Friday, May 18, 2012

Using Nigeria’s domain name for economic growth

Using Nigeria’s domain name for economic growth

Of what use is the country code Top Level Domain name, .ng to the economy? It can boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP), drive broadband growth and stimulate economic development, say experts, ADLINE ATILI reports

WITH commercial activities on the Internet on the rise, domain names such as .com, .ng, .uk, .za, .gh, among others, have become part of the standard communications and marketing tools used by businesses to identify themselves, products and activities. Besides boosting the presence of businesses on the Web, experts say domain names, such as the nation’s .ng have the potential to boost the economy as well as ensure rapid uptake of broadband Internet.

An Internet domain name is the address on the Internet. According to the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), the body charged with the management of the country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), .ng is the two-character country code reserved for, and used by Nigeria in consonance with the unique identities upon which a global Internet is predicated. This is, otherwise, referred to as Nigeria’s ccTLD.

A ccTLD, NIRA said, is used or reserved for specific countries, sovereign states or independent territories in the Domain Name System. ng, like our currency, the naira and the +234 country code, is the official Internet Council for Assigned names and Numbers (ICANN)-approved ccTLD for Nigeria, the body stated.

An Information Technology (IT) expert and Managing Partner of TransitIT, an IT consultancy firm, Mr Femi Akinyemi, said domain names were developed to make it easy for people to find things on the Internet. He said the importance of website domain name and its identity is as important as the identity of a human being.

He said: “In the Web world, there are millions of websites. You can imagine how much difficult it would be for the Internet user to find a site without an appropriate name or information. But a domain name makes it all very easy. Basically each website has a unique IP address which is very difficult to remember; therefore it is replaced by a domain name to easily remember and find by people. This is the name you type in the address bar of the Internet browser such as Internet Explorer.”

Akinyemi noted that in the world of electronic commerce (e-commerce), having a domain, especially a local one, will often give the buyer more confidence when making a purchase as they consider the site to be local, therefore governed under the same laws as the buyer. This makes it easier to follow up and sales and make complaints if any problems occur during the purchase of the product. It also helps to settle any nerves if the buyer is able to see a street address that they recognise, rather than a foreign address.

He said that a local domain name would also enable a business owner identify potential and existing customers in any part of the country, their needs and culture. In addition to improving e-commerce, experts say local top level domain names can stimulate economic development in all sectors of the economy.

Chief Executive Officer of One Network, Mr Shola Bickersteth, said adoption of the nation’s ccTLD name has far-reaching economic and societal benefits on the economy in addition to significantly lowering costs for Internet users.

He berated organisations and individuals who use domain names such as, .com, .za, in their websites and email addresses, saying there was no comparison between Nigeria and countries that have discovered the inherent benefits of keeping Internet traffic local.

He said: “Most countries now relate their development in terms of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to the number of domain names and impact of such on their GDP. Tokelau is a small island with population of about 1,500 but with a GDP that has risen higher than Nigeria’s because of investment in ICT. The country is among the world’s top 20 domain names with corresponding high GDP.

“The United Kingdom has about 11million domain names; this means one in every five citizens use the country’s domain name; South Africa is 1:100. The same cannot be said of Nigeria which has only 40,000 registered domain names that is ratio 1:12,000. In Nigeria, for us to hit the global average, we need at least 800,000 registered domain names and for ratio 1:5 to be achievable, we need 30million.”

He criticised organisations and government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) who host critical company and government information at servers located abroad, saying aside revenue repatriated to offshore organisations who own the servers and datacentres, security of critical information and database was at stake.

“A lot of government agencies, banks and other organisations host sensitive information in servers located abroad. This poses serious security risks not only to the organisations but to the nation at large. If those servers are infiltrated, there would be serious problems,” he said.

To address this, he called on the Federal Government to make it mandatory for government officials to use only .ng domain name in websites and email addresses and deny individuals without such, critical government services such as National ID registration, international passport and company registration.

He said in developed countries such as Germany and some parts of the United Kingdom, by law, citizens cannot use any other website except the country’s domain name (.ge in the case of Germany).

On how Internet users can access some websites blocked due to cybercrime issues, Bickersteth called on Google, Yahoo, telecommunications services providers and Internet Service Providers to host their servers and datacentres in the country so that traffic can be routed within the country and be recognised by Internet Protocol addresses of the parent organisations abroad.

Meanwhile, NIRA is putting a lot of effort into boosting the economy by N250million annually, through adoption of the .ng domain name. NIRA said it would spend N11million on infrastructure upgrade as part of measures to achieve its target of registering 250,000 .ng ccTLD domain names by 2013.

Chief Operating Officer of NIRA, Mr Ope Odusan, said the upgrade was critical to facilitating growth of the nation’s domain name, “which is Nigeria’s unique identifier or signature on the World Wide Web, as approved by the ICANN, adding that this would contribute N250million annually to the economy.”

According to him, “With a vision to benchmark the .ng registry with world-class registries and maximise efforts to increase the uptake of the .ng domains to 250,000 within a short period, it has become paramount to make the technical infrastructure of the registry more robust.”

He said plans have reached an advanced stage to invest N11million in equipment upgrade for the achievement of the target, adding that such infrastructure investment would focus on network subsystem and server upgrade, power systems upgrade, redundant bandwidth provision and customer support system.

Highlighting NIRA’s business goals for the year, Odusan said the Internet body would increase .ng domains by 50 per cent; ensure stability and security of .ng ccTLD; organise the ‘ Campaign’ in five more geopolitical zones in the country, as well as organise Internet awards by the fourth quarter of 2012.

