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Photo: VOA

Boko Haram members prepare to cut off the hands of two civilians accused of theft.

By Rikar Hussein And Nisan Ahmado

Many African leaders used their speeches at the U.N. General Assembly this week to express concerns about the growing threat of violent extremism in Africa.

Several leaders from the continent called upon the international community to help better equip regional anti-terror forces to combat terrorism, especially at a time when jihadists, defeated in Middle East as Islamic State loses strength and territory there, will return to their African home countries.

"We want an Africa in peace and security; an Africa that does not serve as a sanctuary for terrorist groups fought and defeated elsewhere," President Macky Sall of Senegal told world leaders at the 72nd annual U.N. assembly Wednesday.

But a study conducted by the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) this month has found that measures deployed by African governments to combat terrorism actually impel more people to join violent groups.

"Journey to Extremism," a two-year study conducted by the UNDP, was based on interviews with more than 700 people, nearly 600 of whom were voluntary or forced recruits of extremist groups in Kenya, Somalia, Nigeria, Sudan, Cameroon and Niger.

The study cited poor family circumstances, lack of education and poverty as factors behind people's embrace of violence and extremism.

State violence and abuse of power serve as a "final tipping point" for the people to join extremist groups.

"Militarized responses to violent extremism have only served to deepen long-standing mistrust and alienation," the U.N. report said, adding that many African countries have used counterterror agendas to limit the space for political opposition and suppress civil society and the media.

The study suggested that compared to a solely security-focused approach, good governance by African governments would ultimately be more effective at countering terrorism and extremism in the region.

Religion not a reason

The U.N. study found that religion played a less significant role in attracting people to extremist groups. On the contrary, it said, longer than average religious schooling appeared to be a source of resilience in the face of extremism.

"These findings challenge rising Islamophobic rhetoric that has intensified in response to violent extremism globally," the report said. "Fostering greater understanding of religion, through methods that enable students to question and engage critically with teachings, is a key resource for [preventing violent extremism]."

The 2016 Global Terrorism Index suggested that sub-Saharan Africa was the region most affected by extremist groups after the Middle East and North Africa. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM); the Movement for the Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO); Boko Haram in Nigeria; al-Shabab in East Africa; and the Lord's Resistance Army in Central Africa were the most active extremist groups in the continent.

Those groups are reportedly spreading their activities across state borders and luring more groups and people to pledge allegiance to their ideology and conduct violent attacks.

The U.N. organization estimates violent extremism has killed more than 33,000 people in Africa in the past six years and caused widespread displacement among civilians.

In northeast Nigeria alone, where Boko Haram has been active, it is estimated that more than 20,000 people have been killed and more than 2.6 million displaced since the terror group emerged in 2009.

Threat to development

The U.N. has warned the terror threat could reverse development gains made in sub-Saharan Africa and undermine prospects for development for decades to come. Insecurity caused by terror groups has already significantly impeded tourism and trade between countries such as Kenya and Nigeria.

The threat has encouraged those countries to increase their counterterrorism efforts at home and cooperate on a regional and global level to tackle the cross-border violence.

Earlier this year, leaders of the G5 Sahel bloc — Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad — established a multinational military force of about 5,000 troops in coordination with France and the United Nations.

Despite the regional efforts and international support, however, extremist groups remain resilient in the region while more civilians become affected by continued conflict and violence.

Human rights organizations have often criticized the heavy-handed measures adopted by authorities to tackle terrorism.

Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian military of committing torture, harsh military detention and forcible eviction of people from their homes in its fight against Boko Haram.

Human Rights Watch has said the extrajudicial killing, disappearances, torture and beating of individuals suspected of links with al-Shabab has worsened in Kenya.

Photo: pixabay.com

(File photo).

analysis By Anastasia Moloney

Bogota — Working undercover in bars and brothels across Southeast Asia to combat child sex slavery, campaigner Kevin Campbell has posed many times as a tourist looking to buy sex with a girl.

But these days, Campbell, who works for the anti-trafficking group The Exodus Road, says it is far less common to see young girls for sale in sex tourism hotspots in cities, as child sex traffickers turn to out-of-the-way places - and the internet.

"Three or four years ago I could walk into...sex tourism areas and you could see girls that were 14, 15 years old very easily," said Campbell, vice president of global operations at U.S.-based The Exodus Road, which helps local authorities rescue children sold into forced prostitution.

"But now you are not going to find that. You will find maybe 17-year-olds, 18-year-olds ... where we do still see very young girls being sold are in rural areas," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

He said traffickers operate in suburbs or small towns and villages, "where they feel they can operate with impunity because the national police aren't as active there."

Human trafficking is the world's fastest growing criminal enterprise worth an estimated $150 billion a year.

More than 40 million people are trapped in modern slavery, according to new estimates by the International Labour Organization, human rights group Walk Free Foundation, and International Organization for Migration.

VENEZUELA

In Latin America, women and girls trafficked into sexual exploitation is the most common form of trafficking.

Campbell said Venezuelan women and girls are increasingly at risk of falling prey to traffickers looking to exploit poverty as tens of thousands head to neighbouring Colombia and Brazil to escape a humanitarian and political crisis at home.

"There's a market right now for victims that is very enticing to traffickers," said Campbell, adding Venezuelan women are being trafficked within Latin America and beyond.

"Traffickers are experts in exploiting the vulnerabilities of marginalised people. They are really adept at manipulating the desperation of the poor."

Campbell trains people to work undercover and raid places where children are sold for sex, from bars and brothels to hotels and squares, to identify victims and gather evidence.

Typically evidence includes video footage taken with hidden cameras of children being sold that can be used by police to rescue them and put sex traffickers behind bars, he said.

For the past five years, The Exodus Road has worked mainly in Southeast Asia and India but recently moved into Latin America, a region known as a hub for online child porn, Campbell said.

The charity has trained five local investigators who are working undercover and in cyber forensics, he said.

Some of the techniques being used to crack child porn rings and identify victims include technology to decode encrypted files and data scrapping, which can pull information off the internet on traffickers.

"And then there's just the pornography side, the live streaming of child rape and so you can have tens of thousands of men logging in and watching these things take place," he said.

"There is an issue in Latin America where it's kind of a hub for a lot of the trafficking and recruiting of young, young children and the live streaming is done from Latin America."

He said traffickers are increasingly distributing child pornography and selling children via instant encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp, social networks such as Facebook, and sites on the dark web that can allow users to remain anonymous.

"It's certainly is safer for the trafficker to sell online," Campbell said.

Reporting by Anastasia Moloney @anastasiabogota, Editing by Ros Russell.

Photo: Pixabay

Data is key to Africa's development.

By Li Yong

Vienna — Since 2000 the continent of Africa has recorded impressive rates of economic growth. This remarkable performance has been largely driven by the prolonged commodity boom and development assistance. While the continent shows great diversity in the socio-economic trajectories of its countries, growth rates have generally masked an underlying lack of structural transformation, which is needed to achieve socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable development.

Wherever industrialization has occurred, it has been a reliable force in steering economic diversification, and has contributed to developing, strengthening and upholding the framework conditions for competitive economic growth and development.

