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Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade

The remains of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade may have arrived at his palace in Ile-Ife, Osun State.

A source close to the palace told our correspondent on Saturday that the body of the late monarch arrived at the palace in the early hours of Saturday.

The source said, “One of the sons of the Ooni travelled to the United Kingdom on Tuesday when the incident happened and I was told that he was part of the entourage that accompanied the body back to Nigeria. The body was said to have been brought back to the palace in the early hours of Saturday.

“I did not see it myself but I was told that the body had arrived. Although the cutting of the tree and the closure of market which are some of the signs of mourning have not been done, there are some other indications that the body might have arrived.

“Security has been beefed up and nobody is allowed to access the inner part of the palace. The body will not be kept where just anybody can see it and only the male children of the Ooni and some high chiefs can see the body.”

Meanwhile the Ooni’s son, Adegbite Sijuwade, is going ahead with his wedding to an actress and television presenter, Dolapo Oni.

The wedding ceremony holds in Lagos today.

Amid speculations that the wedding ceremony might be postponed over the event, the younger Sijuwade, on Saturday, shared a photograph of himself and his bride-to-be, Dolapo, on his Instagram page and wrote, “Sunday August 2nd.”

The post had attracted congratulatory messages from his followers.

Meanwhile, a palace source confirmed that the wedding would hold today. “It has not been postponed. If the Ooni is dead as being rumoured, the Olori (king’s wife) will definitely not be in a good mood. But she is cheerful and eagerly waiting for the ceremony,” he said.

The Yoruba paramount traditional ruler reportedly died in a London hospital last Tuesday but the palace officials have debunked the reports describing them as malicious and untrue.

Despite the denials of the king’s demise by palace chiefs, Oro festival has begun in the ancient town on Friday night.

Oro is a deity worshipped across Yorubaland, which forbids women from going outdoors at night during the festival.

Although palace sources in Ife told our correspondent that the festival, which would last for seven nights, had nothing to do with the demise of the Ooni, the public believe otherwise.

The commencement of Oro festival following the death of the Ooni of Ife, has forced travellers to shun passing through the ancient city.

A student of the Adeyemi College, Ondo, Michael Adeleke, whose parents live in Osogbo, told our correspondent that he would not pass through Ile-Ife while returning to school on Sunday.

Adeleke said, “I don’t want to take chances, therefore, I will travel through Ilesa- Akure-Ondo. Although Oro does kill men, I will prefer to steer clear of Ile-Ife until the whole episode subsides.”

A commercial driver, Muritala Kareem, who returned from Ife to Osogbo around 5:20pm on Saturday, said he was not going on another trip due to fear.

He said there were just three female passengers aboard his bus while returning to Osogbo from Ife but he said the female passengers wanted him to get out of the town quickly because of the festival.

A banker with one of the new generation banks in Ife, known as Ade, told our correspondent that he had stopped staying outside beyond 6:30pm since the death of the monarch was reported in the media.

He said, “I don’t want to fall into wrong hands. I don’t know the rituals they would perform and the requirements but I don’t want to be a sacrificial lamb.”

Our correspondents observed on Saturday afternoon that business activities went on smoothly in the town as markets and shops were opened.

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August 2, 2015 : Fidelis Soriwei and John Alechenu 1 Comment
Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Tukur Buratai

Strong indications emerged on Saturday that the new Chief of Staff, Maj. – Gen. Tukur Buratai, has begun the process of reviewing cases of soldiers dismissed from service as a result of alleged acts of cowardice, insubordination, mutiny and related allegations.

Our correspondents learnt that the Army under the leadership of Buratai was revisiting all the cases against military officers and soldiers which emanated from the ongoing operation against the insurgents in the North- East.

SUNDAY PUNCH learnt on Saturday that the army chief had constituted a committee to review all the cases involving some soldiers who had either been convicted or still facing trial in the three General Military Courts Martial in Kaduna, Lagos and Abuja.

It was further learnt that the army chief had dissolved all the ongoing General Military Courts Martial in Nigeria.

It was learnt that the officers and soldiers involved are expected to report at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, for the screening exercise.

A reliable source, who confided in one of our correspondents, said the committee which would begin sitting on August 7, would sit for 25 days for a holistic re-visitation of the cases involved in the operation.

It was gathered that a good number of the soldiers might be given a second opportunity to continue their careers in the military.

A good number of those detained or sentenced and dismissed for various offenses in various batches in their thousands belong to Special Forces Battalions who fought in different parts of the North East.

It was further learnt that those who might be lucky enough to benefit from the second chance from the new Army Chief might be given a short retraining exercise and given the opportunity to join their colleagues in the fight against the insurgents.

The source said, “The new Army Chief has constituted a committee to revisit the cases of all officers and men of the Nigerian Army who are either dismissed or undergoing trial in various General Military Courts Martial for alleged offences committed in the ongoing war against Boko Haram.

“I think the directive involved those dismissed without trial in their various formations, those tried and dismissed and those still facing trial. The cases are general, they involve cases from the military operation in the North East.

“Those to report in the NDA would be given the opportunity of retraining and being brought back into the campaign against insurgency.”

The Army’s Acting Director, Public Relations, Col. Sani Umar, said the Army was reviewing “all recent disciplinary cases due to wave of litigations by some aggrieved personnel.”

Umar said the directive didn’t mean a total recall of dismissed and deserter soldiers.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has unearthed an abandoned college of education’s chemistry laboratory in Borno State which Boko Haram had turned into the centre for the manufacturing of improvised explosives devices.

The latest discovery was made during the clear out of the terrorist group from Dikwa which was recently liberated by the Nigerian troop, according to the Deputy Director Army Public Relations and spokesman for the 7 Division Nigerian Army with headquarters in Maiduguri, Colonel Tukur Gusau.

Gusau in a statement on Saturday said, “Troops of 7 Division Nigerian Army conducting mop up operations to clear Dikwa and environs of Boko Haram terrorists recovered 4 Toyota Hilux vehicles today (Saturday).”

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Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase

A Federal High Court in Abuja has directed the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, to appear before it on Tuesday to answer questions on the ongoing investigation into the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Order 2015.

The judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, in his ruling, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent on Saturday, asked Arase to appear in court on August 4 to give reasons why the prayers sought by the plaintiff in his ex parte application should not be granted.

Kolawole gave the directive while ruling on an ex parte application by the senator representing Enugu-East Senatorial District, Gilbert Nnaji, seeking to restrain the IGP and the Attorney-General of the Federation from taking further steps on the investigation of alleged forgery in the Senate’s rules.

Rather than granting Nnaji’s prayer, Kolawole ordered the IG to appear in court on Tuesday to tell the court why it should not grant the request contained in the plaintiff’s ex parte motion.

Nnaji, through his counsel, Mr. P. J Nwokolo, had on Monday urged Kolawole to, among others, restrain further investigation of the allegation and publish its report.

The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/646/15, was filed before the release and sending of the Police Report to the AGF’s office for further action.

The IGP and the AGF are the two respondents to the suit.

Ruling on the ex parte application shortly after Nnaji’s lawyer moved it on Monday, Justice Kolawole held that he could not grant the restraining order at the level of ex parte hearing, since it was the same issue the plaintiff canvassed in their substantive suit.

He held that he needed to afford both the IGP and the AGF to be heard before taking a decision on the ex parte prayers.

The court also refused to grant the prayer for accelerated hearing on the grounds that it lacked the power to abridge the 30 days which the defendants were entitled to without their consent. It, however, ordered the plaintiff to serve the court processes on the defendants.

The judge also described as a little bit worrisome, the involvement of the police being an agency of the executive arm of government, in the case by inviting for questioning, certain members of the Senate.