He said: “With the Switchto .ng campaign, our target is to have 250,000 registered domain names in the .ng registry for government MDAs, businesses, educational institutions, and individuals who use the Internet daily. This would contribute N250million annually to the economy.”

According to him, “Rather than registering our emails, websites and other Internet presence in foreign domain names, and hosting our Internet presence abroad, where our information could be tampered with, it would be more beneficial to us as individuals, businesses and as a nation to adopt the .ng domain name.”

He stressed that to achieve its business goals, NIRA would review and update relevant policies concerning the registry, registrants and registrars; strengthen industry engagement; improve complaints and dispute resolution mechanisms, as well as develop a Memorandum of Understanding for registry operators.

On how the .ng domain name would drive broadband growth, Odusan said government services under the .ng domain like electronic payment of salaries, application forms for government services will encourage faster adoption of broadband Internet services. Speaking in the same vein, President of NIRA, Mrs Mary Uduma, said if more Nigerians on the .ng domain name integrate the Internet, broadband services, computers and various mobile telephony devices into their daily lives, the country would witness an information revolution that would impact positively on all segments of the economy.

She added that adoption of .ng could rake in huge foreign exchange earnings for the economy and make possible 50 per cent growth rate in Internet usage over the next decade.

She said: “With enabling regulatory policies, it is possible to achieve an average of 50 per cent growth rate in Internet usage over the next decade. This would translate to more Nigerian content on the World Wide Web, thereby counteracting the pervasiveness of 419 scammers; .ng could attract 50 per cent of this figure. The advantage of the sheer size of our population makes the figure enormous.”

She enjoined corporate Nigerians to tow the path of being identified by the truly Nigerian brand on the World Wide Web with pride. According to her, the usage of .ng by credible Nigerians and corporate citizens will facilitate the needful change in the current battered image of the country on the Internet.

Mrs Uduma opined that a wide adoption of .ng by Nigerians shall constitute a good tool in the effort to project the good people of Nigeria and the nation, noting that, “Our collective adoption of the .ng will be a strong tool in reversing the adverse publicity projected by foreign media.

She noted that: “The ‘bad image’ war will be won on local and international fronts when institutions of government; credible, real and legal persons and entities in Nigeria, adopt the use of the .ng, not just from a consumerism perspective, but by generating Nigerian content on the Internet.”

She urged the National Assembly to enact policies that would enforce the adoption of the .ng domain name and emails for government-to-government, government-to-business and government-to-citizen transactions, to engender economic growth and vitality.

“Our prayer to the government is to put in place a legislative mandate that would compel the adoption of a government policy to recognise only .ng domain name and emails for government-to-government, government-to-business and government-to-citizen transactions.

She listed the challenges of the .ng domain name to include: the dent on Nigeria’s image due to the activities of scammers, ignorance and lack of awareness, perceived instability of the system, dearth of funding and inadequate government mandate, saying a holistic approach was needed to explore the .ng ‘goldmine.’

“Our objective is to engender the deployment of the Internet to bring immense economic growth and vitality to the nation. Also, that the .ng be integrated into the re-branding project of the Ministry of Information and that there should be an enforcement unit for the use of .ng domain and emails,” she said.

Jega assures free, fair governorship election in Edo State

Prof. Jega

CHAIRMAN of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Attahiru Jega yesterday assured that the governorship election in Edo State billed for July 14, 2012 will be free and fair. He gave the assurance in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja.

According to him, the commission has invited the chairmen and secretaries (national and state) of the parties and their candidates for the governorship election to a meeting scheduled for tomorrow in Abuja.

He said: “The principles that have guided the work of this commission are transparency, honesty and creation of a level playing field for all political parties and their candidates. The commission remains committed to these principles.

“Consequently, the commission is deeply concerned about unfolding events in Edo State which are capable of overheating the polity and posing a fundamental threat to the integrity of the impending governorship election and in deed the stability of our democracy.”

“In order to avert further deterioration of the situation, the commission has invited the chairmen and secretaries (national and state) as well as candidates of all the parties contesting the governorship election in Edo State namely, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Labour Party (LP), National Conscience Party (NCP), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP) to a meeting at the National Headquarters of the Commission on Friday, May 18, 2012 to address the concerns of all stakeholders.

“The commission wishes to reassure political parties, candidates and indeed all Nigerians of its unequivocal commitment to conducting free, fair and credible governorship election in Edo State.”

Stressing that the commission has been receiving petitions on the election, he said: “The Independent National Electoral Commission has scheduled the governorship election in Edo State for July 14, 2012. Since the announcement of the date, political parties have expressed concerns about preparations for the election.

“While such concerns and anxiety are to be expected in the build-up to an election, it is important that matters do not degenerate as to threaten the fair conduct of the polls.

“In the past few weeks, the commission has received petitions containing allegations and counter allegations from various political parties. Some of the accusations are directed at political parties and candidates, while others are directed at the commission’s preparations for the election.”

Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party in Edo State has kicked against the use of members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as ad-hoc staff by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the conduct of the July 14 governorship election.

It said members of the NYSC were being paid special allowances by the state government and therefore would not be fair in the conduct of the election.

PDP spokesman Senator Roland Owie made the position known at a stakeholders meeting with INEC over the conduct of voter’s registration.

Owie said the corps members have been compromised and that they do not expect them to be fair.

However, political parties present at the meeting failed to agree on whether INEC should continue with the suspended voter’s registration.

The registration, which was supposed to resume yesterday, was put-off following a protest led by Governor Adams Oshiomhole that it was a plot to rig in favour of the PDP.

