Tuesday, 21 November 2017

NEWS AND STORIES

Monday, 14 January 2013 20:00

Nigeria too old to disintegrate –Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday said despite the various challenges currently facing Nigeria, it was too old to disintegrate.

Having been together for about 100 years since the amalgamation of the North and South protectorates in 1914, the president said it was too late for any region in the country to ask for a “divorce.”

Jonathan spoke during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day inter-denominational service at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja.

He said, “In 2014, we are going to celebrate our centenary; our 100 years of existence.

“You cannot stay in a marriage for 100 years and say that is the time you will divorce. If there are issues that we have been managing, we will continue to manage them. We will not talk about separation.

“I always say that all nations of the world have their own history. Sometimes, people question the unity of this country, especially when you talk about the amalgamation of the South and North in 1914.

“If you look at the history of very big countries, some have very ugly past. It is for us who are alive today to reshape our future. We should begin to talk about those things that will bring unity and development.”

The President also warned leaders at all levels to desist from divisive tendencies, saying the country would overcome some of its challenges if the citizens loved one another and live in peace.

He said, “ If our leaders at all levels, whether political leaders, community or religious leaders, talk more about those things that divide us instead of those things that bring us together, then we will be encouraging younger ones who know little or nothing about the history of this country to do things differently.

“So, the best gift we can give to the armed forces and sister organisations, is for us in our daily utterances and activities to emphasise the need for us to live in peace, love ourselves and unite.

“Some people talk about disintegration of Nigeria. Even at political level, some people take it as a weapon of self-seeking when they want to discuss politics.

“My conviction and I believe that of everybody here is that Nigeria will continue to remain a united nation.

“Nigeria will not disintegrate. Anybody who is doing any research on sociology, psychology or political science can do his work, but Nigeria will remain one.”

Jonathan, who spoke also on the country’s greatness, attributed it to its size and diversity.

He said, “I always say that they say Nigeria is big, it is not because of the oil. There are smaller countries that produce more oil than us. What is the quantity of oil that we produce after all?

“Yes, we do produce but our oil per unit person is insignificant. But we are appreciated and we are still reckoned with in spite of our challenges because of our size and diversity both of the human beings and the environment.

“But when we work together, we will take this country to where we want to go. Where our children, our grandchildren and children yet unborn will be happy.”

On the security challenges, the President noted that security agents were doing well.

Jonathan said, “We sleep because our security agents have to stay awake. In some cases where things happen, people blame them. But for those of us who get daily reports about the security challenge we have, we know that these men and women have been doing very well.”

The Peoples Democratic Party has come under criticisms for appointing an ex-convict, Chief Bode George, into a panel to reorganise its Board of Trustees.

A Lagos High Court convicted George in 2009 for fraud after he served as Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority. He spent two years in prison.

Legal practitioners as well as civil rights groups, Anti-Corruption Network and Coalition against Corrupt Leaders, on Sunday, condemned the PDP’s action, saying the party had no respect for the public.

Executive Secretary of ACN and former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dino Melaye, and the Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, said the PDP’s decision was akin to legalising corruption.

Melaye said, “Almost everybody in the party (PDP) is an ex-convict, only time will tell. The party is about corruption, so corruption and corrupt persons mean nothing to them. He (Bode George) is still carrying our national honours and so you can see.”

Adeniran said, “Nobody is expected to associate with a corrupt convict that has not been discharged of the burden of guilt because such people will not do anything to discourage similar crimes.

“He is not going to discourage people of doubting integrity from assuming office as a political leader. By implication, such characters will infest others with the criminal virus because he exemplifies corruption. And since like begets like, whatever decision taken by any committee he is a member can only be seen as lacking in integrity.”

But two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Rotimi Jacobs and Yusuf Ali, who spoke to our correspondents, differed on the issue.

Jacobs, who   is  a counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, while condemning the development, said it was an indication that the PDP was not sincere in its anti-corruption war.

He said, “Is that how the PDP will be fighting corruption? Is that how the ruling party will fight corruption? For a party that is supposed to be fighting corruption, it is a very sad development. It is the shame of a nation.”

But, Ali noted that despite his conviction, George had the right to belong to, and participate in the activities of a political party.

He added that the appointment was a PDP affair, and that the party was not the Federal Government.

Ali said, “The party is not the government. We should not equate the party with the government. Since he belongs to the party, he can function within the party.

