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Tag Archives: NIgeria

Airtel to sell shares to Nigerians at N454 per share

Airtel Africa Plc, the second largest telecommunications group in Africa is set to sell its shares to Nigerian investors at between N363 and N454 per share.

The company in an offer prospectus obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos said the shareholders’ offer was part of its global offer to raise 750 million dollars.

The company said the shares would be offered to high networth investors and institutional investors through book building.

Book building is a process used by companies to raise capital through public offerings, both initial public offers (IPOs) or follow-on public offers (FPOs), to aid price and demand discovery.

The offer price is determined after the bid closure based on the demand generated in the process.

It said the company’s shares would be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and London Stock Exchange (LSE) after the book building.

NAN reports that the company plans to offer 501.125 million and 716.406 million shares to Nigerians.

The directors, according to the prospectus, believes that offering the shares in Nigeria and listing on the NSE would encourage operational discipline through the establishment of an independent capital structure and governance framework following the successful turnaround of the Group’s operations.

It added that it would introduce an optimal capital structure and enable improved leverage for greater flexibility in pursuing growth opportunities going forward.

The prospectus stated that listing on the exchange would provide access to the capital markets and diversification of the Group’s capital base to support its continued growth.

The company noted that the net proceeds of the offer would principally be for debt reduction.

The issuing houses for the offer are Barclays Securities Nigeria and Quantum Zenith Securities Investments Limited.

It said the application had been made to the NSE for the Ordinary Shares to be admitted to the official list of the NSE.

“An application for the Ordinary Shares of the Company to be listed on the official list will be done pursuant to the cross-border listing requirements of the NSE.

“It is expected that the Nigerian Admission will become effective on 4 July 2019 and that unconditional dealings in the Ordinary Shares will commence on The NSE on 4 July 2019.

“The Nigerian offer is subject to the satisfaction of conditions, which are customary for transactions of this type including Nigerian Admission becoming effective on 4 July 2019.

“There shall be no underwriting arrangement for this offering,” it said.

NAN reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on June 18, confirmed that the company had filed an application for listing on the exchange.

A senior management source who pleaded anonymity confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He noted that the application was filed by the company this June, adding that, the commission was presently looking at it in line with its rules and regulations.

The source said SEC would continue to protect the interest of investors in the market in line with its mandate to regulate and develop the capital market.

Insecurity: 154 killed, nine kidnapped in separate attacks across Nigeria last week

At least 154 people were killed in different attacks across Nigeria last week. Another nine people were kidnapped in separate incidents, according to Newspaper reports.

The various attacks were confirmed by the security agencies or families of the victims. They were perpetrated by various non-state actors including the Boko Haram and suspected armed herdsmen.

According to a Premium Times review, the various reported attacks across the country last week were as follows:

Sunday:

Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto attended the funeral of 25 persons killed in an attack by bandits.

The presidency had announced the death of “scores of people” in the attack in “three communities in Rabah Local Government Area (LGA) of Sokoto State.”

The statement by Garba Shehu, who signed as President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson, stated that Mr Buhari “expressed deep shock and sadness” over the incident.

The bandits who were in large numbers raided Kalhu, Tsage and Geeri villages near Gandi.

The attackers were said to have engaged in indiscriminate shooting from around 5 p.m. on Saturday till early Sunday morning, after which they carted away hundreds of cows, sheep and other valuables.

Also, some students of Plateau State University were attacked by suspected herdsmen on Sunday, killing one undergraduate and raping another female.

In a separate incident, a woman, Olawumi Adeleye, and her stepson, Destiny Paul, were abducted on the Airport Road, in Osi town in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State.

The victims were said to have been kidnapped by armed persons on their way from church on Sunday evening.

According to a family member, suspected herdsmen blocked the road with cows, forcing the victims, who were in a Lexus car, to stop. They were thereafter abducted and taken to an unknown destination by the bandits.

A family source stated that after some hours, the kidnappers contacted the woman’s husband and demanded N10 million ransom.

Also, the Ebonyi State Police Command confirmed the killing of two children in the Umuogoakpu-Ngbo community, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state, by yet-to-be-identified persons.

The assailants attacked the family of Benjamin Oke and butchered his seven-year-old son, Chinonso, and his other four-year-old son, Chukwudi, in the presence of their mother on Sunday.

The Ebonyi State Police Command’s spokesperson, Loveth Odah, said two persons were arrested in connection with the incident.

Tuesday

The Ondo State Police Command, on Tuesday, arrested a herdsman, who was said to be among a team of kidnappers, who attempted to abduct the monarch of Osi in Akure North Local Government Area of the state, David Olajide.