Director-General of the Oshiomhole Campaign Organisation, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, said the ACN would resist any attempt by the INEC to carry out the voter registration without adequate guarantee that the process would not be manipulated.

He said: “We have at our disposal to prove that the process has been corrupted. The voter registration is one of the biggest fraud in the electoral process and the huge amount spent to buy these DDC machines is a colossal waste of fund.”

“We have our doubts about the credibility and transparency of the process if allowed to take place.’’

INEC Head of ICT in Abuja, Chidi Nwafor, who was accused of colluding with the PDP to rig Edo election, said 384 Direct Data Capturing (DDC) machines out of the available 450 DDC machines would be deployed for the updating of voters register.

Chidi said it was impossible to delete anything from INEC database in Abuja, adding that the commission would be transparent, fair and unbiased.

Other political parties present at the meeting called for INE to conduct the voter’s registration in line with the Electoral Act or make use of the old voter’s registration.

National Commissioner of INEC in charge of Edo Delta and Bayelsa, Dr. Ishaemel Igbani, said the head of INEC ICT unit in Benin, Mrs. Umeh has been redeployed over allegations that she attempted to manipulate voters register.

Dr. Igbani who assured the stakeholders that INEC would be transparent in the discharge of its responsibilities said corps members would be used as ad-hoc staff.

He explained that the use of corps members was a collective decision of all Nigerians.

Another meeting was scheduled to take place in Abuja on Friday.

PDP accuses Oni of imposing stooge


A faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has berated the Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Southwest, Mr Segun Oni, for plotting to impose his stooge on the party.

The Otogee Gbofoloun Consultative Forum, urged Oni to desist from the alleged illegal activities and shortcuts to establish his control over the party machinery.

He said: "Your bid to harmonise the present State Working Committee (SWC) of the party in Ekiti is for the purpose of imposing your supporters on that EXCO."

In a letter by the group to the party’s Vice Chairman, Southwest, Chief Olowoloba Otogee, urged Oni to adopt the attitude of a gallant loser and good sportsman in party affairs.

He said: "We are of the view that you should, instead, direct your energy towards reclaiming your seat as national vice chairman of the PDP in the Southwest geopolitical zone from which you were sacked by the court a fortnight ago.

"You need not be told that your choices are limited to either appealing against that decision of the court or moving for a fresh Southwest zonal congress in which you and others would have the opportunity of seeking and securing the votes of delegates to the congress.

"That would be a better preoccupation for you than your present campaign of calumny and running from pillar to post for harmonisation of the state exco.

"Already, the National Working Committee (NWC) has affirmed the Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe-led exco as the authentic SWC in the state. Your demand for the review of this decision only places a moral burden on the NWC, whose distinguished members cannot lay aside their integrity and honour to accede to your unnecessary and treacherous demands.

"You need to be told also that the Ogundipe exco has come to stay. However the machinations of you and your group have made us in Ekiti PDP resolve to resist with all our strength any move by any outsider or group of outsiders to impose unelected persons on our exco in the name of harmonisation."

"Those PDP leaders seeking to collaborate with you in this venture should first put in order the PDP chapter in their various states. Your resolve to either rule or ruin the PDP in Ekiti accounts for recent legal misadventures.

"The loss by you and your group in elections into the state exco is not the end of the world. With the right attitude, your group could do better in future," the group said.

Mikel: I can’t wait to play

NIGERIA international Mikel Obi prepares for the biggest game of his life against Bayern Munich on Saturday, he will go through his normal pre-match routine and pray.

Many people might think Chelsea needs some divine intervention in the Champions League Final if they are to get the better of a side blessed with talents such as Arjen Robben, Mario Gomez, Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

At times it has appeared Chelsea have been getting a helping hand from elsewhere as they have progressed through the competition but Mikel’s development is all his own work.

The Nigeria international has been at the club for so long — he is just finishing his sixth campaign since joining from Lyn Oslo in Norway — that some may believe he stands alongside Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba as one of the veterans of the squad.

However, Mikel is still only 25 and his best years are still in front of him despite already boasting six winners’ medals from his time at Stamford Bridge. Ostracised by Andre Villas-Boas, he has played a key part in Chelsea’s upturn in form since Roberto di Matteo took charge in March and restored him to the starting line-up.

Mikel will acknowledge there is room for improvement but has already shown that he is capable of learning from his mistakes.

In his first two seasons he was sent off four times and became one of those individuals in danger of earning a reputation for all the wrong reasons.The fact he hasn’t seen red since 2008 says it all and anyone who witnessed the assured shield he provided for Chelsea’s back four when they were down to 10 men in the Nou Camp three weeks ago would have to acknowledge his growing maturity.

It is something he will need to display in the heat of the Allianz Arena, too, with skilled midfielders like Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller attempting to prise open Chelsea’s defence. But he feels ready for the challenge in front of the watchful eyes of Portugal’s Pedro Proenca, who will referee the final.

He said: “You have to maintain the will to win at all times but also stay calm. If you know how to manage these two things together, it makes your life in football — as well as outside of football — very much easier.

“It’s something that over the years I have learned to manage. When you play in the role I play and after the first two years you have got four red cards, you can’t keep going like that.

“You have to sit and think and look at what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right. So, I looked at that aspect of my game and I saw that I really needed to watch the tackles that I went into. Sometimes, it’s not just about going in for tackles, it’s about knowing how to win the ball without having to go in for those challenges.

“Now, I tend to be closer to the ball so I can win it more easily, to pressurise instead of making those silly tackles I used to make when I first came.

