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  • Nubi Achebo
    Buhari shuns National Honour *IBB, Anenih, 229 others honoured By Charles Ozoemena Wednesday, December 17, 2003 Abuja— FORMER military Head of State and
    Message 1 of 260 , Dec 17, 2003
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      Buhari shuns National Honour *IBB, Anenih, 229 others honoured

      By Charles Ozoemena
      Wednesday, December 17, 2003

      Abuja� FORMER  military Head of State and presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the last general elections, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), yesterday shunned the conferment ceremony of national honours on awardees where he would have received the country�s highest award, the Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR).
      But, former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, was present to receive his own award amid cheers from the audience at the well-attended ceremony held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. A total of 231 Nigerians, including seven foreigners, were conferred with different categories of the awards.
      The award of General Buhari was the first to be announced by the masters of the ceremony, but the retired military general was no where to be found inside the hall. His absence not withstanding, his citation was read. He had no representative either to receive the award on his behalf. General Buhari had earlier said there was no need for him to attend the ceremony or receive the award since he had been so honoured by the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar. Government, however, reacted that since Buhari had not been formally decorated and presented with the said award, traditional with such honours, he, therefore, could not be described as a recipient of the award.
      Speaking at the ceremony, President Obasanjo challenged Nigerians and foreigners alike to rise to the task of building a great Nigeria, pledging that he was committed to harnessing the human and material resources for the betterment of the citizenry. Charging the recipients to remain role models in the society, President Obasanjo said: �In this onerous task of nation-building, we are all stakeholders. No citizen or foreign national residing within Nigerian territory can afford to sit on the fence. All hands must be on the deck to develop the country to an enviable position among the comity of nations. Let me, once again, underscore the determination of this government to harness the human and material resources which Nigeria is amply endowed to empower the Nigerian people to continuously improve the quality of their lives.�
      Obasanjo advised public servants to display the highest sense of responsibilities and contribute meaningfully to the development of the country.
      The ceremony was witnessed by Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Senate President, Chief Adolphus Wabara;  Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu  Masari; members of the diplomatic corps and other distinguished Nigerians.
      Apart from General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.), other important Nigerians honoured were Chief Chukwuemeka Anyaoku; General Buba Marwa (rtd.); Alhaji Yahaya Gusau; Chief Lekan Are; Ambassador Aderemi Esan; renowned playwright and philanthropist, Prof. Iyorwuse Hagher; former Works Minister, Chief Tony Anenih; Ambassador Walter Carrington; Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun; renowned female musician, Onyeka Onwenu; and 103-year-old blind woman from Oyo State who was honoured for her services to humanity High Chief Munirat Adedotun.

       
       
       

      Akande emerges Lagos AD faction chairman, Akinfenwa wins in Abuja

      By Bolade Omonijo, Emmanuel Aziken & Olasunkanmi Akoni
      Wednesday, December 17, 2003

      LAGOS� ALLIANCE  for Democracy (AD) emerged yesterday with two parallel national executives as the two factions held separate conventions in Lagos and Abuja. In Lagos, where four former governors joined the Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and a former national chairman, Ambassador Mamman Yusuf, to "reorganise the party, Chief Adebisi Akande, former governor of Osun State, emerged the new national chairman of the party while the former chairman, Alhaji Abdulkadir Ahmed, was expelled from the party. Mr Sylvanus David Lot, from Plateau State, was elected the new secretary while the former secretary, By Chudi Nwike, was made the new treasurer.
      To strengthen the party, leaders from other parts of the country were injected into the leadership. They include Senator Patrick Aga, from Nasarawa State, who is the new national vice chairman for the North-Central; Dr Bala Takaya, from Adamawa State, who is an ex-officio member of the National Executive Committee; Senator U. J. Yonanna, from Taraba State, who is the national vice chairman for the North-East and Dr Ken Mordi, who is the national vice chairman for the South-South zone.
      The organising secretary is Mr Chris Iki, while the publicity secretary is Comrade Umar Farouk.
      All the new national leaders emerged by consensus after a motion moved by Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi and seconded by Alhaji Garba Dogondaji from Sokoto State was endorsed by a voice vote.
      The most dramatic moment of the convention came with the motion for the expulsion of Alhaji Ahmed Abdulkadir from the party. The motion, moved by the Gombe State chairman, Alhaji Nuhu Garba, was seconded by the Adamawa State chairman , Dr Musa Farouk.
      lAbdulkadir�s expulsion motion
      According to Alhaji Garuba: who moved the motion:  �Since Abdulkadir became the chairman of the party he has not in anyway helped any AD candidate to win an election in his state. He has failed to assist in paying for the construction of the state party secretariat, it was only Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan that largely funded the project.
      �He also failed to contribute to the funding of AD electioneering campaign in Gombe. He has displayed unconcerned attitude to the cause of AD in Gombe.
      �He has also mortgaged his party, AD, for People�s Democratic Party (PDP). He is greedy, selfish and only shows interest in what he would benefit from.�
      Supporting the motion for his expulsion, AD chairman in Adamawa, Alhaji Isa Farouk, added that though Abdulkadir and himself were from the same geographical zone, from Gombe, his expulsion became necessary following his romance with PDP and various atrocities he has committed. His word: �He is singularly responsible for the total fall of AD in the South-West during the last general elections
      After the motion detailing the alleged anti-party activities committed by the former chairman, secretary of the national convention committee, Wunmi Bewaji, declared the former chairman duly expelled.
      He said: �In strict compliance with Article 16 (9&!0) of the constitution of Alliance for Democracy, Alhaji Abdulkadir stands expelled from our great party, AD, this 16th day of December, 2003.�
      Those present at the Lagos convention of the party included former Minister of Sports who was the gubernatorial candidate of the party in Plateau State, Mr Damishi  Sango; former Borno State governor, Alhaji Malla Kachalla who flew the AD�s flag in the last governorship election; Alhaji Lai Mohammed from Kwara State; Senators James Kolawole; Tokunbo Afikuyomi; Musiliu Obanikoro; Olorunnimbe Mamora and former Senators Olabiyi Durojaiye and Patrick Aga.
      Both the chief host and the newly elected chairman pledged to work to turn around the party�s fortunes.
      The way forward would be determined by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which is expected to announce which of the two factions is recognised. Organisers of the Lagos convention said the commission was represented at the convention, an indication that it had received official backing.
      lAkinfenwa wins in Abuja
      In Abuja, the story was different as  former AD Senate Leader, Chief Mojisola Akinfenwa, was made the new national chairman at a convention organised by the Abdulkadir faction .
      The Abuja convention boycotted by all former AD governors was, however, buoyed by the presence of some national officers of the party and reportedly, low level officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).Convention chairman, Rev. Fr. Moses Adasu, welcoming delegates acknowledged the difficult straits of the party but labeled all those absent at the convention as enemies of the party and democracy.
      Outgoing national chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Abdulkadir, dismissing the parallel convention in Lagos said the party could not be used by an individual, even as he dismissed the Lagos show as a state congress of the illegal 57 new local governments created by the Governor Bola Tinubu administration.
      Other prominent officials elected or returned unopposed at the Abuja convention include Alhaji Mohammed Makinta, deputy national chairman (North); Ayu Obong Charles Eno, Deputy National Chairman (South); Chief Rafiu Jafojo, national vice chairman (South-West); Rev. Dr. Abubakar Manzo, national secretary; Mr. Felix Ogbuagu, national treasurer and Alhaji Rafiu Salau, national publicity secretary.
      The contest for the post of assistant national secretary zoned to Oyo State was suspended following sustained acrimony between members of the Oyo State stakeholders and supporters of former Governor Lam Adeshina.
      The party convention at the Abuja Eagle square attended by several hundred delegates was protected by hundreds of anti-riot policemen and conventional policemen. Commissioner of Police, Federal Operations, Mr. Lawrence Alobi, supervised the operations.
      The Lagos delegation to the convention led by Chief Jafojo was a coalition of Afenifere groups in the party and in a twist of humour were conspicuously positioned at the entrance of the Eagle Square with prominent banners proclaiming their presence.Besides, a sprinkling of members of the National Assembly from outside Lagos State were present including Rep. Babatunde Oduyoye and Rep. Ayo Adeseun.
      Also present were former Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) President, Comrade Pascal Bafyau; Afenifere Lagos chieftain, Chief Supo Shonibare; former AD House Leader, Mr. Oladipo Olaitan and officials of the Oyo State Stakeholders Forum.
      Senator Akinfenwa, responding to his election as chairman after the withdrawal of Chief Mike Odurinde from the race, promised to work towards the restoration of unity in the party.
      �We have a monumental task ahead of us. But with the team of highly focused and dedicated men and women that you have put together in your wisdom, through your unsolicted votes we shall overcome.�I have a mission, a mission thrust on me by your overwhelming support for me and providence. To this mission I shall dedicate the remainder of my life �� A mission to make this our great party a truly national party in every sense of the word.���A mission to make the Alliance for Democracy our party and not the party of any individual or group of individuals myself even as your national chairman inclusive.�

       

      NITEL rapidly loses business to PTOs in Lagos

      By Godfrey Ikhemuemhe
      Wednesday, December 17, 2003

      AFTER failed attempts at privatising NITEL, feelers from the industry indicate that the former telecommunication monopoly is fast losing its market to Private Telecommunications Operators otherwise known as PTOs and broadband companies. This is even as the company concludes plans to introduce 250,000 lines into the commercial city of Lagos to increase its market share.
      The area  where NITEL is most hit is Lagos which hitherto contributed no less than 75% of  its  revenue. In Lagos, the aggressive marketing of PTOs and the broad range of services they offer have warmed them into the hearts of private and business users.
      On the other hand, the poor service delivery of the telecom giant has increasingly led to the replacement of their lines by those of PTOs.
      The entry of private company into the broadband market represents the greatest threat to NITEL yet. With dwindling revenue from voice, NITEL had gotten much of its revenue from selling bandwidth to commercial enterprises like banks, oil companies and telecommunications companies. But that was of old. With the liberalisation of the sector, private companies had come strongly into the market, displacing NITEL.
      The strongest companies in this sector that have displaced NITEL in Lagos include 21st Centuries Technologies and VGC Telecom. Today these two companies have virtually taken over this segment of the telecom business from NITEL in Lagos providing bandwitdh for the networking needs of the private sector enterprises in Oil and Gas, Banking and Telecommunications.
      Indeed while NITEL is still battling with restructuring and repositioning, these companies are streghtening their positions in the market, futher entrenching themselves.
      Only last month, 21st Century Technologies secured a N400 million loan facilities from local finance institutions to strengthen its network. In the same vein, VGC telecom has only recently gotten an N850 million facility to also strengthen its investment. Both companies have a fibre optic network around Victoria Island and Ikoyi to ensure efficient service delivery.
      Even the PTOs are in the broadband business. Mobitel for instance is also strong in this segment of the market offering service to banks, oil companies and even colleagues in the telecommunications business. Engr. Joseph, Managing Director of the company said last week that this aspect of the business represented a potential growth area for the business.
      Other PTOs in the business include Multi Links and Intercellular.
      In the popular voice market, even more PTOs are competing for the Lagos market with NITEL. They include Intercellular, Emis,  Starcomms, Multi Links, Reltel, VGC, XPT, Mobitel, Discom, and more. Their flexibility and good service delivery have put them ahead of NITEL.
      A clear indication that PTOs are eating deep into NITEL business, said a telecom marketer, Mr Godwin Eke is the fact that there is hardly any company in Lagos today that does not have a PTO line on its Letter Head. �Some do not even have any NITEL line at all and of those with NITEL lines, they are most likely supported by a PTO�s line,� he contended.
      NITEL�s Lagos business is even made worse by the advent of GSM. With GSM most of the potential subscribers who have waited for NITEL lines years on end now find an alternative in GSM. The implication of this for NITEL is that a large chunk of its most dependable market has been eroded by GSM companies.
      Meanwhile, NITEL has concluded arrangements to introduce 250,000 lines into the Lagos market to do battle with the PTOs. At N11,000, the company believes it can lure back a large chunk of its potential  subscribers who have been on the queue for years for its lines. NITEL is expected to adopt the fixed wireless technology to attain rapid deployment of the 250,000 lines.

       

       

      Intel organises training for partners in Nigeria


      Wednesday, December 17, 2003

      Intel, the worlds largest chip maker last week launched its marketing activities in Nigeria with a Channel Conference for resellers and system integrators in Lagos.  The Intel Channel Conference (ICC) which held at the Le' Meridian hotel provided a forum for a series of training, networking opportunities and third party vendor showcases. The programme is expected to reach 20,000 channel program members across EMEA and a staggering 60,000 worldwide
      before the end of the year.
      In specific terms, the Intel Channel programmes help resellers and system builders integrate, service and sell Intel products.
      During the ICC, members have access to many benefits including technical support, demo products,
      training, co-operative marketing funds, financial rebates and interactive marketing tools.
      �The channel is a key driving force for Intel�s continued business growth and in return, we are
       continuing to make strong investments to develop and build upon its success,� commented Calum Chisholm, regional channel manager, South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa. �Through comprehensive training, demos and technology showcases, the Intel Channel Conferences offer our channel members the necessary tools and resources to deliver cutting edge Intel based solutions in an increasingly competitive market.�
      Targeted at owners, managers and technical personnel from Intel Product Integrators and Intel Premier provider, the Intel Channel Conferences provide necessary information on the current state of the
      industry as well as Intel�s roadmaps, strategies, and technologies for the desktop, server, mobile and networking markets. These events will take place under the theme: �Expand your capabilities, extend your boundaries�.
      A major focus of the channel conferences is to help Intel channel-members to expand their mobile business opportunities. Attendees have access to seminars on wireless sales training and workshops designed to help resellers and system integrators develop secure solutions based on Intel Centrino Mobile technology.
      Intel currently has more than 120,000 channel program members around the world.

