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03/02/11

Permalink 04:35:17 am, by lateef lawal, 622 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News
*Nigeria: AON Opposes Transfer Of GAT To Arik Air

-Says Domestic Airline Will Not Move to MMA2

By Lateef Lawal

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has vehemently opposed the directive from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) demanding move of all domestic airlines operating at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) to MMA2, Lagos.

The AON also opposed the planned take over of GAT by Arik Air, as the body is of the view that it would amount to granting an illegal right to Arik against other airlines. These views were contained in a position paper jointly signed by the Chairman of AON, Dr Steve Mahonwu and the General Secretary, Captain Mohammed Joji. ( Continues below..... )

Airborne Plane

Photo Above: An Airborne Plane

The full text of the AON’s position paper titled, General Aviation Terminal(GAT)-Unprecedented Scandal In The Aviation Industry, AON says Categorical No!, is published below:

“On the 8th of February 2011, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria instructed all airlines operating in the General Aviation Terminal except Arik Airlines to move their passenger check in activities to MMA2. In effect, FAAN wants to clear other airlines from GAT for the use of Arik Airlines.

“As the umbrella body for airlines in Nigeria, we want to make it unequivocally clear that we reject this move as immoral, illegal and unconstitutional. Such a proposal could only have been made by a body totally lacking in conscience or any form of integrity.

“We have always made it clear that there should be a clear distinction between a terminal operator and an airline operator in order to prevent a conflict of interest that could stifle the entire industry. At all stages we had resisted any attempt to allow Arik Airlines build its own terminal because we appreciate that the airline’s motive on this topic is driven by interest inimical to the growth of the aviation industry in Nigeria.

“GAT is not available to FAAN to give to Arik. There is a valid and subsisting judgment of the court handing over the GAT to Messrs Bi-courtney Limited, Arik’s attempt to overturn the court decision has failed at all levels of courts. Even, Supreme Court of Nigeria refused an application by Arik and its cohorts to restrain the transfer of GAT to Bi-courtney Limited.

“ Two heads of State, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR and Alhaji Umar Musa Yar’Adua GCFR have examined the issues and come to the conclusion that Arik is not entitled to GAT and that consistent with the agreement with Bi-courtney Limited, all scheduled domestic flights from Lagos must emanate from MMA2 or a terminal controlled by Messrs Bi-courtney.

“ On the instruction of FAAN and NCAA, Bi-courtney made GAT usable by building a temporary apron where all disused aircraft in the GAT were transferred so that the company could take over the use of the GAT. Is FAAN not aware of elementary principle of estoppel in law, which prevents any person from reneging from the understandings reached especially when the other party acting on the understanding has altered its position.

”We must as Nigerians put an end to this culture of impunity, which the Ministry of Aviation and FAAN is fast becoming. No airline should move from GAT. Government must comply with the law. We must not allow a selfish minority to trample on the rights of the majority and the good of the Nigerian aviation industry, understanding reached especially when the other party acting on the understanding has altered its position”.

FAAN logo On A Nigerian Map in Nigerian Flag  Colours

Photo Above: FAAN logo On A Nigerian Map in Nigerian Flag Colours

Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)

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03/01/11

Permalink 04:29:01 pm, by knuckles5050, 531 words   ng-NG
Categories: News
*The Agony of The Nigerian Worker…suffering in the midst of plenty

By Charles M. Oluchukwu

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. .......Martin L. King Junior

Talk about freedom, certain quarters of the society see freedom as only political for as such they benefit, but individual freedom stems from first being economically free; this economic freedom definitely will guarantee politico-social freedom, which in turn will engender better living standards…access to qualitative education, shelter, mobility and such things that make life worth living for humans. ( Continues below….. )

Nigeria National Assembly Complex

Photo Above: Nigeria National Assembly Complex

Today the upper chamber of the Nigerian Federal legislative house have finally but unceremoniously passed the recent minimum wage bill, many today celebrate such as a landmark, (well in a country where legislators are but prebendalists) but they failed to actually find out the true state of the Nigerian worker viz a viz the current living standard occasioned by high cost of living and sporadic inflation which increases geometrically.

No thanks to the senate deputy president who asserted thus: “today is a happy day because we have shown that we are conscious of the sufferings of our people. This country is rich enough to cater for everybody if we avoid the avarices of some few people”. Because we and them already know that Nigeria is endowed with abundant material and human resources, it is only bad governance and parasitic political office holders that deprive our people of better living standard.