Over several decades, some developing countries - mainly in Asia - have been able to industrialize. Despite repeated attempts, Africa has not. If we look at the shares of global manufacturing value added for 2014 we see that the Asia and Pacific region's share was 44.6%, whereas Africa's share was just 1.6%. Sub-Saharan Africa is still the world's least industrialized region, with only one country, South Africa, being considered industrialized.

African countries cannot achieve sustainable development without an economic structural transformation. They seek to change the structures of their economies by substantially increasing the shares of industry - especially manufacturing - in national investments, national output, and trade. African countries realize that they must undergo this structural transformation in order to address a range of interconnected challenges.

One of these is the growth of the population. More than half of the continent's 1.2 billion-strong population is under the age of 19, and almost one in five are between 15 and 24 years old. Each year, 12 million new workers join the labour force. The continent's young people need the tools and skills to take their lives into their own hands. Industrialization is the key to ensuring that the continent's fast-growing population yields a demographic dividend.

Another associated challenge is migration. Many of Africa's most ambitious and entrepreneurially minded young people feel compelled to join migration flows to the North. No country can afford to lose this potential. Migration remains a complex issue but industrialization can address one of the root causes by creating jobs in the countries of origin.

In addition, the threat posed by climate change hangs heavily over countries where agriculture remains the primary employer. Africa needs to apply and develop green technologies and channel investments into resource efficiency and clean energy. These investments can lower the cost of bringing power to rural areas, while contributing to global efforts to mitigate climate change.

Africa must industrialize, and it must do so in a socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable manner. Previous efforts to foster sustainable economic transformation in Africa have failed, and the need for a new approach is clear. What is needed now is a broad-based and country-owned process that leverages financial and non-financial resources, promotes regional integration, and mobilizes co-operation among Africa's development partners.

This is the motivation behind the United Nations General Assembly's proclamation of the period 2016-2025 as the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III). The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is leading the new approach for the IDDA III. We are fully supporting the focus on partnerships for resource mobilization, and offer an already tried and tested example of how to implement the approach: the Programme for Country Partnership (PCP).

UNIDO's PCP combines technical assistance with policy advice, standards and investments leveraging to support the design and implementation of industrialization strategies and instruments that can make a sizeable impact on a country's development.

Launched in 2014, the model is being successfully implemented in two African countries - Ethiopia and Senegal - as well as in Peru. The PCP is aligned with each country's national development agenda and is a multi-stakeholder partnership model. It is designed to build synergies with ongoing government and partner interventions, while mobilizing funds and leveraging additional investment towards sectors with high growth potential.

The PCP focuses on a select number of priority sectors or areas that are essential to the government's industrial development agenda. Priority sectors are typically selected based on job creation potential, availability of raw materials, export potential and ability to attract investment.

The PCP approach is designed to create synergies with partner programmes/projects relevant for industrial development in order to maximize impact. One particular area of focus is strategic partnerships with financial institutions and the business sector in order to leverage additional resources for infrastructure, industry and innovation, as well as knowledge, expertise and technology.

Mainstreaming of the PCP approach to other African countries can be a significant contribution to the successful implementation of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa. UNIDO stands ready to support Africa on its path to inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

interview By Gwendolin Hilse

A study by a German academic says religious conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa have been on the rise for decades. Researcher Matthias Basedau says weak African states are a major cause.

In your study on the subject of religious conflicts in Africa, you claim eight out of ten active armed conflicts have a religious dimension. Why are countries in sub-Saharan Africa so vulnerable to this kind of conflict?

Conflicts that have a religious dimension are becoming more common worldwide and sub-Saharan Africa is no exception. The region is generally vulnerable to conflicts because many states in sub-Saharan Africa are often weak. It also has to do with the fact that religious conflicts spill over from North Africa and the Middle East; either directly from Libya or Algeria or indirectly through the spread of more radical versions of Islam. However, religion is only one aspect of these conflicts - they can also be ethnic conflicts, or conflicts over power or resources. There is no conflict based purely on religion.

You also mentioned in your study that countries with a heterogeneous population and religious communities are particularly susceptible to religious conflicts. Somalia is one of the most unstable countries in Africa; it is also one of the most religiously homogenous countries on the continent. In Nigeria the Boko Haram Islamists also frequently attack Muslims. How do you explain this phenomenon?

Basically, one must distinguish between two types of religious conflicts. In inter-religious conflicts, the conflict parties differ in their religious affiliation - for example, Christians and Muslims. This can overlap with ethnic identities, and it is clear that heterogeneous societies are more vulnerable to triggering conflicts along these lines. This is different from theological conflicts which are mostly about religious ideas. Such conflicts can arise in majority Muslim societies, such as Mali, Somalia or Northern Nigeria. But we are also aware of examples of Christian rebel groups in sub-Saharan Africa who have theological demands. The parties involved may differ on the question of what role religion should play in the state. For example, radical Muslim groups demand the introduction of Sharia law. A weak state allows these kinds of groups to be active in the first place - their radical ideology becomes more attractive to people if the state does not provide adequate public services and the politicians are corrupt. But of course, not all Muslims in these countries are radical Islamists.

Why do radical groups from North Africa and the Middle East have an interest in stirring up these conflicts?

Active radical groups have a more direct influence in North Africa, such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), or offshoots of the so-called Islamic State. They have an interest in creating branches in other countries. They have supported rebels in Mali and there are indications that they are also doing it in Nigeria and Somalia. Other Middle Eastern states are more likely to have an indirect influence. It is about spreading a radical version of Islam. Sub-Saharan Africa traditionally was home to a rather moderate form of Islam, for example, Sufism. Countries like Saudi Arabia or Qatar are spreading Wahhabism, or similar variants, which can indirectly create a radical ideology that leads to violence. But it is not entirely clear how this influence is spreading or how strong it is.

What role has globalization and social media played in increasing religious conflicts?

Globalization - the simplified flow of information, goods and finances - promotes these kinds of issues, not only in Africa, but also elsewhere. On the other hand, thanks to globalization, governments can also improve their networks to implement de-radicalization measures.

What counter-measures would have to be taken to stop the advance of religious conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa?

The counter-measures must be based on a careful analysis of the causes. We do not know everything yet, but some measures are likely to take hold. Firstly, we need to be aware that there are both religious and non-religious causes that must be dealt with at the same time. On the religious side, one can carry out de-radicalization measures, thus strengthening peaceful interpretations of faith. From a non-religious point of view, this is mainly about long-term development. In other words, governments and states must offer their citizens better prospects. It is about good governance and security. Several measures will be required but the good news is that some of these are already in place. African governments must do most of the work with the support of other countries. In Burundi and Nigeria for example, Germany supports pilot projects through the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). But we should not expect that this alone will make a quick and sustainable difference.

Political scientist Professor Matthias Basedau conducts research on peace and security at the GIGA Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg. He recently published a study on the rise of armed religious conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa.

By Gaaki Kigambo

In a new twist on the controversy surrounding machinations to change the Constitution to remove age limits -- a move seen as designed to benefit long serving Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni -- another member of his National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has written to the Speaker of Parliament Rebbecca Kadaga seeking to introduce two new Bills for Museveni's retirement and return of term limits to the Constitution.