       
       
       

      Globacom introduces new package

      By Prince Osuagwu
      Wednesday, December 17, 2003

      Perhaps in its continued effort to ensure that every Nigerian not only acquires their own personal phones but also at affordable prices, Globacom, says its GSM arm, Glo Mobile has introduced a new product into the market.
       The product tagged  �Talk Now�, according to the company, is also targeted at giving  Nigerians a tangible gift capable of meeting their desires in the country�s telecommunications history.
      Presenting the package, the company�s executive director, Mr. Paddy Adenuga, said that for long Nigerians had not been given what they desired in telecommunication and this is what Globacon aims to do in the country.Explaining the spices that accompanied the new products to journalists, the company�s Senior Manager, Marketing Mr. Ashok Israni said that subscribers could get an exclusive TalkNow phone pack, including a Sim card and an Alcatel 311 phone with a down payment of N9,999. The balance of N6,000 will then be deducted from subsequent airtime account in three monthly installments of N1,333.33 and an additional two installments of N1,000 only.
      Israni also said that with the company�s unique TalkNow offer, subscribers could now connect to Glo Mobile for only N2,999, while the balance of N4,000 will be paid by the subscriber over a period of three months through recharge cards. This only applies to the Prepaid Classic and attracts a monthly installment of N1,333.33. which comes with a free airtime of N500.
      While the TalkNow Classic SIM pack costs a total of N6,999 to acquire, TalkNow classic phone pack costs a total of N15,999. And whereas the payment plan for the TalkNow Sim is for three months, that of TalkNow has been staggered over five months to take away the burden of payment from the subscriber and make him meet his other monetary demands .
      Globacom, however, wants Nigerians to be able to communicate with one another without being hampered by the problems of funds and ensuring that they communicate while having money to spend during the Yuletide.The present season�s offering according to Globacom, is in the continuation of its desire to make Nigerians keep in touch at very affordable rates.
      The company has the record of having introduced the Per Second Billing option when competitors said it was not possible to do so and had also started on lower tariffs which other companies have taken a cue from.
      Apart from introducing products which seemingly have the Nigerian people at heart, the company is giving the latest and most sophisticated telecom technology to the country.

       It claimed to be the first network in Nigeria to introduce high-speed 2.5G data on the network, technically named GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), which gives subscribers the ability to enjoy the next generation of data services directly through their mobile phones.
      The company is also the first to launch multimedia messaging service in Nigeria. This technology enables subscribers to send enhanced text messages, sound and pictures to their beloved and, at the moment, this service is offered free of charge to Glo Mobile subscribers.
      Glo mobile said it is also offering the fastest spread ever witnessed in the history of Nigerian telecommunication with presence in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Ibadan, Ijebu and all the adjoining towns and cities. Others include Badagry, Seme, Epe (Lekki Expressway), Lagos- Ibadan Expressway, covering Ogere, Redeemed, Shagamu all through to Ibadan.
      Although not yet launched, in Benin, Onitsha, Clabar, Asaba and Eket it said all these places are  ready as it plans to roll out soon in Abeokuta, Benin-Ekpoma Road, Lagos-Bening Expressway, Aba, Nnewi and Uyo.

       

      MTN acknowledges poor network performance, appeals for patience


      Wednesday, December 17, 2003

      THE poor performance of the MTN network over the week has drawn apologies from the company. In a statement, MTN agreed that its network had been performing below standards. The statement read thus: " MTN is aware that a number of subscribers are experiencing problems in connecting to the network, and would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to those subscribers affected by the interruptions.
      The occasional interruptions to the network service are caused by the high levels of migration resulting from the newly introduced Per Second Billing (PSB) option, which is proving popular amongst subscribers.
      Vanguard had reported exclusively after the network's announcement of per second billing that it was likely to cause more problems for the network's subscribers given the protracted problems of congestion that it was facing at that time.
      Afam Edozie, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, MTN Nigeria said: �The level of migration to PSB has far exceeded projections that were made in the planning stages,� adding that �over one million MTN subscribers have migrated to per second billing in barely two weeks.�
      MTN would like to reassure subscribers that it is working around the clock to increase capacity on the network to ensure that interruptions are reduced to the minimum.
      To cope with demand for the new PSB option, MTN will be implementing an accelerated increase in the switching capacity to cope with the surging demand on its switching resources.
      In addition, Edozie explained that the Per Second Billing platform would be temporarily restricted to new entrants, while sales of starter packs on the MTN Pay As You Go platform will also be temporarily restricted.
      �We believe that these temporary measures will enable us to focus on significantly enhancing capacity to adequately cope with increasingly demand on our network�, said Edozie.
      MTN has so far spread coverage to 58 cities and more than 1000 villages and communities across Nigeria. In addition, the company provides coverage on a growing number of roads and highways in the country.
      MTN currently has operational, 665 base stations across the country. The company has so far installed fourteen mobile switching centres in Ikoyi, Lagos (two), Ojota, Lagos (three), Port Harcourt (three), Abuja (two), lbadan, Asaba (2) and Kano.
      MTN attained the one million active subscriber mark on February 10, 2003, and had as at September 30, 2003, one million three hundred and eighty one thousand (1, 381,000) active subscribers on its network. The company subsists on the core brand values of leadership, integrity, innovation, relationships and a �can do� attitude, a belief that nothing is impossible.

       

      Ahead of launch, Telenor takes over MTS management

      By Okoh Aihe
      Wednesday, December 17, 2003

      In preparation for a full blown launch in the days ahead, MTS First Wireless has secured the management services of Telecom Management Partner (TMP) to run its services for the first three years of launch. The management contract signed recently covers the provision of strategic, technical and operational expertise for nationwide activation of the company�s four national telecom licenses.
      TMP is the management consulting arm of Telenor, the Norwegian National Telecom operator, which among other assignments, is currently managing Ghana�s national telecommunications operators, Ghana Telecom.
      MTS currently holds four national telecom licences, namely: National Wireless, National Long Distance communications, International Data Access, and Internet Service Provider Licenses.
      By this contract, Head, Corporate Affairs, Mr Reuben Muoka informed, TMP will supply senior executives and specialists, who will work with the existing MTS First Wireless team, to ensure the development of the business and transfer knowledge to the Nigerian staff. The company, Muoka added, will co-operate with Accenture, the MTS consultants in the areas of market sizing, and financial modeling.
      Boss of MTS First Wireless, Engr. Richmond Aggrey explained that the signing of the management agreement is part of the company�s core strategic plan and vision to develop an efficient telecommunications network in Nigeria in line with international telecommunications service best standards and practices.  
      A spokesman for the Telenor team, Mr. Neville Robertson whose excitement confirmed the growing importance of Nigeria in the global telecom market, noted that �TMP has high regard for the business opportunities represented in the MTS licenses and the Nigerian Telecommunications market as a whole.�
      �We look forward to working with MTS and helping secure their success,� he enthused.
      Telenor which Norway�s largest IT company, has over 23,000 employees worldwide and owns substantial mobile, fixed net and satellite operations in over 30 different countries. It has over 26 million mobile subscribers.
      Only last weekend, MTS informed that it was pushing to early in the new year its planned  launch of its network in Lagos.  However, this deal with Telenor has been described by experts in the telecom sector as a way of shaping up for the Nigerian market which is getting more attractive but very complicated and competitive. The Norwegian company is expected to bring in its long history of experience and technology.

       
       

      Nigeria earned N257b from Nov oil sale *Ibori budgets N68.25 billion for 2004

      By Hector Igbikiowubo & Austin Ogwuda
      Wednesday, December 17, 2003

      ASABA� NIGERIA  realised a total of $1,838,250,000 about N257.355 billion from the sale of 2.15 million barrels of crude oil per day last month, according to statistics just released by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
      And yesterday, Governor James Ibori of Delta State presented to the state Assembly a budget proposal of N68.25 billion for next year.
      The average price of a basket of OPEC oils averaged $28:50 per barrel in November, making it the 44th time in the last 49 months that the monthly average OPEC basket price has been within its target range.
      From crude oil proceeds for last month, Federal Government got an average 57 per cent of the total, which translates to $1,047,802,500 billion (about N146,692,350,000). The conversion is based on an official exchange rate of N140 to one American dollar.
      lDelta budgets N68.25b for 2004
      Meanwhile, Governor James Ibori of Delta State, yesterday, presented a budget proposal of N68.25 billion for the 2004 fiscal year, to the state House of Assembly for ratification.
      This amount comprises N37.30 billion for recurrent expenditure and N30.95 billion is for capital expenditure. The budget is N6.44 billion more than this year�s budget.
      Governor Ibori stated that �the proposed increase is based on our expectation of a more favourable statutory allocation resulting from improved oil sales and the implementation of the Delta State Internal Revenue Card (DSIR) law which was passed by this honourable House and which had since received my assent. The DSIR card law, as you may recall, is expected to increase the level of compliance with tax payments in the state particularly in the self-employed and informal segments of our economy.�
      His government, he said, had �mapped out strategies to sustain our determination to improve our internal revenue generating efforts. It is in this regard, he went on, that we are anticipating the sum of N8.01 billion in 2004 as against N6.72 billion for 2003 which implies a growth of N1.29 billion or 19 per cent."

       
       
       

      Abubakar bribed Rogers to indict me, says Al-Mustapha

      By Ise-Oluwa Ige
      Wednesday, December 17, 2003

      LAGOS�FORMER chief security officer to late General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha yesterday told an Ikeja high court that former head of state General Abubakar allegedly enticed Sergent Barnabas Jabila (Rogers) with promotion in the army, foreign posting, posh car, a house in Abuja among others to volunteer indicting statements linking him with various state matters which occurred between 1993 and 1998.
       At the same court the judge Justice Joseph Oyewole refused an application by former military administratin of Zamfara state, Col. Jibril Bala Yakubu asking the court to stop his trial for allegedly conspiring with four others to assassinate in 1996 publisher of The Guardian newspaper Mr Alex Ibru. Col. Yakubu lodged the application last month after a similar application by General Ishaya Bamaiyi was thrown out.
      In the meantime, Major Al-Mustapha cited fear by former head of state, General Abdusalami Abubakar of possible leakage by him of his (Abubakar) hatred for President Olusegun Obasanjo and his military colleagues accused of plotting coup against the government of late Gen. Sani Abacha as the main reason why Gen. Abubakar �hired� Sgt Rogers to nail him with indicting statements.
      The erstwhile chief security officer also challenged the prosecution to charge Sgt. Rogers along with them to see if he would not disown his much touted confessional statements.
      Major Mustapha is standing trial for the murder of Chief MKO Abiola�s wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola. He is also standing trial for attempting in 1996 to kill The Guardian Publisher, Mr. Alex Ibru.
      His name was also severally mentioned as the brain behind several state murders in the country during the regime of his boss, late Gen Sani Abacha.
      But Major Mustapha had always denied the allegations that he had any link with such murders and several cases of human rights violations leveled against him.
      In an application filed at the registry of an Ikeja high court, Mustapha is asking for an order compelling the Director-General of the state security service to release some vital documents seized in his house in Abuja, Kano and Enugu without any valid warrants.
      According to him, he claimed that he would need the documents to prove that all the indicting statements given by Sgt. Rogers linking him to several state murders during the regime of his boss were false.
      He also contended that before Sgt. Rogers was induced with various offers by Gen. Abubakar, Mustapha claimed that Sgt. Rogers had made some statements about what he knew about all the cases he was being tried for without linking him. He claimed that he had Rogers earlier statements wherein he told the real truth about the cases that were presently before the court but added that, all these documents were in possession of the state security service.
      In a 62-paragraph affidavit sworn to by Mustapha and lodged at the registry of an Ikeja high court, he is urging the court to stay proceedings in his trial in respect of allegation that he conspired with others to attempt on the life of The Guardian publisher, Mr Alex Ibru.
      According to him, if the court was to be fair to him, all the documents seized from him without his consent should be released first to him before any progress could be recorded in his trial.
      Col Yakubu brought his application late last month immediately a similar one brought by Gen Bamaiyi was thrown out by the high court judge for lacking merit.

       

      Agbakoba faults past government reforms


      Wednesday, December 17, 2003

      ABUJA �  A human  rights activist, Olisa Agbakoba, has said that past economic reforms in the country failed because they did not incorporate institutional and regulatory reforms.
      Agbakoba said in a paper presented at the Biennial Convention and 40th Anniversary of the Nigerian Guild  of Editors in Abuja that reforms that overlooked the significance of legal and regulatory institutions could not succeed. �Institutional and regulatory reform is a critical success factor in reform strategies to transform Nigeria�s economy from a state-sector dominated  economy to a private sector-led market economy,� he said.
      He noted that institutional constraints to economic development must be addressed to enable the private sector to effectively take on its primary role as the engine of growth.
      �A thriving market economy requires institutions that protect, facilitate and regulate,� he said. The legal luminary regretted that in spite of inherent benefits that economic reforms availed the nation, government had not prioritised institutional and regulatory reforms as a key  strategy for growth and development.
      He said government had displayed a lack of political will to implement the radical reforms, fearing that it would change the status quo.
      Agbakoba said government had not identified and cultivated relationships with potential champions of the proposed reforms, stressing that this has led to sheer lack of awareness among the key actors.
      �Communicating the priority of the reforms in clear and simple language to the policy community and the public via the media remains a vital point of note,� he said.