He said, “The court is a bit wary on an ex parte proceeding to allow the plaintiff (Nnaji) to have his day in court because the courts are not created or established to supervise the National Assembly in the way and manner it will run its own constitutional duties, except where its acts border on a substantial infraction of the constitution, which goes beyond its own internal rules or procedure, or the application of its standing order.

“To do otherwise is to work to subvert the hallowed constitutional principles of separation of powers upon which the machinery of government is proposed to be run and to be operated.

“My decision is not to make orders directing both parties to maintain status quo as it is often misinterpreted by both parties.

“Rather, I will direct that the defendants, who had already been served with the originating summons, and the plaintiff’s motion of notice, shall on the return date, show cause why the orders being sought by the plaintiff on his motion ex parte dated and filed on 23-07-15, shall not be granted.”

The alleged forged Senate Standing Order was used for the conduct of the election which brought in the current leadership of the National Assembly on June 9, 2015.

Ike Ekweremadu, who emerged as the Deputy Senate President from the said election which took place shortly after the proclamation of the National Assembly, is representing Enugu-West while Nnaji, who went to court, is from Enugu-East.

The deputy senate president was among the senators and the management of the National Assembly, including the Clerk, Salisu Maikasuwa, questioned by the police over the alleged crime.

APC govs may seek withdrawal of court cases

There are strong indications that governors of the All Progressives Congress, under the aegis of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, will seek for the withdrawal of ongoing litigation against the senate leadership.

It was learnt in Abuja on Saturday that the Governor Adams Oshiomhole-led committee set up by the PGF to mediate in the senate crisis is likely to push for an out-of-court settlement.

Senators opposed to the process leading to the election of Saraki had on July 27 filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking the court to nullify the inauguration of the 8th Senate carried out by the management of the National Assembly, on June 9.

A source in the PGF, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, explained that nothing was “off the table.”

He said, “The governors as well as the party are favourably disposed to putting this ugly situation behind them.

“There is a very high probability that the (Oshiomhole-led) committee will seek the discontinuance of court cases relating to the events of June 9 in order to get the two sides to sit on a round table.

“Besides, the party’s constitution, specifically Article 21 (x) encourages party members to exhaust all avenues for redress provided for by the party before going to court.”

On their part, senators under the aegis of Like Minds Senators, who spearheaded the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as President of the Senate, said taking the matter to court was antithetical to the peace process.

The spokesperson for the senate, who is also a member of the LMS, Senator Dino Melaye, argued that the decision of some members of the Senate Unity Forum to embark on litigation amounted to lack of respect for party elders and President Muhammadu Buhari.

Melaye said, “We are already telling our colleagues who had gone to court that it will be difficult to achieve true reconciliation when they still have cases in the court. It is better to sit down on the table and engage in a dialogue.

“A situation whereby there is still a case pending in court and petitions not yet withdrawn from the police would not allow for smooth reconciliation in the true sense of it.”

Attempts to get the reaction of the spokesman for the SUF, Senator Kabir Marafa, were unsuccessful.

Calls to his mobile phone indicated that it was switched off, while a response to a text message sent to him was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report on Saturday evening.

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Buhari and osinbajo

Two months after assuming office, President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have yet to present themselves to the Code of Conduct Bureau for verification of their assets as required by law.

This is despite the fact that they had promised to make the details of their assets declared to the CBB public only after the verification exercise.

But two months after the private declaration of their assets, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt that the first and second citizens had yet to present themselves for the verification.

Section 3(a) of the Third Schedule of the nation’s 1999 Constitution, which is reproduced in section 3(b) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act confers the power to verify the assets declared by the public officers on the CCB.

The Presidency had said until the CCB completed the verification, the President and the Vice-President would not make the details of their declared assets public as they promised during electioneering.

The Chairman of the CCB, Mr. Sam Saba, confirmed to our correspondent in an exclusive interview on Thursday that both President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo had yet to show up for the verification.

According to him, the verification of the assets declared by a public officer involves two stages, which are conference and field verifications.

Under the conference verification, the public officer is expected to present documents such as statements of bank accounts, receipts and evidence of vehicle registration relating to the declared assets before a committee inaugurated by the bureau.

After the conference verification, the officers of the bureau and the public officer will agree on a convenient date when the CCB’s committee will visit the locations of the assets for physical inspection.

Saba stated that none of the two stages of verification had commenced with respect to the assets of the President and the Vice President.

Upon further inquiries, the CCB boss said the verification would commence “any moment from now”, adding that “we are waiting for when it is convenient for Mr. President and his Vice for us to go and do it.”

The CCB boss, who said the verification of assets of governors and deputy governors who were inaugurated on May 29, 2015, was ongoing, also disclosed the bureau was collaborating with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit to aid the verification of the financial standings of public officers.

He said, “There is cooperation between us and other anti-corruption agencies. We have even signed memorandum of understanding.

“For example, if the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has a case that involves any public officer, they (EFCC) request for the forms (completed assets declaration form) from us and we give them, the same thing with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, including the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and when we need help we also ask them.

“I have just said that we should draft a letter to the NFIU requesting for the financial profile of the outgone governors and the incumbent ones so that we can make comparison in our verification exercise.”

Saba also stated that any public officer found to have made false declaration of assets after the ongoing verification exercise would be prosecuted before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

“Definitely it will go to the tribunal, because it will be a breach,” he said.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, however told our correspondent on Saturday that President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo are not required to appear before the Code of Conduct Bureau for the verification of their assets.

Shehu said verification of assets is based on intelligence and is expected to be done discreetly by the bureau.

He said it is only when the bureau finishes the verification and discovers any discrepancy that it can revert to the President and Vice President.

The presidential aide urged Nigerians to be fair to the two officials, who, he said had declared their assets on their own and also promised to make the declarations public within their 100 days in office.

He said, “Nigerians should be fair to the President and the Vice President. There is no requirement for them to appear for verification.

“It is an intelligence exercise that should be done discreetly.

“They have declared their assets and have also promised to make it public within their 100 days in office.

“People should not sensationalise this issue unnecessarily.”

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Barbara Beskind

A 91-year-old woman, Barbara Beskind, has started a new career as a valuable part of Silicon Valley’s tech world, bringing her years of wisdom to the industry.

The nonagenarian had wanted to become an inventor as a child.

Now 91, she now lives her dream as a tech designer for IDEO, a firm in Palo Alto, California.

The Huffington Post reports that Beskind became an employee in 2014 and had since been working primarily on projects that related to ageing, saying her age has been beneficial to her.

Beskind told Today.com, “Age is not a barrier to performance. Live life as an adventure and expect change and endorse it, embrace it.

“I think the beauty of being 91 is that you can look back and see how the little pieces fit into the big pieces of life, and life is a complete puzzle.”

Beskind had wanted to pursue a career as an inventor after high school but the job required an engineering degree.

Her guidance counsellor had told her that women weren’t accepted by engineering schools.

As a result, Beskind joined the army and became an occupational therapist instead.

However, in 2013, she saw an interview in which the founder of IDEO, David Kelley, spoke about the importance of diversity on a design team, and decided to apply to work at the firm.

“It took me about two months to write my resume, paring it down from nine pages. Then, I wrote the letter and sent it by snail mail,” Beskind told Today.com.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that the 91-year-old is a much-loved member of IDEO, offering feedback to designers who are working on products for the elderly. She also shares her prototypes with her team for feedback.

Beskind’s team members said not only did she bring a new perspective to IDEO but she also had an energy that’s simply uplifting.

“I want to be someplace stimulating, with people who are passionate and creative. This is the best experience I have had in my professional life,” she told the Wall Street Journal.

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Senate President Bukola Saraki

In his efforts to make peace with the Presidency over its distaste on the composition of the senate leadership, Senate President Bukola Saraki, has resorted to seeking the assistance of emirs and traditional rulers, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt.

In realising this objective, the senate president, has sought the help of the Emir of his home town, Ilorin, Kwara State, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, an aide of the emir told our correspondent.

