, is the LEADERSHIP Author of the Year 2013.

Since the late Prof. Chinua Achebe famously identified leadership as Nigeria’s problem, many Nigerians and friends of the country have continued to wonder what exactly goes on in the minds of Nigerian leaders as they run the country aground. El-Rufai’s tell-all memoir provides incisive insight into the thought process of our country’s ruinous rulers. Understandably, his compelling exposé of today’s powerbrokers and yesterday’s men has ruffled feathers in powerful circles.

As a study in elite psychoanalysis told from the inside by an active participant, “The Accidental Public Servant” gives Nigerians a peek into the thinking of their leaders. The shocking revelations in the memoir on Nigeria’s current leadership and the activities of some of our purported statesmen makes it required reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of power politics in the country. His call for a new generation of leaders to rescue Nigeria from the precipice is evidently being answered by the renewed interest young Nigerians have shown in the governance process and the burst of energy they launch through multifarious ways, especially civil activism, in confronting the country’s long season of anomie.

The Man El-Rufai

Malam Nasir eL-Rufai was born in Daudawa of Faskari Local Government Area in Katsina State on February 16, 1960. For his secondary school education, el-Rufai attended the prestigious Barewa College, Zaria, Kaduna State, where he graduated top of his class, winning the coveted Barewa Old Boys’ Association Academic Achievement Trophy in 1976. He studied at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, University of London, Harvard Business School, Arthur D. Little School of Management in Massachusetts, Georgetown University School of Foreign Services in Washington, D.C. and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

He holds a first class honours degree in Quantity Surveying (1980), a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (1984), a Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science (1985), a Bachelor of Laws (2008) and Master of Public Administration (2009). In 2005, a doctor of science degree (D.Sc honoriscausa) was conferred on him by the University of Abuja.

Before entering public service, El-Rufai ran a successful consulting practice, El-Rufai & Partners, between 1982 and 1998. He also held management positions with two international telecommunications companies, AT&T Network Systems International BV and Motorola, Inc. In October 2001, a national honour, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR) was conferred on him. He was Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), 1999-2003 and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, 2003-2007.

A prolific opinion columnist and public policy advocate, El-Rufai is one of the country’s most outspoken voices on issues of governance, leadership, transparency and social justice.

LEADERSHIP Sports Person of the Year 2013: Stephen Okechukwu Keshi

“Big Boss” Stephen Keshi is the LEADERSHIP Sports Person of the Year 2013. Keshi was the unanimous choice of our Editors for this year’s honour for a number of reasons. Prior to his appointment as the sweat merchant of the national football team the Super Eagles, the team had fallen into a poor run of results and lost its pride of place in African football. This was a source of national despondency for millions of soccer-loving Nigerians, who follow the Super Eagles religiously and take pride in the team’s exploits. There were some who also believed that the poor performance of the Super Eagles prior to Keshi’s appointment affected negatively the other national football teams and sports as a whole in the country.

It was against this backdrop of gloom that Keshi was appointed coach of the Super Eagles on November 3, 2011 and what transformation the “Big Boss” brought to the fortunes of the national team! In less than two years, Stephen Keshi returned the Super Eagles to the zenith of African football by winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and has qualified the country – without the usual heartrending mathematical calculation of points – for the 2014 World Cup holding in Brazil, the first African nation to berth at the Mundial.

In retrospect, it appears that the Super Eagles before Keshi’s appointment was made up of many players in the twilight of their careers, but on whom the nation continued to rely, for sundry reasons. While what was needed was a clear rejuvenation of the team with the injection of young blood, no one was ready to rock the boat until Keshi came on the scene. In a gradual reconstruction of the team, Keshi brought in fresh legs, including home-based players whom previous handlers had been reluctant to invite to the national team.