“It feels like I’m getting older but it’s great to have been here at Chelsea this long. I have been here for six years — a lot of people have seen me grow and I want to stay longer to help this club win more trophies. Going to the Champions League Final is going to be something else and beating Barcelona to get there was just incredible.”

Mikel does at least have one less thing to worry about as he prepares for the second Champions League Final of his career in that his place in the team should be assured this time.

KESHI BLASTS EAGLES Despite 2-0 win over MFM

KESHI BLASTS EAGLES  Despite 2-0 win over MFM

THE Super Eagles on Thursday put up a spirited second half performance to defeat Nationwide Division 2 side Mountain of Fire And Miracles (MFM), Abuja 2-0, but Head Coach Stephen Keshi, said after the game that he was appalled by the display of his team, because according to him they did not play like a national team in the first half.

The game which was played at the Practice pitch of the Abuja National Stadium, started on a rather tepid note for the Eagles, who started the game with the Possibles. Dan Akpeyi, was in goal, Hamza Onwuemenyi, Nura Mohammed, Samson Pius, Emma Nwachi and Turkey based Ehigho Ehiosun spearheading the attack.

Several chances were created in the half but were wasted with Pius, Gbolahan Salami and Hussein Hassan as the chief culprits.The half ended goaless to the delight of MFM Coach Monday Cornelius.

In the second half, Keshi rolled out the Probables and it had an immediate effect as Ejike Uzoenyi, Obinna Nwachukwu, Kalu Uche and Izu Azuka took the fight to the opposition in the early stages of the half. It resulted in a simple tap in goal by Azuka in the 65th minute after Ejike’s trade mark run on the flank, this time from an unfamiliar right flank.

After that goal, Azuka who was not feeling too fine, was pulled out for Sunday Mba, who ensured that the prressure on the amateur side was sustained. It resulted in a penalty in the 75minute, when Kalu, was pulled down inside the area and Ejike stepped out to tap the ball into the net.

It could have been a deluge of goals but the players took things rather too easy to the chagrin of Keshi, who ordered them back to training on Thursday evening for playing below par.

Aregbesola calls on Jonathan to reinstate Salami


Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to reinstate the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami.

He gave the advice at the launch of three books in his honour. The books entitled: The Divine Road to Justice; The Power-Force of Destiny and The Spirit of Mandate were presented in Osogbo yesterday.

The governor said by immediately re-instating Justice Salami, President Jonathan will be toeing the path of honour.

The governor said after the resolution of the matter by the National Judicial Council (NJC), justice must be done by the President, noting that the suspension of Salami was erroneous and ill-advised.

Aregbesola, who said President Jonathan should obey the rule of law by recalling Justice Salami as recommended by the NJC, said any further delay in the reinstatement of the PCA is an indictment on the judiciary.

“So, if NJC ordered the suspension of Salami and it has also resolved to recall him, if our President will want to be seen as a man who believes in the rule of law, Justice Ayo salami should be reinstated without further delay,” the governor said.

Aregbesola described the books as documented reminiscences of the prevailing tempestuous atmosphere of the happenings in Osun during the 2007 general election and the three and a half years of legal battles to reclaim the stolen mandate.

He said the people will remember those brutally murdered and those who suffered unimaginable deprivations and losses before, during and after the 2007 general elections in Osun State.

“The four writers have written books that should be patiently chewed and carefully digested. We will always remember those brutally murdered and those who suffered unimaginable deprivations and losses. Though we have generously forgiven the beastly souls who rabidly sought to destroy us and our mandate, these books will continue to remind us of that mind-bending phase of our history,” the governor said.

“I would like to encourage all of us to take reading, especially of good books, as a mental exercise demanding of us due diligence. If as a people we are to make an enviable success of building a great state and country, the spreading national culture of despising knowledge has to be checked.

“We are providing functional education that will enable our students to place a high premium on reading. This education will encourage them to see books as the bottomless fount of enduring knowledge,” Aregbesola noted.

“Our administration is committed to the development of infrastructure in public schools, provision of relevant educational materials like textbooks and computer tablets, training and retraining of teachers, provision of free meals to elementary school pupils, among other benefiting programmes,” he said.

EFCC takes over illegal bunkering vessel with 1m litres oil


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday said it has taken possession of a suspected illegal oil bunkering vessel from the Navy.

The vessel is said to be bearing one million litres of suspected Automotive Gas Oil.

A statement by the commission’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said from preliminary investigations the vehicle had no relevant documents.

The statement said: “The vessel, MT Takoradi, bearing one million litres of suspected Automotive Gas Oil, and 11 crew members were handed over to the Commission at a brief ceremony at NNS Beecroft, Apapa, Lagos by the Commanding Officer, Navy Commodore, M. J. O. Njoku.

“The vessel and its cargo, together with the crew were received on behalf of the EFCC by the Head, General Investigation and Counter Terrorism section of the Commission’s Lagos zonal office, Mr. Aminu Aliyu. The crew include Captain, Musa Mohammed and the Chief Engineer, Freeborn Otuagoma.

“Commodore Njoku explained that the vessel was arrested by men of the Nigerian Navy aboard the NNS Thunder on routine patrol on January 26.

Njoku added: “On the 26th of January, 2012, MT TAKORADI was accosted by Nigerian Navy ship Thunder on patrol. Investigations revealed that the Vessel was carrying about one million litres of AGO without Nigerian Navy clearance. Consequently, the Vessel was arrested.

