Friday, April 25, 2008

British Airways Contempt!

Hi folks,

This British Airways guys actually think they are still our colonial masters hence they can treat our complaints with levity.

Imagine this o!, The Director-General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, had on the directive of the Federal Government called with British Airways to explain why it maltreated Nigerian passengers on its flight 0075, that left London to Lagos on March 27.

Guess what? BA sent its junior officials to the meeting instead and peeved by the attitude, Demuren terminated the meeting and directed the airline to come at a later date with its top officers as representatives, remarking that the airline should not treat an issue, which the Federal Government is interested in with such levity. (I applaud this action with all my heart).
Meanwhile, Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Ojo Madueke and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Robert Dewar Have held talks over the British Airways incident.
Madueke met with Dewar in his office in Abuja yesterday where he reiterated that President Yar’Adua’s posture on Citizen Diplomacy would not tolerate the inhuman treatment of any Nigerian for any reason, even when there are allegations of criminal activities.
He warned that the bilateral relationship which the two nations have enjoyed over the years has ensured the temperate reactions to the matter, but to maintain it, Nigerians must be treated with dignity within and outside the shores of the country.
He appreciated the British government’s interest in the matter while urging Nigerians abroad to always comply with the laws of their countries of residence.
Dewar has however gave the assurance that he had taken a special interest in the matter and would dig to find more information.
Also commenting on the issue, Minister of State for Air Transportation, Mr Felix Hyat, told newsmen when he visited Lagos on Wednesday, that government was miffed by the report and said it would give it full priority after the investigation by NCAA.
Hyat condemned the incident, and said maltreatment of Nigerian passengers by foreign airlines must stop, noting that government must ensure that similar thing never happen again.
It would be recalled that early last year, former Minister of State, Air Transport, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, had also condemned BA’s treatment of its Nigerian passengers.
Just to refresh our memory, on March 27, 2008 about 137 Nigerian passengers on board British Airways flight 0075 from London to Lagos, witnessed the gory treatment of a Nigerian deportee who was handcuffed and forced into the flight.
The way he was manhandled made the deportee to shout for help, which prompted a Nigerian passenger, Ayodeji Omotade, to call the British immigration officials manhandling the deportee to exercise restraint.
Angered by this, the immigrations officials took the deportee and the sympathiser out of the plane, arrested the later and detained him, while the deportee was latervreturned to the flight.
Outraged by the incident, Nigerians who either witnessed or read the report in the British tabloid, Daily Mirror, wrote a protest letter, signed by over 1000 Nigerians, to the President, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, demanding a front page apology in a Nigerian national daily newspaper to all passengers on-board flight BA0075, a written apology and appropriate compensation to Mr Ayo Omotade, lifting of the life ban imposed on him by the airline, and all criminal charges against him dropped forthwith.
But in a swift reaction, the British Airways in a statement, however, stated that it was right, and quoted the UK Immigration Act 1971, to back the action.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Let it go....

Let it go ....
By T. D. Jakes

There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you
this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk. I don't want
you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you,
calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to
you. I mean hang up the phone.

When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never
tied to anybody that left.

The bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made
manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt
they would have continued with us. [1 John 2:19]

People leave you because they are not joined to you.
And if they are not
joined to you, you can't make them stay.

Let them go.

And it doesn't mean that they are a bad person it just means that their
part in the story is over. And you've got to know when people's part in
your story is over so that you don't keep trying to raise the dead.
You've got to know when it's dead.

You've got to know when it's over. Let me tell you something. I've got
the gift of good-bye. It's the tenth spiritual gift, I believe in
It's not that I'm hateful, it's that I'm faithful, and I know whatever
God means for me to have He'll give it to me. And if it takes too much
sweat, I don't need it. Stop begging people to stay.

Let them go!!

If you are holding on to something that doesn't belong to you and was
never intended for your life, then you need to......

Let it go!!

If you are holding on to past hurts and pains ......

Let them go!!

If someone can't treat you right, love you back, and see your worth.....

Let them go!!

If someone has angered you ........

Let it go!!

If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge......

Let them go!!

If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction......

Let it go!!

If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or
talents .

Let it go!!

If you have a bad attitude.......

Let it go!!

If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better......

Let it go!!

If you're stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level
in Him......

Let it go!!

If you are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship.......

Let it go!!

If you keep trying to help someone who won't even try to help

Let them go!!

If you're feeling depressed and stressed ..........

Let it go!!

If there is a particular situation that you are so used to handling
yourself and God is saying "take your hands off of it," then you need

Let it go!!

Let the past be the past. Forget the former things.
GOD is doing a new thing for 2008 !!!

Let it go!!

Get Right or Get Left .. think about it, and then ..

Let it go!!

"The Battle is the Lord's!

Yar'Adua orders probe of British Airways incident

Even though our President is sick, his concerns for those he governed still overwhelms him. I hope this is true and not some political gimmick o! I wish him well sha but I am glad those BA people now know that are government is not a sleeping gaint. They cannot take us for granted. Pls read on.

Yar'Adua orders probe of British Airways incident
From Madu Onuorah, Abuja

PRESIDENT Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has directed the Minister of State for Transportation (Aviation), Mr Felix Hyatt, to begin an urgent investigation into a March 27, 2008 incident in which British Airways (BA) allegedly ordered more than 100 Nigerians off its London to Lagos flight "for protesting against the brutal treatment of a deportee aboard."

Yar'Adua, who is in Germany for a medical review, asked Hyatt to take all necessary measures and protect "the travelling public from the humiliation they face daily from foreign airlines."

A source told The Guardian that the President had seen reports of the incident from the British media, expressing "disgust" at the "seeming non-chalant attitude of BA officials."

He, therefore, directed that since the minister has not forwarded any report of the incident to his office, he should be formally written to investigate the incident and report back to him.

The source added: "The President is said to be concerned by the recent resurgence of complaints about the poor treatment, discrimination and downright abuse meted out to Nigerians by some foreign airlines operating in the country.

"The President has also directed the minister to make it absolutely clear to all foreign airlines operating in Nigeria that under no circumstance will his administration tolerate the subjection of Nigerian passengers to less than acceptable standards of treatment."

Death Scare!

Hi folks,

I had a terrible scare last night. I had closed from work and felt i should go to the salon and wash my hair. I got there and decided to fix a new bread. While we were on it, the powerful PHCN or (is it NEPA now), struck and so we had to rely on the generator to finish up the hair.

The salon had no ventilation and so we had to close the door and rely on the fan. The last thing I remember saying was when I celebrated the Liverpool own goal against Chelsea. Gradually we became sick. First it was headache and then dizziness, then fainting, then vomiting etc. The three of us in the salon were experiencing the same feeling at the same time. Only God's intervention served us we would all have been dead within a twinkle of an eye.

The guy making my hair had managed to go out, and having taken in a little fresh air and poured water on his head had recovered quickly, he was the one that helped the rest of us (his younger brother and I) to recover. We had to put off the generator and use the phone light to finish up the hair after an hour of trying to recover from that terrible scare. I got home at 12 am because I had to drop them off.

I am glad to be life and I thank God for intervening just on time and giving Azuka (the hair stylist) the wisdom to aid our recovery. I now know why people die from generator fumes. Terrible feeling I tell u and the process is gradual. I actually saw death but cheated it. Praise God!

Well, I almost spoil my joy today when instead of deleting what was obviously a disgusting funwall i hit the forward button instead. I have been so sad all day but I feel better now that I have apologised to everybody. We are all humans and prone to mistakes. Please I am apologising again for a funwall you must have received from me via my email. I feel so ashamed but thank God for forgiving friends who have already accepted my apologise. Thanks and remain blessed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Love This: Maduekwe Locks out Permanent Secretary, Directors etc

Don't you just love this country atimes? Just read the responses of some of the staff. Please read on

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe on Monday locked out the Permanent Secretary, Directors and some other employees of the ministry for reporting late to work.

Reports have it that the Minister, who reported for work at 8.15 a.m., gave the directive that the gates be shut however, respite came, when the Permanent secretary Alhaji Baba Kaigama arrived at 9.12 a.m. before the staffers were allowed in by security men.

Maduekwe, who later addressed the workers, berated them for finding it difficult to report to work on time having “after a nice weekend''.

The minister, who noted that it was not intentional to keep any worker ‘miserable' under the heat of the sun, expressed surprise that majority of the workers were not at their duty posts at the stipulated time.

Maduekwe explained that under the civil service rule, workers were expected to be at their duty posts by 8 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.

“Because I travel frequently out of the country should not give you the illusion that I do not know what is happening in the ministry,'' he said.

“This administration places emphasis on the rule of law, accountability and due process.

“If we must get it right, this ministry must lead by example and be a model in order to project a good image for this country,'' Maduekwe added.

According to him, for the country to attain its vision of being one of the 2020 economies, its workforce must be hard working, disciplined and committed.

“We must get it right if we are actually going to be one of the 2020 economies, but you cannot attain this if you report to work late,'' he stressed.

Maduekwe who noted that government was mindful of the challenges the workers faced, said such challenges were man-made and were surmountable.

“I am not pretending about problems of no power supply, lack of transportation and water, but you have to strive to achieve,'' he said.

The minister granted the workers ‘a general amnesty' with a warning that “it will not be so next time.''

Some of staff who reacted to the situation, expressed regrets that the minister was not being fair to them, adding that there were no staff buses to convey them to work.

“How do you expect us to put in our best when the issues of welfare, which is very paramount to our ability to deliver quality service is not addressed,'' one of the civil servants said.

He explained further that though there were lots of challenges, workers had been jolted by the action and would also try to sit up.

Another civil servant described the minister's address as a ‘political talk' adding that more needed to be done than “speaking grammar''.

He said: “Ministers travel a lot, but do not know what junior workers that are doing the entire job go through.''

Brother Kidnapped Brother

Who is really benefiting from all these? I have said it before and I will repeat it again that this kidnapping and destruction of pipeline business is for the selfish few.

Aside from blowing up two of Anglo-Dutch oil gaint, Shell pipelines in Rivers State by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), how can you explain this one where an elder brother (Ndego) kidnapped his own younger brother (8-year-old Israel) to get N1.5 million from their guardian (Ubogu) who was magnanimous enough to take him (the 8-year-old) in after the death of their father in a road accident?

Ndego narrated how he left the house to wait at a point on Jakpa Road where he had asked Israel to take him to under the pretext of getting acquainted with the neighbourhood.

The suspect, who is cooling his heels at an Ekpan Police Station cell, disclosed how he planned the kidnap with his friends in Lagos, adding that they left for Warri to execute the plan.

"My friend met his friend in Benin and it was there that we agreed to take him (Israel). What we agreed on after I took him to Benin was that my friend would call my aunt and demand N600, 000 ransom. I was surprised that he later called to demand N1.5million that was not the original plan," Ndego added.

Ubogu left for Benin and found Israel where he was dumped by Ndego’s accomplices. Incredible! God help us.

Friday, April 18, 2008

EFCC Thanks for Uncovering Turaki's N36B oil Block Fruad but Where is Iyabo Obasanjo

It is very interesting to seeing the way The Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)carry out its work.

It has just given us details of how the immediate past governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Saminu Turaki, used a sum of N36 billion he allegedly stole from the state's treasury, to buy oil blocks in the country.

EFCC told a Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital that Alhaji Turaki standing trial before the court on allegation of conspiracy, money laundering, theft, corrupt enrichment and looting of the treasury, “used the funds of Jigawa state to pay for oil blocks given to him by the Federal Government''.

EFCC further alleged that the former governor used his younger brother, Bashir Turaki and his companies, INC Natural Resources Ltd., Arkel Construction Nig. Ltd and Wildcat Construction Ltd., to siphon state funds while in office.

The EFCC said the accused was running the companies, using his brother and one Abdul Aziz Haliru, and had used the Jigawa government as a guarantor for the loan taken by the companies.

Turaki is also accused of making the government to give an irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) to the bank in respect of the loans taken by the companies.

EFCC further alleged that the bank was deducting the said loan from the statutory allocations meant for the state, until billions of naira was deducted.

The allegations are contained in an affidavit filed before the court by EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacob, the Commission also gave insight on how the alleged fraud by the former governor, now a Senator representing the state, was discovered.

According to the EFCC: “Sometimes in June 2006, the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) of the EFCC intercepted a suspicious transaction made by the agents of the accused.

Alhaji Turaki was arraigned in October 2007, on a 32-count charge of corruption and embezzlement of public funds, by the EFCC.

He has however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and had since been granted bail by Justice Binta-Murtala Nyako.

