Monday, 20 November 2017
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News & Stories (1602)

Abuja, Dec. 24, 2012 (NAN) Mr Mohammed Labaran, the Coordinator of HIV and AIDS in Gwagwalada Area Council, FCT, says the council has concluded plans to sensitise no fewer than 129 communities on HIV prevention.

Labaran told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that the council had already reached out to 63 communities in order to ensure zero-HIV infection in the council by 2015.
He said that the council intended to create awareness, free HIV services and provide HIV kits for Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) for pregnant women during antenatal.
 
"There are a lot of procedures and strategies adopted during coordinators’ training, which we are going to apply in order to achieve strategy objectives,” he said.
According to him, this will ensure zero HIV infection in the council in particular and free HIV society at large. Labaran also said that the council was working to ensure effective HIV and AIDS prevention, supports and management of the scourge.
 
He said that the council had mapped out programmes on how to mobilise people to educate them, especially the pregnant women, on ways to effectively prevent mother-to-child transmission.
He also said that the council would establish Ward Development Committee in each of the wards, to give them basic facts and myths of HIV and AIDS. "These are people that are basically living in the community; we are going to call them from each ward because we have 10 political wards in the council. "Also if any wife was found to be positive, we encourage the husband to accept the result with good faith and to attend clinic for HIV testing and counseling as well.
 
"We have over 892 people living with HIV and AIDS who accessed HIV services such as drugs, medication among others, and we normally have monthly meeting with them.’’
The coordinator said that its challenges were paucity of funds to implement some of its programmes. Labaran said that the team needed operational vehicles to enable it work effectively in the council in order to achieve some of its objectives.

He, therefore, called on the FCT administration to provide logistics to the HIV and AIDS teams in the council for it to implement the program.

 

 

Posted On Tuesday, 25 December 2012 02:06 Written by
The Federal Government has been urged to revitalise the 13 River Basins in the country in order to ensure adequate water provision.

Mr Tunji Oniyangi, Director, Department of Information, Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority (LNRBDA), Ilorin, gave advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said there was need to revamp the river basins in the country in order to ensure holistic management practice. Oniyangi noted that inability of governments in developing countries to evolve holistic approach to river basin management was hindering the development of the sector.
 
“This is especially pronounced in hydrology and water quality monitoring and assessment for sustainable water resources management,” he said. Oniyangi said that the River Basin Authority had been plagued by multiple policy changes by different regimes in Nigeria.
 
He said that river basins, if well, managed would generate revenue for the country.

“In retrospect, river basin acts as a multipurpose industry which engages in farming, fishery, poultry, irrigation, dam construction and the likes”, he said.

Oniyangi disclosed that the authority was undertaking construction of irrigation projects in various towns of the country.

 
 

 

 

Posted On Tuesday, 25 December 2012 01:20 Written by

Allhaji Balarabe Musa, Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) and Second Republic governor of Kaduna State, in a recent interview with the Nigerian Tribune newspaper, gave a damning verdict on the level of corruption in the country and its dangerous implication on the national question.

Responding to a question on Nigeria’s recent rating as the 35th most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International (TI), a global anti-corruption watchdog,  Musa described the TI rating as an ‘’understatement’’, arguing that Nigeria was worse than that, based on the realities on ground.

He attributed the present unprecedented high level of insecurity, poverty, hunger and unemployment to the brazen   corruption and sleaze permeating all levels and sectors of the Nigerian society and warned that Nigeria could collapse by 2015, should the present state of affairs persist.

Describing the anti-corruption efforts of successive Nigerian governments as a failure and mockery, Musa asked rhetorically:

 ‘’How many corrupt people with proven cases of corruption have been prosecuted? Out of those that are prosecuted, how many are in prison and for how long? The so-called war on corruption is a mockery.’’

He said that there were over 42 million unemployed youths in the country, which constitutes about a quarter of Nigeria’s total population. He said it was clear that such a huge youth population may not continue watching helplessly at the few people plundering the nation’s resources and commonwealth, but would soon unleash their revolutionary angst on the country’s leadership.

