Special Report

Disband CAN Now – Jibril Aminu

Professor Jibril Aminu former minister of Petroleum and a chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has called for the disbandment of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) as the only way to ensure complete peace in Nigeria.
Senator Aminu said to stop Muslim elements from forming a parallel national body that might be called Muslim Association of Nigeria, (MAN) which may not be in the interest of peace, CAN should seize to exist.
Aminu said this while delivering a paper at the ‘Peace Confab’ in Kaduna State.
However, Professor Aminu accused religious leaders of conniving with politicians to perpetrate injustice on the people through sectionalizing their religious faith.
He said Christian and Muslim leaders must ensure that the people get good leadership from their elected leaders, lamenting that Nigerian elites have replaced colonial masters by forcing themselves on the leadership of the country without allowing the people’s choice to prevail whether such choice is an illiterate or a graduate.
According to Aminu, “Similarly, religious leaders of all kind and at all levels and the media are set out to incite violence, intolerance and disharmony, instigating people against all public officers and make sure they are held in their homes.”
“ Yet there are constitutional Courts in every state and locality. We must also ensure that these Courts and the people that did their job are allowed. Most of the problems we have can be settled by an active constitutional Court.”
“Give the women a chance and find out what women in other developing countries are doing. A lot have been said about the youths. I do not believe that as a group, the youths are angry. If they really were, the situation would have been different. Afterall, they have example of what happened.”
Mahmoud said unless the Northern governors confront Plateau State Governor, David Jonah Jang to take action like the former Kaduna State governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi’s initiatives in solving crisis, the state would continue to live in chaos.
He gave the experience of Kaduna State from 1992 when the Zangon Kataf crises erupted up to when Makarfi looked into the problem from its remote causes and effected lasting peace in the state except for the last presidential elections crisis.
He said, “In 1992 after the Zangon Kataf riot, the same thing happened after every election in Kaduna. The day after election if you go to police force headquarters, you will see at least two thousand people, who are arrested for political violence, after two days they will all be released.”
“ Now that is one problem we have but the two things, I will like to tell you is that in Kaduna State, after all the commissions of inquiry and after the government discovered that it is not possible to punish those behind this crisis either because of the position or because of their political or religious positions, Governor Makarfi decided that why not look at the remote causes of this problems.”
“The remote causes of all the problems were that people of southern Kaduna were tired of emirate system. So, Governor Makarfi administration decided to create chiefdoms in the South and we now have relative peace. I hope all the Northern governors tell Governor Jang of Plateau that the only problem in Jos and the crisis will continue until this is solved.”
“I represented Jos natives during the 2009 inquiry before Ricky Tarfa commission, the only witness we called, Alhaji Sale Hassan said, he was then 69 years old. His grandfather was born in Jos but he is still being called a settler, his children cannot get job in even local government in Plateau State, he collects a certificate where the government recognized him as settler. An Igbo man in Jos is not called a settler, a Yoruba man in Jos is not called a settler but the Hausa /Fulani who settled for over two hundred years, who cannot locate any other place than Jos are called settlers. So if Plateau state will take after what Kaduna did I believe the crisis may now be resolved?”
For Joseph B. Daudu, “There is no doubt that the dearth of enlightened and specialized security manpower in Nigeria is not the sole cause of the present inability of the police force to deal with the crisis referred to. The major cause is insincerity and corruption.”
“The later leads to a system collapse as is being witnessed in Nigeria. The Nigeria Police Force in reality has become a byword for corruption. Police stations have become business centres. The victim in most cases now has to finance the investigation of the crime against him.”
“There are other unpalatable happenings where law enforcement ought to be taken place. Their revelation is not for this forum. All that needs to be said is that the strategy for change and the achievements of results must proceed from the leadership of this country.”

How South Africans Humiliate Nigerians

By Douglas Waserite Dodiyi-Manuel

You may have read in the papers about the invasion of the Nigerian Consulate in Ilovo, Rivonia, Johannesburg.
They are alleging that the consular officers were demanding bribe and that the request made in respect of the visa application (which had to do with the verification of the registration of the church they were going) was also construed as a ploy to demand bribe.
Look, I am a critic of the Nigeria government on all fronts and at all level because corruption has eaten deep into the ordinary psyche of the average Nigeria.
Nonetheless, the South Africans are absolutely wrong here:
1) People travelling to Nigeria in groups generally and usually don’t have visa problems – every week, you see multitudes leaving for Nigeria to attend TB Joshua’s church and none has ever complained about visa or bribe.
2) I live in South Africa and I have also invited people on official basis, and in all those cases, the registration certificate of our company was always requested – sometimes even things as petty as the passport copies of the directors, and we always complied – and our utmost compliance was never a guarantee for visa. What makes these South Africans think that they can circumvent the Nigeria process and visa requirements.
3) Saying that you are a Nigerian in this country is like an admission of guilt.
They see Nigeria as a den of criminals. The killers of the music icon, Lucky Dube said that they thought he was a Nigerian that was why they shot him. This year alone, hyper-conservatory speaking, more than 20 Nigerians have been extra-judicially murdered by the South African Police – how many South Africans have been unlawfully arrested in Nigeria? Some of the Nigerians were murdered in their shops/offices, and in some cases, the police arrested them, covered their head with a hood and sprayed in tear-gas and they died. What is the Nigerian government doing?
There was a time the South African Police arrested, beat-up and detain a Nigerian Diplomat, Mr. Iruala.
4) The last time I went to South African High Commission in Lagos, it was like a crusade there. Meanwhile here in South Africa, the police even tear up Nigerian passport, declare the passport holders to be an illegal immigrant, detain him and process him for deportation. This is the same South Africa that embarrassed Prof. Wole Soyinka at the airport, refuse former President Obasanjo entry until he was injected with Yellow Fever injection at the airport – how more insult should Nigeria take from South Africa? Go to the Transcorp Hilton and see South African beautiful prostitutes all over the piano bar – have we deported them?
5) What do the police have to do with Diplomatic affairs? Which police officer gave the order for such a warlike aggression. Meanwhile, this was happening after 5pm afterhours. Can they try this if it were a western embassy?
The Nigerian government must rise up to this occasion.

