Tuesday, 29 September 2015

How Jeff won 2015 MTN Project Fame on September 28, 2015

Budding singer, Jeffrey Ufedo Akor  weekend emerged winner of the MTN Project Fame West Africa Season 8, smiling home with star prize of N5million, a brand new, fully loaded SUV and a recording contract worth millions of Naira. It has been a completely exciting season with weeks of hard-work and dedication.
It started with auditions in several cities in West Africa, and translated into eight weeks of fun, tension and scintillating performances for the 16 contestants that made it into the Academy.
For the six finalists that made it to the finals (Ada, Arewa, Anderson, Deinde, Jeff, and Pearl), things will never be the same again as they have indeed gone through a beneficial and life-altering eight weeks in the Academy.
Grand Finale nights like this have birthed the likes of Iyanya, Mike, Chidinma, Monica, Ayoola, Olawale and Geoffrey. And with only one of these six to join the league of extraordinary superstars, the question on everyone’s mind was, who will it be?
But before it got to that, the show kicked off on a  promising note as the six finalists stepped onto the stage in their monochrome outfits and delivered a melodious, yet emotional group song titled ‘Pray For Me’ by Dare Art Alade.
The rest of the night turned out to be an exciting journey with great entertainment lined up in form of collabos. Yes, the six finalists had been paired up with some A-list artistes to produce amazing remixed versions of their songs, and so each team stepped on stage and brought nothing but pure joy as they sang, danced and glowed.
First to perform were Jeff and energetic Yemi Alade doing ‘K.I.S.S.I.N.G’ remix. Followed by Pearl and Chidinma who gracefully performed ‘Kedike’ remix. Deinde and Iyanya got everyone dancing with ‘Mr Oreo’ remix.  Anderson and Praiz with their vocal dexterities delivered ‘Rich and Famous’ remix. While Arewa and 9ice paired up for the remix of the evergreen ‘Gongo Aso’.
Ada and Sound Sultan closed this round of entertainment with their creative rendition of ‘MotherLand’ remix. Amazingly, these collaborations are now available as caller ring back tunes. It was then time to get down to the business of the day. The moment of truth as many calls it, often characterized by a pin-drop silence.
With the audience eyes wide open, gasping heartbeats and trembling feet, the hosts of the show –Joseph Benjamin and Bolanle Olukanni took turns to announce the winner and runners-up of season eight.  Ada Tosanwumi, third runner-up. She went home with a cash prize of two million naira while   Anderson Amos emerged second runner-up.
He walked away with two million naira and a brand new saloon car. Pearl Awa-Agwu, first runner-up. She earned three million naira and a brand new saloon car.
With scores of spectacular performances and several millions of votes; the winner of MTN Project Fame Season eight is Jeffrey Ufedo Akor. He carted away five million naira, a brand new, fully loaded SUV and a recording contract worth millions of Naira. The sixth and fifth positions will also be rewarded with five hundred thousand naira and one million naira respectively.

The Move For Aviation National Carrier on September 29, 2015

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s interest in establishing a new aviation national carrier became evident when, early in August 2015, he directed visiting top ministry of aviation officials led by the Permanent Secretary, Hajiya Binta Bello, to take steps towards actualising the project which was strongly recommended by the Ahmed Joda transition committee.
Proponents of a new national carrier play up the benefits, which include national pride and the opportunities it will afford Nigeria to enjoy the fuller benefits of the Bilateral Aviation Services Agreements (BASA).
Nigeria has made several attempts at owning national carriers but came out with our fingers burnt. The first was the ugly experiences of operating the defunct Nigerian Airways between 1958 and 2005. This exposed the crass inability of government employees to run businesses, especially airlines. The federal government sank billions of dollars in acquiring planes of all types. At a point, the Nigerian Airways could boast of dozens of aircraft plying most important routes at home and internationally but by 2005 the Airways had to be liquidated.
A second attempt involved a government partnership with Virgin Atlantic owned by British billionaire, Richard Branson. The Virgin Nigeria that resulted from that effort soon collapsed. There were other attempts to float national carriers known variously as “Air Nigeria” and “Nigerian Global”. The nation only spent huge resources and yet nothing came of the effort.
Beyond national pride and providing a lucrative avenue to provide jobs and political patronage to highly connected individuals, what grand national agenda does Nigeria truly intend to achieve? To get the credible answer to this question the federal government must consult not just professionals and civil servants in the sector. The airline owners should also be brought on board so that if the national carrier is eventually floated, the interests of all parties will be protected for the overall good of the nation.
We are calling for a pause to ponder on this policy move. It looks very much like another white elephant project. Nigeria is not financially in shape to cough out the $5 billion, which experts believe, is the least amount it will take to float a new national carrier. Besides, the defunct Nigerian Airways owed heavily to international creditors, who are waiting to collect their money as soon as government goes into another aviation venture.
We call on the Federal Government to focus more energy on ensuring that existing airlines operate in a more conducive environment devoid of multiple taxation, expensive aviation fuel and the lot. We should rather empower our indigenous airlines to grow to a point where we can comfortably promote the viable ones among them to emerge as national carriers.

Bail-out: I won’t pay pension arrears, gratuities – Fayose on September 29, 2015

Ado-Ekiti—Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, yesterday confirmed that he had no intention to pay outstanding pensions and gratuities from the states bail-out fund of N9.6 billion.
According to him his government only got N9.6 billion out of the over N29 billion it applied for.
Retirees in the state had  last week alleged that the governor  had excluded the payment of their pension arrears and gratuities from the Federal Government’s bail-out.
Fayose made the clarification yesterday at Ikogosi-Ekiti during the opening ceremony of a two-day retreat for commissioners, permanent secretaries and heads of agencies.
He also stated that out of the N5.6 billion applied for by the 16 local governments in the state, the FG only approved N991 million, adding that pension arrears and gratuities were also not approved.
In a statement in Ado-Ekiti by his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, the governor said the clarification became necessary following insinuations that the state government did not want to pay pensions arrears and gratuities of retirees.
Governor Fayose said, “You people know that I don’t hide anything from you when allocations come. We applied for N29 billion from the bail-out fund. It is to cover the August and September 2014 salary arrears left by the Fayemi government, leave bonus, pensions, gratuities and others. But for reasons we don’t know yet, the FG only approved N9.6 billion for salaries leaving other issues.
“The 16 local governments applied for N5.6 billion and we did all the necessary papers and presented them to the appropriate authorities, but only N991 million was approved. We were later told by the Central Bank of Nigeria that about 14 states had similar problems with the small amount approved for local governments.

Fitch Ratings has declared that reducing reserve requirements to 25 per cent will not add liquidity to the Nigerian banking system because the reduction will not lead to additional Foreign Currency (FC). Counterfeit nairaFitch noted that substantial government-related FC deposits are exempt from reserve requirements and have already been withdrawn from the system after the government ordered all public-sector deposits to be moved from commercial banks into the centralised Treasury Single Account (TSA) earlier this month. Nigeria’s Monetary Committee reduced mandatory reserve requirements on all local-currency (LC) deposits to 25 per cent from 31 per cent last week in the hope that this might ease liquidity pressure, stimulate new lending and boost economic growth. According to Fitch, “This should provide some additional LC liquidity into the banking system but around N1.3trillion (USD6.5billion) of deposits were sucked out of the banks in September, reflecting transfers to the TSA. Public-sector deposits traditionally account for around 10 per cent of total banking sector deposits. Lower reserve requirements will not offset the tighter FC liquidity at Nigeria’s banks. A currency split of public-sector deposits is not disclosed but in our opinion, FC deposits are substantial, held up by oil-related deposits.” “ The centralising of public-sector and government-related FC deposits at the TSA has made it increasingly difficult for commercial banks to meet customer demand for FC. FC availability was already strained in 2015 due to falling oil revenues, central bank action to defend naira depreciation and heightened negative investor sentiment towards emerging markets. “Warnings throughout the year that JP Morgan intended to remove Nigeria from its Emerging Markets index, which occurred in mid-September, also triggered heavy FC outflows as investors sold Nigerian securities. Nigerian securities Viability Ratings assigned to Nigeria’s banks, all in the ‘b’ category, already reflect a wide range of weaknesses, including the increasingly strained FC liquidity position. Our sector outlook for Nigerian banks remains negative. Key financial metrics reported by Nigerian banks are likely to continue to weaken in the closing months of 2015. Impaired loans have been rising over the past 12 months” Fitch stated. We expect them to rise above the central bank’s informal 5 per cent of total loans cap but to remain below 10 per cent at year-end. Pressure is mounting on regulatory capital ratios and we expect Tier 1 capital ratios at many banks to fall below 15 per cent, which is low by recent Nigerian standards. Loan growth is slowing under the strain of lower oil prices. Our expectations for loan growth are muted – a nominal 5 per cent increase in 2015, which is low by Nigerian standards – due to the much deteriorated operating environment.