On the same day, gunmen stormed Rigasa Community of Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State and abducted four women including a nursing mother.

The police later said all victims apart from the nursing mother had been rescued.

Also, the village head of Garin Labo in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State was also abducted at about 1 p.m. on his farm.

Wednesday

Gunmen on Wednesday attacked travellers on the Ife-Ibadan Expressway at Ikire and shot dead an employee of the Atakumosa West Local Government Area of Osun State, Samson Adenipekun.

The deceased was travelling to Ibadan, Oyo State, in an unregistered Toyota Corolla car driven by one Ismaila Olayiwola, when the incident happened.

The gunmen fired shots at the vehicle, one of which hit Mr Adenipekun in the head.

Also, the police in Ekiti State confirmed beheading of a lady in Ilasa Ekiti, Ekiti East Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday, by a herder believed to be the deceased’s husband.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Caleb Ikechukwu, who confirmed the killing, said the suspect had been arrested while investigations into the incident had commenced.

On same day, a Nigerian Army lieutenant colonel and at least 20 other soldiers were killed in action after Boko Haram insurgents attacked a military formation in Borno State on Wednesday.

 

The 158 Task Force Battalion in Mobba Local Government Area came under attack by the rampaging terrorists as the country was celebrating its new Democracy Day on June 12.

Several casualties, including human and equipment, were reportedly inflicted on the military during the firefight. The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Thursday

Gunmen in the early hours of Thursday kidnapped the wife of the State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Abigail Gambo.

The Polic Public Relations Officer in Taraba State, David Misal, confirmed the report.

The spokesperson also said Emeka Okoronkwo, the Chief Executive Officer of Our Nation Bread company, was also abducted from his house at Magami area of Jalingo around 1:00 a.m on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, no fewer than 70 people were confirmed killed by bandits that attacked eight communities in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.

The invasion of various communities started last Sunday and spread gradually to other villages, unabated.

Friday:

At least 34 people were killed after suspected bandits attacked three villages in Shinkafi local government of Zamfara State on Friday.

The affected villages are Gidan Wawo-Katuru, Tungar Kaho-Galadi and Kyalido-Katuru.

The attackers reportedly came on motorcycles, set many houses on fire and shot at those within their sight.

Mohammed Shehu, the police spokesperson in Zamfara, confirmed the attack but said normalcy had been restored in the villages.

Nigeria sold crude oil worth N85trn in 5 years

Nigeria made about N85 trillion ($236.2 billion) from oil between 2014 and 2018, the 54th edition of Annual Statistical Bulletin by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has revealed.

The revenue earned in the five-year period is almost 10 times the 2019 budget of N8.91 trillion signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in May.

The figure puts Nigeria in 6th place and the highest oil revenue earner in Africa among the 14 OPEC member countries surveyed in the report.

The highest revenue in the review period was N27.1 billion ($75.2 million) recorded in 2014, followed by 2018, when N19.6 billion ($54.5 million) was earned.

N14.8 billion ($41.2 million), N9.8 billion ($27.3 million) and N13.7 billion ($38 million) were earned in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Saudi Arabia topped the earners table with $194.4 billion followed by United Arab Emirates’ $74.9 billion, Iraq’s $68.2 billion, Iran’s $60.2 billion and Kuwait’s $58.4 billion.

On volume of crude oil exported, the report said OPEC member countries sold an average of 24.67 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2018, a slight increase of about 14,000 b/d, or 0.1 %, compared to 2017.

The bulk of sales were made to countries in Asia and the Pacific, followed by Europe and the least exports to North America.

According to the OPEC bulletin, Nigeria’s daily crude oil production in 2018 was 1.601 million b/d, a 4.3% increase from the 1.535 million b/d recorded in 2017.

The largest oil producer in Africa had agreed to cap its output at 1.685 million b/d after reaching agreements with OPEC in January to regulate oil supply in order to drive up prices.

Some other reports have however said Nigeria has been producing above the OPEC quota, although the output still falls short of the 2.3 million b/d target the 2019 budget is benchmarked against.

According to S&P Global Platts survey, Nigeria’s production in May was 1.86 million b/d, a drop from the 1.95 million b/d recorded in April.

This could mean a reduction in estimated revenues for 2019 budget, especially if oil prices remain at the benchmark $60 per barrel or falls in 2019.

UN alarmed over rising insecurity in Nigeria

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed concerns over the deteriorating state of security especially in the north-western parts of country which according to them has forced an estimated 20,000 people to seek safety and security in Niger since April.