But my question now is, why is it so difficult to arraign Iyabo Obasanjo? Now she has gone into hidding. Well at least The Senate has asked embattled Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, to appear before it next Tuesday over the case the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has against her. I hope the EFCC will arrest her after her appearance

We'll make Nigeria flow with milk, honey, says Ogbulafor

I hope this is not just political talk o! Nigerians right now are not in a right frame of mind for silly jokes. With the damning revelations coming from power probe, housing probe and even aviation probe, any cheap political talk is not welcomed at all o!

As far as I am concerned, the PDP chairman is overwhelmed with his new office hence he is talking carelessly. We need action to be matched with words and not even after he said he wants PDP to be in power for 60 years! Haba! We will all be ruined by then

We'll make Nigeria flow with milk, honey, says Ogbulafor
From John-Abba Ogbodo, Abuja

NIGERIANS have been assured of the commitment of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to making the country a land "flowing with milk and honey."

The National Chairman of the party, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, who said this on Wednesday night, expressed the resolve of the President and the party to "make whatever sacrifices that are necessary to accomplish this."

Ogbulafor, during an interactive session with journalists, also disclosed that as part of measures to ensure that the governors of the party matched their electoral promises with action and operated within the ambit of the PDP manifesto, the leadership of the party would set up an evaluation team to monitor the performances of its state chief executives.

"If we are actually called to serve, we should put our lives into the service and live above selves. What will it pay a person if he gains all the things in this world and remain on negative side of history? Yar'Adua and the party will like to make history. The seven-point agenda touches every aspect of human life. With the support of Nigerians and the blessing of God, the President will implement the agenda and the country will be a beautiful place for all to live and milk and honey will be flowing. What we need is unity of purpose. We need peace, unity and love," he said.

Ogbulafor reiterated that his election and that of the President came as an act of God and that made the challenge very unique. But he gave assurance that both Yar'Adua and the party would work hard to make life better for Nigerians.

"My emergence as national chairman is divine, purely an act of God. It therefore throws a lot of challenges to me as a person and a true Nigerian. If you look at the composition of the National Working Committee, members were carefully selected, fire-brand Nigerians, enthusiastic to move Nigeria and the party forward," he said.

The PDP national chairman described President Yar'Adua as a silent operator whose emergence was by divine intervention. He noted that people who emerged through such circumstances would always be ready to offer services without counting costs and expressed the determination of the present PDP administration at all levels to remain on the good side of history.

He wants Nigerians to support the President and the party, pointing out that with such support, Yar'Adua would be able to implement his programmes and put smiles on the faces of Nigerians.

"Yar'Adua is a silent operator and his election is also is divine", he said.

Still expressing gratitude to God over his emergence, Ogbulafor recalled that two weeks to the national convention at which he emerged, he was admitted in a hospital and had given up hope, but God still made it possible for him to emerge as national chairman. He maintained that power flows from God, stressing: "That is why when I see some people struggling for power, sometimes, I laugh. God crowns and equips the person."

He reiterated the resolve of the present leadership of the party to practise internal democracy in the party so that it could return the party to the status envisaged by the founding fathers. He disclosed that as part of these efforts, the new leadership had started reaching out to aggrieved members who left the party with a view to wooing them back. Ogbulafor also said that the party would ensure a harmonious relationship between the Executive and the Legislature through constant dialogue and would give all members a sense of belonging.

The national chairman said in line with the manifesto of the party, the leadership would put a mechanism in place to ensure strict compliance by the governors and local council chairmen. He, however, expressed satisfaction with that which of the governors on the platform of the PDP had done but said the party would still put together a team to monitor their performances.

"Fortunately, our governors are putting a lot on ground to ensure development. We will rule this country for the next sixty years. The challenges are enormous. We will ensure that every member complies with the constitution of the party. The party will put in place a monitoring team in all states to monitor what our governors are doing. The challenge is to build a virile place which all of us will be proud of", he said.

According to him, it is the hope of the party to attract all Nigerians to join PDP through a superlative performance and added that "I will not care if Nigeria becomes a one party state controlled by PDP."

The national chairman concluded that the leadership of the party was eagerly awaiting the outcome of the work being done by a committee set up to review the report of the reconciliation committee headed by former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, so as to begin the implementation that would return the glorious days of PDP

I'm Cut Off Civilization!

Hi folks,

I don't know how many MTN users are feeling depressed and frustrated as I am right now. I have been cut off civilization just because of the striking staff of Nigerian Tele-communications Limited.

Transcorp Hilton had dared the staff that they were not working and so they decided to proof their worth, today it is weeping and gnashing of teeth for those who have come to depend on the GSM to transact business.

The Minister of State for Information and Communications, Ibrahim Nakande, has appealed to the striking staff of Nigerian Tele-communications Limited "to return to work in the overall interest of the nation".

Did I hear him right? interest of the nation? and if indeed that was the case, why has it been so difficult to meet the demands of the workers or at least sit down with them to dialogue and reach a common ground?

How can you be owing family men and women several months, how are they suppose to take care of basic needs like healthcare, school fees, house rent, feeding as well as transport themselves to work?

Rather than talk to them face to face he decided to send his appeal in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Okon Bassey, in Abuja.

The minister said that suspension of the strike would ensure a conducive atmosphere for negotiations to continue. He warned that the strike was capable of crippling the telecommunication sector, "which is neither in the best interest of the nation nor NITEL staff themselves."

Can you imagine this man? That the strike is capable of crippling the telecom sector when already everything is at a stand still right now? As from 4 p.m yesterday upto this moment i am sending this post, I have not been able to communication with anyone because there is no service on my phone.

I also have a starcomms line and the management of starcomms had to warn in advance via a text message that as a result of the strike we are likely going to experience epileptic service.

The workers down tools nationwide on Monday following the inability of Transcorp, the core investor in NITEL, to fulfill an earlier agreement with workers over unpaid salaries.

The workers had complained that Transcorp owed them five months salary arrears and allowances. They also accused Transcorp of failing to confirm the appointment of workers who had been on probation since November 2006, when the company acquired the 51 per cent equity of NITEL.

Transcorp Spokesman, Mr Adedayo Ojo in a statement on Tuesday, insisted that the strike was unnecessary. He claimed that the company paid over N500 million on Monday to offset part of the outstanding salaries.
However, Mr Charles Amankwe, President, National Association of Telecommunications Employees, said Transcorp only remitted money for a month's salary, in breach of their April 1 agreement.

As far as I am concern, the only language Nigerian businesses including the government understands is strike and if the issues of welfare are to be addressed. So I am going to bear this while I employ everyone trying to reach me to use the email facility.

This is the prize we all have to pay for things to move forward. God help Nigeria!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Iyabo Obasanjo Fears for Life!

Hi Folks,

Stories like this makes me want to puck. Is either she is playing with our intelligence or the EFCC and herself are playing out script but we are not fools. But again she is having a taste of her father's medicine. He used the EFCC to mate out the same treatment including the former Plateau State governor.

Wonders they say will never end. Rather than go to the EFCC to clear her name she has embark on a cheap campaign that her life is in danger. She is also continuing in her father's shoe of his contempt for the Nigerian media. Rather than talk to the Nigerian press about her plight she ran to the BBC but I can assure her it will not help her.

Hear her: "There's a very huge anti-Obasanjo sentiment in the country now and honestly the behaviour is not normal."

But pray, is it normal not to answer a call by a security agency or is it an anti-fraud agency to clear your name? Whether she likes it or not, her father is no longer the President of this country and she must pay for her sins. Like somebody said, she has not even achieved half of what the two former Ministers – Prof. Adenike Grange and Gabriel Adukuformer Ministers – Prof. Adenike Grange and Gabriel Aduku and yet they were humble enough to make themselves available including facing the embarrassment of the court. Who the hell is this woman?

If I may ask, what is the usefulness of her being alive? Her being alive is causing us terrible embarrassment all over the world worst than what the yahoo boys and our thiefing politicians are doing. Unfortunately for her she cannot even run abroad as is the normal practice with her likes. In the US, she is wanted and in the UK with the help of interpol, she is sure to be brought back in handcuffs. Even some African countries will not want anything to do with her talkless of seeking refuage there, so my advise now is for her to appear before the EFCC and hasten the process of either clearing her name or heading to jail. period!

Below is her story as given to BBC
Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, daughter of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, has said she fears for her life. Obasanjo-Bello is implicated in the N300 million Health Ministry scam and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) now wants her to be prosecuted for the alleged offence.
Her comments came after the anti-corruption agents raided her home in Abuja in an attempt to bring her to face prosecution.
She told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) yesterday that EFCC agents slapped her personal assistant during their visit to her house two days ago.
"I am afraid of the EFCC... they slapped my PA when they got to the house," she said
"I'm not on the run but I feel as if I'm a victim of harassment... I'm afraid for my life," she added.
Obasanjo-Bello, who chairs the Senate's Health Commi-ttee, was charged along with ten other top officials of the Health Ministry, including two former Ministers – Prof. Adenike Grange and Gabriel Aduku - for sharing the proceeds of corruption
After charges against Obasanjo-Bello were read in court last week, the EFCC said she had to turn herself in as soon as possible.
She was said to have bolted out of the house through the back door when the men of EFCC came to her house uninvited on Tuesday.
She told the BBC she could not understand why her home was raided when she had visited the EFCC offices twice in the past week and made herself available through her lawyer.
"There's a very huge anti-Obasanjo sentiment in the country now and honestly the behaviour is not normal."
Grange and Aduku resigned from their positions in March after an investigation uncovered N300m had not been returned to the coffers of the Federal Government after the fiscal year ended.
Yesterday, Obasanjo-Bello did not show up in the Senate for the sitting.
Her seat beside Senator Anthony Manzo's was empty at plenary and the Senate was spared her characteristic movements from one side of the chamber to the other during sitting.
The money was said to have been part of the unspent N300 million in the 2007 budget of the Health Ministry which was shared by top officials of the Ministry as Christmas bonus or gift.
All the accused persons, save Obasanjo-Bello, had been charged to court on account of being beneficiaries of the procceds of corruption.
Meanwhile, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has chided the EFCC over its operatives’ failed attempt to arrest Obasanjo-Bello over her alleged involvement in the scam.
Aside from chiding the EFCC, the TMG through its chairman, Comrade Moshood Erubami, described the drama of the evasion of arrest by Obasanjo-Bello as not portraying her as a good representative of her people.
He said: "The TMG sees the whole episode as not portraying the Senator as a good and trusted representative of the electorate in her constituency.
"The question one should ask the on-the-run-Senator is, "if it is true that the money was meant for a retreat in Ghana, why is she on the run?”
The group insisted that the anti-graft body was still treating the arrest of the Senator with kid gloves noting that if Obasanjo-Bello were to be an ordinary Nigerian, she would have been arrested and arraigned for long by the EFCC.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ayodeji Omotade vs. British Airways by Reuben Abati

On one or two internet sites, particularly Nigeria Village Square, Nigerians are up in arms against the airline, British Airways over the maltreatment of 135 Nigerian passengers and one Ayodeji Omotade on a March 27, 2008, BA flight to Lagos from Heathrow, London. Readers of Omotade's story, which he tells with transparent pain and agony have been asked to send protest comments to the CEO of British Airways, amid nationalistic calls for the boycott of British Airways by Nigerian passengers.

It is strange that more than a week later, there has been no response from British Airways to this public relations crisis on its Lagos route. It is either the public relations managers of British Airways are asleep, or they have chosen to treat this as a piece of irritation, or they are assured that since the protesters are angry internet commentators, their indignation would soon pass unnoticed.

If the latter reason explains the seeming arrogance of British Airways and its CEO, then it clearly underestimates the influence of internet journalism. With increasing ICT penetration and access to interconnectivity, more persons are spending more time daily on the world wide web, which they now rely on for a broad range of activities including conversation, romance, therapy and education. The number of Nigerians, especially in diaspora, who falls into this category continues to increase, the same with internet sites on Nigerian affairs, with the most active and the most interactive being in my estimation, the Nigeria Village Square.

No serious business should take any debate about its affairs on the internet lightly. Nor should it underestimate the increasing power and influence of citizen journalists, those ordinary men and women who practice journalism simply because they have a story to tell, and they are so moved by events they cannot afford to keep quiet. But the story of Omotade's agony is told not just in Nigeria Village Square, it was also reported in The Mirror of London as follows:

"A British Airways captain ordered 136 passengers off his plane in chaotic scenes after they all started complaining to cabin crew.
As the flight waited to take off at Heathrow the row was sparked by the restraint of a man being forcibly deported.

Many were distressed by his pitiful cries of "I go die" and one passenger, Ayodeji Omotade, 39, spoke up on his behalf.

The deportee was taken off the Lagos bound jet by immigration staff and police.
But five officers returned and arrested Mr Omotade. This outraged the other 135 passengers in the economy class section and they complained to cabin crew.