       

      Why Nigeria won't hand over Taylor for trial, by Speaker

      By Emeka Mamah
      Tuesday, December 16, 2003

      KADUNA� SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari yesterday gave reasons why Nigeria will not handover the former Liberian President, Mr. Charles Taylor for trial by the international war tribunal, sitting in Sierra Leone.
      Masari said that handing over Mr. Taylor for trial would spark off crisis which would destabilise the whole of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region. He spoke at an interactive session with newsmen at the NUJ Press Centre, Kaduna.
      He also blamed the current slide in the value of the naira on the country�s hosting of COJA and CHOGM as well as the HAJJ operations. The speaker further said that President Olusegun Obasanjo was alone in his desire to de-regulate parties because the National Assembly would abide by the decision of the Supreme Court that Nigerians were free to belong to as many parties as the were possible.
      His words: "The army of Charles Taylor are rebels ranging from children of eight years to 60-year-old people. If you put Charles Taylor on trial, you are putting his entire army on the ground on trial and, you know, if you harass them, then they would go back to the bush and they would start killing again.
      "Before you know it, near-by countries would be engulfed in crisis; the entire region will be affected. Taylor is being protected (in the country) by other international norms. We are supposed to hand over Charles Taylor based on the indictment of the war crimes tribunal but what would be the consequences?
      "You have to look into the circumstances that led Taylor to Nigeria, the role played by Nigeria. We were not among the countries that supported Taylor to become President and when he became President, the first country he started disagreeing with was Nigeria".

       
       

      DPO arrested for participating in sharing of recovered N1.2m

      By Albert Akpor
      Tuesday, December 16, 2003

      LAGOS�INSPECTOR- GENERAL of police Monitoring Unit in Lagos weekend arrested two persons including a Divisional Police Officer DPO for allegedly participating in the sharing of recovered N1.2million. Sources said the arrest which followed a tip off from some junior officers who effected the recovery of the loot but were ill treated had since generated controversy at both the division and monitory unit.
      Reports said a group of fraudters had duped an unsuspecting victim of the said money and were on their way out of their office in a vehicle when about N200,000.00 in fifty naira denomination fell down from the bag of one of the suspects. According to sources, his quick attempt to pick up the money attracted the suspicion of officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority LASTMA who accosted occupants of the vehicle and promptly alerted the police. The men were reportedly arrested and taken to the Divisional Headquarters where they were detained.
      However, sources said the suspects later confessed that they were fraudsters and pleaded that they would give out part of the money as bribe. A deal of �fifty- fifty� sharing formula was reportedly struck and the money was shared N600,000 each to the police and the suspects.
      Meanwhile, those officers who effected the arrest were said to have been ill-treated as no kobo was given to them. They therefore, petitioned the monitoring unit which promptly swung into action, arresting the DPO who confessed and returned only half of the money.

       
       
       

      Government, NUPENG extortion escalate petrol prices nationwide

      By Hector Igbikiowubo
      Wednesday, December 17, 2003

      FEDERAL and State Government  agencies, the National Union of
       Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), working in concert with the Nigerian Police have been extorting money from petroleum tanker drivers at depots of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the various toll plazas spread across the country, with very profound consequences for petrol consumers, investigations have revealed. Not only has the development pushed prices of petroleum products farther beyond the reach of consumers, it has made a mess of federal government�s deregulation of the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil industry.
      Investigations revealed that Government agencies, including State government task forces on petroleum (fuel in other instances) extort money from tanker drivers at various Petroleum Products Marketing Company depots and toll plazas spread across the country before they are allowed to proceed any further. There are indications that those whom these government agencies extort money from are those supposedly caught diverting petroleum products. However, industry operators point out that the issue of diversion is no longer tenable since the industry has been deregulated.
      A deputy director in charge of Inspection at the DPR, Mr. Kayode Oloketuye while reacting to the development explained that officials of the department can not possibly be involved in any form of extortion adding that they are restricted to the depots. He added that they are not part of any task force set up by any state government. He also said that the issue of diversion of petroleum products under a deregulated industry should no longer be tenable but, noted that this is a transition period.
      �We want to try as much as possible during this transition to ensure that products originating from PPMC depots get to the destination stated on the way bill,� he said. On allegations that NUPENG officials extort money from tanker drivers at the depots, Mr. Oloketuye pointed out that the department is not a security agency and so he can not comment on it.  
      The Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Dr Olawale Oluleye also described the issue of diversion of petroleum products under a deregulated market as untenable. He agreed that marketers should be free to deliver petroleum products to places where they are needed.
      Efforts to get the Nigerian Police command to react to this development have so far proved abortive. However, a police official who pleaded anonymity claim that since the deregulation of the downstream sector federal government has not issued any directive regarding the abolition of diversion. Hence the maintenance of the status quo. The official also declined to comment on the issue of extortion saying he is not aware of it.
      It was gathered that within depots of the NNPC spread across the country, NUPENG officials force tanker drivers to part with as much as twenty thousand naira per truck before they can exit the premises. This payment is treated as essential dues of the union, bridging cost and other unspecified charges. Investigations revealed that this practice is very common around the country and the extra charge per tanker is transferred to the final consumer through bogus additions to the pump price. Worst hit are consumers in the South East where petrol costs as much as N60 per litre and the Northern parts of the country like Maiduguri where petrol cost N90 per litre. At a press conference in Lagos last week, the NUPENG national President, Comrade Peter Akpatason vehemently denied the reported allegations of extortion of tanker drivers and urged Nigerians not to blame the union for the hike in fuel prices. Although the president likened the money being collected to that which the National Union of Road Transpoprt Workers collect from the motor parks, he did not specify the amount being collected and blamed government for the hike in fuel prices.
      Interestingly, a former  president of a sister  union, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) only recently  lamented the extortion of  money from  tanker drivers at the depots spread across the country and accused journalist of not doing anything to expose the scam.
      Two weeks ago, a trip from Lagos to the Niger bridge in  Onitsha, Anambra state to ascertain what tanker drivers go through on the road after they have lifted fuel  from  Lagos was undertaken.  At Ore, some fuel tankers were parked along the road and effort was made to ascertain why they were  parked there. One of the tanker drivers who volunteered information disclosed that the tankers were parked there because some of the drivers needed to rest, while some others needed  to service their trucks. He disclosed  that he was on  his  way from  Onitsha  to buy petrol in  Lagos.
      The driver disclosed that tanker drivers do not encounter any  problem within  the  South- West, after they have procured fuel from Lagos. According to him, when the tanker driver gets to Benin with his cargo, a task  force on fuel accost  the vehicle at the Benin by-pass bridge situated some 3 kilometres after the Benin PPMC depot. There, the tanker driver is forced to part with N5,000 per  tanker before he can be let through.
      He said when the tanker driver gets to the Asaba toll gate, he is once again accosted by a fuel task force put in place by the Delta State government and the driver is forced to part with as much as N15,000 per tanker before he is allowed to continue his journey . After the Niger Bridge connecting Delta and Anambra state, the tanker driver is again forced to stop and part with N5000 per tanker yet again. The driver however disclosed that the collecting authority on the Anambra side of the bridge is NUPENG and not a state government task force.
      On why the drivers have not done anything to check the situation, he said, � we drivers have no choice in the matter. If the drivers� union and tanker owners association cannot protest what do we do?
      � What  we  do  now  is to  present the cost implication of moving products from depot to product owners destination. It is then left for the product owners to pay us the money for expenses on the road, or they can send a representative along with us to take care of the expenses.
      �Even when we go along with police escort, the task force in these states still extort money from us regardless of the police escort we carry along,� he disclosed. 
      However, when attempt was made at the Benin depot to see the NUPENG chapter chairman, not only did he rebuff the attempt, he also refused to divulge his identity. Indeed, an overzealous official had earlier disclosed that the chairman was not around and may not be back till the next day, while another official sought to ascertain my identity.
      �May  I  know  who  you are and what  you want?� he enquired. � I am Hector Igbikiowubo, I work with Vanguard newspapers in Lagos. I have come here to seek clarification on a few issues that concern your members.� At that moment a fellow bearing trappings of affluence worked in and every other person in the room got up in deference to him, shouting �chair,� �chair.�  Obviously, the man was their chairman. So I asked the official, if the man who just walked in was the NUPENG chapter chairman and he answered in the affirmative, and asked me to wait for him to find out if the chairman was well disposed to seeing us.
      A few minutes later, he came back to say the chairman was not  well disposed to see us, adding that he had  been mandated  to speak  with  us  instead. However, while waiting  for the official to get back, I noticed the  official  who had  earlier  said the chairman was not around was holding court with some other members and I couldn�t help over hearing  members complaining about their inability to move products they had  paid for because they do  not have enough money for settlement. However,  I could  not  ascertain what kind of settlement they were talking about.
      Since your  chairman   will  not  talk to me, I might as well  speak  with you.  May I  know  who you are and what  is  your designation here in NUPENG?
      Take my  name as  Mr. Benjamin  Abhulimhen , that represents the unit that you  met.
      You are the financial secretary?
      Yes .
      I understand that  various task forces put in place by the governments of Delta and Edo State have been extorting money from your members, what is your response to this development?
      No, this has not come to our knowledge, nobody has reported that they are extorting money from our drivers.
      The drivers themselves  are the ones lodging the complaint?
      To the press, abi to their unit?
      To their unit.
      They have  not complained to this  unit. Our drivers from here go to Lagos and  load  from   Ibeto, and come here and discharge  in Benin. So the ones loading from  Lagos  to Enugu, I don�t know where they collect (money) from them. It has not come to our knowledge, that the task force in Benin collects money from them. It is only the government which can answer that one, the chairman of the task force and the governor  who appointed them.
      Don�t your drivers load  products from   here to the eastern  part of  the country?    
      No, we  load here and our load stops  at Abudu. The Warri people load from there  to Asaba. So our own ends up in Okene and Lokoja, and parts of Ondo State. So they don�t extort money from them.
      �What  will you say has been the experiences of your members with  the task  force here in Benin or are you saying there is no task force?
      There is, we are not saying there is no task force. The governor appointed a task force, if they are extorting money from those people who are coming from the east, it is not to our knowledge.
      This task force, what is supposed to be their function?
      Here we hold a meeting together. They said diversion is the issue. You can sell petroleum at your price, sell as you buy. We were there when the governor held a meeting with the stakeholders in early November, I was there with the chairman.
      You were going to divulge the name of your chairman?   
      Take my name, that should be enough.
      Why don�t you want to divulge the name of the chairman, doesn�t he want to be known, he is the chairman, he should have a name?
      He has a name and if he wants to see you he should have seen you.
      It is not necessary to see him since he doesn�t want to be seen, all we need is to know is his name?
      If he wants you to see him, he would have told you his name.
      Thank you  sir.
      As the interview session lasted a lot of members had gathered listening to our exchange, while the man who had earlier told us the chairman was not around kept interjecting, � hmm journalists, make you careful O�. Obviously he was cautioning Mr. Abhulimhen to be wary what he divulged. Not quite satisfied with the answers from the interview session, I proceeded to a canteen hoping to find a tanker driver I could talk to.
      In the canteen, I met an independent marketer who was having lunch and quickly we struck a conversation on the issue of extortion of money from tanker drivers.
      Please are you a tanker driver, I am in search of one whom I can speak with?
      No I am an independent marketer but there are tanker drivers all over the place.
      �I gathered the task force operating here in Benin often extort money from tanker drivers and this is the reason fuel cost more than it should in the eastern part of the country, is this the case or have I been misinformed?  
      Well, it is true that money is often extorted from tanker drivers. But these are drivers who try to divert petroleum products from the original destination on the manifest. When the task force catch up with such drivers , they collect as much as N6,000 or N8,000 from them. Mind you, it is not only the task force that collects this money. You have the DPR, NUPENG, and even the independent marketers task force. But truthfully, it is only those who try to divert products they extort money from.
      Are you saying those who are apprehended are never brought to book?
      Those who are seen to have been apprehended are those who do not have money to settle the task force which have apprehended them.   
      As we spoke, three menacingly hefty looking men with blood shot eyes walked into the canteen and took up position directly opposite us. Besides glaring at us suspiciously, they kept talking in low tones in a language that sounded like Benin dialect. Without waiting to finish his meal, the independent marketer I was speaking with hurriedly abandoned his food, paid and walked out.  I  suddenly   went quiet because I was uncomfortable with the scenario playing out before me. Feeling very uncomfortable and fearing the worst, I acted on impulse by  reaching  for my mobile phone to answer an imaginary call.
      I gave the impression I was speaking with the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor in Government House Benin, while describing my present location, and adding that the Chairman refused to speak with me. This afforded me some respite because after the call, the interest of the thugs on me seemed to wane as they left the canteen in quick succession, one after the other. When I finally took  my leave, not long after they had left, they were no where in sight.
      My informed conclusion was that they had come from the NUPENG secretariat I had just left .  Obviously, somebody did not want me talking with any tanker driver or  persons within the vicinity of the secretariat.
      In Asaba, I was lucky to find two petroleum tankers loaded with petroleum products parked after the toll gate facing in the direction of Onitsha. On inquiry, I was made to understand that the tankers were apprehended by the task force on petroleum and that they had been parked there since the morning hours. The drivers of the vehicles were not on hand to speak with me but the conductors attached  to  the tankers confirmed that they were apprehended by the task force.
      When asked where their drivers had gone to, they disclosed that the drivers were taken away by men of the task force. The conductors then pointed to three men wearing mufti and wielding AK 47 riffles    (presumably policemen) probably left behind to ensure that the conductors do not move the tankers.
      After introducing myself, I asked one of the men (wielding AK 47 riffle) if they were policemen, and why they arrested the tankers. They affirmed they were policemen, and that they arrested the tankers because they suspect them of diverting petroleum products.
      However, the gun wielding men pointed out that they were not men of any task force, adding that there was no task force in Delta state. When asked what agency of government they represent, they refused to give anymore information and advised that I get in touch with the Delta State Commissioner of Police for further clarification. I later tried to speak with the conductors, but  one of the gun wielding men called one of them and when he got back, he advised his colleagues not to speak with us any more.  All efforts to get the Delta State commissioner of police to react to this development also proved abortive at press time.
      At the Anambra end of the Niger Bridge, a few petroleum tankers came across, but none was stopped by anybody or task force in sight. However, investigations revealed that indeed there was untoward activity going on in the area. A filling station owner in Onitsha disclosed that tankers are often stopped and forced to part with N5000 per tanker by a task force put in place by the NUPENG chapter in the state. He disclosed that he does not know what the money collected is for, adding that he has not bothered  to ask.
      Investigations further revealed that because of the high cost of transporting petroleum products across the country, accentuated by the incidence of extortion, importers of petroleum products independent marketers have resolved not to move their products over long distances, especially across areas noted for the widespread extortion. 

