Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Liberia play Niger for Eagles

The Liberians who have been promised dollars rain to beat the Super Eagles are working hard to draw up the pay cheque. And as part of their build up programme, the Liberians are to take on Niger Republic on Sunday according to reports.

The Mena of Niger have proposed to stage the friendly at the Stade General Seyni Kountche in Niamey as part of their own build-up to their Africa Nations Cup qualifier return leg against the Guinea after they lost the first game 1-0 in Conakry. Incidentally, Niger and Nigeria played a goalless draw in another friendly in Niamey in August.

The Niger warm-up will be Liberia’s fourth international friendly in less than a month. They beat Malawi and Ghana 1-0 and 2-0 respectively before they lost 1-0 to Equatorial Guinea in Malabo.

The match in Calabar will determine which team qualifies between the Eagles and the Lone Star. The first leg ended 2-2 in Monrovia.

In Abuja the competition for places in the Eagles team has intensified. The arrival of Sharks’ Stanley Okoronkwo and Kalu Orji of Heartland has upped the battle for shirts among the 22 home based players in camp for the duel against the Lone Star on October 13 in Calabar.

The players who replaced Kano Pillars’ Papa Idris and Gabriel Reuben along with the 20 players that arrived in the camp earlier have increased the competition tempo.

“The end of the league season means we have to make sure all the players are super fit, we don’t have that worry with the European based players whom we see play week after week. The response of the players I must say has been wonderful and I commend them for their commitment to qualifying for the Nations Cup,” Eagles coach Stephen Keshi said on Wednesday.

Keshi who also addressed the media in Abuja on Wednesday said the team was motivated enough to be bother by the dollars bait given to the Liberians.

“We sure need money for the players and officials but that is not the motivation now, the need to return to the Nations Cup is the driving force and the players are sad that they missed out the last time and want to prove that they have returned to be among Africa’s best. Money will surely come later,” he said.

Some players based in Europe have pleaded to arrive in the country on Tuesday instead of Monday.

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Lucy Ejike of Nigeria celebrates winning silver medal in powerlifting at the Paralympic Games...on Sunday

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FG plans grants for flooded states

Federal Government is planning to give grants to states affected by floods.

Our correspondent learnt that the grants would form part of the support promised the affected states by President Goodluck Jonathan in his 52nd Independence anniversary address on Monday.

Jonathan said, “I have received the interim report of the presidential team that I set up to assess the flooding situation across the country. The Federal Government has taken measures to assist the affected states, while considering long term measures to check reccurrence.”

Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, told our correspondent on Wednesday that the move was aimed at assisting the affected states in rehabilitation the victims.

However, he did not disclose how much the grants would cost the government.

He said, “The speech of the President showed concrete steps being taken by the government on the issue of flooding.

“Although it is a global issue, the government considers it important to assist the affected states.

“The government is going to provide grants to support the states in rehabilitating the victims.

“It will also help in putting in place preventive measures in the states where flood may likely be recorded.

“The Federal Government and the states are already discussing and working out the modalities of the grants being planned.”

A government source told our correspondent that sending a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to cater for the intervention might not be ruled out.

The House of Representatives last week Wednesday passed a resolution asking Jonathan to send a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to address the flooding.

Meanwhile, Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Ewa, has asked scientists and technologists to adopt measures to reduce the impact of climate change in the country, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

Ewa, who was represented by Prof. Comfort Ekpo, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, made the call on Wednesday in Uyo at the First World Conference on Applied Science and Technology.

He urged scientists and technologists to find out how fossil fuel, said to be the principal cause of ozone layer depletion, could be made more friendly.

He noted that the change in weather conditions which had caused floods in many parts of the world, including Nigeria, was an indication that man’s activities could ruin entire mankind, if not checked.

Ewa said the floods were a wake-up call that climate change could render man’s developmental efforts useless, if concrete steps in research were not taken to alleviate the menace.

He said, “I want to say that recent events of extreme weather conditions and flooding across the world, including Nigeria, are a wake-up call to us.”

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Northern elders part of Nigeria’s problems – Ex-IG

Former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Gambo Jimeta

Former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Gambo Jimeta
| credits:

A former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Gambo Jimeta, on Wednesday accused members of the Northern Elders Forum of sowing seeds of discord in the country.

Specifically, he accused the elders of causing confusion in the polity in order to discredit the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Responding to a comment credited to the NEF that the Jonathan administration was worse than that of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the former police boss accused the northern elders of being hypocritical in their assessment.