Amid riotous scenes in the aisles, 20 police officers boarded to calm everything down. advertisement

Then the BA pilot took the extraordinary decision to boot off everyone who had witnessed the arrest of Mr Omotade, an IT consultant from Chatham, Kent.

The captain took the view they were all guilty of disturbing the flight, although no more passengers were arrested.
After the economy class section was virtually cleared, the deportee, aged about 30, was brought back on and the flight left.

The passengers were booked on to later flights but Mr Omotade was told by BA staff he was banned by the airline for life.
English-born Mr Omotade, married with a daughter aged four, was handcuffed and kept in police custody for eight hours after his arrest. He has not been charged and is seeking an apology from BA.

He was travelling from Heathrow's Terminal 4 to Lagos for his brother's marriage and had in his luggage the groom's wedding ring, shirt and suit. He missed the ceremony.

He told the Mirror: "There were agonising noises from an individual being restrained. It went on for 20 minutes.
"I pleaded with the officers and my exact words were, 'Please don't kill him.'

"I was not swearing or threatening. BA staff said the officers were doing their jobs and nothing was going to happen. When he was removed we thought it was the end of the matter.
"But police officers came back and I was handcuffed and dragged off the plane."

He claims his luggage has been lost and ?1,600 cash he had for relatives has been taken and not returned.
Scotland Yard confirmed: "A man was arrested for affray and causing a disturbance and was bailed."

Ba said: "Police were called to the BA75 service to Lagos on March 27 after a large number of passengers became disruptive.
Many were removed.
"We take any threats against our crew or passengers very seriously and this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated."

What is missing in The Mirror report, but which Omotade provides in his own account is the ordeal which he, Omotade, is now undergoing in the hands of the British authorities. He has been charged to a Magistrate court. Investigators are asking him to provide pay slips and bank statements to enable them establish the source of the money that was found in his possession. British Airways kept his luggage for more than a week; when it was returned, one of the bags was damaged. Omotade was not a Naomi Campbell, playing the prima donna and slapping policemen at the airport, his only offence was that he dared to speak up for a compatriot in distress who was being deported back to Nigeria and who was screaming: "I go die". He is being punished and victimized, he has now been banned from flying British Airways for life (!), for being outspoken. The other 135 passengers had also protested, but Omotade had to be singled out by British Airways as a scapegoat. Omotade may at the end of the day get the apology and the compensation that he seeks, but to get to that point, he should assert his rights beyond mere complaints on the internet, send a formal complaint to BA, go to court, but it is the mindset, the sociology of air travel, the politics, that has informed his maltreatment that should be addressed.
Since 1999, the Nigerian government has been making efforts to work on Nigeria's image abroad, to transform the country from being regarded as one of the last outposts of military dictatorship into an open, democratic society, but whatever has been done and gained in this regard has been hobbled by the grand failure of domestic policy, and the failure, also, of national character. Nigeria remains in the eyes of the world, a country that is badly run, badly led and whose citizens in desperation have taken to a life of constant emigration and crime. Every Nigerian that shows up in a foreign land, including African countries, is immediately regarded as a security risk. We have this strange image out there of a loud, ungovernable people, in whose inner recesses exists a craving for the short cut and disdain for rules and standards. It is the likes of that deportee on that British Airways flight who have brought this opprobrium on our heads, it is the likes of Obasanjo, godfathers like Adedibu and all the thieving Governors and Ministers, whose stories are well known in Europe and the United States who have brought us so much undeserved shame. The deportee kept shouting: "I go die"

Even in his distress, it was probably simulated, his compatriots felt for him and tried to defend his right to live. But the British flight crew must have stretched the situation into the hall of prejudices: the pilot had to evict the Nigerian passengers because he had imagined that their complaints could have ended up as "a hijack operation". "Can't put anything past these Nigerians", he must have concluded. We are the victims of some of the worst stereotypes, and profiling systems, in the world. A young lady travelled to Mauritius recently only to discover that every Nigerian is referred to suspiciously as "the Green Passport" by the people of Mauritius. We are not the only country in the world using a green passport, but ours is the only green passport that carries a stigma.
It is not only the British Airways that is guilty. Hotels, restaurants, super markets, foreign government authorities all treat Nigerians suspiciously. A credit card originating from Nigeria is subjected to more than ordinary scrutiny. Ayodeji Omotade is a British citizen but that did not stop the BA and the British police from treating him shabbily. If he is Nigerian, then there must be something about him. So, they refused to listen to his pleas that he had not committed any crime or disrupted the activities of the almighty British Airways. They had to investigate the source of the one thousand six hundred pounds (about $3, 200) that they found on him. They probably thought he could be a money laundering agent for one of those corrupt Nigerian public officials. They have seen so many in the recent past, they would rather not take any chances. But there was a curious class dimension to the politics of the British Airways flight. Only the passengers in the economy cabin were evicted. Now, economy passengers on Nigerian routes have quite a reputation with all airlines. They are loud, they carry excess luggage, and when you pry into that luggage, they are either transporting cray fish and snails into England or they are going back into their country with bagfuls of toothpaste, chocolate, toilet rolls, and so on. This kind of behaviour sends signals of poverty and underdevelopment, and so those funny hostesses treat economy passengers on Nigerian routes snobbishly, sometimes, they spray disinfectants straight into your face! Often times, I suspect they think we are bringing lice aboard the flight.

We must link all of this to the unusual vigilance that any flight to or from Nigeria generates at foreign airports. All the dogs are brought out, all the guns are cocked, all eyes are on us. We are treated like terrorists, but terrorists of a different kind. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Ojo Maduekwe has been talking about citizen diplomacy. This is a major area of assignment for Ojo and his team. The ordinary Nigerian citizen out there in the world, be he a crook or a gentleman is entitled to the protection of the Nigerian government, insisting on his right to human dignity. But the best way to earn the respect of the world, for the country and its citizens is to run a country where things work, a country that is truly deserving of respect. Much of what goes into human relations is visual. We have a continuing challenge to turn Nigeria into a visual delight not the eyesore that it is at the moment.

Having dealt with the internal dimension of the problem, let me now add that the arrogance of the British Airways authorities is insufferable. This arrogance derives in part from the unusual dominance that BA enjoys on the Lagos-London -Lagos route, making this route one of the most profitable worldwide for the airline. This has not translated into due courtesy to Nigerian travellers, rather it has encouraged contempt on the part of the airline. The Nigerian aviation authorities must take a second look at the London route, and open it up a bit more, make it more competitive and offer Nigerians a wider range of choices. Would BA ban anybody for life on its airline, just for expressing an opinion, if it did not think we are still in the era of British imperialism?

In specific terms, the Bilateral Aviation Services Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Britain allows 21 frequencies for British airlines and 21 frequencies for Nigerian airlines on the Lagos-London route. But at the moment, the British Airways enjoys more frequencies than other airlines, it flies into Lagos and into Abuja, and sometimes it does so more than seven times in a week. Why? The 21 frequencies for Nigerian airlines is shared by Bellview, Arik Nigeria and Bellview.

The 21 frequencies for British airlines is meant to be shared by Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and British Midlands. But British Midlands is not on the route. British Airways currently uses its frequency, granting it an undue advantage and even when it exceeds its quota, Nigerian aviation authorities look the other way. The British Airways authorities need to be reminded that when General Sani Abacha banned the British Airways in the recent past, and BA had to relocate to Ghana, the airline almost bled to death. Also, in the post-9/11 season when BA scaled down n its trans-Atlantic operations, it was sustained largely by its Lagos-London route and the ever traveling crowd of Nigerians. All Nigerian customers of British Airways deserve more respect than they seem to be currently getting.

Juliet Akano certificate fraudster?

Incredible story and I think I should share this. It is a pity because hardworking women will continue to be rubbed by the likes of this woman in the story below. Little wonder why we are treated like dirt abroad? we can't even present genuine certificates to run for public office.
God help us

According to STEVE UZOECHI of, the Honourable member representing the Nwangele – Nkwerre – Isu – Njaba Federal Constituency of Imo State in the House of Representatives, Juliet Akano is involved in certificate forgery.

It was gathered that while completing her INEC nomination form and documentation, declared that she attended Oguta Girls’ High School, Oguta, Imo State from 1979-1984.

But this claim has been debunked by the principal of Oguta Girls High School insists that there was no such name or record corresponding with the date claimed by Mrs. Akano.

On a visits to the school to verify the facts by, the Vice Principal (Senior) reiterated that there was no such records in their files, stating that the woman’s particulars which at the time was Obasi Juliet Nnenne has been checked before and was not found in there records. A statement signed by the school principal (names withheld) and made available to in respect of Akano’s claims partly reads; “I hereby state that the above named records were not found in Oguta Girls’ High School between 1979-1984”.

In 1998, Juliet Akano engaged a lady (names withheld) who now, works with an airline in Lagos to sit for her WAEC/SSCE (Private candidate). The lady sat and passed the examination for Akano.

The photo card for the examination which was made available to bears the picture of the young lady but the name, Akano Juliet Nnenne. The girl’s signature conflicts with the signature Akano used in the submission of her INEC forms. advertisement

The lady’s examination number is 304 while the centre number is 55729. The examination was written somewhere in Lagos Island and the documentation and pictures of the girls are still in tact at the WAEC office.

In a petition directed to the leadership of the National Assembly, copied to the EFCC, SSS, INEC and the Federal Ministry of Justice, dated 14/11/2007, one Eugene Okoma alleged that Akano used another person’s certificate for the INEC clearance during the House of Reps election and forged the certificate with which she gained admission into the university for her said degree in marketing.

The petition further declared, “It is clear that Hon. Juliet Akano is a cheat, a fraudulent person, not in any way qualified to occupy any position of authority, let alone being elected as an honourable member representing the largest federal constituency in Nigeria”.

The petitioner insists that Akano lied on oath as a member of the House of Representative.

Ironically, Juliet Akano is a member of the Integrity Group of the House of Representative which presently is in charge of the leadership of the House. Observers are however, of the opinion that this perhaps, is the reason why the leadership of the lower chamber of the National Assembly seemingly swept the petition dated 14th November, 2007 against Akano, under the carpet.
The integrity of the leadership of the House of Representative would be called to question if front liners of the Integrity Group like Hon. Farouk Lawan, Abike Dabiri and others fail to rise up to the challenge and probe the various certificate scams perpetuated right under their noses and save the House from the shame of being peopled by undesirable elements.

Efforts to speak to Akano by proved abortive as she refused to take her calls. Text messages sent to her for reactions were not replied as at press time.
Meanwhile, in December, 2007 when her campaign coordinators from the Nwangele-Nkwerre-Isu-Njaba Federal Constituency honoured a Christmas invitation from Juliet Akano and erroneously went to her matrimonial home for the Christmas get-together, to their chagrin, they were turned back.

One of the coordinators who confided in said that members of the family and even neighbours, disowned Juliet Akano saying, “there is no such person around here”. The function, he said was later held in the office of one paint manufacturer.

Juliet Akano’s marital life however speaks volume of the despicable mindset of a woman to whom holy matrimony is but a mere business partnership. A union of convenience which she exploited to the despair of the men who thought they were married to her.

A brief trace by revealed that Juliet Akano who was merely a cloth seller at Balogun, Lagos was actually married to one Macdonald Akano, from a popular royal family in Nwangele LG A of Imo state. After having two children for him, she abandoned him for another man in the neighbouring community of Nkwerre, one Mr. Okechukwu Uzoho, a prominent lawyer. She however did not stay very long with Uzoho.

As the last general elections drew nearer, she saw her opportunity and schemed her way back to the Akano royal family. Surprisingly she was re-accepted by the Akanos but little did they know that she only wanted to use the name and clout of the royal family, as her launching pad, to achieve her political ambition.
Soon after, she was foisted by the PDP as the party’s candidate for the Federal constituency in a primary election that was held about five times and all ended inconclusively in fracas.

Thereafter, courtesy of the Maurice Iwu election, she emerged as the member representing Nwangele – Nkwerre – Isu – Njaba Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. That was all she needed to abandon her marital vows once again.
Today, however, rather than waiting for a non-resident wife and mother, Mcdonald Akano is already married to another woman while Juliet is said to be planning to return to Mr Uzoho so as to still be seen as an indigene of the constituency she pretends to be representing.

It is reported that Mr. Okechukwu Uzoho appears most unwilling to play the fool again.

This simply implies that Juliet Akano, who is largely operating from Oguta, her place of birth is representing a people whose confidence she does not have and a constituency to which, she is a stranger.

A fugitive from home, a cheat and a fraud seating at the National Assembly representing a people she cares and knows nothing about, is an illegality and insult on the largest Federal Constituency in Nigeria.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Time to Boycott British Airways!