President Buhari, since the inauguration of the 8th Senate on June 9, has reportedly been shunning Saraki whose emergence and that of his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu of the Peoples Democratic Party did not go down well with the leadership of the All Progressives Congress.

According to the emir’s aide who spoke on condition of anonymity, the senate president has requested some prominent traditional rulers in the state led by Sulu-Gambari, who is also the Chairman, Kwara State Council of Traditional Rulers to intercede on his behalf with Buhari.

It was gathered that the monarchs had wanted to meet with Buhari but could not as a result of the President’s visit to the United States and his recent visit to Cameroon to seek for regional collaboration against Boko Haram.

The aide also told our correspondent that this would not be the first time Sulu-Gambari had interceded on behalf of Saraki concerning the senate presidency.

According to him, the Emir of Ilorin before the emergence of Saraki as the Senate President had sent a team of emissaries to the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, with a view to getting the former Lagos State governor soften on his stand against Saraki’s ambition to occupy the exalted position.

He said Saraki is now more worried with the resolution of the leadership tussle in the House of Representatives, where the Speaker, Alhaji Yakubu Dogora, after meetings with Buhari and other APC stakeholders acceded to the party’s decision and announced Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila as the House Leader.

The aide added that Saraki was in Ilorin at the weekend, adding that the Senate President would continue with his mobilisation for prominent stakeholders to smoothen the relationship between him and Buhari.

But in a telephone interview with our correspondent, the spokesperson for the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Solihu Mohammed, said though he could not confirm Sulu-Gambari’s mediatory role between Buhari and Saraki, the Emir had been playing unifying roles for the sustenance of the nation’s democracy.

Mohammed said, “I am not aware that Saraki has approached the emir to smoothen relationship with the senate president and the president of the country.”

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Dr. Junaid Mohammed

Elders of the North have said they would not heed any call on them to wade into the Senate crisis.

The elders, under the auspices of the Northern Elders Forum, said although they regard Senate President Bukola Saraki’s election as constitutional even though it was against the interest of the ruling party, they would not interfere in the matter between President Muhammadu Buhari and Saraki.

Also, a Second Republic lawmaker and Convener of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, stated that such intervention would be “very difficult.”

He said many leaders in the North had lost their credibility to be able to persuade President Buhari on the matter.

Saraki had opposed the choice candidate of the APC for Senate presidency, Senator Ahmad Lawan.

On the inauguration of the National Assembly on June 9, when most APC senators were having a meeting with the leadership of the party, Saraki had in alliance with opposition and minority Peoples Democratic Party emerged unopposed as the Senate President.

He had also named other principal officers of the Senate against the list given to him by the APC.

President Buhari, who is said to be angry with Saraki over his anti-party conduct, has rebuffed several attempts by the senate president and his emissaries to meet with the President.

Speaking on the matter in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, a former Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University and Secretary of the Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, said while the forum was satisfied with the election of Saraki as the Senate President, its members would not be involved in his personal relationship with the President.

He said, “Leaders like I would want the law, wherever it is, to take its cause. I don’t see how northern elders can be involved in what is strictly a legal matter.

“I don’t see how the northern elders can get themselves entangled in the political behaviour of the National Assembly or the relationship between the National Assembly and the President.

“All we are saying is that constitutional provisions that govern this relationship should apply. And we do not get into personal matters. The issue seems to have been personalised and we don’t get involved in personalised matters.”

Also speaking to SUNDAY PUNCH in a separate interview on Saturday, Muhammed said would not speak for the North, but as a northerner who knew much about the region and its history and politics

He said, “No northern leader, including some of the hypocrites who poise themselves as northern leaders when in fact they represent nobody, can make such an undertaking to Bukola Saraki.”

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Melinda Gates fetches water in Malawi

Wife of the richest man in the world, Melinda Gates, was pictured on Saturday carrying on her head a bucket of water fetched from a village in Malawi.

Net worth of the United States’ billionaire Bill Gates, according to Forbes magazine’s annual list of the world’s billionaires, stands at $76 billion.

The billionaire’s spouse, who described herself as “philanthropist, businesswoman, mother, passionate advocate for women and girls,” posted a photo of herself with a 20-litre bucket of water on her head alongside two other Malawian women, walking on a dirt road.

In another picture posted on her Instagram page, she was seen doing the dishes in a Malawian village.

Describing her experience, Gates said on her Facebook page, “During my stay in Malawi, I joined the women collecting drinking water. I carried 20 litres and it was tough. Meanwhile, Chrissy (middle) is carrying about 40 litres. Many women do this every day.”

She has been described as one of the world’s famous social activist “who is trying to serve the people in ignorance.”

In June, wife of the US billionaire met with Malawian President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe. The agenda was to discuss the promotion of safe motherhood and maternal health in the country.

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August 2, 2015 : Oyetunji Abioye and Ifeanyi Onuba 1 Comment
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

Over 18 Deposit Money Banks and discount houses operating in the country will publish the names of at least 1600 customers whose loans have become non-performing this week, findings by our correspondents have shown.

This follows the expiration of the July 31, 2015 deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria for banks and discount houses to publish the names of debtor-companies, their subsidiaries and directors in national newspapers.

The CBN had on April 22 directed the financial institutions to commence the publication of the names of their delinquent debtors from August 1.

Banks and discount houses are to publish the list of the delinquent debtors in at least three national newspapers on a quarterly basis.

In line with the directive, banks gave chronic debtors a three-month ‘grace’ period, which expired on July 31.

Our correspondent learnt on Saturday that the number of delinquent debtors on the lists under preparation by over 18 banks and discount houses operating in the country range from 100 to over 300 names for each bank.

The chief executive officer of a bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said at least over 1,600 names of delinquents were expected to be published by all the banks during the exercise.

“Going by what we can see across the industry, at least 1600 names are expected to be published by all the deposit money banks and a few discount houses,” the bank CEO said.

Officials of financial institutions confirmed to our correspondents on Saturday that they would publish the names of the delinquent debtors this week in compliance with the CBN directive.

The spokesperson for First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mr. Babatunde Lasaki, told one of our correspondents that the tier-1 bank would comply with the central bank’s directive by publishing the names of the debtors during the week.

“We will comply. We will publish the names this week; any time from Tuesday,” he said.

Also, the Head, Corporate Communications, Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Mike Omeife, confirmed that the lender would comply with CBN’s directive, saying “we will publish this week.”

Similarly, the spokesperson for Skye Bank Plc, Mr. Rasheed Bolarinwa, said the bank would publish the names in line with the CBN’s directive but he declined to give the specific date.

Top bank officials said chief executives were busy fine tuning the list.

“We are fine-tuning the list. As of Friday, some customers were still coming to pay while a few others came to renegotiate. Over this weekend, we are drawing this final list which will be published on Tuesday,” the executive of a tier-2 bank told one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the CBN on Saturday ruled out possible deadline extension on its directive to banks to publish the names of the debtors.

The Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr. Ibrahim Mu’azu, said there was no extension to the deadline.

As of last week, debtors were rushing to banks to renegotiate their loans.

The CBN had in a circular dated April 22, 2015 gave the July 31 deadline, saying the decision was necessary in order forestall the spate of non-performing loans in the sector.

The CBN also warned banks against being used as conduit for the transfer of illicit funds and money laundering activities.

The bank in a statement issued at about 9:06pm on Saturday night by Mu’azu said the warning became imperative owing to a recent report by the Global Financial Integrity Group which ranks Nigeria as one of the 10 largest countries for illicit funds flows in the world.

The group in the report estimated that about $15.7bn (N3.09trn) of illicit fund goes through the nation’s banking system annually.

But the CBN in the statement said although it had not done an independent assessment of the assertion of the group, it stated that the bank would step up vigilance in order to ensure that Nigerian banks are not used as conduit for illicit funds flow, especially in foreign currency.

