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82651
SPORTS / IAAF BOSS UNHAPPY WITH LONDON 2012 VENUE
« on: November 09, 2008, 08:35:40 PM »
IAAF boss unhappy with London 2012 venue
By Agency Reporter


The top official in world athletics has slammed the International Olympic Committee for agreeing that London‘s Olympic Stadium can be converted into a football ground after the 2012 Games.

IOC President Jacques Rogge recently indicated that the body would not object if London reneged on a pledge that 2012 will leave a legacy of a permanent athletics venue for the British capital.

AFP reports that Lamine Diack, the President of athletics‘ governing body the IAAF, responded on Friday by saying the IOC‘s attitude displayed a ”lack of respect” for the Olympics‘ most popular sport.

Diack said, ”As an IOC member myself, I voted for the host city for the 2012 Games in Singapore and, obviously, one of the most compelling arguments in favour of London was the fact that the city desperately needed a world class venue for athletics.

”A promise was made, and I believe it is totally reasonable to expect that the most important sport of the summer Olympics, which is athletics, gets to live on after the three-week period of the Games is over. ”

Diack said he did not want a repeat of what happened to the Olympics stadium in Atlanta, now home to baseball side the Atlanta Braves while the United States does not have an athletics venue capable of holding a world championships.

The IAAF chief is still hopeful that London, which is under severe budgetary pressure, will be able to find a way of retaining the athletics track while ensuring the stadium does not become a rarely-used white elephant.

”It has never been said that the post-Games‘ stadium would be exclusively for athletics,” Dick added.

”I am also sure that any number of options for ground-sharing with other sports are currently being considered, in various stadium configurations, but let me finally say that, for the IAAF, destroying the track would be totally unacceptable. ”

82652
NEWS / WHY WE DON’T PAY COMPENSATION – NEMA BOSS
« on: November 09, 2008, 08:21:18 PM »
The National Emergency Management Agency has explained why the agency is not responsible for payment of compensations over fire disasters.

The Director General of the agency, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Audu-Bida (retd) said only insurance companies could settle such debts. 

He said NEMA only provided immediate succour and relief in terms of injury and sufferings to the victims. 

He said the agency had been campaigning to market owners and traders to insure their goods and property through a flexible insurance policy.

He said “The agency had consulted with insurance firms to provide flexible insurance cover for goods and business premises at affordable rates, but most businessmen, especially traders ignored our warnings and services that would have afforded them the opportunity to recoup their losses in case of such disasters. ”

He advised traders to embrace the option of insurance to enable optimum recovery of their business. 

“The scheme we introduced entails the payment of small premium while the goods will be insured against the disaster taking place which would allow the trader recoup his losses in full,” Audu-Bida said. 

He stated that the rampant fire outbreaks across the country especially in the North was due to lack of public consciousness on the harmattan period which is the peak of dry season with extremely dry dusty wind between November and March. 

 Within a week, NEMA officials inspected two major markets that caught fire after it had sent warning of fire outbreak during the harmattan seasons last month. 

The recent markets that caught fire are the popular Gasua Central Market in Yobe State and Sabon Gari Market in Kano State where billions of naira in goods and property were lost.

 Audu-Bida added that the agency had continued to send precautionary warnings to all tiers of government to sensitise their people on preventive measures to avert fire outbreak through practical demonstration and public enlightenment on fire fighting techniques.

82653
NEWS / HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH TASKS GERMAN PRESIDENT ON CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA
« on: November 09, 2008, 08:16:57 PM »
The Human Rights Watch has implored visiting German president, Horst Koehler, to consider the issue of corruption top on the agenda during his stay to Nigeria.

The group also charged him to discuss with his Nigerian counterpart, Umaru Yar’Adua, on other areas bordering on alleged human rights abuses, political and inter-communal violence, extra-judicial killings, torture, and extortion by security operatives, as well as the poor state of education and healthcare delivery in the country.

President Koehler alongside his wife, Eva Luise arrived Nigeria on Friday for a six-day working visit.

He has constantly spoken on the need to support good governance and economic advances in African nations.

The group in a statement by its German office director, Marianne Heuwagen, and made available to SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday alleged that despite $223billion Nigeria garnered from oil revenue in the last nine years, her citizenry still lived in abject poverty.

The incidence of corruption, the group said in a letter dated last October 27 and addressed to President Koehler, had become endemic in Nigeria that it needed to be looked into comprehensively.

“Nigeria has earned well over US$223 billion in oil revenues since the end of military rule.  Despite this tremendous wealth, abject poverty ranks among the worst in the world and millions of Nigerians still lack access to health and education services. Public funds that could have been spent on improving the lives of ordinary citizens have instead been squandered and stolen by Nigeria’s political elite.

“Corruption often takes the form of embezzling state funds or accepting kickbacks for government contracts awarded without adherence to transparent bidding processes.  Public funds looted from government treasuries are often laundered through foreign banks,” the group noted.

It also expressed concern over the activities of the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission, noting that the redeployment of its former chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, and the key staff of the commission had stalled the investigation of some corrupt politicians in the country.

Declaring that the economic relationship between the countries amounted to about two billion euros in 2007, the group also enjoined Yar’Adua to publicly report on the status of investigations and criminal prosecutions of senior politicians and their business partners indicted in corruption in Nigeria.

On human rights abuses, the group alleged that Nigeria lacked the political will to check the culture of impunity in the country.

“In May 2007 President Yar’Adua came to power in elections marred by widespread fraud, intimidation, and election violence that left some over 300 people dead.  Powerful ruling party politicians were credibly implicated in mobilising armed gangs responsible for election-related violence and orchestrating the rigging of the elections.  No one has been investigated for any of those crimes, much less criminally prosecuted.

“The violence and fraud surrounding the 2007 elections reflected entrenched patterns of corruption and abuse of power that have long pervaded Nigeria’s political system,” it added.

82654
NEWS / WHY I ATTEMPTED TO KILL MY GRANNY –GRANDSON
« on: November 09, 2008, 08:05:24 PM »
Thirty-three years ago when her daughter, Rebecca Adebisi, gave birth to a chubby-cheeked baby boy, Juliana Oyeyode was beside herself with joy.  And she had every reason to be - the baby was her daughter‘s firstborn.  Therefore, she was all joy and radiated gratitude as well-wishers and relatives streamed to her home to congratulate the family on the newborn baby.

As custom and Christian religion demanded, the baby was christened on the eighth day.  The officiating cleric told the audience that the baby should be known as Babatunde – meaning father has reincarnated.

Little did the parents, granny and guests know that the bundle of joy they were christening would inflict machete wounds on the granny.  But not only did he do that, he also forced her to drink cement mixed with water.  Thinking that the granny wouldn’t survive his attack, Babatunde also mixed cement in water and gulped it down his throat – in an apparent bid to commit suicide. 

However, luck was on the old woman’s side as Tunde was dishing out the deadly machete cuts to her.  Babatunde‘s younger brother, Femi, heard the granny‘s yells.  Quickly, he rushed to the scene to rescue the bloodied old woman.  But Babatunde let go of the half dead woman and instead pounced on his brother dealing machete cuts on him.

What could make a young man attempt to kill his granny? many wondered.  Babatunde himself provided the answer in these words, ”All my efforts to succeed in life have proved abortive and my findings showed that my granny is the one behind my travails.  She‘s a witch. 

“When my father died in 1994, his properties were shared among family members and my brothers and I were not given any share. ” Continuing, Babatunde, who is receiving treatment at the Osun State General Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo said, ”When I came to Osogbo from Lagos in 2005, I began to live with my grandmother, who said I should go and work in a poultry farm but I preferred to learn panel-beating.  I have since finished a two-year apprenticeship in panel-beating but nobody is ready to sponsor my graduation ceremony.  I left Lagos when my friends, who are armed robbers, were luring me to join them.  I didn’t want to be an armed robber. ”

Absolving himself of any crime, the 33-year-old secondary school dropout said he packed out of his granny‘s residence at Oke-Ayepe in Osogbo when he suspected that she could kill him.  ”I now live at Olatunji Ajayi Street in Osogbo.  I decided to kill my grandmother and myself because despite my struggles, I have not made it in life and I know she‘s the one responsible for this. ”

Femi, who snatched granny from the jaws of death, said, “I rushed into the residence when I heard her yelling.  When I got to the scene, brother Tunde had forced granny to drink cement mixture and he also inflicted machete wounds on me.  I quickly rushed out and called for help.  That was how neighbours and I rescued mama from the hands of brother Tunde. ”

Tunde’s mother, who was by her mother’s bedside at Osun State General Hospital, Asubiaro, disproved her son’s claims, saying the young man was dubious.  Revealing that Tunde, at a time, absconded from home for three years, Rebecca said, ”My mother is not responsible for the death of his father.  He should go and ask his father‘s relatives about his father‘s death.  Sponsoring his education after his father‘s death was a struggle but he‘s not serious.  He slapped his master who was teaching him panel-beating.  This is why he did not continue the apprenticeship.  His siblings are more diligent. ”

Efforts to speak with granny, who was still on admission, proved abortive, as relatives at her bedside barred our correspondent from talking with her.  A telephone request by the Police Public Relations Officer, Osun Command, Mr Joshua Olayemi, to allow granny talk with our correspondent was turned down by relatives, who said mama did not belong to the police.  Olayemi, however, said the case was a criminal one and added that the state police command was ready for prosecution.

