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Rep calls for return of road-blocks on highways

By Salihu Othman Isah

As crime waves continue unabated especially on the nation’s highways, a plea has gone to the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro to, as a matter of urgency, return policemen to man road blocks on Nigerian roads.

Making the plea in an interview in Kano, Alhaji A. A. Sule, a member representing Gwale Federal constituency of Kano state in the House of Representatives, said that this was necessary in order to save human lives and property of Nigerians and foreigners alike who use the roads.

He disclosed that oftentimes, criminal elements have taken advantage of the absence of road-blocks on the nation’s highways to attack unsuspecting travellers and dispossess them of their belongings while unlucky ones are killed in the process.

Alhaji Sule is not new to security matters. He served in the special services department of the Kano state government before his election to the National Assembly on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

According to him, the mere fact that the road-blocks ere dismantled nationwide due to allegation of bribery and extortions by policemen posted to man them is not enough to warrant its total scrapping, as their presence on the roads had most times discouraged armed robbers from waylaying road users.

“The Inspector General of Police should as a matter of urgency return road-blocks back as it will help check armed robbery cases in the country. We are all aware that since its dismantling, cases of armed robbery has been on the increase and I believe the absence of road-blocks have also contributed to this.

“Before now, when road-blocks were in vogue nationwide, armed bandits were sometimes deterred from carrying out their nefarious activities because of the opposition they envisaged from the police manning road-blocks”, he tutored.

The lawmaker therefore advised that what is expected of the federal government and the police high command is to do all within their powers to see an improved police, well motivated and whose take home is commensurate with services they render.

“That policemen extort money at road-blocks is not enough to scrap them totally. You see, you don’t throw away the bath water and the baby; because what has been done by this action amounts to just that.

“What I will therefore recommend is a well motivated police force adequately remunerated and provided with enough working materials to combat crime. In any case, the 20 Naira they collect at road-blocks cannot be equated to the human lives and properties worth millions of Naira lost to armed bandits daily on our highways”, he posited.

Ado Bayero carpets Niger Delta militants over incessant kidnap

*As Islamic Bank partners Kano govt on Independent Power Project

By Salihu Othman Isah

Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero has taken a swipe at the activities of the Niger Delta militants, condemning their unwholesome attitude of kidnapping and terrorising innocent residents, both Nigerians and foreigners alike, living in the oil rich zone.

The monarch, who also described the militants’ activities as very embarrassing to the nation, stated this when he paid Sallah homage to Kano state governor at the Government House, Kano recently.

The traditional ruler used the occasion to request the immediate intervention of all the people within the area and all Nigerians to ensure that those living in the Niger Delta community are free from any form of intimidation, stressed that the ugly development in the region is giving the country a negative publicity.

Alhaji Ado Bayero who rode on horse-back to the Kano seat of power in line with the traditional formality known as Hawan Nassarawa to congratulate the state governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau and his cabinet over the successful completion of the Muslim Ramadan fast and Sallah celebration, also appealed to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to intensify efforts in ensuring the security of lives and properties of the people.

According to him, “the criminal activities are seriously causing fear in every community in the country and we hope the government will do its best toward easing the situation”.

He also appealed to the federal government to come to the aid of the masses over the recent drought experienced as a result of shortage of rainfall in the country, especially in Northern Nigeria by providing affordable foodstuff to cushion the effect of the drought.

Responding, Gov. Ibrahim Shekarau reiterated the effort of his administration to assist the police and other security agencies toward combating crime in the state through the provision of vehicles and communication gadgets, pointing out that the spate of armed robbery in the state and other parts of the country required collective prayers to overcome the situation.

On the vexed issue of film industry in the state, Shekarau contended that the government set up a task force to sanitise the industry’s activities, noting that the film producers owe it a duty to protect the religious and cultural values of the people rather than according precedence to financial gains.

Shekarau therefore expressed gratitude to the people of the state for their tremendous supports and goodwill to his administration, urging them to continue to imbibe the teaching of Islam, including brotherhood, sacrifice, humility and service to humanity in the interest of a more civilised society.

Meanwhile, the governor has disclosed that Kano state Independent Power Project (IPP) has received a boost with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) pledging to fund the feasibility study for the multi billion Naira project.

He explained that the project, when completed, will solve the issue of power outage in the entire state.

Shekarau, however, pointed out that the capital-intensive project requires critical examination of the most viable source of power supply as well as collaboration with relevant agencies to revive the fading industrial glory of the state.