Jimeta said instead of seeking real solutions to the nation’s problems, the elders “chose cowardly path to create confusion and mistrust.”

He said in a statement, “As for the unfortunate comment credited to the Northern Elders Forum that Jonathan’s government is worse than Obasanjo, it is disappointing to note that other Nigerians who should have been steering the course of nation building decided to pull those pillars down by sowing the seeds of enmity and political hypocrisy in order to distract Nigerians from the truth.

“Rather than rolling up their sleeves to actively find solutions to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians, they chose to pull us backward again and force us to play the blame game. The hydra-headed monster of collective responsibility in the nation’s down fall also has thousands of fingers pointing at those who sit in judgment in the Northern Elders’ Forum.”

Comparing the administrations of Jonathan and Obasanjo, he said, “How short is the memory of these Nigerians that they would choose to sweep away the cases of massive corruption that plagued the Obasanjo administration or the flagrant disregard of court judgments?

“What about the elections that brought the violent ethnic and religious crisis? The Jos and Kaduna crises all happened under his watch. Have they so easily forgotten the crisis in the aviation industry that saw a season of death through multiple air crashes?”

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INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega
Main entrance Federal Polytechnic, Mubi

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Tribunal upholds Uba’s election for Anambra South

The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, has dismissed the petition challenging the election of Sen. Andy Uba of the PDP as a senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District.

The petition was filed by the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the April, 2011, National Assembly election, Chuma Nzeribe.

Delivering judgment on Wednesday in Awka, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice G K Kaigama, said the petitioners failed to establish the allegation of corrupt practices.

The chairman, who added that they failed to establish allegation of falsification of results and over voting levelled against Uba, dismissed the petition

for lack of merit.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had conducted a re-run election

for the senatorial district following an allegation of electoral malpractice.

Reacting to the judgment, counsel to Nzeribe, Okwy Ejezie, said that the petitioners would appeal against the judgment, adding that the tribunal failed to address various issues raised during the trial.

“The judgment has made our case easier at the Appeal Court,’’ he said.

One of the supporters of Uba, Mr Osita Okonkwo, described the judgment of the tribunal as “erudite and well studied.’’

He said that it was ”a true reflection of the wishes of the electorate.”

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JAMB introduces three options for 2013 UTME

Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has introduced three options for the 2013 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for candidates.

Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, Registrar of JAMB, said this in Bwari, Abuja, on Wednesday when the House of Representatives Committee on Education visited him on an

oversight function.

Ojerinde listed the options as Paper and Pencil Testing (PPT), Dibu Based Test, where questions would be presented on computers and answers would be on paper and Computer Based Testing (CBT) where both questions and answers would be done on computer.

Ojerinde stated that candidates were at liberty to choose one of the three options in the 2013 UTME.

The registrar said that the most advantageous part of the CBT was that candidates would get their scores few minutes after writing the examination on their GSM cell phones.

“The internet age has come to stay with us hence as actors in the new age, you cannot afford to stay on the fence, you must be prepared to join the train or else you are left behind,” Dibu said.

He urged candidates to study hard for the 2013 UTME, adding that consistent hard work was the panacea to success in any examination.

Earlier, the Chairman of the House Committee on Education, Ms. Rose Oko, said the members were on a visit to the board because of the importance of education to the society.

“The examination process is very key and strategic in education as well as the sanctity of the examination,” she stressed.

Oko commended the board for its quick release of the 2012 UTME results and urged it to sustain the tempo.

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Amosun laments pipeline vandalism, fuel scarcity

Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, on Wednesday expressed sadness at the excruciating fuel scarcity in the South-West, arising from the vandalism of a vital pipeline at Arepo in Ogun State.

A statement by the governor’s Senior Special Assistant (Media), Mrs. Funmi Wakama, said he spoke in his office in Abeokuta when a delegation from the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria Western Zone, comprising Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Kwara and Kogi, led by its Chairman, Mr  Olumide Ogunmade, paid him a visit.

He sought a joint effort by all stakeholders to end the menace of pipeline vandals, whose activities led to the inferno at Arepo and shutdown of Mosimi depot.

He cautioned against indiscriminate parking of fuel tankers along the Lagos/ Ibadan highway, “which results in traffic congestion and economic losses.”