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By Abiodun Alade

He started as a saleman of a pharmaceutical company after his secondary education in 1955. While with the firm, he  rose to the position of Sales manager for the then Lagos and Western region, made up of the present-day Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo states. But in 1963, he left the company to start his own small business. This was influenced by a book he read which encouraged entrepreneurship.

adebutu“I worked briefly with Classic Chemical Limited, a pharmaceutical company produced  Andrew’s Liver Salt, Cafenol and all of that. I worked as a salesman and rose to the position of Sales Manager for the Western Region and Lagos. I stumbled on a book which says whatever job you are doing, you have to leave, either you quit or they give you the boot. It went further to say that in a little business of your own, when you leave it, you leave it to yourself. That inspired me and I decided to be on my own,” he noted in an interview with Sunday Vanguard.

He chose to be an entrepreneur in an odd area.  Having no capital, he looked for a business that required little or no capital and what came to his mind was to be a pools agent.

“There was the challenge of finance because the money was not there to start a business. So I had o think about a job that required little or no money to start and what came to my mind was pools agency because, as an agent, all you need is a book, a pen and a small table,” he  recalled.

He started his life as an entrepreneur- a pools agent. Later, he went into partnership with his friend, the  late Chief Solomon Adebayo Ayoku, and, within a short time, they became  household names with their famous Face- to-Face Pools.

Many people know him as Baba Ijebu but his real name is Kessington Adebutu. He sits atop the multi-million Naira betting business – Premier Lotto (Baba Ijebu).

Adebutu, a project management and business development expert, has full ownership of investments in a number of organisations like Face- to-Face Pools, Kessington Industries, Afri-Prints Limited and Kessington Foundation.

He was born on October 24, 1935 at Iperu Remo in Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State. He completed his primary education in 1942 and had his secondary education between 1951 and 1955.

The billionaire is currently the Financial Director, Premier Lotto Nigeria Limited PLL.

PLL, also  known as Baba Ijebu, is a gaming company incorporated in 2001 and was established to carry out lotto business in Nigeria.

“The public gave it to me. Funny enough, people have forgotten my family name. People think that is my name. It’s not my making. It’s not the name given to me by my father. It’s a nickname from the public and our satisfied customers and, of course, I am from  Ijebu; maybe that explains it better,” he said about his famous Baba Ijebu alias.

Obviously, the prudence with which he managed his resources has helped him in his journey, especially during challenges. It has not all been  rosy for him in the lotto business as many think. The business has suffered losses on many occasions; in fact, in the early 60, more than 95 percent of pools business in the country was killed when the entire coupon won. Even the Federal Government-sponsored Niger Pools couldn’t survive the loss but Adebutu is still standing tall.

“I started with pools, so I am used to the shock in any game.  We have lost over one billion naira in one game before, but I am used to the shock. Lotto is like mutual contribution, so we get commission as the collector. People win certain percentage of our total gain. Definitely small percentage is left for us”.

He loves pools gaming, lotto gaming and he does not see  it as  fraudulent. He believes that lotto has empowered a good number of young people and dissuaded them from heinous acts.

“The influence of gaming is enormous. People that have reservations are getting it wrong. I keep saying it that gaming is the stock exchange of the ordinary man on the street. At the stock exchange, people buy shares and, as we have seen, the shares crash at times. Similarly, when you game, you can win or lose but, at least, it gives the ordinary man hope and that stops them from any nonsense. We have also taken so many thugs out of the streets and they are useful to themselves, their families and the society at large,” he noted further.

To underscore his point, he disclosed  that six of his children are working with Premier Lotto.

Baba Ijebu, as he is fondly called, will join the octogenarian club in October. On how he keeps fit and able to manage his companies at that age, he states, “The secret is that everything in moderation. Everything should be in moderation. I do all the ‘evils’ in the world but in moderation,” he said with a smile.

The billionaire pools magnate urged young entrepreneurs to learn how to grow their business.

“Young people should learn to crawl before they walk. Young people are always too much in haste but you must learn to crawl before you walk,” the multi-business owner submitted.

A philanthropist to the core, he established the Kessington Adebutu Foundation to cater for the less privileged. The foundation also provides supports for hospitals and schools. He has built many structures across the country, including the Kesington Adebutu House in Abuja donated to the Radio, Television and Theatre Workers Union (RATTAWU); an accident and emergency centre at Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilisan Remo; Science laboratory block at Tai Solarin College of Education; a radio station for Lagos state university (LASU) to mention a few. Adebutu sponsors secondary school debate, football competition and there is also a vocational centre for training the youths in vocation of their choice.

He said that he is always willing to give back to the society as a way of showing appreciation to God, whom he noted has blessed him beyond his labour.

“It is God’s grace, that is why our office reception is full of people. I should appreciate God. That is why I give back to the society, the less privileged. God has done wonders in my life. Some people work harder than I do and not getting the result. At my age, I should be living on my reserve, my pension, but I thank God, at my age, I’m still making money. Im very grateful to God, I don’t hide it,” he added while receiving an award from Chioma Lina Okafor-led Youth Advancement for Qualitative Education, promising to support the group in its drive to advance the cause of qualitative education in the country.

 

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By Emma Amaize

Police detectives, at  the  weekend, swooped on a suspected baby factory in  Asaba, Delta State, and arrested the operator and eight pregnant girls.

In addition, a surveillance patrol team attached to the Ozoro Police Division, in the state, apprehended a pastor and a 14-year-old girl at a cemetery in the town around 10.30 pm.

Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, in the state, DSP Celestina Kalu, who confirmed the arrest of the suspects, said, “On 30/7/2015 at about 2038hrs, Police detectives from GRA Division Asaba, while acting on a tip off raided a suspected baby factory at opposite Federal Radio Corporation, Asaba and arrested its operator, one John Mary Ihezun ‘m’.

“Eight pregnant girls, namely (1) Ihezue Nkemjika, (2) Amaka Agu, (3) Isioma Anukwu, (4) Blessing Okafor, (5) Imezoma Okeke, (6) Chioma Oje, (7) Precious Ihemine, (8) Nzube Chukwu, and two boys, one Prince Chukwu and Obum Nwankwo were also arrested from the said baby factory. Meanwhile, investigation is in progress.”

In a related development, she said, “On 30/7/2015 at about 2230hrs, surveillance patrol team from Ozoro Division while on routine patrol arrested one pastor of Christ Freedom Family, Amazing Grace, Ozoro, in a cemetery at Ozoro with one Chioma (f), aged 14 years.

“The suspect claimed that he was performing spiritual healing on the said Chioma    to enable her attain academic prowess. Investigation is ongoing,” she added.

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By Bunmi Sofola

He was every woman’s dream of the ideal man come true.  Fade was fresh out of college and looking for a job when a friend introduced her to Godwin.  “He was much older than my 22-year old but I didn’t see him as a potential lover – just a boss”, confessed Fade.  “My friend had filled me in that most of his empire was in Nigeria but he had a very impressive office in London. His personal assistant just left to get married and he needed an urgent replacement. I didn’t have any working experience but he told me I would do. I had the job!

lovers

lovers

“Within months, we’d attended various meetings and social events together.  I didn’t know what I was expected to do officially, but he said I should just look pretty and serve coffee and be his `man Friday’ until I got the hang of the office routine.

Before I could do that however, things took on a new dimension.  Godwin constantly turned on the charm whenever we were together that it was easy to fall in love with him. He swept me off my feet – flowers, extravagant meals, jewellery – h made me feel like a princess. It was like a dream come true, like I was living a fairytale.

“When he asked me to move into his house nine months later, I didn’t hesitate. He had a house-keeper – all I had to do was give instructions and be at his beck and call all the time, dressed to the nines.  He was generous with money too and gave me a gold card.