“In view of the foregoing, I am directed to hand over the vessel, 11 member crew and the cargo about 1 million litres of AG0 to your organisation for investigation and prosecution.”

He promised that the Navy would secure the vessel pending the outcome of investigation and probably the release of the Vessel.

“From preliminary naval investigations, the arrested vessel lacked relevant documents. The captain of the ship, Musa Mohammed said the vessel belongs to Star Wind Management Company, Trikompi , Greece , and the ship broker is NEPS Nigeria limited, Lagos .

He said the vessel was initially manned by Greeks and was handed over to his crew on the 10th of December, 2011 at the Lagos Anchorage.

The vessel, he said, sailed on the 21st January,2012 to Pennington at the request of Solution Mark Nigeria limited Which is the owner, ostensibly to rescue a sister barge in distress, MT LORD.

However, naval investigation indicated that MT LORD was never in distress.

Aliyu assured that the case would be thoroughly investigated by the EFCC and collected samples of the cargo for analysis.

Salami rejects retirement offer


There is pressure on suspended Court of Appeal (PCA) President Isa Ayo Salami to retire voluntarily. But the eminent jurist has spurned the offer.

Besides, some forces in government are pushing for Justice Salami’s compulsory retirement, The Nation learnt yesterday.

A plot by another group to scandalise Justice Salami on account of age and service years has also been uncovered.

In the last two months, there has been pressure on Justice Salami to voluntarily retire from service.

According to sources, a highly-influential public officer has met with Justice Salami to persuade him to apply for voluntary retirement as part of what is described as a soft-landing deal.

But Justice Salami reportedly asked the public officer to give him reasons why he should throw in the towel when he did not commit any offence.

He said it would amount to “self-indictment”, if he takes such a step, according to source close to the meeting.

Instead, Justice Salami offered to abide only by the “final decision” of the National Judicial Council (NJC) on the matter.

The suspended PCA also expressed confidence that he will be vindicated in the end by the NJC.

A source, who confirmed that Justice Salami got such an offer, said: “I think the voluntary retirement plot was to gauge his mood and determine whether he was battle-weary or not. They are planning to rope him in whereas he prefers to stand by his principle as an incorruptible judge.

“But Salami has left his fate to God and the NJC, which has vindicated him. It is left to the judicial cartel to search their conscience.”

As at press time, it was gathered that some forces in government have ruled out the return of Justice Salami to office.

There was anxiety yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan might buy into the advice of these forces.

A source in government said: “I do not think the government is going along the reinstatement line because of certain issues. But consultations will take place after the Presidency has received the NJC resolution.

“The government may not be disposed to Justice Salami’s reinstatement, going by developments in the last 24 hours.

“This means that the President may overrule the decision of the NJC, which comprises eminent jurists, and a Justices Muhammadu Uwais, Alfa Belgore, Idris Kutigi, Mamman Nasir, Mustapha Akanbi, and Abdullahi Umar. This is the first time the NJC will have witnessed such absurdity, if it is done.”

Four exit options are being considered for Justice Salami. These are:

•Reinstatement on paper and immediate commencement of pre-retirement leave by the suspended PCA;

•review of the NJC’s resolution of last Thursday for Justice Salami’s compulsory retirement;

•opportunity of voluntary retirement without any condition after a letter of reinstatement has been sent to him by the NJC.

•confirmation of the appointment of the acting PCA, Justice Dalhatu Adamu, to leave Justice Salami perpetually in court to fight for reinstatement. By virtue of Section 238(5), Adamu has served as acting PCA three times (three months each) and the President cannot renew his appointment, except he is given a substantive rank.

To force Justice Salami to quit, a group is working on what has been described as Plan B - to scandalise him.

This group is trying to raise issues about Justice Salami’s age, the year of call to Bar and having allegedly spent 35 years in service.

The plan is to allege that since Justice Salami and the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, were called to the Bar in 1968, Justice Salami ought to have been retired.

But pro-Salami forces have faulted the argument of this shadowy group.

A Senior Advocate, who spoke in confidence, said: “The fact is that Salami, Katsina-Alu and the present CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, were called to the Bar in 1968. These people should go and check the age bracket of the three jurists when they were called to the Bar.

“And they also need to verify the records of service of each of the Justices.”

The source added: “For instance, the incoming Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar was called to the Bar in 1967. Are they saying she should have gone on retirement by now? Their plot has been uncovered and it will fail in this respect.”

2015: North’s governors back Buhari’s warning

Gen. Buhari

Again, certain facts are understood; that if this happens, that would happen... May be those who may be too concerned (about what Gen Buhari said) have not looked at what other eminent Nigerians have been talking about. I saw one that said Nigeria is going to be Somalianised...

There is nothing wrong in Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s warning against rigging of the 2015 general elections, the North’s governors said yesterday.

Gen. Buhari, the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 general election, stirred the hornet’s nest when he said violence will greet rigging of the 2015 polls.

The Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chided him. But the largest opposition party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), backed the general whom it said could air his view freely.

The CPC also supported the former Head of State’s position, saying PDP should not intimidate Nigerians.

Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu, who is also the chairman of the Northern Nigeria Governors Forum, told reporters in Kaduna yesterday after reading the communiqué of the 19 governors’ meeting that Gen. Buhari did not err by warning against rigging of elections.

He said: “Again, certain facts are understood; that if this happens, that would happen. I think it is a natural thing to do. May be those who may be too concerned (about what Gen Buhari said) have not looked at what other eminent Nigerians have been talking about.