Ogunmade, who spoke earlier, urged the government to intervene in fast-tracking the repair of the pipeline, emphasising that the continued closure of Mosimi depot would not only result in job losses but hinder the smooth supply of petroleum products to all the states in the zone, as Lagos alone could not service the entire region.

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Four Nigerian peacekeepers killed in Sudan ambush

An ambush in Sudan’s western Darfur region killed four Nigerian peacekeepers and wounded eight, the UN-African Union Mission (UNAMID) said on Wednesday.

The attackers struck late Tuesday in the West Darfur state capital El-Geneina, the peacekeeping force told AFP.

“The incident, which involved a Nigerian military patrol, occurred approximately two kilometres (just over a mile) from the mission’s regional headquarters,” the force said.

“UNAMID personnel, who were heavily fired upon from several directions, returned fire. UNAMID and local authorities are work

ing at the scene of the incident.”

UNAMID Force Commander Lieutenant General Patrick Nyamvumba called on the Khartoum authorities to hunt down those responsible.

“The mission condemns in the strongest terms this criminal attack on our peacekeepers who are here in the service of Darfur’s people. I call on the government of Sudan to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.

Ethnic minority rebels rose against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government in 2003.

In response, the government unleashed state-backed Janjaweed Arab militia in a conflict that shocked the world and led to allegations of genocide.

The UN estimates at least 300,000 people died but the government puts the toll at 10,000.

UNAMID has been in Darfur for more than four years with a mandate to protect civilians in the vast area the size of France.

Although violence is down on its peak, clashes between rebels and government troops, banditry and inter-ethnic fighting continues.

Key rebel groups refused to sign a deal reached last year between the Khartoum regime and an alliance of smaller rebel splinter factions.

With more than 22,000

international troops and police officers, UNAMID has a budget of about $1.4 billion for 2012-13.

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Subsidy committee members arraigned over gratification

Four members of the Presidential Committee on Fuel Subsidy Verification, who allegedly received gratification from the Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd., on Wednesday appeared in court on  three counts.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the committee members were arraigned  before  a Tinubu Magistrates’ Court in Lagos, along with three executives of the oil company, who allegedly offered them N1.5 million as gratification.

The committee members are: Buhari Ganiyu (37), Alalade Abioye (30), Oni Oluwanishola (34) and Chukwujekwu Akabueze, whose age was not stated. Alalade and Akabueze are women.

Those from the Integrated oil and gas are: the Managing Director, Anthony Ihenacho, 57; Assistant General Manager, Humphrey Nwosu, 44; and Financial Controller, Akinwusi Julius, 50.

The three of them are male.

All the defendants are standing trial for alleged conspiracy, offering and receiving of gratification.

They, however, pleaded not guilty.

The prosecutor, SP Asuquo Effiong, said that the company executives, had on August 30 at the company’s office at Marine Road, Apapa, given the money to the committee as gratification.

He said that the committee members were being prosecuted for receiving the money in order to refrain from exercising their duties according to the rules.

Effiong said that the offences contravened Sections 409, 64, and 63 (1)(a)(b) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2011.The magistrate, Mr Martins Owumi, earlier turned down their bail application on personal recognition, and later granted each of them bail in the sum of N500, 000 with two sureties in like sum.

He adjourned the case till November 10 for further hearing.

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Flood: Primary school building collapses in Bayelsa

A building in a community primary school in Tombia in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has collapsed following the flood which submerged the town, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Chief Christian Otobotekere, the Amananaowei of Tombia, disclosed this when Dr Sylvanus Abila, the state Commissioner for Environment, and his team visited the area on a flood impact assessment tour.

Otobotekere appealed to the state and Federal governments to do everything possible to prevent flood water from ravaging the town.

He suggested the dredging of the community water channel and filling potholes dotting the town.

Meanwhile, Mr Lot Bino, a youth corps member at the Community Primary School, Tombia, said that the school had been shut down due to the flooding which had made learning impossible.

NAN reports that the commissioner’s team also visited Biseni and Kalama communities in Yenagoa Local Government area.

At Biseni, an indigene, Mr Nath Scot, noted that the flood had become an annual problem, forcing some residents to flee their homes while others bailed water from their houses daily.

Scot called for immediate assistance from the Bayelsa State Government.

Responding, Abila appealed to them to remain calm with an assurance that efforts were ongoing to provide relief materials to the affected communities.

NAN reports that several communities in six of the eight local government areas of Bayelsa had been submerged.Toru-Orua community in Sagbama local council, hometown of Gov. Seriake Dickson, was also affected.