The damning verdict of Alhaji Balarabe Musa succinctly underscores the fact that the cankerworm called corruption which is undoubtedly at the centre of all Nigeria’s multi-faceted problems has reached its Armageddon.

The cancerous disease called corruption has eaten deep into the moral fabrics of the Nigerian society, all arms of government, namely, the executive, judiciary and legislature, the bureaucracy, the security agencies, the private sector, as well as the federal, state and local tiers of government.

And, like the dreaded HIV/AIDS disease, which has defied all attempts to find a permanent cure, Nigeria has been infected with the incurable disease called corruption since independence but its recent dimension and attendant complications and implications have assumed an unprecedentedly alarming level.

Successive administrations have, over the years, made efforts t to exorcise the ghost of corruption from the nation’s body politic to no avail and, rather than abate, the corruption ‘vampire’ regularly resurrects to overwhelm virtually every aspect of the nation’s national life, sucking out both blood and marrow out of her, leaving the nation in a pathetic state of economic anaemia and political leukemia.

Recent mind-boggling revelations of official corruption in the National Assembly with their panoply of ‘’gates’’, the Police Pension scam, Haliburton bribery, the banking industry, fuel subsidy, oil pipelines security deals for Niger-Delta ex-warlords, among others, have created goose pimples among the hitherto silent but now restless youth populace.

 As the chickens come to roost, Nigeria is now perching precariously on the precipice with the national question now put in the front burner. Corruption has become the Achilles heel of Nigeria’s development, as well as the biggest bane vis-à-vis Nigeria’s survival.

Niyi Osundare, a professor of English at New Orleans University, USA, in a presentation he made at a lecture organised by the Save Nigeria Group in Lagos recently lamented the docility of the Nigerian masses which he said had helped to entrench the culture of corruption because they treated it as ‘business as usual’.

‘’Nigerians are psychologically intimidated, morally weakened, politically wasted and indolent about their rights’’, Osundare remarked.

‘’The people easily forgive the crimes committed by their leaders and are unfazed about catastrophes that would shake normal societies to their foundation. They instead envy the ‘luck’ of the political elite who loot the treasury ’’, he said.

In order to free Nigeria from her present corruption quagmire, which he described as ‘the biggest industry in the country’, Osundare suggested that civil society groups must be strengthened to mobilise the people against corruption and corrupt leaders.

Although corruption is a global phenomenon, Nigeria of recent, seems to have assumed the unenviable, notorious appellation of a country where corruption walks on all four legs. Corruption is the cause and sponsor of Nigeria’s Boko Haram fundamentalism, gross unemployment, under-development, under-education, grinding poverty, violent crime, political thuggery, brain-drain, value system paralysis, among others.

Recently, one document that opened Nigeria’s Pandora box on the extent of corruption as a prevailing daily phenomenon in federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), is an audit report released by the office of the Auditor-General of the federation which indicted virtually all MDAs.

The content of the 400-page report tagged: Annual Report of the Auditor-General for the Federation on the Accounts of the Federation of Nigeria (2009), is indeed a case study in vicious official corruption at the highest level.

Most of them, including The Presidency, Supreme Court, National Assembly, the Armed Forces, Police, among others, were found to be citadels of corruption and financial irregularities as they were indicted of one nauseating form of financial misconduct or the other.

According to the report, billions of naira which ought to have been used for development and service delivery to the people went down the drain and, in many cases, ended up in private pockets, with culprits walking the streets tall, flaunting their ill-gotten wealth.

The most scandalous aspect of the finding according to a Newswatch magazine publication of February 13, 2012, was that even the indicted officials ignored audit queries raised over their misconduct and behaved as if nothing had gone wrong.

‘’What the attitudes of the nation’s public officials to audit queries suggests is that they do not seem to know that corruption is an offence. They see it rather as a way of life that is typically Nigerian, a culture that should not change’’, the magazine said.

Government officials at the top echelon of government in the country are not helping matters, as far as public cynicism about their sincerity in fighting the corruption malaise is concerned.

This seemingly tacit approval or institutionalisation of corruption via the body language, comments, actions or inactions of senior government officials seems to lend credence to the suspicion that government is playing to the gallery or indulging in sheer hypocrisy with the anti-corruption war.