       
       
       

      Illegal trade in Ivory booms across West Africa


      Wednesday, December 17, 2003

      A lively illegal trade in ivory is now flourishing in three populous states in West Africa, conservation groups say BBC has reported.  They found more ivory in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal than the countries� which own elephant populations could produce. The wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic and the global conservation group WWF say West Africa�s vibrant ivory markets spur the poachers on.
      They believe much of the ivory their teams found will have come from animals slaughtered by gangs in central Africa. Any international ivory trade must be sanctioned by Cites,  the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
      Domestic trade within a country is a matter of national legislation. Ivory Coast banned the trade in 1997, and it is supposed to be controlled by law in Senegal and Nigeria. But a report by Traffic and WWF says investigators found more than 4,000 kilogrammes of �illegal� ivory on public display in nine cities in the three countries.
      It says this volume of ivory represents the tusks of more than 760 elephants, although recent data from IUCN-The World Conservation Union- suggest there may be no more than 543 elephants left in the three countries.
      The report is entitled More Ivory Than Elephants: Domestic Ivory Markets In Three West African Countries. One of its authors, Tom Milliken, of Traffic, said: �These studies show just a snapshot of the problem.
      �When we factor in all of the uncontrolled manufacturing, buying and selling over a year, these numbers climb to frightening dimensions.�  The report says much of the ivory found on sale came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Gabon. It says these countries make up Africa�s most troubled region for elephant conservation.
      The authors say inadequate legislation and poor law enforcement allow the trade to flourish in the three countries surveyed, and that this threatens elephants� survival both there and in central Africa.
      They say: �All three governments are in breach of ivory market control requirements... under Cites. Furthermore, the wildlife authorities responsible for implementing Cites are systematically barred from the ports of entry and exit.�
      Dr Susan Lieberman of WWF said: �Not only is there a lack of political will to implement Cites, allowing traders to act with immunity from prosecution, but corruption is preventing effective controls on the ivory trade.
      �It is time that Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal took concrete steps to effectively implement Cites in their countries.�
      The report says the situation is most alarming in Nigeria, with higher volumes of ivory identified than in a previous undercover survey carried out in 1999.
      It says: �If Nigeria fails to comply with Cites requirements to regulate internal trade in ivory by March 2004, it could find that all legal trade in Cites-listed wildlife species to and from the country is suspended.�
      But the report makes it clear that not all the responsibility for the trade belongs to the three countries themselves.
      It says the main buyers of the ivory are expatriates, tourists, and business visitors from France and Italy, China and South Korea, and the US. In some cases diplomats are involved.

       
       
       


      (Message over 64 KB, truncated)

    • Nubi Achebo
      THE SOSOLISO PLANE CRASH: Odukoya on ill-fated plane,church confirms By Sam Eyoboka Posted to the Web: Monday, December 12, 2005 LAGOS—FOUNTAIN of Life
      Message 260 of 260 , Dec 12, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        THE SOSOLISO PLANE CRASH: Odukoya on ill-fated
        plane,church confirms

        By Sam Eyoboka
        Posted to the Web: Monday, December 12, 2005

        LAGOS—FOUNTAIN of Life Church in Ilupeju, Lagos
        yesterday confirmed that its associate pastor,
        Pastor (Mrs) Bimbo Odukoya was on the ill-fated
        Sosoliso Airlines DC-9 plane which crashed in
        Port Harcourt on Saturday but would not comment
        on her fate.
        Pastor Bimbo was the principal speaker on the
        weekly television Single and Married programme.
        She was travelling from Abuja to Port Harcourt
        for an engagement.

        There was no official confirmation from the
        church, while a member of the Publicity Unit of
        the church simply identified as Ayo directed all
        press enquiries to the airline or the Port
        Harcourt airport, “who are in a better position
        to talk about her state of health. I can,
        however, confirm that Pastor Bimbo was in the
        plane and we believe that she is still alive,” he
        said.
        Asked about the age of the woman and the number
        of her children, he simply said he was not
        competent to speak on such issues, adding that
        there was nobody to answer such questions.

        The church held its usual three services
        yesterday without the head pastor, Pastor Taiwo
        Odukoya and the associate pastor, Pastor (Mrs)
        Odukoya during which prayers were offered for the
        spirit of the latter who was aboard the ill-fated
        air plane.
        Worshippers were asked to pray for the spirit of
        Pastor Bimbo, the delight of most single girls in
        Lagos and another round of prayers were offered
        for her husband, Taiwo Odukoya, who was
        conspicuously absent from all the three services
        of the church yesterday.

        Sources close to the church said the head pastor
        may have jetted to Port Harcourt to see things
        for himself. He was later to send word to the
        church to encourage them, saying “I am strong and
        I want you all to be strong and prayerful at a
        time like this.”
        The services could not be said to have been
        normal as words filtered in that the patriarch of
        the church, Bimbo, a very popular motivational
        speaker among young ladies and a columnist who
        was travelling from Abuja to Port Harcourt in the
        aircraft may have survived the accident.




        Pastor Bimbo Odukoya's biography

        PASTOR (Mrs) Bimbo Odukoya was born on the 12th
        of September 1960 to the family of Mr & Mrs A.O.
        Williams; she is the third of five children.
        She had her primary and secondary education at St
        Mary’s School and Holy Child College, both in
        Lagos, respectively. She attended Federal
        Government College Ijanikin for her ‘‘A’’ levels
        before proceeding to the University of Ibadan
        where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts
        Degree in History and Archaeology.

        She worked as a Curator at The National Arts
        Theater before going into full-time ministry with
        her husband, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya. Their union is
        blessed with three children, Toluwani, Olujimi
        and Oluwatobiloba.

        Pastor Bimbo Odukoya is the host of the popular
        television programme, Single & Married, on which
        she teaches the uncompromising word of God to her
        numerous viewers; it is broadcast on fourteen
        (14) stations within Nigeria as well as in
        England, Ghana and Kenya. She is the author of
        the book “165 Questions You Must Ask Before
        Marriage” and she also has regular columns in
        City People and ThisDay newspapers, Bottomline
        and Campus Ovation magazines in addition to her
        contributions to various other magazines such as
        Family Care, Treasure & Life etc.
        Pastor Bimbo Odukoya is an international
        conference speaker and has held rallies on
        practically every university and polytechnic
        campus in Nigeria. She is in high demand for
        interviews by the print and electronic media in
        and outside Nigeria, as they seek her views on
        family, marriage and relationship issues.

        Pastor Bimbo Odukoya is the Associate Senior
        Pastor of The Fountain Of life Church, Ilupeju,
        Lagos; the President, Single & Married Ministry
        and the Chairman, Discovery for Women, a
        programme designed to inspire, challenge and
        motivate housewives, career women, working
        mothers, single mothers, divorced and widowed
        women to stand up and claim what God has destined
        them to be.

        As a testimony to her acceptance/popularity in
        all spheres and levels of life and society,
        Pastor Bimbo Odukoya has received many national
        and international awards for her trail-blazing
        efforts to humanity.
        outstanding effort and contribution to the
        development of marital counseling by the
        Department Of Guidance and Counseling University
        Of Ibadan.


        -------------------------

        Crash: Death toll rises to 107

        By John Ighodaro & Chinyere Amalu
        Posted to the Web: Monday, December 12, 2005

        *How plane hit drainage ditch before bursting
        into flames

        PORT HARCOURT—FOUR of the seven persons injured
        in Saturday’s air crash in Port Harcourt have
        died taking the death toll to 107.
        The state Police Commissioner, Mr. Samuel
        Adetuyi, said three women were still alive with
        two of them in critical conditions.
        Christina Aligbe, a medical doctor on attachment
        with the police, is in Port Harcourt University
        Teaching Hospital, where she was visited by her
        friend and neighbour, Tunde Sobulo.

        Standing by the bed where she lay swathed in
        bandages, he asked a doctor: “Is she responding
        to treatment?” The reply: “We’re trying our best,
        but her condition is critical.”
        Two more patients —Nkechi Okwuchi and Bunmi
        Amusan — were receiving treatment in a clinic run
        by the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell, which has an
        important operation base in Port Harcourt.

        About 71 of those who were killed in Saturday’s
        crash were schoolchildren from the Loyola Jesuit
        College in Abuja who were returning home for
        their Christmas holidays, Archbishop John
        Onaiyekan said.
        An American and a French health worker working
        for the medical aid agency—Doctors Without
        Borders (MSF)— were also among the dead as were
        Mrs Beatrice Ofoegbu, wife of the Vice Chancellor
        of the new Catholic University of Nigeria,
        Professor Charles Ofoegbu, and Pastor Bimbo
        Odukoya.
        When Vanguard called at Prof. Ofoegbu's Abuja
        residence, yesterday, he was being consoled by
        members of the Catholic Women Organisation (CWO).

        Meanwhile, 51 bodies have been identified and
        taken away by their relations. Of the 51 bodies,
        38 were at the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital and
        23 at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching
        Hospital.Bodies of the deceased were taken to
        BMH, UPTH, and the Military Hospital all in Port
        Harcourtimmediately after the crash. Thirty five
        bodies were taken to BMH, 35 to UPTH and 36
        toMilitary Hospital.

        Fresh information on the crash suggested that the
        plane after landing in bad weather, hit a
        drainage ditch then tumbled over and ripped
        itself apart, senior officials said yesterday at
        the scene.
        “You can see that it hit this culvert. This is
        the reason for this accident. The man lost
        control because he hit this culvert,” said
        Transport Minister Abiye Sekibo as he inspected
        the burnt remains of the DC-9 jet scattered along
        the runway at Port Harcourt airport.

        Deputy Inspector-General Mike Okiro, head of
        operations for the Nigerian police, agreed with
        this explanation, adding that the plane had burst
        into flames as it tore itself up on the soft
        grass alongside the tarmac. “If you were here
        yesterday (Saturday) you would have seen pieces
        of human flesh all over the place, burnt beyond
        recognition,” he told reporters. The airport
        remained closed to all other traffic.
        The manifest released yesterday showed that there
        were at least two couples among the victims. Mr.
        and Mrs V.I. Whyte and Mr. and Mrs C. Mba.
        There were also three Ilabors believed to be
        children of the same parents; two Awoyis also
        believed to be of the same parents; and two
        Nkagniemes.

        Security men including policemen yesterday
        restricted access to the school located at Karu
        in the FCT.
        The school officially closed for the term last
        Thursday while the authorities had an end of year
        party for the children on Friday, just 24 hours
        before the students met their untimely death.
        Vanguard gathered that the principal of the
        school, the Reverend Father Mark Roseline, held a
        mass yesterday for the repose of the souls of his
        students.
        He was said to have broken down in tears during
        the mass.