“I saw one that said Nigeria is going to be Somalianised. I saw another one who has been talking like there would be war tomorrow. So, for me, that statement should be taken on its own value. Do not go and do bad election. I think that is the thing I will take from there.

“All of us who are involved in elections - political parties, contestants and the voters themselves - must be careful so that whatever we do, the semblance of good will be there. But, again, like I said, certain people are in a position that certain vocabularies they use, they should be careful about. So, both ways let us take it on our own stride and ensure that future elections are seen to be transparent and are seen to be good”.

Dr. Aliyu said even though people have various ways of communicating their opinion, the statement made by the former Head of State should be taken in its own value.

The governor, however, cautioned eminent Nigerians against making inflammatory statements capable of affecting the nation’s fragile unity and security. He said Nigerians must be concerned about the unity and development of the country in all its ramifications.

He noted that the central message of the former Nigerian leader is that stakeholders should strive to ensure that there is free and fair election, adding that all those involved in conducting elections must be careful in whatever they do so that the outcome will be transparent.

With the Niger State governor were other governors.

He was silent on Buhari’s threat of bloodbath, if the elections are not free and fair.

In the communiqué, the governors expressed concern about the growing insecurity in the region and pledged to intensify efforts at finding a lasting solution to the problems by reaching out to all stakeholders.

The governors said they had decided to reposition the forum to be more effective and provide good governance, better understanding and cooperation among members.

Speaking at the opening session of the meeting, Aliyu said:”My fellow colleagues, it is very disturbing to note the emerging trend of distractive political activities in the nation, ostensibly to prepare the ground for the actualisation of some people’s political ambition in 2015.

“Whereas it is legitimate for anybody to aspire to any leadership position, subject to the provision of our constitution, we must remember that 2015 or any date for that matter, belongs to Almighty Allah (SWT) who decrees what happens to individuals or society at any given period. We should, therefore, leave 2015 or beyond unto Almighty Allah to do as pleases Him.

“We should recognise that the interest of the people is paramount and we must use the political party platform to promote such interest in fulfillment of the campaign pledges made to the people. We need to rededicate ourselves to the service of our people, especially the underprivileged in the society.

“This is contingent on the fact that we have the mandate of the people and that Allah will hold us accountable for our actions and inactions. Let us resist the temptation to be drawn into issues that may only cause us to lose focus in serving the people or gaining the everlasting favour of our creator.

“If our present opportunity as governors and leaders cannot earn us paradise, it should not send us to hell. Above all, we must do everything possible to ensure that we enter 2015 as a peaceful and united constituent, Nigeria.”

Aliyu said it was unfortunate that insecurity had not abated; rather, it is worsening and attaining very alarming dimension, with attendant negative implications for the economic growth, development and image of the nation.

Nigeria, he said, is “passing through a very difficult phase in the history of the nation, a period that put our patriotism, nationalism, sincerity and responsibility collectively to test.

“This is the period that we have to demonstrate individually and collectively our abiding faith in our nation, when we must confront the common enemies of the nation, those who are sworn to destroying the spirit of nationhood through wanton destruction of lives and property.”

Aliyu praised the Federal Government for its readiness to dialogue on security issues with various interest groups, adding: “We should, therefore, encourage any individual or group that can make positive contributions to the peace building process, while at our own level, we should do everything possible to bring peace to reign in our states.”

Pharmacist unveils herbal antimalaria vaccine

Pharmacist unveils herbal antimalaria vaccine

Nigerian natural health expert, DrBenjamin Amodu, is exploring phyto-medicine to boost the treatment of malaria.

According to him, his interest in research and development of his polyherbal formulation for the treatment of malaria, called SAABMAL, is based on the fact that many Africans use alternative medicine without informing their physician.

He said more than 80 per cent of the population in both the underdeveloped and the developed countries depend on herbal medicines.

He said: “The major problem with herbal medicines in Africa still remains their poor and sometimes unhealthy presentation, as well as scientific data supporting folkloric use. Standardisation of herbal medicines, therefore, should be a major interest for researchers, especially in Africa.

“A major aspect of this standardisation process includes the assessment of the efficacy and safety of such herbal medicines, as well as development of suitable dosage forms and stability,” he said.

Explaining the formulation, Amodu said studies were conducted on SAABMALA, “including a presentation on the standardisation of SAABMALA at the fourth African Network for Drugs and Diagnostic Innovation (ANDI)/World Health Organisation (WHO) stakeholders meeting and donors Conference at a United Nations Conference Centre, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“In the study, SAABMALA, this is already a trademark and has been evaluated for its activity against chloroquine sensitive Plasmodium berghei (NK 65 strain) in their different experimental animal models for vivo antimalarial activities (prophylactic, suppressive and curative) in mice.

“Chloroquine and pyriimethanine were used as standard drugs for comparison. The formulation showed significant (P<0.01) antimalarial activities that were either comparable or better than those of the standard drugs. The result obtained established the efficiency of this polyherbal formulation against malaria infection and suggests that, with proper scientific validation and standardisation, herbal medicines can be developed for integration into our health care delivery systems in Africa.”

On the formulation of the polyherbal antimalarial and malaria vaccine, Amodu said the components are from Nigeria (precisely from Igala). “The constituents of the product are under scientific analysis at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Idu, Abuja. The poly-product contains seven different plants Allium sativum, Cymbopogon citrates, Vernonia amygdalina, Saccharun officinarum, Amaranthus caudatus, Aloe barbadensis and Sesamum indicatum,” he added.