Fitch Ratings has declared that reducing reserve requirements to 25 per cent will not add liquidity to the Nigerian banking system because the reduction will not lead to additional Foreign Currency (FC).
Counterfeit nairaFitch noted that substantial government-related FC deposits are exempt from reserve requirements and have already been withdrawn from the system after the government ordered all public-sector deposits to be moved from commercial banks into the centralised Treasury Single Account (TSA) earlier this month.
Nigeria’s Monetary Committee reduced mandatory reserve requirements on all local-currency (LC) deposits to 25 per cent from 31 per cent last week in the hope that this might ease liquidity pressure, stimulate new lending and boost economic growth.
According to Fitch, “This should provide some additional LC liquidity into the banking system but around N1.3trillion (USD6.5billion) of deposits were sucked out of the banks in September, reflecting transfers to the TSA. Public-sector deposits traditionally account for around 10 per cent of total banking sector deposits. Lower reserve requirements will not offset the tighter FC liquidity at Nigeria’s banks. A currency split of public-sector deposits is not disclosed but in our opinion, FC deposits are substantial, held up by oil-related deposits.”
“ The centralising of public-sector and government-related FC deposits at the TSA has made it increasingly difficult for commercial banks to meet customer demand for FC. FC availability was already strained in 2015 due to falling oil revenues, central bank action to defend naira depreciation and heightened negative investor sentiment towards emerging markets.
“Warnings throughout the year that JP Morgan intended to remove Nigeria from its Emerging Markets index, which occurred in mid-September, also triggered heavy FC outflows as investors sold Nigerian securities.
Nigerian securities
Viability Ratings assigned to Nigeria’s banks, all in the ‘b’ category, already reflect a wide range of weaknesses, including the increasingly strained FC liquidity position. Our sector outlook for Nigerian banks remains negative. Key financial metrics reported by Nigerian banks are likely to continue to weaken in the closing months of 2015. Impaired loans have been rising over the past 12 months” Fitch stated.
We expect them to rise above the central bank’s informal 5 per cent of total loans cap but to remain below 10 per cent at year-end. Pressure is mounting on regulatory capital ratios and we expect Tier 1 capital ratios at many banks to fall below 15 per cent, which is low by recent Nigerian standards. Loan growth is slowing under the strain of lower oil prices. Our expectations for loan growth are muted – a nominal 5 per cent increase in 2015, which is low by Nigerian standards – due to the much deteriorated operating environment.

Akure youths protest Falae ’s kidnap on September 29, 2015

Akure—YOUTHS under the aegis of Akure Youth Coalition, AYC,  in Akure, the Ondo State capital yesterday protested the abduction of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae
They demanded that the activities of Fulani herdsmen in the metropolis be stopped forthwith.
The protesters marched to the Deji’s palace and Ondo State House of Assembly displaying various placards.
Findings showed that the youths who were from Akure South, Akure North, Ifedore and Idanre Local Government Areas assembled at the town hall as early as 8a.m.
Placards displayed by the protesters read: “Nomadic grazing must stop,” “Olu Falae is an elder statesman; Respect our elders!” “Stop nomadic herding now, give us a cattle ranch in the state for cattle rearers,” and “Do not turn Akure into a tearful fiefdom, respect our land,”
Their President, Adekanbi Oluwatuyi, said: ‘’As peace loving youths of Akure Kingdom, it was pertinent for them to express their dissatisfaction over the threats and acrimony perpetuated by Fulani herds- men in the metropolis.
“The herdsmen had continued to harass and intimidate our people on their farmland with their cattle forcibly entering into farms, they descend on anyone who dares challenge or query their actions.”

Bayelsa APC Primary: Alaibe alleges plot to sponsor protests against him on September 29, 2015

Yenagoa—AHEAD of the rescheduled primary by All Progressives Congress, APC, to pick its flagbearer for the December 5, governorship election in Bayelsa State, the battle to clinch the ticket is assuming a dangerous dimension, as one of the contenders, Timi Alaibe, yesterday, raised alarm over alleged plots to smear his name.
This came as Chairman of APC in the state, Chief Tiwei Orunimighe, insisted that it stood by alleged victory of former Governor Timipre Sylva, at the disputed primary Tuesday.
Alaibe, speaking through the Timi Alaibe Campaign Organisation, claimed that some faceless groups planned to sponsor violent protests in Yenagoa and Abuja to discredit him.
Spokesman of the campaign organisation, Patterson Ogon, in a statement in Yenagoa, said: “The faceless groups have perfected plans to print T-shirts and vests in the name of Alaibe and are planning to stage violent protests in Yenagoa and the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja.”
Ogon alleged that the politically motivated plot to rubbish Alaibe’s name was part of plans to frustrate him ahead of the rescheduled primary for the APC governorship ticket.
The statement read in part: “It has come to the notice of the Timi Alaibe Campaign Organisation that some faceless groups have printed T-shirts and vests in the name of Alaibe and have hired thugs to stage violent protests in Yenagoa and at the National Secretariat of the APC in Abuja. Their plan is to cause havoc and transfer the blame to Alaibe.”
But APC Chairman in the state, Chief Orunimighe, insisted that the primary had been won and lost, arguing that reported cancellation of the election was baseless and unfounded.
“As Chairman of Bayelsa APC, I am not aware of any cancellation of the primary. With all due respect to the National Chairman of our party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, he said nobody should make an announcement except they cleared with him. I want to believe that people who made statements from the national secretariat did not have clearance with him.
“So, I believe the cancellation rumour does not stand. For now, election has been held and I think that is how it stands. Chief Timipre Sylva won the primary conducted last Tuesday,” he said.

Policeman killed my wife, shot me because of N2,000 bribe —TRICYCLE OPERATOR on September 29, 2015

Lagos—Godwin Ekpo, the tricycle operator whose wife was shot dead by  Corporal Muse Aremu,  attached to the Isheri Oshun division, two weeks ago,  in Ijegun area of Lagos, has been discharged from the hospital, after undergoing surgery in his jaw.
Ekpo and family
This is just as he has revealed that life was snuffed out of his wife by Aremu’s bullet, following his refusal to give the killer cop  N2,000.
Ekpo, who is yet to come to terms with  reality of the demise of his wife, Comfort Idongesit,  described the incident as the worst tragedy that had befallen him.
Speaking with Vanguard, Ekpo said: “I don’t know what I did to the policeman to warrant such calamity. I have never had any issue with the police all my life. I was returning from church that fateful night in the company of my wife and four children;   Mary, 12; Blessing, 9; Abraham, 7; and 11-month-old Elijah. On reaching  Obalagbe, along Ijegun road,  some policemen stopped me. One of them came  and demanded for N2,000. I told him the passengers were my family members and that I was returning from church.  My wife who was with this baby (pointing to 11 months old Elijah), came down and was even explaining to the policeman. But he  refused to listen. Before we knew it, he fired a shot which hit my wife on the head. She died right on the spot. The bullet pierced through her head, hit me in the jaw and right arm. That was all I could remember until I found my self in the hospital.
“Oh! The wife of my youth is gone. She was a friend, a sister, a wife and a mother to me. Where do I begin from? How do I take care of these children alone, especially Elijah?
“Although the Police tried their best in paying for the treatment but that cannot bring back my Comfort Idongesit. The Lagos State Commissioner of Police visited me in the hospital, where I was told that my children’s education would be taken care of. But they have not started school. We are still waiting for the next move.
“I am appealing to the Federal Government, the governors of Lagos and  Akwa-Ibom states, as   well as well  meaning Nigerians, to come to my aid. My life has been shattered by that singular incident of September 16, 2015,” he lamented.
Killer cop arraigned in court
Meanwhile, it would be recalled that the  killer cop and members of his team have since been arrested on the order of the Commissioner of Police, with the Isheri Oshun Divisional Police Officer queried.
The killer cop, 28-year-old Aremu was arraigned before an Ebute-Metta Chief Magistrate’s Court on September 18, 2015,  on a two- count charge of murder and causing grievous bodily harm. Consequently, Magistrate Afolashade Botoku ordered that the defendant be remanded in prison custody for the next 30 days, and adjourned the matter till October 19, 2015.