He also stressed the determination of his government to revive the commercial and industrial activities of the state, assuring that the new Singerr Market project would commence soon.

Plateau govt crack-down on street urchins

By Deji Ajayi in Jos

The days of aimless roaming about major streets of Jos, capital of Plateau state, are numbered if current moves by the Gov. Jonah David Jang administration to rid urban centres of the hangers-on is anything to go by.

Recently at the Government House Rayfield Jos, while playing host to persons displaced by the 2001 unrest in the state, who are currently taking refuge in neighbouring Bauchi state, Gov. Jang revealed that his government was in the process of promulgating a law that will render the presence of touts on major streets of the state illegal in the nearest future. A move he believed will greatly curtail the remote chances of the 2001 crisis from reoccurring.

The Mark however recalls that the 2001 crisis which rocked Plateau to its foundation left thousands of people completely destitute, having lost all their belongings including shelter.

Prior to the promulgation of the law, however, the governor revealed that his administration will enroll street urchins (believed to be ready tools for infamous persons in perpetrating unrest in the state) of school-going age in public schools to consolidate on the peace situation currently prevailing in the state.

A committee saddled with the responsibility of investigating the conditions of displaced persons from the 2001 crisis will soon be set up, the governor also disclosed during his parley with his august visitors (destitute), adding that the government of Plateau would study the reports of the Jos crisis in a bid to appropriately prosecuting those who are found culpable.

Earlier, the leader of the displaced persons delegation, Mallam Aliyu Musa, informed Gov Jang that the victims of the unrest were glad that peace had gained its rightful place in the state; a situation he observed had convinced some of his colleagues to return to the state.

He appealed to the government to assist the returnees with essential facilities including housing and other amenities for their rehabilitation. Despite expressing satisfaction with the current peaceful situation in the state, Musa, however, urged the state government to dig dip into the genesis of the unrest in 2001 in a bid to prevent a needless reoccurence.

The leader of delegation pointed to a United Nations report indicating that more than 48,000 displaced persons were sheltered in various camps in neigbouring Bauchi state. A statistics he believed should compel the Jang administration to consolidate on the present peaceful situation in the state.

Jos Airport meets ICA safety standards – FAAN

By Deji Ajayi

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has confirmed that operations at the Yakubu Gowon Airport Heipang Jos are in conformity with the requirements of the international civil aviation (ICA) standards on safety and security.

The revelation was made recently by the airport manager Pastor Chris Gyang Bature in Jos during a stakeholders meeting, stressing the importance of airport emergency activities towards curtailing the high incidence of aviation disasters in Nigerian airports.

Bature explained that two committees - the Aircraft Emergency Plan and the Aerodrome emergency plan – under the leadership of the National Airports Management Authortiy (NAMA) and FAAN respectively were some of standard regulating measures currently being utilised at the Jos airport.

Stakeholders ranging from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to the Customs and Immigration Services pledged to contribute their quota in ensuring that the airport obtained the international aviation certification of international flights to boost standards at the airport and, by extension, improve the socio-economic activities of the state.

Participants expressed opinion that the workshop would enhance disaster management at the airport.

All Privatisation from 1999 to date will be reviewed, House Committee Chairman says

By Musa Usman in Abuja

The chairman, House committee on Privatisation, Hon. Njiddo Ahmed Gella, has said that all privatization exercises, carried out by the Bureau for Privatization and Public Enterprises, from the inception of civilian administration to date, would be reviewed.

Hon. Gella, who stated this in a chat with our correspondent, shortly after the committee’s inauguration at the Nation al Assembly Complex, Abuja, expressed dissatisfaction over the manner the exercises were carried out, which he described as “faulty”.

In his words, “we will go back to the drawing board to see what was wrong in the exercises, in the form of evaluating the process,” noting that some of the agencies sold were “grossly under-valued”.

He listed some of the under-valued federal government-owned companies sold during the period to include; the Delta steel company, Aladja Steel Rolling Mills, the Ajaokuta steel company, The Itakpe Iron and Ore Company. Others, according to him, are Transcop Hilton and NITEL.

Hon. Gella attributed the failure of the exercises to corruption, stressing “once corruption is eliminated from the entire process, the desired goal would be achieved.”

According to him, the committee would put in place machinery to ensure that proper thing is done and that part of its strategy is the commissioning of experts in various fields to assist the committee on its task.