Hi Folks,

Is it not about time we deal with this colonial masters once and for all? Imagine this dehumanising treatment on Nigerians, the country that contributes so much to their development. Is this the thank you we get for giving them the most lucrative routes in Aviation?

Pls read on

British Airways an Anti Nigerian Airline? How BA Kicked out over 100 Nigerians from Plane

Humilation of Nigerians on British Airways by Ayodeji Omotade

On the 27th of March 2008 at about 12:30pm, I boardedthe British Airways flight BA75 and I went straight toseat 53C. On getting to my seat, there were noises from anindividual being forcibly restrained but who was notvisible because some police officers and some plainclothes people held him down. The noise continued formore than 20 minutes and I was concerned because theindividual was screaming in agony and shouting inpidgin English "I go die" meaning, I will die. Ipleaded with the officers not to kill him and my exactwords were "please don't kill him". The BritishAirways staff said that the officers were doing theirjobs and that nothing was going to happen. The noisebecame louder and other passengers started gettingconcerned and were complaining especially about theirsafety. The situation continued for another 15 minutesafter I got on. Eventually, a member of the cabin crew announced thatthe passenger was going to be removed and thepassenger was removed from the plane and we allthought that was the end of the situation. Fiveminutes later, two members of the cabin crew arrivedwith about 4 police officers and told me to get offthe plane. I asked what the matter was and they saidthat I was not going to travel with the airlinebecause the cabin crew thought I had been disruptiveby questioning the noise being caused by the personthat was removed. I pleaded with them that I was goingfor my brother's wedding and that I had all his stuffwith me. I was dragged out of the plane as if I wasresisting arrest. As we got to the corridor thatlinked the plane with the terminal building, I wasslammed against the wall and made to sit on the floor.I was still pleading with them telling them that theyhad completely misunderstood me and that I was onlycomplaining about the situation regarding thedisturbances caused by the deportee they were tryingto restrain and subdue. I was on the floor for about20 to 25 minutes. Another passenger was brought to thecorridor as well and he was also pleading with theofficers. I was later put in the back of the police van at about1:50pm and I was locked up there for about an hour ormore still handcuffed. I was formally arrestedapproximately 2:30pm and my rights were read to me.Before the arrest in the van, I managed to reach formy pocket and brought out my mobile phone. I made somephone calls to my wife, sister and a friend while thelow battery sign was on because I was all alone andstill handcuffed.I was later driven to the police station where I wasformally checked in. I was in police custody foralmost 8 hours and later released on bail after theinterview with the duty solicitor and the detectives.I had £473.00 on me which was seized as well as £90.00sent to my mother in-law from my sister in-law and£1,050.00 given to me by my cousin who is a doctor forthe upkeep of his parents in Nigeria. All the moneytogether was £1,613.00. I was told that I would appearin a magistrate court to prove the money was not meantfor crime or proceeds of crime. The officer told methat they will like to see traceability and that Ineeded my payslips and bank account detailing mypayments and withdrawals as well as my cousin'spayments and withdrawals.I was released but without the money. I made my way toterminal 4 and arrived there at about 12:30am but theBritish Airways kiosks were closed. I was directed tothe staff room and told them that I wanted to rebookmy trip to Lagos. A lady told me to give her my ticketand she stated that British Airways has banned me fromtravelling with them indefinitely and that only themanagers can use their discretions because I was a'disruptive passenger'. I requested for my 2 pieceluggage and she told me that the section will beopened later at about 5:30am and I will be escorted into collect them. I slept on the chair and waited tillabout 5:30am and attempted to rebook my ticket but wastold that British Airways refused to take me. Idecided to go and pick up my stuff and I was told thatmy luggage were missing. I was handed a form withreference number LONBA90924. At this point, I becametotally stranded because I could not leave without myluggage because it contained my brother's weddingsuit, shirts and accessories. I was on the phone with my wife and she wanted to bookan alternative flight that departs at 10:15am so thatI could make it for the wedding. This was not possiblebecause British Airways refused to disclose where myluggages were and did not remove my luggage from theflight when they called the police to arrest me. On Monday 31st of March, I appeared at the Magistratecourt but was told that a decision was made about the£1,613.00 that was seized from me. The police had beengranted a further 90 days to hold on to the moneypending their investigation. I was given the officer'sdetails . He requested 12 months bank statements and 6months payslip to prove that the £473.00 that belongsto me was not proceeds of crime and also requestedthat the £1,050.00 that was given to me by my cousinfor his parents should also be traced to my cousin's12 months bank statement and 6 months payslip. DCWebster has promised to write me detailing theserequests.Still on Monday 31st of March 4 days after I was takenoff the plane, I made extra efforts to find out thewhereabouts of my 2 piece luggage (LONBA90924),because they have not been sent to my address aspromised by calling the lost baggage section at13:44hrs and spoke to a man called Neil who said that,it is difficult for them to trace my bags and thatthere is a strong possibility that they might be inLagos. He suggested that I should call back in 24hours. Eventually, one week and one day later, my bags werebrought to me at home. One was badly damaged and theother was intact. British Airways delibrately madesure I missed the wedding because if they were kickingme off their flight, they would have removed my bagsfrom the flight. They were all there when the policeofficers made me to sit on the floor and heard mepleading to allow me fly for my brother's wedding. Icould have made either KLM or Virgin Nigeria thefollowing Friday morning.I will not want to believe that the authoritiesinvolved in the situation deliberately or cleverlypunished me unnecessarily out of frustration for notbeing able to restrain or subdue a deportee or that Ias a fee paying passenger was accused of affray withviolence when I was voicing my concerns about thedisturbances caused by the deportees. I nevermentioned any abusive or swear words neither was Iphysically threatening anyone. My luggage mysteriouslywas lost and I have been banned on all British Airwaysflights without a chance to say my part of the storyto redeem myself. 135 passengers were asked to leavethe flight because they expressed displeasureregarding the disturbances caused by the deportees andthe officers trying to restrain him. My ticket waseven refused to be endorsed by BA to enable me to flywith another airline. I need full compensation of myloss and also a letter of apology from BritishAirways.
RegardsAyodeji Omotade
The British Mirror Newspaper Reports
A British Airways captain ordered 136 passengers offhis plane in chaotic scenes after they all startedcomplaining to cabin crew.As the flight waited to take off at Heathrow the rowwas sparked by the restraint of a man being forciblydeported.Many were distressed by his pitiful cries of "I godie" and one passenger, Ayodeji Omotade, 39, spoke upon his behalf.The deportee was taken off the Lagos bound jet byimmigration staff and police.But five officers returned and arrested Mr Omotade.This outraged the other 135 passengers in the economyclass section and they complained to cabin crew.Amid riotous scenes in the aisles, 20 police officersboarded to calm everything down.Then the BA pilot took the extraordinary decision toboot off everyone who had witnessed the arrest of MrOmotade, an IT consultant from Chatham, Kent.The captain took the view they were all guilty ofdisturbing the flight, although no more passengerswere arrested.After the economy class section was virtually cleared,the deportee, aged about 30, was brought back on andthe flight left.The passengers were booked on to later flights but MrOmotade was told by BA staff he was banned by theairline for life.English-born Mr Omotade, married with a daughter agedfour, was handcuffed and kept in police custody foreight hours after his arrest. He has not been chargedand is seeking an apology from BA.He was travelling from Heathrow's Terminal 4 to Lagosfor his brother's marriage and had in his luggage thegroom's wedding ring, shirt and suit. He missed theceremony.He told the Mirror: "There were agonising noises froman individual being restrained. It went on for 20minutes."I pleaded with the officers and my exact words were,'Please don't kill him.'"I was not swearing or threatening. BA staff said theofficers were doing their jobs and nothing was goingto happen. When he was removed we thought it was theend of the matter."But police officers came back and I was handcuffedand dragged off the plane."He claims his luggage has been lost and £1,600 cash hehad for relatives has been taken and not returned.Scotland Yard confirmed: "A man was arrested foraffray and causing a disturbance and was bailed."Ba said: "Police were called to the BA75 service toLagos on March 27 after a large number of passengersbecame disruptive.Many were removed."We take any threats against our crew or passengersvery seriously and this kind of behaviour will not betolerated."

Another One Bites The Dust

President's Aide In $200,000 Bribe Scandal
From Martins Oloja (Abuja Bureau Chief)

THE lingering crisis at Wema Bank Plc has spread its deadly tentacles to Abuja's seat of power where a presidential aide, who works directly with the President, has been detained for allegedly collecting $200,000 from one of the suspended chiefs in the bank.

A suspended top official in the bank reportedly implicated the aide, a personal assistant to the President.

Though it is still a closely guarded secret inside the State House, The Guardian has confirmed that the aide has responsibility for receiving, sending and filing mails for and on behalf of the President. He took over from Mr. Taiwo Ojo, who was in similar position for former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The officer has responsibility, too, for responding to and forwarding memoranda to ministers, chief executives, etc., on behalf of the president.

Security agencies called in last week to investigate the allegation against the presidential aide were said to have been told that intelligence had it that he had leaked a document he received on behalf of the President on the Wema Bank issue to the bank chief (name withheld).

Trouble started for the suspect when the bank executive, a former deputy governor, who has been quizzed by top security chiefs, confessed that he paid $200,000 to the presidential aide for the leakage of the document.

At press time, it was not clear whether the presidential assistant, who has remained incommunicado to even his family, had corroborated the bank chief's claim.

It was learnt from insiders that the President was shell-shocked when he was told about the deal.

When contacted on the telephone yesterday, presidential spokesperson, Mr. Segun Adeniyi said he was not aware of the development.

Saying he was in Ijebu-Ode for the 80th birthday bash of Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Adeniyi promised to contact The Guardian on his return to Abuja.

But another State House insider, who cannot be named, confirmed the development, as corroborated by security sources last night.

The first presidential aide who ran into trouble was Mr. Foluseke Somolu, another inheritance from Chief Obasanjo. He was senior special assistant on Power Sector Reform and coordinator on National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP).

Trouble knocked on his door early this year when the power sector conflicting-figures issue cropped up in Abuja and his attempt to straighten records cost him his job.

In a memo of January 14, 2004 to the Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Tanimu Yakubu, Somolu reportedly argued that the total amount released to NEPA/PHCN during the period being probed was $2.2 billion while a total of $2.96 billion was released to the NIPP, bringing the grand total to $5.16.

His action was predicated on the need to correct the impression that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, had created when FRSC chiefs visited him. He had claimed that $16 billion had been spent on the power projects.

Based on submission by the Economic Adviser to the President, Yar'Adua had previously quoted $10 billion to the World Bank chiefs, who visited him.

However, Somolu did not copy the memo to the President, according to reports: he only copied the Minister of State for Energy (Power) and Special Adviser to the President (Power) and Coordinator PHCN Liaison Unit.

He was promptly sacked for his "bad verses," which was perceived as an affront to the President, who had quoted the same figure to the visiting World Bank officials.

Nonetheless, at the House of Representatives Public Hearing on NIPP, both the Accountant General of the Federation and the CBN Governor had confirmed Mr. Somolu's informed submission. But the dice had been cast, as he had been cashiered.

Friday, April 11, 2008


The appeal court sitting in Kaduna on Friday nullified the election of Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wammako. The election of Magatakarda was challenged at the Appeal court by Dingyadi, the Candidate of the DPP, after the election Tribunal sitting in Sokkoto affirmed his election.

Breaking News: Court Dismisses Charges against Major Al-Mustafa

I am no surprise though.

Court Dismisses Charges against Major Al-Mustafa
Posted 11,Apr. 2008
A Nigerian Court today Friday, has dismissed the charges against Major Hamza Al-Mustafa for lack of diligent prosecution.

The former Chief Security Officer to Nigeria’s late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, has been facing trial at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, South-West of the country, with two other accused persons, Lt. Col Mohammed Adeka and one Onwuchekwa Okorie jointly for conspiracy, and attempt to topple the government of Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999.

Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, was said to have spear-headed the operations of the military government including order of arrests and assassinations of personalities who were opposed to Abacha's attempt to succeed himself as civilian president.

The men were also accused of trying to kill Chief Obasanjo aboard a helicopter using a stringer missile.

Al-Mustapha had asked the Court to strike out or dismiss charges of attempted murder and treason offences leveled against him by the Federal Government.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ndudi Elumelu Life Threatened

You shall not die but live to declare the word of God. Surely they will gather but if they gathering is not of God they gather in vain. Nobody can say yes when God says no.

Hon. Elumelu, you are our answered prayers to fight corruption. They are like dead lion they cannot bite. God has exposed them and many more will follow suit. Anybody that digs grave for you will like King Harod by buried in it. Every Hamman's gallow shall have Hamman hung on it instead. Relax God is in control. Don't fret because He that keeps Israel neither sleeps nor slumber.