Help return stolen money, Buhari tells World leaders on September 29, 2015

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in New York called on the international community to urgently redouble its efforts to strengthen mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption.
Addressing world leaders at the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations, President Buhari reaffirmed his administration’s determination to frontally confront the twin evils of corruption and illicit financial outflows as he also urged his counterparts to do more to return stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.
“Let me reaffirm the Nigerian government’s unwavering commitment to fight corruption and illicit financial flows. By any consideration, corruption and cross border financial crimes are impediments to development, economic growth, and the realization of the well-being of citizens across the globe.
“Nigeria is ready and willing to partner with international agencies and individual countries on a bilateral basis to confront crimes and corruption.
President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 28, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. AFP
President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 28, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. AFP
Buhari also call upon the global community to urgently redouble efforts towards strengthening the mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption and ensuring the return of stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin while proposing the adoption of peace as a seventh essential element of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted last Friday by world leaders in New York.
“The Secretary General has grouped the SDGs into what he calls six “essential elements” namely: Dignity, Prosperity, Justice, Partnership, Planet and People.
“As a prerequisite to these and as we look at history and remember the terrible events that gave rise to the birth of the United Nations in 1945, I would like to propose a seventh: PEACE.
“Peace is close to the hearts of Nigerians, as we are in the front line in the war on terror. Boko Haram’s war against the people of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon may not attract as much worldwide attention as the wars in the Middle East but the suffering is just as great and the human cost is equally high.
“This is a war between progress and chaos; between democracy and the rule of law. Boko Haram celebrates violence against the weak and the innocent and deplorably, they hide behind their perverted interpretation of Islam. Boko Haram is as far away from Islam as anyone can think of,” President Buhari declared.
The President assured the global community that his administration was doing all within its powers to quickly overcome the challenge of terrorism and insecurity.
“The new Nigerian Government which I have the honour to head, moved with dispatch to put in a bold and robust strategy to defeat Boko Haram. Nigeria and her neighbours Cameroon, Chad and Niger plus Benin are working together to face this common threat within the regional framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
“We have established a multinational joint task force to confront, degrade and defeat Boko Haram. We have driven them away from many of their strongholds, killed or captured many of their operatives or commanders and freed several hundreds of hostages,” President Buhari told the General Assembly.
The President reassured the international community that rescuing the Chibok girls remains one of the major objectives of his administration.
“We are working round the clock to ensure their safety and eventual reunion with their families. The girls are constantly on our minds and in our plans,” he said.
President Buhari condemned the new and dangerous dimension which human trafficking has assumed in the world.
“We in Africa are grieved to see hundreds of our able bodied men and women dying in the desert or drowning in the Mediterranean.
“We condemn in the strongest terms these people traffickers and will support any measures to apprehend and bring them to justice,” the President said.
Noting that the world was witnessing a dreadful increase in conflicts fuelled by availability of small arms and light weapons, President Buhari called on the international community to work towards the effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty to ensure that small arms and light weapons can only be legally transferred.
Reminding the global assembly that peaceful co-existence and self-determination were among the key principles that led to the establishment of the United Nations, President Buhari called for the urgent resolution of the question of self determination for the people of Palestine and Western Sahara.
“The international community has come to pin its hopes on resolving the Palestinian issue through the two – states solution which recognizes the legitimate right of each state to exist in peace and security.
“The world has no more excuses or reasons to delay the implementation of the long list of Security Council resolutions on this question. Neither do we have the moral right to deny any people their freedom or condemn them indefinitely to occupation and blockade,” the President said.
In his remark, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon commended President Buhari for his determination to tackle the challenges currently facing Nigeria as he welcomed the commitment of President Buhari to the Sustainable Development Goals and to preventing the spread of violent extremism.
The Secretary-General reiterated his condemnation of the continuing terrorist attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram as the two leaders discussed the security situation in the Lake Chad Basin region, as well as efforts to ensure the rapid operationalisation of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
He also expressed the UN’s readiness to support the Nigerian government’s efforts in its fight against Boko Haram, in full respect of human rights, international humanitarian and refugee law.

Nigeria needs to learn to speak the language of standards’ on September 29, 2015

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Omotara Awobokun, has said that the slump in oil prices at the global market is a sharp awakening to Nigeria that it needs to readjust its economic programmes.
Mrs Omotara Awobokun made this assertion at the presentation of four “New Logos in Defence of Quality’’ presented by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to stakeholders in Lagos recently.
Awobokun said: “Globalisation has changed the game the world over. The slump in oil prices at the global market is a sharp awakening to many oil-rich nations.
“Nigeria, especially, needs to readjust her economic programmes and creatively exploit other resources for the improvement of foreign exchange earnings.
She disclosed that her ministry, being in the frontline in driving of Nigeria’s economic engine, has identified standards as a major variable in the country revolution plan.
“As a matter of urgency, Nigeria needs to learn to speak the language of standards because it is the world’s common language.
“Any country that is not speaking the language cannot play the table of global trade,’’ she said.
Awobokun, however, called on all stakeholders and trade associations to fully key into these initiatives in order to secure genuine business from being overtaken by inferior products.
“We will also be saving thousands of jobs, increase the quality of life of Nigerians, protect life and environment and produce products and services that the world will jostle for.
“We will improve our chances to compete in the global market,’’ she said.
Also speaking, Dr Joseph Odumodu, the Director-General of SON, said, “The war against adulterated, counterfeited and sub-standard products across the length and breadth of the country is actually getting complex.’’
“ Even as we are recording results and huge successes, SON must go the whole hog to stop fakers and counterfeiters.
“The four logos we present are part of our efforts to provide comfortable cover to all members of the nation’s business community.
“The new logos on Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP), SON’s Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP), Nigeria Industrial Standard (NIS), are marks of quality and Nigeria Quality awards.’’
Odumodu said that the new innovation would help to checkmate unscrupulous activities of economic saboteurs, who went to the extent of adulterating and printing fake SON’s logo on their products.
“With the new MANCAP logo, locally produced goods must not only meet minimum requirements of NIS, but also carry the new MANCAP logo.
“MANCAP certificate is compulsory for every product produced in the country.
“For imported products, we need to reiterate that the new SONCAP logo must be identified and carried on all imports into the country with the automation of our services electronically.
“We are calling on all to join this campaign to work quality and protect ourselves and the environment from injurious products.
“We must always resist and reject substandard products,’’ he said.

Battle for Enugu-East senatorial zone: Tribunal to deliver judgment before Oct 13 on September 29, 2015

ENUGU—The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Enugu,headed by Justice M.O Adewara yesterday, adjourned for judgment,on the petition brought before it by former governor Chimaroke Nnamani,candidate of the Peoples Democratic Change,PDC,for the Enugu-East senatorial district election, conducted last  March 28.
Nnamani is challenging the declaration by the Independent National Election Commission,INEC,of Senator Gil Nnaji,of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP,as winner at the poll.
The declaration by INEC had elicited protest  from supporters of Nnamani in Enugu metropolis.
While adopting his final written address,Counsel to Nnamani, Mr. O. Jolaawo        told the court that,”two issues are distilled at page 3 of our address. We adopt the said address in its entirety and urge the court to grant the prayers sought in this petition per page 18 of our petition.
“The sustenance of grounds one and two or any of them or even of  the second part of ground two thereof which is disjunctive is enough for your lordships to grant, at the very least, the relief of nullification.
“Respondents are making heavy weather of the fact that we did not bring evidence of place where we won the election or where INEC declared us as winner. This argument is extremely disconcerting and incredulous. The purpose of a petition is to challenge our loss at the election. Paragraph 15 of the first schedule to the Electoral Act also supports our position.
“Petitioner was able to prove through the respondents, witnesses, RW1 to RW7, that substantial irregularities occurred in Isi-Uzo through RW1, through RW2 for Nkanu East, RW3 cross examination for Enugu South. RW4 was senatorial collation but under cross examination, gave evidence with respect to Enugu East and presidential election irregularities vis a vis senatorial accreditation. RW5 conceded to numerous and   substantial irregularities and non-compliance with the electoral act in Isi-Uzo where she served as Electoral Officer.
“Also  RW6 did so too with respect to Nkanu East, which substantially affected the results of the election and RW7 also did same for Enugu North.”

