Monday, 28 April 2008

NITEL on the Brink of Collapse?

The Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ernest Ndukwe, has warned that Nigeria Telecommunication company(Nitel) may lose its operational licence next month.

Ndukwe said the fate of the telecom company would be determined by decisions to be taken at next month’s board meeting of the Nigeria’s telecom regulatory agency.

According to the NCC boss, Nitel has failed to live up the expectations of the regulatory body and the Nigerian people; clearly indicating insufficient capacity to live up to its licence obligations, giving way to the likelihood of a seizure of its licence and transfer of same to another operator with capacity to operate the network.

Nitel staff recently went on strike to protest the non-payment of salaries, running into months. Last year, the NCC gave warning that it would revoke Nitel’s licence as it has failed to meet its obligations.

The striking workers shut down SAT-3, the undersea marine cable that connects Nigeria to other Africa African countries and the rest of the world.

Striking workers also closed down the private telecom operators (PTOs) Room in Lagos that provides local interconnectivity to telecom operators forcing many networks to seek alternative and costly pipes to re-route their calls.

But many operators were simply confined to making calls only within their own networks as they could not make a re-route outside the PTOs Room.

Nitel is already back to the auction room after several attempt to sell it in the past has failed. It was last sold to Transcorp which currently has a controlling stake in excess of 50 per cent in the telcom company.

But since its handover to Transcorp, a conglomerate owned by persons believed to be business cronies of Nigeria’s immediate ex President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nitel has fallen into worst season, failing to make fresh rollouts and sustain its existing network properly.

Its network has gone from about 450,000 land lines to less than 50,000, though the company is officially putting the figure at about 100,000.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

South Africa attacks on Nigerians

The Senate has urged the Federal Government to issue a travel alert to Nigerians on South Africa.

The senate has also urged Nigerians to be security-conscious in South Africa.

The Senate has directed its Committee on Foreign Affairs to investigate the alleged attacks on Nigerians in South Africa and report back to it within two weeks.

Moving the motion earlier, Mrs. Grace Bent had noted the protracted and unabated intimidation, brutalisation and cases of robbery and sundry attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

She said hoodlums usually dispossessed Nigerians arriving in South Africa of their valuables after trailing them from the airport to their destinations.

This is coming on the heels of a recent attack on former first lady

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Vision 2020

President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua yesterday inaugurated the National Council and the National Steering Committee on Vision 2020, saying that the event marks the beginning of a new dawn in Nigeria's development aspirations.

The development came as the Speaker of the House of Representatives warned that the on-going battle against corruption must be won for the vision to be achieved.

The Vision 2020 is aimed at making Nigeria one of the top 20 economies by the year 2020.

Lamenting Nigeria's unsuccessful attempts at long-term strategic planning and that long-term visioning process had not yielded substantial benefits over the years.

I hope this will not turn to another 'talk and no action'.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Turaki's Billions

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused former Jigawa State Governor Saminu Turaki of spending N36 billion of public fund to acquire oil blocks from the Federal Government.

Turaki, now a senator, is being tried by a Federal High Court in Abuja for alleged abuse of office, corrupt enrichment and money laundering.

The commission, in an affidavit, alleged that Turaki used his companies, INC Natural Resources Ltd, Arkel Construction Nig. Ltd and Wildcat Construction Ltd and his younger brother, Bashir, to siphon the funds.

The commission averred that the bank was deducting the said loan from statutory allocations meant for the state, until billions of Naira had been deducted.

How about the billions he allegedly used in sponsoring the failed third term bid of former president Olusegun Obasanjo?

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Falconets Air Crash Survival

Eighteen members of the national Under-20 female football team and 121 other passengers aboard a Cameroun-bound aircraft escaped death on Wednesday as the pilot made an emergency landing at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State.

It was learnt that the Boeing 737 aircraft belonging to Virgin Nigeria developed some fault less than an hour after it took off from the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos.

Stampede ensued immedaitely the plane, marked 5N –VND, touched down and started taxiing along the runway.

Some of the passengers who allegedly attempted to jump down from the moving aircraft were said to have sustained various degrees of injuries.

Reports say the pilot of the aircraft which was scheduled to make a stop-over in Port Harcourt before proceeding to Duala, Cameroun, had announced that he was going to make an emergency landing because one of his engines had malfunctioned.