A medical doctor, who spoke on anonymous condition, told our correspondent at the hospital, that Tunde would undergo psychiatric test to determine his mental state.  ”We are battling to save the life of the old woman.  She‘s in a stable condition and we hope that she will survive,” he said.

82655
Most people do not consider the issue of writing a will serious.  Being consumed in activities of the present they tend to forget that death is sure and that a will ensures the future of their loved ones when they eventually die.  Some even wait until death comes knocking on their sick bed before hurriedly drafting their will, sometimes, doing so with unsound mind.

Mr.  Olumide Abiodun (not real name), for example, is a wealthy businessman who has a number of properties scattered around Lagos.  At over 70 years and at his sick bed he still ignores the issue of drafting his will.  His thinking is that only those who are ready to die draft will and for him, he is not ready to die.

But in his presence, there are already signs of what will become of him when he leaves this world as his brothers, wives and children are already concerned about how to share his property rather than the wellbeing of Abiodun.

His brothers are in full control of him, dictating to him how he can share his property which he is not willing to part with.  One of them said he was entitled to Abioduns properties because he brought up Abiodun to become who he is today.

His wives are contending that their husband’s property belong to their sons and daughters.

The dispute among his wives and brothers led to a dangerous rise in Abiodun’s blood pressure.  Now, he is even thinking he should will his property to children in the remand homes.

It is one thing to draft your will at the right time and it is another thing to communicate the location of your will to your children or loved ones.  This is another problem where the issue of will is concerned.

Kunle and his sister lost their aged parents in a fatal accident.  They knew that their parents wrote a will but no one knows where the will is kept.

A Similar case happened to Olaogun’s children.  The man also died in an accident and his children and widow are unable to find the will the man left behind.

According to experts, solicitors worldwide will tell you that a significant percentage of legal wills, are not executed because they cannot be found. 

Often after a will is written, many ignore the most important step, that is, to communicate the will location not just to their spouses, but to other loved ones as well.  Many procrastinate until it is too late. 

Sometimes, even those who have communicated the whereabouts of their legal will found out that their loved ones may have forgotten where their last wills are kept as years pass. 

It is even more prevalent in today’s globalised world where family members reside in different countries for work or other opportunities; knowing the will locations of family members becomes even more complex.

Experts say the easiest and most cost effective way to protect a will is to register the location of the last one with an easy to remember global will registry and also communicate to your loved ones to check the will registry when the time comes.

Adetunji Orisalade, a lawyer, advises that once people have any disposable property, nothing should stop them from drafting their will.  He says this should be the course of action no matter how small the asset is and that one must not wait to be a millionaire or until one acquires lands, houses and cars.  According to him, “a will or testament is a document by which a person (the testator] regulates the rights of others or family over his or her property after death for the devolution of property.  In the strictest sense, a “will” is a general term, while “testament” applies only to dispositions of personal property.  A will may also create a trust that is effective only after the death of the testator.  Any trust created in a will is generally referred to as a “testamentary,” adding that a will may not include a requirement that an heir commit an illegal, immoral, or other act against public policy as a condition of receipt.  In community property jurisdictions, a will cannot be used to disinherit a surviving spouse, who is entitled to at least a portion of the testator’s estate. ”

He emphasised further that any person over the age of maturity could draft their own wills, even before marriage and having children and that they could do so without the aid of an attorney.  He said that additional requirements might vary, depending on the jurisdiction, but every will must contain the necessary detail.

“For instance, the testator must clearly identify himself or herself as the maker of the will, and.  the testator must declare that he or she revokes all previous wills and codicils.  Otherwise, a subsequent will revokes earlier wills and codicils only to the extent to which they are inconsistent.  However, if a subsequent will is completely inconsistent with an earlier one, the earlier will is considered completely revoked by implication.  The testator must demonstrate that he or she has the capacity to dispose of his or her property, and does so freely and willingly.  In addition, the testator must sign and date the will, usually in the presence of at least two disinterested witnesses (persons who are not beneficiaries. ) The testator’s signature must be placed at the end of the will.  If this is not observed, any text following the signature will be ignored, or the entire will may be invalidated if what comes after the signature is so material that ignoring it would defeat the testator’s intentions material,” he said.

Furthermore, he said the legal implication for those who die without drafting their will, especially if it involves landed property is that, under the administration of estate law, the property will become vested in the Administration General of the state that will take over the lands, building etc and, on behalf of the deceased family, will have to apply for letter of administration before claiming the property and this usually takes a long process.

People’s perspective on will is that once they draft a will that means they are ready to die and this remains one of the main reasons most people are scared to draft will.

Orisalade does not agree.  According to him, it is not true that drafting a will means that death is beckoning.

He stresses, “Either you like it or not.  It is a price we all have to pay.  “A will excludes the rules of inheritance according to the administration of estate law this law provides for how the estate of a deceased person who dies without a will should be administered.  The mode of deposition would be by the Administrator General of the state and public trust that administer the estate in line with the law and this may not be according to the deceased wishes. ”

82656
NEWS / AGONIES OF WORKING ON LAGOS ISLAND
« on: November 09, 2008, 07:53:30 PM »
It is not a tea party working on Lagos Island and living on the mainland and other adjunct settlements.  Though the pay of working in a multinational company could be so tempting and attractive, it has a price attached to it.  SAM AWOYINFA, reports on the agonies of working on Lagos island

You will be right to call it the business hub of the nation.  This notion holds real when you compute the volume of business transactions that take place on this rich island.  Little wonder, the multinational oil giants, banks, insurance companies, merchants and other corporate concerns have their offices sited there.  Some observers have likened the city to Tokyo in Japan, and New York, in the United States of America. 

The hustle and bustle make the city more exciting but most times agonising.  Welcome to Lagos Island, the island that is in contest with itself, and those who have to traverse its length and breadth on almost daily basis, trying to make a living.

For those who are lucky to live and work on the island, their own level of agony may be tolerable, when compared with those who move from the mainland or other far flung settlements, also in Lagos or even outside it.

Among the challenges confronting those who live on the mainland and other adjunct settlements and work on the island are traffic gridlock, hitting the road as early as 5:00am, contending with street muggers, stress induced ailments etc.

Our correspondent spoke to a cross section of workers on the island and they expressed the agony and the sufferings they go through.  Mr.  Eric Akapo, who works with a private company on Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island, but lives in Lusada, a settlement after Agbara, says he goes through hell on a daily basis to and fro his office. 

He explains that for him to beat the early morning traffic bottlenecks and flash points along his route, such as Alaba rago, LASU-Iyana Iba, Festac gate, Agboju, Mile 2 among others, he has to wake up as early as 4:30am.  This does not even guarantee that he would get to the office before 8:00am.

He says,”My brother, it is quite stressful, moving from my residence in Lusada to my office in Victoria Island.  Lusada is a settlement after Agbara.  Everyday, I wake up at 4:30am, take my bath and set out at 5:00am.  This does not guarantee that I will get to the office before 8:00am. 

Even with my setting out early, I will arrive my office at 8:30am.  One cannot totally escape the early morning traffic, occasioned, at times, by a broken down vehicle on the road, commercial bus drivers picking passengers in the middle of the road, bad portions of the road etc. ”

Akapo notes that it is even more agonising heading back home after work.  According to him, the traffic gridlock becomes more ferocious, when workers close, starting from 4:00pm.  ”It is like, everybody hits the road at the same time, and you discover that even the traffic snarl begins just in front of your office gate.  A journey that should ordinarily take me between 40 minutes and one hour, ends up taking between five and six hours.  I close at 4:00pm, and I don‘t get home earlier than 10:00pm.  In-between this trip, I will still jump okada, to beat the last stretch home.  My brother, it is not funny at all,” he moans. 

Another worker on the island, Mrs Gbadamosi, who resides in Sango-Ota in Ogun State and works with one of the financial institutions also on Victoria Island equally points out that distance has been the major challenge.  To meet up with her 8:00am resumption time, she must wake up at 4:00am, bathe her son, get him ready for school and do some other household chores.  Since her hubby equally works on the island, they both leave home at 5:00am.

She contends that she and her husband do not enjoy good sleep as they have to put their cellphones on alarm alert.  ”Once the phones start beeping, I know that another long day has started.  You know it is hard to get jobs these days, and we have good jobs on the island, we have to keep on enduring it,” Gbadamosi tells Sunday Punch.