Also, Non-Governmental Organizations would be implored to assist the committee in term of funding its activities, which, he stressed, should not be left to government alone.

The Chairman, who assured of his committee’s commitment to ensure that due process is followed in this new era, said the committee would explore all its legislative experience to make impact in the entire process.

“We will equally rely on the 7-point agenda of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua programmes, in carrying out this task”, he said, adding that “Nigerians are not happy with the privatization exercises so far carried out in the last eight years.”

He cited the sale of the Abeokuta steel company which should have engage 61,000 graduates, thus reduce the unemployment rate, but instead has not achieved the desired result.

He reiterated that the committee would revisit the entire exercises, without fear or favour, with a view to correcting the anomalies and bring confidence into the system, stressing the problem with the exercises, was with the “big investors”.


Shagari eulogises Akinloye

By Dele Ogunseemi

The late elder statesman and renowned politician, Chief Meredith Akinloye had been described as a man full of wisdom, accommodating, tolerant and intelligent.

Alhaji Saleh Hassan, the representative of the Second Republic president, Alhaji Sheu Shagari, made these remarks while coveying the former president’s condolence message to the Oyo state Gov. Adebayo Alao-Akala in Ibadan.

According to him, Pa Akinloye was a perfect gentleman to the core. He is a friend in need, a friend indeed who does not belief in making somebody around him to suffer.

He added that the Yorubas and indeed Nigerians have lost a rare gem whose replacement would be very difficult to find.

In his reply, the state governor, Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala, had said that the people of Oyo State and Nigeria as a whole would continue to miss Pa Akinloye for his wise counseling on national issues.

Alao-Akala said Chief Akinloye was a pillar of support to his administration, stressing that the past experiences of the likes of Chief Akinloye would be imbibed by the present government to move the state forward.

He enjoined politicians to emulate late Akinloye who detested politics of bitterness and rancor but should rather place national interest above self interest.


Fidelity Bank Plc takes N5. 5b offer subscription to Kano

...plans to open 40 new branches nationwide

From Salihu Othman Isah

Fidelity Bank Plc has told its prospective investors in Kano that it is offering them mouth watering investment with opportunity to join the emerging new millionaires it is about to create with its public offer, even as it disclosed that the bank was planning to open 40 new branches across the country.

Addressing a gathering of prospective investors on why they should invest in its stock in Kano Thursday, Oct. 18, managing director and chief executive officer of the bank, Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi, said the offer price at N8 is a discount of 33 percent on suspended stock exchange price of N11.99k, saying “it translates to immediate capital gains.”

Ihejiahi also revealed that the bank’s share is among the top 10 most traded stocks on the stock exchange between January and July 2007, which, he said, means that the price of the shares will continue to rise because of strong demand for the stock.

He recalled that a shareholder who invested N125, 000 in January 2005 is today worth N1, 318, 900 in addition to payment of cash dividend in 2006, adding: “Our share price has grown from N1.25k to N11.99k between January 2005 to July 2007 which is an increase of 859 percent.

The managing director further stressed that this was in addition to the payment of cash dividends and the grant of bonus issues of shares over the same period.

“Every year for the past five years, we have either paid a cash dividend or given a bonus issue of shares or done both to our shareholders. Our market value has grown from N3.8 billion in January 1, 2004 to over N200 billion by July 2007, an increase of 516 percent. This is a massive creation of wealth for our shareholders”, he assured.

Ihejiahi said plans are underway to establish forty new branches of Fidelity Bank, pledging that Kano state will benefit about two or three new branches to complement the three currently in operation in the state.

According to him, part of the bank’s long term goal is to establish a highly profitable African financial institution with branches throughout the continent, adding that it also plans to achieve these goals by pursuing a differentiating strategy that focuses on service efficiency and product excellence.

“Propelled by compelling industry dynamics, including Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) initiatives and significant market demand, Fidelity’s operating profits have grown over the past four years. Fidelity has been recognised by both the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and the industry as a potential powerhouse in the financial sector”, he further stressed.

Ihejiahi went on to reveal that a large number of its planned forty new branches would be located in the Northern states of Kano, Katsina, Yobe, Kaduna and Sokoto states to boost the banking sector and easy access to the bank by their teeming customers in the region.

He further explained that the bank was equally willing to partner with the Kano state government to assist residents in the state with loan scheme, scholarship and rural development contribution, appealing to them to invest in the on-going investment offer presented by the bank.


Vol. 6 No. 15 November 17, 2007  EDITION...Of Truth and Excellence