 Fred Agbaje, constitutional lawyer and activist thinks that Mohammed Adoke, Minister of Justice, for instance, is either playing the Ostrich or acting a script in this regard because, according to him, Adoke’s actions and utterances negatively impact anti-corruption war.

Agbaje said that one of the major setbacks to the anti-corruption crusade was the directive by the Minister that the EFCC must recourse to him before initiating criminal proceedings against all suspects.

He said that the directive was a violation of the original law setting up the EFCC which made it an autonomous body to fight corruption but that autonomy is now being assailed and made subservient to the minister, with the attendant danger of selective justice for party loyalists.

Agbaje took a swipe at the policy whereby the minister deliberately enters nolle prosequi, that is, he automatically nullifies a prevailing prosecution process in many corruption cases involving politically-exposed persons with loyalty to the government.

‘’If a top level PDP member is being prosecuted and the AGF enters into a nolle prosequi, would he be said to be acting in the interest of the party or the public interest’’, the fiery lawyer told TheNews magazine in a recent interview.

One bizarre instance of corruption in the country recently involved the Judiciary itself in which a Federal High Court Judge allegedly held court as the chief accounting officer under whose supervision a contract was awarded for the construction of a High Court complex for N4.5billion, was later reviewed upwards by N1.6billion and the contractor was paid 85% of the contract sum upfront!

The National Assembly is not left out in the open-ended tale of corrupt practices in Nigeria. The Lawangate,  the Ettegate, the Bankolegate, the Wabaragate, etc, are but a few of the most recent cases of scandals involving the legislative arm of government.

At the state level, most state governors, past and present, have been indicted and/or prosecuted of corrupt practices running into billions of naira as if the governors were enmeshed in a competition to decide who among them would win the coveted prize reserved for the highest treasury looter! The celebrated cases of ex-governors Alamisiegha, Dariye, Ibori, Turaki, Kalu, Odili, Nyame, Nnamani, Igbinidion, among many others, have yet to be resolved

The wanton spate of corruption in the country has also taken its toll on the third tier of government where most local governments are on their death beds, gasping for the oxygen of survival, no thanks to state governors who rob them of funds allocated to them basically due to lack of financial autonomy, even as some council chairmen too have been indicted or found guilty of corruption.

In the last thirteen years of democratic rule, for instance, many state governors have been accused of misappropriating their local governments’ funds. A case in point is Gbenga Daniel, former governor of Ogun State, who is being prosecuted by the EFCC on account of diverting local government funds, though he is not the lonely ex-governor in this charge.

Yemi Osinbajo, a professor of Law and former Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, who founded Orderly Society Trust, an NGO, which took  upon itself the responsibility of investigating Nigerian LGAs, wrote that ‘’the system of local government administration has been plagued by a lack of transparency and accountability’’.

Writing in a book titled: ‘Making Local Governance Work for the Poor,’ Osinbajo observed that there was ‘’an embarrassing disconnect between majority of the people and the local government councils’’.

‘’Officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, have been busy in recent times pursuing local government chairmen, both past and present, across the states, on suspicions or allegations bordering on looting, stealing or diversion of local government funds’’, he said.

Corruption has remained, by far, the single most dangerous problem staring Nigeria in the face and threatening her corporate existence as a nation-state. And, like the HIV/AIDS disease example given earlier on, it kills the country-victim after destroying the leadership from top to bottom with its deadly virus.

As things are now, unless government stems the corruption tide by taking a bold step like declaring a state of emergency on corruption and putting in place an enabling law like the death or life sentence for convicted corrupt officials, Nigeria could collapse. For if a person knows that when he steals from  the commonwealth he will not be alive or be at liberty to enjoy the loot, that is enough deterrence for him to abstain from the act.

In sum, Nigeria’s leadership woes from independence to date, by and large, stem from her seemingly incurable corruption curse which has inflicted the country’s clueless leadership for over half a century, thereby, bringing a country that should have been, by now, perhaps, among the top ten global economic giants, to her present pathetic state of national Armageddon.

