Wednesday , 26 June 2019
Latest
Home » 2019 » April » 02

Daily Archives: April 2, 2019

GlaxoSmithKline to shut down Agbara plant by 2021

GlaxoSmithKline Nigeria says it will shut down its manufacturing plant located in Agbara Industrial Estate, Ogun state by 2021.

In a notice sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Tuesday, the pharmaceutical company said the move is part of a restructuring of its internal operating model.

Effective from the third quarter of 2021,the company said it would begin to work with local contract manufacturers for the production of its products and transfer technical knowledge to improve local production capacity.

The company, which got listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange 40 years ago, said the decision was reached after an extensive review of its product supply operation.

“The Board of Directors believe that these changes will allow GSK to build a more sustainable commercial business, enabling it to continue with its ongoing efforts in supporting access to GSK’s consumer health products, medicines and vaccines.”

The company said it would make an announcement when it settles on a suitable third party local manufacturer.

Despite the factory shutdown, GSK said it would continue to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

In June 2018, the company announced its intentions to sell Horlicks, its malted drinks business, saying it needed to fund a $13 billion buyout in its consumer healthcare joint venture with Novartis.

It also sold two-third of its Agbara plant to Suntory when it sold its drinks segment where it produced Ribena and Lucozade to the company.

Exxon Mobil to earn $3bn from divestments in Nigeria upstream operations

US oil giant Exxon Mobil  is planning to sell its onshore and offshore assets in Nigeria three years after its exit from the downstream sector.

Reuters reports that the sales could yield up to $3 billion (N1.07 trillion) if finalised.

“Exxon is actively divesting in Nigeria,” a source is quoted to have said.

Some of the assets listed in the planned sale include oil mining leases (OML) 66, 68, 70 and 104, where the company runs  joint venture (JV) operations with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through its subsidiaries, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN) and Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd. (EEPNL).

The company is said to have met with some indigenous oil firms to gauge their interest in the fields and is planning to provide technical information such as seismic and production details to hasten the sale.

When contacted, a spokesman for MPN said: ExxonMobil is committed to its long-term business operations in Nigeria. As a matter of practice, we don’t comment on business discussions.”

One of the largest oil and gas producers in Nigeria, Mobil’s runs a major JV partnership with the NNPC to produce the Qua Iboe crude grade from fields about 20 to 40 miles offshore Nigeria’s south eastern region, east of the Oso field.

Average production at the Qua Iboe terminal is 550,000 b/d of oil including crude, condensates and natural gas liquids (NGLs).

In a statement following the company’s annual investor day at the New York Stock Exchange in March, Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer at Exxon Mobil, said plans are on track to significantly increase cash flow from operations and asset sales.

Woods said the company would accelerate its divestments to around $15 billion by 2021.

Apart from Nigeria, the company is also looking to sell its assets in  Equatorial Guinea and Chad, in addition to the sale of its stake in Azerbaijan’s largest oil field.

As it scales its global operations, Exxon Mobil seeks new deepwater developments in South America, specifically in Guyana and Brazil.

For its onshore projects, the US Permian basin (Texas and New Mexico) are a key target even as it has earmarked new gas projects in Mozambique, Papua New Guinea and the US Gulf Coast.

Buhari rejects seven National Assembly bills

President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected seven more bills transmitted to him by the National Assembly.

The president announced his decision to withhold assent to the bills via a letter read during senate plenary on Tuesday.

The bills include: Chartered Institute of Training and Development of Nigeria Bill, 2018; Nigeria Aeronautical Research and Rescue Bill, 2018; National Institute of Credit Administration Bill, 2018 and Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund.

Others are National Housing Fund Bill, 2018; Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Bill, 2018 and National Bio-technology Development Agency Bill, 2018.

The president also cited various reasons for rejecting the bills, as contained in the letter read by Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The development brings to 20, the number of bills Buhari has rejected in 2019.

The reasons given by Buhari on each of the bills:

The Chartered Institute of Training and Development Establishment Bill 2018:

Buhari said he declined assent to the bill because of concerns that the institute does not possess the capacity to undertake the numerous duties and responsibilities imposed under the act.

“In addition, the bill criminalises the practice of training and development without registration with the institute even though no description or definition of the term training and development is provided in the bill.”

The Nigerian Aeronautic Research Bill 2018:

Buhari said there were “many inconsistencies” in the bill and it is not in tandem with relevant international civil aviation regulations.”