Power probe: Elumelu alleges threat to life
By Adelani Adepegba, Enugu
Published: Thursday, 10 Apr 2008
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Power and Steel, Mr. Ndudi Elumelu, on Wednesday alleged that he had been receiving threats to his life since the probe of the nation’s power sector began on March 11, 2008.

Skip to next paragraph

Mr. Ndudi Elumelu

His mother, he added, was also being pressured to prevail on him to be cautious in handling the probe.

He said, “It’s obvious now. Do you know some people have gone to the extent of telling my mother to warn me to desist from continuing with the probe?

“I know the Nigerian factor, but I am resolute about the probe; we will get to the root of the matter.”

Elumelu, who however did not name those behind the threats and pressure, assured Nigerians that he was determined to complete the investigations without fear or favour.

He spoke while on a visit to the Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Sullivan Chime, in Enugu.

Elumelu told the governor that what members of the committee had seen since they began an on-the-spot assessment of the power plants in the country were “stories of non-performance.”

He said that the committee was in Enugu to assess the work done at the N8.8bn New Haven-Ugwuaji 33 KVA sub-station by Chrome Consulting Energy at N8.8bn. About N5.6bn had been paid to the firm.

The chairman added that Energo Nigeria Limited which is handling the N19.4 bn Ikot-Ekpene-Ugwuaji sub-station had received N13.2bn while Reynalds Engineering had been paid N264m out of the N643m contract sum for the Nsukka 32/33 KV sub-station.

Another sub-station at 9th Mile, Enugu, contracted out at N1.2bn is being handled by Pivot Engineering Limited.

Elumelu, who also disclosed that the National Assembly would soon pass a supplementary budget from which allocations would be made to states for infrastructure development, added that a sub-station at Amaechi was contracted out to W. Ibeh and Brothers.

He said that the committee would assess the level of work done at the stations to determine whether the contractors should continue or refund the monies so far paid to them.

At Nsukka, the committee found out that less than one per cent job was done at the project site.

Elumelu, who was visibly annoyed, demanded to know why the project had not advanced beyond the clearing of the site, installation of a generator and erection of two blocks of three-bedroom flat for engineers.

A representative of Reynalds Engineering , Mr. Nkem Okeke, blamed the development on late treatment of documents submitted to ‘relevant authorities.’

“There was no PC ascribed to the project for three months after the contract was signed, thereby causing the project to start afresh at the appointment of PC,” he said.

A breakdown of the activities at the site showed that the contractor had spent N501m on soil, engineering designs, civil works and other preliminary activities including soil tests, bush clearing, provision of vehicle, set up of site office and others.

At the Oji River thermal station, the engineer in charge, Mr.Chinedu Iwuagu, explained that the 30 MW capacity station could only generate 14MW.

He said that one of the turbines had been rehabilitated but could not commence operation because there was no coal to fire it up.

A member of the committee, Mr. Ogbuefi Ozumgbachi, said that he had recommended that N200m be provided for the revival of the station.

He claimed that his suggestion was rebuffed by a former Minister of Power and Steel, Dr. Liyel Imoke, who is now the governor of Cross River State.

Earlier, Chime said the nation should be grateful to the House of Representatives for empowering the committee to probe the power sector.

“It is unfortunate and ironic that these things happened when the government was shouting due process; the huge amount expended with nothing to show is disturbing,” the governor said.

He advised the committee to look at how the coal industry could be well exploited for power generation.

Grange Dranged Iyabo Obasanjo Clean!

Clear case of injustice. Even if you commit murder in this country, once you have the right name, connection, you will walk free.

While former ministers of health, Professor Adenike Grange and Arch. Gabriel Aduku were arraign before a court to answer for their roles in the N300 million unspent budget, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello has been given clean bill of health by her fellow senators.
According tot hem she did not contraven any known law by obtaining N10 million for capacity building training in Ghana.
This is a clear case of selective justice. This is a woman whose name is now synonmous with corruption. A former president's daughter has done enough damage to image in no small ways both nationally and internally.
I think is about time Nigerians arise against this injustice. If Grange and Aduku and the permanent Secretary and some directors can face the music I really don't know what senators are talking about.
It is still their selfish interests that have kept us without a budget because they choose to pad it to protect their greed rather than see all of us enjoy our common wealth.
I am a die has optimist and I know their days are numbered in this country. If they don't repent they will begin to reap very soon.
The Obasanjo family have brought hardship, shame and disgrace to this country. They steal (father and daughter), they commit incestious act (father sleeps with son's wife) and have total disregard for the rule of law.
Now we know Abacha was a saint.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Can Amodu Deliver Our Football?

Hi Folks,

Just heard disturbing news some few minutes ago and i am fuming right now so I decided to vent my anger on my blog.

I am told that everything has been done to ensure that Amodu Shuaibu who has been out of job for a long time heads the Super Eagles. It is rather unfortunate that Amodu that deserted our team and also fail to handle a club with success and also failed to upgrade himself is the on one those that matters in sport is now backing.

And to ensure that the press does not give it the necessary bashing, all the Sports Editors (even those that claim to be critics) were flown into Abuja, camp in a hotel by Patrick Ekeji to rubber stamp and endorse his candidature so that the sporting press won't kick against it.

But that is more dangerous because I know if the man fails to perform the same sporting press will cry foul. They may keep quite for a while but results cannot be faked. He will be named at the end of the NFS Board meeting tomorrow (Thursday).
Lets wait and see o. I know that God will continue to compensate the hard working people Samson Siasia and Stephen Keshi.

After a protracted meeting in Abuja on Monday, the board of the Nigeria Football Association had once again postponed the announcement of a new coach for the Super Eagles until Thursday.

A communique from the meeting on Monday, stated that: "After listening to the presentation of a detailed report from the screening of a number of candidates for the vacant Super Eagles coaching crew positions by the Technical Committee, the Executive Committee unanimously decided to set up a three man committee to make recommendations on a four-man technical crew with the financial implications, contract duration and targets of performance.

"The committee must present its report to the Executive Committee at a meeting on Thursday April 10 which will take a final decision on the issue." exclusively reported that the board has already agreed on the personnel for that four man coaching crew, which will be headed by Amodu Shuaibu.

He will be assisted by Daniel Amokachi and Fatai Amoo with Alloy Agu as goalkeeper coach.

Nigeria have been without a coach since Berti Vogts was dismissed following the country's worst Nations Cup performance in 25 years.

We are not ready in this country I tell you and this is very sad.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

EFCC Invites Keyamo on Police Equipment Fund

Hi Folks,
Is a new day and I am glad to be alive how about you?
Well this Police Eguipment Fund issue has refused to go away. There are a lot of questions begging for answers. The simple question I want answer to is, is it right for funds to be raised to equip the police and yet diverted to other groups excerpt the police?
Anyways Channels Television has the full gist on Keyamo and the EFCC invitiation. Enjoy

EFCC Summons Keyamo over Allegations of Missing Police Funds
Posted 8,Apr. 2008
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes commission, EFCC has summoned a Lagos based lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Festus Keyamu over allegations of corruption involving the Nigerian Police Equipment Fund.

The allegation of corruption on the Police Funds is a long and winding story with an intricate plot that raises a thousand and one questions, begging for answers.

Already so much has been written and said about the story, in the national dailies and electronic media, so much that some of the protagonists have found it very difficult to cope with the heat.

According to our Channels Television Political Correspondent, the story began sometime in 2004, and involves three men, Mr. Joseph Agharite, now late, Mr. Ibrahim Emmanuel Dumuje and Mr. Godson Ewulum who came together with an initiative to raise funds, ostensibly to help to equip a badly funded Nigeria Police.

Their plan was to partner with the Federal Government to actualise the goal, and had therefore gone on to sign this participation agreement on the June 15, 2004.

While their target was to raise 100 million naira, they had agreed to pursue the project and share equally among themselves, ten percent of whatever was eventually raised.

They had also agreed to use NIGERSTALG, a private company owned by Mr. Agharite, to pursue the project.

Sequel to the signing of the agreement, both Joseph Agharite and Ibrahim Dumuje had sent a proposal to the Inspector General of police at the time, Mr. Tafa Balogun, seeking to help raise 100million naira through public donation for the sole purpose of buying body armour for the police.

According to Mr. Ewulum series of correspondence were subsequently exchanged between the police and the parties who were by now operating under the name of NIGERSTALG.

Before much headway could be made with the proposal, the former Police boss, Mr. Tafa Balogun was removed as the Inspector General of Police, having been indicted by the EFCC, tried and later convicted by a law court for money laundering and missing police funds traced to his accounts.

This had affected the activities of the group for a while, until months later, when a brother-in-law of the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo came into the picture.

The introduction of Chief Kenny Martin was however became a major subject of controversy, according to Ewulum and Keyamo who spoke to Channels Television.

Working with Chief Martin, had caused a total alteration to the entire idea, as the proposed fund was jerked up to 100billion naira, while the items to be purchased were ammended to include body amour, helicopter and other essential equipment.

On July 7, 2005 still using NIGERSTALG, the group sent a fresh proposal to the Presidency through the then Minister of Police Affairs Mr. Broderick Bozimo, which was signed by Mr. Agharite, Chairman of NIGERSTALG.

Mr. Bozimo who also spoke to Channels Television confirmed sending a memo to the Chairman of NIGERSTALG on August the 26, 2005 to inform him that the proposal had been referred to the President and demanded more details about the proposed project.

Disaster however struck two months later, October 2005, when the sole Chairman and owner of NIGERSTALG, died in the ill-fated Bellview plane crash.

On November 10, 2005, just weeks after Agharite died, NIGERSTALG did a fresh memo to the Minister of Police Affairs seeking the establishment of a Presidential Committee to direct and administer the proposed 100 billion naira fund.

The memo provided the purpose for which the fund would be used and also spelt out the composition of the committee which included both government and a long list of eminent Nigerians including major players in the private sector.

The proposal was signed by Ibrahim Dumuje according to the former Minister of Police Affairs.

Former President Obasanjo late gave approval to the proposal through a memo addressed to the Minister of Police Affairs, which was dated December 3, 2005.

Following the President’s approval a memorandum of understanding was subsequently signed between the Federal Government and NIGERSTALG to guide the operation of the Presidential Committee on Police Equipment Fund.

The memorandum clearly identified items to be funded under the project, which included helicopters, vehicles and communication equipment armaments and other equipment for training, community policing and renovation of barracks.

Years after, nothing significant has changed for the police while there have remained accusations and counter accusations about the missing funds amounting to billions of naira.

Monday, April 7, 2008

This Budget Thing When Will It End?

Now is nobody out there worried that we are in the fourth month and yet there is no end in sight as to this signing of buget issue?

Why in the world with members of the National Assembly pad the budget for their selfish ends? Do this pple understand what budgetting is all about? And now I hear President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua might ask the Supreme Court to determine whether the National Assembly has any constitutional power to increase the Appropriation Bill sent to it by the executive or not.

The way it is going we might to have this budget until June or July o! Anyways feel free and send me your comment.
Meanwhile enjoy the story

Why Yar'Adua refuses assent to budget
From Martins Oloja,
Abuja Bureau Chief

PRESIDENT Umaru Musa Yar'Adua may be insisting on his philosophy of good governance rather than what many have seen as muscle-flexing with the legislature in his refusal to assent to the 2008 Appropriation Bill as passed by the National Assembly.

The President's aides and senior officials of the Budget Office, who spoke on the budget crisis at the weekend, explained that Yar'Adua was not particularly keen on embarking on new projects that his administration may not complete.

They listed seven aspects of the budget in which the President believes that the legislature erred by voting funds and listed certain projects in the document they expect the executive to fully implement.

Yar'Adua is said to have frowned at new projects being included in the budget without any input from the executive.

Even at that, the officials of the Presidency and Finance Ministry said that the President was not maintaining a hardline position on the matter even though he had resisted pressure to sign it. In fact, the senior government officials said that Yar'Adua would this week parley with the leadership of the National Assembly on his reservations on the grey areas in the budget.

The argument of Yar'Adua, according to Presidency officials assisted by Budget Office experts, is that the National may not have taken into account some of his administration's "priorities in line with overall national plan, macroeconomic stability and strategies, which made the President to place emphasis on completing old projects instead of starting new ones, which could end up being abandoned."

According to them, some of the areas where there are distortions in the budget are the inclusion of new projects without consultation.

The issue is whether the legislature can unilaterally initiate projects and allocate money for such schemes in the budget without consultations with the executive given that the design, costing, due process certification, execution and supervision is vested in the executive.

The Presidency also noted that "the National Assembly is alleged to have distorted the budget by encouraging ministries and departments to submit to them sundry projects for which they allocated money thus usurping the functions of the executive, whose duty it is to initiate budget...question even arises as to how they were able to determine the costs of the projects inserted."