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Soludo, Fayemi visit Buhari’s CoS ahead of ministerial appointments on September 22, 2015

ABUJA—Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Professor Charles Soludo, and former Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, were yesterday sighted at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, filling visitors’ forms on their way to the office of Alhaji Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Prof Soludo
Prof Soludo
Soludo entered the Chief of Staff’s office around 5:30p.m., followed by Fayemi about 30 minutes later.
They were visiting the Villa when expectations were high that President Buhari would soon make his ministerial list public.
It will recalled that the President had repeatedly assured Nigerians that he will form his cabinet before the end of this month.
Soludo, who was the CBN governor during the administrations of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and late Umar Yar’Adua, was critical of the immediate past government of former President, Goodluck Jonathan, on the financial management and the handling of the economy, which he said was brutally raped.
Fayemi was the Director of Policy, Research and Strategy in All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential campaign organization.
I’m not available for
public service—SOLUDO
Many believed that Soludo’s critical outbursts on the eve of the presidential election in March helped to sway sympathy and votes for President Buhari even as the former CBN governor, in an interview with an online media, Premium Times, on June 7, said he was not prepared to work for the government, saying he was preoccupied with other engagements
He had said: “Nigerians and their rumours! I am glad you said they are rumours and such rumours are normal.
“For sure, I wish the new government success and for the sake of Nigeria, everyone must contribute to assist President Buhari succeed.
“I will contribute in whatever way I can. However, everyone cannot sit in government in order to serve: some will be there on full time basis, while others can contribute from outside.
“For me at this point in time, I am not disposed or available for full time public service. Perhaps in the future it could happen, but not now.

Incoherent policies stall gas development plans — NAPE on September 22, 2015

The Nigerian Association By Sebastine Obasi & Michael Ebohof Petroleum Explorationists, NAPE, said that incoherent policies on gas to power have hindered the much talked about gas development plan.
The President of NAPE, Mr. Chikwendu Edoziem, who said this at an interaction with journalists in Lagos last week, also attributed insecurity and pipeline vandalism to poor government policies and governance.
According to Edoziem, “Lack of coherent policies on gas to power have significantly hindered the integration and long-term investments required to ensure the supply of gas to the power plants.
“This, together with pipeline vandalism, non-cost reflective tariff, lack of adequate capacity to process gas and transport to gas plants are directly responsible for the low power generation in the country.”
He blamed the government for the loss of more than N200 billion to vandalism, saying: “Insecurity and pipeline vandalism are due, in the main, to poor government policies and governance. It is estimated that N200 billion has been lost to this menace in addition to loss of assets to fire outbreaks, impact on the environment, loss of lives and reputation of Nigeria as a mature oil and gas producing country.”
Edoziem urged government to accelerate the funding and completion of new gas projects in the Western axis of the Niger Delta, to add about 2000 million standard cubic feet per day, MMscf/d of gas production.
He attributed the lull in oil projects to rising costs of exploration, while advocating the provision of an enabling environment and incentives to increase exploration opportunities especially in high-risk frontier basins and under-explored deep high pressure high temperature plays.

Chibok girls, Boko haram and the wait on September 22, 2015

IT is over five hundred days since the news of the abducted Chibok girls came to the spotlight. To some people then, it was unthinkable, even much so now. Imagine the scenario; over two hundred secondary school students, let us say at most twenty of them per truck, that will be over ten trucks. Then imagine their accommodation and feeding.
How it is possible for the girls to remain out of the intelligence radar for so long or is it another case of Malaysian airline flight MH370 aircraft that is still a mystery till date?
A British diplomat once said that their satellite spotted a group of women at some point in the search for the girls. Could these  be the wives and harems of the Boko Haram fighters? Of course, in any conquered territory, there are prisoners of war and these include women but some of these women choose to follow the fighters voluntarily and it is from this group, that women and child suicide bombers are produced.
Senator Shehu Sani again raised the hope of rescuing the Chibok girls alive in the interview he granted Sunday Vanguard in the edition of 13th September 2015.
The question is, how would the rescue mission be made possible? Only last week, the Nigerian military came out with a statement to the that they have flushed out Boko Haram insurgents from all of their known hide outs. With all of our neighbours now in full support of Buhari in the fight against Boko Haram, where will they be hiding the girls?
If all known Boko Haram hide outs have been captured, where could these girls be? Unless they are getting the support of a foreign government that is in cahoot with the insurgents, which to me is a farfetched option? Or, is it that people like Shehu Sani and others who are so confident of finding these girls know something that the rest of us do not know? It is not a question of a southerner and Christian that is at the helm of the nation’s affairs now.
We have Muhammadu Buhari, a top notch Hausa fulani and one preferred by them to rule the country, so why is the information about the girls’ whereabouts taking so long to be released? Why is information about the girls so difficult to obtain? We have over ran all of their strongholds and captured thousands of their soldiers, not one of them has volunteered information about the girls, or, is it that those in authority have more information than they ready to disclose to the public? Some have posited that the girls could have been dispersed in different directions. But, how is it possible for over two hundred persons to be distributed round, in different directions without a single trace of their movements.
Let us assume again that they are given out in marriage, out of two hundred girls, none is wise enough to reach out to their families? Or is there a possibility that they have all been killed and secretly buried without a trace? This viewpoint again is doubtful because if it is true, of all of the hundreds of Boko Haram commanders that have been captured both in Nigeria and neighbouring countries, at least a few will be in position to volunteer information on the missing Chibok girls.
It will be a big deal if the international community that includes the USA and Britain, is misled on the true position of the Chibok girls. More disappointing is the fact that their intelligence network and sophisticated equipment could not find the girls. Has Nigeria become Afghanistan, of treacherous mountains and inhospitable climate conditions that make it possible for people to disappear without trace? Even in Afghanistan, with the number of people involved, they will find traces? So, who is fooling who in this instance?
People have used the Chibok girls issue to feather their nests and gain recognition. They collected donations from concerned Nigerians and even get appointed to public offices but where are the girls? Let us all sit down and think and if we cannot think, as we say in Warri ‘let us leave everything to God’.
It is clear that even our military have not learnt any lesson in information disseminate with regards to the fight against the insurgents, because as it was under Goodluck Jonathan, so it is now. You do not speak with absolute certainty unless you are very sure about your facts on the position and condition of the opposition in all ramifications. The Boko Haram is a very mobile force, having been pushed to the wall; they have now resorted to suicide bombings and attacking soft targets in towns and cities.
We are facing a very brutal, determined and demon possessed force. The only way to silence them is with a more equal and efficient brutality, you do not use the pacifist approach, otherwise they will remain cancerous, defying all cures. Saddam Hussein applied this method when he was in charge of Iraq but the whole world brought him to condemnation, look at Iraq today, are they better off? The ISIL of today is the product of the Iraq renegade forces and opposition groups.
We need new intelligence strategies, as well as of forces that will consist of bold and determined men, ever ready to stick out their necks on the line of duty, to infiltrate the enemy lines and give accurate feedbacks, not guess work. We must no longer underestimate the Boko Haram forces or fall into the fallacy of underestimating the opposition, many great generals have fallen in battle by not according respect to the opposition.
With the sophisticated weapons and superior intelligence available to the USA and its European allies, they have not won the battle in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, etc. The solution is to adapt to the changing times, of today’s war.
Meanwhile, we wait for the Chibok girls and we wait for the December deadline to rout the insurgents.
Mr. Sunny Ikhioya, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Lagos.