“Even conviction cannot stop somebody from belonging to a group or a trade union. If he belongs to a group, he can take part in the activities of the group. It is different from taking public office.”

Meanwhile, a member of the PDP BoT, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the President suggested George’s name at the meeting where the decision was taken.

The source said, “The President suggested his name. You know this is politics; the President is losing followership in the South-West and other zones, so the best he thinks he can do is to look for those who can work with him.

“If he thinks an ex-convict is the best person to reorganise his party, so be it.

“Don’t forget that he said recently that another ex-convict, Chief Diepreye Alamieseigha is his benefactor.

“Ironically, both George and Alamieseigha were convicted for corruption. He has the right to choose his friends.”

When contacted, the Secretary of the Board, Senator Wali Jibrin, declined to speak on the matter.

Asked whether the appointment would not send a wrong signal about the country’s fight against corruption, he said, “I don’t know anything about that.”

Impressive performances on the share prices of United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Forte Oil Plc and fifty other equities drove up the total market capitalisation of equities listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange, NSE by N128.22 billion last week.

The market capitalisation which opened at N9,12 trillion rose by 2.39 per cent to close at N9.34 trillion. Another market indicator, the All-Share Index in the week under review appreciated by 2.33 per cent to close at 29,202.01 points from 28,538.06 points.

The numbers of gainers in the week closed at fifty-two (52) compared with fifty-one (51) appreciations recorded penultimate week. United Bank for Africa Plc, UBA, topped the gainers chart for the week with 29.82 per cent share price appreciation to close N5.52 per share from N4.56 per share. This was followed by Forte Oil Plc that rose by 21.21 per cent to close at N9.83 per share, and Airline Services and Logistic Plc gained 19.32 per cent to close at N5.25 per share, among others.

On the other hand, twenty (20) equities recorded price depreciations compared with twelve (12) equities that recorded losses in the previous week. Dn Meyer Plc topped the losers chart for the week with 18.71 per cent depreciation to close at N1.26 per share from N1.55 per share. This was followed by NEM Insurance Plc that lost 13.11 per cent to close at N0.53 per share and NPF Microfinance Bank Plc  lost 11.86 per cent to close at N1.04 per share, among other losers.

Meanwhile, the total volume of equities traded in the week under review appreciated by 136 per cent, recording 2.15 billion shares valued at N16.99 billion compared with 914.86 million shares valued at N7.74 billion exchanged in 12,899 deals penultimate week.

The Financial Services sector emerged the most traded sector in the week in terms of volume. The volume traded in the sector last week closed at 1.68 billion shares valued at N12.05 billion exchanged in 19,947 deals compared with 602.98 billion shares valued at N5.07 billion exchanged in 8,074 deals in the preceding week. The volume traded in the sector accounted for 78.09 per cent of the entire market compared with 65.91 percent of the ratio recorded last week.

Sunday, 13 January 2013 21:00

Nigerian banking stock index rises 4.7 pct

LAGOS (Reuters) - The index of Nigeria's Top-10 banks closed up 4.7 percent on Monday, a significant gain for a sector which analysts expect to drive a stock market rally again this year.

Nigerian stocks rose to a 32-month high last Monday, ending 2012 up 34 percent in the index's best performance over the last five years, led by growth in consumer goods and banking.

The banking index gained 24 percent last year, but it trailed the consumer goods sector which rose 42 percent.

Analysts say banking shares have room to close up for a second year running, following a strong recovery in earnings after a 2009 financial crisis that nearly sunk nine lenders.

FCMB gained the maximum 10 percent allowed for stocks eligible for market making. Fidelity Bank, Skye Bank, UBA and Sterling Bank were up more than 9 percent each.

The all-share index gained 1.58 percent to 28,988 points.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC will tomorrow arraign the Deputy Speaker of Kaduna State House of Assembly, Hon. Mato Dary Dogara before a Federal High Court, Kaduna.

Dogara will be docked alongside five others, including Kabiru Tahir Malali and Ahmed Yahaya former Chairman and Treasurer respectively of Lere Local Government, Kaduna State on a six-count charge on contract over-invoicing and criminal diversion of funds.

Dogara is a former Chairman of Lere Local Government and had also  served as a commissioner in the state.

Another breakthrough came the way of security agents in their confrontation with members of the dreaded Jamaatu Ahlil Sunna Lidawati wal Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram, with the arrest of one of  the sect’s suspected  leaders, Hassan Pagi BUKAR, in the residence of a 2003-2007 member of the House of Representatives (names withheld).