Besides, they said the Budget Office is fully persuaded that "the figures are just 'guesstimates' which make nonsense of the budgeting process."

Also, at stake is the raising of the budget benchmark by the National Assembly. The Budget Office confirmed that the raising of the oil price from $53.83 per barrel to $59 per barrel was agreed with officials of the Ministry of Finance based on the understanding that the extra revenue would be used to reduce the fiscal deficit in the original executive proposal.

The officials explained that contrary to the agreement, "the National Assembly has devoted much of the extra revenue to increase total expenditure, leading to deficit rising from N468 billion under the executive budget to N554 billion proposed by the National Assembly."

According to Budget Office officials, "the choice of $53.83 per barrel benchmark was based on a macro-economic framework designed to ensure stability in the system to keep liquidity at a manageable level, check inflation and provide an environment for interest rates to start to move downward which the present increases will jeopardise."

The President was also said to have rejected the raising of capital votes by the Assembly.

Yar'Adua particularly kicked at the jump of the budget of the Ministry of Transportation to N61 billion, of which N36 billion is for new projects; Agriculture and Water Resources (N20.4 billion); Defence (N17 billion); Interior (N15 billion); FCT (N12.9 billion); Science and Technology (N6.3 billion).

Budget Office experts said the President is convinced that "while some of these projects could probably benefit from increased allocations, the lawmakers didn't factor in the implementation capacity of the various ministries since they were not consulted which means if the money comes into the system, it is likely going to be wasted."

Another poser raised by the President is in the sphere of introducing new heads votes.

The budget officials alleged that the lawmakers inserted new vote heads into the budget with Federal Polytechnics (Bali, Ekowe, and Ugbokolo) being the beneficiaries. Both Bali and Ekowe were established in 2005 as federal institutions, but were not allocated funds at that time because they had not taken off.

For this reason they were also not budgeted for in the 2008 executive budget.

The officials said it was curious that provision was also made for Ugbokolo Polytechnic, owned by the Benue State government, which is located at Okpokwu Local Council.

Also, several professional council registration boards that never used to be in the budget (architecture, quantity surveyors, societies of engineers, estate surveyors, builders and town planners as well as advertising practitioners of Nigeria among others) were allocated money by the National Assembly without consultation with the executive.

The amount budgeted under these new vote heads is N2.1 billion.

In the same vein, the Presidency officials alleged that "the personnel costs granted to a number of ministries and agencies were raised without making provision for the social costs like pension and NHIS, which would have been calculated automatically if it had been based on the Budget Office's template had there been consultations with the executive."

A few of the cases of personnel cost increases include the Ministries of Agriculture (N227.3 million); Interior (N520 million); Transportation (N635.8 million); Energy (N526 million); Commerce and Industry (N382 million); Culture and Tourism (N116 million).

The state officials confirmed that "the increases were not based on any known shortfall reported by these ministries, and officials of the ministries confirmed to the Presidency and Budget Office authorities that they had no shortfalls. So where will these monies go?"

Another area of discontent in the budget is some unsolicited increases in the overhead allocation to some ministries, including education by N1.65 billion; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF (N2.1 billion); Youth Development (N377 million); and Presidency (N900 million).

The other issue the President is said to have frowned at is the way the National Assembly allegedly inserted some clauses that violate the principle of separation of powers.

One of them is that the Accountant-General of the Federation and CBN Governor must furnish National Assembly monthly with details. This is seen by the President as undue interference with Executive functions.

Also, accounting officers are to present quarterly reports to National Assembly. This clause is also seen as an interference with executive functions.

The House also demanded that the Accountant-General of the Federation must disclose details of funds releases to the National Assembly. This too is seen by the President as another unnecessary interference with executive functions.

Yar’Adua May Go To Supreme Court

Iyobosa Uwugiaren

• Meets with NASS leadership tomorrow

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua might ask the Supreme Court to determine whether the National Assembly has any constitutional power to increase the Appropriation Bill sent to it by the executive or not.

The president’s threat, LEADERSHIP gathered last night, informed the decision of leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to quickly summon a meeting between principal officers of the National Assembly and the presidency to resolve issues delaying the passage of 2008 Appropriation Bill.

The issue is whether the legislature can unilaterally initiate projects and provide money for such projects in the budget without consultations with the executive, given that the design, costing, execution and supervision of such projects are vested in the executive arm of government.

The National Assembly is said to have distorted and mutilated the budget by encouraging ministries and government departments to submit to them sundry projects for which they allocated money, thus "usurping the functions of the executive whose duty it is to initiate budget."

According to a source in the Budget Office, "question even arises as to how the lawmakers were able to determine the costs of the projects inserted."

According to a source, the figures are just estimates, which makes nonsense of the budgeting process.

The source confirmed that the raising of the benchmark oil price from $53.83 per barrel to $59 per barrel was agreed with officials of the Ministry of Finance based on the understanding that the extra revenue would be used to reduce the fiscal deficit in the original Executive proposal.

"As it turned out, the National Assembly has devoted much of the extra revenue to increase total expenditure, resulting in an increase in the deficit from N468 billion under the executive budget proposal to N554 billion," it added.

"The choice of $53.83 per barrel benchmark was based on a macro-economic framework designed to ensure stability in the system, bearing in mind the necessity to keep liquidity at a manageable level, thereby keeping inflation in check and providing an environment for interest rates to start to move downward, which the present increases would jeopardize."

The other issues include the unilateral increase of the capital votes for several ministries, including: Ministry of Transportation (N61 billion, of which N36 billion is for new projects); Agriculture and Water Resources (N20.4 billion); Defence (N17 billion); Interior (N15 billion); FCT (N12.9 billion); Science & Technology (N6.3 billion), etc.

The argument of the source is that while some of these projects could probably benefit from increased allocations, the lawmakers didn’t factor in the implementation capacity of the various ministries since they were not consulted, "which means if the money comes into the system, they are likely going to be wasted."

The lawmakers on their part were said to have inserted new vote heads into the budget with a few examples: Federal Polytechnics (Bali, Ekowe, and Ugbokolo). Both Bali and Ekowe were established in 2005 as federal institutions, but were not budgeted for at that time because they had not taken off. For this reason they were also not budgeted for in the 2008 executive budget.

Provision was also made for Ugbokolo, a state government-owned institution in the federal budget.

Several professional council registration boards that never used to be in the budget (Architecture, Quantity Surveyors, Societies of Engineers, Estate Surveyors, Builders and Town Planners as well as Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria, etc, were allocated money. The total amount budgeted under these new vote heads is N2.1 billion.

"The personnel costs granted to a number of ministries and agencies were jerked up without making provision for the social costs like pension and NHIS, which would have been calculated automatically if it had been based on the Budget Office's template had there been consultations with the executive.

"A few of the cases of personnel cost increases include the Ministries of Agriculture (227.3 million); Interior (520 million); Transportation (N635.8 million); Energy (N526 million); Commerce and Industry (382 million); Culture and Tourism (N116 million); etc. The increases were not based on any known shortfall reported by these ministries, and officials of the ministries confirmed that they had no shortfalls.

"So where will these monies go? Assuming there would be increases, should there not be consultation with the executive on how it would be spent?

"There are some unsolicited increases in the overhead allocation to some ministries, including education (by N1.65 billion); SGF (by N2.1 billion); youth development (by N377 million); presidency (by N900 million), and others," the source added.

Contentious clauses in the budget, according to the source is that the lawmakers want the accountant-general of the federation and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor to furnish National Assembly with monthly reports. But the source said, "This is seen as undue interference with executive functions."

"That the accounting officers should present quarterly reports to National Assembly, and that accounting-general of the federation should disclose details of funds releases to National Assembly. All these issues the executive see as undue interference with its power.

The meeting between the president and principal officers of the National Assembly, which was fixed for last night, would now hold tomorrow.

Arsenal Bleeding My Heart

Hi Folks,
It was not a good week for my last week and with the performance of my boys below expectation, it worsen the matter. Anyways there is another crucial encounter with Man U on saturday I am going to fast and pray that this time around the Arsène Wenger's boys make us proud and stop this heart ache. Gunners 4 life!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Incredible Week This Has Been

Hi Folks,

It's been incredible this week with the kind of news coming out of Nigeria.

More incredible revelations from the tour by the House Committee on Power and Steel where contractors (Marubeni Nigeria Limited)were over paid by N224 million.

The committee members were told in Cross River State this amount was paid to the contractors as "unforseen expenditure", even though it was above the agreed contract sum.
It also emerged that Marubeni, whose project was among the first to be awarded, was fully paid by the federal government to the tune of N19.4 billion for the Calabar 561mw GT power station.
The committee also learnt that apart from collecting over $151 million, Marubeni has completed only 30 per cent of the civil works while the project is now eight months behind schedule.
However, Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, who had appeared before the House Committee to explain his role in the projects when he was Minister of Power and Steel, asked the committee not to rely on hearsay as they inspect the plants and sites of the power projects.
Imoke told the committee members that it was good they were embarking on this fact-finding mission and not relying on hearsay, adding that visiting the sites “will afford you the opportunity to see, first hand, what is going on. It will also ginger those that are not working and spur others to take the job seriously. They will be on their toes”.
Imoke, who received the committee at 12. 40 pm in his office, recommended that non-performing contractors should be punished.
“The projects,” he said, “have been on for quite some time and should have been completed. You must make recommendations for the completion of these projects.”
The governor told the committee at the Government House, Calabar that after the visit, “you should sanction those who have failed to perform and commend those who excelled. For us in Cross River, it is our hope and belief that your visit will facilitate the completion of the projects”.
The committee is expected to start a tour of locations in the state before leaving for Bayelsa on Thursday.
"The projects were designed to create relief across the country," the governor said. "It is imperative that they be completed."
When the lawmakers stopped over at the Calabar 561mw Generation Power station along the Itu road, Ikot Nyong in Onim Ankiong Clan, Odukpani Highway, the Site Manager of Marubeni Corporation of Japan, Derek Charman, a British citizen, explained that two site managers who earlier started the project abandoned work before he was brought in last November on a rescue mission.
He would not state why the previous site managers jumped ship.
Charman said: "We have had no financial problems, just the roads, but now we have been able to do about 30 per cent of the civil works on site."
Explaining his position, in which he tacitly asked for more grace before he could accomplish the task before him, Charman said: “I arrived here November 15 last year. I am determined to complete this job and I know its importance. We have had delays. But I will need one more dry season that means I can deliver the job between January and April 2009.”
On why the job was not started till the completion date elapsed, he said “we have improved since I came in”.
The statement by the Managing Director of Marubeni, Mr. Toru Sato, that the community was delaying the job was countered by the Clan Head of Ankiong Clan Council of Odukpani Local Government, retired Brigadier General Bassey Asuquo, who confronted him (Sato) at the Calabar Port.
Asuquo disclosed that after the ground breaking by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on March 10, 2006, rather than complete the job with the first phase of the proposed five turbines scheduled for July 2007 and the last in November last year, there were only unanticipated and technical delays for the better part of the project.
The sub-contractor handling the civil and earth works at the project site along Itu road, Gitto Construction, explained that contractors handling big jobs in Nigeria tell a lot of lies without carrying out the necessary tests.
Another contractor blamed nature and topography for the delay in executing their project.
The Site Manager, Emmanuel Sandrello, told THISDAY that they never envisaged what they saw when they moved in to the site as they had spent so much time blasting rocks hidden atop soft soil before they could proceed with piling and ejection on the points for the turbines.
He however explained that the civil works would be ready before the end of the year as they work along with the main contractors to remedy the situation.
At the site of the 30.31 KV sub station in Calabar, the members were told that the contract was awarded in 2001 on paper without a site by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
The Consultant Engineer of PH Power, Mr. Abdulrauf Jimoh, a Nigerian, told the committee that three contractors earlier given the job abandoned it before MBH Engineering, owned and run by Indians, took over the job.
This company too has already cashed over 90 per cent of its contract sum.
He told the committee that government has so far paid over £8,987,000 out of the £9 million for the procurement of the equipment and so far, it has also paid N306,956,000 for the local content out of N461 million.
He said the job was awarded to the contractor who was asked to go and look for a flat land to site the project but Alston and Ariva who were the initial company that started the job all left because they asked that the initial bid be reviewed. He estimated 22 per cent as the state of jobs done at the site.
When the committee members visited the Calabar Port, they were shown round the Warehouse of Intels Nigeria handling the clearing of the goods for the projects. The company explained that they stored the turbines which cannot stand the harsh weather inside the terminal building while others have been lying outside since last year.
They also said that they had so far handled about eight vessels since they starred in 2006.