Museveni unsure?

Dr Sam Lyomoki, a long serving MP representing workers has told The EastAfrican, he is working with others in the party on his motion for a Bill titled: The Museveni Succession, Transition and Immunities Bill 2017."

Lyomoki has also proposed to table a second Bill to restore term limits in the Constitution. Term limits were removed in 2005.

Dr Lyomoki filed his notice with the offices of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Clerk to Parliament, as stamps of receipt on a copy of the document seen by this newspaper confirmed.

In the interview with The EastAfrican, Dr Lyomoki confirms the initiative; "basically what we are saying is that the time is now for us to move in that direction because Museveni is not sure of what will happen to him if he leaves power.

"Ugandans who support him are also not sure if he will be arrested after he leaves or what will happen to him, that is why we think it is important that discuss how we transition from him," he said.

"The thing is, whether we change the Constitution now to remove age limits or not, at one time he will have to go and the fear is if he goes (without a proper plan) there might be problems."

Packaging his idea as a kind of scheme of a third force, Dr Lyomoki said he was working with a number of colleagues some of whom are not yet ready to come out in the open.

He took a swipe at his colleagues agitating for deletion of the age limit, "most of these people you see jumping around and singing, they don't love the President, they love what is in his hand."

By Isaac Imaka

The National Resistance Movement is working on a ten-point justification for revising the Constitution to remove the 75-year age cap and open the door for the leader, President Yoweri Museveni, to stay on after 2021.

The blueprint supposed to guide members as talking points to promote the project resulted from months of covert research to package the most saleable justifications.

Though the document, seen by this newspaper is unmarked as though nothing makes it stand out, it is, as sources have confirmed, the template for selling the project to the world.

In what is perhaps its boldest statement, the document claims that Ugandans should not be denied "an opportunity to ask for another rap" from a seasoned experienced leader.

Those who work closely with President Museveni know their way of getting noticed. When they weren't getting a clear picture on his stand on removing the age limit, two tasseographers dipped their toes in the water.

[Tasseography is a divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves.]

A source close to the machinations behind the age limit Bill says the duo's resolve was that if Mr Museveni was interested in starting the debate, he would show them a sign and if he didn't, he would stop them.

The two, however, needed money. They approached a freshly appointed permanent secretary in a top ministry, and three youthful MPs, for money to fund preliminary research into the feasibility of removing the age limit and to facilitate some sort of secretariat.

"A huge reward awaits on the horizon if we are successfully associated with removing the presidential age limit," the source who spoke on condition of anonymity, quotes the two leaders.

They gave each of the recruits a firm look in the eye as if to confirm their seriousness and willingness to offer seed money and they did.

From that initial effort, NRM legislators were last Wednesday presented with a document with 10 arguments they expected to parrot after the Bill is tabled in Parliament.

Point One: Let the people choose their leaders. The argument is based on Article 1 of the Constitution which states that "power belongs to the people."

The strategists want the NRM officials and MPs to use this as the "most entrenched article in the Constitution," the document argues, having a presidential limit would be to take the power away from the people by excluding some people.

Point Two: Ugandans have the capacity and freedom to choose the person their leader. The people's freedom of choice of president is expressed through regular free and fair elections and this right should be guaranteed and not restricted.

"If the voters don't like a particular person to lead them or they are tired of his or her governance style, they will reject that person at the time of elections and vote them out," the document reads.

Point Three: The law is discriminatory against senior citizens. Article 32 of the Constitution, they argue, prohibits discrimination based on age and other factors.

"MPs and other leaders, except the President and district chairpersons, do not have this kind of restriction. It is necessary that this imbalance is addressed," the document reads.

Point Four: Nothing is cast in stone. There's nothing wrong with amending the Constitution, so long as you follow the correct procedure.

"Ugandans have the right to determine the appropriate legislation of their time and to review the laws and make corrections where necessary."

Point Five: Multipartyism allows for each political party to forward the best candidate(s) from among their members to contest for any political office.

"Nobody can dictate to any party the person they should select to run for president. It is up to each political party to choose the president whom they believe will deliver success at the election and lead the country as president irrespective of age, gender, religion or any other consideration," it reads.

And that's where the problem lies for the MPs opposed to the removal of presidential age limit.

Theodore Ssekikubo (NRM Lwemiyaga) opposes a one-man prolonged presidency since a "forever president" in turn creates life ministers and as a result stagnates institutions and sectors.

"Andrei Andreyevich Gromyko was at one time the life Foreign Affairs minister for Russia. But the president is now placid and vulnerable. We can't allow a combination of an open presidency and life ministers to continue because it is not good for the country," he said.

Mr Ssekikubo also questions the Cabinet's choice to use a backbencher to table the Bill which should ideally have been introduced by the Executive.

He argues that either the Executive is simply sleepy or does not believe in the Bill. (A section of the Cabinet addressed a press conference in the office of the Prime Minister to back the party's initiative).

"Even the Cabinet ministers are shying away from the Bill and are pushing backbenchers to carry out an otherwise cardinal and non-delegatory duty of the Executive," he said.

The Constitution, however, gives Parliament the duty to make laws and even amend the constitution apart from where it explicitly states that there should be a referendum or following a recommendation from district councils.

While addressing a press conference at Parliament Buildings on Tuesday, Mr Raphael Magyezi, the anticipated mover of the motion castigated those opposing the Bill due their being opposed to President Museveni.

He challenged them to put forth stronger reasons and also warned those threatening physical injury, rather than using their intellect to convince proponents of the Bill.

Point Six: Uganda should copy countries like Israel who permit all their available leadership resources to keep around and compete for elections.

"The country is at a stage of taking off into a modern middle income country. This is the time to galvanise all available human resources particularly its leadership and technical manpower so long as they are the choice of the people, elected or appointed through the legal or institutionally recognized mechanism."

Point Seven: Seventy-five is arbitrary and has no justification. The framers of the Constitution, the document says, erred in inserting 75 as the age limit, because no one is incapable at 75.

Some people are incapable of leading even at a much younger age whereas some are strong and dynamic with a lot to offer the country even past age 75.

Point Eight: Uganda is not an island in terms of governance. Other countries in the region do not have such "archaic restrictions". For regional governance, it is important that Uganda takes bold steps to harmonise systems of governance with other countries in the region.

Point Nine: Man has a right to demand for another rap from the best dancer, even when the adage of the best dancer leaving the stage exists.

"The host cannot send away the best dancer at a time when people are just warming up to enjoy the dance because that would be an anti-climax which is not permissible in organised societies.

"It is not the dancer who wants to stay on the floor but the people who still enjoy and value the particular dancer's strokes and, therefore, demand for his or her stay," the document reads.

Point 10: Since Uganda is playing a critical role in regional integration, economic empowerment and security in the EAC and the African Union, and the continent, she should not be denied an opportunity to drink from the tap of experienced leadership and instead be subjected to experimental leaders and those created through political manoeuvring.