The Boko Haram alleged leader was, according to sources, arrested along with the security guard of the erstwhile lawmaker.

Although the one-time member of the House of Reps was said to have been briefly arrested and interrogated, he has since been  a daily guest of the security agency that effected the arrest.

The arrest was reportedly  made in the Gwarimpa area of the Federal Capital territory, FCT, Abuja.

Sunday Vanguard  learnt, last night, that the arrest and interrogation of Bukar had started yielding results.

For instance, the suspect reportedly disclosed,  upon interrogation, that his brief as a sect member was to “carry out robbery activities by dispossessing members of the public of their cars”.

The security guard in the former House of the Reps member’s residence  (who was described as a mere gateman) was said to have been “employed from Sokoto”.

During further interrogation of Bukar, Sunday Vanguard was made to understand that the suspect disclosed that the cars used for suicide bombings by the sect were stolen vehicles.

One of the very indicting statements of Bukar, the  source said, “was that he implicated the former Rep by saying that he also buys some of the cars from him (Bukar) when they are stolen”

 

 

• Abdulsalami Abubakar Was Ready To Free Abiola

• I Was Surprised Over MKO‘s Sudden Death

• My Years At The Commonwealth

HAD the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, listened to the wise counsel of former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, and South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela, he would have spared the life of the Ogoni-born writer and rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Anyaoku, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, said he had pleaded with the late Abacha, and also got Mandela to prevail on the former head of state to temper justice with mercy.

The renowned diplomat, who turns 80 on Friday, however, hinted that the Federal Government, under Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, demonstrated willingness to release from detention Chief Moshood Kolawole Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 1993 presidential election, who died suddenly in prison.

Anyaoku and Admiral Mike Akhigbe, the then Chief of General Staff (CGS), were the last two people photographed with Abiola before his tragic death.

Anyaoku, as scribe of the Commonwealth during the heady days of the Abacha regime, said that Nigeria benefitted a lot from his Secretariat, as he was in regular touch with the Nigerian government.

He said that Gen. Abacha started out well, having attended the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa in April 1994.

Noting that, “relations between Nigeria and South Africa started off quite well,” he said that, “unfortunately, in 1995, there was a real rupture in the relations between the two countries.

According to him: “On the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, when information reached me that Ken Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues had been sentenced to death, I telephoned Abacha myself, to plead with him not to do anything.

“I got Nelson Mandela to also telephone Abacha and plead with him not to do anything. But, unfortunately, Abacha proceeded to execute Saro-Wiwa and co; and that precipitated a rupture of relations between Nigeria and the Commonwealth and most of the Commonwealth leaders.”

Giving insight into his role as a mediator at the time, Anyaoku said he spoke with Gen. Abubakar and observed that the former head of state needed no serious persuasion to release Abiola.

“I must make this very clear; he (Abubakar) did not need any persuasion because he himself had reached the decision that Abiola should be released,” he said

Anyaoku said he was, however, surprised when Abubakar called him after his (Anyaoku’s) departure (along with former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan) from Nigeria, to say Abiola had died.

He said his first reaction was to advise Abubakar that foreign pathologists be brought in for the post-mortem for Abiola; an advice, he said, the general heeded.

Not being a medical person, Anyaoku said he thought Abiola died of a heart attack until Abacha’s former Chief Security Officer (CSO), Hamza al-Mustapha, cast doubt on his belief.

“Heart attack could come to the most healthy-looking individual at any time,” he said of Abiola’s death, adding that statements attributed to al-Mustapha “cast doubts.”

“Well, that was what he (al-Mustapha) said, and I am not in a position to argue about that, but I believed it at the time that the international pathologists had found that it was a heart attack,” he said.

Anyaoku added: “But I need say, also, that I was very concerned about Abiola, when I saw him. He looked very healthy, very excited and then, I thought back about somebody like Terry Waite.

“Terry Waite was the envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury — who was kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanon.  He had gone to make peace, but was kidnapped and detained for over four years.

“When he was released, doctors attended to him for over a period of a couple of days, before he was exposed to the public. And I believe that the reason they did that was to slowly condition his system, including his heart, to the new circumstances.

“But Abiola had been told that he would be released and he was very excited.”

