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?
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.
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- THE SOSOLISO PLANE CRASH: Odukoya on ill-fated
By Sam Eyoboka
Posted to the Web: Monday, December 12, 2005
LAGOSFOUNTAIN 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
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
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
Marys 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
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
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
PORT HARCOURTFOUR of the seven persons injured
in Saturdays 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: Were 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 Saturdays
crash were schoolchildren from the Loyola Jesuit
College in Abuja who were returning home for
their Christmas holidays, Archbishop John
An American and a French health worker working
for the medical aid agencyDoctors 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
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
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
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
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
He was said to have broken down in tears during
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
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
FCMB gets CBN approval for merger with CDB
Posted to the Web: Monday, December 12, 2005
LAGOSTHE 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
The CBN approval has now effectively placed FCMB
Plcs 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
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
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
banks 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
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 banks 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
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,
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
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.
Websters 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
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
By his ignominious conduct Bayelsans and indeed
all Nigerians have been scandalised, embarrassed
and depicted as people whose word cannot be
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
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 Courts 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
Alamieyeseighas 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
(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
SPECIAL REPORT : Alams' ouster The jury that
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 governors
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
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
Alamieyeseighas 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 Queens 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
Africas 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 Alamieyeseighas
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 Womens
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 governors
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
* 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
Alamieyeseighas 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
The governor also alleged that Agadaga is a PDP
member and also a civil servant. If the
ex-governors 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
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
Obasanjo to Ngige: You look like a woman!
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 mans 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 nations infrastructures,
particularly its electricity infrastructure.
It was the presidents 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 states
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 Obasanjos right hand over the
mans 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
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 comedians 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 wasnt
going to say. You know Ngige traveled abroad. He
came back a few days ago and came in suit! Ngige
thats 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
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 wont 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 Yorks Ajegunle. These
people: Clinton and Obasanjo have a way with
people although in very different forms.
Phantom Coup: The battle line between Atiku and
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
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 presidents 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
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
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
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)
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
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 yesterdays 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
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,
Governor Musas 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
Nigerias 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 governors 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
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 NPNs plan to oust the
The Kaduna State Assembly adopted the panels
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 Musas deputy,
replaced him in accordance with Section 172 of
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 Balarabes
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
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.
Alamieyeseighas impeachment is unfortunate,
said Musa, but its 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 governors 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
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
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
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
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 lets
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
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
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)