Mr.  K.  Chukwudi, who also works in one of the oil companies in Marina, contends that his job has denied his children the fatherly role he is supposed to be playing to them.  Before they wake up in the morning, he says, he has already left for his office, and before he returns in the evening, they would have gone to bed. 

He states, ”So if you calculate it, I spend less than 48 hours with my children every week, because on Saturdays, there are social events lined up and on Sunday, there is town meeting I must attend. 

”It is only on weekends that I play my father role to my children, and I feel guilty for this.  Though their mother has been filling the gap, but that is not enough.  They need my presence equally to complement their mother‘s,”

Again Mrs Tayo Odole, on her own part, equally works with an American oil giant in Lekki.  She explains that since some of them live on the mainland, the stress they go through on daily basis normally results in some of them being admitted into the staff clinic for stress-induced sicknesses.

”It is not easy my brother, there is hardly a week that two or three of our staff are not visiting the staff clinic for one stress-induced sickness or the other.  You see when you work with expatriates, you are stretched because they believe they are paying you well for whatever you are doing,” she adds.

Margret Madewa, who also works in a multinational company in Ikoyi area of Lagos, but lives in Abule Egba, adds another dimension to the story.  She tells our correspondent that apart from the traffic problem, the incidence of street muggers who operate on okada, both in day time and evenings, is another pain they suffer.  Twice she has been dispossessed of personal effects right on the street where her office is situated. 

The first incidence happened in the evening,when her bag was snatched, while the second one in which her necklace was ripped off her neck from behind, happened around 3:00pm.  Both ugly incidents were perpetuated by robbers operating on okada.

She puts it more succintly, ”Though, traffic is one of the major problems we face here, another problem is the robbers who operate on okada.  Twice I have been a victim of these evil characters.  The first sad experience happened in the evening, when my bag was snatched right where I was standing in front of the office after the close of work.  Again, there was a day they ripped off my necklace in the day time, it was around 3:00pm.  That day I was walking back to the office after attending a function at a place very close to the office. ”

More interestingly, Sunday Punch discovered that a new class of noveau riche bureaucrats, business men, and upwardly mobile young men who live on the island but need to come down to the mainland to catch flights out of Lagos or keep appointments, have devised a way of showing class and status. 

They are so rich and wealthy that they could not condescend to endure the pains of sitting in their cars to endure endless traffic between the island and mainland.

They fly in a chartered helicopter, which cost N40,000 per trip.  The helicopter services is being operated by Caverton helicopters, on Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island.  The take-off for those moving from the island is Caverton‘s office and the helicopter lands in less than 10 minutes at their heliport at the Murtala Mohammed International airport.

”You pay N40,000 for us to take you to our heliport at the international airport, if you are still interested in using our services, while you are returning to the island, you pay another N40,000,” a source at Caverton told our correspondent when he visited their office on Tuesday.

Another class of people, our correspondent gathered, now ferry their cars and themselves, to the nearest point to their offices.  Each transaction, they say, attracts a fee of N1,500.

However, okada riders are equally making brisk business, in both the heart of the island and the adjoining areas.  For instance, the fare for ride from Marina to Victoria Island is between N150 and N200, while that from Victoria Island to Lekki/Ajah axis ranges between N250 and N300.

Take it or leave it, the allure of the Lagos Island has become so irresistible and many Lagosians are enduring so much to keep afloat in the famed city of so-called aquatic splendour.

82657
NEWS / 2008 HAJJ: SLIGHT HITCHES IN AIRLIFT OF PILGRIMS
« on: November 09, 2008, 07:49:58 PM »
The First batch of pilgrims from Ogun at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Saturday, expressed concern over the initial delay in airlifting them to Saudi Arabia. 

Though some of the 565 pilgrims claimed that the authorities were yet to give them reasons for the delay, an official of Med-View Airline, Mr.  Lukman Animashaun, attributed the delay to some adjustment in the airline’s programme. 

As at 3pm when our correspondent visited the camp, female pilgrim were seen sleeping on nylon at different places inside the camp while men were hanging around in pockets with some having their luggage beside them.

One of the pilgrims, Alhaji Sarufudeen Folarin, from Abeokuta, who was visibly angry said he was disappointed with what he met at the camp, adding that it was absolutely contrary to the impression they were given before they left Abeokuta on Friday. 

Another pilgrim, Alhaji Musibau Alani, who claimed to have slept on the floor till daybreak, said he was unhappy with the way the operation was being handled.

He said, “The most painful thing is that no one has come to brief us on the situation of things.  Being the first batch, we were meant to have beens airlifted yesterday.  This is two o’clock, we don’t know if we will go today because some are saying that the aircraft is yet to arrive in the country”

Another pilgrim, Mr.  Azeez Kazeem, said he had been hanging around in the camp since he arrived on Friday. 

When our correspondent met with an official of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria in charge of the camp, who refused to tell our correspondent that they were waiting for the Med-View airlines’s aircraft, which he would be departing Jeddah that afternoon.

However, Animashaun, who said he was in Ilorin making arrangements on behalf of the airline for Kwara, Ondo and Ekiti pilgrims, said the Lagos pilgrim were to depart last night.

He said another aircraft would arrive in the country by 11pm on Saturday to airlift the remaining pilgrims.

82658
NEWS / FASHOLA, MAMORA DEMAND MORE POWERS FOR STATES
« on: November 09, 2008, 07:47:06 PM »
THE Lagos State Governor, Mr.  Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Friday advocated more powers for states and the entrenchment of true fiscal federalism. 

The governor spoke while presenting a paper.  “Towards a Lagos State Position on the Review of the 1999 Constitution” at a parley organised by the Political and Legislative Powers Bureau at the Peninsula Resort Ajah.

He called for the reordering of the revenue allocation formula to provide additional revenue to the state . 

He said devolution of more powers to states and local government was imperative because they represented the government of the people. 

He said the states should be allowed to keep whatever they earned in terms of revenue. 

He added that states should be given constitutional responsibilities to create local government. 

He said the Federal Government at present kept about 52 per cent of the revenue generated, as the remainder is shared among states.

Fashola called for the review of the remuneration of public officers centrally, so that states could be allowed to pay its public officials what it deemed appropriate. 

He reiterated that laws such as those that were enacted when there was no opportunity to debate legislation like the Value Added Tax laws, Federal Road Safety Commission laws to solely produce drivers license and the National Inland Waterways laws should be repealed outright. 

He said the provision in the Railways Act that required a state to seek permission from the Nigerian Railways to do intercity rail despite the provision of the residual list that only a Governor could legislate on land matters was very ambiguous and should be revisited. 

Nigerians, he said, needed to be cautious about multiplicity or wholesome changing of the constitution, but that efforts should be intensified to ensure that essential amendments to the notion of federal constitution be more pronounced and effective. 

The governor also warned against any wholesome review of the Land Use Act which he said would be tantamount to removing the gains which had been made in the last 30 years of its operation. 

A former Attorney– General of the state, Prof.  Yemi Osinbajo, said the constitution should be founded on the principles of federalism with all arms according primacy to the principles of federalism in their actions and pronouncements. 

He also proposed two exclusive legislative lists with one being federal and the other state with a clear provision which specifically provides that all matters are exclusively within the jurisdiction of the state. 

Also speaking, Alhaji Femi Okunnu who chaired the occasion called for proper revenue sharing that is in line with the principles of true federalism and also sought the granting of unlimited powers to the judiciary at the state level as it was before 1993. 

In his submission, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora called for the strengthening of the electoral process to ensure that election disputes were resolved before swearing in of elected officers

82659
Beyond the lessons he brought from his recent visit to American museums and other monuments, the Director-General of the Centre for Black African Arts and Civilisation, Prof.  Tunde Babawale, recalls wonders of the Amish, a US county where radios and television are taboos When a child has not been to another man‘s farm, he says his father‘s plantation is the largest in the world. 


Little wonder, then, that the philosopher poet, Alfred Tennyson, vows to ”follow knowledge like a sinking star” in his poem, Ulysses.

Professor of Political Economy, Tunde Babawale, may not directly be the child in this Yoruba proverb, but a recent experience he had touring museums and other cultural outfits in the US has phenominally broadened his perspective as a cultural administrator and enthusiast.  As the Director-General of the Centre for Black African Arts and Civilisation, which is holding a conference in Brazil, on African and the Diasporan history, from November 11, he has, in the past few years, been in charge of the cultural and intellectual legacy that FESTAC ‘77 bequeathed to all Black African people that participated.  He can, therefore, be said to have been a priest in a modestly giant shrine.

But his trip to the ‘Obama‘ country in October, under the auspices of the US Department of State, where he participated in a spate of programmes and excursion to various houses of monuments, has vastly widened his horizon.  The programme - the US‘ International Visitor Leadership Programme on Cultural Heritage and Preservation - had drawn participants from 17 countries around the world, a situation that also gave the project a cultural exchange flavour.  Among other places of awe, Babawale found himself at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is one of the largest and finest art museums with a collection of more than two million works of art spanning 5, 000 years of world culture from pre-history to the present - and from every part of the globe. 