Addressing a press briefing yesterday at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, the UNHCR spokesperson, Babar Baloch, said the UN Refugee Agency is working closely with authorities in Niger to provide basic assistance as well as register the new arrivals as over 18,000 people have already gone through the initial registration process so far.

According to a statement from the office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the latest upsurge in violence in the north-western parts of Nigeria is not only linked to Boko Haram but due to multiple reasons, including clashes between farmers and herders of different ethnic groups and many more.

“Recent spike in violence in north-western parts of Nigeria has forced an estimated 20,000 people to seek safety and security in Niger since April.

“People are reportedly fleeing due to multiple reasons, including clashes between farmers and herders of different ethnic groups, vigilantism, as well as kidnappings for ransom in Nigeria’s Sokoto and Zamfara States.

“People leaving Nigeria, and arriving in Niger’s Maradi Region, speak of witnessing extreme violence unleashed against civilians, including machete attacks, kidnappings and sexual violence. The majority of the new arrivals are women and children.

He noted that the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency has already spilled over into Niger, where it has affected its Diffa region since 2015, adding that Niger has continued to be a leading regional example in providing safety to refugees fleeing conflict and persecution in many countries.

“The region currently hosts almost 250,000 displaced people – including refugees from Nigeria and locals being displaced inside their own country.

“Niger continues to be a leading regional example in providing safety to refugees fleeing conflict and persecution in many countries. It has kept its borders open for refugees despite the ongoing violence in several regions bordering Nigeria, Mali and recently Burkina Faso.

“Many of the newly arrived are located very close to the Nigerian border, where there remains a high risk of armed incursions. UNHCR with sister UN agencies and partners is discussing with the government the possibility of relocating them into local towns and villages further in land.

“As well as providing aid to Nigerian new arrivals, UNHCR also plans to support host families, who despite lack of adequate resources and access to basic services, have always shown solidarity towards the displaced and welcomed people into their homes.

“Since the beginning of 2018, violence within the Diffa region perpetrated by elements of Boko Haram has also significantly escalated with a record number of civilian casualties and unprecedented secondary movements within the region.”

Furthermore, Baloch revealed that Niger is currently hosting over 380,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Mali and Nigeria as well as its own internally displaced population, adding that the country has also provided refuge to some 2,782 asylum seekers airlifted from insecurity in Libya, while awaiting durable solutions.

Nigeria shouldn’t bring its problem to AU, says Obasanjo on AfCTA

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement will not be hindered by Nigeria’s reluctance to sign up to the process.

Obasanjo spoke in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the opening session of the stakeholders’ dialogue on continental trade and strengthening the implementation of the AfCTA.

The dialogue was organised by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA).

The former president was reacting to concerns raised by one of the discussants, on the need for stakeholders to look into the implications of AfCTA without Nigeria, the continent’s biggest economy.

He said Nigeria should resolve its “domestic problems” and not bring such to the AU.

Nigeria, Benin and Eritrea are the only countries on the continent yet to sign the AfCTA agreement.

The agreement has, however, achieved the minimum number of ratification, 22 countries, needed for its implementation.

Obasanjo, who recalled that Nigeria took over the processes leading to the AfCTA agreement from Egypt, wondered why it suddenly halted signing the agreement.

“It is nobody’s fault if your country cannot resolve its domestic problem,” Obasanjo said.

“If you (Nigeria) is not signing the agreement, it is unfortunate. AfCTA will go on without Nigeria. You will recall that this is the first time since 1976 that Nigeria is not at the table of a major continental process. Nigeria should settle its problem at home and not bring it to the AU.”

Obasanjo also said feelers from the AfCTA remain positive, adding that meetings would be extended to other stakeholders, including Africa’s central banks, customs and security agencies.

He said the removal of trade barriers does not mean the removal of other statutory agencies at various national border posts.

He, however, commended the issuance of visas at the point of entry by some African countries, saying the gesture was a positive step in the direction towards the movement of people across the continent.

AfCFTA is a trade agreement between 49 AU member states, with the goal of creating a single market followed by free movement and a single-currency union.

The AfCTA is expected to help African countries eliminate high tariffs and enhance intra-African trade.

The Gambia was the 22nd country to ratify the agreement, a year after it was first introduced while Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, has not reached a decision on its participation in the agreement.

President Muhammadu Buhari had backed out saying the country he could not sign agreements without understanding the terms.

“Already, some of the treaties we are party to have been significantly abused, resulting in massive smuggling which has crippled many of our local industries and destroyed millions of jobs,” Buhari had said.