Malaria is not the only area of interest of this pharmacist-turned traditional-phytotherapist, but diverse health conditions, and all the ingredients are well-researched and clinically certified by the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and development (NIPRID). He is operating under the name Halamin Herbal Products (a subsidiary of Halamin Chemicals Nigeria Limited).

So far, honour has come the way of this industrial pharmacist, who is a Director of Procurement, Ministry of Defence. For using herbal leaves, spices and roots to provide cure for diseases and ailments, the African Leadership Magazine conferred on him a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The event, which held in Lagos, was well-attended.

Jonathan unwilling to risk oil graft crackdown?

President Jonathan

Reuters: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is coming under pressure to prosecute top officials implicated in a $6.8 billion fuel subsidy fraud, but many of the suspects are allies he is unlikely to go after if he wants to keep his power base intact.

It has been three weeks since parliament produced a report detailing massive corruption in a state subsidised petrol import scheme and Jonathan has yet to indicate how he intends to respond.

Inaction on one of the biggest corruption scandals in Nigerian history will hurt Jonathan's reformist credentials and further alienate his government from a disillusioned population. It could also prompt major public protests.

But some of Jonathan's closest allies manage the oil industry, which is based in his home region, and the tentacles of the subsidy fraud spread throughout the political elite, making it near impossible to untangle.

"In the past pressure for change has usually prompted the casting aside of a scapegoat," said Antony Goldman, Nigeria analyst and head of Africa-focused PM Consulting.

"Too many people in the ruling elite do not want an end to corruption, they just want their turn. From an external perspective, failure to act may indeed look like weakness; the domestic environment is more complex."

Civil society groups have threatened protests if those they deem responsible for the mess, including Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, and heads of the state oil firm, aren't sacked.

In January, thousands bought the nation to standstill in protests against an attempted removal of the subsidy.

"The president is hoping this will blow away and we believe his own vested interests are holding him back," said Clement Nwankwo, a political activist with the Abuja-based Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, one of many that led protests in January.

Jonathan already has many opponents and is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency in the north. In a country where patronage and largesse still determine political success, prosecuting power brokers is risk he is unlikely to take.

The report said Nigeria paid 900 percent more in fuel subsidies last year than it budgeted for, handing out billions of dollars to briefcase companies that had no capacity to import fuel or to firms that sold the petrol to neighbouring countries.

Criticism focused on fuel importers and government agencies but the report's evidence pointed to several ministries and the central bank. If Jonathan implements its recommendations he will undermine a large section of the team he chose to run the country.

"I don't think we're going to see high level officials in jail ... that would imply his regime had imploded," said Patrick Smith, editor of Africa Confidential.

"The government didn't want this to come out. It isn't hard to track back some of this to the top people in government."

Jonathan this week squashed speculation about a cabinet reshuffle, saying he had confidence in existing ministers, to the dismay of activists who wanted tough action. He has said subsidy fraudsters will be prosecuted, but called for patience.

He built his career in the oil-rich Niger Delta, where much of the fraud took place under the noses of security agents and politicians he has worked closely with for decades.

Some of the fuel import firms criticised in the probe have politicians as stakeholders - aviation minister Stella Oduah runs one of them. Others are owned by oil industry oligarchs who have helped fund Jonathan's election campaigns.

Femi Otedola, the CEO of Forte Oil, one of Nigeria's biggest fuel importers which testified at the hearing but was not named in the list of fraudsters, was made a member of Jonathan's economic management team this year.

"If he is going to act, he needs to be very careful ... the scam reaches into many powerful crannies," said Kayode Akindele, partner at Lagos-based financial advisory firm 46 Parallels.

Government sources and political analysts see dismissals of mid-level officials and the banning of some fraudulent fuel importers, rather than arrests of senior officials, as a likely compromise.

Swiss-based oil firm Nimex Petroleum was suspended this month by Nigeria's fuel regulator for failing to provide documents for fuel shipments, a sign authority may target the importers rather than government regulators.

It is unlikely to be enough to appease an angry public. Some government officials said January's protests were aided and funded by political opponents and they believe Jonathan's rivals may use the subsidy probe to build momentum against him.

Jonathan won an election a year ago that international observers considered one of the fairest in decades, but he has not capitalised on early optimism. An insurgency by Islamist sect Boko Haram has distracted his team and delayed reforms.

How he balances public demands for action on corruption with the interests of entrenched elite feeding off it may determine his ability to implement important reforms such as power privatisation.

"Lack of action has the potential to further alienate the Goodluck Jonathan government from the general public and reduce support and momentum for other reforms," Akindele said.

"This is a defining moment for the Jonathan government."

I have found true love - Funke Akindele

On May 26, star actress, Funke Akindele, will be officially married to her beau, Kehinde Oloyede Al-Maroof, a property developer. While the actress has yet to make any public comment about the wedding, she spoke with E-Punch on Wednesday and confessed to have found true love in ‘Kenny’ as she fondly calls him.

“I am no longer a kid and I know what it means to be in love. I am in love and I am not ashamed to say so. This is not a feeling you contrive, it comes naturally. My dear, this is true love. And I have found it,” she gushes excitedly. Refusing to be dragged into further talking about her man, Akindele quips, “Just be happy for me, I have found true love.”

The news of the impending wedding of one of Nollywood’s stars has been on the lip of many especially in the social media community since it broke on Sunday. Her publicist, Bigsam Media, also issued a statement mid-week confirming that the news is true after all. “We want to inform you officially as well, your darling actress will be getting married in December with the introduction ceremony in the month of May. We won’t be giving more details now until the wedding in December. The engagement ceremony is for few friends and members of her family. We want to say a big thank you for the support you have given Funke Akindele so far. The support has made her bigger than what she used to be.”