The pilot reportedly made the announcement after contacting the authorities of the Port Harcourt International Airport and asking that the fire department be put on the alert.

Ambulances were deployed to evacuate the passengers on board. But the people were not patient enough for the plane to stop taxiing before they tried to force their ways out. Some of those who got down in a hurry sustained injuries.

I saw the falconets yesterday at the airport which made this news so shocking to me cos barely a few hours before the unfortunate incident i had exchanged pleasantries with them.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Yar'Adua's Illness

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was yesterday flown out to Wiesbaden, Germany, for medical attention.

According to Special Adviser to the President (Communications), Olusegun Adeniyi, Yar’Adua was billed to see his private physician for a medical review of an ailment believed to be due to an allergic reaction.

AReports say the ill-health of the President accounted for the low key ceremony at the signing of the budget. It was learnt that the event was held at the President’s residence.

Sources also said the President put off a trip to Katsina owing to his ill-health.

Also affected was his planned trip to Dakar, Senegal, yesterday. The President was billed to attend a meeting of Heads of Government and State on the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

Last Wednesday, Adeniyi had said the President would leave for Dakar soon after signing the budget. He was scheduled to be back in the country Tuesday night.

Work at the State House yesterday was slow-paced, as aides to the President looked disturbed.

There were concerns over the President’s health, even before he got into office last year. In March 2007, in the thick of electioneering, he was shuffled abroad for medical attention amidst rumours of his death.

The president just has to get better so we don't go back to the dark days of politricking.

Monday, 14 April 2008

2008 Budget

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua will today, sign the 2008 Appropriation Bill into law.

The N2.748 trillion Appropriation Bill had suffered three set-backs.

The first delay was caused by the National Assembly when both chambers passed different figures and had to harmonise their figures before forwarding it to the President for his assent.

Yar'Adua however returned the harmonised bill with a letter asking the National Assembly to reconsider eight observations raised by him.

He also refused to sign the bill after the legislature had reviewed the budget in line with his request.

The National Assembly had threatened to override the president's veto but the process was stopped by the Senate President, Senator David Mark.

This is a good news as all those contractors giving excuses of non-passage of budget can get cracking.

Friday, 11 April 2008

FCT House Probe

The general counsel of the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA), Mal-lam Mohammed Alkali yesterday told the Senate Committee probing the sale of Federal Government houses and property in Abuja that the el-Rufai administration in the FCT destroyed over 75,000 houses and other public property.

The Committee also yesterday heard from the Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FC-DA), Engineer Mohammed Al-Hassan that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua halted a $10 million concessioning deal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to Abuja Gateway Consortium.

The concession process began under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Alkali described the actions of the FCTA under Malam Nasir el-Rufai, the immediate past minister in charge of FCT as lawless and irresponsible.

The senate is definitely getting close to its target...just a matter of days before they launch their salvo.

Thursday, 10 April 2008


The first daughter of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has become so popular recently. You hardly pick up any local newspaper or magazie, watch the television or listen to the news on radio without the mention of her name.
She has been associated with all forms of allegations bothering on corruption etc.
Iyabo has remained defiant and shown that she is a woman of character cos i expected her to have 'fainted' or cried openly to show her disgust with the media barage.
This brings me to the allegations against her. While not holding brief for her, i want to look at the allegations based on its merit.
Why is she being singled out for prosecution when in real fact the contentious N10 million was used to fund the senate committee on health trip to Ghana? Is it because she chairs the committee?
Are people 'chassing' her about because she is Obasanjo's daughter and must pay for her father's sins?
I hope an opportunity can be created for her to give her own version of the lorry-load of allegations against her.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Unlimited Corruption