“To avoid these past mistakes, we conducted vast consultations across the country in which the LCCI participated. The responses have been mixed.”

FG shuts its missions in Czech, Sri Lanka, Serbia

The Federal Government has closed three of the nation’s foreign missions and reduced the number of staff in Ukraine “due to insufficient funds”.

Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking on activities of the ministry in the last three years.

He said the countries where Nigeria closed its missions are Sri Lanka, Czech Republic and Republic of Serbia while Ukraine was drastically downsized.

Before the closure, Nigeria had 119 foreign missions.

Onyeama added that the reduction of Nigeria’s foreign missions remains one of the agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

He explained that the closure of the missions was occasioned by inability of the ministry to maintain them due to insufficient funds.

“Every embassy has written to us about their huge financial demands and when we go to these embassies we see clearly very unattractive state that does not reflect well on the country,” he said.

“Very often the staff of the embassy really find things extremely difficult. Clearly, if we want to operate on the scale and scope in which we are at the moment with over a 100 missions around the world, we need to spend a lot more.”

He said though Nigeria has spent a lot, it was not enough, compared to what other countries around the world spend

“What I am saying is that rather than having this terrible circle of inadequate funding for missions, headquarters and so forth we have to reduce the scope,” he said.

“We should have foreign missions that we can fund, we might not necessarily close the embassies per se, it might be reducing the number of staff in the embassies.

“Because what we found out is that it is more expensive to close the embassies than operating them.”

In April, Mustapha Suleiman, permanent secretary of the ministry of foreign affairs, had said there was no budgetary provision for 80 foreign missions.

He said there was a 64 percent cut on the capital votes proposed for the missions in the 2019 budget, when compared to the N11.3 billion earmarked in 2018.

US charges man who brokered $2b illegal arms deal with Dasuki

Ara Dolarian, the illegal arms dealer contracted by Col. Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, has been charged to court by the government of the United States of America for allegedly brokering the sale of arms and munitions to the Nigerian government without acquiring compulsory US Department of Commerce and Investment licenses.

According to Sahara Reporters, Dolarian who is 58, is also charged with conspiracy and money laundering, the Attorney’s Office said.

On the 6th of October 2014, the South African government confisticated US$5.7 million arms money from Nigeria, nearly three weeks after seizing $9.3 million in cash transported by two Nigerians and an Israeli for arms purchase allegedly brokered by Dolarian.

The transaction was between Cerberus Risk Solutions, an arms broker in Cape Town, and Societe D’Equipments Internationaux, said to be a French/Nigerian company based in Abuja contracted by the office of the national security adviser.

The money is part a $2 billion arms deal by the federal government which was embezzled by the office of the National Security Adviser under the leadership of Colonel Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser.

The money which was transported in a private plane with US registration number N808HG and owned by popular Nigerian Pastor, Ayo Oritsejafor, was designated for the purchase of helicopters, unmanned aircraft, rockets and ammunition.

A criminal complaint filed against Dolarian on Monday in the US, alleged that he attempted to broker an $8.5 million transfer of bombs, rockets, military-grade firearms and aircraft-mounted cannons from Eastern Europe and South Africa to the government of Nigeria in the 2013-14 period.

Dolarian, without certification from the US government accepted approximately $8.3 million from Societe D’Equipments Internationaux, SEI, a French arms brokering company acting on behalf of Nigeria, and from the Nigerian National Security Advisor’s office, through a purported Hong Kong-based furniture company.

Reports show that the money was routed to several shell accounts held by Dolarian and his associates, the US attorney claims, and were immediately used by the arms dealer to pay off his federal and state tax debts and buy a sports utility vehicle.

Dolarian faces 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine if he is convicted of unlicensed arms deals. He could also receive five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy, and a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for money laundering, the indictment says.

In Nigeria, however, apart from Col. Sambo Dasuki who was arrested and detained on 1 December 2015 by the Department of State Security Services, others connected to the deal such as Chief Raymond Dokpesi, chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Attahiru Bafarawa, the former Governor of Sokoto State, and Bashir Yuguda, the former Minister of State for Finance have all been granted bail with no real milestones or move to convict them despite overwhelming evidence.

Facebook bans Israeli firm ‘using fake accounts’ to post news about Nigeria

Facebook has banned Archimedes Group, an Israeli company, for using fake accounts and pages to post political news about Nigeria.

Archimedes Group is a political consulting and lobbying firm that boasts of its ability of wining elections worldwide.

In a post, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy,  explained that the accounts and pages were identified through “internal investigations”.