 

Posted On Monday, 24 December 2012 19:58 Written by

In Ghana, efforts are underway to boost transparency in the country’s newly developed oil industry, which some say will likely double economic growth. New rules require the quarterly disclosure of contract agreements and oil revenues as a way of avoiding the corruption that that many African oil exporters call the “resource curse.”

The rules are included in two new laws:  the Petroleum Commission Act and the Petroleum Revenue Management Act. They aim to empower citizens to demand accountability from government as Ghana develops its petroleum sector.

Stephen Manteaw, the chairman of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, describes the legislative push towards openness as a rarity in Africa. And, he says unfortunately, regulations are yet to be developed to make one of the laws workable.  In particular, a public interest and accountability committee has not been set up to monitor the management and use of petroleum revenues. It would also provide a platform for public debate on the spending of the revenues

“There is absence of regulations to the Petroleum Revenue Management Act," he says. "We [had] a similar [issue] in the mining sector where we had the Mining Act in 2006, but it was only in 2012 that regulations to the act were developed. When you have a situation like this, it becomes very difficult to operationalize the law that have been developed to manage the sector.”

Manteaw says a Public Interest and Accountability Committee set up to monitor compliance with the law is poorly funded. The institution has no office space and is currently operating with the support of the German Development Agency and of non-governmental organizations such as Revenue Watch Institute. 

Another challenge confronting Ghana’s oil industry is the failure of companies to reach a target of 12 thousand barrels per day. Current production levels fall between 60 thousand and 80 thousand barrels per day indicating shortfalls in the government’s projected revenues.

Meanwhile, foreign companies continue to dominate the sector. Government policies meant to encourage the participation of local business in the industry is not making much impact. Manteaw attributes the problem to high fees the government has established for any companies wanting to get involved in the lucrative oil business.

“In my view," he says, "these fees are exorbitant. Some of the companies are required to have turnover of up to about five million dollars and pay a subscription fee of 30 thousand dollars renewable on the payment of 25 thousand dollars. This, to many Ghanaians is exorbitant, in fact, unaffordable”.

The government is also encouraging the use of local expertise, goods, services and financing arrangements in the oil sector.

Kwame Djantua is the chief executive officer of the African Energy Consortium.  He says the Petroleum Commission which regulates such policies must do more to train Ghanaians.

“When will Ghanaians take control of the oil industry? What did Brazil do?," he asks. "They invested in their people for their people to go and learn and come back. Trinidad and Tobago did the same, Norway did the same. Why can’t we do the same for Ghana?’

Djantua is not sure whether the oil industry has been managed well in 2012.   For example, by law, oil company agreements with the government must be made public.  But he says the details of some contracts have not yet been disclosed.

“Another issue," he says, "is this collateralization of the revenue and where 70% of the revenue is put into the consolidated fund. How do you target the revenue into projects? Once it goes into the consolidated fund how do you supervise how that money is being spent.”

Djantua says government is voted into power to serve the people, so it has to be open about how oil money is being spent. If it fails to do so, Ghana could join the ranks of other African oil producing nations – where proceeds are unaccounted for and little of it benefits the average person.

 

 

Posted On Saturday, 22 December 2012 23:07 Written by

The Federal Government is to build a new N2.2bn banquet hall in the the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

An approval for the hall, according to the  Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Muhammed, was granted by the Federal Executive Council  during its meeting on Wednesday.

Wikipedia dictionary defines a banquet hall  as a room or building for the purpose of hosting a party, reception, or other social events.

There is an existing hall in the Villa where national events are held.

The proposed  150- capacity hall will have walk ways, security post, hall conveniences, technical room and press briefing room.

Defending the approval,  Muhammed, told State House correspondents that the council  did so  because smaller countries had befitting banquet halls in their seats of power.

Muhammed said the contract for the construction was awarded to Julius Berger, a company  that  is already in charge of services in the Presidential Villa.

He said, “The second project approved by council is the building of a 150-seater Banquet Hall in the Presidential Villa.