He said, for instance, that section 1 of the bill provides that the principal objectives is to incorporate the Chicago convention into Nigerian law whereas “the convention is already incorporated by virtue of section (3) (1) of the civil aviation act 2006.”

“The bill is a duplication of the work of NEMA, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nigeria Estate Management Agency and other responsible organisations for research and rescue services in Nigeria especially aeronautic research.”

The National Institute of Credit Administration Bill 2018:

The president said he rejected this bill because the provision that every member of the staff of banks and other financial institutions should hold a National Institute of Credit Administration licence before they are eligible to practice as credible managers “portends a recipe for crisis.”

“Two, section 5 of the bill should be deleted in its entirety as the power sort to be conferred on the NICA will be in conflict with the powers of some regulatory bodies such as the powers of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and the National Insurance Commission.”

The National Housing Fund Bill 2018:

The president expressed concern over the various levies and obligations imposed by some sections of the bill.

For instance, in the case of people earning income around the minimum wage band, the NHF contribution is 250% higher than their PAYE.

According to Buhari, “The compulsory investment requirement imposed on commercial banks, merchant banks, insurance banks and pension fund, administrations of the minimum of 10% profit before tax into the National Housing Fund will be destructive punitive to a number of industries and sectors of the Nigerian economy including cement, manufacturing, banking, insurance, pensions and may also impact adversely affect the average Nigerian worker.”

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Bill 2018:

Buhari said he is declining assent to the bill over its failure to spell out in detail, the required qualification and experience threshold of the directors and senior management staff with specific reference to developmental banking, risk management and mortgage loan administration experience.

“The provisions in section 9(2) provided that liabilities of the federal mortgage bank shall be discountable with the Central Bank of Nigeria without specifically stating in the bill that this is subject to usual criteria for normally accessing the rediscounted window of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

The National Biotechnology Development Agency of Nigeria Bill 2018:

Buhari said the bill fails to include the ministry of agriculture and rural development within the governing board of the agency.

He also said there are “a number of drafting issues and errors in the bill which will affect the interpretation and operation of the bill.”

Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund Bill, 2018:

Buhari said appropriating $1 billion from the excess crude account, which the bill had provided for, is “not the best strategic option for Nigeria at this time of budgetary constraints.”

“Furthermore, as the excess crude account funds belong to the federation, it would be proper to consult with the national economic council and the states,” he said.

Lagos CP visits Kolade Johnson’s family, says justice must prevail

The Lagos police on Tuesday paid a condolence visit to the family of  Kolade Johnson, a football fan, who was killed during a raid by the anti-cultism unit of the  command on Sunday.

The police spoke about the visit in a tweet on Tuesday.

The team was led by Zubairu Muazu, the state commissioner of police.

Kolade was hit by a stray bullet when men of the anti-cultism fired shots to disperse a crowd in the Mangoro area of Lagos.

Muazu condoling family members of the deceased

The police assured family of the deceased that those behind his death would be brought to book.

“Police Team led by Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Zubairu Muazu, mni, today, paid condolence visit to the family of Kolade Johnson, reassures family that justice must prevail,” the police wrote.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Nigeria Police Force

@PoliceNG

Police Team led by Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Zubairu Muazu, mni, today, paid condolence visit to the family of Kolade Johnson, reassures family that justice must prevail

2,133 people are talking about this

Following his death,  many Nigerians took to social media to express their reservations and angst,  calling for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Bala Elkana, spokesman of the command, had said that the policemen involved in Johnson’s death had been arrested.

Taxi driver allegedly beats up Assistant Commissioner of Police

A 32-year-old taxi driver, Fred Johnson, who allegedly beat up an Assistant Commissioner of Police, on Tuesday appeared in a Wuse Zone II Chief Magistrates’ Court.

The Police charged Johnson, who lives in Angwuan Juli Mararaba Kam Bia Ligia, Nasarawa State, with mischief.

The prosecutor, Mr. Alaba Ajayi, told the court that the case was reported at the Wuse Police Station on March 23.

Ajayi alleged that the defendant drove dangerously and damaged a Samsung phone valued at N220,000 and an Infinix phone valued at N100,000 belonging to one Assistant Commissioner of Police serving in Abuja.

He said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 336 of the Penal Code.

After the charge was read to him, he pleaded not guilty.

Chief Magistrate Egbe Raphael admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N50,000.

Raphael ordered the defendant to produce one surety, a civil or public servant on GL 07, who must live within Abuja.

He also ordered the surety to produce a letter of appointment, last promotion and identity card.