I was in cloud nine and when I got pregnant and feared he would ask me to get rid of it, I was surprised when he suggested we get married.  He had a wife and children who lived in one of his property in Nigeria but he told me they were never legally married. All they did was a traditional marriage.

“When I met Godwin, marriage was the furtherest thing on my mind. Now it’s staring me in the face. I know getting hitched so soon was moving too fast but I was in love with the man and he really was charming, funny, handsome and romantic.

What would I gain by waiting? I may have only been 24, but I was ready for this good fortune.  Within three years, I’d given birth to a set of twins and an adorable son.  My husband’s career had really taken off by now and we had moved house twice – upgrading every time.  Though his business schedule meant he had to work long hours, but it was worth it. He was a good dad – just not around that often. Every night, I’d go on my knees and pray to God before bed to thank Him for my blessings.

“Sadly, I would soon discover that Godwin was far from perfect.  In fact my husband was one of the most ruthless men on earth – an evil  monster, a sick and twisted man who caused unimaginable pain and suffering. He was a con artiste per excellence! People had asked me: ‘How could you not know?’ But the thing with psychopaths is you can’t tell. It’s part of the condition. They mimic normal people and it takes an expert to spot one. According to experts, a psychopath is wired towards making people do their bidding and they can be so charming. Some can go through their entire life undetected. Some even end up running corporations. The business world is rife with them as their utter lack of human compassion makes them good businessmen.

“Almost ten years after we tied the knot, my life fell apart when the police knocked at my door in the early hours of a cold morning waving a search warrant in my face. I told them Godwin had travelled to Nigeria the previous day, but they didn’t believe me.

They turned the house upside down, seized all the computers in the house. And nothing they said made sense. The police were telling me about my husband but it seemed like they were talking about a completely different person.  This person didn’t run a legitimate business. He was a scam artiste, a `yahoo-yahoo’ expert with a string of workers working for him at home and abroad.  Several of his victims had been financially ruined beyond recover and he’d also dabbled into drugs. The police had been on his trail for weeks after one of his men was arrested with almost four kilograms of cocaine. In exchange for a prosecution deal, he’d told them everything about Godwin.

“My jaw nearly hit the floor as I listened to these horrid stories about my husband and the police refused to believe I knew nothing about his crimes. But they had no evidence against me and they left me alone.  I couldn’t get hold of Godwin in Nigeria – he’d changed all his phones and I didn’t have any address or contact though which I could reach him. He’s wanted for a string of crimes – racketeering, trafficking cocaine, human trafficking, prostitution charges and fraud. It’s obvious he’s not expected back in Britain any time soon. Meanwhile, my whole life has been ripped from me.

I had no idea what my husband way up to, yet I am being punished for his crimes. The house we lived in, which was in his name, has been confiscated, and I’m now living in a rented flat.

I can’t imagine what the families of his victims are going through and I’m truly sorry for what he did. Yet the children and I are victims too …”

 

Partners seldom see eye-to-eye when they argue

It’s been confirmed that there are some general differences in the way men and women behave in arguments.  These differences don’t generally apply to all men and women, but it is worth recognising the tendencies. Women generally want to pursue arguments longer than men do, following their partner from room to room, trying to get a resolution when it would be wiser to let things calm down. They almost always cry more easily than men too, and are more likely to phone their mothers, sisters and friends as a way of escape or to gain sympathy.

Men tend to opt for the quiet life at first, avoiding arguments and hoping they will go away. Or they withdraw from them by finding something ‘urgent’ to do: getting engrossed in a paper or watching TV. They are also more likely to escape to the club or to drink too much if the going gets touch. And they often attribute what they see as ‘unreasonableness’ in their partners to premenstrual tension – though it may be the cause, men can overdo the accusation.

Generally, men argue about: Th amount of time they want to spend playing or watching sports, or pursuing their hobby, which tends to be more than their partners want.  The boss expects long hours, while getting home on time is for ‘whimps’. Money: why is he married to a spendthrift? Surely, the shopping cannot cost quite so much?

The mismatch of sexual desire: Has she really got a headache? Why is she asleep when he comes to bed and ‘too busy’ in the morning?

Women on the other hand argue about: His untidiness. Why does he always leave his towel on the4 bathroom floor, or fails to put the seat on? Why can’t he spend more time on her and the children?

Why are the household chores rarely shared?  Why does he see them as her responsibility? And why, when he does them, does he expect her to thank him? Why is he heavy-handed when disciplining the children? Why is he so tight about money? Doesn’t he realise that food and children’s clothes are expensive?

Thankfully, some marriage councillors agree there are negotiating rules. Avoiding the pitfalls of a negative approach and understanding how we tend to believe when arguing lead to more positive negotiation.  Keep to the point. Don’t set out to win at all costs.  Really listen to each other. Avoid giving long monologues on withdrawing into silence.

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By Mary Lawrence

The appellate tribunal looking into petitions arising from the National Assembly elections in Kogi State, sitting in Abuja, last week, overruled the decision of the lower tribunal in Lokoja which threw out the case brought against the senator representing Kogi West,  Senator Dino Gbenga Melaiye.

Dino Melaye

Dino Melaye

It would be recalled that shortly after the Independent National Electoral Commission declared  Melaiye of the All Progressives Congress the winner of the election, the then incumbent Senator Smart  Adeyemi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejected the result, claiming he had the highest number of valid votes cast.

The legal team of  Adeyemi, which comprises of Chief Kayode  Olatoke (SAN), among others, challenged the election in court. The tribunal in Lokoja had struck out Adeyemi’s case on the grounds that his legal team failed to file a response to the claims raised by the respondents to the petition.

Dissatisfied by the ruling, the Adeyemi legal team approached the appellate tribunal, urging it to set aside the ruling of the tribunal which failed to look into the substance of the case.

Speaking after the verdict,  Adeyemi expressed satisfaction with the decision of the appellate tribunal. He said his position had been vindicated that the lower tribunal didn’t look dispassionately into his case.  He thanked his constituents for their support, assuring them that their mandate will be recovered.

 

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By Levinus Nwabughiogu

Cotonou – President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Boko Haram will be defeated hopeful by end of this year.

Buhari spoke in Cotonou on Saturday during a gala lunch held in honour by the President of Benin Republic, Boni Yayi.

 He expressed optimism that the Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF launched in Cameroon on Thursday would start yielding fruits soon.

This is as Yayi who described his country as the 37th State of Nigeria assured president Buhari that 800 troops would be contributed to the Joint Task Force by his country in the all-out-assault on insurgents.

While commending the gesture by Yayi, Buhari said “and I assure you that we will defeat Boko Haram by the end of this year”.

President Buhari who was on a one-day official visit to Cotonou as the special guest of honour at the 55th independence anniversary of Benin Republic was bestowed with the national honor of the Republic of Benin.

Nigeria’s president recalled that both countries have maintained peace over the years even when he was a military Head of State.

He said: “I am impressed by your concern and critical approaches by increasing your contributions to the multinational task force of the Lake Chad Commission. This is a great sacrifice on the part of the Benin Republic….

“Even in my first coming into office under a different arrangement, we have learnt to live in peace with our neighbours. Within the week I was sworn in, I went to Niger, Chad. I was supposed to go to Cameroon but I was summoned by the G7 leaders to brief them about the security situation in Nigeria concerning Boko Haram which declared allegiance to ISIS which gives it international dimension”.

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By Jide Ajani

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, may run into crisis as a result of its inability to effectively function as an election management body because its present composition deprives it of the statutory quorum required to take very important and sensitive decisions.

Mrs  Amina Bala Zakari

Chairperson INEC, Amina Bala Zakari

The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, stipulates in Section 159(1) that Commissions, such as INEC, must have a quorum of one third of its members to take important top management decisions. The National Commissioners of the Commission are 13, comprising the Chairman and 12 National Commissioners.

One third of 13 is not less than five National Commissioners.