Photo: The Nation Media Group

Samia Bugwe North MP, Gideon Onyango, claims that Ugandans are being registered to take part in Kenya's polls. Daily Nation Photo

By Fred Oluoch

Kenya's opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalition has prepared cases against 60 staff of the electoral commission over the August 8 presidential election whose result was annulled by the Supreme Court.

The EastAfrican established that Nasa is waiting for the Director of Public Prosecution, Keriako Tobiko, to take action against the individuals suspected to have bungled the election, but Nasa is prepared to initiate private criminal prosecution should he fail to.

In presenting the full ruling on Thursday last week, Chief Justice David Maraga said the court could not assign any criminal culpability on any individual.

Paul Mwangi, Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga's lawyer told The EastAfrican that private prosecution will go on as stated by the Nasa principals.

John Onyando, a member of Nasa's media team, said the court was not expected to name the individuals responsible for bungling the elections because it was presiding over a civil matter.

"Once the Supreme Court decided that there were illegalities and irregularities, the only thing remaining is to find out who committed them and whether they did so with criminal intentions," said Mr Onyando.

Among those targeted for private prosecution are IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, commission-secretary Ezra Chiloba, several individuals working in the ICT department and some returning officers.

According to the judgement by a majority of four out of two Supreme Court judges, the IEBC chairman announced the presidential results on August 11, while 11,000 forms 34 (containing the votes cast at polling centres) were missing.

The judges said the chairman failed to offer any plausible response to the question on whether all Forms 34A had been electronically transmitted to the national tallying centre as required by Section 39 (1C) of the Elections Act.

Denied access

The judges also ruled that the electoral commission failed to grant access to two critical areas of their servers -- its logs, which would have proven or disproved the petitioners' claim of hacking, and its servers that contained Forms 34A and 34B.

"IEBC's disobedience of the court's order left the judges with no option but to accept Raila Odinga's claims that either the commission's IT system was infiltrated and data doctored or IEBC's officials themselves interfered with the data," read the judgment.

The judges, however, noted a systemic institutional problem but could not point to specific individuals who may have played a role in the mess.

Mr Odinga, who filed a petition against the re-election of the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta claimed that various electoral offences were committed by IEBC officials but no evidence was placed before the court to prove the allegations.

Private prosecution

The Kenyan Constitution allows citizens who feel that the state is not willing to take up their case to present evidence before a court, which can allow private prosecution to proceed.

Mr Tobiko had said that he was waiting for the comprehensive ruling before starting the process of prosecuting those who would be found culpable within IEBC.

analysis By Sekou Owino

When the justices of the Supreme Court of Kenya first delivered the lean decision on September 1 -- with a majority of four judges against two in dissent -- in which they declared that the presidential election held on August 8, 2017 had been irregular, null and void, the shock and awe that took the country led to the question, why?

Those enthused by the majority decision sought to know the main reasons for that decision to give themselves a reason for celebration.

Those who found themselves on the wrong side of the majority decision waited for the detailed reasons to find out if they were sufficient to justify the judgement, in the hope that they would give them grounds to for derision at the decision.

The country's electoral body Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) may have been the only party involved in that court case that had a professional need to know the real reasons for the decision.

This is because the IEBC needed to know where the court had found it to have made missteps that led to the nullification.

On Wednesday, September 20, all these sides finally got the reasoned decisions, when the court sat for almost 11 hours.

The reasoned decision did not disappoint, and for different reasons.

First, three of the judges in the majority -- Chief Justice David Maraga, his deputy Philomena Mwilu and Justice Isaac Lenaola read their joint decision in turns for themselves and on behalf of Justice Smokin Wanjala, who had travelled but had signed the majority decision by which the election was annulled.

The detailed reasons for the majority decision were that, among other things, the IEBC had presided over a systematic and systemic failure in conducting the elections, with the result that the results were transmitted contrary to the strict requirement that the physical forms in which they are recorded at the polling stations be scanned, signed and submitted simultaneously through electronic means.

They found that there were certain departures from this requirement ,which rendered the final results projected by the IEBC suspect.

Forms 34A

Another important finding was that the chairman of the IEBC, as the national returning officer for the presidential election, appeared to have declared results without and or before receiving all the forms required from the polling stations -- the now famous Forms 34A.

Equally disconcerting to the majority judges was the curious fact that some of the requisite forms had security features while others did not, giving credence to the claims that the forms may have been forged.

The majority judges were also taken aback by what they considered contumacious disobedience of the order the court had given for the IEBC to permit access to its servers for the purposes of, among other things, ascertaining the claims by the petitioner of hacking.

The refusal and or failure of the IEBC to permit access led the court to a conclusion that there was something untoward within those servers and led to the decision to resolve the doubts in favour of the petitioner and hence the decision that the results of the election were unreliable.

It needs to be said, however, that the petitioners did not get every order they sought from the court.

Of particular interest was the claim that the president and or some Cabinet secretaries had committed election offences by campaigning under the guise of undertaking government projects and functions.

Some Cabinet secretaries were said to have openly campaigned for the president, contrary to the Constitution, which requires that they keep off political actions.

Government funds

The petitioner had also claimed that the president had used government funds, claiming to be providing compensation to victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence, when the main reason was to campaign for his re-election.

Another claim was that the Executive had unleashed an aggressive campaign in media advertisements, supposedly providing information to the public on its performance on some development projects.

The objective of this, the petitioner claimed, was to use government funds to campaign for the incumbent. On this claim, the majority ruled that the petitioners had not provided evidence.

My view of the tone of the court on this issue is that it may well have been sending a shot across the bow for the Executive by stating that had the evidence been adduced to its satisfaction it may well have nullified the election on this ground.

The majority decision concluded with the reiteration of the strong and possibly enduring words to the effect that "the greatness of a nation will not lie in the strength of its armies or the depth of its economy but in its fidelity to the law and fear of God."

Not far-reaching words have ever been expressed by a judge in Kenya - barring, maybe, those of Chief Justice C. B. Madan in the case of Stanley Githunguri, in which he told Mr Githunguri, after dismissal of an attempt at prosecution despite previous assurances by the Attorney-General that he would not be prosecuted.

"Stanley Munga Githunguri! You have been beseeching the court for Order of Prohibition. Take the order. This court gives it to you. When you leave here, raise your eyes up unto the hills.

"Utter a prayer of thankfulness that your fundamental rights are protected under the judicial system of Kenya," Justice Madan said.

Warning to the IEBC

Equally fervent was the majority's warning to the IEBC -- to ensure that it conducted the ensuing election in strict conformity with the law -- to avoid similar challenges, for the judges were clear that they would not hesitate to nullify any future elections if similar infractions were repeated.

The judges also made it clear that the arguments to the effect that the challenges to the election were merely on the transmission methods and, therefore, merely of process did not resonate with them.

In other words, the compliance with all constitutional requirements, process was equally important.

In summary, therefore, the majority decision sends the message to Kenyans that there stands a court which will uphold rights and look down all institutions and persons within the country when the Constitution calls on it to do so.

Dissenting opinions

While dissenting opinions are often of no significance to the ultimate decision, they form interesting perspectives for consideration in teaching of legal reasoning in law schools.