Indeed, from Washington D C to Philadephia, New York, New Orleans to San Francisco, Babawale saw it all in terms of how America has protected its cultural heritage for ages.  He met with top administrators of major cultural institutions, including Assistant Professor Shawn of the Department of international Law amd Cross-Cultural Communications, the American University in the country‘s capital; Cultural Property Analyst at the US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; Programme Coordinator, Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation; Dr.  Richard Kennedy acting director of Smithsonian Institution, which boasts of the world‘s largest museum complex and research organisation.

He adds that the group‘s visit to Philadephia was significant in the sense that it is the fifth largest city in the US - and the largest city in the Pennysylvana. 

”We were also made to appreciate the historical importance of the city as a former capital of the US, between 1790 and 1800, and as the site of the declaration of Independence and writing of the American Constitution,” Babawale recalls.

Yet, while the travellers also visited other places of interest such as The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadephia, its trip to Lancaster County revealed that even in a country as advanced as America, people are free to choose a culture of primitiveness.  This is the Amish county where ‘wordly’ things are treated with spite.

Says Babawale, ”At Lancaster County, we saw American diversity at play, with the Amish, a society living a pristine existence sharing boundries with the Mennonites, who represent, in some measure, America‘s modern lifestyles.  Both groups are descendants of English and German immigrants.  The Amish are deeply religious and shun worldly things, including radio and television.  Their children have little education and no Amish house uses modern facilities. ”

In New York, the group visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggensheim Museum, Ellis Island and the World Monument Fund. 

While the spectacles of the places visited remain warm in Babawale‘s memory, however, he is practically drunk of the lessons he learnt from the trip.  As a culture administrator, he concedes, he has been able to better appreciate the necessity of developing a strong and sustainable culture of heritage preservation.

”Based on my experience, in Nigeria, there is need to have more historic monuments across the country for reasons of cultural preservation and the education of the youths.  Management of such monuments should be decentraised. ”

He also preaches an urgent necessity to take advantage of the Ambassador‘s Fund for cultural preservation, which, he notes, is usually advertised by the US embassies.

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NEWS / PROTEST OVER LAGOS AMBASSADORIAL NOMINEE
« on: November 09, 2008, 07:35:13 PM »
THE fate of an ambassadorial nominee from Lagos State, Mr.  Samuel Folorunso Aiyedona, appears to be hanging in the balance following a petition against his nomination.

Some unidentified persons from the state have petitioned the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs rejecting his nomination.

Our correspondent gathered that they are asking the Senate to drop him from the list of the nominees because he is not an indigene of the state.

They claim that the nominee hails from Benue State and has not satisfied the indigeneship condition for assuming the slot of Lagos State.

A senator, who spoke to our correspondent, said he was aware of the protest and regretted that such a thing was happening when the world was celebrating the victory of Barack Obama, African-American as the president-elect of the United States.

He said, “It is very unfortunate that such a thing is happening in Nigeria.  A person who was born and raised in Lagos and has spent all his life in the state is now being reminded that he is not from the state.

“I think we have to take another look at our laws again so that it will be possible for anyone to vie for any elective office anywhere in this country. ”

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Jibril Aminu, confirmed the protest, but said the committee’s report was ready.

According to him, the committee had forwarded the report to the Senate leadership waiting for its schedule for debate very soon.

Aminu declined any categorical statement on the protest, saying that since the report was ready, it would be left to the entire Senate to debate it and give its approval or disapproval.

The Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, who is also a member of the committee, said the issue had already been addressed in the committee’s report.

“I think we have to wait for the report to be presented to the Senate and there the decision would be taken on the matter,” he said.

The Spokesman for the Senate, Senator Ayogu Eze, said he had no details on the protest.

He preferred to reserve his comments on the issue until the report was formally presented to the Senate.

“It will not be right to preempt the committee; when the report reaches us, we will discuss it, look into the merits and demerits of the protest for a final decision,” he said.

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NEWS / OBAMA SPARKS BARACK BABY BOOM
« on: November 09, 2008, 07:32:19 PM »
Baby Baracks and mini-Michelles have sprung up all over Kenya – as proud parents honour the first African-American president.


Kenya has seen a surge in the number of babies called Barack Obama

Mums and dads across the African nation have named their infants after Barack Obama and his wife in the hope they adopt the President-elect’s characteristics.

Mr Obama’s father was born in the country and thousands of Kenyans celebrated his groundbreaking election win on Tuesday.

And now several parents have taken it a step further.

At least eight boys have been named Barack or Obama – or both – at the New Nyanza provincial general hospital in Kisumu, the capital of the region which is home to Barack Obama’s ancestral village, while dozens more have been given the name across the land.

One mum even dubbed her newborn twins Obama and Michelle.

Another mum, Josephine Anyango Anyango, said: “I consulted my husband and we agreed the name Barack Obama would be ideal for our baby boy because the whole town and the entire world was very enthusiastic about Barack Obama, and we believe he is a great man. ”

Mum Nancy Otieno said she has high hopes for her newborn son Barack Obama.

She said: “I would like that by the time he is in his 40s he becomes the president of this country. ”

Another new mother, Millicent Akoth, named her new daughter Michelle Obama after the soon-to-be First Lady.

President-elect Obama has been elevated to rock star status in the east African nation which has named a beer, “Senator”, after him and where “Obama: The Musical” opened last weekend.

The 47-year-old, who was born in Hawaii to a white mother from Kansas and a Kenyan father, is idolised by many Africans.

But they are not the first to name newborns after him.

Florida couple Patrick and Sasha Hall named their son Sanjae Obama Fisher even before the result of the election night.

And Arkansas baby Benjamin Barack Kimbrough was born hours before the Senator’s successful night got under way.

The bug of the historic victory of radiant Democratic Party standard bearer, Barack Obama, is still biting across the world in different shades.

Hordes of his admirers of the 47-year-old Kenya-born American, are marking his historic triumph in their own peculiar ways.

For instance, an Associated Press report said on Thursday that Obama might have a “funny name,” as he once said,- but it might just catch on among the nation’s newborns.

According to the agency, a Florida couple became among the United States’ first to bestow the name on their child, even before most had declared the Illinois senator the president-elect.

Sanjae Obama Fisher was born at 8 p. m.  EST at Hollywood’s Memorial Regional Hospital to Patrick and Sasha Hall Fisher.

The report quoted a hospital spokeswoman as saying it was the father’s idea. 

But the mother of the new baby still got to watch the election, after 14 hours at the hospital.

Sanjae has two siblings, eight-year-old sister Shaniah and four-year-old brother Shane.

Meanwhile, the town of Obama in Japan, celebrated the presidential victory of the US politician, who shares the town’s name with singing, dancing and chanting. 

Parties at the town’s seafront museum featured revelers celebrating the victory of Democratic President-elect Barack Obama, the first black president of the US, with celebratory singing, hula dancing and chants of “We love Obama,” The Daily Telegraph of Britain reported on Wednesday. 

“This all started as a bit of a joke.  But as more and more people got involved, it became more serious,” said, the Secretary of the Obama for Obama campaign group Yasunori Maeno. 

“Now, there are many businesses involved in the Obama campaign and it will continue now that he is president.  This will change the future for us. ”

The Obama for Obama group said more than 1,300 residents of the town of 33,000 participated in its campaign during the past four months.

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NEWS / OKERE SAGA: MORE TROUBLE FOR NAVAL RATINGS
« on: November 09, 2008, 07:28:08 PM »
MORE trouble appears in the offing for the six naval ratings accused of brutalising Miss Uzoma Okere last week

The Senate has vowed to do all in its power to bring the suspects to book.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Bode Olajumoke, has said that the Senate would not allow the alleged  brutalisation by the naval ratings attached to  Rear Admiral Harry Arogundade to be swept under the carpet. 

Olajumoke said this in an interview with newsmen at Ido-Ani, Ondo State on Friday. 

He said his committee was determined to investigate the allegation contained in the petition sent to it by the Sergeant-At-Arms of National Assembly, Col.  Emmanuel Okere, who is the father of the victim.

Olajumoke assured that the committee would be painstaking in the assignment, adding that  there was a need to give the naval officer and ratings accused  of the brutality  the benefit to state their side of the story. 

According to him, the need to hear from the accused made the committee write to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Isaiah Ibrahim, to explain why Okere should be so maltreated by the naval men.

Meanwhile, some women under the auspices of Concerned Women, have condemned the brutalisation of Okere.

The group which was led to the PUNCH office in Akure on Friday by Mrs.  Enitan Ogunleye, said the action of the six naval ratings and their boss should not be left unpunished to serve as deterrent to others who might want to copy them. 