A largely cautious, even sceptical nation then saw the new Super Eagles hold their own in an international invitational friendly against the national team of Catalonia, which had no fewer than seven players of FC Barcelona of Spain’s starting 11. The Super Eagles’ rating soared with Nigerians after this encounter and evidently hit the roof with the Nations Cup triumph. Suddenly, Nigerians had their Super Eagles back and no longer the “Super Chickens” – as some of our soccer rivals had derisively taken to calling Nigeria’s national team before the Keshi transformation.
With the good football the Super Eagles have been playing under Keshi, Nigerians now watch the team’s games with a high sense of pride and expectation of triumph, as evidenced by their reaction to the recent 2-2 drawn with the Italian national side. Some even expect the team to win the World Cup in Brazil.

The Super Eagles’ return to winning ways has apparently rubbed off on the country’s other national soccer teams, which are now also playing with renewed confidence, commitment and hunger for glory, all of this in no small way traceable to Stephen Okechukwu Keshi’s transformation of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

LEADERSHIP Artiste of the Year 2013: Ice Prince

The Nigerian music scene continued to thrive in 2013, with many fresh and talented acts emerging to stake their claim against established acts. Indeed it was a highly competitive year in the industry, but Ice Prince (real name Panshak Henry Zamani) stood out amongst the rest and is the LEADERSHIP Artiste of the Year 2013.

Ice Prince proved that he is on the Nigerian music scene for the long haul with his second album titled “Fire of Zamani”, which features the monster hit, “Aboki”. It is a fitting follow-up to his widely acclaimed “Oleku” hit single from his first album, “Everybody Loves Ice Prince”.

Born October 30, 1986 in Minna, Niger State, the Chocolate City hip-hop artiste is unarguably the best music act in the country this year, even winning the highly coveted 2013 Black Entertainment Television (BET) Award in the “Best International Act, Africa” category.

The Plateau State indigene has also been nominated for several upcoming music awards in Nigeria and abroad and is evidently in line to haul in more honours for himself and Nigeria. His suave demeanour, lively lyrics, memorable punch lines and brilliant music videos have continued to endear him to millions of music aficionados in Nigeria, Africa and across the world, inspiring many youth to follow their dreams in the music industry.

LEADERSHIP Young Persons of the Year 2013: The Golden Eaglets

They played the game beyond their years and left the world in awe while on their way to a record fourth title in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)! And they are LEADERSHIP Young Persons of the Year 2013 – The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria.

Unlike many youths who rather inked their names in the realm of vices this year, the Golden Eaglets were beacons of hope for the country as they thrilled football enthusiasts around the globe and played their way into the record books in the UAE. Their superlative performance on the road to the U-17 football crown held the whole country spellbound and glued to our television sets, earning them undiluted accolades, even from the vanquished opponents they left in their wake!

As they prosecuted the championship, the Golden Eaglets were a study in hard work, commitment, focus, resilience and dedication to duty, commending themselves to the young and the old watching. They lifted the wearied hearts of their countrymen and women with their mesmerising play as a team and individual artistry on the ball, dispatching off opponent after opponent in firm fashion. Eventually, their triumph was a soothing balm for the souls of millions of Nigerians forced into a cheerless existence by a motley assortment of socio-economic anomalies.

Beyond football, the Golden Eaglets also opened the nation’s eyes to the great heights and possibilities Nigeria could attain, if we would all stop bickering along ethno-religious and socio-political divides and work together in the nation-building process.

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…‘Sub-Saharan Africa faces risk of capital outflows’

The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday it expected growth in Nigeria – Africa’s biggest economy to quicken as oil production picked up after recent supply disruptions.

It stated that South Africa, now ranked second largest and which suffered anemic private sector investments in 2013 and mining strikes which persist, will post modest growth this year as demand picks up in its main advanced economy trading partners.

The IMF said these in its latest Regional Economic Outlook released on Thursday.

It affirmed that inflation will remain contained in most countries.

Africa, the world’s poorest continent, needed to ensure growth was more inclusive, the IMF said, citing Mozambique where although the economy has expanded at the same pace as Vietnam, but poverty has declined far more slowly.