“We noticed that it(existing hall) is inconveniencing;  it is not in tandem with what is outside the country. Even smaller countries have better Banquet Halls near their Presidential residences. Of course, part of the things we are going to provide there is a 150-seater (hall) with all the facilities that will cover the walk ways, security, hall conveniences, technical room and press briefing room that  are  more and more enhanced so that national broadcast can be done from there.

“The contract was awarded in the sum of N2.2billion  to Julius Berger because they are more familiar with the terrain in the Presidential Villa and for security reasons.”

But the approval of the contract  for the hall was flayed by the Executive President, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Mr. Debo Adediran, as “irresponsible and wicked.”

Adediran, who  said the government did not care about the  welfare of the people, added,  “This goes a long way to demonstrate the weakness of our leaders. They only care for things that favour them, their relatives and their caucus.

“ This is unimaginable, it can never be done under a dedicated government. Of what use is the hall? Is it for them to deepen corruption or to legislate? Personal satisfaction must be suppressed for the country to grow.”

Posted On Thursday, 29 November 2012 20:28 Written by

Governor Adams Oshiomhole was Monday morning, sworn in for his second term in office at Ogbe Stadium, Benin City, southsouth Nigeria.

Oshiomhole won the governorship election held on 14 July 2012. Oshiomhole came into the stadium at 10. 38 am in company of Governors Rotiimi Amaechi, Emmanuel Uduaghan, Kayode Fayemi of Rivers, Delta and Ekiti states in that order.

Former governors Segun Osoba and Niyi Adebayo of Ogun and Ekiti states were also in the train.

Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State breezed into the venue 30 minutes later. Former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Aleogho Dokpesi boss DAAR Communications, owners of Africa Independent Television, AIT, were also there.

Oshiomhole proceeded at 10. 45 am to inspect four police guards of honour commanded by Augustine Ikoli, Abdullahi Jaffaru, Amaka Umaka and Umaru Chinka.

The Nigeria Police Band, established since 1930 and that of Edo, which has been in existence since 1968, provided martial beats.

At 11. 30 am, Rt Rev B. U. G. Imasuen of the Anglican Church and Chief Imam of Benin, Alhaji A. Inabulele said the opening prayers.

Justice Cromwell Idahosa, Chief Judge of Edo State, swore in the Deputy Governor Egberanwem Pius Odubu and Governor Adams Oshiomhole at 11. 45 am.

Present also at the occasion were a former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon; Chief Tom Ikimi, an Action Congress of Nigeria leader; Tony Momoh, a former Information Minister and Congress for Progressive Change National Chairman; Senator Domingo Obembe; Thomas Okosun, ACN Chaairman in Edo State; Augustine Akubueze, Catholic Archbishop; Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa, representing his father, Omonoboa Erediauwa, the Oba of Benin; Senator Daisy Danjuma; Patrick Obahiagbon, the Igodomigodo of Benin Kingdom and a former House of Representatives member who dazzled the lower legislative chamber.

Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State came in at 11. 50 am.

In April 2007, Oshiomhole won the governorship election, but his mandate was stolen. This was reaffirmed on 11 November, 2008 by the Court of Appeal in Benin City and he was sworn in on 12 November, 2008. And on 14 July, 2012, he won another election for a second term.

Posted On Monday, 12 November 2012 20:08 Written by

Website: http://www.southsouthnigeria.com/

Southsouthnigeria.com, a dating and social networking website for the people of South-South Nigeria in particular, and Nigerians in general has been launched. The website is free to join, but members have to be at least 18 years old. It is a project founded and promoted by the editors of www.xclusivenigeria.com, Nigeria's internet newspaper.

Southsouthnigeria.com was launched with a pledge to promote the region and people of South-south Nigeria, to provide a platform for romantic, social, economic, financial, business and political interaction.

A statement yesterday by its publishers said the website, a first of its kind, is primarily a "regional online dating platform for the people of South-south Nigeria, comprising Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Cross River State. We want to make dating among the people of South-south Nigeria, and between the region and the other parts of Nigeria simple and easy. Now, people looking for a wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, partner, spouce or whatever within the region know where to come to. Best of all, it is free. And membership is open to everybody, including Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike.