The women who specifically condemned  dangerous driving by uniformed men, also called on security operatives in the nation to be alive to their responsibility of protecting the citizenry. ” 

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NEWS / OBAMA: NIGERIAN LEADERS MUST APOLOGISE TO THE PEOPLE—OMOLE
« on: November 09, 2008, 07:25:02 PM »
THE National Coordinator of Peoples Problems and Solutions, Dr.  Wale Omole, said those who frustrated the late Chief MKO Abiola, from realising his ambition to lead the country should bury their heads in shame.

In an email to SUNDAY PUNCH on Friday, the medical doctor said the leaders should show remorse because Nigerians rose above premordial factors in giving their mandate to the business mogul in a free and fair poll.

Omole’s comment came on the heels of the landslide victory of Senator Barack Obama, an African-American in the November 4 presidential poll in the United States.

Abiola, who vied for election on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party beat his National Republican Convention counterpart, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, during the June 12 1993 presidential election in Nigeria.

The poll, widely adjudged as the freest and fairest in the annals of the country, was however annulled by the regime of former military president, Gen.  Ibrahim Babangida. 

Abiola was later incarcerated for trying to reclaim his mandate.  He eventually died in custody.

Omole noted that the election of a black man as US next president was a big lesson to the entire world especially Nigeria because of the nauseating experience that often characterised the conduct of elections in the country.

“Like Americans forgot colour differences and voted Obama as their President, Nigerians abolished tribal sentiments in 1993 and elected Chief M. K. O.  Abiola as President.  The Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba and over 200 smaller tribes and ethnic groups trooped out to elect a beloved leader like the Americans just did. 

“Nigerian politicians must learnt that it is sacrilegious for any leader or group of leaders to annul a free and fair election which represents the interest of the larger population of the electorate,” he said.

He added that political gains in Nigeria was slimer because the country was not “practising the true version of democracy like Americans. 

“Every political office holder in Nigeria does not believe  that somoeone else should be given a chance.  Rather, he wants to die in the office.  If for any reason they have to give a chance to someone else, that person must be a son, daughter or a close relative. ”

Omole decried the situation where the “ same people who ruled Nigeria yesterday are ruling today and are warming up to rule tomorrow. 

“Recently,  President Umaru Yar’Adua, sacked some of his ministers.  Before the list was made public, many of the tested and failed former political  office holders started lobbying to be chosen for replacements; whereas in a more civilised nation, many of them should be in jail for the atrocities they committed against humanity while in office. 

“Nigerian politicians must have learnt that it is  possible to conduct a free and fair election in Nigeria.  In America, voting started on time and ended in accordance with the electoral laws.  Voting materials arrived at the centres on time.  Americans came out massively to perform  their civic duties. 

“Again, American politicians taught Nigerians that winners and losers can embrace and work together to make the desired change and that election should not be a do or die affair. It should be devoid of violence which is the hallmark of all elections in Nigeria,” he stated. 

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NEWS / HOW NIGERIA LOSES N1.022TN TO IMPORT OF POWER GENERATORS –OKOIGUN
« on: November 09, 2008, 07:21:43 PM »
NIGERIANS spend about N1. 022tn yearly to purchase imported power generators as a result of the failure of the power supply in the country.


A major player in the oil industry, Mr.  Alfred Okoigun, who made the disclosure on Saturday, has, therefore, called on the Federal Government to establish more crude oil refining plants in the country.

Okoigun, who is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Arco Petrochemical Engineering Company Limited, made the plea at the 2008 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, in Warri, Delta State. 

He said the four crude oil refineries were inadequate to produce petroleum products required for daily operations throughout the country. 

He also urged the government to upgrade infrastructure in the country, especially power generation, if the Vision 2020 would not be a mirage. 

According to him, electric power supply had never exceeded 4,000mw in the country, stating that over N1. 022 trillion is expended on diesel to drive generators across the country annually. 

He said, ”At approximately N100 per litre of diesel, we spend N2. 8bn daily to fuel the generators in use.  This translates to about N1. 022 trillion expenditure on diesel per annum. 

”The unfortunate thing is that the 28,000mw does not even meet our energy requirement as seen from the army of small business that has been stifled out of existence.  Even Dunlop Plc.  has threatened to close because of high cost of production (chiefly energy cost).  Our hotels are the most expensive in the world because of the high cost of diesel. ”

Okoigun, who is the Group Managing Director/CEO of Arco Petrochemical Engineering Company Limited, made the plea at the 2008 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, held in Warri, Delta State on Saturday.

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NEWS / EFCC, ICPC AT WAR
« on: November 09, 2008, 07:14:58 PM »
A silent but crucial power tussle is brewing between the nation’s anti-graft agencies: Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission.


Although our correspondent gathered that the war is being played out in various dimensions, a recent memo issued from the office of the EFCC Chairman, Mrs.  Farida Waziri, appears to be the last straw that has triggered reactions from the headquarters of the ICPC. 

Sources at both commissions confirmed that while EFCC officials maintained that their new anti-corruption initiatives were relevant and original, their ICPC counterparts saw them as unnecessary activities and illogical incursions into ICPC’s turf. 

  The EFCC memo is dated October 13, with reference number EFCC/SARU/GC/V1/0019 and entitled “Establishment/Reactivation of Anti-Corruption and Transparency Committees. ”

It was signed on Waziri’s behalf by the Commissioners Co-ordinator (Strategy and Orientation Unit), Mr.  Ben Bem-Goong. 

It is being circulated to various government departments, ministries and parastatals. 

Part of the memo reads.  “As part of measures to check and prevent corruption in the public service, the EFCC intends to carry out budget-tracking activities in every establishment of the Federal Government. 

“You are therefore requested to reactivate the ACTC in your establishment, ministry, parastatals or extra-ministerial department, or establish one where it is non-existent. 

“The composition of ACTC shall include Head of Accounts, Head of Audit, Cashier and departmental representatives. 

“The EFCC shall train members of these committees in order to equip them for this onerous responsibility. ”

At ICPC headquarters, the memo is viewed as a very serious development aimed at causing an unnecessary overlapping of functions, especially as it already has such anti-corruption units comprising public servants, including those that the EFCC now wants to train, in about 300 Federal Government establishments, ministries, parastatals or extra-ministerial departments.     

On Friday evening, when Sunday Punch visited ICPC’s headquarters in Abuja, final touches were being put on an advertisement calling on all government departments, ICPC agents and members of the public to disregard EFCC’s call for co-operation in forming anti-corruption units. 

A copy of the ICPC advertisement scheduled for publication in selected national dailies this week runs thus:

“The attention of the chairman, ICPC, has been drawn to a circular with reference number EFCC/SARV/GC/VL/0014 of 16th October, 2006 from EFCC directing the establishment  of Anti-Corruption and Transparency Committees in all ministries, departments and agencies.

“This is not in accord with the Federal Government circular with reference number OHCSF/MSO/192/94 of 2nd October, 2001 by which the ICPC had already established over 300 Anti-Corruption and Transparency Monitoring Units (ACTUs) in all ministries, departments and agencies. 

“It is believed that the EFCC is probably not aware of the existence and spread of the ACTUs and the guidelines established by a Standing Order of the ICPC governing their composition, functions and operations. 

“All ministries, departments and agencies are hereby directed to disregard the circular issued by the EFCC as well as all directives therein.  Indeed, ministries, departments and agencies are to adhere only to directives issued by the ICPC in all matters relating to their Anti-Corruption and Transparency Monitoring Units,” ICPC stated. 

Recalling provisions in the ICPC Act (2000), a source stated that the ICPC officials were convinced that they were doing the right thing by checking EFCC’s extension of its influence and operations on ICPC’s turf. 

“In (Nuhu) Ribadu’s time, this sort of thing never happened as he was concentrating much attention on looted funds being taken abroad.

“EFCC’s mandate covers offences, including money-laundry and operations around the globe but they seem to be changing direction by taking on areas that ICPC has been working on now. 

“We should all be conscious of the need to avoid a situation of unnecessary duplications that would affect the credibility or seriousness of President Umaru Yar’Adua administration’s commitment to the anti-corruption crusade,” he stated. 

Meanwhile, our correspondent, who was at ICPC’s headquarters in Abuja, on Friday, discovered that the body’s chairman, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, and other officials held a closed doors meeting for many hours with a popular music artiste, Charlies Oputa, on modalities for a new programme for nationwide mobilisation of youths to support a new ICPC anti-corruption initiative. 

“Charlie Boy came for discussions on collaboration for youth mobilisation and the chairman assured him of our willingness to work with him. 

“He wants to use his God-given talent to empower youths and teach them to fight corruption, in particular, along the lines that ICPC has been working,” ICPC’s Resident Media Consultant, Mr.  Folu Olamiti told our correspondent. 

A day earlier, EFCC’s spokesman, Mr.  Femi Babafemi, told our correspondent that the commission was concluding arrangements for a special youth and workers’ mobilisation programme to be called “Anti-Corruption Revolutionary Campaign”, he said the campaign would be launched  on December 9 when the world would celebrate the global Anti-Corruption Day. 