He accused firm of coordinated inauthentic behaviour, saying so far, Facebook has removed 265 fake accounts.

“Today we removed 265 Facebook and Instagram accounts, Facebook Pages, Groups and events involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Gleicher said.

This activity originated in Israel and focused on Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia along with some activity in Latin America and Southeast Asia. 

“The people behind this network used fake accounts to run pages, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement. They also represented themselves as locals, including local news organizations, and published allegedly leaked information about politicians. The Page administrators and account owners frequently posted about political news, including topics like elections in various countries, candidate views and criticism of political opponents.

“Although the individuals behind this network attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found that some of this activity was linked to an Israeli commercial entity, Archimedes Group. It has repeatedly violated our misrepresentation and other policies, including by engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior. This organization and all its subsidiaries are now banned from Facebook, and it has been issued a cease and desist letter.”

Facebook said it is constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because it does not want its services to be used to manipulate people.

Assuring its users of its commitment to continually improving to stay ahead, the social media giant said it is investing heavily in building better technology, hiring more people and working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies.

In February, Facebook had partnered with Dubawa, a fact-checking website in Nigeria, to help assess the accuracy of news and reduce the spread of misinformation.

Trade by barter still thriving in Nigerian community

The Esuk Mba community market in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River is still practising trade by barter as a means of exchange for food items since it was established in 1956.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the market, which is located in a remote village in Esuk Mba in Akpabuyo, is a weekly market that starts from 7.am in the morning and ends at noon every Saturday.

Villagers usually move their consumable items to the market in exchange for the ones they are in need of.

This practice had been in peaceful existence among members of the community on every market day since 1956.

The Community’s Youth Leader, Mr Asuquo Effiong, said the market which serves as a tourists site to visitors, was in dire need of a facelift.

He said that the practice was still in existence because the market was handed over to them by their fore fathers; hence they cherish and preserve it.

According to him, the market is also significant because it was also a point of activities during the period of the slave trade in Nigeria.

“We grew up to meet this market. We hold it so much in high esteem and we want to sustain it. We use it to remember our fore-fathers and to sustain our culture.

“As you can see, they are varieties of food items on this section for exchange. In this market, you can bring your palm oil and exchange it for garri, yam, fish or plantain as the case may be.

“The market is close to the river side and our people here are predominantly fishermen. The community is not comfortable with the size of this market; there have been no expansion of the market since inception.

“In addition, we don’t have any good school here, no portable drinking water and health post. We need government intervention in this community,’’ he said.

A market woman, Mrs Eno Etim, who brought in yams for exchange for palm oil, said that the tradition had been with them for ages.

According to Etim, she had no palm oil in her house, hence she brought in four tubers of yam to exchange for a four litre of palm oil.

Also, Mrs Grace Okon brought in periwinkle, popularly called `mfi’ in Calabar language for exchange for garri.

She said that system has helped them over the years to safe cost in view of the scarce financial resources.

NAN observed that the most of the roofs in the thatched houses inside the market had already fallen off, while the woods that usually give the houses a standing position were lying on the ground.

A youth in the village, Mr Cyril Asuquo, who conducted NAN Correspondent through the slave trade route behind the market, up to the creeks where the slaves were been transported through the sea to other countries, said the route was called a `Point of no Return’.

He explained to NAN that the bank of the creeks was called a `Point of no Return’ because any slave that ever got to that point never came back to their families.

“This route is the Point of no Return as we heard from our fore-fathers; it used to be a slavery ground. When they take you to this point as a slave, it means no mercy, no return.

“We lost our fathers, mothers and relatives that were taken through this point. But in all, we thank God that the practice of slavery has been abolished,’’ he said.

Asuquo who also showed NAN the thatched house that used to serve as a resting point for the slave after a long distance trekking, urged the state government to make the spot a tourism site. (NAN)

Nigeria’s population hits 201 million: UNFPA

With an average population growth of 2.6 per cent between 2010 and 2019, Nigeria now has a population of about 201 million.

The United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) unveiled this estimate in its 2019 State of the World Population report.

The report said that Nigeria’s population grew by about 5 million people from 2018 when the country’s population was 195.9 million.

The country has witnessed a population growth from 54.7 million in 1969 to 105.4 million in 1994 and 201.0 million in 2019.

According to UNFPA, the age distribution of 15-64 years is the highest population composition in the country with 54% of Nigerians falling between the age range.

Forty four per cent of Nigerians are within the age distribution 0-14 while 32% of the population is between 10 and 24 years and a paltry 3% are 65 and above.