Nigeria happens to be a state where we import what we have (petroleum products) and export what we do not have (democracy). We have a decayed system, a state where the economic minister will deplete the national reserve in the face of booming oil price and sales (what will he do when oil prices fall), a country where excess crude oil revenue is shared between the central and subordinate governments instead of saving for the evil days, a state that have failed for decades to build refineries but rather choose to import finished products of resources they have in abundance at extremely high cost. The list is inexhaustible.. ( Continues below….. )

Map of Nigeria

Photo Above: Nigerian Naira Notes

The Nigerian worker has nothing to be happy about as the forces of demand and supply are still in existence, after all both federal and state owned universities have increased school fees, where will these workers start from, is it the high cost of building materials for them to have a roof over their heads or the school fees of their wards that they will pay with N18,000. Thank God its minimum wage, and it will be possibly the minimum person in the minimum wager home that it will take care of.

The agony of the Nigerian worker is unending expecially in the face of these parasitic governments and their cronies.

Charles M. Oluchukwu ( knuckles5050@yahoo.com ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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Permalink 06:41:21 am, by lateef lawal, 447 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News
*Nigeria: A Lee Way Out On Airlines' Accumulated Debts

By Olu Ohunayo

On all paper and paperless tickets, it is clearly stated that "this taxes or charges are owned by different agencies", though collected on their behalf as obtained in other climes. The only difference is while in other climes, the taxes and charges are remitted regularly or on agreed terms; in Nigeria the reverse is the case.

We love "playing with other people's money", thereafter they will run to the Ministry of Aviation, Presidency, etc for protection and intervention when its time to pay up. The Presidency should realise that such intervention is a clear case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. FAAN and related organizations must work out modalities of getting these charges as quickly as possible. ( Continues below..... )

FAAN logo On A Nigerian Map in Nigerian Flag  Colours

Photo Above: FAAN logo On A Nigerian Map in Nigerian Flag Colours

In fact, collection of such charges before an aircraft departs will not be a bad idea due to the embarrassing backlog of debts. The action will inadvertently aid the efficient management of our airlines as they will be tempted into dipping hands into such monies collected on behalf of the Agencies, while also working assiduously towards improving revenue from other ancillary options.

We should also understand that the airline industry is usually funded and dependent on loans to meet immediate and future operational targets, while revenue generated are used to service these loans, run operational expenses and also act as necessary liquidity during adverse periods. If taxes and charges are to be used at all, it is temporal with clear understanding of other parties. ( Continues below..... )

Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport,  Abuja, Nigeria.

Photo Above: Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria.

The airlines should pay for their services and should equally demand for compensations when the service providers’ actions or in-actions affect or slow down their operations. The BAA chief executive, Colin Matthews instigated an inquiry into the airport shutdown last month.

He also agreed to forgo his annual bonus during the public outcry that culminated in flight delays and Virgin Atlantic was even bold enough to announce that it will hold BAA charges in its possession until a form of compensation was worked out.

It is a lesson for us all to be bold enough to accept responsibility and listen to public outcry. The agencies should also consider reducing their present charges which is not reflective of market realities while also waiving a certain percentage of these charges or taxes collected by the airlines, just as they have done with concessionaires, EFCC and other debt retrieving partners.

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02/28/11

Permalink 08:29:00 am, by admin Email , 551 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News

*Buhari Accorded Distinguished Women's Award In The U.S.

By Masterweb News Desk

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Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), former Nigeria Head of State and presidential candidate of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the forthcoming elections, was accorded distinguished women's honour in the U.S. yesterday. The award "Legacy Ambassadors Award" by American Association of University Women (AAUW) NYC Branch, was received on behalf of Buhari by Mohammed M. Shehu (popularly known as MB Shehu), an activist and member of Buhari Campaign Organization.

The award ceremony which kicked-off at 3.00 pm at AAUW beautiful historic Victorian Italianate Brownstone, located in the Murray Hill Historic District of Manhattan, at 111 East 37th Street, New York, USA, was well attended by distinguished guests. The Brownstone helped the New York Murray Hill district attain historic status on U.S. national registry in 2003. Eleanor Roosevelt (ex-U.S. first lady and mother of human rights) attended the opening ceremony of Brownstone Founders' Day, June 1, 1949, and signed AAUW NYC Branch Golden Book. ( Continues below….. )

Muhammadu Buhari

Photo Above: Muhammadu Buhari

Masterweb gathered, the reason for AAUW's distinguished leadership award to Buhari, was based on his well documented track records. In AAUW words: "Specifically, during his tenure as the Head of State of Nigeria, his government was the first to decree affirmative action for women, mandating that women should be part of the policy making in all states of the country, thereby producing female commissioners in all states in the country and implementing the affirmative action at the federal level at an optimal scale. His government banned underage marriage, empowering young girls in communities where girls as young as age 12 were married away to men old enough to be their grandfathers. As a candidate in Nigerian Presidential elections over the years, his commitment to the cause of empowering women and girls continues. His current political party, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), is the only known party that has waived membership fee and party primary form fee (processing fee) for women to empower them to run for legislative offices."