Court Adjourns Case To January 11, 2012

By James Obute
The Federal High Court sitting in Minna, Niger State has fixed 11th  and 12th January, 2012 for determination of a case of fraudulent practices involving several companies and Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, now known as Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.
The lingering case of African Agro Products Ltd and Vertex Agro Ltd which opened the Pandora’s box at the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, particularly its arm called Trademarks, Patent and Design Registry will be determined by the learned Justice of the Federal High Court, Minna, Hon. Justice S. Yahuza on 11th and 12th January 2012.
Desert Herald investigation reveals that Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment through Trademarks, Patent and Design Registry allegedly frustrates local industries which they are expected to encourage through indiscipline, corruption and fraudulent practices as well as shady deals with foreign companies.
It will be recalled that Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment allegedly issued a letter to African Agro Products claiming that it does not recognize some Nigerian companies and their products which the same ministry confirmed as registered companies with their products under its journal called ‘Trademarks Journal’ published annually.
However, when Desert Herald in the cause of its investigation contacted the Registrar, Trademarks, Patent and Design Registry, Jamila Ahmadu Suka, over the letter she wrote to African Agro Products Ltd, a company owned by an Indian called Mr. Raj Hande claiming she does not recognize Nigerian products which her office dully registered, she said the letter being paraded by African Agro Products and its Chairman, Mr. Hande, as well as his lawyer is fake and should be disregarded. But funny enough, the lawyer to African Agro products Ltd is still parading the same letter at Federal High Court, Minna as exhibit against the Nigerian companies as they felt their existence and operation will pose a challenge  to their agro chemical business in Nigeria.
This letter without reference number was dated 20th July, 2011. The letter with the heading ‘RE: REGISTRATION OF BOTTLE PACK’ was signed by one Salihu Aisha Y., Head Design Units for the Registrar Trademark, Patents and Design. Parts of the letter read: “Further to your letters on the registration of bottle design by Chuzy Agro Nigeria Ltd; Vertex Nigeria Ltd and African Agro Products Ltd, we hereby furnish your office with the following: 1) There are no bottle designs registered in the name of Chuzy Agro Nig. Ltd and Vertex Agro Ltd. 2) There is a bottle design registered in the name of African Agro Products Ltd.”
African Agro used the same letter to sue Vertex Agro Ltd and Chuzy Agro Nigeria Ltd at the Federal High Court, Minna , Niger State. The Plaintiff, African Agro among other things is seeking an order directing that the products being exposed to the market for sale under the imitation of the registered design ‘GLYCEL’ be delivered to the court and kept in the custody of the court by ordering the court bailiffs to break/remove from the warehouse/store or anywhere the said product may be found pending the determination of the suit. The plaintiff maintained that “By the letter dated 20/07/2011, the Federal Ministry of Commerce confirmed that the defendant has not registered any bottle pack with the Ministry.” Africa Agro Products also claimed that the colour and design of the said products are similar to its product design.
Based on this case, Desert Herald checks revealed that about N8 million Vertex Agro products with the Trademark called GLYVET were impounded at the Federal High Court Minna.
On 9th November, 2011 at the Federal High Court Minna, the Counsel to Vertex Agro Ltd, Barr. J. T. Ndubisi, proved to the court that the said product, ‘GLYVET’, was duly registered by his client and on the question of design and colour he said certain products by way of general use in trade enjoy common or similar packaging. He said the only distinction is the label citing the case of Feredo Ltd vs Ibeto Industry Ltd and relevant portions of the Trademarks, Patent and Design Act.
On 23rd November, 2011 the learned Justice of the Federal High Court Minna, Justice S. Yahuza, while ruling on the initial submissions of the two counsels affirmed that the issue of colour in trademark is insignificant since no one can claim to be the sole inventor of a particular colour. Further hearing and possibly judgment will be on January 11th and 12th, 2012.
Despite the statement of the Registrar of Trademarks, Patent and Design Registry, Jamila Ahmadu Suka, to Desert Herald that the letter being paraded by the Counsel to Africa Agro Products is fake and does not originate from her office, Desert Herald can authoritatively say that as of November 23rd 2011 the said letter still formed part of the exhibits being paraded before the Federal High Court, Minna by Barr. Tunde Okoleye, (Counsel to Africa Agro Products Ltd).
It will be recalled that this Indian businessman, Mr. Raj Hande, with his companies called African Agro Commodities Ltd and African Agro Products Ltd has been in running battle with Nigerian Agro Chemical Industries in the recent times. Such indigenous companies which Desert Herald can authoritatively confirm include Vertex Agro Ltd and Chuzy Agro Nigeria Ltd.