Inflation in the region will accelerate to an estimated 6.2 percent in 2014 from 5.9 percent last year, before easing slightly in 2015, though currency depreciations may lead to renewed upward price pressures, the body said.

It noted that investment in infrastructure and natural resources will continue to underpin economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa, although capital outflows sparked by tighter global financial conditions pose a risk to growth.

“The main downside risk to this generally positive baseline scenario is the risk that growth in emerging markets might slow much more abruptly than currently envisaged,” the IMF said in the report.

“As advanced economies tighten their monetary policies, frontier market economies will also face higher funding costs and a heightened risk of reversal of capital flows,” it stated.

The IMF forecasts economic growth of 5.5 percent for sub-Saharan Africa this year, up from 4.9 percent last year.

That is slightly more optimistic than the World Bank, which projects sub-Saharan Africa’s output will grow 5.2 percent this year, partly driven by rising household spending, Reuters says.

 

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 Gov Godswill Akpabio

By Okon Bassey 

Governor Godswill Akpabo of Akwa Ibom State Thursday dropped two of his Commissioners and six board members in a minor cabinet re-organization.

The Commissioners removed from office were the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Bassey Albert Akpan and the Commissioner for Rural Development, Bar. Effiong Abia.

Board Chairmen  who  were affected include Chairman, Akwa Ibom Property and Investment Company Limited, APICO), Obong Sunny Udom, Chairman, Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited,   Hon. Patrick Ifon, Chairman, Akwa Ibom Newspapers Corporation, AKNC),    Obong Dan Akai.

Others were Chairman, Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation, AKBC,  Hon. Alex Nyong, Chairman, Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation, AKBC, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Management Board, Hon. John Asikpo, and Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Agency for Community and Social Development,   Abom Tony Esu

A release by the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umana said the exercise was to inject fresh blood into the system.

Details to follow

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A meeting of Palestinian leaders in Gaza has reached a milestone reconciliation pact that will see rival Palestinian groups form a national consensus government in five weeks – after seven years of operating under separate administrations.

Under the agreement announced on Wednesday, rival groups Fatah and Hamas will form a government together under the umbrella of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).

The groups plan to form a national unity government in five weeks and will hold elections in six months.

At a news conference, leaders of all the groups said the past divisions had taken a toll on the Palestinian goal of establishing an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader who announced the terms of the agreement, said the deal came as “the entire city of Jerusalem has been painted Jewish with an attempt to wipe out the Arab identity and desecrate the Muslim and Christian sanctities.”

Azzam al-Ahmed, the Fatah delegation head, said he hoped the pact “will be a true beginning for a true partnership in all our spectrums; political, social and societal.”

The Palestinian factions have been at odds and sometimes even at war with each other since 2007 – following Hamas’s democratic win in Gaza.

Since then, Hamas has independently ruled the 40-kilometre long Gaza strip, home to nearly 2 million Palestinians – while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, from Fatah, governs areas of the West Bank – home to more than 2 million Palestinians.

The two-sides met and signed deals in 2011 and 2012 in meetings in Cairo and Doha – but never with the desired result of unification.

The new agreement, reached in only two days, will honour the terms of both agreements.

The deal also comes at a crucial time when the US-led talks between the Israelis and Palestinians are at a stalemate.

Israel cancelled a session of peace negotiations scheduled for Wednesday night after the announcement of a new Palestinian government.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said in a statement that “whoever chooses Hamas does not want peace”.

“I said this morning that Abu Mazen (the Fatah-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) needs to choose between peace with Israel and an agreement with Hamas, a murderous terrorist organisation that calls for the destruction of Israel and which both the United States and the European Union define as a terrorist organisation,” Netanyahu said.

Avigdor Liberman, the Israeli foreign minister, described the signing of the agreement as “tantamount to a signature on the end of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority”.

Some Palestinians, weathered by divisions in the past, told Al Jazeera they remained sceptical of the new agreement.