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NUT gives January 2013 deadline for implementation of new teachers’ salary

Nigeria Union of Teachers on Wednesday set January 2013 as deadline for states that have not implemented the new Teachers’ Salary Structure to begin payment or face industrial disputes.

NUT National President, Mr. Michael Alogba-Olukoya, stated this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

The governors’ forum had in 2009 approved 27.5 per cent increase in salary of teachers in public schools, in line with the new Teachers Salary Scale.

Alogba-Olukoya lamented that 18 states were yet to commence implementation of the TSS.

He said that teachers’ welfare must always be held in high esteem, describing it as an important factor needed for the reform in the education sector.

According to the NUT president, the union has displayed enough patience and understanding by suspending its recent strike over the delay in the implementation.

Alogba-Olukoya observed that the affected governments were not showing concern to reciprocate the position of the teachers.

“We only suspended the strike, based on the intervention of the Minister of Education, who promised to prevail on all the defaulting state governments over the issue.

“However, we have started getting some commitments from some of the affected state governments who have promised to capture and commence the implementation of the TSS in their 2013 budgets.

“We, therefore, want to appeal to these state governments to be honourable enough to honour this agreement which we went into in 2009,” he said.

Alogba-Olukoya noted that teachers were not interested in strike because their position in national development was critical and should be treated with respect.

He warned that the union would not be held responsible for actions taken over non-implementation of the TSS by January 2013.

On the World Teachers Day, scheduled for October 5, Alogba-Olukoya said that series of activities had been lined up for the celebration.

“We have set aside a lot of activities to mark our day and celebrate ourselves in this part of the country because, truly we deserve to be celebrated.

“We shall also be using that day to officially co-opt teachers of all the 104 Unity Colleges across the country into our fold.

“You know that before now they had been seeing themselves as civil servants, even though they are all professional teachers,” he said.

Alogba-Olukoya said that the union was hopeful that the Federal Government would use the celebration to come out with policies that would create the enabling environment for teachers to perform optimally.

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Zamfara to boost education with two percent deduction from contracts

Zamfara State Government is to establish a law compelling all its contractors to give two per cent of their contract sum in order to boost the education sector.

Governor Abdulaziz Yari said this on Wednesday while receiving individual reports on education from all the emirate councils in the state, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

He explained that already, he had sent a bill to the state house of assembly requesting the legislators to review the law on the deductions from one per cent to two per cent as mandatory tax deductions from state government contracts, which would be added to education development in the state.

The governor, who set up the emirates’ education committees three weeks ago, noted that the state government could not handle educational development in the state alone.

Yari said with contributions received from contracts and other sources, it would allow the state government service other sectors such as healthcare, road construction, improvement of social welfare and provision of good drinking water.

He said from the reports submitted, the state government was now saddled with the responsibility of educating a total of 548,000 primary school aged children.

“So, we will have to review this year’s budgetary allocation to the education sector to about N5 billion, including collections from the Universal Basic Education Commission, in order to meet the target,” he said.

Yari said that various projects were currently ongoing under the Ministry of Education as well as that of science and technology, such as the building of staff quarters, expansion of schools and provision of furniture and learning materials.

The governor, who also set up a nine-man committee headed by Prof. Abdullahi Shinkafi, urged the committee to compile a summary of all the emirates’ submissions within three days in order to allow the state government start execution.

He also warned contractors handling projects under the sector to speed up and finish the projects or face the consequences.

He gave the contractors the next 30 days within which to finish their projects or have the projects transferred to more competent contractors.

Yari said that the state government had paid up all its contractual obligations, adding that funds meant for the payment of on-going projects had been in the state government coffers for the last seven months.

He said “anyone who completes his work, will be paid immediately.”

NAN reports that the concern of the governor on the development of the education sector had led to the setting up of a high-powered committee in 2011 to assess the problems of primary education.

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FG to engage 1,500 workers in irrigation project

The Federal Government will engage 1,500 workers through the Integrated Irrigation Dam Project in Eyekonrin-Araromi, Kwara, an official has said.

Managing Director of the Lower Niger River Basin Authority, Ilorin, Kwara State, Alhaji Abubakar Aduagba, announced this in Eyekonrin, Asa Local Government Area during the National Good Governance Tour to the project on Tuesday, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

Aduagba explained that the construction of the dam started in 2009 as constituency project of a member of House of Representatives, Mr. Ayo Adeseun, which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.