Saturday, 12 January 2013 20:48

Who has kidnapped Majek Fashek?

Nigeria’s reggae legend, Majek Fashek who is currently being managed by A-Plus Entertainment, a record company which rehabilitated him last year  is hospitalised at the moment. He was allegedly abducted recently by one of his friends who wanted to lure him into signing concert deals outside the shores of the country.

The CEO of the outfit, Hajia Oluremi Dangaji disclosed this ugly development to Showtime, during the week.

According to her, Majek who was due to drop his latest album this week, disappeared from his Gowon Estate apartment since last December without traces. However, after futile efforts to trace his whereabouts, the reggae legend  resurfaced few days ago, looking haggard, weak and pale.

Narrating Majek’s ordeal, Hajia who claimed that her company had spent over N35 million to get the reggae master back on his track, said “This meeting is meant to formally intimate you with my company’s project with superstar, Majek Fashek whose latest album is finally ready for the market.

Unfortunately, just as we were getting ready for the release scheduled for this month, we got a shocker during the past holidays that he had been kidnapped and taken to an unknown destination by people suspected to be enemies of progress.”

“While the nightmare lasted, Majek’s former manager called to inform us that he was hospitalised in Lagos. But later, we found out that he was whisked away by one of his friends, to Ghana, who wanted to force him to sign concert deals outside the shores of the country without the consent of his management company.”

Haija said, while in Ghana, Majek’s conscience did not allow him to do the bidding of his captors, as he decided to return to the country.

At the moment,  she said, Majek has gone back to his old lifestyle. “He has become a shadow of his old self, breaking bottles and behaving very abnormal. In fact, he has not been himself since he returned to the country. Right now, he is hospitalised. We are trying to  stabilize his condition. That’s why we deemed it fit to intimate you about the ugly development,” Haija narrated.

Haija, a widely-travelled entrepreneur and philanthropist  who hails from Edo State has since resolved to resuscitate Majek’s dwindling music career, as well as embarking on a musical tour of some European and American cities.

Igbo is one of Nigeria’s main ethnic groups where there are over 250. What is unique about them is the tenacity they display for hard work. These are Africans like any other, so their extra motivation for hard work must come from somewhere else. It is not because other Africans are lazier, indeed there are Africans equally motivated if not more. But the average Igbo is more driven. When anthropologists study a group of people, many times they find what they want including some surprises like any scientific study.

The answer is their indifference to laziness or unsuccessful men usually referred to as efulefu. We saw some of that in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Unfortunately, this noble quality may be missing in all Nigerians since the arrival of the Oil curse. Some Nigerians have relaxed and are more interested in easy money as displayed and stolen by their leaders. Yet there are many Nigerians that work too hard to fit into any classification.

However, this does not take anything away from Igbo as we know them in Nigeria and beyond. When we were growing up in Lagos, it was easier for the Igbo man to find jobs than a Yoruba or Hausa man. The closest people that were also industrious were from Calabar area usually called Eteh. But the Igbo distinguished themselves as the most trust worthy and loyal to most of their employers. So a Yoruba man would hire an Igbo man if he wanted his business to prosper.

The Edo, Ijaw and Calabar were more prominent in Western Nigeria before the Igbo but the special attributes displayed by Igbo won them better jobs even before their hosts in many cases. While there are settlements that could be pointed to as mostly Ijebu, Tapa, Edo and Ijaw, there were none for the Igbo except business and trading places.

On top of their enviable qualities is what they do with their money. They spend it wisely. A familiar example is those with High School diploma. It was about 15 pounds per month before and just after the civil war. Out of that 15 pounds, an Igbo man would pay rent of about 5 pounds or less, pay for cloths, food and transport which was about one shilling (12 kobo) to and from work per day. The miracle to us was that they would still send 5 pounds home.

It must be emphasized again that it was not only Igbo men that were that smart since many others from different parts of Nigeria did the same but the Igbo were unique because most of them did it. Those of us living at home, given free food but had to buy our fancy cloths. Since a store like Chellarams might have “double two” shirts for one pound one, that was one guinea or one quid one shilling. We might also buy “Ballee” shoes. In short, by the time we spent on Bar Beach refreshments, Maharani and Sunday Jump, there was little left.