Consequent upon the death of Prof. Akinola M. Salau, a National Commissioner at INEC, the number of the National Commissioners have gone down to four – even without prejudice to the on-going controversy over the legitimacy of the tenure of the acting Chairperson, Mrs. Amina Zakari, a matter that is already the subject of litigation at a Federal High Court.

This is because the tenure of Mrs. Zakari, begotten in consultation with the National Council of State and confirmed by the Senate when she was appointed ended on July 21, 2015.

The purported termination of her tenure by the Head of Service on June 30, 2015, did not follow the laid down constitutional provision.

Section  157  (1) states that  “Subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, a person holding any of the offices to which this section applies may only be removed from that office by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate praying that he be so removed for inability to discharge the functions of the office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause) or for misconduct”. None of these applied to Mrs. Zakari before the Head of Service terminated her tenure.

On the 11th of this month, few days from now, two of the National Commissioners would also disengage, leaving only one and Mrs. Zakari.

Meanwhile, Section  159  (1)  states that “the quorum for a meeting of any of the bodies established by section 153 of this Constitution shall be not less than one-third of the total number of members of that body at the date of the meeting”.

In the event that the meaning of Section 159 is stretched elastically and crudely, a quorum in the event of a two-member commission gives the acting Chairman the latitude to take decisions since one of two is not less than one third.

Yet, there are some very important issues for INEC to deal with.

Among the important issues that remain unresolved by the Commission is the delivery of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) of a substantial number of voters.    Then there is the uncoordinated and alleged compromise of outstanding litigations in various tribunals on the results of the just conducted general elections.

Importantly, the Kogi State governorship election is slated for November 21, 2015, and INEC, as presently constituted, runs the risk of taking decisions that would be challenged in court.

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All hotels and hostels in adjoining communities around the Redemption Camp of the Redeemed Church of God on Lagos-Ibadan Express-way have been fully booked for the next one week as thousands of Christian worshippers have started arriving the ever expand-ing City for the church’s 63rd annual convention which opens tomorrow with the ordination of deacons and deaconesses.

Pastor Enoch  Adeboye

Pastor Enoch Adeboye

The programme is preceded by a 4-day Ministers’ Conference which began on Thursday and ends today.

The one week spiritual fiesta scheduled to hold at two locat-ions within the Redemption City has as its theme; “The All Sufficient God.” A statement by the church’s head of Media and Publicity, Pastor Segun Adegbiji said the convention will hold at two Arenas—the new three-kilometre by three-kilometre Arena on Simawa Road and the outgoing one and half kilometre by one kilometre Arena.

The statement which noted that the new arena, still under con-struction, is billed to host plenary sessions of a few evenings, advis-ed those who have not already secured accommodation within the camp to make alternative arrangements in the neighboring communities of Simawa, Lotto, Loburo and Ofada.

Established in 1952 in a suburb of Lagos by late Rev. Josiah Akindayomi, the RCCG is expecting delegates from, at least, 188 nations of the world in addition to local and foreign gospel ministers who will join the General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye to minister during the programme.

As at the last count, the church once described as a ‘homegrown Pentecostal denomination that is crusading to become a global faith’ has 24 regions in Nigeria and another 24 in foreign nations comprising Mainland Europe with three regions with head-quarters in Holland, Spain and Sweden. UK has four regions in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland while the USA has five regions. Asia/Middle East has two among others.

Stressing the significance of the convention at a recent Holy Ghost service, the General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye said the annual spiritual fiesta is designed for those who are serious and desire a great encounter with the all sufficient God and want to see Him in action.

Addressing participants at the July Holy Ghost Service on Friday, July 3, 2015, Pastor Adeboye said the theme of this year’s convention alone “is enough to tell you that if you come to the convention, there’s nothing you want from God that you won’t get.

“But then, like I’ve always told you, the church’s convention is not for just anyone. It is for those who mean serious business with God. So if you know you are just com-ing to chat or while away time, please stay away. Only those who want to do serious business with God are welcome,” he stressed.

According to the General Over-seer, despite efforts by the church to provide adequate accommod-ation for participants during major programmes at the camp, “we still have accommodation problem. So if you are not coming for serious business, stay home so that those who are serious will be able to have a wonderful time in the presence of God.”

He then urged his listeners to pass the message to their friends  that “they are welcome provided they are coming for serious business with God, otherwise have a nice time at home, they will hear the testimonies.

“This year’s convention is going to be absolutely awesome. You can’t talk about the All Sufficient God and go away empty. It’s not possible. This year’s convention is absolutely going to be heaven on earth,” he stated.

Briefing newsmen a few days after, the church’s Head of Media and Public Relations, Pastor Adegbiji said Pastor Adeboye will be joined by other anointed guest speakers from home and abroad.

According to him, RCCG Mass Choir, RCCG Praise Team and guest music ministers will render refreshing and edifying gospel music during the convention, assuring that there will be adequate security to be provided by detachments from the Nigeria  Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC and Redeemer’s volunteers.

“There will also be aerial monitoring,” he said, pointing out that the church had perfected plans to ease traffic on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway during the programme.

He faulted claims in certain quarters that the church is res-ponsible for the incessant traffic gridlock on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, maintaining that such traffic is often caused by bad patches on the road.

Adegbiji further stressed that the church’s activities have rather prevented traffic on the road instead of the claim that they are responsible.

According to him: “Our activities do not take place by the road. In fact, the new arena where the forthcoming convention will be held is on Simawa Road and the outgoing arena is far into the village. It has a capacity of 12 million people and as much as possible, we want to avoid using the expressway for our transp-ortation.”

He maintained that the church, over the years, had created sufficient parking lots within the camp for the use of the ever-growing number of participants.

Pastor Adegbiji also noted that because of the church’s in-dependent power and water system which supplies uninter-rupted water and power in the camp, residents of Mowe/Ibafo had written to the church to provide electricity for the community.

“They think we are government. If we can afford it, we will do it. We build and repair roads all around,” he said, noting that RCCG Turbine has recently been upgraded for the purpose of participants at the church act-ivities,” he said,

 

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By Luka Binniyat

A billow of fire and thick fumes of burnt hydrocarbons to Kaduna residents is the signal that the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company, KRPC, is in operation. This is accompanied by a flurry of activities, especially heavy traffic of petrol tankers, in and around the 1.2 square mile refinery, which is unarguably the biggest government investment north of the Niger and the Benue. But, in the past 10 months, the fire has disappeared and the hustling around the refinery has also whittled down into a sober, low-level activity.  Sunday Vanguard  then decided to find out what is going on.

refinery1

The Managing Director, MD of  the facility, Engr Saidu Mohammed, a 1980 graduate of chemical engineering of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, laughed heartily from behind his table in his cosy office at the plant last Wednesday at the notion of the disappeared fire as a sign of lack of production, when Sunday Vanguard wanted to sieve out rumours from reality.

“Don’t worry that you don’t see the usual fire billowing out smoke which makes people know that we are producing, for now, we are steaming and that is what is most important”, he said.

He continued: “Tell you what?. That fire in itself requires gas, since it is gas we usually flare. But we cannot afford to waste it at this stage, because it is the same gas that we need to burn the heaters, to fire the heaters. So is it the same gas that you want to take and go and flare? If you have problem with the heaters, what happens? So the time will come when you see the fire again”.

Mohammed then went on to say that the KRPC was going through a radical overhaul of the refinery using Nigerian engineers only, and that the refinery was still producing. It turned out to be a very revealing encounter as he gave a narration of the ongoing effort to reposition the KRPC to optimal state.

TAM-Rehab, instead of shutdown

Said Mohammed:  “We are doing TAM (Turn Around Maintenance)-Rehabilitation    (TAM-Rehab) while the refinery continues to run. We try as much as possible not to shut down the entire refinery while this is going on. The whole essence is to say, “Look, the TAM that you have neglected for a while we are doing it; at the same time those equipment that have been troublesome, that    need complete rehabilitation, we will make procurement orders for them and fix them.