The low percentage of those within the 65 and above age distribution is not entirely surprising with the life expectancy of Nigeria at 55 years old, one of the lowest across the world.

However, the estimate of life expectancy is higher than that given by the National Population Commission. Its chairman, Alhaji Hassan Bashir told the 52nd Session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development in New York early this month that the overall life expectancy of Nigeria stands at 52.2 years.

He said Nigerians “60 years and over currently represents less than five per cent of the entire population, while overall life expectancy is 52.2 years”.

The UNFPA report indicates a slight drop in the fertility rate from 2018’s 5.4 births per woman to 5.3 births per woman. It continues the trend of dropping fertility rate over the years from 6.3 in 1994 to 5.3 in 2019.

The World population grew to 7.7 billion in 2019 while the life expectancy rate is 72 years.

UNFPA supports reproductive health care for women and youth across the world.

The report also indicated that 51% of women aged 15-49 years who are married (or in union) make decisions on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.

UNFPA has also committed to its agenda 2030. The bold agenda of UNFPA seeks to protect and promote human rights.

“Leave no one behind and reach the furthest behind first; strengthen link between development, humanitarian action & sustaining peace; reduce risks and vulnerabilities and build resilience.

“Ensure gender-responsive approaches at all levels of programming and Improve accountability, transparency and efficiency.’’

According to UNFPA, “it is important that we act now. A bold agenda requires bold action. To achieve these objectives, we must work together to leave no one behind.’’

Ngige: We have enough doctors, those who want to work abroad can go

Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Productivity, says there is nothing wrong with doctors leaving Nigeria as the country has “more than enough” medical personnel.

Speaking during a Channels TV programme on Wednesday, the minister defended the doctors searching for green pastures elsewhere, saying “if you have surplus, you export.”

Ngige’s comment comes weeks after Saudi officials stormed Nigeria to recruit medical doctors, an opportunity that was highly sought for.

One of the programme anchors had asked him if he was worried about the rate doctors leave Nigeria to which he responded: “No, I am not worried (about doctors leaving the country). We have surplus. If you have surplus, you export.

“It happened some years ago here. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.

“There are surplus in their country and we also have surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. In my area, we have excess.

“Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out.”

Ngige, who himself is a doctor, added that the medical personnel relocating from Nigeria also contribute to the country’s foreign exchange earnings, and that some of them do set up medical centres back home.

He said: “When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.

“Will you call that brain drain? I know a couple of them who practise abroad but set up medical centres back home. They have CAT scan, MRI scan which even the government cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss.”

Statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that as of 2013, there were 3.8 doctors for every 10,000 Nigerians, far below the organisations’s recommendation of one doctor to 600 patients.

Recent data from the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) also showed that as of December 2017, Nigeria had 39,912 registered medical doctors. This means with a population of 193 million in 2016, there was just one medical doctor for every 4,845 Nigerians.

IMF ranks Nigeria second worst in the world in use of sovereign wealth fund

 

The International Monetary Fund has ranked Nigeria as the second worst country in the world in the use of sovereign wealth funds.

According to the Fiscal Monitor report released on Wednesday, Qatar was the only country worse than Nigeria on the index.

The Bretton Wood institution said the index was compiled using the corporate governance and transparency scores of the sovereign wealth funds and the size of assets as a percentage of 2016 GDP of the countries considered.

The fund said it used data compiled by the Natural Resource Governance Institute and Worldwide Governance Indicators.

“It is critical to develop a strong institutional framework to manage these resources—including good management of the financial assets kept in sovereign wealth funds—and to ensure that proceeds are appropriately spent,” the report read.

“This remains a significant challenge in many resource-rich countries that, on average, have weaker institutions and higher corruption

“The governance challenges of commodity-rich countries— that is, the management of public assets— call for ensuring a high degree of transparency and accountability in the exploration of such resources.

“Countries should develop frameworks that limit discretion, given the high risk of abuse, and allow for heavy scrutiny.”

Explaining that sovereign wealth funds have to be transparent, the IMF advised that countries should ensure that the natural resources of countries should be channelled properly to the people that need them.

Of the 10 African countries considered, Ghana was ranked the highest.

World Bank says Nigeria’s economy is performing poorly

The World Bank Group, on Monday, said Nigeria’s economy has performed below par since 1995.

In a classification of growth performance included in the 14th edition of Africa’s Pulse, Nigeria was ranked in the bottom tercile alongside Angola, South Africa and 16 other countries saying these economies did not show any progress in their growth performance.