The award certificate in appreciation of Buhari's contributions in advancing equity and education for women and girls was signed by AAUW New York Branch president where the award ceremony took place.

General Muhammadu Buhari

Photo Above: VENUE: Abuja, DATE: December 9, 2010 - Buhari displays a clenched fist (PMM symbol) during his declaration of his intention to stand for the 2011 presidential election.

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02/24/11

Permalink 05:03:00 pm, by kali Email , 769 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, World News

*Nigeria: Sanusi & Western Economic Theories

By Kali Gwegwe

When Nigeria's Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi tried stampeding the federal government into removing fuel subsidy based mainly on some western economic theories, I had strongly criticized his action. Some even called me names. My argument was that no nation should make the mistake of swallowing any western economic theory hook, line, and sinker. This was based on the fact that every nation- especially the developed west has the dirty habit of sabotaging the economies of other nations in order to strengthen theirs.

No doubt, this culture of "economic interest" has led to serious conflicts between nations. Economic interest was the foundational cause of the cold war between the former Soviet Union and the United States. Even with the collapse of communism, the "economic war" has not ended. The battle now is between Beijing and Washington. It is surely about economic interests. It would therefore be suicidal for any nation to follow western institutions blindly like most western trained economic and financial experts do. ( Continues below….. )

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Photo Above: Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

In one of my books, "Western Democrats in Glass Parliament" (http://i-proclaimbookstore.com/wedeinglpa.html), I have argued that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are all instruments used by western countries to destroy the economies of weak nations so as to have them (developing countries)rely on the developed west for everything, including political leadership. The developed nations are known to have deliberately used international institutions to mislead African governments in the near and far pasts to economic policies that are mostly aimed at subtly breeding poverty and socio-political tensions. The Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), frequent calls for the devaluation of national currency, and pressure to withdraw fuel subsidy are a few examples.

Unknown to many African governments, most developed countries in the west still subsidize critical sectors of their national economy. For instance, agricultural subsidies alone accounts for more than 40% of the total budget of the EU. This has not only helped the agro-allied sector to grow; it has equally promoted food security in the EU. The message here is that, subsidy is not as bad as is being painted by the IMF and World bank here. ( Continues below….. )

Nigerian Naira Notes

Photo Above: Nigerian Naira Notes

One cannot understand why Lamido Sanusi would close his eyes and ears to the weak purchasing power of the average citizen and pressurize the Nigerian federal government to withdraw fuel subsidy simply because western economic theory support its removal. Apart from his argument that a few persons in the petroleum industry were abusing the subsidy regime, he had also revealed that some marketers were taking advantage of the high cost of petroleum products in neighboring countries to smuggle petrol, thereby creating scarcity. As far as I know, it is not yet a crime for the price of fuel in a country to be cheaper than that of neighboring countries. Going by the arguments of the CBN, it is like asking the mostly poor Nigerian populace to pay heavily for the "sins" of security agencies and other corrupt officials in the nation's petroleum industry.

Before now, the CBN has been quick to compare the cost of petrol in Nigeria with those of the United States and other western countries. Often times, the leadership of the CBN and other formulators of the nation's fiscal policies forget to remember that Nigerian workers are not earning the equivalent of what their contemporaries in the developed west do. This is one good reason why the CBN or ministry of finance have no justification in comparing the cost of petrol in Nigeria and America, Canada, or Britain. ( Continues below….. )

US Dollar Notes

Photo Above: US Dollar Notes

Many Nigerians were indeed glad when Sanusi Lamido for the first time, ignored the west by rejecting calls for the devaluation of the Naira. Not every economic theory can be applied to every similar situation. An economic policy that is successful in the United States may not work out the same way in Nigeria owing to different factors such as population, culture, technology, or purchasing power.

The CBN and other associate formulators of the nation's fiscal policies must open their eyes and ears very wide. I do hope that the minister of finance, Olusegun Aganga is also listening. Western democrats are meeting in their glass parliament! Their aim? Ask the Russians, Japanese, and Chinese.