Ramallah resident Nur Hamad, said she supported reconciliation “because we have to be one nation”.

“No factions, only a Palestinian nation, but I don’t think Fatah and Hamas are going to succeed,” Hamad said.

And Mariam abu Daqqa, an activist in Gaza said, “We are saying to both Fatah and Hamas for the sake of Palestine and the Palestinian children, you must get unified against the Israeli occupation.”

 

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WHAThas now become a public issue is the sale of babies – a menace which has been on for some time – as teenage girls become victims of unwanted pregnancies and the children produced are sold out for adoption to couples who want babies at all cost.

At the baby making factory,  young girls are encouraged or  forced to become  pregnant and after delivery,  the newborn babies are be sold  out, usually between N500,000 or more, depending  on the  sex of the child. The main concern of this piece is how to eliminate or reduce to the barest minimum, the continued demand and supply of these babies under the guise of lucrative ‘business’. Who patronize the baby factory?

The answer is simple – it is either couples who badly need children, which they cannot get biologically or mischievous persons who require human parts for mischievous reasons. Nowhere is selling of adult human beings or children not a concerned the world over.

For instance, Article 3 of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons especially women and children, Section 50 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003 of Nigeria defines trafficking as including “all acts and attempted acts involved in the recruitment, transportation within or across Nigerian borders, purchase, sale, transfer, receipt or harbouring of a person involving the use of deception, coercion or debt bondage for the purpose of placing or holding the person whether for or not involving servitude in force or bonded labour, or in slavery-like conditions” while the Childs Rights Act (Cap 198) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria also criminalises exploitative child labour and other forms of child abuse hitherto left unpunished by the Criminal Codes.

In many African countries, a couple’s inability to give birth to children few years after marriage is often frowned at by family members and even the extended family members, culminating into family members trading blames and pointing accusing fingers at wives for the inability to bear children.

This social problem will continue to fester unless drastic steps are taken to address the contending issues surrounding the spread of baby factories. To begin with, our adoption laws should be reviewed without further delay as this will give those who seek after having children -when they cannot produce biologically, the clean option.

Apart from the fact that married people still contend with the challenge of covering up the tracks of the origin of the children who should necessarily be integrated into the family, some establishments and  government institutions reel-out  age limits for the needy couples and for those who are more than 50 years, their applications may not be treated at all.

Another obstacle is that the adopting couples are usually inundated with rigorous demands by child-adoption agencies. Again, official adoption procedure that is managed by state governments, are excessively bureaucratic such that the adoptive parents are expected to meet and fulfil the basic rights and duties of the adopted child. And in the process of disbursing of wills and settlements, the adopted child must be treated as a lawful child of the adoptive parents, the same way as the biological child and not as a stranger.

Usually, when a couple wants to adopt a child, they are first expected to have obtained a temporary custody of the child. The child would then have to live with them for a couple of months on a trial basis to ascertain if they are fit to take care of the prospective adopted child.

Next, if the couple meets with the requirements, then the court allows adoption to take place, although it reserves the right to revoke any adoption process if it receives reports of any foul play along the line. A single parent too is not permitted to adopt a child of opposite sex, except in an extreme circumstance. Genuine adoptions should, therefore, be simplified to curb buying of babies.

Another factor that still encourages the booming trade, is the huge cost required in seeking medical assistance to have children. Whereas there is great  advancement in medical sciences for barren couples to be  assisted through  the InVitro Fertilization, IVF,  the process is usually out of reach of the ordinary. Going by the prevailing economic situation, it is a reality that only a few couple  can afford the cost, which is not less than N1million for each attempt.  Government should provide the leeway by coming in and  seek ways of helping needy couples.

Another point of concern is the need for effective monitoring of several organisations that engage in nefarious activities that are largely unknown to the government. It is surprising that virtually all the organizations involved in the  baby factory saga claimed  to be duly registered.