“These countries did not show any progress in their economic performance from 1995–2008 to 2015–18,” the report read.

Explaining the methodology used in the classification, the report said: “The taxonomy compares the average annual GDP growth rates during 1995–2008 and 2015–18 against predetermined thresholds.

“These thresholds correspond to the bottom and top terciles of the annual average growth rates across 44 Sub-Saharan African countries between 1995 and 2008 (that is, 3.5 and 5.4 percent, respectively).

“If a country’s economic performance declined from 1995–2008 to 2015–18, the country is categorized in the bottom tercile, which includes “falling behind” and “slipping.”

“If a country’s growth rate remained invariant over time, between 3.5 and 5.4 percent in both periods, it is categorized in the middle tercile (or “stuck in the middle”).

“If a country’s economic performance improved from 1995–2008 to 2015–18, with a growth of more than 5.4 percent per year, the country is categorized in the top tercile, which includes the “improved” and “established” groups.”

According to the report, the indices used were:

  • Convergence, as proxied by the level of income per capita of the countries in each tercile
  • Structural transformation, as captured by sectoral value-added share and sectoral employment share
  • Capital flows (aggregate value and composition)
  • Level and composition of public sector indebtedness, as captured by: (i) the general government gross debt and its currency composition, and (ii) the outstanding external public debt (and its composition, by creditor)
  • Governance indicators, namely, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, control of corruption, voice and accountability, political stability, and absence of violence and rule of law

The World Bank also cut its growth projection for Nigeria from 2.2% to 2.1%, saying policy distortions and stagnant oil production levels limit investments.

“Growth in Nigeria is projected to rise from 1.9 percent in 2018 to 2.1 percent in 2019 (0.1 percentage point lower than last October’s forecast),” the Bretton Wood institution said.

“This modest expansion reflects stagnant oil production, as regulatory uncertainty limits investment in the oil sector, while non-oil economic activity is held back by high inflation, policy distortions, and infrastructure constraints.

“Growth is projected to rise slightly to 2.2 percent in 2020 and reach 2.4 percent in 2021, as improving financing conditions help boost investment.

“In Nigeria, although the manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs remained above the neutral 50-point mark—which denotes expansion—they fell further in February, due to weaker rises in output and new sales orders across firms.

“Household consumption in Nigeria has remained subdued, while multiple exchange rates, foreign exchange restrictions, low private sector credit growth, and infrastructure constraints have continued to weigh on private investment.”

In a chat with journalists on Monday, Isaac Okorafor, spokesperson of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said the bank has shown ingenuity in managing the economy.

“You know the crisis that we’ve faced in the past three years. The bank has shown ingenuity in managing the situation and ensuring that everything is stable.”

UAE clarifies: No change in visa policy for Nigerian visitors

The United Arab Emirates(UAE) Embassy in Abuja said the country’s visa policy has not changed, debunking  reports  in the media that it has suspended issuing three-month visa to Nigerian visitors.

An embassy source clarified that the 90-day or 60-day visa is not meant for tourists, but it is issued only to those going to the country for business.

Tourists, the official said, are entitled to 14-day visa.

The Embassy on Thursday on its Twitter handle @UAEEmbassyNGR said; “In the light of the press report published this morning (Thursday 4/4/2019) alleging that the United Arab Emirates has suspended issuing tourist Visa to Nigerian nationals, the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Abuja would like to announce these news are inaccurate and stresses the importance of sourcing news from its official channel”.

A tourist and travel company, Afric Holidays had triggered the misinformation, that went viral that the UAE had rejected requests by Nigerian passport holders for 90-day and 60-day  visa.

“Nigerian Passport holders are no longer eligible to three months UAE Tourist Visa.

“Nigerian Passport holders are now restricted to one month, 96 hours and 48 hours UAE Tourist Visas till further notice,” the firm said.

The five Nigerians arrested in Dubai for robbing a bureau de change. They were identified as Chimuanya Emmanuel Ozoh, Benjamin Nwachukwu Ajah, Kingsley Ikenna Ngoka, Tochukwu Leonard Alisi and Chile Micah Ndunagu

The company made the claim in an Instagram post, coinciding with another report of five Nigerians arrested for robbing a Bureau de Change in Sharjai Dubai.

But the embassy official told the News Agency of Nigeria that there was no truth in the story.

On Friday, Afric Holidays did a recant of some sort:

“We will like to thank the UAE Embassy in Abuja for re-affirming and wading into the recent Nigerian Passport and UAE Visa Application Rejections from Authorised parties both on and offline. With this new public information, we will be able to assist all our Dubai Family Summer groups and urge them to send in their 90 and 60 days Dubai Summer visa requests”.