Kali Gwegwe writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and can be reached at kali.gwegwe@nigerianfootballpost.com ( 0806 407 4810 )

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Permalink 12:36:15 pm, by zekwueme, 2290 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News
*The Future of Nigeria belongs to the East

-Earmark $200 billion Dollars to rebuild the East

By Azubuike Ekwueme

Be bold and resolute, and mighty forces will come to your aid - Basil King, on overcoming fear Since the end of the civil war, I've prayed for this moment. A moment when God and providence, have heard the prayers of the Easterners in Nigeria. Today, the presidency is in the hands of a another capable Easterner since Ironsi's regime. Indeed, it is fantastic to be alive in 2011, the year of the East. The exhilarating thing about all this, is that all the former members of the former Eastern Region is in full support of the this presidency. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, the owner of the barn, has the yam as well as the knife. Folks, this is our time and it is here to stay.

With good luck and a president named Goodluck, and with the sun still rising from the East, this is the time, our time to tackle our most pernicious and vexing problem - disunity. This aggressive cancer has been left to metastasize and grow since the end of the civil war. We need an equally aggressive treatment to curb it and get rid of it entirely. Therefore, Truth and Reconcilliation summit of all the Eastern States (former Eastern Region) is urgently needed. The heavens could not have aligned itself any better for this august event. With a transformative president, a member of the former Eastern Region, GEA Jonathan, - the Obama of Nigeria, what else could the East be waiting for. President Jonathan will give us his ears, if we ask it of him. ( Continues below….. )

Azubuike Ekwueme

Photo Above: Azubuike Ekwueme (Author of article)

Our Eastern ethnicities, the Igbo, Ibibio, Ijaw, Efik, Oron and others, this initiative is for you. We must rise and come together to implement this peace project. In this bid to repair the damaged Eastern third let of the Nigeria tripod, we must never be seen to be afraid or perceived to be afraid. We, the Eastern democrats are not alone, and will never be alone. We need to listen Basil King, when he advised that; Be bold and resolute, and mighty forces will come to your aid. The East being natural democrats, should entertain no fears whatsoever. Democracies all around the world are waiting for us to begin, waiting for us to just say the word. They do understand that East has been hurt in Nigeria, that Niger Delta had been robbed, decimated, poisoned and irreversibly harmed. They understand that the East had been eviscerated, mocked and dumped. We have friends, we have to have our nerves and our thoughts. Fixing the East

The future of Nigeria could have belonged to the East. But the civil war robbed the East of its future. With its ebullient and hard working citizenry, economic drive, a natural democratic DNA, the old Eastern Region could have become the Dubai of Africa, even without OIL. We could have become the shinning region on a hill. However, that was not to be, we have been robbed. Instead of becoming a Dubai, we've became an Ajegunle conclave. When compared to the Western or Northern Nigeria, Eastern Nigeria has returned to the bush. We were and are still defeated, marginalized and robbed. The East has been denigrated, divided and poisoned. Nigeria milked our OIL and decimated our land. They stole from us and allowed us die hungry in the midst of plenty, in our marshes and creeks. So, they deliberately kicked in the eastern third leg of the stool, and dared us to say a word. Soon, they are down in delta to kill and destroy our villages. Now, we are going to address these problems with a view to fixing the East. This clear-sighted epiphany was imbued in us by our creator, when he made us natural democrats. We have the imprints of Democracy in our DNA. It is a fact.

The time has come for the Igbo ethnic nation to hold hands with Ijaw ethnic nation, Ibibio ethnic nation as well as Efik ethnic nation across the East. Our purpose is to each send a powerful delegation for the unity of the East. Our brother the president, GEA Jonathan will be listening. It is time to fix the broken third leg of our national tripod. This is the time to rebuild the East, all the East. This is the time to uproot the evil tree planted by the last war. Folks, this is what the doctor has ordered. ( Continues below….. )

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

The Delegation

Delegation members will include all the constellations of stars and great men and women of the East. Great names like, Ambassador Uwechue, Pat Utomi, Donald Duke, Rotimi Amaechi, Oyibo Odinanmdu, Gov Akpabio, Gov. S Chime, Gov. Obi, The Obi of Onitsha, The Obi of Asaba, Obi of Agbor, Sen. President Nnamani, Jim Nwobodo and our Catholic, as well as our Protestant Bishops. Let us point them to the reconciliation bar. Let us send these people to President GEA Jonathan to talk unity, unity of all the East. We will fix the East. If necessary, Obama people might be able to help. Fixing the damaged third leg of our tripod is job number one. Tam David West, Edwin Clarke could be invited if they promise to be statesmen in good behavior.