Desert Herald checks reveal that this Indian businessman may not have the opportunity to push his Nigerian counterparts out of business without the collaboration of Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment particularly Trademarks, Patent and Design Registry.
For instance, the Trademarks Journal, Volume 1 No. 3 of 15th October, 2008 contained some of the registered products of these Agro chemical industries which include Vertex Agro Ltd and African Agro Commodities Ltd. All their products are in class 1. Chemical used in industry, science and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; unprocessed plastics; fire extinguishing compositions; tempering and substances and adhesives used in industry are considered to be in class 1.  While Vertex Agro Ltd registered ‘CRUSH’ on 07/02/2008 with Registration Number TP 184170/08 according to information published on page 1 of the Trademarks Journal, African Agro Commodities Ltd also registered ‘CRUSH-DDVP with Registration Number TPNG/IM/2008/6222 dated 23/06/2008.
While Vertex Agro Ltd registered CRUSH as the name of its product on 7th February, 2008 about 4 months later African Agro went ahead to register its product with similar name called CRUSH-DDVP on 23rd June, 2008. Funny enough, when African Agro Commodities Ltd wanted to produce its products instead of producing them in its brand name CRUSH-DDVP which is even similar to brand name of Vertex Agro Ltd called CRUSH, the products were produced in the name of CRUSH. When Vertex Agro Ltd discovered that a different company was producing products in its registered brand name it filed the case at Federal High Court in Kano for redress.
However, when Mr. Raj Hande of African Agro learnt of the case filed against his company at the Federal High Court in Kano , he went to the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry to procure a letter which claimed Vertex Agro Ltd did not register CRUSH as its brand name. This is funny as it was obvious that the ministry through its Trademarks Journal, Volume 1 No. 3 of 15th October, 2008 published Vertex Agro Ltd as the proprietor of ‘CRUSH’ with Registration Number TP 184170/08.
When Mr Raj got the letter dated 31st March, 2010 with reference number TP184170/VOL.1 with the heading: Re:TP184170/08 signed by one Ricky Chockson J. for the Registrar of Trademark, Patent, and Design Registry he did not only use it as  defence at the Federal High Court Kano but also  used the same letter to channel his complaints to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Vertex Agro Ltd.
EFCC with the letter dated 15th September, 2010 invited the Chairman of Vertex Agro Ltd, Mr. Daniel Gemana, over a case of fraud, impersonation and obtaining money by false pretences.  But another drama ensued when the Chairman of Vertex Agro, Mr. Daniel Gemana explained that the complainant (African Agro) at the EFCC was a defendant at the Federal High Court in Kano for allegedly infringing on its company’s Trademark CRUSH. He also affirmed that the Registry, Trademarks, Patents and Designs of Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry granted his company the Trademarks after fulfilling the requirements. He further maintained that the Trademarks Journal, Volume 1 No. 3 of 15th October, 2008 published his company as the duly proprietor of CRUSH. He equally presented the acknowledgment letter, acceptance form, receipts and other documents which clearly indicate that he was not impersonating.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission after examining the situation went further to the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and arrested the Registrar of Trademarks, Patents and Designs, Jamila Ahmadu Suka, over questionable letter she wrote in favour of African Agro. The officers of the ministry at the net of EFCC alongside the registrar denied ever writing a letter to African Agro Commodities Ltd claiming that Vertex Agro Ltd did not register his product with the registry. They affirmed that Vertex Agro actually registered its products CRUSH on 07/02/2008  about four months before Africa Agro registered their product on 23/06/2008.
Just as the Registrar Trademarks, Patent and Design Registry, Jamila Ahmadu Suka, testified to EFCC that she did not write the letter which African Agro Commodities tendered before the Federal High Court Kano and EFCC, she has also denied ever writing this letter without reference number but dated 20th July, 2011 with the heading ‘RE: REGISTRATION OF BOTTLE PACK’ to African Agro Products when Desert Herald contacted her office.
However, it is funny and surprising that up till the time of filing this report, Desert Herald is not aware of anything Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment has done to stop African Agro Products Ltd from parading the said letter to court and other relevant institutions to frustrate its perceived rivals in Nigeria like Vertex Agro Ltd, Chuzy Agro Nigeria Ltd among others. All efforts to get in touch with the Counsel to African Agro Products who is parading the same letter at the court were not fruitful.

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