“EFCC functions strictly within the confines of the nation’s laws.  The new initiative is meant to mobilise further support for the war against corruption and ensure that there are ready and willing whistle-blowers everywhere, to facilitate more success in the war against corruption,” Babafemi said.

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NEWS / BANK CHIEFS IN N350M FRAUD
« on: November 09, 2008, 07:09:30 PM »
Bank chiefs in N350m fraud
By Francis Falola


Anti-Fraud detectives from Lagos and Niger States have begun investigations to unravel the mystery surrounding N350million scam rocking one of the nation’s first generation banks.   

The scam, involved a top bank official who was alleged to have just recovered from another fraud at the bank’s headquarters in Lagos .   

Our correspondent gathered that while the account was opened in Minna, the Niger State capital, the scam involved officials of the bank in Lagos and Minna.   

It was gathered that the bank manager, who was to be part of the deal reportedly paid out the sum of over NI0. 5milion to the owner of a fresh account without fulfilling necessary condition.   

The manager also did not report the withdrawal of the huge amount to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as demanded under the nation’s present money laundering law. 

  The withdrawal of the N10. 5million, it was learnt, raised suspicion at the bank’s Lagos head office which immediately alerted the police in Minna to apprehend the affected officials.   

Following the development, detectives on Friday stormed Minna from Lagos during which they commenced investigations into the matter. 

The operatives, according to the findings, immediately apprehended the manager and four of his workers in addition to three others persons. 

Two of the suspects were believed to have signed the form for the opening of the account into which the money was deposited. 

Also arrested was the businessman who allegedly owned the account into which the money was deposited. 

  While the two referees to the new account were later released on bail the manager and his staff as well as the owner of the account were to be taken to Lagos for further investigation into the matter.   

Police Public Relations Officer, Niger State Command, Richard Oguche, when contacted, confirmed the story, but said “It is not our case as the people who arrested them came from Lagos. 

“The arrest was effected by detectives from Lagos , who came with an authorised letter to carry out the arrest following the discovery of the scam.  So, it is not our case as the offence was committed in Lagos in connivance with some of the staff of the bank in Minna here. ”

  Oguche an Assistant Superintendent of Police said what the command did was to help the security men from Lagos to keep the suspects and ‘we have returned them on request. ’

82667
NEWS / TWO DIE IN ROAD MISHAP
« on: November 09, 2008, 07:06:17 PM »
Two persons lost their lives while four others sustained injuries in a road accident that occurred along the busy Benin–Agbor Road on Friday evening.   

The accident occurred when the driver of the Ford Bus, with number plate XA 601 SLK, lost control of the vechile as a result of a burst tyre. 

According to an eye witness, the driver immediately lost his life, while, two other people who sustained injuries were rushed to the hospital for urgent medical attention at a nearby community, Abudu, by men of the Federal Road Safety Commission. 

The witness said the remains of the deceased had since been deposited at the Nkeonye Clinic along the Agbor-Benin Road.

82668
INTERNET / HOW TO GUARD AGAINST INTERNET FRAUD
« on: November 09, 2008, 07:01:00 PM »
In 2007, according to The News of the World, an influential online trade magazine, a record $14,6bn was lost to Internet fraud between January 2006 and August 2007.  The loss came through different methods of infractions, which were all traced to the activities of individuals knowledgeable in the use of Information Communication Technology facilities.  With the Internet having become virtually the world‘s second nature, learning about its use for business purposes might no longer be enough.  According to ICT experts, it behoves every user to know how to stay safe online, to avoid innocent losses. 


Ironically, with the medium‘s emergence as the fastest means of transacting businesses, it has become almost impossible for any serious business-minded person to stay off the Internet.  The increasing digitalisation of businesses and the easy and timely access offered by online services, especially in the financial services sector has made abstinence from the medium a near-impossible option. 

However, the unfolding series of fraudulent activities carried out daily online have become a source of concern worldwide, forcing companies and governments to put measures in place at high costs towards checkmating the trend.  The recent ‘catastrophic error‘ on the part of the Government of the United States led to the personal details of 25 million people being lost to fraudsters some years ago, but we do know of cases of Nigerian fraudsters, who milk people through various means available online.  While many of the duped individuals in the high profile online fraud cases could be accused of being willing accomplices, a lot of innocent individuals have been losing their millions to fraudsters without their knowledge.  Their mistake, in most cases, is that they carelessly let some probing Jones into their personal financial details.  This error, which has often had significant consequences on the people‘s fortunes, has helped to underscore the need to protect one‘s identity more strictly online.  The potential financial devastation caused by identity fraud should be enough reason for us all to keep a tighter check on how we give out our personal details and the way we use our money online. 

Although banks and other organisations are stepping up their efforts against this type of fraud, the latest slip by the government shows that nobody is immune and the best place to begin protection is with ourselves. 

Finance and security experts, worried by the trend, have proffered some safeguards on ways to keep our money safe online.  A leading authority in this area, Mrs.  Hannah Ricci, following the American experience, in her ”Strategies for Staying Safe Online” advises that the first strategy to avoiding online fraud is ”to do it yourself. ”

According to her, ”Whenever you visit a bank or a retailer‘s website online, always enter the address manually.  Never follow an email link. ”

According to her, the second strategy is to keep one‘s account details and passwords secret.  She says surrendering them yourself means that you may not be covered in the event of fraud.  Often, a parent asks his son or daughter to access an intended website for him.  Along the line, his passwords and other private details are released to the youth, who later uses them to his advantage or turn them over to a friend-collaborator in fraud.  Ricci, citing careless private information management as one of the factors behind the rise in cyber and online frauds, says secretive codes should be managed as required.

Tundun Adelaja, an online engineer and Chief Executive Officer, Techno-Craft Information Limited, Ikeja, Lagos, also identifies ignorance as a key factor in the growing trend of online fraud.  According to him, most people transacting financial services online often take all guide instructions and directives as sacrosanct, without bothering to find out if there is a traceable address or telephone line.  His advice: ”Don‘t judge a company or person on the website alone - look for a telephone number and address and ensure that they are real and traceable.

”Also, remember that your bank will never contact (ask) you to disclose security information (especially online).  Therefore, ignore any emails that ask for your PIN, password or other personal details. ”

Failure to check one’s account statements regularly can make one an easy prey or an unwilling accomplice of fraudsters, according to an IT manager with Zenith Bank Plc, who prefers to remain anonymous.  To avoid being defrauded or being used as a conduit pipe to siphon fraudulent money through unmonitored accounts, he advises that account holders with banks should always check their bank statements regularly.  ”If you notice anything irregular, call your bank immediately,” he counsels. 

For card users, he stresses the need for them to sign up to a secure payment method, such as verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode.  He says these modes will verify your card information and provide an extra layer of protection.  For transactions over ?100 or $200, he strictly advises on the use of a credit card as a security against non-delivery or fraud. 

Another area of easy fraud online is online purchases.  The IT manager‘s advice is that ”when buying online, always check and make sure that the website is secure - look for a padlock at the bottom right of the browser window.  Click on the padlock to check that the sellers are who they say they are and that their certificate is current and registered to the right address.  The web address should also begin with https: //…” He also warns that we should be wary of buying anything offered via spam or unsolicited phone calls. 

Ricci‘s summative guide appears to hit the nail on the head of online fraud: ”Don‘t be conned by emails that offer you the chance to make some easy money - if it looks too good to be true, it usually is. ”

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NEWS / EFCC ARRESTS INDIAN FOR ATTEMPTING TO DEFRAUD BANK OF N32BN
« on: November 07, 2008, 07:29:30 PM »
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested a Nigeria-based Indian businessman, Mr.  Patrick Fernandez, over an alleged N32bn fraud in a bank (name withheld).

A source in the commission disclosed to our correspondents on Thursday that Fernandez was arrested in Abuja on Wednesday by EFCC operatives who had been on his trail for several weeks.

The businessman was said to have been flown to Lagos on Thursday.

Our correspondents also learnt that the anti-graft agency had filed a suit against him at the Federal High Court in Lagos where he will be arraigned on money laundering charge on Friday (today).

The Indian was said to have colluded with some officials of a financial institution to defraud it of N32bn.

The source said Fernandez adopted the technique of ?check-kicking and cheque swapping? to commit the alleged crime.

Check-kicking and swapping is a procedure where cheque depositors are allowed to cash their cheques before the cheques are actually cleared for payment.

The businessman, according to the source, has made some startling confessions to the anti-graft agencies

Our source declined to disclose the names of the businessman?s Nigerian collaborators, saying they were still at large and that investigators were on their trail.

The source said on the telephone, ?We do not want to give out their names yet as doing so might jeopardise the work of our investigators.  By the time we have all of them in the bag, Nigerians will know who and who is involved. ?