Oil sector attracts N2.9bn foreign investment on September 22, 2015

THE Nigerian oil and gas sector attracted $14.34 million, about N2.87 billion worth foreign investments in the first half, HY1, of 2015, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, has revealed.
The NBS in its Nigerian Capital Importation report for Second Quarter, Q2, 2015, said this is an appreciation of 347.36 per cent or $11.133 million or N2.23 billion increase from the $3.205 million (N641 million) recorded in the sector in the second half, HY2, of 2014.
The amount is however 93 per cent lower than the $204.97 million (N40.99 billion) year on year in 2014, just as there was a sharp decline in Q2 2015.
According to the report, capital importation into the sector in Q2 2015 stood at $4.86 million, down 48.65 per cent or $4.609 million (N921.8 million) from the $9.473 million (N1.89 billion) realised in Q1 2015.
Economic predictions
Recall that analysts at Cardinal Stone Partners, had in their economic outlook for 2015, predicted that the Nigerian oil and gas sector will be constrained by under-investment and capital flight as a result of the declining oil prices.
The analysts noted that the low oil price brought about a number of negative consequences, putting the naira under pressure due to rapid capital flight, which triggered scepticism among foreign investors due to concerns about the implications of declining oil prices for Nigeria, an oil-dependent country.
Also, analysts at PriceWaterHouseCoopers in their economic analysis for Nigeria and Africa, declared that areas where limited infrastructure is currently in place are also likely to suffer due to the paucity of investment inflow into the sector.
The analysts said: “This is because external investment is needed to develop the requisite infrastructure – investment that will be difficult to procure to produce a commodity that is currently losing in value. In these areas, development of existing discoveries may end up on ice unless there is a domestic need for the resource.”
Economic uncertainty: Continuing, the NBS noted that at $2.666 billion, the value of capital imported into Nigeria in Q2 2015 is a marginal drop of $5.24 million or just 0.20 per cent quarter on quarter.
“Capital importation thus remained relatively unchanged from the $2.67 billion recorded in the opening quarter of 2015, suggesting that this new lower level will be maintained as long as an uncertain economic environment remains.“Year on year, second quarter capital imported was $3.137 billion or 54.06 per cent lower than the $5.803 billion imported in quarter two of 2014,” the report said.
Broken further the NBS said portfolio investment remained the largest of all investment types, totaling $2.183 billion in Q2 2015 or 81.88 per cent of all capital imported. This is $322.50 million or 17.33 per cent higher than the $1.861 billion recorded in Q1 2015, which was 69.65 per cent of the total.
However, the report said year on year the decline remained large at $2.734 billion or 55.60 per cent.
The report said: “Within portfolio investment, the key driver of the quarterly growth observed was Equity, which at 84.56 per cent of portfolio investment, increased by $706.70 million or 62.02 per cent from the preceding quarter.

Appointments: Buhari doesn’t want to be stabbed like Jonathan — Ebigwei on September 22, 2015

Dr. Sylvan Olisanye Ebigwei (MON), consultant dental surgeon, is President-Emeritus, Aka Ikenga, the Igbo socio-political organisation. In this interview, he says the Igbo’s vote for former President Goodluck Jonathan was calculated to unite the former Eastern Region. He wants MASSOB to change its name to be relevant. He also spoke on other national issues. Excerpts:
By Tony Nwankwo
The North wanted power and they now have it. What is your take on that?
Nigeria is too complex for one section to usurp all that the country has without reaction. Nigeria today is not the Nigeria of yesterday. There is a level you can pursue a man, the man will stop and start pursuing you. So, whatever the North wants today, if they want Nigeria to be one, they must make sure that there is equilibrium in governance and appointments in critical areas.
Already, there is disequilibrium in what is happening today and we cannot hide the fact. And that was why the South-South met last week. The President is from the North, the Chief Judge is from the North, the Senate President is from the North, the Speaker of the House of Representatives is from the North. This cannot go on because people will react. So, if the Northerners think they can do this and get away with it, Nigerians will react.
Period of honeymoon
Right now, I can say the period we are in now is a period of honeymoon for Buhari. By the time he sets up his government, people will start looking into critical areas.
Buhari government has been described as government of probes. How far can be go?
If you want to probe, probe everybody, because Jonathan merely ruled this country for five years or thereabout. By the time he came in, Nigeria was in tatters Nothing was functioning. The roads were not there, power was not there, people were just stealing money anyhow. All these stealing did not start during the Jonathan era. Jonathan came in and met a rotten Nigeria. Where was he to start from? It was the people, who destroyed this country that surrounded him. Cleaning up Nigeria was an enormous task. Even those arrested for corruption, how many were jailed? EFCC will make a lot of noise, take suspects to court and that’s the last we hear because the judiciary itself was not helping matters. Had it been we had a strong judiciary, people would sit up. But when people steal, they say, okay, this is my own, this is for law enforcement, the other one is for the judiciary. With that mindset, people started acting with impunity because they know that criminals are not being visited with adequate punishment. That was the reason Jonathan did not succeed.
A cursory look around shows some parastatals like NEPA suddenly come to life. We know Buhari government has not awarded any contract yet. What happened?
People are wondering what is happening. It shows how evil and how rotten people have gotten in this country. Buhari government is not in place, it has not run any budget, he has not spent a dime in re-positioning PHCN, but look at us today. In my office, I have been enjoying uninterrupted power supply for nearly three weeks now, thereby saving money to feed my family. What it portrays is that during Jonathan’s administration, no matter how Jonathan tried, he was being sabotaged.
Power generation
Men of evil abound in this country. And because of this sabotage, despite all the billions of dollars poured into power generation, the power is there, gas is there, but evil people refused that the country should work. But they know what they are gaining. It shows complete sabotage. And these are the people, the present administration should fish out. If they did it to sabotage Jonathan, they can still do it to sabotage the government of Buhari.
Looking critically at Buhari’s appointments so far, people say he is side-tracking the Igbo. How do you view this?
Buhari is being afraid of what happened to Jonathan. If I am in Buhari’s shoes, I will not appoint people who will betray me. Because Nigeria today is not like Nigeria of yesterday. People are no more honest. The value system of the average Nigerian is poor. We don’t trust people. Critical appointments have not been made. The appointments he is making are of domestic issues, people who will surround him. You don’t get people who will stab you at the back and put them to follow you. No. Jonathan did that and they stabbed him. That was why he got angry and told them he had had enough. That was why he threw in the towel even before they finished counting the votes. Because he discovered that he was totally betrayed. So, Buhari knew what happened to Jonathan, he would not want it to happen to him.
MASSOB is being threatened everywhere. What is their undoing?
As President of Aka Ikenga, I told MASSOB that there is no need for a man to run a good race but outside the track. Igbo man is being marginalised, we know that. But when you want to fight for your rights, you must find a decent way to do it, so that you can have the sympathy of all.
Many of us do not believe in the disintegration of this country. I told them then that there is no other country they can fit in except in Nigeria. I told them, this agitation you are doing, find another name and put on it. You will have the sympathy of everyone in Igbo land because without pressure we cannot get what we want in this country. Change the name MASSOB. What is in a name? Find another name, continue with your agitation, so that you can have followership among Ndigbo. No Igbo man wants to get separated from this country.
You are President Emeritus of Aka Ikenga. We hear there is an agenda to unite the Igbo from all the Igbo speaking South. What impact can this have?
As President of Aka Ikenga, our mind set then for supporting Jonathan was to use his platform to extend true hands of fellowship towards the old constituents of the old Eastern Region. Aftermath of the civil war, the core Igbo became almost a pariah to their brothers and sisters of old Eastern Nigeria, as well as the Ikweres in Rivers and the Anioma people in Delta State. What we did was to show solidarity with the Ijaws so that in future the Ijaw man will know that when they had a problem, in their hour of need, the core Igbo man came to his aid. That was our mindset.
So whatever transpired, whether he ruled well or did not rule well it has worked, because you can now hear the South-South are meeting with the South East, etc. As recent as last week, there was a meeting of the whole of Southern Region of Nigeria to look into their common interest in the present dispensation.
And they came out with a communiqué, advising the President what to do and the negative aspect of his administration so far. So that solidarity is working, that unity is working, that brotherhood is working.
Are you saying the Igbo have no regret over how they voted at the last elections?
Yes, the Igbo have no regrets. Some people are saying the Igbo lost, No. To us, the Igbo didn’t lose because the mindset of supporting Jonathan is different from the mindset of quite a lot of people. Igbo didn’t lose under Jonathan, they had a fair share of governance.
Fair share of governance
The only problem was that many government appointees of Igbo extraction were selfish. They did not empower their own people. Look at the North, the express rail between Kaduna and Abuja, that will open up the whole area and bring Kaduna and adjoining states nearer to the seat of power. Roads were constructed in the North. Look at the Almajiri schools. Nobody ever thought the almajiris should go to school. These are all the handiwork of Jonathan. Look at the Abuja Airport, Kaduna Airport, not to talk of Murtala Mohammed Airport. They have all been elevated and modernized. A lot was achieved. Anyim Pius Anyim was SGF, and that was a powerful position. You can use the position to build up capacity for your own people. So, you cannot blame Jonathan if those he put in power could not use such positions to better their own people.
I passed through Asaba bridge, I see that work is going on at the second Niger Bridge. Before now, it was all rhetoric. During the Obasanjo era, it was all rhetoric, but now you can see that something is being done.