The magistrate adjourned the case until April 26 for hearing.

(NAN)

Outrage as Brunei enforces death by stoning for gays, adulterers

Brunei on Wednesday will introduce harsh new sharia laws, including death by stoning for adultery and gay sex, despite a storm of global criticism from politicians, celebrities and rights groups.

The tough penal code in the tiny country on tropical Borneo island — ruled by the all-powerful Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah — will fully come into force following years of delays.

The laws, which also include amputation of hands and feet for thieves, will make Brunei the first country in East or Southeast Asia to have a sharia penal code at the national level, joining several mostly Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia.

The decision to push ahead with the punishments has sparked alarm around the world, with the United Nations labelling them “cruel and inhumane” and celebrities, led by actor George Clooney and pop star Elton John, calling for Brunei-owned hotels to be boycotted.

But the sultan shows no sign of backing down, and the Muslim-majority country issued a statement at the weekend insisting that Brunei “enforces its own rule of law” and sharia “aims to educate, respect and protect the legitimate rights of all individuals”.

The sultan is due to attend a public event Wednesday, and may make an announcement related to the implementation of the laws.

The sultan — who is one of the world’s wealthiest men and lives in a vast, golden-domed palace — announced plans for the penal code in 2013 and the first phase was introduced the following year.

This included less stringent penalties, such as fines or jail terms for offences including indecent behaviour, failure to attend Friday prayers, and out-of-wedlock pregnancies.

A series of well-known figures have lined up to add to their names to the chorus of condemnation, including former US vice president Joe Biden and actress Jamie Lee Curtis.

Phil Robertson, Asia deputy director for Human Rights Watch, said: “This kind of law doesn’t belong in the 21st century. It’s going to be something that will turn Brunei into a human rights pariah.”

The sultan, who is the world’s second-longest reigning monarch, is unlikely to change course, however. He first called for the penal code in the late 1990s and it appears to enjoy broad support in the former British protectorate of about 400,000 people.

Analysts say he is seeking to burnish his Islamic credentials and shore up support among the country’s conservatives due to the waning fortunes of the oil-dependent economy, which has been ravaged by recession in recent years.

It is also unclear whether death by stoning will actually be implemented, as a high burden of proof is needed to hand down the punishment and Brunei has not executed anyone for decades.

JUST IN: Algerian army forces out Bouteflika

Long reigning President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria has resigned from office, the state news agency said on Tuesday.

The sudden resignation came in the wake of the demand by the country’s powerful army chief of staff that he be declared unfit and leave office “immediately”.

“We believe there is no more time to waste” on starting a constitutional process to declare Bouteflika unfit for office, said a statement released by Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah.

“Our decision is clear and irrevocable. We will support the people until their demands are fully and completely satisfied,” the statement added.

Bouteflika had promised to resign before 28 April when his term expires. But the impatient military demanded the immediate launch of impeachment proceedings against him.

“Any decision taken outside the constitutional framework is considered null and void,” the general said.

Without naming anyone, Gaid Salah criticised “the stubbornness, the procrastination and the deviousness of certain individuals who are trying to make the crisis last and make it more complex with the only concern being their narrow personal interests”.

He said the army’s “sole ambition” was to “protect the people from a handful of (other) people who have unduly taken over the wealth of the Algerian people”.

Bouteflika has come under mounting pressure to step down since his decision to seek a fifth term despite rarely being seen in public after suffering a stroke in 2013.

The 82-year-old, who uses a wheelchair, said last month he would pull out of the race and postponed April elections, in moves that angered protesters who saw it as a ploy to extend his two decades in power.

Gaid Salah, a long-time Bouteflika ally, last week called on the president to resign or be declared unfit to rule, becoming one of the first of his faithful supporters to abandon him.

Air force dismisses officer who raped 14-year-old IDP

A court martial sitting in Maiduguri, Borno state capital, has convicted Martins Owerem of the Nigerian air force (NAF), of raping a 14-year old internally displaced person (IDP).

Owerem was said to have defiled the girl when he was officer in charge of the special force battalion, near Bakassi IDP camp, in 2018.

Thereafter, the convict was charged with defilement, assault and disobedient to standing order.

Earlier, Aminu Mairuwa, prosecution counsel, told the court that the convict on September 29, 2018, while on patrol duty at Kawon Jiya community in the outskirts of Maiduguri, arrested some girls who were collecting firewood, on the pretext that they crossed into a restricted area.