The statement sadi that the website was designed as as a respnse to the yearning of the people of the region for an authentic, regional dating site where men and women of South-south Nigerian origin, can mingle, date, socialize, and find their love interests and marriage partners within the region, and from other parts of the country too.
Diokpa Ebube Chike, executive editor said in the statement that, "www.southsouthnigeria.com, a media partner of www.xclusivenigeria.com, Nigeria's internet newspaper, was established to fill the void of an effective, reliable, trustworthy and responsible dating website for the people of the region."
According to him, the site is packaged with forums, blogs, music and video sections, photo section, search tools and a whole lot of other interesting sections for the entertainment of our members. "Southsouthnigeria.com is a dating site of the 21st century, built to the very best standards which the people of the region and Nigerians in general already enjoy from such established sites such as facebook and linkedln. Southsouthnigeria.com is set up to provide the highest standards in online dating experience. Join us now, and invite your friends. It is free to join."
Go to the video section of www.southsouthnigeria.com now, to check out the website:
Posted On Thursday, 13 September 2012 17:12 Written by

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), is not usually known to be a truely 'national pressure group' simply because it was setup as a political and cultural association of leaders of Northern Nigeria extraction, whose purpose it was to look into matters of serious concern to the people of the region, arising from the wave of violent religious and ethnic disturbances witnessed on a daily basis. The prevailing situation was tense and desperate, threatening the survival of the unity of the people, hence the founding of the forum more than a decade ago.

Ever since then, the ACF have not looked back, championing the cause of the North and it's people. Two of such, among others, included the forum's recommendation in 2001 that former Heads of State, Generals Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar defend themselves against allegations made against them at the Human Rights Investigations Commission, sitting in Abuja while the other was on the 16th of December 2009, where the forum issued a communiqué calling for further information on the health of the President, arguing in the process, that if a succession issue arose it should be resolved according to the constitution. This latter statement, which led to several others in the course of the late Yar'adua's incapacitation, almost tore the ACF apart with Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, a founding member, quitting the ACF as a result.

With the emergence of a Southerner as president coupled with the myriads of problem facing the country today, it is no surprise that the ACF in her comfort zone at Kaduna came out of her 'Northern shell' to bear it's mind on a national cankerworm as those of corruption.

The ACF ahead of it's zonal constitutional conferences, recommended capital punishment for corruption and
in its proposal submitted to the National Assembly,pointed out that “One crime that has proved capable of gravely harming or killing its victim in Nigeria is corruption". The statement went further to state that “...our laws have not recognised corruption for what it is. ACF recommends that corruption be recognised as a capital offence and made to carry capital punishment.”

Those words would have seemed quite heavy to keen observers and one which sounds too extreme on the alter of practicability, but if one considers the level at which corruption continues to eat deep into the country's socio-political and economic fabric, widening the gap between the ruler and ruled and deepening further the crisis of nationhood, the ACF statement should more than anything else be taken with much appreciation and seriousness.

Corruption is a hydra headed monster, an anomaly of the highest order, a fatal aberration, a colossal drawback and a pugnacious disease which has reduced the country to unparalled under-
development. Corruption is the reason the Lagos/Ibadan express road refuses to get a facelift despite the road contract awarded to a private consortium years back. It is the reason both the Harliburton and Siemens scandals are yet unresolved. Corruption is the reason this country cannot get its years of power outages fixed. It is the reason why hundred of scandals in the National Assembly refuses to go under the surgical knife of a prosecution judge and reason the oil cabal and subsidy feudal lords continues to allow the vast majority of the people wallow in misery

Corruption is the reason the vast masses of the people have become hewers of wood and drawers of water. It is the reason millions of people, reminiscent of the days of feudalism, have become who Frantz Fanon had termed 'the wretched of the earth'. It has led to a widening gap where those who can grab the nation's commonwealth do so at their peril, further plundering anything that comes their way and thereby systematically pushing aside the people who had agreed to form a social contract along with them. It is no wonder the country today is in a mess, with its rickety foundation almost willing to fall on everyone.