A necessity

Take a look at the INECS statistics of registered voters below. South West Nigeria 15 Million; North East Nigeria 8 Million; North Central 8 Million; South South Nigeria 8 Million; South East Nigeria 7 Million; Total 64 million.

What do you see in the statistics below?

Northern and Western Nigeria are absorbing population from the S/South and S/East at an alarming rate. That is intentional policy to under develop the East, to depopulate the East, and make them inconsequential as a conquered region. The people that fought the war are still paying for it.

Why is fixing the East vitally necessary at this point in time? With respect to time, there can be no better time than now. Jonathan is key. With regards to why, we must uproot the evil tree planted by the defeating army. It has held the East down from real power. This evil has forced us to become second class citizens. We must refuse to become thirsty in a stream of flowing natural water. Nobody has the right to break up the East. They do not have that right. We will take our East back. Nigerian army destroyed the Eastern region and handcuffed our cohesion. They did this not because of the coup majors, but for the sake of OIL. When they got our OIL, they did nothing for us. Instead they built Abuja, and they built Lagos, and nothing in the East. They took the golden eggs from the Eastern goose. As far as I know, before the war, there had been no major instance of misunderstanding between the ethnic communities of the East region. If there were any, they would be very minimal indeed. The East has got be fixed for the future of the East and its people.

$800 BILLION FOR EASTERN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR The people of the East are going to ask the president, Jonathan to literally, drop $800 billion dollars to rebuild the East from the ravages of the civil war. Eastern region has paid an inordinate price for the war it did not cause. This initiative is vitally important for these two reasons;

1. The quickest way to redevelop Nigeria is to help Lagos with its aggravating population density. If we effectively develop the Easter part of Nigeria, the crowd of unemployed youth will evacuate Lagos or Abuja and head for the East. Employment seekers will have another alternative other than Lagos or Abuja.

2. All Southerners and Middle Belt people in the danger zones of Jos, Plateau state, may now relocate to the East, to jobs and to businesses without fear. Depopulating Lagos and Abuja is vital for wider economic development of the nation. High unemployment index in the East, makes "kidnapping" attractive. This initiative will manage our problems and keep it to acceptable levels. Eventually, problems will go away as the things of the past. The East would then bounce back as the beacon region again.

SENEC (Southeast Nigeria Economic Commission) has its work cut out for it. SENEC, hopefully will have done its job of articulating the infrastructural needs of the East. It will have the opportunity to present the EASTERN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR initiatives. These initiatives are for all of the former members of the Eastern Region. You may read more about this initiative in the link below. http://www.nigerdeltacongress.com/oarticles/opening_up_the_nigerian_eastern_.htm ( Continues below….. )

Map of Nigeria

Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states and capital (Abuja or FCT)

This commission will advise and persuade president Jonathan's administration to give the East a much needed infrastructural development. The northerners and Westerners had this odious policy of starve, and humble the East. They blatantly refused to build any infrastructure in the East. Take for instance, the much needed second Niger Bridge at Asaba-Onitsha. This is a federal project for interstate commerce. Because if connected Igbo people across the Niger, it was denied. It took an Easterner, an Ijaw man to make Enugu and international airport. The ethnicities that won the war, that had ruled Nigeria since after the war are bad for the East.

So, from the Onitsha river port to Onne port, from Port Harcourt port, to Calabar port, all the ports in the East will have to be re-developed to the same level as the Lagos ports. Tinapa to a world class destination must be revived. Akanu Ibiam International must be rebuilt to reflect the new status. Enugu Coal mine will have to be resuscitate, and made to provide alternative power source. Mega Mall of the East will replace Onitsha market. Second Niger Bridge, which ostensibly had been a federal neglected project will have to built.

Let us then, ask GEA Jonathan for the first time, to look eastward, and then let it rip. It is time to spend $800 billion dollars, not Naira, to develop the patched, hungry, and marginalized Eastern peoples. The Eastern Airspace, and Eastern ports must be completely up-developed. The north has got theirs. The West has got theirs. It is the time for the East, all the East.

Minorities not to fear

One of the great things that emerged after the war is the 36 states structure . This state structure of Nigeria shall remain inviolable. It gives every ethnicity the sense of belonging. They can now better manage their own people. It has to remain sacrosanct. The states has made each ethnic minority masters of their own domain. There no longer a question of the majority riding rough shod over them. Having own state frees up the East for political, economic cooperation. Such venture will be in the task of creating a fresh ideological based polity. What we are talking about is willful participation in an arbiter summit, to bring the people of the East back together. The East is the fertilized soil from which true Democracy should rise and flower to all Nigerians. We remain the only proto-Republican region in all of Nigeria. We'd hone in on our DNA and become a sub regional Democracy. This is a matter for another day.