“As the parts come, we rehabilitate; as the new ones come, we install. So that is the concept of TAM-Rehab.

“And we say we are going to earmark a period of 18 months beginning from October last year for the TAM-Rehab. So, invariably, by March next year, we should conclude the work.

“Not only did we give ourselves a time frame, we said we would do all we can to take the refinery from the present operating level of 60% to as high as 90%. In fact, even now, nothing stops us from pushing it to 80%, but can that be sustained, the answer is No!.

“For example, some compressors may fail; some pumps may fail. That is why we need to change such equipments. And once we change them, we would have improved, remarkably, the reliability of the refinery, then we can safely push the capacity.

“As a matter of fact, we can push it higher than 80% before now, but then we would be doing it just to test, but we cannot sustain that.

To hit 90% capacity next March

“But we can reliably sustain 60% operating level with all other things available. So the essence of this TAM-Rehab is to bring back the refinery to an acceptable level of performance, and we are looking at a utilisation level of 80 to 90%.    Next, we want to make sure that we can sustain that level of performance by continuing going back to regular planned maintenance, including the TAM, again.

“Now, on the mini TAM,    we have almost completed it, but we did not make noise about it. We call it mini TAM, because we are doing it in phases. Under the fuel section, the crude distillation unit, the Naphtha hydrating unit, the FCC, the basic four components of the fuel section –    there is no heat exchanger that we have not fixed, cleaned and rebundled- or replaced.

“There is no column that we have not opened;  where there are cases of damage, we have replaced or repaired them. There are no pumps that have not been fixed, and there are no compressors that have not been fixed. TAM is just like checking the engine of your car, repairing and fixing things that are bad. In fact, we have gone very far.

“We have finished two of the four phases. The other phases belong to the other section of the refinery, which, for now, are not a priority because it has to do with foreign crude to run that section. But the ones that are supposed to produce Liquid Petroleum Gas, LPG, gasoline, kerosene, diesel and fuel oil, all these are what    we now concentrating on.

“ If you go into the plant now, you will see that we are steaming up. Forget about the fire from flaring, I know that is what people want to see. When we want, we can let that come out. The fluid distillation unit    and the power plant are fully back.

How a refinery works

“Ok, let me put it this way: A refinery is not like a car that you put on your ignition and its starts, ready to move, No! For a refinery, you first of all get your power plant ready. And you don’t have your power plant until you have your boilers. You get your boilers stabilised;    they are now directing enough steam, then you put the steam into generators that will bring out electricity.

When you have electricity now, you start running other utilities. You start producing your compressed air; you start producing nitrogen, because you need nitrogen to blanket everything, because, as you know, nitrogen does not burn. No refinery can run without nitrogen. And every refinery has its own nitrogen plant.

Now, you push the nitrogen into every reactor, every column; every heater, so that when you are now . . . (not clear) what will now follow behind, in fact we say, ‘you have ignited the system’, nothing will burn again, because nitrogen cannot burn. Then you start introducing your hydrocarbons. Then you start lighting the heaters, then the columns will now start picking temperature, then you charge-in the crude, then you start boiling the crude, then you start . . . you see, so it’s not like your car that you just put in the key and start.

Using available crude to produce

“Now because of the level of Turn Around Maintenance that we have done and the overhaul, this will now allow us to use the little amount of crude we have to run. That will now allow us to know the level of reliability, and will show us areas that we need to pay attention to. The strategy is just like pay-as-you-go.    We put crude and the plants run. If you go into the plant now, you see another section where the contractors are very busy. Go to the fluid catalytic units, FCCs, the contractors are very busy.

Epileptic crude supply from Warri

“Part of our problem is the epileptic supply of crude. Until something drastic is done in terms of security, Kaduna refinery will continue to have that problem. Because, as we speak now, we have crude oil sitting down in Warri. It is meant for us, but it cannot be pumped to us. The pipelines have been breached, so many sections have been tampered with. What we are doing now is to use water to flush the residual crude up to here.

As we put water from Warri, the residual crude now starts moving. The water now will flow out to show you areas that have been vandalised and water does not pollute any environment.    You know that is the job of the PPMC, and I understand that it will take them about four weeks to finish that. Meanwhile, we are restarting the refinery with the crude oil that we have now, awaiting the one that is being pushed, so that we don’t remain idle.

TAM done strictly by Nigerian engineers

“What we are doing, we are using purely Nigerian contractors. Nigerian engineering contractors are very competent; sadly many people don’t know that. They have the competence and the capacity to do jobs. They can do everything on this refinery. The contractors working around the technically complex FCCs are Nigerian contractors.

Original equipment makers only

“But then,    on the    spare-parts that are needed, what we doing is to use the original equipment manufacturers    of the refinery. They find parts, they find the value, they give us performance invoice , we agree on the price, then we open a letter of credit, LC, for them. So, now, we are sure of the source and quality of the parts that are coming. Then the Nigerian agent will be responsible for clearing them, and bringing them to the refinery. And where installation is required, he will now be the go-between the Nigerian contractor and the manufacturer – assuming the contractor does not have the competence.  And as you know, there is no single manufacturer for all the refinery equipment; it is just like buying a car, there are many makers of different parts for the car. So, we have many manufacturers involved.

How TAM became a problem

“Let me tell you about this place. This place was commissioned in 1980. In 1982, there was TAM; two years later, there was TAM; in 1986, there was TAM; in 1989, there was TAM. You may not have known that, because it was routine, and not a big deal. TAM started becoming an issue when the demand on NNPC changed. You said, ‘Well, NNPC, we can no longer subsidise your crude’. Because all the TAMs were done when crude oil to the refineries were subsidised. That    meant we had money to do our maintenance. But, you now start telling NNPC to pay for every barrel at international price. Meanwhile, certain costs along the chain are not even being captured. For example, nobody gives NNPC money for transporting the crude from Escravos to Warri and then to Kaduna; or even evacuating the products from here to depots. All these are not factored into the final price of the product. It is not even captured on the template of the PPPRA. NNPC had to source for money elsewhere and provide this service.

Governance issues

“What we are trying to model after this is to say, ‘ok, going forward, there have to be some governance issues that need to be addressed to ensure that the refineries don’t go back to the state they were”.

“We are addressing the technical aspects of the plants, making sure they efficiently run at full capacity, but then governance issues have to be looked into: Crude oil supply must be regular. What we are advocating is a kind of small autonomy for the refineries so the management of a refinery will be charged with the entire chain management. Today, you have a refinery sitting down, waiting for a third party to supply crude oil. It is waiting for that third party to evacuate products, incurring cost that are not captured. We should have refineries that operate at least at a reasonable commercial level to be able to sustain their plants, maintenance including TAM. So that refineries don’t have to go to government all the time looking for money.

Treat pipelines like military zones, like the US does

“Again, we must take strategic assets with real strategic assets. What I am saying is that refineries and related assets must be seen as military zones, and given the desired security. For example, we just scratch the surface when it comes to the security of our pipelines.    In the US, major trunk lines carrying gas or liquids are military zones. You tamper with it they take you on immediately. You can’t    tamper with their pipelines and go free. They have a combination of human resource and technology. The pipelines are constantly monitored. You touch it, you are seen and there is immediate intervention from any direction and you may be killed immediately,    because you are sabotaging their country. In Nigeria, you may install these same monitors, and see someone around Okene, or in the creeks. But that can be done with a command and control centre, essentially for the pipelines for rapid intervention, through the sea, air and land.    This is what the NNPC cannot do. It is a governance issue. Now, we are using communities, but it has    its limit. The people tampering with the pipelines are coming from the same communities. So we need something more formidable and enduring.