Iyabo Obasanjo Admits Collecting N10m Largess from Health Ministry

In its first official reaction to its reported involvement in the budget scandal that rocked the Ministry of Health, Senate Committee on Health yesterday admitted that a princely N10 million was the extent of the support given to it by the Ministry for the capacity-building retreat in Ghana.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, who travelled out of the country on another trip by the Senate Committee on Education to Cuba, had met with eight other members of the Health Committee Monday in Abuja where it was agreed that a formal reaction on the issue be made.
A statement issued in Abuja by the Clerk of the Committee, IEF Edobor, at the instance of the Committee leadership, said that the money was received and duly signed for by the then Secretary of the Committee.
According to the statement, "The amount was received in December (2007) and the Committee had the retreat in Accra, Ghana from March 16 to March 20, 2008. This was the period most convenient for the generality of Committee members vis--vis programmed activities of the Senate.
Entitled: "Statement by the Senate Committee on Health Regarding negative publicity on the Committee's retreat to Ghana,"it reads in part: "There have been media reports in the last few days unfairly linking the Senate Committee on Health with the alleged misappropriation of funds in the Federal Ministry of Health. The allegation under reference has led to some resignations in the Ministry."

"The Senate Committee on health would like to state as follows: that the committee was not a beneficiary of any 'Christmas bonus' or 'Christmas gift' or indeed any other gift from the Federal Ministry of Health." That contrary to all the speculations, the Committee was in no way involved in any alleged money sharing.That the Committee, however, acknowledges some funding from the Ministry specifically meant to support the retreat in Ghana which was planned to review and conclude the national Health Policy Bill pending since the last senate.
"This is an Executive Bill (and) the Committee notes that the support of the retreat by the Federal Ministry of Health is totally in consonance with senate Rules (Rule 3 of the Senate Code of Ethics). The rule, on Sponsored Official/Travel Trips, states in 3.1., that senators shall not undertake any official foreign or domestic travel sponsored by individuals, private or corporate organizations unless such travels are in the public interest and will enhance legislative duty. The Senate President must be notified in writing before such trips are undertaken".
"Rule 3.2-Disclose the purpose, sponsors and duration of such travel or trips to the Senate President in writing; Rule 3.2-Submit a written report on any official trip sponsored by the government, individuals, private or corporate organizations to the Senate President within 4 weeks on return. The same rule shall apply to travel by any Senate Committee.
The Committee, in the three-page statement, further justified the Ghana trip, pointing out that it afforded members the opportunity to be involved in brainstorming sessions on the National Health Policy Bill.
According to it, "In addition to brainstorming sessions on the bill, the Committee while in Ghana took advantage of the retreat to interact with the following: Committee on Health of the National Assembly of Ghana, Ghana's Minister of health, Department for International Development (DFID), Ghana, the Ghana opposition spokesman on health, and former President Jerry Rawlings.
"There were also academic and technical contributions by Health consultants, from both Ghana and Nigeria as well as Ministry officials.The Committee claimed that it found the retreat ìto be very productive, informative and educative," adding, "The Committee's action on the Bill was concluded and is now ready for submission to the Senate for further deliberation."
There has been a growing unease within the Committee over the likely disposition of the Senate leadership and the Senate in plenary to the credibility of its defence. It was learnt that some members of the Committee had warned against the Chairman of the Committee leaving any paper trail that would link her to direct receipt of the money when arrangements were concluded in December last year to release it to the Committee.
The then Secretary of the Committee whose name has been kept away from the public domain was asked to sign for and collect the money on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee for the Ghana trip.
Meanwhile, there were feelers that the plan to move a motion calling for the resignation of Senator Obasanjo-Bello as Chairman of the Health Committee is still on course as senators involved in it were said to be perfecting their move.

FEC Approves Strategy for Additional 16,000mw

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the recommendations of the Presid-ential Committee on the Accelerated Expansion of Nigeria’s Electricity Infrastr-ucture.
The measures are intended to increase the electricity supply in the country to 6,000mw in the next 18 months and to add a further 10,000mw by 2011.
Nigeria currently produces a little below 3000mw but needs at least 6000mw to meet current national consumption demand – and at least 10,000mw if the whole country is electrified as only 30 per cent of the population have access to electricity.
Addressing State House correspondents after the meeting yesterday, the Minister of Information and Commu-nication, Chief John Odey, said: “Council in view of the administration’s seven-point agenda as it relates to energy supply and generation, it considered that it is necessary to take measures in the short term and medium term to ensure that additional capacity is generated, transmitted and distributed to consumers.”
The Presidential Committee, after working on its assignment for one month, had reported to President Umaru Musa Ya’Adua that the target of 6,000 additional megawatts within 18 months could be exceeded with the investment of $2.7 billion and with Federal Government’s direct intervention in critical areas.
It also said that 1450 additional megawatts could be realised from existing PHCN plants, 3368 megawatts from ongoing National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), 640 megawatts from the Shell Petroleum Development Company’s Afam/Okoloma Joint Venture and 805 megawatts from Legacy Independent Power Projects.
The governmental interventions sought by the committee include immediate action to implement the Electric Power Reform Act, 2005 and the approval of private sector structured financing with international management oversight of financed assets.
The committee, which reiterated the willingness of the private sector to collaborate with the Federal Government in funding power supply projects, also called for accelerated action on the Multi Year Tariff Order and the Power Consumer Assistance Fund.
Also yesterday, council approved the price variation on the ongoing contract for the rehabilitation of four injection substations providing power to the State House and Asokoro District, by AY Electrick, for the sum of N247,061,920.58.
It approved another award of contract for design, manufacture, supply and installation of 11KV underground cables and overhead lines and 11 RMU in Asokoro Direct in favour of Messrs Renacs Engineering Company Ltd/AK-AY Electrik for the sum of N94,554,169.13.
This brings the total revised coast of the rehabilitation of the four injection-substations providing power to the State House at the cost of N1,104,616,637.70 with a completion period of 12 months.
Council also approved the declaration of cessation clause for the 1,606 Sierra Leonean and 5,528 Liberian refugees remaining in Nigeria and the closure of Oru refugee camp.
“It also approved that the multipartite agreement between the government of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria as well as UNHRC and ECOWAS on Local Integration be forwarded to the President of ECOWAS Commission for possible consideration during the submit of Heads of States and Govern-ments in June 2008 in Abuja with a view to applying it in other parts of the sub-region,” he said.
Odey addressed the press in company with the Minister of State Energy (Power), Mrs Fatimah Balaraba Ibrahim, and the Executive Secretary of National Electricity Regulatory Comm-ission (NERC), Dr. Ransome Owan.

Govt Revokes sale of Ajaokuta Steel Firm, Orders trial of officials

THE Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday rescinded the concession agreements between the Federal Government and Global Infrastructure (Nigeria) Limited (GIHL) in respect of the Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASCI) and the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO), accusing the firm of non-compliance and asset-stripping.

In addition, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, after reviewing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC's) interim report on the concessioning/sale of ASCL, NIOMCO and the Delta Steel Company, has ordered the criminal prosecution of indicted officials of the Federal Government and promoters of GIHL for alleged asset-stripping.

Also, the Council directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to establish the amounts of money borrowed by GIHL from Nigerian banks, determine the amounts actually utilised locally and those taken abroad.

FEC had deliberated on the report of the administrative panel of inquiry set up by the Yar'Adua administration to review the concession agreements and determine the extent of compliance by both parties.

The Council, which met till yesterday evening at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, agreed with the finding of the panel that the agreements "were largely skewed in favour of the concessionaire to the detriment of the Federal Government of Nigeria."

The panel had put the statutory obligations outstanding against GIHL at N350 million, saying that instead of investing external funds on the completion of both projects as expected, the firm embarked on massive borrowing from local banks, pledging the assets of the Delta Steel Company as collateral.

It also submitted that following the "massive borrowing" from Nigerian banks, GIHL now owes the banks about $192 million.

The panel said in its report, which was adopted by the Council that "the general impression is that GIHL has been diminishing the values of ASCL and NIOMCO to buoy up its fortunes."

The Special Adviser to the President (Communications), Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, also noted in a statement that "the aforementioned actions notwithstanding, the Federal Government wishes to assure all law-abiding investors of the safety of their investments in Nigeria."

Adeniyi, obviously allaying the fears of investors, reaffirmed the commitment of Yar'Adua to due process, transparency and the rule of law, adding that "the administration will continue to respect the sanctity of all proper and legally-binding agreements."

According to Adeniyi, "the Council also agreed with the panel's conclusion that any benefits that might have accrued to the government and people of Nigeria from the implementation of the agreements have been thwarted by breaches and unwholesome practices by GIHL.

"The Administrative Panel of Inquiry indicted GIHL for breaches of the concessionary agreements, including failure to submit a workable business plan within the specified time-frame, non-payment of concessionary fees as well as the cannibalisation and exportation of plants and equipment.

"In deciding to rescind the agreements, the government also noted that the purported Share Sale Purchase Agreement (SSPA) between it and GIHL in respect of ASCL is technically not in force because the transfer of shares to the buyer was never effected.

"The summary of statutory obligations outstanding against GIHL was put at N350 million. The panel also discovered that instead of investing external funds on the completion of both projects as expected, GIHL embarked on massive borrowing from local banks, pledging the assets of the Delta Steel Company as collateral.

"The panel reported that GIHL currently owes the banks about $192million. "The general impression is that GIHL has been diminishing the values of ASCL and NIOMCO to buoy up their fortunes."

Adeniyi stated that an interim managements would be set up by the Federal Government for the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the National Iron Ore Mining Company pending the determination of all issues arising from the government rescinding the agreements with GIHL."

Also yesterday, the FEC approved the report of the Presidential Committee on the Accelerated Expansion of Nigeria's Electricity Infrastructure on the strategy for increasing the current power generation and supply to 6,000 megawatts (mw) in the next 18 months and an additional 10,000mw by 2011.

Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. John Odey and Minister of State for Energy (Power), Fatimah Balaraba Ibrahim, flanked by Minister of State Information and Communications, Alhaji Ibrahim Nakande and the Executive Secretary of National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Ransom Owan, said that "the Council, in view of the administration's seven-point agenda as it relates to energy supply and generation, considered that it is necessary to take measures in the short-term and medium-term to ensure that additional capacity is generated, transmitted and distributed to consumers.

"Therefore, the Council at its meeting approved the measure being put in place to increase the current electricity supply in the country to 6,000 mw in the next 18 months (short-term) and to add a further 10,000mw by 2011 (medium-term) as recommended by the presidential committee."

Inaugurated by the President on February 15, 2008, the committee was charged with formulating strategies to boost Nigeria 's power supply capacity by 6,000 megawatts within 18 months, with an additional 10,000 megawatts by 2011.

The Council also approved the price variation on the on-going contract for the rehabilitation of four injection sub-stations providing power to the State House and Asokoro District, by AY Electrick in the sum of N247,061,920.58 and another award of contract for design, manufacture, supply and installation of 11KV underground cables and overhead lines and 11 RMU in Asokoro District in favour of Messrs Renacs Engineering Coy Ltd/AK-AY Electrik, in the sum of N94,554,169.13. This brings the total revised cost of the rehabilitation of the projects to N1,104,616,637.70 with a completion period of 12 months.

ICPC quizzes Ehindero over N557m police fund

Bozimo at commission's office

IT was yet another case of investigating corruption in high places as two senior officials in the last administration yesterday kept a date with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The officials were former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero and the former Minister of Police Affairs, Chief Boderick Bozimo.

Ehindero, who was the first to arrive at the ICPC headquarters in Abuja was interrogated for two hours on how the N557 million meant for the procurement of arms and ammunition for the police allegedly ended up in his private accounts in two new generation banks.

Bozimo, who was later seen at the ICPC office was summoned by the commission to explain how he allegedly got N17 million from the money.

Prof. Adenike Grange and her Minister of State, Mr. Gabriel Aduku were forced to resign over their alleged involvement in the sharing of N300 million unspent budget of the ministry.

Four directors and the permanent secretary in the health ministry were also suspended. The legislature is not spared. Two committees of the National Assembly are also involved in the scam.

Ehindero, who wore a multi-coloured Agbada of Ankara fabrics stayed with the ICPC operatives from 10.15 a.m. to 12.15 p.m.

According to ICPC officials, Ehindero allegedly admitted that he directed that the funds be paid into his personal accounts in the banks under fixed deposits for four months.

At the expiration of the period, the interest accruing from the money stood at N6.5 million.

In his defence, Ehindero reportedly told his interrogators that the interest was spent on operational expenses by the police.

Anxious journalists, who were waiting at the ICPC office to speak with Ehindero were disappointed when they discovered that he had been allowed out of the building through another exit door.

A source at the ICPC said that Ehindero was interrogated on his involvement in the arms and ammunition funds lodged in his personal account with two different banks and responded that he directed that the money be deposited in his private accounts.