Since the war against corruption began few years back, what has been witnessed is a dawdle path to effective prosecution of corrupt officials or what this writer would term as 'humouric display behind the anti-corruption war'. Those who have either been accused by the drooling anti-corruption agencies of corruption or penned down for prosecution as a result of corrupt enrichment grow by the day, yet what is heard over and over again is an administration committed to the fight against the scourge of corruption.

To them, it is a top priority which they are fighting in all facets of the economy and which surprisingly they say is succeeding. The current administration's independence day speech even went a step further to state how the necessary agencies have put an end to several decades of endemic corruption associated with fertilizer and tractor procurement and distribution and also exposed decades of scam in the management of pensions and fuel subsidy, ensuring that the culprits are being brought to book.

As if Nigerians have not been fooled enough, the current administration did not realise it goofed when it claimed Transparency International (TI), in its latest report, 'noted that Nigeria is the second most improved country in the effort to curb corruption' despite the fact that only few notable Nigerians have been tried and sentenced for corruption, despite the fact that the subsidy thieves still walk freely in the land and despite the fact that the Lawan-Otedola bribery scandal remain swept under the carpet.

This writer make bold to say that the ACF statement on capital punishment for corruption is a pure attempt to correct an entrenched social ill that has bedevilled the country since the First Republic. It is a quick way to answer the corruption question in the country. It is a meal ticket to bringing sanity in the way we operate in government and the finest solution to a culture of impunity seemingly evident in all facets of the nation's polity.

If nations like China and Indonesia have applied and used capital punishment to solve the problem of corruption in their respective domain to make them economic giants, nothing stops Nigeria from doing same. A country can never attain economic and political triumph where impunity and corruption are warmly embraced. If corruption is properly dealt with using severe punishment like those the ACF had pointed out, the much touted cabal in the oil industry wouldn't have sprang up in the first place. Every political leader or individuals enthrusted with leadership position would rightly perform his or her duties. The country's electoral process would not be fraught with bribery scandals, monetary inducements and electoral malfeasance. The nation in general will be a better place for the vast majority of the people.

In as much as capital pubishment may look unfashionable in our contemporary international system, in a country like Nigeria where anything goes and where it is always business as usual, the need to look into the issue of capital punishment as a one stop solution to the monster called corruption is imperative. The days of dillydallying with corrupt officials, missing or absence of prosecuting judges, plea bargaining and all pretentious acts which impedes or obliterates the true fight against corruption must be over.

Nigeria must not remain a country where corruption thrives. It must be fought with strong political will with stringent measures put in place to put an end to it. The ACF has spoken, let those who have ears listen and get it right.

Posted On Saturday, 17 November 2012 03:49 Written by
The Nigerian Union of Journalists has extolled the virtues of late Elder Louis
Nkemegbunam Ani who died on August 3, 2012 at the ripe age of 81. Elder Ani, father
of former Press secretary to the Hon. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and one
time head of Press, Police Service Commission, Mr. Ikechukwu Ani, was an exceptional
Nigerian whose work of charity endeared him to many who came in contact with him.
Chairman of the Abuja Council of the Union, Mr. Chuks Ehirim in a condolence message
said the late Ani lived a life worthy of emulation. He described his commitment to
the work of God and selfless service to his community as strong pillars that should
guide those he left behind. Also the Chairman of the Correspondents Chapel of the
Union in Enugu State, Mr. Chris Oji prayed that God should give those Elder Ani left
behind, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.  

 The Former Minister of Commerce, Ambassador Idris Waziri in his condolence message described the deceased as a wonderful family man, loving father and a devout and committed Christian who has left imprints in the sand of time.
Elder Louis Nkemegbunam Ani until his death was a community leader, a
philanthropist and a practical  Christian who sowed the seed for the
 establishment of the Assemblies of God Church in Ibute Ameke Ngwo of
Enugu State with the donation of a piece of land.

  His remains will be buried on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at his residence in Ibute Ameke Ngwo Enugu State. He is survived by wife, Mrs. Beatrice Ani and son, Ikechukwu Ani.
Posted On Thursday, 13 September 2012 03:38 Written by

Apple has unveiled a taller, 4G-enabled iPhone at an event in San Francisco.

The device's new size allows it to display an extra row of app icons on its home screen.