A Plea to the Igbo

Umuigbo, in God's name, please do not ridicule this article, or tear it to shreds, do not call anybody any names, do not insult anybody. Let us remember that if the Igbo ever expect to reconcile with our minority brothers and sisters, we must be seen and understood as "not threatening" either with our words or deeds. We, the Igbo must show the world that we are a compassionate people, as the older George Bush will have it, "kinder, gentler" Igbo people.

The Igbo will find it harder to prosper without Port Harcourt, so reconciliation is extremely vital.

Let the Igbo understand that " a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still" . So, verbally beating an unconvinced Ikwerre man or Ibibio man over the head repeatedly, will never make him or her see things our way. The opposite is the truth. It'll drive them further and further away from us. Let us become more adroit, more compassionate, less confrontational, and while doing this, keep our site on our goal. Our goal is or should be, establishing the Eastern Economic Corridor with Port Harcourt, Calabar, Onitsha as key ports. On the internet, please let us hold back our fire and become less pugnacious. Think of it this way - Ndigbo must understand the burden of being a big brother, a prudent big brother, with the knowledge of how to handle intra-ethnic human relations.

I have said it before, I'll say it again. Let the Igbo become a kinder , gentler big brother, to the Ijaw, Ikwerre, Ibibio, Efik and other minorities of the East. It is in our vital economic interest. Imagine if your brother or sister runs away from home, and says he or she no longer belongs to the family, what'd you do? Prudence will will demand that we go the "kinder, gentler" route. Dragging them by their hair, slapping them, cursing them is definitely NOT the way to go? That is illogical. A thinking person will choose his or her words carefully, obviously. Ndigbo gee nti.

There is no better time than now to rebuild the East. 2011 is the year, our year.

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02/22/11

Permalink 08:23:00 am, by ifeatu agbu, 1300 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, Niger Delta( SS ) News
*Boosting Local Content in Nigeria’s Oil Industry

By Ifeatu Agbu

A refreshing wind of change is buffeting the shores of our oil industry. While it is soothing to the oil-producing communities, the multi-national oil giants that explore and exploit the black gold are not sure whether it would do them any good. Nonetheless, the pursuit of the reforms that is now within grasp must continue. Such is the profound effect of the Petroleum Industry Bill [PIB], which is expected to be passed into law very soon. The International Oil Companies [OICs] are jittery because the locals would be empowered to reclaim a part of what belongs to them. This is already taking shape as a vigorous push is on to enhance the human capital development of the oil-producing region.

The reform of the petroleum sector is expected to result in the genuine participation of the people from the region at all levels of the extractive activities from prospecting to drilling. The people of the region should be key players in the upstream and downstream activities. Flowing from this, the youths from the region should reap bountifully from this through employment and economic opportunities.

However, in order to take full advantage of the expected reforms, there is need to set up the structures that would effectively build the local capacity to empower the people of the oil-producing communities. Surprisingly, the oil companies appear not to be keen to assist the government in this regard. This is understandable because they have over the years taken advantage of the loopholes in our legal system to rip off the nation in terms of huge profits. They did not bother much about the plight of the communities which benefitted little or nothing from their God-given resources. They naturally wanted to maintain the status quo to the detriment of the nation.

Virtually all oil companies, indigenous and multinational have raised alarm over some of the PIB provisions. While affirming their support for the proposed reforms, they fear that some of the provisions of the bill could impede growth in the sector. They argue that many provisions in the bill "are unclear and open to multiple interpretations which would substantially increase investment risk, comparatively placing Nigeria at a disadvantage for inflow of foreign investment". ( Continues below….. )

Workers at work in a Nigerian oil rig

Photo Above: Workers at work in a Nigerian oil rig

Nobody should be taken in by this self-serving rationalisation. No matter its shortcomings, Nigerians should support the bill which will enable them have greater control of the resource that produces over 90 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings. After over 55 years of oil exploration in this country, we should be poised to take substantial control of the industry.

Sometimes, it is difficult to understand the contradiction in the behaviour of the IOCs. These are companies that have over the years given scholarships to Nigerians to hone their skills in playing key roles in the oil and gas industry. Yet, they are also unwilling to genuinely allow Nigerians to actively run the companies.