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NEWS / HONDA UNVEILS WEARABLE ROBOTIC WALKER
« on: November 07, 2008, 07:25:17 PM »
Imagine a bicycle seat connected by mechanical frames to a pair of shoes for an idea of how the new wearable assisted-walking gadget from Honda works.

This wearable assisted-walking gadget from Honda is designed to reduce stress on the knees.

The experimental device, unveiled Friday, is designed to support bodyweight, reduce stress on the knees and help people get up steps and stay in crouching positions.

Honda envisions the device being used by workers at auto or other factories.  It showed a video of Honda employees wearing the device and bending to peer underneath vehicles on an assembly line.

Engineer Jun Ashihara also said the machine is useful for people standing in long lines and for people who run around to make deliveries.

"This should be as easy to use as a bicycle," Ashihara said at Honda's Tokyo headquarters.  "It reduces stress, and you should feel less tired. "

To wear it, you put the seat between your legs, put on the shoes and push the on button.  Then just start walking around.

In a test-run for media, this reporter found it does take some getting used to.  But I could sense how it supported my moves, pushing up on my bottom when I squatted and pushing at my soles to help lift my legs when I walked.

The system has a computer, motor, gears, battery and sensors embedded in it so it responds to a person's movements, according to Honda Motor Co.

Pricing and commercial product plans are still undecided.  Japan's No.  2 automaker will begin testing a prototype with its assembly line workers later this month for feedback.

The need for such mechanical help is expected to grow in Japan, which has one of the most rapidly aging societies in the world.

Other companies are also eyeing the potentially lucrative market of helping the weak and old get around.  Japan is among the world's leading nations in robotics technology, not only for industrial use but also for entertainment and companionship.

Earlier this year, Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp.  showed a Segway-like ride it said was meant for old people.

Japanese robot company Cyberdyne has begun renting out in Japan a belted device called HAL, for "hybrid assistive limb," that reads brain signals to help people move about with mechanical leg braces that strap to the legs.

Honda has shown a similar but simpler belted device.  It has motors on the left and right, which hook up to frames that strap at the thighs, helping the walker maintain a proper stride.

That device, being tested at one Japanese facility, helps rehabilitation programs for the disabled, encouraging them to take steps, said Honda official Kiyoshi Aikawa.
Honda has been carrying out research into mobility for more than a decade, introducing the Asimo humanoid in 2000.

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NEWS / MAFIA SUSPECT ARRESTED DURING LIPOSUCTION
« on: November 07, 2008, 07:19:47 PM »
Soon after the alleged mobster woke up in a private Italian clinic following liposuction surgery, he discovered he had lost a lot more than weight.

After a year on the run, Domenico Magnoli, 27, finally lost his liberty when he discovered the well-wishers surrounding his bed were police officers, who promptly arrested him, investigators and health officials said Friday.

The plainclothes officers posed as visitors and carried flowers and boxes of chocolates to greet Magnoli after an operation to remove fat from his thighs and stomach late Thursday, Sky TG24 TV reported.

Magnoli had just woken when he was arrested, said Vincenzo Greco, health director of the private La Madonnina clinic, at Calabria, southern Italy.  Greco confirmed that officers did not wear their police uniforms.

Paramilitary Carabinieri police in Cosenza said that Magnoli was arrested on a French warrant for alleged drug trafficking.  Police said Magnoli, born in Cannes, has links to the Piromalli crime clan in the 'ndrangheta syndicate.  He had been a fugitive for about a year.

The 'ndrangheta is a criminal organization based in Calabria which operates cocaine and other drug trafficking rings between South America and Western Europe, and which has outstripped the Sicilian Mafia in power, prosecutors say.
Greco said Magnoli had liposuction six months earlier with the same surgeon at another clinic.

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NEWS / Ribadu yet to receive demotion letter
« on: November 07, 2008, 07:17:14 PM »
As the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, battles in court to revert his demotion from Assistant Inspector-General of Police to Deputy Commissioner of Police, indications are rife that he may not have been served with a demotion letter.

Our correspondents gathered on Thursday from a reliable source that the Police Service Commission bungled the process of serving the letter on Ribadu and is now in quandary on how to do so.

The former EFCC chief was on August 6, 2008 demoted alongside 139 policemen on the orders of the PSC for what it called, irregular promotions.

Ribadu went to Federal High Court in Lagos on October 29 to also stop the police authorities from preventing his graduation from the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies where he is a participant of Course 30.  The graduation comes up on November 22.

The respondents to the matter are the PSC, the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

It was learnt that with the court action, the issue of serving Ribadu the letter might have been foreclosed for now.

A source said that the PSC had initially sent the letter to the NIPSS unsealed with the instruction that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr.  Mike Okiro, should first endorse and hand it over to Ribadu.

He claimed that the letter was sent to NIPSS without the IG?s endorsement, leading to its rejection by the management of NIPSS.

On realising the mistake, the letter was reportedly sent back to the PSC, which instructed the suspended acting Director-General, Dr.  Yakubu Sankey, to endorse it in front of Ribadu and ensure that he received it.

A copy of the endorsed letter, according to him, was to be sent back to the PSC.

He claimed that the plan was that with the endorsed letter, some policemen would be sent to the NIPSS to forcibly pull Ribadu out of the course.

Our source said that when the emissaries arrived in the NIPSS, Sankey sent for Ribadu but learnt that he was out of the premises.

Sankey was said to have told those that brought the letter that since the instruction was that he should endorse it in front of Ribadu and hand over his own copy to him, he could not do so in his (Ribadu) absence.

With the non-receipt of the letter by Ribadu, police authorities are now apprehensive on which ceremonial dress Ribadu would adorn during the graduation ceremony.

It is the normal practice that officers from the armed forces, police and para-military organisations adorn their ceremonial uniforms on such occasions.

The apprehension was further heightened by the fact that Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan could be the guest of honour in his capacity as the supervising officer of the NIPSS.

It was gathered that the authorities were of the opinion that the embarrassment would be unprecedented even if the vice-president were to be represented by someone.

It was further learnt that the whole issue borders on the politics being played on Ribadu?s demotion by the office of the IG and the PSC.

Our correspondents gathered that though Ribadu?s demotion was carried out by the PSC, it wanted to pass the buck to the IG by ensuring that the letter was sent to Ribadu through his office.

Meanwhile, a source close to Ribadu said that there was no way he would not graduate from NIPSS as he had already defended his thesis.

When one of our correspondents visited the NIPSS on Thursday, most of the participants were not in the premises as they were said to be awaiting their graduation ceremony.

When contacted on the telephone on Thursday, the PSC chairman, Mr.  Parry Osayande, declined comments on the grounds that Ribadu had gone to court over his demotion.

But a member of the PSC, Ms.  Comfort Obi, said that Ribadu was aware of his demotion.

Obi, who spoke on the telephone with one of our correspondents, said that a letter was written to Ribadu through the acting DG of NIPSS, asking him (Ribadu) to revert to his appropriate rank of DCP.

Besides, she wondered if the former EFCC chairman could present any letter from the PSC stating that he had been promoted to the rank of AIG.

She said, ?A letter was written to him like all those demoted.  He knows this and he would not deny it.  A letter was written to him via the acting DG of NIPSS, he knows.  Ask him, does he have a letter written to him by the PSC which promoted him to the rank of AIG?

?This is because every officer duly promoted by the commission is given a letter to that effect. ?

Efforts made to speak with the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr.  Agberebi Akpoebi, on the matter failed but a source at the Force Headquarters corroborated Obi?s claim.

He said that all the demoted officers, including Ribadu, were served with signals on their demotion.

Meanwhile, the League for Human Rights on Thursday called on the Federal Government to provide protection for the former EFCC chairman and his family.

The Acting Director of the league, Mr.  Shamaki Gad-Peter, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in Jos, Plateau State, said Ribadu?s ordeal was a blur on the country?s anti- corruption efforts.

?If anything happens to him, it will be very sad.  People like him should be encouraged,? he said.

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NEWS / IT WILL BE HARD TO CREATE JOBS
« on: November 07, 2008, 07:14:22 PM »
NEW YORK (CNNMoney. com) -- Here's the challenge facing President-elect Barack Obama as he weighs how to create more jobs: another half-million jobs likely will be lost between now and Inauguration Day.

That's not even counting the 200,000 jobs that economists believe employers trimmed last month, according to estimates from Briefing. com.  The October jobs report will be released this Friday. 

The unemployment rate is expected to climb to 6. 3% from 6. 1% and match the worst reading of the decade.  And economists all seem to agree the worst is yet to come. 

At some point next year the unemployment rate is forecast to pass 7%, a level not seen since 1993.

And monthly job losses of 200,000 or more are expected to become the norm, not the exception, as the full impact of the credit crisis is felt more keenly on Main Street.

Economists generally believe there's little Obama can do to stop more job losses in the short-term, even if he's able to get a new economic stimulus package passed by the lame-duck Congress and signed into law by President Bush.