The firm said it was 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S. However, it does not feature an NFC (near field communication) chip to allow it to make touchless payments.

Apple said the handset would work on Everything Everywhere's (EE) 4G LTE network in the UK.

The news is likely to give EE - which runs the local Orange and T-Mobile services - an advantage against its rivals which will not launch the higher-speed data service until 2013.

"I think it's obviously what the other networks feared would happen," said Matthew Howett, a telecoms analyst at Ovum.

"The question will be how many non-EE customers make the switch."

Apple said the handset would ship on 21 September.

Faster speeds

The new screen offers a 16:9 ratio, matching that of widescreen televisions.

But its 4in (10.2cm) size remains smaller than rival displays used by Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, LG, HTC and Sony's flagship models.

Phil Schiller - Apple's vice president of worldwide marketing, who unveiled the device - said existing apps would be shown with black borders until developers updated their products.

The handset also features a new Apple-designed chip, called the A6. Mr Schiller suggested this made it twice as powerful as the earlier model.

The camera is an eight megapixel model - the same as in the iPhone 4S, and a lower specification than LG and Sony's most recent devices.

However, Mr Schiller said the equipment and associated software meant the iPhone would create better photographs in low light than before.

The handset also uses a new, smaller, socket for its charger. This means owners will need to use an adapter to plug the device into existing speakers and other equipment. The adapter is listed as being £25 on Apple's site.

The handset does not offer wireless charging like Nokia's Lumia 920.

It will be sold with either 16 gigabytes, 32GB or 64GB of storage. The basic model will be sold for £529 in the UK, but the figure will be lower if bought with a network contract.

In addition to launching the new model, Apple will continue to ship versions of the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4, but is phasing out 2009's iPhone 3GS.

Reworked iTunes

Despite the fact that the iPhone 5 lacks several features found on its rivals, one analyst at the presentation thought it would prove popular.

"There are unprecedented levels of pent-up consumer demand that will ensure it eclipses all previous iPhone launches," said Ben Wood from CCS Insight.

"Newly rebranded UK network EE will be delighted by the fact the iPhone 5 supports the right flavour of 4G LTE technology."

However, another industry watcher thought that the firm might have made a mistake by rejecting new tech in order to make the model thinner.

"The decision to omit NFC in the iPhone 5 could cost Apple," said Fred Huet, managing director at Greenwich Consulting.

"It is just a matter of time before the smartphone replaces the plastic card, and by skipping this technology, Apple may have missed a valuable opportunity to take the lead in this market.

"With over 400 million active credit card accounts on file, Apple had a prime opportunity to convert its customers using a sleek mobile payment system tied to the iPhone."

Apple also announced iTunes, its media player and store for Macs and PCs, was being redesigned and would be released in October, and it also unveiled new iPods.

Big earner

The latest iPhone's performance will prove critical to Apple's fortunes.

According to the firm's most recent earnings report the iPhone and related services and accessories accounted for 52% of $120bn (£74bn) total net sales over the nine months running up to July - 98 million handsets were sold in that time.

That has helped boost its share price to new heights. At the end of last week the firm was worth $637.85bn based on its share price. That was the highest such valuation to date if you do not adjust Microsoft's 1998 figure for inflation.

However, competition is intensifying. While Apple's margins may be wider, Samsung's handset sales are growing at a faster pace.

According to data from IDC the South Korean firm accounted for 43.6% of the Western European smartphone market between April and June compared to Apple's 19%.

The figures will have been skewed by the fact that Samsung offers more models and the Galaxy S3 was a newer device than the equivalent iPhone, but one industry watcher said the rivalry could intensify over coming months.

"Samsung has been very efficient pushing and promoting their devices offering the biggest commissions to sales people," Francisco Jeronimo, research manager at IDC, told the BBC.

"The momentum they are gaining with consumers is very high and people see it as a very innovative brand - and customers are clearly looking for innovation rather than just refinements. Samsung will also be likely to make further gains by making price cuts before Christmas."

Apple's stock closed 1.4% higher.

Posted On Thursday, 13 September 2012 03:08 Written by

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