They were so disciplined, almost to a fault. When it came to the time to marry, girl friends if any, were abandoned. There was this man that brought a young beautiful girl from home. He told us that was his sister that followed him from home to attend high school. Well, most brothers and parents were very protective. We were all after this beautiful girl but only one of us spoke Igbo fluently because his parents were Igbo. He would talk to the girl but we made the mistake of following her home one day. The man came out with a machete, that was his wife!

When we were in primary school, we used to trade curses and most of us knew all the bad words in Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. For some reason, one Igbo boy was getting more laughs than this writer and he became suspicious. One of his friends later told him it was because all his curses were redirected to his parents in Igbo. From then on we learned that if your opponent was trading more curses than you, redirect them to his parents in Igbo or Hausa. It was fun!

After each session which usually took place during breaks anyway, we would laugh over it and instantly rate one another as the best. The reason this is important to bring out is that young men and women have lost their amicable friendship these days. The types of insults they trade these days are worse than the curses we traded in those days. Even more dangerous is that they become enemies thereafter.

These insults between young men and women either on internet sites or to one another in the open is so poisonous, it creates unpalatable environment that can foster friendship and the spirit of brotherhood. Some of them are so scary, one wonders if they are going to start another war. They tell everyone the last war was child play compared to the one that is coming.

How and when did it get to this stage? Older folks did not tell their children how we got along in those days and what Hausa, Igbo, Beroni, Efik, Yoruba etc brought to the table and shared. Some of us even spilled bile to poison our children against one another. The scar of the war has not healed. Africans do not depend on psychologists and sociologists to heel pain of the heart after a war. We depend on our elders. Elders have failed to ameliorate and learn from the war.

Each time riots, killing and maiming occur in any parts of Nigeria under the guise of religion or land disputes, only one group as victims, relate it to another war more than any other group. Those that leave their homeland on sojourn for better life elsewhere do it because more than any other group in Nigeria, failure is not an option in Ndi-Igbo. The Hausa believe that only God provides for tomorrow accepting his destiny. The Yoruba are halfway between Hausa and Igbo.

Please make no mistake about it, that clearly demarcated belief is old school though we still see the vestiges of them in each group. These days Hausa honesty, Igbo hard work and Yoruba accommodation have run thin. But we must keep on reminding ourselves why we got along so well in the past and strive to recreate and renew what brought us amicable together.

 

Saturday, 12 January 2013 17:27

Nollywood bids farewell to Enebeli Enebuwa

Eyes popped on the streets of Lagos as Segun Arinze coordinated the traffic. Onlookers waved at Charles Okafor. Cars stopped, not for traffic lights but to gaze at Joseph Benjamin. Celebrities walked the streets, because Enebeli Elebuwa now walks in the land of the dead. A bitter-sweet-celebration formed the candle light procession organised in honour of the departed veteran actor by the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN). The procession commenced from Masha bus stop,  in Surulere and terminated at the National Stadium complex amid grief.

The parade included the high and mighty in the movie industry. They included the incumbent president of AGN, Miss Ibinabo Fiberesima, Segun Arinze, Joseph Benjamin, Monalisa Chinda, Rita Dominic, Uche Jombo, Okey Bakassi and Charles Inojie. Others were Yul Edochie, Halima Abubakar, Yaw,  Richard Mofe-Damijo who  represented Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State,  Zack Orji, Stephanie Okereke, Julius Agwu among other celebrities.

The event was anchored by Okey Bakassi. Despite the mood of the gathering, there seemed to be an underlying excitement in the air, as onlookers watched with keen interest. At the stadium, the celebrities took turns to pay their last respect to their senior colleague.

AGN President, Ibinabo, sang  songs of praises to God, just as the deceased’s family made a brief remark about the departed actor.

What many would consider as the highpoint of the evening was Stephanie Okereke’s farewell address  to Enebeli.

Invited by the compere,  emotion-laden Steph, representing the big girls in Nollywood  knelt down with tears rolling down her cheeks, as she cried out,  “Lord, we would not bury anyone again this year, we declare every sick person healed today in Jesus name. ”

Soon, it was the turn of ace-comedian, Julius Agwu,  who sang soul-rendering songs that moved everyone in the gathering as he reeled out the names of all the departed Nollywood actors, including Enebeli.

In her speech, AGN president advised Nollywood practitioners to be more conscious of their health, explaining the need for them to embrace the health programme of the guild by simply registering with the sum of N1,000. It was a night of celebration of the life and times of Enebeli Elebuwa who died last December, in India.

Africa Reporters Television (ARTV)

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