These ‘factories’ were found to have been registered as non-governmental organizations, which allows them to carry out their unofficial activities through the back door. A suspected operator of one of the factories was reported to have taken the police to court for daring to challenge him. Unfortunately, he later obtained a court judgment by restraining the police from  prosecuting him. In the light of this, government should tighten  its registration and monitoring of the NGOs.

More importantly, not many culprits have been caught and punished. We only get to read about what transpired without any mention of what sanctions were meted-out to the offenders. What  resultant effect of such double standards is that  some of these suspects will continue to compromise the system and escape punishment.

Mr. ADEWALE KUPOLUYI, wrote from Federal University of Agric., Abeokuta, Ogun State.

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The Libyan government has established a commission to monitor and help recover public funds looted and stashed abroad.

This is contained in a statement issued on Thursday on the government’s official Website.

The statement said the decision to set up the commission was taken during a meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Wednesday in Tripoli, the capital city.

This, the News Agency of Nigeria reports is to examine security issues in certain regions hit by violence.

Since the fall of Mouammar Ghaddafi’s regime in 2011, the Libyan authorities have started recovering part of the estimated 200 billion dollars in public funds stolen and stashed abroad by the ousted leader.

 

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The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it registered 2.5 million farmers in North-East zone as part of measures to leverage the nation’s Agricultural transformation agenda.

The ministry’s Regional Director, North-East, Alhaji Arabi Mohammed, made the disclosure at the opening of the zone’s regional meeting of state directors in Jalingo.

Mohammed said more than 1.5 million of the registered farmers had benefited from the 215,000 tonnes of fertilisers distributed by the ministry.

He also said over 13,000 tonnes of improved seeds were distributed to the farmers.

According to him, all the farm inputs provided to the farmers followed the 2.5 per cent counterpart funds paid by each of the six states in the zone.

The director said that between 2012 and 2014, more than 13,000 hectares of land in the zone were cultivated under dry season farming.

Mohammed listed the crops grown in the zone to include rice, maize, groundnut and wheat.

He urged youths in the zone to key into the programmes of the ministry to improve their living standard.

Also, Alhaji Isa Musa, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, in Taraba said the state had embraced the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government.

“The Growth Enhancement Support Scheme or e-wallet system of fertiliser distribution has recorded remarkable achievement in the state during the last year redemption exercise.

“This system has eliminated middlemen in the process of fertiliser distribution thereby allowing inputs to reach the target farmers directly.

“It is my prayer that it will be sustained,” he said.

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180 Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails began an hunger strike on Thursday, protesting their indefinite administrative detention.

Ziad Abu-Ain, Palestinian Deputy Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs said the prisoners had insisted they would go on with their hunger strike until they were released.

He said a data from the Prisoners’ Affairs Ministry said Israel had recently extended the detention orders of 60 per cent of Palestinian inmates under administrative detention.

Abu-Ain said 180 of the 5,000 prisoners in Israeli jails were Palestinians being held in administrative detention.

Last year, the case of Samer Essawi, a Palestinian prisoner who went on the longest hunger strike against Israel, after more than 17 months in jail, garnered international publicity and condemnation which helped lead to his release in December 2013.

The Prisoners Affairs Ministry said Israel had issued 23,000 administrative detention orders since the outbreak of violence in 2000, during the second Palestinian uprising.

It said in 2012, around 1,500 Palestinian prisoners ended their 28-day hunger strike after Egypt brokered an agreement between the prisoners and Israel to improve day-to-day prison conditions.

However, Palestinian officials have accused Israel of failing to implement the agreement.

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The Libyan government has established a commission to monitor and help recover public funds looted and stashed abroad.

This is contained in a statement issued on Thursday on the government’s official Website.

The statement said the decision to set up the commission was taken during a meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Wednesday in Tripoli, the capital city.

This is to examine security issues in certain regions hit by violence.

Since the fall of the regime of Mouammar Kahadafi in 2011, the Libyan authorities have started recovering part of the estimated 200 billion dollars in public funds stolen and stashed abroad by the ousted leader.

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