In recent times, they seem to be reluctant in supporting programmes that would promote our local content policy. An evidence of this is their apparent uninterested attitude in the post-amnesty programme. In spite of the numerous gains of the amnesty granted former militants, all that the various oil companies have offered towards its success is a meagre 30 million dollars. As one would expect, the Federal Government promptly rejected the contribution, describing it as completely unacceptable. The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Matters, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, said the $30 million clearly showed the companies were not committed to government’s plans to rehabilitate and re-integrate about 26,358 ex-combatants who gave up arms and embraced the amnesty option.

He also said the amount cannot bring about any meaningful development to the region which has suffered perennial degradation. Kuku explained that the figure does not show a proper appreciation of the over three trillion naira loss that the government suffered throughout the period of hostilities in the Niger Delta. At the height of the crisis, there was a significant drop in the quantity of crude oil exports from 2.3 million barrels per day to 7000,00 barrels per day.

“We are not happy with oil companies’ plans to train only 3,000 ex-militants and worse still, they said they are not sure if they will absorb them when they complete the training.” In order to checkmate the relative reluctance of the IOCs, in boosting the much needed local content of their operations, the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, stepped in. The commission has through the well accepted Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan quickened the pace of development in the oil region. Currently, it is playing a commendable role in preparing the youths of the region to take maximum advantage of the local content policy of the Federal Government. The commission, for instance, recently kicked off a Petroleum Engineering/ Drilling Graduate Training Programme with 65 indigenes of the region. ( Continues below….. )

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

An elated Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr Chibuzor Ugwoha called on all stakeholders in the region, particularly the Oil and Gas sector to join hands with the commission to make the local content policy a reality. He pointed out that the policy which is fully backed by law demands that considerable effort should be made on the part of stakeholders to ensure the utilization of Nigeria’s abundant human and material resources. “This underscores our determination to undertake this specialized petroleum technology programme” he said. Mr. Ugwoha said that the trainees would among others be equipped with fundamentals of oil and gas exploitation, well site safety, both onshore and offshore, basics of hydrocarbon, well-logging with special emphasis on abnormal pressure evaluation.

According to him, the second segment of the training would take place on the rigs, both onshore and offshore, where trainees would be trained on the practical aspects of petroleum and drilling skills. “The good news about this programme is that all participants are engineering graduates of tertiary institutions and the trainers are experts brought in from the oil fields in the United States and beyond” Ugwoha said.

The commission works in partnership with training and financial institutions to enhance the skills of the youths to enable them to take advantage of the opportunities available in the region, particularly in the oil and gas industry. The training for petroleum engineers is only one of such programmes targeted at the youths of the region. Others include the NDDC Graduate Computer Training Programme. So far, a total of 2,500 graduates of Niger Delta extraction with various academic and professional backgrounds are being trained under an intensive programme designed to prepare candidates for relevant International Certification Examinations.

Again, the commission is collaborating with the Nigerian Maritime And Safety Agency (NIMASA) to train at least 1,000 youths from the area as seafarers to take advantage of the over 50,000 vacancies in the nation’s maritime industry. Similarly, a total of 1,920 welders have so far been trained by the NDDC under its Human Capacity Development and Empowerment programme. The NDDC boss said that the commission’s target was to produce 5, 000 professional welders certified by the International Institute of Welding in the next three years.

Ultimately, the nation can only achieve its lofty local content objective if our higher institutions should put their acts together to produce internationally competitive graduates. Nigeria can no longer tolerate the excuse of some international companies that they import personnel from abroad because most of our tertiary institutions ‘graduates are unemployable. We should return our universities to their golden era, which lasted to the late 1980s, when they ranked among the best in the world.

Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( ifeatuagbu@yahoo.com ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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02/18/11

Permalink 01:11:00 pm, by kali Email , 582 words   English (Nigeria)
Categories: News

*Nigeria: Problems of Poor Distribution of National Wealth

By Kali Gwegwe

The problem of poverty in third world countries is mostly as a result of poor distribution of national wealth. Nature has designed life in such a manner that every nation is appropriated enough resources with which to service her economy and polity. The major hindrance to effective distribution of national wealth is poor political leadership culture. In Nigeria, the nation's faulty political leadership culture has given birth to high rate corruption and ethnicity- the two mountains standing between the most populous black country on earth and the comity of developed nations.

Effective distribution of national wealth will reduce the gap between the various social brackets in the country. This will mean that every Nigerian citizen will live above poverty line and indirectly discourage the culture of graft. Most cases of graft have foundation in the inability of citizens to meet the basic needs of life. ( Continues below….. )

Map of Nigeria

Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states and capital (Abuja or FCT)

There is no doubt that the deep culture of ethnicity has robbed Nigeria of quality political leadership. It is almost a taboo in Nigeria to oppose a fellow kinsman or kinswoman in government. Everything possible is done to dominate other ethnic groups. This is done even if it amounts to walking on the head of justice and fair play.