The court martial

Mairuwa said the convict took one of the girls into the bush and raped her.

However, Abbas Abba, defense counsel, sought for leniency for the convict “in view of his selfless service and contributions in the counter insurgency campaign.”

In his ruling, Yakubu Auta, president of the court, held that the court found Owerem guilty on the two count charges of rape and assault.

He added that the court also found the officer guilty on the first and second-count charge, while it discharged and acquitted him on the third-count charge.

Auta held that the prosecution, through five witnesses and four exhibits, have proved their case beyond reasonable doubts.

The judge, therefore, ordered dismissal of the convict from service on the first count charge.

Wike leading with over 290,000 votes as INEC announces 15 LGAs results

Nyesom Wike, governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers state, is leading significantly in the results of 15 local government areas so far announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

INEC resumed collation of election results of 15 LGAs on Tuesday and Wike polled PDP: 426, 279 votes ahead of Biokpomabo Awara, candidate of the African Alliance Congress (AAC), who garnered 129,855 vote, leaving a margin of 296,424.

Obo Effanga, resident electoral commissioner (REC) in the state, said collation will continue by 10am on Wednesday.

There are two more local government areas INEC is yet to announce while supplementary election will hold across six LGAs on April 13.

Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, is supporting the AAC in the election since internal crisis prevented the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers from fielding candidates in the 2019 elections.

EFCC warns bankers on abuse of debit orders, whistle blowing

 

The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has called on officials in the financial institutions in the country to be wary of “dubious individuals or groups within and outside their establishments”, who abuse both the whistle-blowing policy of the Federal Government as well as the Post No Debit, PND, Order in the sector.

He said there were strong indications that some banks officials divulge information on high-net-worth accounts to their accomplices, who in turn obtain a purported PND order to fleece unsuspecting customers.

Magu gave the warning during a meeting with Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Lagos on Tuesday.

He also lamented that the Post No Debit, PND, order was being abused by certain individuals in connivance with “unscrupulous bank officials” to achieve some set goals.

According to him, “These individuals demand bogus five percent commission on the isolated high-net-worth accounts of the bank customers, thereby making a mockery of the whistle-blowing policy of the Federal Government and subversion of ethical practice of the banks, which emphasises confidentiality of their customers.

“We must stop the unfolding connivance against high-net-worth accounts in the banks. Some of these accounts might not necessarily be under investigation.

“They might be inheritance or proceeds from genuine investments.”

Magu further sought the cooperation of the group to sanitise the banking industry, adding that Nigeria’s banking sector ought to be at par with that of developed countries.

In his response, one of the bankers commended Magu for engaging and interfacing with them regularly on various issues affecting the industry.

He assured Magu that “we would go back and look inward for people who might be involved in such untoward acts of giving out information on their customers’ bank accounts.”

He described the practice of divulging information as a breach of the fundamental principles of the banking industry, which must be seriously addressed.

“I want to urge you to always pass any intelligence or information that needs the attention of the banks for us to proactively address it.

“We will continue to partner with the Commission to ensure that the banking industry is sanitized,” he further stated.

 

Account freeze: FIRS plans to recover N750bn from tax defaulters by June

Babatunde Fowler, executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), says the service plans to recover N750 billion from 55,000 defaulting taxpayers by extending its account substitution policy.

Fowler was speaking in Abuja on Tuesday during a meeting with the joint house committees on finance; appropriations; and aids, loans and debt on the 2019/2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

According to him, a bank account substitution exercise has already pulled 500 defaulters into the tax net, leading to a recovery of N23.25 billion.

He said the same exercise will be extended till June to get 55,000 tax defaulters with a turnover of N100 million and above into the tax net.

“From the Bank accounts substitution exercise, we used banking information to bring non-compliant taxpayers with N1 billion and above turnover to comply. It has so far resulted in the recovery of N23.35 billion,” Fowler said.

“The exercise has been extended to cover those with a turnover of N100 million and above. To date, about 500 of them have come forward and they have paid and we have collected in the region of about N24 billion. 

“We believe we should be able to go through the 55,000 before the middle of this year which will be the middle of this year, June 30th. In terms of estimates, which we should be able to generate from this exercise alone, that will be about N750 billion.”

The “substitution” empowers FIRS to appoint the banks as collection agents for tax, and all tax defaulters will have their accounts frozen or put under substitution pending when they come forward.

However, KPMG, one of the Big Four auditors in the world, had said the move is draconianand Companies Income Tax Act (CITA) 2004.