The two judges in dissent did not disappoint. I have no doubt that the dissenting opinions will be of historical significance in any view of the majority decision, though for different reasons.

The two judges in dissent contended that the petitioner had not proved the complaints of irregularities or illegalities to the requisite standard. Insufficient evidence is often the starting block for a judge declining to grant a claim.

However, Professor Justice Ojwang's dissent put out the great essence of a scholar judge.

His reasoned opinion was engaging in the depth of its scholarly interposition of the legal issues at hand, with explanations as to why he saw the issues differently, all clothed in legal theory and in very distinguished scholarly language.

This dissenting opinion will form the basis for many judges, advocates and legal scholars for many years to come on the quality, even if it will be of no legal significance in the case.

Justice Njoki Ndung'u's dissent will also stand out in history but for a different reason: At 440 pages, it probably is the longest dissent in any case in the Common Law the world over.

Standing against the majority opinion of 178 pages and Prof Ojwang's dissent of 91 pages, the tone by Justice Ndung'u also stands to interest legal historians for that reason.

It reminded me of what is said to be the most influential dissenting opinion ever in the US Supreme Court: Oliver Wendell Holme's solo dissent in the 1905 Supreme Court case of Lochner vs New York, which came in two paragraphs!

Nevertheless it remains greatly influential as a dissent and is today considered by judges and scholars to have been right in legal principle as opposed to the majority.

Collegiality of the judges

Aside from the foregoing, the decisions and the manner in which they were delivered leave one wondering whether the collegiality of the judges of the Supreme Court of Kenya is where it should be.

At times, it appeared that some of them were invested in the case at hand as if they were the advocates for the litigants.

There was just a lack of dispassionate adjudication that would be expected of a judge -- at least from some of them who appeared to have been going at the others and even lecturing them for having seen the case and decided differently.

Another important point that emerged is the fate of the decision of the same court in the presidential election petition of 2013.

In 2013, the same court had decided that mere challenges to procedure were insufficient to justify nullification of a result.

In addition, the complainant was required to also demonstrate to the court that the irregularities would have amounted to a change of the results in that the person declared the winner would not have won. Without establishing this, the mere process failures would not do.

The 2017 decision is a radical shift from this position, as the judges held that the process is as important as the result.

Giving a simple and sardonically amusing allegory, the judges of the majority said: High school mathematics requires not just the answer to a sum but the method by which the answer is achieved.

Interesting dimension

This decision, therefore, shows that there is a clear shift in the approach of the majority in the Supreme Court to these issues.

Of equally interesting dimension was that all the three judges who ascended to the Supreme Court under the presidency of Uhuru Kenyatta (that is Chief justice Maraga, Deputy Chief Justice Philomen Mwilu and Justice Isaac Lenaola) were in the majority who nullified the election of the president who had been involved in their appointment.

This is an indication of the scaffolding that the constitutional development of Kenya provides.

It does appear that the Supreme Court is coming of age in terms of the judges therein beginning to exhibit their respective juridical ideological postures.

This may be good for the court, but may mean that the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court will begin to take more overtly political tones during the confirmation hearings for the chief justice and the deputy in the National Assembly.

In this regard, Kenyans need to be alert because a Supreme Court needs men and women of sound legal posture. Room must not be ceded to the political branches to begin litmus testing judges for political correctness.

Finally, I have argued before that of all the three arms of government, the judiciary is the one institution which the 2010 Constitution specifically targeted for what would be harsh cleansing.

This was because it is the judicial officers who had to be vetted upon the new Constitution coming into effect, with the result that some of them lost their jobs.

This could have been cathartic and intended to prepare the judicial officers who would survive this for the skills and grit that administering the interpretation of the Constitution would call for.

That there would be persons happy with them while others, extremely powerful, would be extremely unhappy -- and that is the bedrock of a democracy.

Sekou Owino is head of legal services at Nation Media Group.

By Kunle Aderinokun

A new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers has said the Nigerian entertainment and media market revenue, which rose to $3.6 billion in 2016 would increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.2 per cent to $6.4 billion in 2021.

PwC, which revealed this in its "Entertainment and media outlook: 2017 - 2021, An African perspective" obtained by THISDAY, noted that due to the depreciation of the Naira, Nigeria's E & M revenue expressed in United States Dollars was somewhat depressed when compared with last year's figures.

The report, which is the 8th annual edition, released this month, is an in-depth analysis of the trends shaping the entertainment and media industry in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania. It is a comprehensive source of analyses and five-year forecasts of consumer and advertising spending across five countries and 14 segments.

In terms of total E&M revenue, the PwC report rated Nigeria as one of the fastest-growing countries among those ones it considered. It, however, added that, "This figure must be treated with caution, as a huge proportion of that growth comes from Internet access revenue alone--specifically mobile Internet access revenue."

"This in itself is an interesting side point, with Nigerians embracing dual-SIM phones in order to circumvent issues with network coverage."

As such, the outlook on E & M explained that, out of the $2.8 billion that the Nigerian market would add between 2016 and 2021, only $452 million will not come from Internet access revenue, "dampening what seems like an optimistic picture for consumer and advertiser revenue growth."

This implies that a whopping $2.348 billion in revenue would be generated from internet access within the projected period, representing 83.9 per cent of the total. "Industries such as the world renowned Nollywood, for instance, don't generate that much measurable revenue for Nigerian E&M due to issues such as piracy hampering official cinema owners and film vendors."

However, noting that, when internet access revenue was excluded from the figures, Nigeria's CAGR dropped to a less stellar 5.4 per cent, which is behind the 7.7 per cent seen in Kenya, the report added that, there was still much to be positive about in the Nigerian market.

According to the outlook, "The combined elements of TV and video will add nearly US$200 million to 2021. Although the breadth of Internet coverage and speed of service is not yet sufficient to support meaningful Internet video revenue, pay-TV will do well over the forecast period. Growth was low in 2016 as providers focused on low-cost entry level packages designed to entice new customers. This has helped pay-TV households to rocket from 1.9 million in 2012 to 4.0 million in 2016."

The latest PwC report expressed the belief that, once the emphasis shifts towards upselling households to more premium packages with wider ranges of content, HD channels and TV everywhere services, a 4.1 per cent CAGR can be expected. "In music, ringtones and ringbacks continue to make good running, thanks largely to their piracy-proof nature. And in video games, similarly, the social/casual model is making gamers of anybody with a smartphone, explaining rapid rises in this metric as smartphone connections rise exponentially."

It explained: "TV is Nigeria's largest advertising segment, with terrestrial dominant, but with multichannel rising at a double-digit CAGR to 2021 as advertisers chase the country's increasingly large pay-TV base. Local content remains important and MultiChoice continues to add programming to its DStv and GOtv services. MultiChoice's dedicated sports channel, SuperSport, has invested significantly in Nigerian content, particularly in football and basketball."

Besides, the report also projected that, "A healthy proliferation of radio stations--Lagos State alone has 23--will also take radio advertising revenue to just shy of US$80 million in 2021, while the country's rapid rate of urbanisation in particular spells good news for OOH (out-of-home media)."