5 million litres of PMS next year

“When we start producing at 90% next March, we shall be producing between three and five million litre of PMS per day, or about 100 to 150 trucks per day”.

 

 

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Chris Onuoha

For every woman, the ability to multi-task might look so easy on the outside but try being a wife, mother together with working and it becomes a different ball game entirely. It takes a woman who is self confident to successfully balance all three without either one lacking.

Shaffy Bello

Shaffy Bello

The quintessential lady of screen and former pop gospel singer Shaffy Bello Akinrimisi known for her hit song ‘Love me Jeje, Love me Tender’ that made waves in the 80s is one woman whose enigmatic demeanor seems not to simmer as years goes by. The delectable thespian that plays the role of ‘Adesua’ in the unique first Nigerian Telenova series ‘Taste of Love’ that has been running on Digital and Terrestrial TV Stations, in a chart with Vanguard, she tells more.

Tell us about yourself

I am a career woman, a wife and a mother. A hard working thespian who still loves to sing, maybe soon I will make a comeback into music.   I love what I do and I’m quite passionate about it.

 

Let’s talk about you and people’s perception of your real self…..

There’s difference between real me and the characters I play on movies. What really thrills me about people is when they say, oh! You really look pretty on TV! Which is nice, but I never heard anybody come to me and say you are the image you portray on screen. My fans need me and they appreciate my work. They appreciate the artistry I bring into the work. Also you should know I am a woman who is over 45. I have nieces and nephews around me. When we sit and do things together, people do think we are age mates, but of course, I have the confidence in knowing that I am still looking good and that exudes sexiness. I believe women in their 40’s are still as good as women in their 20’s if I may say.

 

Do the roles you play reflect your person?

The roles I play in movies don’t reflect in me as a person. Come to think of it, I am a sexy woman. I have a loving husband that makes me feel sexy. I have two children that make me feel wonderful and family that are very supportive. I am very confident and that’s because I feel I have things that makes me feel that way. It works for me. I think people get the sexiness in everything I do because I exude confidence and that’s what they see as being sexy.

 

Tell us how you felt playing the character of Adesua in Taste of love.

For the role I play as Adesua in Taste of love, I take pride in it. That’s exactly what the bible character is. The fact that the audience is saying that’s who she is makes me fulfilled. They script writer wrote that as a bible character and people who are watching confirms that. That means I know of it.

 

How does your being a wife and mother influence the character you play as Adesua?

It is fun playing Adesua. I am a mother, a wife and playing Adesua thrills me because she is a powerful woman. She’s not overly powerful but she gets what she wants. She gets what she believe is hers anyway, even if she does it in a dubious way. To me she is an emblem of a strong woman.

 

How do you feel being a cast member and has the soap opera, Taste of Love been a success story?

Taste of Love as the first Nigerian Telenova, an adaption of South American Televista series is a success story and still ongoing as we approach season after season. We are in the work right now shooting the second season. I am excited because we don’t know what’s going to unravel, I don’t know what Adesua is going to be doing next, but besides, I am excited.

Its fun to see people see you on the street and call you Adesua, saying Ah a! You did not do that guy right! That’s all about it. It’s gratifying to know that the fans are watching and they are enjoying what you are doing.

What positive reviews have you gotten so far?

The movie had a lot of reviews before it went on air and it was nice. People anticipated and actually love the story line and told us to go on. It is all encouraging. I think it has been a hit and it is in line with any other shows that are great.

With the whole structure, set, and intention to keep the whole cast and crew stationed at a location for a long period was an interesting aspect it. It did work but of course, you can’t rule out some challenges which are homesick and emotional fatigue. Micro-media, the producers were generous enough to grant breaks when you needed it. Besides, there wasn’t any surmounting challenge during the whole process of season one shooting as we were properly taken care of. They have done an excellent job keeping us together. Really, they have pioneered something good.

I am very proud of having been part of Taste of love. They are great people. I call a lot the young ones in the show my baby. We had a great mentorship on the show. There is a fantastic symbiotic understanding among the old and young cast members. There was harmony.   It was fun.

Your relationship with Yola seems vague

My relationship with Yola is one interesting side of the play. The thing is that I can’t stand Yola because I love him but he doesn’t love me back. So, Adesua really wants Yola’s love and attention badly but he doesn’t know it. He uses her to get whatever he wants and doesn’t lover her instead, because of the kind of women she is. For that kind of treatment, every other man that comes into her life, she try to use them. On the contrary, Adesua is more in love with her self.   She’s out to get whatever it is she wants and as long as it pleases her. That’s typical of some women.

To know if Yola will realize and love Adesua as much as she do is obviously something more interesting to look out for in the series, as the drama unfolds. May be that’s one interesting aspect that will get you glued on your TV screen to find out, but trust me, there’s going to be surprises.

 

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By Gbenga Olarinoye, Osogbo

The families of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, and the former National Emergency Management Authority, NEMA boss, Mrs Remi Olowu, will, today, join their son and daughter in holy matrimony in Lagos despite the rumoured death of the paramount ruler.

Ooni of Ife, Oba Sijuwade Okunade

Ooni of Ife, Oba Sijuwade Okunade

Sunday Vanguard learnt that the two families resolved to proceed with the wedding programme after due consultations with friends and relations.

Meanwhile, there was disagreement between residents of Ile-Ife yesterday on the reason behind the on-going Oro festival in the town which entered its third day today.

Many people of the ancient town, who spoke to our correspondent , believed the announcement of the festival may have been preparatory to the formal announcement of the passage of Ooni.

But some residents insisted that the festival had been scheduled to hold long before Sijuwade’s reported demise.

Media attention has been on the town since the reported demise of the Ooni on Tuesday in a London hospital.

Speaking to newsmen in Ile-Ife, a traditional title holder, who preferred anonymity because he was not authorised to comment on the matter, listed Oro, Olojo, Orunmila, Edi, Oranmiyan, Esu, Obatala among others as some of the festivals celebrated in the town annually.

The chief insisted that the ongoing Oro festival had nothing to do with the “rumoured death of Oba Okunade Sijuwade.”

According to him, the ongoing festival will end on Thursday.  He explained that while it lasts, there will be no restriction of movement, except for young and old females that must not see the procession of Oro adherents.

However, the door at the back of the Ooni’s palace, that normally should open at the death of the monarch, remained shut yesterday.

But a palace source explained that “since the door remains permanently closed, it means the monarch is alive.

“The closure of markets for business and ringing of a special gong to announce the death of an Ooni are two major significant signs to indicate that the monarch has joined his ancestors and these are yet to be done”.

“These have not taken place and so our belief is that our Oba is still very much alive”, he added.

 

 

 

 

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By Henry Umoru, Abuja

The war of words between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over alleged partisanship of the Director General of the Department of State Security (DSS), Alhaji Lawal Daura, continued, yesterday.

Lawal Daura

Lawal Daura

The PDP  described the APC as a party of “shameless and desperate liars”, insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari must remove Daura.

It said the DSS boss is an APC member, and pointed out that his partisanship will affect his job.

In a statement by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief  Olisa Metuh, the party noted that in appointing its member to head the DSS, a very sensitive security agency vested with numerous powers, the APC has annexed the agency as a tool to suppress the opposition and other Nigerians who hold views contrary to that of government, thus preparing the ground for dictatorship and a reign of terror on the people.

Metuh said,”No wonder we are now witnessing invasions of houses of PDP members as well as harassments, arrests and detentions of electoral officers and tribunal members in Akwa-Ibom, Rivers and other PDP state where the APC is desperate to upturn our electoral victory at all cost and by any means.”

The PDP spokesperson, who lampooned the APC for sticking to what he termed as its lies and empty denials despite the  overwhelming evidence that the new Director General of the DSS  belongs to the APC, said, “The spate of lies chunked out by the APC in the desperation to suppress the truth is not only reprehensible but also symptomatic of lack of character”.

 

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