After KPMG’s observations, FIRS wrote to banks, directing them to lift the lien on alleged tax defaulters’ bank accounts for 30 days.

Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday, he revealed that the policy has been extended to increase FIRS tax recovery.

Fowler said the tax administration agency recorded an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) collection between 2015 and 2018, with 85 percent of that amount going to state governments. 

“Out of about N5.3 trillion, a large percentage is shared between states and local governments. In VAT, there has been a growth of over 44% between 2015 and 2018. And that is at the current rate of 5%.

“85 percent of VAT goes to the state governments who are supposed to be closer to the people. So they can use that money as approved by their state houses of assembly…they can use that money on education, infrastructure, etc.”

He said the service is broadening its VAT collection scope using modern technology with the adoption of States Accountants Generals (SAG) collection platform, VAT Auto-Collect, integration of the GIFMIS (Government Integrated Financial Management Information System) platform with Ministries, Departments and Agencies, (MDAs) and through e-Service payment options.

Fowler said the FIRS also initiated income tax on property owners in Abuja and Lagos, clarifying that it is not a property tax.

He said this was part of efforts to deepen tax revenue collection and expand the nation’s tax net as well as increase the revenue base with plans to extend the exercise to other locations beginning with Oyo and Kaduna states.

On tax audit exercise of the service, Fowler said the National Tax Audit (NTA) contributed the sum of N212. 79 billion to tax collection in 2018 and is expected to “produce increased audit yield in 2019”.

Fake result: Adeleke unfit to contest guber election, court rules

A high court sitting in Abuja has nullified the candidature of Ademola Adeleke who contested the 2018 governorship election in Osun state under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The court gave the ruling based on a suit filed by Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb, two chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The duo had filed the suit seeking the disqualification of Adeleke over the allegations that he did not possess secondary school certificate (SSCE).

The certificate is required for an elective position, according to section 177 (d) of the 1999 constitution.

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) had confirmed that Adeleke sat for its examination in 1981.

The council confirmed Adeleke’s participation in an affidavit provided at the request of the court.

But in his ruling Othman Musa, the presiding judge, said while the court’s findings showed that Adeleke entered secondary school in 1976, there was no record to show that he actually graduated as his name was no longer seen in the school’s register from 1980.

The judge further said the result Adeleke attached to his form CF001 which he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was fake.

He added that it was found to be different from the one presented to the court by the principal of Ede Muslim High School, Ede, Osun, where Adeleke supposedly graduated from.

Meanwhile, Nathaniel Oke, Adeleke’s lawyer, faulted the judgment of the court and vowed to appeal the ruling in a higher court.

Oke argued that judge erred in law by going out of his way to source evidence to arrive at his “unjust conclusion”, while “ignoring” WAEC evidence that Adeleke possessed the certificate.

The state governorship election petition tribunal has declared Adeleke as winner of the September 2018 election in the state.

The tribunal held that the rerun election conducted in the state which saw the emergence of Gboyega Oyetola as governor, after the initial poll, was illegal.

INEC had announced Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the election.

But the PDP and Adeleke filed a petition at the tribunal, challenging Oyetola’s victory.

Shell pays FG, agencies $6.39bn, pledges commitment to transparency

A sum in excess of $6.397 billion was paid to the Federal Government treasuryand its agencies in 2018 by Shell exploration and production companies in Nigeria, according the latest financial dsiclosures.

She’ll companies in Nigeria comprise The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo).

The payment represents a 48 per cent increase over payments by the companies to Nigerian government in 2017, which was $4.322 billion.

The payments formed part of the four documents released on Tuesday by the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Dutch Shell, Ben Van Beurden, to signal the global oil giant’s renewed commitment to greater transparency.

The documents are: Shell Sustainability Report; Industry Associations Climate Review; Nigeria Briefing Notes; and Payments to Government Report.

“Shell must remain at the forefront of the drive for greater corporate transparency. We will continue to be more open about what we do and why we do it,” said van Beurden. “We want to help people better understand Shell’s performance, values and principles. These reports outline our approach and activities in the crucial areas of sustainability and our relationships with industry associations and governments.”

In the breakdown of the 2018 payments, the Shell companies paid $3.776 billion to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation as production entitlement while $1.286 billion was paid in taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service. Another $1.253 went to the Department of Petroleum Resources for royalties and fees, while $81.5 million was remitted to the Niger Delta Development Commission.