"Internet advertising, though, is the most exciting growth area, with a CAGR of 19.5 per cent expected to propel the segment to US$157 million in 2021. Mobile Internet is seeing especially strong growth, and will overtake wired advertising by the end of the forecast period.

"In March 2017, Facebook began accepting payments for advertising space in naira. Previously, prices were displayed in naira, but payments were not accepted in the currency, meaning that extra currency conversion fees and blocked transactions were commonplace. Businesses can now pay for Facebook's ad space using local debit cards, improving access to the social network for advertisers and local companies across Nigeria. This will only improve the transition of advertiser dollars to the segment, even if it may not spell ad revenue for the country's content producers," the report added.

BRIEFS

Capital Market

The Securities and Exchange Commission banned the Managing Director of Partnership Investment Company Plc and Partnership Securities Limited, Victor Ogiemwonyi, from operating in the capital market for life. Ogiemwonyi was also banned for life from holding directorship position in any public company in Nigeria for his alleged unprofessional conduct in the Nigerian capital market in respect of the activities of both companies. He would also pay a penalty of N100, 000. With the ban, the commission said the companies' operating licenses had been withdrawn, while their chairman, Henry Omoragbon, was suspended from engaging in Nigerian capital market activities for five years.

Crude Oil

Oil markets were firm and remained near multi-month highs reached penultimate week as the number of U.S. rigs drilling for new production fell and refineries continued to start up after getting knocked out by Hurricane Harvey. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $50 per barrel at 0547 GMT, and close to the more than three-month high of $50.50 reached penultimate Thursday. Brent crude futures, benchmark for oil prices outside the United States, were at $55.71 a barrel, up 9 cents and not far from the almost five- month high of $55.99 touched on Thursday. Brent was $56 the previous week.

Cotonou Border

Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (Retd.) canvassed the complete closure of Nigeria's most important border outpost at the boundary with Benin Republic, the Cotonou border, as a solution to the problem of smuggling. Ali made the submission at the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria in Lagos. He said the suggestion became necessary because it was becoming increasingly difficult for the NCS to man the border due to the illegal activities of smugglers and the adverse effect of such activities on local industries and the economy, generally.

Autonomy for AuGF

President Muhammadu Buhari pressed for a review of relevant legislations by the National Assembly to give autonomy to the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation. Buhari disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at the launch of the 2017- 2022 Strategic Development Plan of the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, where he was represented by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun. The president said there was need to give the AuGF adequate powers to carry out his mandate in all the arms of government.

Foreign Investment

The Nigeria Investment Promotion Council said its target was to attract about $25 billion in foreign direct investment as the Nigeria-U.S. Investors Roundtable opened in New York. NIPC's Chief Executive Officer, Yewande Sadiku, said the council's target from the forum was expected to surpass that of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, who spoke at the opening session of the forum, also said the federal government was deliberately investing in the development of infrastructure to attract investors to the country. "Nigeria of the future will be dramatically different from the past," the minister told participants at the forum held on the side-lines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

By Ifeoluwa Adeyemo and Queenesther Iroanusi

The operations of Uber drivers have come under attack at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja, following resistance from the resident car hire service providers.

Uber drivers have been harassed continuously by the task force of resident car hire services at the NAIA for operating "illegally". Uber, the U.S. based global taxi service, is not officially registered with the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, in Abuja.

"The task force impounds the cars and hands over the drivers to the Police who 'fine the driver' the sum of N25,000 against the charge of picking passengers illegally from the airport", a Uber driver, Temitope Ayoola, told PREMIUM TIMES.

"They told us that we are illegal and that we are not expected to come and pick up any passengers or carry out our operations at the airport.

"It has been on for sometimes so we just manoeuvre our way to pick up our passengers but in the last two months or let me say early July it became something else as they started arresting my colleagues.

"The issue is that they are doing it in connivance with the police. They would hold our cars and also hand the driver over to the police standing on the grounds that according to FAAN (Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria) if we are not making money for them we cannot work at the airport", Mr. Ayoola said.

Aside not being registered with FAAN, Saka Abdulahi, a task force official of one of the car hire services, Airport Car Hire Association ACHAN, told PREMIUM TIMES that they impound the cars and arrest UBER drivers because "they are depriving them of customers."

According to him, there are two official car hire services, VIKO Nigeria Car hire and ACHAN, whose members pay N65,000 to FAAN annually: N40,000 as a concession fee, and N20,000 for gate access and N5000 for form.

"We are more than 1000 registered car hire drivers and as a result, we carry passengers from the airport twice a week each. A ride is N5,000 naira and from that money, we will have to buy fuel and meet other expenses within the airport including car hire tickets and remittance for the annual due", he said.

Mr. Abdulahi alleged that UBER drivers park within the airport premises waiting for requests from customers and that they carry out car hire operations at the airport up to four times in a day.

A leader of one of the groups of UBER drivers who pleaded anonymity for fear of victimisation said the controversy has been on since late last year and it got serious in June.

He admitted that after interactions with the FAAN authorities in Abuja, the agency has indicated its willingness to let Uber operate at the airport.

"Before now there was this wrong belief or wrong view that FAAN didn't want Uber drivers to operate. The issue we are facing right now is with Uber," he said.

"Uber claims they are just an application, which consumers download to request, the drivers download and put their cars, and the Internet merges both of them.

"We've been in touch with the top people here in Abuja and I know what their position is. The position and the problem now is to get Uber down to the airport to do the needful. We've been trying to get Uber (to do this); all FAAN wants is, 'tell what you do, how you do it, how you make your money and then how you also intend to make money for us.' It is not like FAAN is requesting that they pay a particular sum.

"FAAN is saying come for dialogue; everything in business it's negotiable. Whatever comes to the table, we know how we would negotiate and share. That's what they are all asking for."

On the issue of depriving the other car hire services some of their dues, he said: "We take about a minimum of half a million from these people daily. How do we you expect them to remit to FAAN? This is affecting FAAN's revenue one way or the other whether we like it or not but they are given a level playing ground.

"This is an open market where anyone can come and compete, there's no monopoly; that we have ascertained with them", he said.

Speaking on the controversy, the Acting General Manager Public Affairs of FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, said she was not aware of the situation at the airport.

"Although I've not heard about this, but I am not sure they have the right to harass the Uber drivers whether registered or not because every passenger has the right to go back home by whatever means they desire and most times these passengers prefer Uber drivers to the other taxi drivers.

"Indeed Uber drivers are not registered with FAAN yet; but the truth is, if as a passenger, I prefer to go with Uber, I should be allowed to do so without being harassed.

"We are concerned about the safety of our passengers and so we encourage car-hire operators to register with FAAN so as to have their records and make it easy for us to trace in case anything goes south."

She promised to speak with the commercial department concerning the issue and expressed hopes that they will come out with the policy to ensure that the problem is resolved and that passengers always go with registered taxis for their own safety.

By Ejiofor Alike and Emmanuel Addeh

Yenagoa — The meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) of OPEC and Non-OPEC Countries in Vienna, Austria, yesterday extended its exemption from crude oil production cut, thus endorsing the country's position hat the exemption granted it at the November 2016 Ministerial Conference and extended by the May Ministerial Conference should be sustained until it stabilises its crude oil production.