According to him, the 1.3 cubic metre dam will also provide 5,000 gallons of water per day for the people living in the area.

He also said that the National Directorate of Employment took advantage of the project to build structure in the area to train graduates in farming and fishing.

“The dam, which was built by a local contractor, is now 100 per cent completed and the full irrigation processes will start next year.

“The NDE is also taking the advantage of the project to build their structure in this area to train people in farming, fishing among others,” he said.

He, however, noted that the dam would not be operated by the Federal Government but by individual farmers who would be formed into cooperative groups.

Aduagba told the inspection team led by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, that the project cost was N630 million.

In another development, the Director-General of Michael Imoudu National Institute of Labour Studies, Ilorin, Dr. John Olanrewaju, said the Federal Government would spend N550 million on the construction of the institute.

Taking the team round the ongoing project in the institute during the tour, the director-general said N148 million had so far been spent on the construction of auditorium and road network.

Olanrewaju explained that the construction work in the institute would require N350 million while furniture and other facilities would take the rest amount.

He appreciated the Federal Government for accelerating development in the institute, saying that the institute, established in 1983, had suffered neglect in the past.

The director-general explained that the institute had now become a regional centre as labour unions across the West Africa were coming to the centre for trainings.

He commended the Federal Government for the support and lauded the state government for donating two blocks of hostel to the institute.

In his remarks, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu, said that the accelerated effort given to the institute was more than contribution from the previous government.

He added that the effort had made the institute a foremost trade union centre in Africa.

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Malawi president, Joyce Banda, explains pay cut, vows to sell official jet


Malawi President Joyce Banda has said that she has decided to take a 30 per cent pay cut as a demonstration that she is prepared to sacrifice in line with government’s austerity measures.

Vice-President Khumbo Kachali announced last Friday that he and his boss would take a 30 per cent pay cut as part of the Banda administration’s austerity measures.

Banda on her return from her maiden appearance at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday said, “The 30 per cent is what I got to become President of Malawi, so basically what I have done is to go back to my salary as vice-president.

“It may not be significant, it may not be a lot, but for me it’’ a demonstration that I am prepared to sacrifice.”

Banda, who is one of the few women to rule an African nation, ascended to power following the sudden death from cardiac arrest of her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika in April.

“I’m finishing President Bingu wa Mutharika’s term. I didn’t know that I was going to be president by this time, but I’m doing the best that I can, but the 30 per cent came along with that job, it can go,” she said.

Banda, 62, said when she told the vice-president to make the announcement while in New York, Kachali volunteered that he too would take the salary cut, the Pan African News Agency reports.

But she said she would not force the rest of her cabinet to follow suit.

“I think it would not be fair for me to insist that because this is the decision that I have made I should then insist that all cabinet ministers should do the same,” she said.

“It’s up to them.”

As part of her government’s austerity measures Banda also said her government was selling the controversial presidential jet in a fortnight.

Her predecessor, Mutharika, got into trouble with Malawi’s biggest aid donor, Great Britain, when he used donor money to buy the plane.

London reacted by reducing its annual aid allocation to Malawi by three million pounds.

Banda said, “My position on the plane is that I shall never fly that plane again, it has to go.”

Vice-President Kachali said the plane would be sold “in two weeks.”

The decision by the Banda administration to allow a 49 per cent devaluation hit Malawians hard in the pocket.

Wild-cat strikes followed with people accusing leaders of not suffering together with the people.

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Edo begins distribution of relief materials to flood victims

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State says the state government has started the distribution of relief materials to victims of the flood disaster in the state.

This is contained in a statement signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Peter Okhiria, in Benin on Tuesday.

The statement said Oshiomhole made this known after inspecting the affected areas, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

According to the statement, more than 30 communities of three local government areas – Etsako Central, Etsako East and Esan South East – are affected.

It added that Oshiomhole said the immediate release of funds would take care of the urgent needs of the victims.

It also stated that the distribution relief materials were being coordinated by the Chairman of the Relief Committee, Hajia Maimuna Momodu, in conjunction with the State Emergency Relief Agency.

The statement said the government would take adequate measure to ensure effective monitoring for even distribution of the materials to the victims.

It stated the governor appealed to the Federal Government to come to the aid of the victims.

The statement also listed the relief materials distributed to include mattresses, blankets, clothing, various food items, toiletries, beverages and drugs.

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