CJN to judges: Be stringent with corruption cases on September 22, 2015

ABUJA—The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, yesterday, tasked judges to be more stringent while presiding over corruption-related cases.
Justice Mahmud Mohammed
Justice Mahmud Mohammed
He said there was need for all judges to expedite the determination of corruption cases using the 2013 Practice Directions on Serious Crimes, which he said was specially enacted to address delays in the hearing and determination of such cases.
He said: “Where justice is prompt, just and based on the law, there are fewer chances for the public to ascribe corruption to our courts.”
Justice Mohammed spoke at a special session of the Supreme Court to mark the commencement of the 2015/2016 legal year and swea-ring in of 21 senior lawyers, who were recently conferred with the rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN.
He said: “Permit me to reflect on the activity of the past one year as a necessary pathway into the policy of this court in the year to come.
“I make bold to say that the 2014-2015 legal year was unique in the history and life of our nation’s judiciary as a whole, and the Supreme Court of Nigeria in particular.
“In my considered opinion, the judiciary was largely successful in effectively responding to the challenges it faced in arduously protecting its impartiality and independence.”
Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State and President, Pan African Laywers Union, Mr. Elijah Banda were among dignitaries at the event.

Commissioner–nominees, others to write aptitude test on September 22, 2015

Nominees for appointments as commissioners in Cross River State are to undergo mandatory integrity and aptitude test, even as the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has already set up a selection committee to oversee the process.
A statement by the Special Assistant on Media and Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the Governor, Mr. Christian Ita, said the nominees would have to undergo the aptitude test before their names would be forwarded to the state House of Assembly for confirmation.
The statement disclosed that appointment of chairmen and members of boards, agencies and parastatals and even special advisers would go through the same routine.
“Governor Ayade wants all nominees for appointments as commissioners to undergo integrity test. They will also write an aptitude test,” the statement said
According to the statement, the governor believes that every would-be appointee in the state must be subjected to ethical measurement to ascertain whether or not they can function in the new order, where accountability and transparency are the watchwords.
Consequently, the governor has set up a selection committee to oversee the process.
According to the statement “Renowned Abuja-based lawyer, Mr. Paul Erokoro, is the chairman of the committee which has prominent woman leader and politician, Mrs. Grace Ekanem and Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Martin Orim as members.”
In another development, Governor Ayade has terminated the contract for the evacuation of refuse in Calabar.
This follows the inability of the contracted firms, PATSON and PACLISON to evacuate refuse from the streets of Calabar.
It will be recalled that during a tour of the metropolis shortly after assuming office, Governor Ayade had given the contractors a three-month ultimatum to improve on the sanitary condition of the metropolis with a view to restoring its rightful status as the cleanest and greenest state in the country.

Army approves promotion for 5,000 soldiers fighting Boko Haram on September 22, 2015

Abuja—The Nigeria Army has approved the promotion of 5,000 soldiers fighting insurgents in the North-East and others involved in other operations, as part of steps to boost their morale.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, made the announcement yesterday in Abuja, at the opening of the 2015 Chief of Army Staff Third Quarter conference at Army Headquarters.
He said that the approval of the promotion of the soldiers was one of the many measures introduced by the Army under his command to boost troops’ morale and reposition its operations.
He added that it was also in line with the vision of the Army command to reward gallant troops in any way deemed fit to boost their combat readiness and willingness to serve fatherland.
He said that troops serving in the North-East and in other operations in the country would regularly receive rewards from the Army High Command for their selfless service to the nation.
Lt.-Gen. Buratai said: “Since we came on board, we have introduced several measures aimed at encouraging our troops to give their best in the service of their nation.
“The approval of the accelerated promotion of 5,000 soldiers was to redeem the promise made by my predecessor to the troops fighting insurgents in the North-East.
“It is my belief that this promotion, coupled with other incentives, will encourage our troops to fight for our country.”
The COAS charged the officers and all personnel of the Nigeria Army to constantly maintain the required level of physical fitness.
He gave all Army officers and soldiers a December 15 deadline to shape up or face the medical board for appropriate disciplinary actions.
Buratai said under his watch, the Army had recorded major successes in fighting insurgency, improving its human rights credentials and troops’ welfare.
He said that his vision of entrenching professionalism and bequeathing a combat-ready Army to the nation was on course as commanders and troops had been fully briefed to key into the vision.

How 20 Nigerians died in Mecca on September 22, 2015

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, yesterday, confirmed the death of 20 Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia during this year’s Hajj.
hajjChairman of the commission, Abdullahi Mukhtar, disclosed this at a pre-Arafat meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
He said 14 pilgrims died from cardiac arrest and other ailments, while six lost their lives in the September 11 crane crash incident.
Mukhtar said three Nigerians were injured at the September 11 crane crash, as against the six earlier reported.
He said all the pilgrims that submitted valid documents to the commission for visa were airlifted to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage.
He also said that the security situation in Saudi Arabia was tight and advised pilgrims to be orderly and to stay in Makkah.
Mr. Mukhtar also advised the pilgrims to drink more water due to the harsh weather, adding that they should only expose themselves to the sun when necessary.
He said female pilgrims should move in groups and avoid construction sites within the Grand Mosque and outside.
On Arafat, he said the pilgrims would start moving to Mina at midnight and advised them against climbing the roof of the buses conveying them.
“We have resolved at a meeting with clerics to abide by the time given to us by the Saudi authorities to start moving to Mina,” he said.
He warned clerics against inciting pilgrims against the resolution, adding that anyone found doing so would be sanctioned.

Robbers raid Catholic Church in Abuja on September 22, 2015 /

ABUJA—Barely three months after the Catholic Church of Annunciation, Kubwa, was upgraded as a Parish by the Archdiocese of Abuja, suspected armed robbers stormed it and carted away valuable equipment and a Toyota Camry.
The robbers, who have kept Kubwa residents in persistent fear, especially at Arab road, Omega Paints Street and Sunrise Street, forced their way into compounds to carry out their nefarious activities.
According to the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Matthew Kwaggas, the robbers stormed the parish after Sunday’s service and removed most of the things used for thanksgiving, including bags of rice and drinks.
He also told the congregation during Mass that about two weeks after the first raid of the church, the robbers again broke in through one of the windows and removed all the public address systems, a Toyota Camry and  musical instruments.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Pioli laments 'ugly' Lazio

Lazio coach Stefano Pioli has criticised his team's "ugly" performance after they were trounced 5-0 by Napoli in an astonishing Serie A clash on Soccer
Lazio coach Stefano Pioli has criticised his team's "ugly" performance after they were trounced 5-0 by Napoli in an astonishing Serie A clash on Sunday.
The capital club finished third in the table last season, but have made a poor start to the new campaign after failing to progress through Champions League qualifying and losing two of their first four league games.
They suffered a humiliating loss in Naples, with former Real Madrid striker Gonazlo Higuain scoring twice to help the home side to a stunning result.
"It is not enough just to put this night behind us," Pioli told Mediaset Premium. "Napoli played at a superior level.
"We are not the side that took the field, even though we failed in nearly every regard. It was not the real Lazio.
"It is only right that we analyse this match and try to quickly move on as we have another game on Wednesday. It is an ugly defeat.
"There was too much space between each player on the field and we made mistakes when trying to push forward.
"We may have struggled due to the away game in the Europa League. Napoli also played on Thursday, although they were at home.
"These are not the type of performances we should be producing - this display is far from what we are capable of. It is a massive step backwards."
Lazio host Genoa on Wednesday as they look to put the harrowing defeat behind them.