Managing Director of SPDC and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, described the reports as a further testament to Shell’s efforts to increase transparency around activities that are important to investors, governments and civil society.  “We are irrevocably committed to transparency just as we are to business integrity part of our core values and central tenets of the Business Principles that govern the way we do business.”

The Shell Nigeria Briefing Notes detail the activities of the Shell Companies in Nigeria for 2018. These include production, environmental performance, social investment, economic contributions, gas initiatives, deepwater operations, security and Nigerian content development.

The Industry Associations Climate Review assesses for the first time Shell’s alignment with 19 key industry associations on climate-related policy. The report also details new governance principles to improve how Shell manages its memberships of industry associations on climate-related topics.

The 22nd edition of the Shell Sustainability Report outlines Shell’s approach to sustainability and covers its social, safety and environmental performance in 2018. It sets out how Shell is playing a role in the transition to a lower-carbon world and its contribution to society, which includes helping to achieve universal access to cleaner, affordable energy.

In addition, Shell published its 2018 Payments to Governments Report covering 34 countries where it has extractive activities.

Police reveal identities of Kolade Johnson’s alleged killers

The Nigeria Police Force on Tuesday bowed to pressure from the public by publishing the names and photographs of the alleged killers of Kolade Johnson who was gunned down in Mangoro area of Lagos on Sunday.

The police identified the suspects as Inspector Olalekan Ogunyemi and Sergeant Godwin Orji both attached to the Anti-Cultism Squad.

The police said on Twitter, “The men suspected to have carried out the shooting of Kolade Johnson have been apprehended and subjected to internal disciplinary procedures. The CP has revealed their names as (1) Insp Ogunyemi Olalekan and (2) Sgt Godwin Orji attached to Anti Cultism Squad.”

A police team led by the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Zubairu Muazu, also paid a condolence visit to the family of Johnson and assured his family that justice will be served.

See tweet:

Nigeria Police Force

@PoliceNG

The men suspected to have carried out the shooting of Kolade Johnson have been apprehended and subjected to internal disciplinary procedures. The CP has revealed their names as (1) Insp Ogunyemi Olalekan and (2) Sgt Godwin Orji attached to Anti Cultism Squad

1,214 people are talking about this

We’ll wait for Supreme Court’s pronouncement on Zamfara APC – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said that it will wait for the pronouncement of the Supreme Court before taking any decision on the primary elections of the All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State.

The commission had withheld certificates of return of the state Governor-elect, Alhaji Mukhtar Shehu, following the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Sokoto.

But the APC and the governor-elect, in a letter to the commission last week, said the Court of Appeal did not nullify their primary elections.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, on Monday in Abuja, said the commission was law-abiding.

He said, “The Independent National Electoral Commission is a law-abiding institution. It is the policy of the commission to obey court orders and court decisions.

“The commission took the decision to exclude the candidates of the All Progressives Congress from the list of nominated candidates on the grounds that the party did not conduct primary elections.

“The party has taken the matter to the Supreme Court and it is only rational and prudent to wait for the decision of the Supreme Court before proceeding. The commission took a cautionary approach in suspending further issuance of certificates of return to the members-elect of the state assembly, the deputy governor-elect and the governor-elect. The commission will abide by the decision of the Supreme Court on the matter.”

He added, “The commission does not have any interest in who becomes the governor of Zamfara State but is only interested in the processes and procedures leading to the declaration of results and issuance of certificates of return.

“We are confident that the Supreme Court will conclude the hearing of the matter and deliver its judgment before the inuguration of elected members of the national and state assemblies.

“We believe that the people of Zamfara State deserve to know who their governor and representatives are before the terminal date of this regime.

The commission receives dozens of letters daily. The commission replies letters it receives but takes decisions based on the orders and judgments of courts.

“The commission studies the judgments and takes its decisions based on the judgements and orders and not based on the opinions and decisions of lawyers.”

Meanwhile, the state Governor and senator-elect, Abdulaziz Yari, led other federal lawmakers-elect from the state to an induction course in Abuja on Monday.

When contacted, one of the newly elected members of the House of Representatives, who preferred anonymity, told one of our correspondents that nobody had told him anything about withdrawing his certificate of return.

“I have been following the drama playing out in our party from the pre-primaries to our victory at the polls, and nobody has notified me that my election had been voided that will necessitate the withdrawal of my certificate of return,” he stated.

Pounds falls towards $1.30 as Brexit deadlock deepens

The pound fell on Tuesday as British Prime Minister Theresa May came under pressure to resolve the Brexit crisis by either calling an election or leaving the European Union without a deal.