The issue of zoning that nearly weakened the foundation of Nigeria's democracy is most unfortunate. For very good reasons, a greater percentage of Nigerians came out for the first time in the history of the country to either condemn or ignore the rantings of the few apostles of ethnicity. The bold message is that most Nigerians will care less about the ethnic root of the nation's president provided the aims and objectives of government is achieved.

President Goodluck Jonathan therefore has a huge opportunity to prove the apostles of ethnicity wrong by being a national leader as against that of his native Niger Delta. While he has demonstrated enough of this, more has to be done in terms of even distribution of national wealth so as to reduce the menace of poverty that is ravaging the pockets of most Nigerian masses. ( Continues below….. )

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria (2010 - present)

The best ways to evenly distribute national wealth are through the provision of quality and affordable housing, transport, education, and health care services. This cannot be possible in the midst of high level corruption in the business of government. This is the more reason why EFCC and ICPC must be reorganized to meet the challenges that comes with fighting graft. The activities of these anti-corruption agencies are clearly too shallow and narrow to face the task before them.

Furthermore, government must cut down on her recurrent expenditure and stimulate economic growth. Towards this end, the issue of electricity and access to funding for new businesses should be given all the attention they deserve. Government must provide compelling incentives to lure citizens back to the farm. This are some ways citizens can be discouraged from depending on government for almost everything.

Kali Gwegwe writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and can be reached at kali.gwegwe@nigerianfootballpost.com ( 0806 407 4810 )

*PMM says "We Must Change Nigeria" - (1). Click here to listen to National Call To Action (2). Click here to listen to Election Rigging Riot Act audio clip

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02/16/11

Permalink 04:24:14 pm, by lateef lawal, 201 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News
*Nigeria: AIB To Purchase Flight Data Decoder

-Signs $5.5m Contract Agreement With CAE Flightscape of Canada

By Lateef Lawal

Flight Recorder Playback and Analysis Laboratory worth $5,587,000 is being purchased by Nigeria’s Accident Investigation Bureau {AIB}. An agreement to this end was jointly signed yesterday between AIB and CAE Flightscape of Canada-the manufacturer of the equipment.

The Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of AIB, Engineer Sam Oduselu signed on behalf of Nigeria, while the representative of Flightscape, Mr Mike Poole endorsed the document on behalf of his company. The Canadian High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr Chris Cooter witnessed the ceremony held at the head office of AIB at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. ( Continues below..... )

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos

Photo Above: Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria.

The components of the Flight Recorder Playback and Analysis Laboratory, popularly called-Flight Data Decoder is expected to be shipped to Lagos and installed before the end of the second quarter of this year. Training of the technical staff of AIB to take charge of the laboratory is part of the contract.

Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)

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02/15/11

Permalink 04:12:00 am, by kali Email , 313 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News

*Nigeria Court of Appeal President Should Resign

By Kali Gwegwe

The recent revelation by the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami that the Chief Judge of the Federation, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu asked him to compromise the Sokoto State gubernatorial appeal is a huge dent on the judiciary. Irrespective of the truth surrounding the heavy allegation against the head of the nation’s judicial arm of government, the most honourable option left for Justice Ayo Salami is to resign his position as president of the Court of Appeal.

This is so because; he has overtly proved that he would be ready to hide filth as long as his personal interests were protected. From all the information volunteered by Justice Salami, he would not have spilled the beans if he had not been recommended for elevation to the Supreme Court. Definitely, persons with poor judicial spirit are threats to democracy and the wider society and should therefore be asked to leave the scene for cleaner hearts. ( Continues below….. )

Justice Ayo Salami

Photo Above: Justice Ayo Salami, Nigeria Court of Appeal President

Attempts by Justice Ayo Salami to win the sympathy of the public should be ignored. The appropriate time to raise alarm is immediately an attempt is made to bend the back of justice. Nigerians should join voices to compel Salami to resign immediately. He has stained the white heart of justice with the blood of personal interest.

Nevertheless, the allegations thrown at Chief Justice Katsina-Alu must never be swept under the carpet. The CJN should be given the opportunity to clear his name. Let him face appropriate sanctions if found culpable. This will be in the interest of democracy and peace in the country.

Kali Gwegwe writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and can be reached at kali.gwegwe@nigerianfootballpost.com ( 0806 407 4810 )

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