Each day i pick up the Nigerian dailies am conronted with reports bothering on corruption. This has not really bothered me so much cos this is not the first time am reading reports bothering on allegations of corruption.
But the most disturbing aspect is that corruption seems to have come to stay; now a societal norm. Or else how can you explain why people see cheating as a way of life...nobody seems to listen whenever people complain of being cheated.
I was at the Lagos airport to purchase a flight ticket for a friend going to Port Harcourt and armed with my N16,000 i was i will get a seat. I was astonished when the passenger before me was asked to pay extra N1000 and she did without complaining. When it got to my turn, the cashier asked me to pay N20,000 and get a receipt of N16,000 or else i wont get a ticket. I was astonished and attempted to create a scene there but no one cared to listen. While i was still complaining the passenger next to me paid N20,000 and got a receipt of N16,000 cos he wants to 'meet up with his appointment'.
I had no choice than to leave the counter and head for another airline where i eventually got a ticket at the right price but had to pay the price for not 'cooperating' by wasting 2 hours before my friend's flight took off a few minutes ago.
Am writing this piece from the local wing of Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, and i wish i can ask all passnegers on the queue to purchase tickets can log in and read my blog lines.
Am ashamed that this chronic problem (corruption) has continued to defy all forms of solutions.
Where do we go from here?

Monday, 7 April 2008

Judicial Corruption?

Investigations have revealed that some of the election petitions tribunals may have compromised their integrity as a whopping N2.3bn was allegedly paid to them in two states to pervert justice.

About N1.5bn was said to have been paid into certain bank accounts for tribunal members in one of the states in the South-South geo-political zone.

Also, N800m was allegedly paid into another bank account for tribunal members in one of the states in the North-West zone.

The allegation of graft against some tribunals came just as the House of Representatives Committee on Justice had written to the Nigerian Bar Association, soliciting its partnership in maintaining the sanctity of the judicial process.

States and identities of the judges involved in the alleged scandal have not been established.

Sources say that bank statements, showing how the N2.3bn was lodged, were attached as evidence to petitions sent to appropriate institutions.

If these allegations are established those involved should be disgraced out of office for plotting to derail the nation's democracy.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Ribadu's Award

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) has selected the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu for the Jit Memorial Award for Outstanding Public Service.

The award is in recognition of Ribadu's contributions to the campaign against financial crimes in Nigeria.

Ribadu is expected to attend a reception and dinner organised by the World Bank at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

Ribadu successfully waged a comprehensive war against official sleaze leading to the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of top government officials including governors, ministers, former leaders of the National Assembly and former Inspector General of Police.

This is indeed a good reward for all the 'stress' he has gone through in months past.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Airports Privatisation

Workers in the aviation industry have issued a 21-day strike notice to the Federal Government to shelve plans to privatise the country’s airports and engage the workers in dialogue or face shut down of the aviation sector.

The workers under the aegis of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) gave the notice yesterday during a three-hour protest at the premises of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The Minister of State for Air Transportation, Felix Hyat, had while receiving the report of the Presidential Committee on Airport Rehabilitation and Privatisation on Tuesday said the Federal Government would consult stakeholders including the workers before taking a final decision on the issue.

Is this the solution to the problems in the aviation sector?

Any news on the missing aircraft or the non-radar coverage of our airports?

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Disturbing News Bits


Barely 24 hours after he was declared missing, Edo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation Mr Calus Enoma was found yesterday – stone dead.

The commissioner’s body was found in a chalet at Precious Palm Royal Hotel at Ugbowo, on the outskirts of Benin-City. He was reportedly last seen alive on Friday. The state government declared him missing on Sunday.

Enoma’s body was said to have been found naked in his hotel suite with a deep mark on his forehead, and blood stains on the bed. The body has been deposited in a mortuary. The police say they have begun investigation into the death.


OF the 21 airports in the country, only two have limited radar coverage, raising the possibility of air crashes and missing planes.

They are the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

A Beechcraft 1900D which disappeared over two weeks ago in the mountainous region of Obudu Ranch is yet to be found due to lack of equipment.

Reports say the limited radar coverage accounted for the difficulty in locating the sites of air crashes in the country.

It was gathered that the aviation industry had been using the radar facility installed in nine locations since 1979.


Agriculture and Water Resources Minister, Dr Sayadi Ruma, lamented the country’s inability to produce sufficient food for its teeming populace.

He arguing that Nigeria was yet to guarantee food security, he said national food security is of paramount importance to his ministry.

The minister pointed out that Rice among other stable foods could not be produced at a larger quantity.


Twenty nine persons, including Senator Bala Adamu Kariya, the former Special Adviser on local governments to former Bauchi State Governor Adamu Muazu, have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

They were arrested over an unaccounted for N8 billion belonging to the Department of Local Government (DLG).

The money was said to have been unaccounted for between 1999 and 2002.