Lawmakers’ failure to agree on an alternative plan to May’s withdrawal agreement has pushed Britain closer to a no-deal Brexit, the worst case scenario for sterling.

But the modest drop in sterling suggests that many investors still see a so-called “soft Brexit” as the most likely outcome.

The currency is trading around 1.3 dollar, its value for much of January.

“Sterling is displaying remarkable resilience despite another frustrating day in Westminster,” said Ricardo Evangelista, a senior analyst at ActivTrades.

“A no-deal scenario is likely to see the British pound dropping to 1.20 dollar, potentially 1.10 dollar,” he said.

Dampening prospects further, the European Union’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said it would not re-negotiate May’s agreement.

Barnier said Britain’s parliament must find a majority for an option and that the EU would accept a customs union and a Norway-style relationship.

Sterling extended losses to touch 1.3025 dollar, down 0.6 per cent on the day. Against the euro, it dropped half a percent to 85.92 pence.

The deadlock has already delayed Brexit for two weeks beyond the planned exit date of March 29 and May is due to chair hours of cabinet meetings in Downing Street in a bid to find a way out of the maze.

Dismayed investors have been avoiding the pound resulting in a shortage in trading volumes which exacerbates price swings.

A key question is whether the most hard line Conservative eurosceptics and Northern Ireland’s DUP, the party propping up May’s government, can be convinced to back an exit deal before an April 12 deadline.

“With no progress in sight and a day closer to April 12th, the new Brexit date, we may see the pound staying pressured for a while more, as the risks for a no-deal Brexit happening by accident may have increased somewhat,” said Charalambos Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group.

“We prefer to avoid drawing any conclusions with regards to the currency’s next trending path, as just a headline may be enough to change the whole picture.” (Reuters/NAN)

Saudi Arabia pays multi-million dollar compensation to Khashoggi’s children

In an apparent admission of guilt over the murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi authorities have compensated the children.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that Khashoggi’s children have received multimillion-dollar homes and are being paid thousands of dollars per month by the kingdom’s authorities.

Khashoggi — a contributor to the Post and a critic of the Saudi government — was killed and dismembered in October at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul by a team of 15 agents sent from Riyadh. His body has not been recovered.

The payments to his four children — two sons and two daughters — “are part of an effort by Saudi Arabia to reach a long-term arrangement with Khashoggi family members, aimed in part at ensuring that they continue to show restraint in their public statements,” the Post said.

The houses given to the Khashoggi children are located in the port city of Jeddah and are worth up to $4 million, the newspaper reported.

Salah, the eldest of the children, plans to continue living in the kingdom, while the others, who live in the United States, are expected to sell the homes, the paper said.

In addition to the properties, the children are receiving $10,000 or more per month and may also receive larger payments that could amount to tens of millions of dollars each, according to the report.

Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has been accused of orchestrating Khashoggi’s killing, but the kingdom has claimed that the prince was not involved.

Saudi Arabia initially said it had no knowledge of Khashoggi’s fate but later blamed rogue agents for his death.

Its public prosecutor has charged 11 people over his murder.

Osinbajo: Buhari focused on prosperity agenda in the next four years

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the next four years will address, among other things, the deficiencies in the quality of human resources caused by poor education and healthcare, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.

Osinbajo spoke on Monday at the University of Lagos(UNILAG) where he delivered the Convocation Lecture ahead of the university’s 50th anniversary

According to him, under Buhari’s administration, Nigeria’s prosperity means a decent existence for all.

“Second, that prosperity so defined will be attained if we are able to address the issues of extreme poverty, productivity, corruption, the rule of law and the deficiencies in the quality of human resources caused by poor education and healthcare.

“We must have a robust enough healthcare system that ensures that the average person is in good health, an educational system that guarantees education capable of preparing children for the opportunities and challenges of a knowledge economy.

“in planning the path to prosperity, we also took into account the age-old weaknesses of the Nigerian economy and the illusion of prosperity that frequently distorts our understanding of the actual fragility of our economy”.

On the way forward, the vice president said from the onset it was clear to the Federal Government that it needed to devise an economic plan that prioritised the basic issues with Nigeria’s economy.

He said that Nigeria needed to prioritise the building of infrastructure especially rail, roads, power and ports; productivity as it diversified from oil and gas.

Osinbajo said that more would be done in the fight against public sector corruption and developing a new educational curriculum that emphasises Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths.