It also emerged yesterday that the federal government is planning to halt the stealing of Nigeria's crude oil by introducing a fingerprint technology which will track products anywhere in the world.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who led Nigeria's delegation to the JMMC meeting had argued that although Nigeria's production recovery efforts have made some appreciable progress since October last year, Nigeria is not yet out of the woods.

He noted that even though Nigeria hit 1.802 million barrels per day in August; that was not enough justification for a call by some countries for Nigeria to be brought into the fold.

Kachikwu emphasised that Nigeria, as one of the older members of OPEC would continue to work for the good of the Organization and its member countries, respecting whatever agreements and resolutions are collectively made.

He stated that Nigeria would be prepared to cap its crude production when it had stabilized at 1.8 million barrels per day.

He said that although Nigeria was not a member of the five-nation JMMC, he had gladly accepted the invitation of the co-chairs of the Committee and the OPEC Conference President to attend the meeting because he believed that the committee was doing a good job and needed to be supported and also to clarify Nigeria's position on its crude oil production.

The meeting noted that overall compliance by OPEC and Non OPEC participating Countries to the Agreement on crude oil production cut for the month of August was 116 per cent.

This compliance level was highest since the agreement came into effect on January 2017.

It further noted that the objectives of the Accord were steadily being achieved with the gradual draw-down of inventories by nearly 50 per cent since the agreement came into effect

In a communiqué after its 5th meeting, which took place yesterday, the JMMC welcomed the participation of Iraq, Libya and Nigeria, and the reaffirmation of their commitment to work closely with other participating producing countries to ensure the success of the Declaration of Cooperation.

The President of the OPEC Conference and Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Khalid A. Al-Falih, participated in the meeting by telephone, expressed his solidarity with the JMMC, reiterated the commitment of Saudi Arabia to the success of the Declaration of Cooperation and cautioned against complacency.

He also reaffirmed the necessity of additional work to be undertaken by under-performing participating countries to bring their conformity levels to 100 per cent.

He then thanked Libya and Nigeria for their positive engagement and their ongoing coordination with the participating countries in the Declaration of Cooperation.

The next JMMC Meeting is scheduled to be held in Vienna, on November 29, 2017.

FG to Track Nigeria's Stolen Crude Oil with Fingerprint Technology

To halt the stealing of Nigeria's crude oil by locals who connive with operators of foreign vessels, the federal government said yesterday that it was introducing a fingerprint technology which will track products anywhere in the world.

Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who spoke in Odi, Bayelsa State, yesterday, also disclosed that the Buhari government was set to build an oil and gas institute in the state due to the immense contribution of Bayelsa in the sector.

Onu, who was also in Odi to inaugurate a Bio-resources Laboratory and the livestock feed mill complexes at the Bio-resources Development Centre (BIODEC), disclosed that the programme which would take off before the end of the year, will solve the problem of economic sabotage.

"Nigeria is changing with this capacity here now, we will able to do many things. I just gave them instruction that by the end of the year, we should have finger printing of our crude oil, so that if anybody steals it we will be able to identify it.

"Even crude oil can have finger prints and with the equipment we have here, we can do it in Nigeria. One problem that we have is that we rely on other people to solve our problems. We produce crude oil, we export it, but we now import refined petroleum products.

"We export our woods and we bring in toothpicks. We don't want that anymore and for you to do all these things we rely on others. We have to look inward and we need to build capacity and that is what this facility is doing for us.

"We can do genome mapping of our rare crops, plants, animals that are unique to us. We can even finger print our own crude oil.

"We also need to fight poverty. If you create jobs, you will fight poverty, if you train people, you fight poverty and that's what they are doing here and I think we are ready to fight poverty."

The minister had earlier visited the state governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, where he intimated him of the need to develop capacity in the oil and gas processes in the country.

In his comments, Dickson who was represented by his Deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah, said the state would create an enabling environment to make the project a success in the state.

He noted that the Institute when established would create jobs, encourage skills and reduce spate of unemployment in the region.

Also speaking, the Director General of the Institute, Josiah Habu, said the target of the research centre was to bring "reliability, quality, originality, innovation and novelty to research and development".

He said the commissioning of the facilities had officially open the gateway to a higher level of bio-resources prospecting and processing to new products and services to support local content.

"For a start, the quest for the DNA of Nigeria's crude oil will soon be answered. This is to enable the tracking of Nigeria's crude oil flow globally and hence solve the national problem of economic sabotage", he said.

By Chineme Okafor

Abuja — The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the West African Power Pool (WAPP) have initiated plans to build a second 330 kilovolt (kV) transmission line to boost electricity supply to the Republic of Benin by 2021.

The Interim Managing Director of TCN and Chairman, WAPP, Mr. Usman Gur Mohammed, disclosed this at a meeting to kick-off the project's Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Study in Abuja yesterday.

Mohammed said the transmission section of Nigeria's power sector was also targeting to attain 20,000 megawatts (MW) transmission capacity within the next three years.

He said: "The second 330kV Ikeja West transmission line to Sakete in Benin Republic is necessary as the first could soon be constrained by the demand for more power from the Nigerian grid increase."

Mohammed explained that transmission was no longer the weakest link in the country's electricity sector's value chain as TCN now had a robust rehabilitation and expansion plan that had been endorsed by the ministries of power and finance and development partners.

"TCN is no longer the weakest link in the power value chain as it is fast tracking the implementation of many power projects.

"The transmission rehabilitation and expansion programme seeks to expand the grid to about 20,000MW in the next three years. It is also intended to support the current institutional reform that will make TCN a 21st century compliant transmission firm," Mohammed stated.

According to him, the TCN has also embarked on a nationwide installation of transmission transformers with three installed in Lagos last week, two scheduled for the north and another three in the Port Harcourt region shortly.

He said the TCN had saved cost of the installations of the transformers as the in-house engineers handled the projects at less than 10 per cent cost of what contractors would have used in the past.

The WAPP project, he noted would be supported by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and African Development Bank (AfDB), and that the ESIA study would be conducted in six months after which the construction would take another 24 months and then ready by 2021.

Similarly, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Power), Louis Edozien, said in his remarks at the meeting that: "The ministry's primary responsibility is to satisfy the electricity needs of Nigerians. We are committed to integrating the international electricity market but our primary responsibility is to satisfy Nigerians. Currently Nigerians are not satisfied."

He urged the Community Electric du Benin (CEB), the power firm of Benin Republic to immediately settle accumulated electricity debts.

"The electricity that we have already supplied is not paid. I use this platform to emphasise to CEB that the debts that have accumulated needs to be settled quickly. It helps us explain to Nigerians why we should expand the supply by doing this kind of project. A mechanism must be in place to make sure the debts do not balloon again, that debts are paid for promptly," Edozien said.

Expressing support for the project, Edozien said the electricity generation companies (Gencos) now have 7,000MW capacity but the distribution companies (Discos) were doing around 4,600MW capacity, noting that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) was helping them to bridge their investment requirements.