"Superman couldn't change what's in store for the U. S.  economy.  It's going to be ugly," said Rich Yamarone, director of economic research at Argus Research.

Andrew Reina, a practice director for the staffing firm Ajilon Finance Solutions, said caution has become the watchword for companies making hiring decisions because of uncertainty about business conditions. 

Even if they aren't cutting jobs, they're likely leaving more positions open this year and could push back hiring plans for 2009 until later in the year.  Reina agrees that President-elect Obama won't be able to change that outlook in the near term.

"It's an uphill battle.  He's going to have a lot of work on his hands early on," he said.
Big Three eyes help to save jobs

One of the immediate questions facing the Obama administration is what help, if any, to extend to the battered U. S.  automakers, who may seek the same kind of financial help that banks and Wall Street firms have received recently.  General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) issued a statement Wednesday suggesting it is looking forward to that kind of help from that the new administration.

"GM welcomes President-elect Obama's pledge to support our nation's domestic auto industry in its ongoing efforts to transform its business and develop new technologies," the company said.  "This support will enable a competitive U. S.  industry to contribute significantly to our nation's economic revival. "

The Center for Automotive Research, a Michigan think tank, issued a study Wednesday that showed 2. 5 million jobs could be lost in the next year if GM, Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500) and Chrysler were forced by the downturn to shutdown half of their U. S.  plants.

"To permit any of the Detroit Three manufacturers to collapse would scar the U. S.  economy further at a time when it can ill afford another blow," said David Cole, CAR's chairman.  "The likelihood of one or two of the Detroit Three manufacturers ending operations is very real. "

But many of those plants could be lost even if government help is made available, especially if auto sales stay weak and credit to car buyers and dealers remain tight.

Along those lines, experts say that worries about the economy, not necessarily policy changes from Obama, will keep employers from adding staff.  Even those who expect some kind of stimulus plan getting past Congress say more job losses are already certain.

"I think businesses are going to do what they're going to do, regardless of government policy, at least over the next six months," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Economy. com, who forecasts job losses between 150,000 and 200,000 a month over the next six months.
Recovery not likely until 2010

Another economist suggested that the positive effects from a stimulus package would not be felt until spring or early summer 2009 at the earliest and that there would be no significant job gains until 2010.

"Classically, employment is a lagging indicator that will decline well into the recovery period," Brian Bethune chief U. S.  financial economist for research firm Global Insight.  "Assuming the recession lasts until middle of 2009, it may be another six to eight beyond that before employment stabilizes. "

This doesn't mean that Obama is powerless to help create jobs for the longer-term.  And economists say things could be worse if the new administration makes the wrong decisions. 

Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wachovia, said unemployment could rise as high as 8. 5% in the first quarter of 2010 if Congress does approve help for state and local governments and move ahead on public works projects as part of a stimulus package.

Vitner also is worried that employers will pull back on hiring even more if they sense that an Obama administration will make it easier for unions to organize non-union companies. 

But he doesn't believe either Obama or the congressional Democrats will actually push an anti-business agenda.

Much of the current job weakness stems from credit tightening, which makes it more difficult for large and small businesses to get the financing they need to expand and hire more workers.

But Vitner said there is relatively little that either Obama or the current Bush administration will be able to do to get banks and Wall Street firms lending again, despite talk about pushing financial institutions to use the $700 billion in federal help to start making loans. 

"Banks will continue to tighten until we see an improvement in credit quality.  That's 18 months to two years away," Vitner said.  "The credit cycle has to play out.  You can't legislate lending. "

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NEWS / FASHOLA MEETS WITH VICTIM OF NAVAL BRUTALITY
« on: November 07, 2008, 07:11:19 PM »
The Lagos State Governor, Mr.  Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday, said he would ensure that justice was done to 27-year-old Miss Uzoma Okere, who was battered by six naval ratings attached to one Rear Admiral Harry Arogundade, in Lagos on Monday.

Fashola, who said he was deeply moved by the unfortunate incident, was full of apology when he received the lady in his office on Thursday.

He also promised to raise the issue with President Umaru Yar?Adua, to ensure that justice was done.

The governor said the state government would provide her with every legal backing to ensure that she got justice.

The Lagos State governor said although he had not heard from military authorities, he did not think there was any act of provocation that could have justified the magnitude of what had happened.

Fashola said: ?Even though this is not an act of the Lagos State Government, I will first of all apologise to you.  Those of us who exercise authority in the state who owe it a responsibility to protect you have actually turned against you.  I am sorry. ?

?This matter has been brought to my attention by e-mails, and postings on the Internet on what took place.  I can assure you that our democracy will protect you.  You will get justice.

?I have summoned the Solicitor-General of the state and Head of Office of Public Defender, they will go out with you.  They will continue to advise you.  Whatever legal assistance you will require, the state government will provide it for you.  I will make representation to Mr.  President and all the reports I get from the Ministry of Justice, I will pass it to him.  I am sure that he will do justice to it?.

The governor, who noted that though the wheel of justice might turn slowly, assured her that ?this one will be different, I don?t think that any act of provocation could have justified what I have seen and of course, we need to hear from the other side on what happened. ?

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NEWS / U.N. CHIEF: REBELS 'POISONOUS' FOR CONGO
« on: November 07, 2008, 07:07:25 PM »
U. N.  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday rebels who are fighting government troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo pose "poisonous consequences" for the country amid a worsening humanitarian crisis. 



Ban, who has said he is "deeply concerned" about the violence, told an emergency summit in Nairobi, Kenya, that the continued attacks and instability were worsening the "desperate" situation. 

Congolese President Joseph Kabila was attending the summit along with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Rwanda and Uganda border the volatile North Kivu province in eastern Congo, where most of the fighting is taking place. 

The conflict is driven by unresolved ethnic hatred stemming from the killings of a half-million Tutsis by Hutu militia in Rwanda and Congo's civil wars in 1994.

The United Nations and Human Rights Watch say more than a million people have been displaced by the latest fighting in Congo.  Most went to U. N. -protected camps in Congo, but hundreds of others fled to neighboring countries.

At least 100 civilians have been killed and more than 150 wounded during the past eight weeks, Human Rights Watch says.

Ban called "for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of forces to positions held prior to the resumption of fighting on 28 August," when the latest conflict broke out.

Ban urged all armed groups involved in the fighting to support efforts to find a political solution, and "to avoid activities that result in the further displacement and suffering of the civilian population. "

The head of the U. N.  mission in Congo said at the summit Friday that additional peacekeeping battalions were needed in eastern Congo.  The mission, known by its French acronym MONUC, is already the largest U. N.  peacekeeping force in the world with more than 17,000 troops.

Alan Doss said MONUC has managed to stabilize all but the eastern part of Congo, and he wants additional battalions rapidly deployed to that region.

The presidents of Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, South Africa and the African Union were also at the summit, which comes amid reports of heavy civilian casualties.

Human Rights Watch reported that rebel forces under the command of General Laurent Nkunda and government-backed Mai Mai militias deliberately killed civilians in Kiwanja, in North Kivu, on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The two sides were fighting each other and killed civilians trapped in the conflict zone, Human Rights Watch said.

"Eyewitnesses in Kiwanja told Human Rights Watch that at least 20 persons were killed and another 33 wounded during a battle for the town and in the cleanup operations by Nkunda's forces that followed," the group said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch said U. N.  peacekeepers in the area were unable to protect civilians.

After the rebels re-established control of Kiwanja on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch said, the rebels ordered all 30,000 residents of the town to leave.  They then sought out and killed civilians, particularly men, whom they accused of supporting their enemies, the groups said.

"People in Kiwanja said they heard screams into the night and saw bodies on the streets the following morning," Human Rights Watch said.  One of those killed was a journalist working for a local radio station, the group said.

Witnesses said Mai Mai militias targeted civilians in Kiwanja, including those they accused of supporting Nkunda's forces, Human Rights Watch said.

"The killing of civilians, the destruction of camps, and the forced return of displaced people are all war crimes," said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.  "Nkunda and Mai Mai commanders should immediately order their troops to stop committing such horrible abuses and hold to account those commanders who are responsible. "

The fighting broke out at the end of August between the Congolese army and Nkunda's rebel forces.  The conflict is complicated by outside forces and a variety of armed groups fighting both the government and each other.

Some analysts say Rwanda is Nkunda's principal supporter.  Rwanda denies that, and for several years has been asking for the disarming of Rwandan Hutu rebels, many of whom are in eastern Congo.

The summit comes a year after another meeting in Nairobi, at which the Congolese and Rwandan governments signed a joint communique to resolve the issue of Rwandan Hutu rebels.


In the communique, they agreed that illegal armed groups were a threat to their countries and the region, and they agreed to take military and nonmilitary action to eliminate that threat.
The countries also agreed to stop arming, financing, or supporting armed groups in any way.

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