“Others include; adopting a new approach to resourcing healthcare; putting in place a social investment programme that deals with issues of extreme poverty and unemployment. Our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan effectively addressed these issues. “

On the progress made so far, Osinbajo said the Buhari administration believed that creating an environment for productivity investment in hard and soft infrastructure was crucial.

He assured Nigerians that with the integrity of President Buhari and the commitment of his administration, Nigeria would not derail from its current path to prosperity.
Osinbajo said that if the administration stuck to its agenda in the next two years, Nigerians would see the most significant improvements, in the power sector.

“Industrial Infrastructure is a major component of our economic transformation plan. Project MINE (Made in Nigeria for Export) is the major plank of our industrial policy.

” The idea is to build Special Economic Zones which accommodate industries for local manufacture of goods for which Nigeria has a comparative advantage. These include cotton, garments, leatherware among others, ” he said.

Shortly before delivering the Convocation lecture, Osinbajo unveiled the Mascot for the 26th NUGA games and inaugurated some projects executed by the University.

Some of the projects include the newly constructed Container Building for the University Technology Hub, the Academic Publishing Centre Building, the Faculty of Engineering Lecture Theatre, and the remodelled University Medical Centre.

Saraki: Why Magu was never confirmed as EFCC chairman

Senate President Bukola Saraki has explained why the senate did not confirm Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Saraki gave the explanation on Monday at the orientation programme organised for senators-elect and house of representatives members-elect ahead of the inauguration of ninth national assembly in Abuja.

The country’s number three citizen said having rejected Magu’s nomination on more than one occasion, President Muhammadu Buhari should have nominated another person for the position.

The senate had repeatedly rejected Magu’s nomination after he was said to have been indicted for infractions by a report of the Department of State Services (DSS).

But Saraki said there is always “the need for political solution and dialogue” to solve such issue as Magu’s confirmation.

“In the case of the appointment of the chairman of the EFCC, the powers of the Senate are very clear in the constitution. For any nominee, we are guided by the constitution. It is an appointment made by Mr. President, subject to the confirmation of the Senate, which means the Senate has the powers to either say yes or say no,” said the senate president.

“In a situation where the Senate rejects, it is up to the executive at that time to send in a replacement or in some cases, when we have appointment rejected and the executive will re-present before the Senate but if the senators again, took a decision to reject the nominee, the appointment stands rejected.”

Saraki also said that the senators in the incoming ninth assembly should decide who is best to lead them as senate president, as it is important to ensure stability in the upper legislative chamber.

There has been much news about who takes over from Saraki as senate president after he failed to secure re-election in the chamber.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is, however, expected to produce Saraki’s replacement having emerged with majority lawmakers.

Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the APC, had on Friday told party members in the national assembly to pick Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as their preferred candidates for senate president and speaker respectively or leave.

But Saraki urged incoming members of the national assembly to be present in the legislative complex and elect their next leaders themselves.

“The point I am making is that we should not make too much news on the process of electing a presiding officers,” he said.

“What is important is for the members of the Senate to decide who is the best to lead them so that they can have stability.”

Amaechi loses LGA to Wike as INEC resumes collation of Rivers results

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has resumed collation of results for the governorship poll in Rivers state.

On March 10, INEC had suspended all electoral processes in the state as a result of violence and widespread disruption of collation of results.

The commission later announced that the results of 17 local government areas were intact, and it rescheduled collation for April 2 to April 5. INEC had also scheduled supplementary election in the remaining six local government areas for April 13.

So far, results from about three local government areas have been announced at the collation centre in Port Harcourt.

In Ikwerre local government area where Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation hails from, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 14, 938 while the African Action Congress (AAC) polled 5, 660. PDP also won Port Harcourt local government area with 40, 197 votes, and AAC polled 11, 866.

The contest is mainly between Nyesom Wike, incumbent governor and candidate of the PDP and Awara Biokpomabo, candidate of the AAC.

The AAC candidate is being backed by Amaechi. On the eve of the March 9 gubernatorial election, Amaechi had directed his supporters to vote for Biokpomabo.

Earlier, an Abuja high court dismissed a suit filed by the AAC seeking to stop INEC from collating the results. Inyang Ekwo, the judge, held that since the case was related to election, it was appropriate for the plaintiffs to take their case before an election tribunal.

Abua Odual, Ahoada West, Gokana, Khana, Asari Toru and Degema are the six local government areas where supplementary election is expected to hold.