He noted that as Discos improve their capacity, the Gencos should also rise further so they could export the surplus electricity generated through WAPP to neighbouring countries that needed the energy.

The Director General of CEB, Dr. Karimou Chabi Sika lauded the project, saying it provided an opportunity to sustain the West African nation system. Sika also said the project on completion would ensure adequate power supply to the people of Benin Republic.

Executive of rugby John Mitchell says the Blue Bulls ' Currie Cup clash against the Sharks in Durban will be their toughest of the season.

The Bulls head to Kings Park as underdogs, having won just three of eight matches to sit second from last on the overall standings.

In contrast, their hosts the Sharks are soaring at the top of the table with eight wins from nine matches.

"We are no doubt facing our biggest challenge of the season," Mitchell told the Bulls' official website.

"The Sharks have been in awesome form this year and to have to travel down to Durban to face them is not making it any easier. That said, this group is all about challenges and how we confront and handle them, so we are looking forward to the clash."Mitchell was keen to see his team improve following a narrow 36-33 defeat against the Golden Lions in Johannesburg."We are slowly starting to come to grips with a number of structural changes and for once, there is some continuity available in selection, something that was not possible earlier in the competition," Mitchell said after making only two changes to his starting team.Blue Bulls captain Burger Odendaal also commented: "We are working hard to adapt to a number of things and there was a positive approach to the work put in this week, so we now need to go down to Durban and show the improvements."Kick-off for Saturday's clash is scheduled for 15:00. Teams:

Sharks

15 Garth April, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Sbu Nkosi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit

Substitutes: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Jean Droste, 19 Tera Mtembu, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Tristan Blewett, 22 Rhyno Smith

Blue Bulls

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Burger Odendaal (captain), 12 JT Jackson, 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Jano Venter, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Aston Fortuin, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Pierre Schoeman

Substitutes: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Tim Agaba, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Handre Pollard, 22 Ulrich Beyers

Source: Sport24

By Evans Mulenga

Chipolopolo coach Wedson Nyirenda has named 26 local players for the first phase of the preparation for October 7 Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup clash against Nigeria.

Nyirenda has named Under-17 promising striker Lameck Banda and Power Dynamos midfielder Larry Bwalya in the squad that goes into residential camp on September 25 in Lusaka.

According to the list availed to Fazfootball.com, Nyirenda will get down to work on Monday before the full complement of foreign based players join at a later stage.

Zambia faces Nigeria away in Uyo at the God's Will Akpabio Stadium with a ticket to Russia at stake.

Nigeria tops the group on 10 points with Zambia lying second on seven point while Cameroun and Algeria who have lost interest in the race are on two and one point respectively.

GOALKEEPERS:

Toaster Nsabata Goalkeeper (Zanaco), Allan Chibwe (Power Dynamos), Kelvin Malunga (Nkana FC)

DEFENDERS:

Simon Silwimba, Fackson Kapumbu (Zesco United), Adrian Chama (Green Buffaloes), Muchindu Boston, Moses Nyondo (Nkana FC), Ziyo Tembo (Zanaco FC), Webster Mulenga (Red Arrows), Isaac Shamujompa (Power Dynamos)

MIDFIELDERS:

Donashano Malama (Nkana FC), Kondwani Mtonga, Mischeck Chaila John Ching'andu (Zesco United FC), Ernest Mbewe, Augustine Mulenga (Zanaco), Godfrey Ngwenya, Larry Bwalya (Power Dynamos), Lameck Banda (Nkwazi), Jack Chirwa, Mike Katiba, Diamond Chikwekwe (Green Buffaloes)

STRIKERS:

Alex Ng'onga, Martin Phiri (Power Dynamos), Lubinda Mundia (Red Arrows)

(SOURCE: FAZ MEDIA)

Banyana Banyana staged the greatest comeback against a strong and determined Zambia side to book their spot in the final of the 2017 COSAFA Women's Championship currently underway in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Down 3-0 in the 75th minute, the South Africans scored three quick goals to level the score at 3-3 at the end of regulation, forcing the match to a penalty shootout where they emerged victorious. The result sets up a repeat of the 2011 COSAFA final when they lost to the hosts, Zimbabwe.

Things looked bad for the Sasol-sponsored South Africans when Barba Banda scored the opening goal for Shepolopolo in the 21st minute before increasing their lead on the stroke of halftime through Grace Chanda.

Zambia grabbed their third in the 73rd minute and it appeared the match was over as a contest.

But there was relief for Banyana Banyana when Rhoda Chileshe stepped up and ballooned her spot kick over the crossbar.

With their never-say-die spirit, Banyana Banyana clawed their way back into the game with a 77th minute goal from Leandra Smeda whose header was too powerful for Hazel Nali to stop.

Three minutes later Thembi Kgatlana, who was always a handful for the Zambian defence, was fouled and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Smeda made no mistake, reducing the deficit to 3-2 with her second of the day.

With six minute remaining on the clock, Kgatlana left her markers for dead and her cross found second-half substitute Rhoda Mulaudzi who had an easy tap-in; and that's how regulation ended, taking the match to a penalty shootout. Smeda, Bambanani Mbane, Matlou, Nompumelelo Nyandeni (who had also come on in the second half), and Lebohang Ramalepe converted their spot kicks to send the South African bench into a frenzy.

Rachael Zulu, Grace Zulu and Lweendo Chisamu all scored for Zambia, while Ester Mukwasa missed her spot kick.

Shortly before the final whistle, interim head coach Desiree Ellis had brought on goalkeeper Andile Dlamini in preparation for the penalty shootout.

Smeda was voted as the Player of the Match.

With the victory, South Africa will now face Zimbabwe in the final.

This is Banyana Banyana's fifth straight final in the tournament - they won in 2002, 2006, and 2008 but came second in 2011 where they lost to Zimbabwe.

This is how they lined up:

Banyana Banyana starting 11 vs Zambia:

Roxanne Barker (GK) (Andile Dlamini), Lebohang Ramalepe, Nothando Vilakazi, Noko Matlou, Bambanani Mbane, Kholosa Biyana, Koketso Tlailane (Rhoda Mulaudzi), Refiloe Jane (C), Leandra Smeda, Thembi Kgatlana, Chantelle Esau (Nompumelelo Nyandeni)

Subs:

Andile Dlamini, (GK), Yolula Tsawe (GK), Regina Mogolola, Zanele Nhlapo, Nwabisa Kolisi, Nkoikoi Mabina, Rachel Sebati, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Rhoda Mulaudzi

Interim Head Coach: Desiree Ellis

SA Rugby will present its bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup to the World Rugby Council in London on Monday.

The three countries in the running to host the global showpieve are South Africa, Ireland and France, and each of them will present their bids on Monday.

World Rugby is set to announce the preferred candidate determined by an independent technical assessment on Tuesday, October 31.

The final decision will be taken on Wednesday, November 15, also in London.

South Africa will have deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa present on Monday as well as sports minister Thulas Nxesi.

South Africa has not hosted the Rugby World Cup since 1995 when they stunned the world by beating the All Blacks to win the tournament at the first time of asking.

Sport24