D-Banj’s Oliver Twist beats Usher & Cheryl Cole to Number 1 on the UK Pre-Release Chart

I have never seen D’Banj tweet as much as he did this week, he has been on his promo grind ALL week, promoting the UK remix of Oliver Twist and so far the hard work has paid off with the single climbing to the top of the UK Pre Release Urban and Dance Chart, beating out Usher, Cheryl Cole & The Wanted......Kudos to the Kokomaster!!!

Boko Haram Threatens to Bomb Government Buildings in 19 Northern States and Abuja.

The extremist Boko Haram sect says it is set to resume its deadly attacks with sights now aimed at bombing government-owned properties, offices and residential quarters, in the 19 northern states and Abuja.

In what appears to be a defensive response to growing public anger and a tactical shift in operational approach, the spokesperson for the sect, Abul Qaqa, told PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday afternoon, that the facilities being targeted are in retaliation for the destruction of properties belonging to its members and those it characterized as "innocent landlords" in some parts of Kano and Borno States.

In a prompt response, the police asked Nigerians to disregard such a threat and go about their normal business, adding that it is battle ready to repel any attack by "any criminal group".

It is not clear whether the State Security Service is aware of the fresh threat by the group. The spokesperson for the agency, Marilyn Ogar, declined comments, saying she would not respond to telephone enquiries.

In a move indicating that the group is battling for its share of the minds of the public, Mr Qaqa also said his sect is giving a notice in advance of the attacks because, "we don't want innocent people to be caught in the attacks. We are not happy that innocent people are dying in our war with the government. And that is why we have reduced our attacks in the past few days to enable us to strategize."

He accused the Joint Task Forces, the inter-agency outfits in charge of security in Kano and Borno states, of harassing and arresting members of the sect in the two states.

"Most of these people live in rented apartments," Mr. Qaqa claimed.

"But to our utmost surprise, after arresting them, some with their wives and family members, the JTF will bring out their properties. Both the apartments and the properties are then destroyed.

"This has become the new trend and it is becoming difficult for people to rent out accommodation to people, and a lot of people, including our people are homeless.

"Because of this trend, we have decided that in the coming days, every Nigerian, especially in the North, including Abuja, should vacate any government quarters or buildings - residential, office, classroom or anything owned by government.

"Every government building, whether occupied or empty will be blown up. Whoever is caught up in the attacks has his or herself to blame. We have done our best by
issuing this warning," Mr. Qaqa said coldly.

PHOTO:Champions League Cow painted in Chelsea colour

But come to think of it,what if Chelsea lose the match,what happens to this cow???..Anyway,I wish all Chelsea fans best of luck on Saturday....UP BLUES!!!

B*R*E*A*K*I*N*G News! NYSC Members Will Be paid Today.

Mr। Bolaji Abdullahi, the Minister of Youth Development has confirmed that corps members across the country will receive their delayed allowances on Friday.

The Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps, Brigadier-General Nnamdi Okore-Afia, in his own part regretted the delay which they claimed was as a result of a transition to a new accounting system.

"If She Likes She Can Go And Marry In Heaven" - Steph Okereke's Ex Husband

In an interview with entertainment reporter, Nonye Ben Nwankwo, Iloanusi disclosed the events that led to their break-up

According to him, Stephanie sued him for N100m on the grounds that he was married to another woman in America, to which he replied, ‘If I had been married to another woman and she had the documents to prove it, nobody would talk about the court striking the case out. What she should be suing me for would have been bigamy. Nobody has charged me for bigamy. If I was charged with that, I would have defended myself and provided every document to show the real state of things. Everybody in Nigeria knows that when you have two marriages, you will be charged with bigamy.‘

He also denied that she was the main breadwinner during their marriage.

Iloanusi wished her the best in her new marriage, but criticized the public nature of her wedding, saying ‘Even if she wants to remarry, does she have to tell the general public about it? Nobody is stopping her. Everything about life is about upbringing and orientation, but I wish her the best of luck. I’m not competing with her. She no longer exists in my life. I hope she doesn’t come out of this marriage again and start going to newspapers saying the man did this or that to her. I don’t want anybody to break her heart‘.

As regards why he has been silent on the matter for so long, he said he didn’t want to discuss his life on the pages of newspapers, adding that ‘I’ve moved on very well and very fast. I have parted ways with her. I don’t have anything to do with her and I’ll never have anything to do with her. I’ll not wish her bad luck. She is not news to me…My fans should ignore her and whatever she says about me. It is not as if I cannot respond to everything she has been saying about me in the newspapers, it is just that she is not in my class‘.

The player denied reports he was jealous of his former wife, saying;

‘Why should I be jealous of her? She is in the past. I’ve moved on with my own life. There is absolutely no reason for me to be jealous…If you ask me, I will tell you she doesn’t exist in my life. We’re not on the same level… Some people phoned me to say she would wed in Paris, but I don’t care. She can go and marry in heaven‘.

Iloanusi, who says his career is ‘fantastic’, is currently the national vice-president of the National Association of Nigerian Footballers. Of this he says ‘our football is having problems, but it is all good‘.

The duo’s marriage was annulled earlier in the year, after over five years in court. A few months later, on Saturday, April 21, 2012, Okereke married her friend and business partner, Linus Idahosa, in Paris, in a star studded, multi-million naira wedding.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Toni Payne is pregnant with a second child ( Photo)

9ice – Toni Payne is pregnant with a second child. She flaunts her baby bump at 2face’s recent concert, Photo below: