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Issue 13 Page 2 News from Nigeria 3/25-As politicians continue to debate who should become Nigeria's President in 2003, members of the House of Representatives from the South-east geo-political zone have thrown their weights behind Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu for the nation's presidency. Kalu, according to the parliamentarians, is to be paired with another youthful and principled politician from the north, particularly from the north-west geo-political zone to form a strong partnership in search of the PDP ticket for the presidency in 2003. Disclosing this to newsmen in an interview in Abuja at the weekend, a member of the forum and chairman of the House committee on Internal security, Hon. Maurice Ibekwe said consultations had commenced on who should pair Kalu to challenge incumbent president, Olusegun Obasanjo for the party's nomination. 3/27 - The World Bank has said that "almost nothing positive has happened in Nigeria in the past three decades," noting that its judgement of the country, though harsh, was not inaccurate.” The bank said though Nigeria reaped bountifully from oil resources, its performance in the economic sector had been "startlingly poor." It also said that the country's per capita income witnessed a major erosion since its peak in the early 1980s. The bank's views are contained in a new report, to be released today. The report is based on investigation into how development aid has influenced economic policy in Africa. The 10 countries studied are: Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The section on Nigeria was co-authored by Jeffrey Herbst of Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA, and Charles C. Soludo of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. 3/27 - The International Monetary Fund has recalled its resident representative in Nigeria, Mr. Reinhard Van Till, following the widespread opposition to the planned deregulation of the petroleum sector believed to have been sold to the Federal Government by the organisation. And as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) intensified its mobilisation of Nigerians against the deregulation, the Presidency yesterday called off, at the last minute, a peace meeting between President Olusegun Obasanjo and labour. Mr. Till, the IMF Resident Representative travelled to Washington D.C., the organisation's headquarters penultimate Monday at the instance of his bosses. IMF, Vanguard gathered was not comfortable with the negative views of the generality of Nigerians, particularly labour leaders about the organisation's prescription of deregulation to the Federal Government. Some call it imposition of its views on Nigeria. 3/27 - The All Peoples Party (APP) has disowned Senator A. Nzeribe on his plans to return President Obasanjo as the sole candidate for the year 2003 presidential election. Also, the party has directed its Senate leadership to institute an investigation into Nzeribe's movement for National Consensus and accommodation (MNAC) and report back to it within 14 days. This was disclosed by the National Secretary of the party, Chief George Moghalu, who said that this was part of the decision taken over the weekend at the meeting of its National Executive Committee. The APP Secretary called on Nigerians to see what Senator Nzeribe was doing as entirely his own idea and that "we (APP) have nothing to do with it. 3/27 - An experimental HIV-1 vaccine tailored specifically to fight the HIV strain that is prevalent in Nigeria, is currently undergoing clinical trial at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI), in the United States of America. The vaccine was developed by Dr. Simon Agwale, senior research fellow at the National Inshtute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Abuja, and post-doctoral Fellow and researcher of UMBI's Institute of Human Virology, using the latest IHV vaccine technology to build a first generation Nigerian HIV-1 vaccine. The vaccine is made up of bits of the specific sub-types of HIV predominating HIV-related infections in Nigeria. From page 1 …. having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know who to call. Keep those where you can find them easily (having to hunt for them is additional stress you WON'T need at that point!). * File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). *But here's what is perhaps most important: Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and SS#. * The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your info was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. The numbers are: Equifax 1-800525-6285 Experian (formerly TRW) 1-800-301-7195 Trans Union 1-800-680-7289 Social Security Admin also has a fraud line at 1-800-269-0271 . Tidbits Next time you complain about your job title, think of someone with the title “Navy Petty Officer 3rd class”, who is also willing to die for his country. Happy April Birthdays 1. Uchenna Anyanwu 2. Chinoyelum Adaka


Issue 13 Page 3 More News from Nigeria 3/27 - The federal government is to establish a Regional Burns Centre (RBC) at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu. Minister of state for Health, Dr Amina Ndalolo, said in Enugu at the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the hospital that the hospital was coming into existence against the backdrop of the increasing cases of burns occasioned by kerosine explosion or burst fuel pipelines. Possible Romantic Getaway Location While in Nigeria Grand Hotel and Resort - a luxurious hotel on the bank of the Niger is a must-visit because it is well suited for those wishing to enjoy a variety of out-door activities like golf, boat-cruise, trekking, tennis to mention a few. It is also an opportunity to enjoy the unspoiled coastline. The first-class hotel and resort in Asaba, Delta State capital meets the different requirements of individual visitors. The rooms are spilt into luxurious, stunning chalets and royal suites. For your Information 3/27 - The National Renaissance Movement has accused President Olusegun Obasanjo of re-opening the wounds which led to the Nigeria-Biafran civil war in 1967. In a statement in Enugu, the organisation said it was shocked that President Obasanjo could falsify history against Ndigbo after setting up the Justice Chukwudifu Oputa panel to reconcile Nigerians. Its words: "The National Renaissance Movement (NRM) met in an emergency NEC session at Enugu to deliberate on the statements credited to President Olusegun Obasanjo as reported in the Post Express of Sunday 18th March, 2001. President Olusegun Obasanjo was reported to have said that the Nigeria Civil War was "more of a war for resources control". He was reported to have said that "it was only the victory over Biafra that ensured that the natural resources were deployed for the use of all Nigerians. "If Biafra had won, he added, the resources would have been in the hands of the Biafrans". President Obasanjo pressed his point by telling his listening Bayelsans that "if Nigeria had lost, that man (Emeka Odumegwu) would have cancelled Rivers State which gave birth to Bayelsa". President Obasanjo was not done yet. He fired on: "If Ojukwu had won, I know I would be dead by now and so many other people would be dead too." 2001 TASTE OF AFRICA The 2001 Taste of Africa for the Indianapolis community will take place on June 9, 2001 at the Olympic Suite, PAN AM Plaza. The cost is $25 per single and $40 per double. For your info. Visit www.africancommunity.net 4/6 - Students in public secondary schools in Lagos State, will today begin a four week vacation, without sitting for their second term examination, sequel to the inability of the state government to provide materials needed for the examination. It was learnt that the examination was suspended due to a disagreement between the state education ministry and the schools administrators over the funding of examinations. The authorities of the affected schools, had before now, imposed sundry levies on students, including money for examination materials. However, the collection of such levies was outlawed by the state government, which also promised to provide the materials itself. Speaking on the issue, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Dr. Idowu Sobowale explained that the examination could not hold for logistic reasons. He said the examination would take place at the beginning of the third term, next month. Meanwhile, the State Free Meal Scheme would now begin in May as against April, the earlier advertised date. 4/6 - The business community in the North has begun moves to compel the Federal Government through the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) to resume exploration of petroleum products in the region, suspended at a time other sections of the country are agitating for resource control. Exploration of petroleum products in the north started following its discovery in commercial quantity along the shores of Lake Chad in Borno State in 1999 and in Akaleri, Bauchi State, in 1979. But the two projects were suspended last year by the Federal Government on the grounds that there was need for another geological survey to ascertain whether or not the projects are viable in the sense of having oil in commercial quantities. THISDAY gathered that initially, the business community had not wanted to interfere in the exercise in any way but the agitation for resource control and restructuring by the South has made it to demand that the exercise be resumed and continued until the desired result is achieved. 4/6 -The Senate yesterday took a major step towards repealing all obnoxious laws that abridge the rights and freedom of Nigerians by overwhelmingly endorsing the removal of media laws that are repugnant to press freedom and contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. The decision was sequel to debate on the "Bill for an Act to provide for the repeal of Media Laws repugnant to press freedom and are contrary to the provisions of the constitution", sponsored by Senator Chuba Okadigbo. Presenting details of the Bill, which went through second reading yesterday and was referred to the Senate Committee on Information for further action, Senator Okadigbo said that the obnoxious enactment including decrees 23 and 35 of 1993 were made by different military governments.


Issue 13 Page 4 More News from Nigeria 4/6 -President Olusegun Obasanjo has pledged that the Federal Government would make funds available for the dredging and conversion of the Oguta blue lake to a full scale inland waterway. This, he said, was part of FG's plan at easing the transportation problem of people of the state. Obasanjo said the project, in addition to increasing the revenue base of the state, was important for the development of tourism in the state. He made the pledge at Oguta, during a special regatta organised in his honour at the famous Oguta Resort by the Imo State Government. Governor Udenwa remarked that major business concerns like the Royal Niger Company (now UAC), SCOA, John Holt among many others, engaged in commercial enterprises in Igboland and beyond through the Oguta waterway. But he regretted that the facility had been abandoned. Udenwa said also that the FG had in the 1980s promised to dredge the Oguta waterway, but failed to fulfil the pledge. He expressed delight that the president had approved and awarded contract for the construction of the Oguta Inland Port architectural designs. According to him, N240 million had been earmarked for the inland port project. Nigeria Community Association News Summary of March 31st meeting A down-sized symposium will take place in conjunction with Nigerian independence party. The date is not set since we are still searching for the ideal facility We are still waiting for a response from the Nigerian Consulate about visiting Indianapolis. A follow-up letter will be sent to the Consulate to remind them about our request. Meeting Venue: Indianapolis Public Library (Auditorium)inside the Glendale Mall located at 62nd and Keystone Monthly meetings take place on the last Saturday of every month. Please contact Felix Madus with any questions or concerns. 293-1621 New Nigerian currency - the 500 Naira bill After almost one-month delay, Nigeria's Central Bank has finally released into circulation the 500 naira bill, the highest denomination of the country's currency. The bill was formally presented to the Federal Executive Council in Abuja Wednesday by CBN Governor Joseph Sanusi. Prior to the release, the CBN had embarked on a massive campaign to explain the security features of the note as part of efforts to discourage its forgery. The CBN had earlier injected 100 naira and 200 naira bills into circulation, following its announcement in 1999 to add the notes to the existing smaller denominations of five naira, 10 naira, 20 naira and 50 naira. The new notes carry the portraits of Nigeria's late political heros, with the 100 naira bearing that of Obafemi Awolowo, 200 naira Ahmadu Bello, and 500 naira that of Nnamdi Azikiwe. 4/6 -The United States Embassy in Nigeria has issued visas to 3000 of the 6000 winners of the 2000 Diversity Visa Lottery. The annual non-immigrant visa popularly called DVC visa allows non US citizens to go to United States to work and live. Also, 1700 others may have qualified for the new V visa status which enables spouses and minor children of residents with the American Green Card to rejoin their loved ones in the United States. In an interview, Mr. Robinson, the Consular General of the United States Embassy in Lagos told THISDAY that the 6000 winners of the lottery is an improvement over the figures in the previous years and higher than the 1999 figure of about 4000. He also gave reasons why many of the winners may not have come for visas. One of the reasons is that Nigerians all over the world are qualified to apply for DVC visas as Nigerians where ever they may live in the world. "So it is possible that some of them are living outside Nigeria and it is also possible that some of them do not have the required documents before applying for DVC lottery". According to him, winners of DVC lotteries have up to September of next year to apply for the visas or lose their chances. He said Nigeria's figure of winners is currently one of the highest last year as DVCs are given on a country to country specifics depending on a country's immigration history with the United States. 4/9 -The relocation of the office of the United Nation's Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) from Nigeria to Ghana may have sparked a row between the two countries with Nigeria expressing fears that the development may strain relations between the two countries. Speaking while receiving the Ghanaian Minister of Tourism in her office, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ms Bromillow Jack said her ministry was dismayed at the development. "My ministry will not tolerate UNESCO'S plans to remove the desk from Nigeria to Ghana because if you want to know something about Nigeria, you will now have to go to a Ghana desk, it is not acceptable" said Jack. But in her argument, Hon. Hawa Yakubu, Ghana's Minister of Tourism maintained that "Nigeria lost out due to long years of military rule. Certain hard decisions were taken to your disadvantage. The UNESCO budget was prepared 15 years ago before you and I came to office and even at that I believe Nigeria will help Ghana to grow", she said.


Issue 13 Page 5 More News from Nigeria 4/9-A recent merger between Total and Elf, the two major petroleum companies in France to form Totalfina - now one of the largest petroleum concerns in Europe - has resulted in integration of operations of their two major subsidiaries in Nigeria. Already, Total Nigeria Plc, a major petroleum marketing company currently quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), has started to use the name, Totalfina, while the operations of Elf Nigeria Limited, a private petroleum marketer, are being merged to its operation for an increased market share for the new group in Nigeria. A source close to the petroleum marketing group in Nigeria also explained that the group may, anytime from now, complete the fusion of the companies which commenced last year in Nigeria. Both Total and elf had in 1999 went into merger in France to form TotalFina, a much stronger petroleum group in Europe. Although the effect of the merger was not immediately known in Nigeria but the two subsidiaries were later directed to merge. Humor Section Worried about saying something stupid? Be afraid no more! These are from a book called "Disorder in the Court". They are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters ------------------ Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse, blood pressure, and breathing? A: No to all Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy? A: No. Q: How can you be so sure, Doc? A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar. Q: But could the patient have still been alive, never the less? A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere ---------------------------------------Q: She had three children, right? A: Yes. Q: How many were boys? A: None. Q: Were there any girls? --------------------------------------- Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney? A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work. --------------------------------------- Q: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th? A: Yes. Q: And what were you doing at that time? --------------------------------------- Q: How was your first marriage terminated? A: By death. Q: And by whose death was it terminated? 4/11 - Members of the Delta state House of Assembly have passed a bill prohibiting female circumcision in the state. The bill which came into effect yesterday (Tuesday) now makes it an offence for "any person to allow any female who is either the daughter or ward to be circumcised or has her genital organ mutilated.” Penalty for offenders which the bill prescribes is N2000 fine and/or three months imprisonment. 4/15 - Former Military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, former Biafran leader, Dim Emeka Ojukwu, Second Republic Vice President, Chief Alex Ekwueme, former Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, and Afenifere leader, Chief Abraham Adesanya may have topped the list of 126 delegates expected at the national constitutional conference in May, in Abuja. Sources in the presidency told Daily Trust that as part of the full implementation of the recommendations of the presidential review committee of the 1999 constitution, President Olusegun Obasanjo has concluded arrangements to assemble a 126-member confab, where each of the six geo-political zones is expected to produce 21 delegates. The mode of selection of the members is not yet clear but the Presidency source hinted Daily Trust that it may either be by election or presidential selection and that when assembled, the conference would discuss devolution of powers, autonomy of the 36 states of the federation, federalism, ethnic militia and resource control, among other contending issues. Observers of the Obasanjo administration are convinced that the convocation of a national conference which is likely to bring up a parallel body to the National assembly may resuscitate the hostilities between the national assembly and the executive arm of government. The source told Daily Trust that already, tension is gradually building up in the national assembly as members who feel that the president is by such act passing a vote of no confidence on them, have resolved to resist the convocation of a national conference. The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Alhaji Idris Abubakar told Daily Trust that president has no constitutional powers to convene a national conference - a body that will be parallel to the national assembly, he is by law forfeiting the protection of the constitution that legitimises both the national assembly and himself as president". 4/10 -Nigerian senators voted to bar seven of their colleagues from leadership positions in the upper house after they were found to have profited from contracts they helped award. Senator Victor Oyofo made the motion after presenting a white paper condemning his colleagues. His investigation began last July when the allegations first surfaced. The report implicated some of the senate's elite, including past senate president Chuba Okadigbo, past deputy senate president Haruna Abubakar and chief whip Roland Owie. All seven will be allowed to remain senators but will not be able to hold leadership positions. Gbenga Aluko, who led the committee responsible for awarding contracts was ordered to pay a fine of $448,400) to the senate.

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