Eibar 0 Atletico Madrid 2

Substitutes Angel Correa and Fernando Torres combined to give Atletico Madrid a 2-0 win over
Super-subs Fernando Torres and Angel Correa struck to give Atletico Madrid a 2-0 win away to Eibar on Saturday.
Diego Simeone's side missed a handful of chances in the first half, with Jackson Martinez particularly wasteful, but Correa's fine finish just a minute after coming on gave them the lead.
The home side battled for a way back into the match, but Torres, who was introduced at half-time, clipped a deft finish into the far corner following Correa's pass to secure the victory and send Atletico to within a point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
Luciano Vietto, starting in the three-pronged attack alongside Jackson and Antoine Griezmann, brought the first save out of Asier Riesgo with a low shot from distance.
Griezmann's corner was headed towards the bottom corner of the net by Jose Maria Gimenez, but his effort was blocked and Eibar were able to clear, before Jackson's placed effort from inside the box was well saved by Riesgo.
Eibar looked dangerous on the break and Saul Berjon tested Jan Oblak from one quick breakaway before Atletico spurned their first clear-cut chance of the half. Koke's flighted ball was turned back across goal by Jackson, but Vietto failed to connect properly at the far post with the goal at his mercy and he managed only to ripple the side-netting.
Filipe Luis was bailed out by Gimenez's headed clearance after he totally misjudged a long ball up to Keko, and Jackson was denied by a smart block from Ander Capa following Griezmann's clever reverse pass.
The Colombian was inches away from connecting with the lively Griezmann's fizzed cross and Vietto saw a header comfortably held as Atleti began to take control towards the end of the half.
Fernando Torres and Oliver Torres replaced Jackson and Vietto at the break, but it was Filipe Luis who came close to breaking the deadlock, Riesgo diving superbly to claw his deflected strike from distance behind for a corner.
Oblak was called into action to deny Berjon at the near post a few moments later and the stop proved pivotal as Atleti took the lead just past the hour mark.
Torres battled to win a hopeful ball over the top and he teed up Correa, who dummied superbly before firing past Riesgo from inside the area for his first goal for the club - and all just a minute after being brought on for Koke.
Oliver dragged a shot wide after some fine footwork as Atleti pushed for a second, but Oblak was called into action to deny Sergi Enrich following a long ball upfield.
Atleti doubled their advantage after 77 minutes. Correa turned provider with a clever throughball to Torres, who chipped it over the onrushing Riesgo and into the far corner.
Eibar pushed for a late foothold and Juanfran almost gifted it to them, heading past Oblak before scrambling to clear the ball off the goal-line, but Atletico held firm for three points.

Mathieu Valbuena 'reacted well' to Marseille return

Lyon defender Milan Bisevac hailed Mathieu Valbuena for the way the midfielder handled a hostile return to Marseille on Sunday.
Valbuena made his first appearance at Marseille's Stade Velodrome since leaving the south coast club for Dynamo Moscow in August 2014, and the local fans were not happy to see the France international.
Early in the second half, Valbuena delayed taking a corner as objects targeting him were hurled onto the pitch, while just after the hour mark; referee Ruddy Buquet temporarily suspended the match when more missiles were thrown at Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.
While Lyon coach Hubert Fournier conceded his team did not handle the 15-minute disruption well, Bisevac was impressed by Valbuena's composure.
"Valbuena reacted well," the Serbian central defender told Lyon's website.
"He is a great player with a lot of experience."
Valbuena was targeted on and off the pitch.
Before the match, Marseille fans hung an effigy of the diminutive playmaker, while he was crunched by Marseille's Romain Alessandrini just before half-time, which resulted in the latter being sent off.
But the 30-year-old insisted he remains fond of the club where he played for eight Ligue 1 campaigns.
"I was fine. I took a beating. This is my game," Valbuena said.
"It's weird to play against OM. I know everyone here. It's very special.
"There was a large twinge in my heart. I put all my emotions aside."
After Alexandre Lacazette gave Lyon the lead in the 25th minute after he was awarded a soft penalty, Marseille fans were incensed when the home side's Benjamin Mendy was judged to have dived in the box in the 61st minute.
That prompted scenes that forced Buquet to take the players off the pitch and following the resumption, Marseille equalised thanks to Karim Rekik's header from a 68th-minute corner.
"The second half was complicated. The game has been stopped more than 15 minutes," Fournier said.
"After that, Marseille came back better than us. We were not into the game the first five minutes following the interruption. We gave away the ball and took the risk to be punished."
Marseille coach Michel argued his team played better after Alessandrini's red card but was worried the club's supporters may see the Stade Velodrome empty in the coming weeks.
"I am of course against all situations that could lead us to play in front of an empty stadium because without supporters, football is no longer a show," he told Marseille's website.
"Our supporters are able to help the team. With an empty stadium, it would be difficult. "

Why we partner MTN to disburse MSMEDF to retailers — LAPO on September 21, 2015

Lapo Microfinance Bank, penultimate week, said that it entered into partnership with MTN with a view to meeting its commitment to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Fund (MSMEDF)
The initiative known as ‘MTN BizGrow’ is an SME credit product, primarily designed to meet the funding needs of MTN retailers in partnership with credit organisations , especially, it would enable the telecom giant retailers’ access credit by leveraging on the small and medium enterprise development initiative of the CBN.
In addition, LAPO is the first partner engaged by Mtn to extend loan facility obtained under CBN’s SME development fund program to provide funds to Mtn retailers to boost their sales.
Managing Director/CEO, LAPO MfB, Mr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe, said that the product has a potential to scale up and thereby translating into a superior financial returns, saying, “When the proposal for this project came in, it was very easy for us to decide to be part of it, we see this product helping us to further our mission as an institution to empower the economic factors, particularly at the bottom end of the society, secondly the fact that MTN is a great organization and I do not think that there is any serious institution that would allow a great institution to pass away without grabbing the opportunity.
“Apparently, if you look at it from the business case, this product has a potential to scale up and thereby translating into a superior financial returns. For us it is about pushing our mission and as a foremost microfinance bank in Nigeria, we needed to align with the aspiration of the CBN to ensure that the people operating at the lower cadre of the economy, that is the micro small and medium enterprises have access to finance and therefore we made our clear commitment to MSMEDF.
“We have at the moment accessed N200 million from the fund and we hope that as we recruit more people especially for this product with the MTN, we will be able to go up,” he said.
However, to access the loan, participants must be MTN retailers and must have been in business for a minimum of period of 12 months. The participant in like manner must open account with LAPO and must provide a guarantor, while the loan would be accessed at any LAPO branch in the 28 states in Nigeria.
Loans would be advanced to selected or qualified retailers to tune of a minimum of N50, 000 and maximum of N100, 000 with no tangible collateral required.

Debts: Contractors appeal to FG, states to pay on September 21, 2015

Contractors in the nation’s construction industry have appealed to federal and state governments to pay debts owed the firms to enable them to return to project sites across the country. Acting under the auspices of Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI), the contractors claimed that in the last two years alone, debt owed them by various governments was N600 billion.
President of the group, Mr Solomon Ogunbusola, told news men in Abuja that delay in payment of the debt had grounded operations of most of the companies. According to him, many of the companies have closed shops while thousands of workers have been retrenched. Ogunbusola said that no fewer than 8, 000 workers in the industry were laid off in the last six months. He admitted that the governments in the country were currently facing challenges, saying “we appreciate efforts towards paying salaries of civil servants”.
“This is a step in the right direction, but we appeal that government should look into our problem soon as they conclude intervention in the civil service,” he said.
He assured that the group would resist confrontation with government at any level ‘’because we remain partners in progress.”
Ogunbusola said that the association recognised the downturn in the nation’s economy and commended the government for its determination in addressing the situation.
“We will not fight the government or go to the streets with placards, because we remain partners in progress for the development of the country.
“We appreciate the fact that government is grappling with dwindling resources due to shortfall in oil proceeds. So, nobody is expecting the government to pay all the debt at once but we expect some payment to help us offset our liabilities and be able to return to project sites. There is no way a responsible government can overlook the welfare of civil servants and deploy available funds to pay construction companies,” he said. He pledged that the construction sub-sector would continue to partner the government in efforts to develop and maintain infrastructure.

Nigeria’s economic growth hasn’t been all-inclusive – NESG boss on September 21, 2015

Mr. Kyari Abba Buka is the Chairman, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, NESG. In this interview with Vanguard, he spoke on some issues bedevilling the Nigerian economy, way forward, and activities of the forthcoming 21st summit slated for Abuja from October 13-15, 2015.
What is the objective of this 21ST summit?
The objective or rather let
me start with the theme of the 21st summit.  In Nigeria, we’ve been having the summit every year for the last 21 years since the Nigerian Economy Summit, Group was founded. This year’s theme is basically achieving competitiveness, inclusive growth and sustainability.
In economy such as ours, government especially with this new dispensation may indeed make tough choices because the things about the execution of strategy for an enterprise or for a country is that one must have the discipline and determination to say that these are the most important things that we need to pay attention to and we need to execute them. And for Nigeria, we have to be in a hurry to fix some of these issues; we have to be competitive or to be globally competitive and we cannot exonerate ourselves from the rest of the world. We have to pay attention to our infrastructure problem, and when people talk about the infrastructure and investment in infrastructure, it is of course to us the rail , roads, the water , our airport  etc.
The infrastructure is all the basic ingredients, that if they are in good running condition, the economy would continue to grow at a faster rate. Now, that of course, requires a lot of money and time to achieve.  However, the discussion to be expected in the summit is to pay attention to those aspects of the economy that would be fixing them and will basically catalyse to growth.  We have reported that in the past 10 years or so that Nigeria had grown at the average of 7 percent and so on and so forth. But these in my own personal views were not all that inclusive growth.  Nobody has kept statistics of that growth whether that growth is commensurate with employment growth, and how it affects the basic lives of the average citizens.

Buhari says no to Naira devaluation on September 21, 2015

esident Mohamadu Buhari may have, so far, given the clearest preview of his blueprint for the revival and sustenance of inclusive growth of the Nigerian economy, in a recent interview with a French media house, in Paris. Buhari’s observation on the Nigerian currency was that “the naira has been devalued, as it used to be around N140/$ and now it is hovering around N200/$ and above”. Consequently, the President cautioned that “I don’t think it is healthy for us to have the Naira further devalued”.
Furthermore, PMB explained that, “we are therefore getting the Central Bank to make modifications in terms of foreign exchange availability for essential industries, spare parts, essential raw materials and so on, while liberal access to “CBN’s depleting forex reserves” will be denied to importers of such things like toothpick and rice for which Nigeria has adequate capacity”. The President therefore concluded that “we don’t need to give our hard earned currency for that, but those who insist on toothpick from Europe or from China, instead of using Nigerian toothpick, they can go and source their (own) foreign exchange”.
What is clearly evident from the above narrative, is Buhari’s firm endorsement of the CBN Governor’s recent steps to reduce pressure of dollar demand on ‘CBN’s reserves’ and Naira exchange rate’.
Indeed, PMB’s historical antecedent suggests that he was never enamored by the usually extravagant promises that a weaker naira would jump start or successfully stimulate economic prosperity.
Indeed, Daily Independent Newspaper of 17/9/15 reported that Buhari had recalled at a Town Hall election campaign in Abuja, that “he (Buhari) refused to remove subsidies on petrol and devalue the Naira when he was Head of State (1983-5), because it would destroy the economy”. PMB also revealed that “when we came into power in December 1983, we were approached by the world powers at some stage to devalue the Naira, remove petrol subsidy and remove subsidy on flour, but we refused”. According to Buhari, “the issue was that if we get plenty of Naira, what are we going to do with it? We (had) even stopped farming and the only thing we get money from was oil and that was being paid in dollars”.
In retrospect, however, soon after he was ousted from power, the IMF came calling with a Structural Adjustment Economic Plan which they boasted would chart our course to El Dorado! Regrettably, the succeeding regime of Ibrahim Babangida, ultimately, smuggled in SAP under the guise of a home grown variant which horrifyingly debased the Naira and kick-started the odious brain drain of some of our best human assets to Europe and America and inadvertently triggered the steady descent of our economy and our national values.
Ironically, PMB is back as President, thirty years later, when the Naira exchange rate has alarmingly climbed down from less than N1=$1 in 1985 to N200/$ today; curiously, however, appropriate pricing of Naira and fuel subsidy still remain pivotal issues. There is also, growing international pressure, once again, to further devalue the Naira by between 15-20% i.e. to N230-240=$1, with the carrot of more portfolio investment inflow, despite their fickle disposition.
Nonetheless, President Buhari’s observations in the France 24 interview, may be an early reiteration of his position thirty years ago, that “devaluation would destroy the economy”.
Nevertheless, we need to ask, whether Buhari’s claim of the destructive capacity of devaluation can be substantiated. For this purpose, let us assume, for arithmetic ease, that the dollar appreciates 100% against the naira to exchange for N400=$, even if such rate of appreciation may deceptively appear presently, unrealistic; however, we must remember that the same dollar exchange rate appreciated from 50k=$ to N200=$ between 1975 and 2015, i.e. a 20,000 percent rise despite relatively increasing surplus forex earnings!
In reality, N400=$1 exchange rate will reduce the current minimum wage to less than $50 per month! Thus, the minimum wage earner, may have to work 2X10 hour shifts in a 24 hour day to earn the income required to maintain his old consumption pattern before devaluation! Similarly, all other income earners, including savings, would also lose up to 50% of the value of their incomes; while, all equity in the stock market will be reduced by 50% of their current dollar value if the dollar appreciates to N400=$1.
Incidentally, the inflationary spiral which comes with weaker Naira exchange rates will also reduce consumer demand with adverse consequences on industrial capacity utilisation, fresh direct investment and the already oppressive rate of employment. For example, while the manufacturing sector contributed more than 10% to our gross domestic product in 1986 when the Naira was N2.02=$, regrettably, however, manufacturing barely contributes less than 5% to the GDP; with today’s exchange rate of N200=$1, thus by extrapolation, a N400=$1 exchange rate will inevitably also further weaken the contribution of the industrial subsector well below 5% of GDP.
Furthermore, higher raw material costs will be induced by weaker Naira exchange rates and indisputably make “made in Nigeria” goods uncompetitive and therefore promote Nigeria as an inviting dumping ground for myriad imports.
Similarly, sustainable fiscal plans, will clearly become a challenge if dollar appreciates 100% against the current Naira rate; for example, although the annual budget size may nominally double, but such bloated budgets would barely command less than 50% of their former real values before devaluation.
Incidentally, if the dollar appreciates to N400=$1, our celebrated GDP of about $510bn with N155=$1 exchange rate, would clearly become embarrassingly devalued to just above $200bn.
Worse still, fuel price will also double beyond N200/litre (even with production from local refineries) if N400=$1, while such price hike will surely make the removal of subsidy very unpopular. Instructively, also, if fuel remains subsidized, we may need to dedicate over 20% of our annual budgets to payment of subsidy.
Evidently, from the preceding narrative, President Buhari’s phobia for Naira devaluation may be justified. However, it is difficult to see how further Naira devaluation can be avoided if low crude oil prices deplete dollar inflow while indiscriminate naira liquidity conversely remain uncaged.
The CBN’s recent notice of its intention to mop up over N800bn surplus naira values from the money market before December 2015, therefore, clearly portend potentially dark days for naira exchange rate. Furthermore, the threat from excess liquidity and inflation would similarly propel CBN’s borrowing of billions of Naira that it would simply store away as idle funds, despite the attendant oppressive interest rates of about 12-15% and the crying need of the real sector for cheap funds.

What We Do

PRHD takes periodic trips to deliver aid to the Syrian Refugees in the Syria's surrounding countries. Over 2 million Syrians have fled Syria, most of them of woman and children, and many of these refugees are currently living under extremely difficult circumstances in Jordan. On these trips, PRHD visits medical hospitals hosting refugees, orphanages, and also homes of the refugees, delivering much needed aid ranging from medical equipment to food baskets.