Bozimo was to give details of his alleged share of N17 million of the N27 million purportedly deducted from the N557 million to be paid to the aggrieved contractor, who petitioned the ICPC.

Two directors in the Police Affairs Department of the Ministry of Interior, a deputy director, Alhaji Ibrahim Tumsa and an assistant director, Mr. J.O. Akindele both in accounts were arrested by ICPC on March 14 after which they promised a refund of N10 million they benefited from the loot.

It was learnt that Ehindero had approached the former governor of Bayelsa State now Vice President of the country Goodluck Jonathan to procure arms and ammunition to strengthen security in the state.

But the funds were not utilised until after four months when they were deposited at the two banks in N300 million and N200 million instalments.

The Resident Consultant, Media, Mr. Folu Olamiti who confirmed the development said Ehindero was quizzed by the commission but the details were meant for the consumption of the commission only.

He, however, said that after a thorough appraisal of the investigation, with reference to the ICPC Act, it would be decided a case of prima facie had been established against him and subsequently charged to court.

It was learnt that former President Olusegun Obasanjo directed the defunct Ministry of Police Affairs to oversee the procurement of the arms and ammunition but the supplier who was to be paid N557 million was short-changed N27 million by the two directors now under interrogation.

To deepen its investigation, ICPC said it had gone ahead to pick managers of the banks used for the lodgment of N35.9 million unspent fund of the National Population Commission (NPC's) budget for 2007.

A leading new generation bank cheque of N38.98 million was issued by NPC to the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF)'s office and expected to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds but was not reflected in the review of personnel cost of ministries, departments and agencies.

Olamiti said that the directors, Mr. D.A Kifasi, M.L Ajanchukwu, Assistant Director, E.K. Johnson Senior, Accountant and M.A. Vatsa, Accountant 1 arrested over the diversion were yet to be released while the managers of the banks involved were also to face the commission yesterday.

This is the second case of fraud that Ehindero is being linked with.

On June 7, 2007, a Chief Superintendent of Police in the Budget Office and Personal Assistant and driver to the Commissioner of Police (COP) in charge of Budget, Mr. John Obaniyi were caught with N21 million cash said to belong to Ehindero.

After a thorough investigation, Obaniyi was quoted as saying that the money with his personal assistant was being taken to Ehindero as ordered by him.

Investigators of the fraud in their report, concluded that Ehindero, engaged in a "criminal breach of trust with intent to convert the money.

Newly appointed as Ehindero's successor, Mike Okiro, confirmed in the report he sent to the Presidency that the Force Budget Section was infested with shady deals, especially financial misdeeds and pledged to curb the situation.

The report found Obaniyi, guilty of negligence, breach of public trust and intent to conceal the money.

The N21.6 million was contingency fund for the 2007 elections, including operations at tribunals.

Okiro accused Ehindero and Obaniyi of cover-ups in the scandal.

Obaniyi headed Force Budget Section until June 7 when the Criminal Intelligence Bureau (CIB) blew the whistle on the scam; after his driver, Elisha Augustine, and personal assistant, Olu Monday, were arrested for illegal movement of cash.

The CIB uncovered large sums stuffed in empty cartons and closed files in a store room, triggering finger-pointing among top police officers. Ehindero equally gave his own excuses, then denied any wrongdoing.

"Further to my interim investigation report ... dated June 15, 2007, I submit to (the President) the investigation report into the case of alleged conspiracy, breach of trust, theft, corrupt practices and stealing by public officers," Okiro said in the report.

"In my earlier report, I had intimated you of the conduct of ... Obaniyi who, against financial regulations, had kept in a store room files and empty cartons containing ... N21,650,000 which should have been lodged in a bank or secured in a safe.

"The erstwhile IG, in his statement to the investigating team, had averred that the said amount should have been a subject of handing and taking over between the outgoing and the incoming CP budget. This non-disclosure of the facts of the sum, even when I confronted him (Ehindero), is tantamount to criminal breach of trust with intent to convert the money".

Obaniyi, on suspension since the start of the sleaze, was accused of negligence, discreditable conduct, and conduct prejudicial to discipline.

Okiro said failure to hand over the money to the new CP Budget - as appropriate - meant that Obaniyi was up to some game.

"(Obaniyi)'s matter would be determined by the Force Disciplinary Committee and obviously shown the way out of the Force, as the Force cannot accommodate such a dishonest officer who has assaulted our rules with impunity.

"However, this recommendation will have to wait for the ratification of the Police Service Commission, which is yet to be reconstituted, following the expiration of the five years mandatory tenure of the former Commission ....

"The case file has been sent to the Legal Department of the Force, to ascertain if there is enough prima facie evidence to activate judicial process against the officer."

The duo were to face prosecution once President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua approved the report of the presidential committee set up to investigate the scam.

Though Ehindero denied that he had anything to do with the fraud, Obasanjo claimed that he had remitted a lot of money in the past to him.

Ehindero was quoted as saying that he would soon be vindicated adding: "I want to say categorically that the truth will surely prevail because those behind the allegation are out to blackmail and discredit one in the eyes of the public."

Their trial is yet to begin 10 months after the indictment.

Imoke Reveals 21 Gas Turbines Rotting Away at Ports

With the halting of work on some sites of the National Integr-ated Power Project (NIPP) as a result of stoppage of payments by the Federal Government since June 2007, 21 gas turbines imported for the generation of electricity are lying idle at three of the nation’s ports – Onne, Warri and Calabar.
The cost of the imported power-generating equipment is estimated at over $300 million and it is feared that they may no longer function optimally because they are not being well-preserved.
They were imported nearly a year ago to be installed immediately but the controversy over NIPP has meant that the turbines are holed up at the ports.
Most of the project sites are not yet ready for the installation of the turbines because only 25 per cent of the amounts have been paid in most cases.
Former Minister of Power and Steel in the Obasanjo administration, Senator Liyel Imoke, now Governor of Cross Rivers State, confirmed this to THISDAY yesterday while fielding questions from THISDAY Board of Editors during his visit to the corporate headquarters of the newspaper in Lagos.
The 21 turbines and other equipment which include generators also daily attract demurrage estimated at millions of dollars, expected to be paid by the Federal Government, except there is a waiver.
It is feared that their manufacturer’s warranty on the equipment may expire if the power projects remain in the state of limbo.
The project has been put on hold for nearly one year now while the House of Representatives Power and Steel Committee has since started probing it.
Imoke further revealed that because of the enormity of the project, the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) was asked to work hand in hand with two foreign firms, Panalpina and SDV, with a view to ensuring a clearing of the turbines.
Imoke said that because the equipment were wasting away, the President of Benin Republic recently requested that one of the turbines be sold to his country for its ongoing power project.
“The President of Benin Republic came to meet us and said could we please sell to him because they are trying to get one turbine or two in Benin Republic. He has ordered one from General Electric, but it takes a waiting time of three years to get it delivered,” he added.
He disagreed that the NIPP had failed, contending that if thoroughly implemented and supervised, it was capable of ameliorating the nation’s power woes.
According to him, the projects were conceived to address the critical challenges of the Nigerian power sector and “contrary to insinuations in many quarters it was well conceived”.
The former minister suggested that while continuing with the project, the Federal Government should hold the individual contractors responsible for the successful execution of the projects.
“Anybody who fails to perform could be held responsible,” he said, expressing his delight that the Presidential Committee on the Accelerated Expa-nsion of Nigeria’s Electricity Infrastructure recently submitted its report with a promise that Nigeria could hit 6,000 mw next year.
“Of the 6000mw, 3368 megawatts will come from NIPP according to the committee,” he said. “This shows that NIPP is not a waste as many people tend to suggest. All we need do now is complete the project as time is passing by.”
Meanwhile, Cartlark /Payma Bargh, the consortium handling Ikot-Ekpene and Afam 330/132kv and 132/33kv substations and 330kv and 132 transmission lines, has denied disappearing from sight.
In a paid newspaper advert signed by its Managing Director, Mrs Maryam Sola Akanmode, the contractors said they were “extremely distressed to read the account in various newspapers which insinuated that we disappeared after collecting payments for the Substation and Transmission line projects”.
They said the assessment of their performance “has been based on a regrettable misunderstanding of the nature of the EPC project”
Explaining that EPC stands for Engineering, Procurement and Constr-uction they said an EPC Contract has three distinct but interrelated segments.
Engineering and Procur-ement constitute the lion share of an EPC contract. In some cases, they account for up to 80 per cent of the total contract, they said.
“The amounts released so far for the Project are as follows: (1) 25.288 million Euros being 100% of the cost of Engineering and Equipment Procurement. The Naira equivalent is N2.845 billion (2) N364.493 million being 25% ONLY of the money for Construction, local logistics and transportation to site some of which is actually expanded on the local logistics of procurement such as clearing of goods at Ports.
“The sum of N364.493 million was released for Construction. This is only 25% of the N1.4 billion for this segment. The amount is to cover Preliminaries like soil test, clearing, site facilities, perimeter fencing, civil works, foundation works, logistics (especially clearing of hundred of containers), installation of equipment and commissioning
“It is important to state that if all the N364.493 million released for construction had been fully and adequately utilized it will translate to only 8% of the total project. In other words if the inspection team is only interested in work on site the best performance can show , vis-a –vis the money released, can only translate to 8% of the total EPC contract.
“We acknowledge the fact that the progress on site is behind schedule for several reasons.
The most important reason is the delay in the compensation of the three communities affected by the location of the project. In fact, up till today, the landowners along Afam to Ikot Ekpene transmission line have not been compensated. Another reason is the peculiar process of designing the Substation, especially in view of the fact that our Substation is the Switching Station for where about 10 transmission lines originate or terminate. We are therefore advised to make haste slowly because the precise location of the substation is susceptible to change.
“From the break down earlier stated, the amount released for Procurement and Engineering is 73% of total project cost. The progress made so far is as follows: 90% of Trans-mission Line equipment delivered on site. The balance of 10% is for accessories to be procured after ascertaining precise quantities, 45% of Substation Equipment awaiting clearance at Onne Port, 45% of Substation Equi-pment on the high seas, 10% of Substation Equipment consists of accessories to be procured after ascertaining precise quantities.
“The good thing about procurement is that you cannot conceal the facts. Right from the opening of Letter of Credit, to shipping, to clearing and to storage at site nothing is hidden. We have 120 containers on site, 31 containers at Onne Port, and some on the high seas. Some of the containers on site were delivered over six months ago!
“We therefore still maintain and the Consultant will agree, that in totality, our performance is at least 40% of the EPC contract,” they wrote.

Nigeria's former Army Chief Gen. Bamaiyi Freed after 9 Years

Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Ishaya Bamaiyi was today discharged and acquitted over a four- count charge of attempted murder brought against him by the Lagos state government after nine years in detention.

Bamaiyi who served under the military administration of late General Sani Abacha was arraigned by the Lagos state government of the publisher of the Guardian newspaper, Mr. Alex Ibru, and an eminent Delta state indigene, Mr. Isaac Porbeni.

The former Army Chief in his defence had alleged that he was being framed for not supporting the presidency of retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 after opening his defense on Tuesday at the Ikeja High Court.

General Bamaiyi who was led in evidence by his counsel Idemudia, in his defence had told the court that he objected to the insinuations that his late boss and head of state, that his late boss General Abacha had planned to drop his military garb and continue as a civilian President.

He also objected strongly to the claims that a retired General was to become President after former Head of State, General Abdusalam Abubakar, who supervised the transition civilian rule and handed over to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999.

General Bamaiyi said he conducted an opinion poll and found out that the image of the military had suffered a serious bashing, as many of the citizens had grown tired of military rule, and had lost respect for soldiers.

He said he had suggested that an experienced civilian, in the person of Chief Olu Falae, should be made to take over the reins of government from General Abubakar at the time, and felt vindicated by his suggestion, as Chief Obasanjo’s government turned out to be the worst in Nigeria’s political history.

General Bamaiyi alleged he was framed in the murder attempts on the lives of prominent Nigerians, because of his lack of support for Obasanjo’s Presidency.

He claimed that as former Lagos Garrison Commander, he never authorised the movement of weapons and specifically debunked Sergeant Rogers’ claims that he gave instructions and handed out weapons for the attempted murder of Alex Ibru, Pat Utomi and Pa Abraham Adesanya.

He denied ever meeting with the star witness and hatch-man Sgt. Rogers or having conspired with Frank Omenka, Al-Mustapha, Rabo Lawal or any of the other accused persons.

The General accused his juniors, of trying to eliminate him for his involved in NADECO activities and insisted that the charges brought against him, was meant to keep him busy and frustrate him for not supporting General Obasanjo’s presidency.