        ************************************************



        Passengers Aboard the ill-Fated Sosoliso flight

        S/N NAMES SEX
        1 ABBA K. MALE
        2 ADAKA K. MALE
        3 ADEBOLU O. MALE
        4 ADEWOGA V. FEMALE
        5 ADEYEMI B. MALE
        6 ADILORLY D. MALE
        7 AIKONBARE O. FEMALE
        8 AKPAN O. FEMALE
        9 AKIWIWU A. MALE
        10 ALIGBA P. FEMALE
        11 AMACHREE O. MALE
        12 AMANZE E. FEMALE
        13 ASARA A.P MALE
        14 AWAYI C. MALE
        15 AWAYI U. MALE
        16 BAA V. MALE
        17 BABA R.Z. FEMALE
        18 BADEU I. MALE
        19 BANIGO E.S. MALE
        20 BUNMI AMUSAN FEMALE
        21 CHIGBO C. MALE
        22 CHUKWUNENYE MALE
        23 COOKEYGAM K. MALE
        24 DANIEL KALU MALE
        25 EDETH S. FEMALE
        26 EGWEKE U. MALE
        27 EHIMOHA J. MALE
        28 EJIKEME O. MALE
        29 EKEFRE U.O MALE
        30 EKERE A.N. MALE
        31 EKERUWA A. MALE
        32 ELLAH I.A. FEMALE
        33 EMESIOBI C. MALE
        34 ENTE C. MALE
        35 EZE GODWIN MALE
        36 EZERIBE A. MALE
        37 GBEMUDU S. FEMALE
        38 IBEH I. MALE
        39 IBIAM M. MALE
        40 IDABORA A. MALE
        41 ILABOR B. FEMALE
        42 ILABOR C. FEMALE
        43 ILABOR M. MALE
        44 ILOBI I. FEMALE
        45 ILOBI N. FEMALE
        46 IROEHAMA S. FEMALE
        47 KAMANU C. MALE
        48 KEMARA H. FEMALE
        49 LAMYI I MALE
        50 LOOLO I. FEMALE
        51 MANILLA A. FEMALE
        52 MBA C. MALE
        53 MBA I. FEMALE
        54 MOGBA M. MALE
        55 MONAGO A. MALE
        56 NJOKU L. FEMALE
        57 NKAGNIEME U. FEMALE
        58 NKAGNIEME U. MALE
        59 NNEBEDUM C. MALE
        60 NTEMUSE E.K. FEMALE
        61 NWADEI V. FEMALE
        62 NWAFOR O. MALE
        63 NWEZE C. FEMALE
        64 NWIGWE C. MALE
        65 NWOKO S. FEMALE
        66 NZELU C. MALE
        67 NZENWA A. FEMALE
        68 OBI A.N. MALE
        69 OCHULO M. FEMALE
        70 ODUKOYA B. FEMALE
        71 OFOEGBU B. FEMALE
        72 OFOR M. MALE
        73 OGUNDIPE O. MALE
        74 OJEBODE S. MALE
        75 OKAFOR C.O. MALE
        76 OKEMINI I. FEMALE
        77 OKEREKE O. FEMALE
        78 OKOLIE C. MALE
        79 OKORO U.M. MALE
        80 OKPE D. CHILD
        81 OKUEGBU I. MALE
        82 OKWUCHI K. FEMALE
        83 OLA E. MALE
        84 OLAKPE C. MALE
        85 ONWUKA U. MALE
        86 ORBIT W. MALE
        87 OYEBODE M.S. FEMALE
        88 OZIGBO C.C. MALE
        89 OZUEH P.C. MALE
        90 RIESSA J. MALE
        91 TOJU O. FEMALE
        92 TONY-OKEKE I. FEMALE
        93 UBAH I. MALE
        94 UDEOZOR R. MALE
        95 UKAIRO C. MALE
        96 UTUK P,I. MALE
        97 UZO U. MALE
        98 UZO B.C. FEMALE
        99 WHYTE V.I. MALE
        100 WHYTE V.I. FEMALE
        101 WILLS W. MALE
        102 ZIKOKA U.O. MALE

        CREW
        1.CAPTAIN B. ADEBAYO PILOT MALE
        2.GERALD ANDAN F/O MALE
        3.J. EGBEKOBAR PURSER
        4.SOPHIA IROEGBU CREW
        5.AMAIKWU EMEKA CREW MALE
        6.THERESA DIKE CREW MALE
        7.AKEEM ODEBUNMI ENGINEER MALE
        ------------------------


        COVER STORIES

        FCMB gets CBN approval for merger with CDB


        Posted to the Web: Monday, December 12, 2005

        LAGOS—THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given
        its final approval to the merger of First City
        Monument Bank Plc (FCMB Plc) with Cooperative
        Development Bank Plc (CDB Plc), thereby
        concluding the merger process between the two
        banks.
        The CBN approval has now effectively placed FCMB
        Plc’s shareholders’ funds at N27.7 billion,
        thereby making it the 10th bank in Nigeria to
        have officially scaled the N25 billion minimum
        capital requirement benchmark set by the apex
        bank.
        This, however, does not include the additional
        capital, which the Nigerian American Bank Limited
        (its second consolidation partner) is expected to
        contribute to the shareholders’ funds of the new
        FCMB after the completion of the court-ordered
        meetings of the two banks holding today. This
        will take the shareholders’ funds of the new FCMB
        Plc close to N30 billion.
        A source close to the bank confirmed that all
        necessary papers and document leading to the
        final approval of the merger of the new FCMB Plc
        and NAMBL have also been submitted to the various
        regulatory authorities.

        Meanwhile, the integration process of the new
        FCMB Plc (comprising FCMB Plc and CDB Plc for
        now) has commenced in earnest. According to a
        statement issued weekend by the bank, customers
        of the two banks can now walk into any of their
        existing branches and “comfortably and
        effectively enjoy seamless service delivery now
        offered on our improved technology platform.”

        Apart from the benefit of the enlarged branch
        network, which currently stands at about 70 and
        hopefully should reach 100 before the end of the
        bank’s financial year in April 2006, customers of
        the merged banks would also experience the
        typical FCMB culture of excellence, which the
        bank has been traditionally known for over the
        years.
        It is hoped that after the court-ordered meeting
        today, the integration process with NAMBL will be
        fast tracked to complete the consolidation
        exercise before the end of year.

        The CBN had recently approved the appointment of
        Mr. Ladi Balogun as the Managing Director and
        Chief Executive Officer of the consolidated FCMB
        whilst ratifying the appointment of Dr. Jonathan
        Long as the bank’s non-executive chairman.
        In a bid to strengthen its management team, the
        Board of Directors also at a meeting last week
        Thursday, appointed three new Executive Directors
        including the former Managing Director of CDB
        Plc, Dr. Johnnie Udofa. Their names have already
        been forwarded to the regulatory authorities for
        necessary approval.

        ---------------------------

        SPECIAL REPORT : Panel Report that swept the
        governor out of office

        jide ajani, Political Editor
        Posted to the Web: Sunday, December 11, 2005

        The FIRST PART of the report of the panel of
        investigation constituted by the Chief Judge of
        Bayelsa State to investigate allegations of gross
        misconduct levelled against the governor found
        him guilty of “gross misconduct” on the
        allegations of JUMPING BAIL and his FAILING,
        REFUSING AND/ or NEGLECTING TO FORMALLY NOTIFY
        THE GOVERNMENT OF BAYELSA STATE, PARTICULARLY THE
        BAYELSA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF HIS ARREST,
        DETENTION AND ARRAIGNMENT AND TRIAL IN COURT IN
        LONDON FOR THE OFFENCE OF MONEY LAUNDERING. These
        were contained in ALLEGATIONS IN CATEGORY (i),
        and ALLEGATION SIX for which the panel declared
        as “Allegations for which proof is unnecessary.

        Passing a verdict of guilty on Diepreye Solomon
        Peter Alamieyeseigha, the seven-man panel, made
        up of Barrister David Serena-Dokubo Spiff,
        Chairman, Lady (Mrs.) Mercy Alagoa, Barrister
        Collins Boleigha, Wing Commander Gladys Brisibe
        (rtd), Dr. (Mrs.) Bolere Ketebu-Nwokafor, Colonel
        Rufus Apulu (rtd) and Mr. Benson Agadaga,
        declared: “...The investigative panel is of the
        considered opinion AND HEREBY GIVES THE VERDICT
        that the above act of the governor tantamount to
        “gross misconduct” and therefore renders him
        liable to the provisions of Section 188 of The
        Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
        1999”.

        For allegation “No 6 in the notice of impeachment
        dated 18th November, 2005”, the Panel found the
        governor guilty thus: “By virtue of (i) to (v)
        above, this investigative panel is of the
        considered opinion that the above acts of the
        governor are incompatible with his dignified
        status as “HIS EXCELLENCY”, tantamount to “gross
        misconduct”. The Investigative Panel therefore
        HEREBY GIVES THE VERDICT that the above act of
        the Governor renders him liable to the provisions
        of Section 188 of The Constitution of the
        Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999”. The Full
        Report reads: REPORT OF THE SEVEN MAN PANEL
        CONSTITUTED BY THE CHIEF JUDGE OF BAYELSA STATE
        TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF GROSS MISCONDUCT
        AGAINST CHIEF D.S.P ALAMIEYESEIGHA, JP BY THE
        BAYELSA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. Pursuant to the
        provisions of Section 188 (7) (b) of the
        constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
        1999, which states thus:” A Panel appointed under
        this section, shall within three months of its
        appointment, report its findings to the house of
        Assembly”.

        We hereby present to you the FIRST PART of our
        proceedings and findings regarding the above: At
        our first sitting on Tuesday the 06th of December
        2003, the provisions of Rule 2 (a) of the
        Bayelsa State House of Assembly impeachment
        procedure Rules were invoked to enable the panel
        sit in camera. The said rule states as follows:
        “the panel shall have and may exercise any of the
        following powers, that is to say: a Direct where
        and when the panel may sit and conduct its
        inquiry and shall have the power in its absolute
        discretion, to admit or exclude the public or any
        members of the public or press from the venue of
        any sitting of the panel.” An examination of the
        allegations levelled against Chief D.S.P
        Alamieyeigaha, Executive Governor of Bayelsa
        State would reveal that there are a total of ten
        items. These can be conveniently categorised as:
        Those allegations, the facts supporting which is
        so self-evident, that they do not require any
        proof; Those allegations, proof of which must
        require varying degree of fact-finding.

        An allegation under category (i) above, dispenses
        with the necessity for proof because, it goes
        without saying. In that category, the facts are
        said to be “axiomatic”. The adjective
        “axiomatic” derives from the word ‘‘axiom’’.
        Webster’s encyclopaedia Unabridged Dictionary of
        the English Language 1989 defines “axiom” as: i.
        a self evident truth. ii. a universally accepted
        principle or rule. iii. a proposition which
        assumed without proof for the sake of studying
        consequences that flow from it. What is required
        is an evaluation of the facts and their
        juxtaposition with the requirement of the law. On
        the other hand, an allegation under category (ii)
        above, intrinsically requires exhaustive fact
        finding that is bound to take a lot of time,
        resources and effort. Visits shall have to be
        arranged to the Corporate Affairs Commission in
        Abuja, Land Registries in Abuja and other parts
        of the country. Witnesses will have to be
        summoned from all over the world; physical
        inspection of assets allegedly purchased with
        diverted state funds, will be imperative.

        In that event, the time required could well
        exceed the three months stipulated by the
        constitution. In the present circumstance, where,
        owing to non-availability of funds due to
        freezing of bank accounts of the Bayelsa State
        Judiciary, the Panel has had to independently
        arrange its own funds for its hotel accommodation
        and day-to-day operations, a practical,
        down-to-earth approach is inevitable. Common
        sense therefore dictates that we commence with
        those allegations in the category (i), before
        addressing allegations in category (ii).
        ALLEGATIONS IN CATEGORY (i) i.e Allegations for
        which proof is unnecessary: JUMPING BAIL
        Contained in Additional ground to the notice of
        impeachment of his Excellency, Chief D.S.P
        Alamieyeseigha, JP, the Executive Governor of
        Bayelsa State of Nigeria, pursuant to section
        188 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal
        Republic of Nigeria, dated 18th November,2005.
        (note that the additional ground itself is dated
        22nd November, 2005). “His Excellency, Chief
        D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha, while standing trial for
        money laundering offences in a court in London
        the United Kingdom, smuggled himself out of
        London and illegally returned to Yenagoa,
        Bayelsa State of Nigeria on the 21st day of
        November,2005, contrary to the conditions of bail
        granted him by the court in London which had
        restricted him to London, and thereby bringing
        the exalted office of the governor of Bayelsa
        State to disrepute, odium and ridicule”.

        It must be observed that despite the clear and
        unequivocal words of the above allegation, His
        Excellency, Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha failed
        and or neglected to offer any facts or averment
        in rebuttal thereof in his statement made in
        reply to the purported notice of impeachment. The
        practical effect of this is that the said
        allegation remains untraversed, and therefore
        stands admitted. In simple terms, the allegation
        of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly is to the
        effect that the governor jumped bail. In his
        defence, the governor was silent on the issue. It
        is trite law and logic that facts admitted need
        not be proved; and averment unchallenged, is
        gospel truth.

        Consequences of failure to abide by Conditions of
        Bail Scotland Yard could issue a warrant of
        arrest against Chief Alamieyeseigha and further
        embarrass the people of Bayelsa.

        •Chief Alamieyeseigha has become a fugitive
        liable to be arrested whenever he returns to the
        United Kingdom, or any where else in the
        civilised world.

        •By his ignominious conduct Bayelsans and indeed
        all Nigerians have been scandalised, embarrassed
        and depicted as people whose word cannot be
        relied upon.

        •Chief Alamieyeseigha has jeopardised the safety
        and besmirched the reputation of Nigerians living
        in or visiting the United Kingdom.

        •Chief Alamieyeseigha has jeopardised the safety
        and free movement of the present day Governor of
        Bayelsa State or his successor in office.

        •Chief Alamieyeseigha has severely hindered the
        capacity of the Governor of Bayelsa State to
        transact international business whether now or in
        the future, as he can no longer travel overseas.
        •Chief Alamieyeseigha has dealt a severe blow to
        the Ijaw Nation of which Bayelsa is part, who
        traditionally take great pride in the meaning of
        their name- Ijaw-truth, which name has now been
        bastardised owing to the profligacy of Chief
        Alamieyeseigha.

        It is instructive to note that in the Oath of
        Allegiance he swore to in accordance with the
        provisions of the Seventh Schedule of the
        Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
        Cap C23 to at his swearing ceremony in May 2003
        he swore to “preserve, protect and defend the
        Constitution of the Federal Republic of
        Nigeria”. This is further reaffirmed by his
        swearing to the Oath of office of Governor
        pursuant to the Oath of Office of Governor
        pursuant to the same Seventh Schedule, as
        follows: “will strive to preserve the Fundamental
        Objective and Directive Principle of the State
        Policy contained in the Constitutions of the
        Federal Republic of of Nigeria… and that I will
        not allow my personal interest to influence my
        official conduct or my official decision”.

        In view of the forgoing, the issue that has
        arisen for consideration is whether the act of
        the governor do not amount to a failure on his
        part to keep to the oath he swore to at his
        swearing in ceremony in May 2003. To solve this
        issue, recourse has to made to the provision of
        the Constitution of the Federal Republic of
        Nigeria. Section 13, which deals with the
        Fundamental Obligation of the Government,
        provides that it shall be the: “Duty and
        responsibility of all organs government, and all
        of the authorities and person, exercising
        Legislative, executive of judicial powers to
        conform to, observe and apply the provision of
        this chapter (that is, Chapter II dealing with
        the Fundamental Objective and Directive Principle
        of State Policy) of this Constitution” Under the
        Foreign Policy Objectives provided in Section 19
        (d) Chief Alamieyeseigha is enjoined to have
        respect for international law. It is settled in
        the International law that a foreign state can
        exercise criminal jurisdiction over someone who
        is not her citizen if the alleged crime was
        committed within her jurisdiction. By jumping
        bail, Chief Alamieyeseigha is in breach of his
        oath to respect international law.

        He has by this, committed and act that amounts to
        gross misconduct in line with the definition of
        the term, “gross misconduct” as given in section
        188 of the Constitution which defines “gross
        misconduct” as a grave violation or breach of the
        provision of this constitution or a misconduct of
        such nature as amounts in the opinion on the
        House of Assembly to gross misconduct. An act is
        said to be misconduct if it fall below the
        standard of behavior expected of a person and in
        this particular instance a Governor. The failure
        of Chief Alamieyeseigha to abide by the
        conditions of bail amounts to gross amounts to a
        gross misconduct apart from being a grave
        violation of the Constitution.

        This is anchored on the fact that such conduct
        falls below the standard of behaviour expected of
        a Governor. Also worthy of note is the fact in
        the excerciose of the Court’s discretion to rant
        bail, provision was made for sureties. These
        sureties are eminent persons within the
        jurisdiction of the court who would vouch for the
        charactet and intergrity of the recipient of the
        courts discrtion to grant bail. In chief
        Alamieyeseigha’s case, three prominent and
        distinguished persons held him out to be a man
        of honour, a man who wold stand his trail, a man
        responsible and trustworthy person. They were
        willing to place and did place, their reputation
        and property on the line to prove this point.
        However, by debasing himself to the extent of
        jumpning bail, he has held himself out as man
        without intergrity, withot morals and no sense
        of decency. This indeed constitutes a misconduct
        which renders him unfit to govern a state. His
        conduct is intruding, and most unbecoming of a
        person adorning the exalted title of “His
        Excellency” By virtue of the aforesaid, this
        investigative panel is of the considered opinion
        AND HEREBY GIVES THE VERDICT that the above act
        of the governor is tantamount to “gross
        misconduct” and therefore renders him liable to
        the provisions of Section 188 of the Constitution
        of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
        ALLEGATION NO. 6 IN THE NOTICE OF IMPEACHMENT
        DATED 18th NOVEMBER 2005.

        Failing, refusing and/ or neglecting to formally
        notify the Government of Bayelsa State,
        particularly the Bayelsa State House of Assembly
        of his arrest, detention, and arraignment and
        trial in court in London for the offence of money
        Laundering but instead deceptively wrote (sic) to
        the Bayelsa State House of Assembly a letter,
        obviously backdated to the first day of
        September, 2005 requesting to be away for 120
        days to enable him recuperate from a surgery he
        underwent in Germany, thus deliberately and
        mischievously attempting to keep away from the
        government and the people of Bayelsa State, the
        fact of his arrest, detention and trial in London
        of money laundering charges, a fact that is now
        house-hold knowledge all over the world”. Upon
        exhaustive examination of the above allegation,
        the following incontrovertible deductions were
        arrived at by our panel;

        (i) That His Excellency, Chief D. S. P.
        Alamieyeseigha failed, refused and or neglected
        to notify the Bayelsa State House of Assembly of
        his arrest, detention, and arraignment and trial
        in court in London for the offence of money
        laundering in Contravention of section 190 of the
        1999 Constitution.
        (ii) That His Excellency, Chief D. S. P.
        Alamieyeseigha wilfully and deliberately engaged
        in suppression of material facts when he failed,
        refused and or neglected to notify the Bayelsa
        State House of Assembly of his arrest, detention,
        and arraignment and trial in court in London for
        the offence of money laundering.

        (iii) That His Excellency, Chief D.S.P.
        Alamieyeseigha sought to deceive the Bayelsa
        State House of Assembly and the entire people of
        Bayelsa, by virtue of the spurious letter
        addressed to the Speaker, Bayelsa State House of
        Assembly ostensibly dated 01st September, 2005,
        but in actual fact made in reaction to an event
        which occurred on 15th day of September, 2005,
        namely his arrested and detention with the
        prospect of long stay in the United Kingdom.

        (iv) That the deceit referred to in (iii) above,
        is borne out by the fact that close associates
        cum advisers of the governor were caused to issue
        a statement immediately after news of his arrest
        and detention to the effect that the governor was
        having “extended bed rest” in London, following
        surgery in Germany.

        (v) That flowing from the foregoing is the fact
        that His Excellency, Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha
        must have written that letter AFTER, NOT BEFORE
        his arrest, but wilfully and deliberately dated
        it to create the impression that it was written
        before --- a fact which by itself, is indicative
        of a fraudulent propensity. By virtue of (1) to
        (2) above, this investigative panel is of the
        considered opinion that the above acts of the
        governor are incompatible with his dignified
        statue as “HIS EXCELLENCY”, tantamount to “gross
        misconduct”. The investigative panel therefore
        HEREBY GIVES THE VERDICT that the above act of
        the governor renders him liable to the
        provisions of section 188 of The Constitution of
        the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. Mr .
        Speaker sir, having thus submitted this FIRST
        PART of our report, we shall now proceed with
        deliberations on the other allegations. Thank You
        Sir.

        --------------------------

        SPECIAL REPORT : Alams' ouster — The jury that
        nailed him

        EMMA AMAIZE & SAM OYADONGHA
        Posted to the Web: Sunday, December 11, 2005

        THE impeachment, last Friday, of Governor
        Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State climaxed
        events in the state since November 23 when
        Alamieyeseigha rejected the counsel of a select
        Bayelsa elders, the state House of Assembly and
        President Olusegun Obasanjo. The governor’s
        ouster followed the submission of the report by
        the panel, comprising four men and three women,
        which looked into the allegations of misconduct
        levelled against him, to the state House of
        Assembly.

        Bayelsa State Chief Judge, Justice Emmanuel
        Igoniwari, who inaugurated the panel, last
        Monday, had observed that the panelists: Mr.
        David Serena-Dokubo Spiff (chairman); Lady Mercy
        Alagoa; Mr. Collins Boleigha; Wing Commander
        Gladys Brisibe (rtd); Dr. (Mrs) Bolere
        Ketebu-Nwokafor; Col. Rufus Apulu (rtd) and Mr.
        Benson Agadaga, were soberly chosen for “the
        historic, national and international assignment”.
        But who really are these seven wise men and
        women; where are they coming from; what is their
        pedigree? Sunday Vanguard in this report unveils
        the board of adjudicators Alamieyeseigha would
        have loved to be in love with, feel affection
        for and care for in one of his most decisive
        hours of need on the earth planet.

        * Spiff - luminous advocate: The chairman of the
        panel, a flambouyant and flashy legal
        practitioner, Spiff was reportedly called to the
        Bar in 1978. He has been in private practice
        since then. He was a Federal Government nominee
        to the defunct National Political Reform
        Conference (NPRC) in Abuja and was involved in
        the 2003 gubernatorial campaign of
        Alamieyeseigha’s biggest rival, Mr. Timi Alaibe
        of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
        Sources said he is a close friend and schoolmate
        of the Attorney General of the federation and
        Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo.

        By virtue of his profession, he has handled quite
        a lot of cases for diverse clients, one of them,
        the battle by Nembe people in 2002 against
        Alamieyeseigha. The governor protested his
        membership of the panel to the chief judge of the
        state but his colleagues described him as a
        luminous advocate with a proclivity for great
        scholarship and the Queen’s English. His father
        is from Brass constituency in Bayelsa and his law
        firm, which is involved in corporate practice, is
        one of the prosperous ones in the state. He is
        known to be ethical and somebody who loathes
        tyranny and injustice.

        * Lady Alagoa - iron willed intellectual: She is
        a strong-willed intellectual and also married to
        an academic husband, Prof E.J. Alagoa, one of
        Africa’s most respected professors of history
        and the first pro-chancellor of the Niger-Delta
        University (NDU), Amassoma, Bayelsa State. In the
        South-South Peoples Assembly (SSPA), she is
        fondly called the mother of the assembly because
        of her motherly disposition to consideration of
        issues. In fact, she is a thinker and respected
        community leader from Nembe area of the state.
        Since the Alamieyeseigha story broke, she has
        maintained a studied silence. She, indeed, headed
        a panel that was set up by the Alamieyeseigha
        government on the Nembe crisis but after a
        painstaking job, the report of her panel is yet
        to see the light of the day. It is not known
        whether she holds any feeling of resentment
        against the governor for that but Lady Alagoa is
        a zealous woman that is self-governing. She acts
        on the basis of her convictions and might not
        have been prejudiced by extraneous factors.

        * Boleigha - skillful strategist: He is a product
        of the University of Science and Technology, Port
        Harcourt, Rivers State and was called to the Bar
        in 1991. Like Spiff, he owns a thriving law firm
        in Yenagoa and is also the chairman of the
        Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) in the state
        capital. Rising from a general meeting, November
        30, at Yenagoa, his association, in a communiquéé
        signed by him, secretary, Ebiyerin Omukoro and
        publicity secretary, Perediyegha Ajoko, deplored
        the escape of Alamieyeseigha from the United
        Kingdom, where he was undergoing trial for
        alleged financial impropriety. He sees nothing
        wrong in the deployment of military troops and
        security personnel by the Federal Government to
        Bayelsa State to maintain peace but he called for
        restraint and respect for the entrenched
        fundamental rights of the citizenry by deployed
        troops and security personnel.

        His association acknowledged Alamieyeseigha’s
        deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, as the acting
        governor of the state and would want the Federal
        Government to defreeze the accounts of the state
        and release its seized allocation to enable the
        government pay workers. He does not see any
        reason for the declaration of a state of
        emergency in the state.

        * Ketebu-Nwokafor - frank campaigner: A seasoned
        politician and activist, she is the national
        president of the National Council of Women’s
        Societies and a former member of the House of
        Representatives. She hails from Odi community in
        the state and the panel must have found her
        contributions handy because she does not believe
        in beating about the bush. Mrs. Ketebu also
        believes in equal rights for everybody and would
        stick out her neck to defend it.

        * Brisibe - independent minded: A former council
        caretaker committee chairman in the state,
        Brisibe is a retired airforce officer. It was
        learnt that her husband is the current chairman
        of the Bayelsa State Scholarship Board but the
        woman has a reputation of absolute independence
        in her decisions in her official duties.

        * Agadaga - torn between Alamieyeseigha and
        Jonathan: An amiable fellow, Agadaga hails from
        the Ogbia axis of the state. He was the immediate
        past Commissioner for Information in
        Alamieyeseigha administration. The governor’s
        camp thought that he would not help their case in
        the panel because of the manner he was dropped
        as a commissioner but his followers said the man
        bears no personal grudge against the impeached
        governor that once gave him opportunity to serve
        the state. They said he was guided by the facts
        of the matter. Alams' camp contended, however,
        that he is loyal to the acting governor who is
        waiting in Abuja for the coast to be cleared
        before taking over from his boss. A family source
        said Mr. Agadaga is not the type of person that
        would deny his friendship with anybody because a
        panel was set by the chief judge, adding that,
        “he is a friend to both the governor and deputy
        governor”.

        * Apulu: Not much is known about this retired
        colonel of the Nigeria Army but it was gathered
        that he was once an aide-camp to the former Chief
        of General Staff, Lt General Oladipo Diya.

        Lobbyists at work: Lobbyists did not leave
        anything to chance and they went to work to get
        the panel of adjudicators to swing their report
        in favour of the interest they represent.
        Sunday Vanguard learnt that a group went to the
        Yenagoa residence of one of the panelists to talk
        to him but they did not meet him at home. They
        saw his wife and pleaded with her to beg her
        husband not to join others in digging
        Alamieyeseigha’s grave. The panelist had
        temporary abandoned his home since he was
        sworn-in, last Monday. His wife assured the
        lobbyists that she would pass the message to her
        husband but whey they left, her friend who was
        present told her not to mind them and tell her
        husband to do only the right thing.

        Alams’ protest: The impeached governor protested
        to the chief judge against the inclusion of the
        chairman of the panel Agadaga. His arguments
        against the chairman were that with his speeches
        and comments, he would be predisposed to bias; is
        a “call-mate” of the Attorney General of the
        Federation who is an interested party in the
        whole matter; was a Federal Government nominee to
        the defunct Confab; is a member of the PDP and
        his (Alamieyeseigha) opponent in the 2003
        elections.

        The governor also alleged that Agadaga is a PDP
        member and also a civil servant. If the
        ex-governor’s claim that the two panelists were
        members of the PDP is true, then they were
        unqualified for the assignment but Spiff, in his
        response to the chief judge stated that, “I do
        not belong to the PDP or any political party”. He
        dismissed Alams' claim that he was his opponent
        in the 2003 elections and said his being a lead
        counsel in a suit by Nembe Council of Chiefs
        against the Governor of Bayelsa state, the
        Attorney General of the Federation and others was
        purely a discharge of his professional
        responsibility and instructions given him as a
        legal practitioner.

        Spiff admitted that the Attorney General of the
        Federation, is his friend and call mate at the
        Nigerian Law School as Alamieyeseigha claimed but
        said that it would not influence him to
        discharge his duties as chairman of the
        investigative panel.

        --------------------------

        Obasanjo to Ngige: You look like a woman!

        JOHN IGHODARO
        Posted to the Web: Sunday, December 11, 2005

        PRESIDENT Olusegun Obasanjo is an interesting man
        with a complex personality. He is like
        electricity that could make a pressing iron hot-
        very hot and a refrigerator cold-freezing cold.
        Electricity could light a bulb or blow up that
        same bulb. As electricity could be deployed for
        electric shock therapy in special hospitals,
        electricity can at the same time be deployed for
        electrocution. So, what does a wise man do? A
        wise man approaches electricity with caution and,
        above all, with knowledge. There is a way you
        approach electricity and it will give you good
        music or light up your television screen and
        there is another way you can approach
        electricity and you could be electrocuted. You
        can argue without much effort that electricity is
        good, but you cannot argue convincingly that
        electricity is bad; you can only say:
        Electricity can be dangerous.

        There are certain people who are adept at
        approaching Obasanjo without getting hurt, but
        there are those who do not know how to approach
        this man. They see an electrical wire hanging
        from Obasanjo and they grab it with bare hands,
        while there are others who put on gloves while
        holding the wire. Governor Peter Odili of Rivers
        State knows how to approach Obasanjo, so he does
        not touch a naked wire with his bare hands. There
        is another man, a much younger man who knows how
        to approach Obasanjo without getting hurt. He is
        the comedian, Ali Baba. There are others who
        understand Obasanjo and know their ways around
        him. But there is another tribe of people who do
        not know Obasanjo and approach him carelessly and
        without caution and get hurt. One is
        Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar. Another is Chief
        Diepreye Alamieyeseigha among numerous others.

        This complex nature of President Obasanjo played
        itself out last weekend when he visited Port
        Harcourt in Rivers State to attend the special
        presidential retreat on power generation and
        supply and to commission some projects in the
        state. Before the arrival of Obasanjo in Port
        Harcourt, armored tanks had rolled into Yenagoa
        in Bayelsa State. Like electricity, while Yanegoa
        was hot, courtesy of the president, Port Harcourt
        was cool, also courtesy of Obasanjo. While in
        Port Harcourt, the president danced; he threw
        banters, playfully slapped people on their backs-
        generally making people happy. How did this
        happen? Well, it is the man’s personality. On
        Wednesday of last week, Alamieyeseigha had
        raised an alarm that his deputy, Dr. Goodluck
        Jonathan, had gone into hiding, imploring him to
        come out to join him in running the affairs of
        state. To show that he was not in hiding,
        Jonathan stepped down from the airplane bearing
        Obasanjo at the Port Harcourt International
        Airport among other governors and PDP chieftains.

        The man had come out of hiding! The president was
        his old self, throwing banters, shaking hands,
        generally making people laugh. Everyone watching
        was aware of what was happening in Bayelsa and,
        if you forgot, Obasanjo made you remember by
        indirect remarks. At the Hotel Presidential,
        where the presidential retreat took place, the
        president, on arrival, told Governor Chris Ngige
        of Anambra state (who is learning how to approach
        Obasanjo.): “You look like a woman” to which
        Ngige playfully replied: “Oga you don start O!
        Oga you don start O!!” Turning to fellow
        governors, Ngige said: “Make una tell Oga make he
        leave me alone O.

        “Subsequently, when it was time to address issues
        of state while inside the elegant Atlantic Hall
        of Hotel Presidential, Obasanjo shifted his
        behavioural gear and he assumed the role of a
        statesman. Time came for him to address the
        august gathering and he began: “ I am delighted
        to be here today, at this special presidential
        retreat which has been covered to discuss the
        Nigerian power sector. We are all aware that
        Nigeria is abundantly blessed with enormous
        agricultural potentials, a vast array of mineral
        resources and very clement weather conditions. It
        is, therefore, a paradox that a country so richly
        endowed is, on the per capita basis, still ranked
        amongst the poorest in the world. This is
        because we have been unable to achieve and
        sustain economic growth rates that are
        commensurate with our rich resources potential.
        “Although a number of reasons are responsible for
        our sub-optimal level of development, perhaps the
        single most limiting factor has been the poor
        state of the nation’s infrastructures,
        particularly its electricity infrastructure.”

        It was the president’s contention that the “two
        decades of neglect has led to a situation where
        less than half of the country has access to grid
        electricity and even when they do, the service
        is, in most instances, erratic and unreliable.
        There was no new investment in the sector and
        existing asserts were denied routine maintenance
        and as such were in terrible state of disrepair
        when this Administration came into office in
        1999.” Before the president spoke, Odili in his
        welcome address had said that the state’s
        independent power programme was premised on the “
        existence of abundant associated and
        non-associated gas resources in the state as the
        cheapest available and most realizable energy
        source for the project.” He explained that “ the
        medium for generation was the procurement and
        installation of turbine plants at strategic
        locations in the state.

        Today, from two commissioned and functioning
        turbine plants, Rivers State generates a total 56
        megawatts of electricity that has enabled a power
        purchase agreement with NEPA for the evacuation
        of power generated from one of these plants
        located in Trans-Amadi. This will increase
        shortly by the addition of a further 100
        megawatts to the Trans Amadi plant currently 36
        megawatts. Soon after the speeches, it was time
        for tea and the president was invited to the tea
        stand. He was freely chatting with people,
        embraced a dignitary who subsequently spoke into
        his ears with Obasanjo’’s right hand over the
        man’’s back. As he was discussing with another
        dignitary, an aide came over to him, called him
        aside and handed him a handset-as the president
        had a call. He received the call. As the break
        was coming to an end, and as Obasanjo was
        passing by some newsmen, he noticed they had
        writing materials in their hands. He knew they
        were journalists. We greeted the president. He
        stopped in his stride, turned to the journalist
        nearest to him, ““ which of the papers?”” he
        inquired. ““Tribune”” came the reply. This writer
        was next in line and Obasanjo asked, ““You
        nko?”” and I said, ““Vanguard.”” He was nodding.
        He turned to the next man. ““And you?”” he asked
        and the newsman said ““NAN Sir.” Obasanjo nodded
        some more and walked on, greeting other people on
        his way to the high table. As the participants
        for the retreat got set to commence their
        deliberations, newsmen had to leave. Later in the
        evening, it was time to commission the new Brick
        House (Government House in Port Harcourt) and the
        president was on hand to commission the
        magnificent structures.

        That evening, two of the nations most famous
        comedians were on hand and they came out with rib
        cracking jokes to the delight of everyone
        present. While one the comedian’s made people
        laugh continuously, the other (a part time
        comedian) made people laugh and cry
        simultaneously depending on who is listening to
        him. While one comedian is known nationwide
        solely for his humour, the other is known all
        over the world as a statesman. Comedian Ali Baba
        was the master of ceremony; he was busy dishing
        out vibrant jokes. Governor Odili made a speech,
        welcoming Obasanjo and other guests to the
        Government House grounds. He described the
        president as a man of courage among other
        commendations. When it came time for the
        President to speak, he got up and took the
        microphone. He began to recognize the
        dignitaries present. As he was recognizing the
        presence of the governors, it came to the turn of
        Ngige and Obasanjo said: “Governor Chris Ngige of
        Anambra State……” and everyone began to clap and
        laugh. The president paused and, in mock
        irritation, he said, “ Why una dey clap now? Why
        una dey clap? He paused some more then
        continued: “Because you have laughed and clapped,
        I am going to say what I had told myself I wasn’t
        going to say. You know Ngige traveled abroad. He
        came back a few days ago and came in suit! Ngige
        that’s what you told me. Is that not what you
        told me? That you came in suit. Am I lying?”
        Everyone burst into laughter, for everyone knew
        that the president was talking about Governor
        Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa state indirectly. He
        then went ahead and addressed serious issues of
        state.

        He commended Rivers State government for its
        independent power project programme, adding that
        he would never get tired of coming to Rivers
        State because “ I won’t get tired of going to a
        place where good things are happening.” After his
        speech, Obasanjo raised a song just as Odili had
        done earlier. Chief Tony Anenih and a few other
        dignitaries began to dance with the president
        leading the way to his seat. Somewhere along the
        line, the president beckoned to the master of
        ceremony, Ali Baba, in relative privacy and
        asked him “ How much is Odili paying you for this
        (MC) work?” Ali Baba was at his best. But then,
        Obasanjo was at his very best. “Nothing sir.
        Just charity sir.” The president gave him N5, 000
        naira. Ali Baba thanked Obasanjo but as he was
        walking away, he made sure the president heard
        what he (Ali Baba) said next. Ali Baba had turned
        to somebody close by and complained aloud: “Look
        wetin Baba dash me.

        The notes are very dirty.” Of course, the
        President heard him and the following
        conversation ensued. “ Ali Baba!”“ Sir”. “Come
        here”, the president said. Ali Baba hurriedly
        gave the N5, 000 to somebody, saying aloud,
        “Take. E go take am from me,” and he walked over
        to Obasanjo who stretched his palm towards Ali
        Baba and demanded: “Owo da?” The gathering was
        thrown into more laughter. The following morning,
        Obasanjo commissioned the over 200 brand-new
        Peugeot taxicabs which were purchased by the
        state government. It is not for nothing that the
        African American Nobel Laureate in Literature,
        Toni Morrison, said that Mr. Bill Clinton was
        the first black President of the United States of
        America and it is not for nothing too that
        Clinton, on retirement located his office in
        Harlem, which is New York’s Ajegunle. These
        people: Clinton and Obasanjo have a way with
        people although in very different forms.

        -----------------------------

        Phantom Coup: The battle line between Atiku and
        his boss

        ROTIMI AJAYI, Abuja
        Posted to the Web: Sunday, December 11, 2005

        THE country was woken to a very bad tale last
        week. The Vice President, Atiku Abubakar told
        Nigerians on Tuesday that he had uncovered plots
        to rope him and a number of his political
        associates into an imaginary coup. Of course,
        going by the history of the country especially in
        dying days of military rule in Nigeria, claims
        that some forces were out to rope one into
        phantom coup would not particularly surprise one.
        What would particularly be surprising is that a
        democratically elected vice president of the
        country is making the claim. Perhaps before going
        any further, a repeat of his entire statement
        would suffice at this juncture.

        He said, “my attention has been drawn to some
        documents circulating in the country about a
        purported plan to rope me and some of my
        associates into certain unconstitutional acts
        with grave consequences for the stability of our
        country and my personal safety. For the avoidance
        of doubt, I wish to state unequivocally, that by
        my antecedents and democratic convictions, I will
        never be involved in any plot to derail our
        hard-earned democratic system of government,
        having uncovered and frustrated a coup plot
        whose masterminds are already facing legal trial.
        I remain committed and faithful to my oath of
        office to defend and uphold the Constitution of
        the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In this regard,
        anyone purporting to drag my name or office into
        anything contrary to this oath should be regarded
        as mischief-makers who do not wish our country
        well. I will also use this opportunity to react
        to insinuations about my continued role in the
        present administration.

        I am committed to serving out our entire term of
        office as mandated by the Nigerian people when
        they re-elected President Olusegun Obasanjo and I
        in 2003, in spite of false insinuations about my
        imminent resignation. Finally, I wish to appeal
        to Nigerians to remain steadfast and loyal to the
        government and constitution of Nigeria and avoid
        any acts that could derail our cherished
        democracy.” A careful reading of the statement of
        the vice president and a study of the manner in
        which previous similar phantom coups arose would
        show that both the vice president and his boss,
        President Olusegun Obasanjo have reached the
        point of irreconcilable differences.

        After the vice president’s speech was published
        last Tuesday, sources in the Presidency revealed
        that the President was totally incensed by it.
        According to one of the sources, the vice
        president action was seen as totally disgraceful
        and an act that was meant to undermine the
        integrity of the President within and outside
        Nigeria.

        Said the source, “you will be very surprised that
        we knew nothing about the statement before it was
        issued. I mean if indeed the vice president was
        being truthful and he had actually uncovered
        what he said he uncovered, it is expected that he
        would go to the President and inform him about it
        and if he was going to issue a statement over
        this, he should have told the President that he
        intended to do so. “When the statement came out
        and talked about attempts to frame him up,
        everybody of course knows whom he was talking
        about and there is no way such a person can still
        conscientiously claim to be loyal to the
        president.

        With that statement I can tell you that it was a
        final straw between him and the President.”
        Perhaps, the Tuesday statement and the feeling it
        elicited in the President must have been
        responsible for the manner in which the President
        treated the vice president in the hierarchy of
        protocol last Wednesday at the 2006 budget
        session. The President had in opening his speech
        at the joint session acknowledged the presence of
        the Senate President, that of the Speaker of the
        House of Representatives and so on without any
        acknowledgement of the presence of the vice
        president who was sitted at the event. Of course,
        the vice president was at the event on the
        invitation of the National Assembly. But could
        the President have done otherwise? Hardly not.

        Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a full-star general of
        the Nigerian Army, former military head of state,
        prominent member of the Eminent Persons Group and
        a stickler for respect, is a man that brooks no
        form of disloyalty or insubordination from any
        officer under him notwithstanding his status. So
        after having uncovered previous acts of
        disloyalty on the part of the vice president, he
        would certainly not take the allegation of the
        attempt to frame phantom coup as a bowl of
        pounded yam which he relishes so well.

        The disposition of the President to the
        allegation from the vice president would have
        been further sharpened by the fact that the
        President himself is a victim of similar phantom
        coup under the infamous regime of the late Gen.
        Sani Abacha, another military ruler who seized
        Nigeria by the jugular. But for the grace of God,
        the President would have been consumed by the
        Abacha phantom coup as he was meant to be
        executed before a divine intervention got him
        freed.

        So it is very curious that such a man could also
        want to frame another for similar offence from
        which God delivered him from and even rewarded
        him with the highest office in the land. Making
        such an allegation against him would certainly
        mean foreclosing every possible means of
        rapprochement with the President by the vice,
        however. Does this mean the vice president cried
        wolf where there was none?

        By his placement within the hierarchy of commands
        of military in the country, the Vice President is
        in no position to uncover such a plot if indeed
        there was one against him as the statement
        pointed out. However, he could still get the
        information about such a plot if one takes into
        consideration the person that he is. Atiku
        Abubakar, in his capacity as the vice president,
        Atiku Abubakar has been the chairman, National
        Economic Council, National Council on
        Privatization, National Planning Commission,
        National Boundary Commission, Presidential
        Committee on 8th All African Games, Chairman
        National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)
        among others.

        These positions and responsibilities enabled him
        to display what appears to be an inherent virtue
        in him as he manifested and multiplied himself
        variously through hospitality and generosity all
        the time he had effective control of his
        responsibilities within government.

        Therefore, it would be doubtful if such a man
        could find it difficult getting information of
        possible plot to frame him up as coup plotter.
        Again, that he got it and told Nigerians about
        it, still raises the question of whether indeed
        there was such a plot. Confronted with this
        information, the pubic affairs assistant to the
        president, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, denied the
        knowledge of the presidency in such a claim.
        According to him, “the response I gave to your
        colleagues when they asked about this during the
        week was that we know nothing about it and I
        still stand by that.”

        A close aide of the vice president however
        dismissed the ignorance claim of Mr Fani-Kayode,
        nay that of the Presidency as balderdash.
        According to the aide, “this is a plan that was
        real and we had to cry out before they can go
        ahead to implement it because you know that
        nothing can be taken for granted now. Their
        passion for third term could force them to do
        anything at this moment.”

        The Federal Government has the responsibility of
        actually investigating the claim of the vice
        president. A man of his position should know what
        he is talking about when he talks. If he has
        claimed that there are such plots, Nigerians
        would like to know those involved.

        On whose orders were they plotting? When is the
        coup really expected to be hatched and in which
        way was it to be hatched? These are the questions
        that must be answered in the interest of Nigeria
        and Nigerians.

        -----------------------------

        Alams: In company with Balarabe Musa

        By Ikeddy Isiguzo
        Posted to the Web: Saturday, December 10, 2005

        FOR 24 years, Mallam Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa had
        the sterling qualification of being the only
        Nigerian governor to suffer impeachment. Wherever
        his name crops up, people remember his
        uncompromising stand that cost him his position.
        By yesterday’s decision of the Bayelsa State
        House of Assembly, Mallam Musa would share the
        impeachment saga with the undesirable company of
        ex-Governor Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha
        of Bayelsa State, who was impeached for “gross
        misconduct”.

        It is noteworthy that Musa was also impeached for
        “gross misconduct”. Mallam Musa was bound to be
        impeached. His campaign promises created the
        chance, the composition of the Kaduna State House
        of Assembly executed it. He had told his
        supporters that he would ban poll tax, a big
        relief to the common people. After the elections,
        the 99-member State House of Assembly had a
        majority of National Party of Nigeria, NPN,
        members – 64.

        Governor Musa’s Peoples Redemption Party, PRP,
        held only 16 seats as against the Great Nigerian
        Peoples Party, GNPP, which had 10 seats. The
        Nigerian Peoples Party, NPP won 6 seats, and the
        Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, 3.
        The constitutional landmark impeachment took
        place on June 23, 1981, less than two years into
        Nigeria’s Second Republic. The NPN-dominated
        State House of Assembly had accused him of making
        the decision to abolish poll tax without a law, a
        “gross misconduct”. The governor’s exit climaxed
        the long-drawn confrontation between the
        executive and the NPN, which controlled the
        legislature. Kaduna was the only state that
        emerged from the 1979 elections with different
        parties controlling its executive and
        legislature.

        Impeachment proceedings began in May 1981, when
        Alhaji Dauda Mani, majority leader of the House
        served a notice accusing the governor of “gross
        misconduct”, in accordance with Section 170 of
        the 1979 Constitution.
        All 69 members of the State Assembly members and
        five from other parties signed the notice. A
        seven-member impeachment committee, which
        examined the charge against the governor, found
        him guilty, in a controversial process that was
        the fulfillment of the NPN’s plan to oust the
        governor.
        The Kaduna State Assembly adopted the panel’s
        report. Sixty-eight legislators - two over the
        two-thirds required by the Constitution for
        impeachment – voted in favour of the report.

        Alhaji Abba Musa Rimi, Mallam Musa’s deputy,
        replaced him in accordance with Section 172 of
        the Constitution.
        One of the accusations against the Speaker of the
        Assembly, Alhaji Abubakar Dan-Musa, of the NPN,
        was that he had his eyes on becoming governor.
        Under Section 172 (2), the responsibilities of
        the governor would fall on the Speaker if the
        governor and his deputy had to leave office
        together. Alhaji Musa Rimi was sworn-in as
        governor of Kaduna State on July 5 1981.

        Mallam Musa took the legal battle against his
        removal all the way to the Supreme Court, which
        ruled on July 13, 1982 dismissing Balarabe’s
        appeal against his impeachment.
        There are hardly any similarities in the
        impeachment of Mallam Musa and Chief
        Alamieyeseigha. The 24-member Bayelsa State House
        of Assembly has 23 members from the Peoples
        Redemption Party, PDP, the same party as the
        ex-governor, only one member is from the Alliance
        for Democracy, AD.
        Charges of corruption had been levelled against
        Chief Alamieyeseigha, who in addition, breached
        his bail conditions in London, where he was
        charged for money laundering.

        The 1999 Constitution makes liberal provisions on
        the definition of “gross misconduct”. According
        to Section 188 (11), “gross misconduct” means a
        grave violation or breach of the provisions of
        this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature
        as amounts in the opinion in the House of
        Assembly to gross misconduct.
        Unlike Balarabe, he would not have an opportunity
        to challenge his ouster in court.
        Section 188 (10) of the 1999 Constitution, which
        states, “No proceedings or determination of the
        Panel or of the House of Assembly or any matter
        relating to such proceedings or determination
        shall be entertained or questioned in any court,”
        forecloses any chances of any legal remedy for
        Chief Alamieyeseigha. This low point of the
        Constitution has been tested in two instances.

        Deputy governors of Ekiti State, Abiodun Aluko,
        and Akwa Ibom State, Chris Ekpeyong, have been
        impeached and Section 188 (10) denied them any
        right to legal recourse.
        Whatever happens from this point, Chief
        Alamieyeseigha is most unlikely to come out of
        this epic journey with the same sparkling
        credentials that Musa has had since his
        impeachment in 1981.

        -----------------------------

        My advice to Alamieyeseigha, by Balarabe Musa

        By Chioma Anyagafu, Assistant Editor and Emeka
        Mamah, Kaduna
        Posted to the Web: Saturday, December 10, 2005

        THE impeached governor of old Kaduna State
        during the Second Republic, Alhaji Balarabe Musa
        has advised the ex-Bayelsa State governor, Chief
        DSP Alamieyeseigha to give up because he cannot
        get justice in Nigeria.
        “Alamieyeseigha’s impeachment is unfortunate,”
        said Musa, “but it’s another evidence that
        Nigeria is in a state of anarchy. What might have
        been the right thing to do has been done in the
        wrong way on the assumption that the end
        justifies the means.
        “There were credible allegations against the
        governor. One has been proved even though others
        have not. Jumping bail has been proved.”

        Musa sees the governor’s removal by the Bayelsa
        State Assembly as a gross constitutional
        misconduct. “Section 188 of the 1999 constitution
        laid down the procedure for the impeachment of
        the governor that ought to be followed. But it
        was not done. So, the right thing was done the
        wrong way.”

        Alhaji Musa said he does not see any way out for
        the Bayelsa governor at this point. “There is
        nothing the governor can do to get justice.
        Sub-section 10 of section 188 of the 1999
        constitution says that the procedure and the
        determination of the state assembly on
        impeachment cannot be questioned by any court of
        law.
        “Alamieyeseigha can challenge the composition of
        the impeachment panel. But even this is hopeless.
        He cannot expect justice in Nigeria but getting
        justice from the court is a chance thing.. So,
        the best thing for him to do is to give up and
        face the criminal allegations against him.

        “I can also tell you that if eventually the
        London Court finds him innocent, he can then come
        to Nigeria to pursue his case but by then, it
        would too be too late. So, the best thing for him
        is to give up.”
        Speaking earlier with journalists in Kaduna, Musa
        said: “First of all, let me make myself quiet
        clear. We are now in a state of bureaucratic
        anarchy in Nigeria. So, it is very difficult to
        know the right action and the wrong action.
        “In the case of this man (Alamieyeseigha), he has
        not been convicted of any allegations either in
        Nigeria or overseas and lawmakers should base
        their actions on legal terms. If he had been
        convicted by any court, that can be used as a
        ground for impeachment. I know the main grounds
        for impeaching a chief executive are gross
        misconduct, but even in the case of gross
        misconduct, the state assembly should exercise
        the same care and caution that a court should
        exercise because the state assembly is a
        lawmaking body.

        “In this case, I doubt if the assembly has
        exercised that care and caution within the very
        short time. I doubt if they could have exercised
        that caution. Obviously the former governor may
        have committed the offence alleged, but he ought
        to have been convicted by a court and in the
        absence of that, if the need arises for that then
        the house of assembly should exercise care and
        caution.

        “Now that it has happened, the only thing is for
        us to lament the state of bureaucratic anarchy in
        which we are. The governor cannot do anything
        under the present circumstances because there is
        a serious moral allegation against him. He can
        only do something after he has been cleared of
        the allegations both in Nigeria and overseas and
        it is difficult for him to do that. But let’s
        assume that he can be cleared of all allegations,
        especially that he has now been impeached.”

        ----------------------------

        Dangerous airspace again claims lives

        JOHN NWOKOCHA .....ANALYSIS
        Posted to the Web: Sunday, December 11, 2005

        AGAIN the nation has been thrown into grief as
        another plane crashed in Port Harcourt, Rivers
        State, yesterday. The aircraft owned by the
        Sosoliso airline left Abuja for Port Harcourt
        with about 110 passengers on board and including
        crew members. As at the time of this report,
        details of the accident is still sketchy
        nevertheless, it was learnt that the aircraft
        exploded into flames and left 58 passengers
        roasted in one fell swoop before help could come
        their way.

        Seven passengers were rescued. They were rushed
        to a nearby hospital for treatment. But sadly,
        the Sosoliso mishap occurred when Nigerians are
        smarting from the anguish unleashed on them by
        Bellview air disaster that happened at Lisa in
        Ogun State, in late October, which claimed 117
        lives.

        In point of fact, many a family and corporate
        organisations who lost their own are still in
        shocks to believe that their loved ones are gone
        forever. Also many of the bereaved persons still
        believe that the accident was unreal. As a matter
        of fact, the 40-day prayer for the departed souls
        of the Bellview Boeing 737, flight 210, Octo<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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