The travel company further advised visa applicants to screenshot the UAE embassy clarification and attach to their requests.

Some Nigerians in Twitter posts had claimed they also encountered difficulties while trying to apply for UAE visa, online and blamed the arrested Nigerians for their ordeal.

Dubai police this week announced the arrest of five Nigerians for robbing a Bureau de Change operator of Dh2.3 million (N225.4 million) in Sharjai, Dubai.

The suspects were identified as Chimuanya Emmanuel Ozoh, Benjamin Nwachukwu Ajah, Kingsley Ikenna Ngoka, Tochukwu Leonard Alisi and Chile Micah Ndunagu.

Khaleej Times reporting the heist, said the five Nigerians barged into the BDC on March 20 and smashed the glass barrier between the customers and the staff, stole the money in multiple currencies and fled.

Two employees at the exchange were injured as they resisted the robbers. One of them managed to notify the police. The Sharjah Police coordinated with forces from Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman to nab the suspects from four emirates within 48 hours after the robbery was committed.

The incident was reported at Al Ansari Exchange in Al Tawoon area. A top police official said the suspects came to the UAE on visit visas on March 18.

For two days, they studied the exchange office before deciding to commit the robbery around midnight – just before the shop was to close. On March 20, four suspects stormed into the exchange office, while one waited in a car outside. After the four suspects rushed out with the money, they fled in a car.

Major-General Saif Al Zeri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Sharjah Police, said the whole amount has been recovered.

“The police team reached the site within seven minutes after the robbery was reported. The injured staff members were rushed to the hospital, where they were discharged the next day,” the officer said.

The police lifted forensic evidence from the site and formed a team to crack the case. “Arrest warrants for the suspects were circulated at all ports of the country to prevent them from leaving.”

The police retrieved the number plate of the car in which the suspects fled.

Following this lead, they arrested one of the suspects in Sharjah. This suspect led the police to the others – two in Ajman, one in Abu Dhabi and one in Ras Al Khaimah.

The suspects, who confessed to the crime, have been referred to the public prosecution.

Nigerians now 6th most miserable people in the world – Report

Data compiled by Steve Hanke, an economist from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, has shown that Nigerians are the sixth most miserable people in the world.

The misery index was calculated using economic indices including unemployment, inflation and bank lending rates.

For Nigeria, the unemployment rate was the major contributing factor.

“The original Misery Index was just a simple sum of a nation’s annual inflation rate and its unemployment rate. The Index has been modified several times, first by Robert Barro of Harvard and then by myself,” Hanke, the economist who compiled the list, said.

“My modified Misery Index is the sum of the unemployment, inflation and bank lending rates, minus the percentage change in real GDP per capita. Higher readings on the first three elements are “bad” and make people more miserable.

“These are offset by a “good” (GDP per capita growth), which is subtracted from the sum of the “bads.” A higher Misery Index score reflects a higher level of “misery,” and it’s a simple enough metric that a busy president, without time for extensive economic briefings, can understand at a glance.”

Misery Index

Venezuela, Argentina and Iran, the countries which topped the index, had high inflation rates as the major contributing factors.

In total, three African countries, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt, fell between the top 10 most miserable countries.

Nigeria ranks 85 on Global Happiness Report

As the world marks the International Day of Happiness, Nigeria is ranked 85 out of 156 countries and second in sub-Saharan Africa.

This is according to the annual Global Happiness Policy Report produced by the Global Happiness Council, which was released on Wednesday.
It was edited by John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard, Jeffrey D. Sachs, et al.

Nigeria’s ranking is an improvement from its 91 position ranking in 2018.

Finland came first as the happiest country in the world for the second year in a row, followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands.

The world’s least happy country is South Sudan followed by Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Rwanda, Yemen, Malawi, Syria, Botswana and Haiti.

The report ranks countries on six key variables that support wellbeing: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.

This is the seventh World Happiness Report; the first was released in April 2012 in support of a UN High level meeting on “Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm”.

The report presented the available global data on national happiness and reviewed related evidence from the emerging science of happiness.

It showed that the quality of people’s lives can be coherently, reliably, and validly assessed by a variety of subjective wellbeing measures, collectively referred to then and in subsequent reports as “happiness.”

This year, the focus was on happiness and community: how happiness has been changing over the past dozen years, and how information technology, governance and social norms influence communities.

The report showed that the annual data for Finland have continued their modest, but steady upward trend since 2014.

So that dropping 2015 and adding 2018 boosts the average score, thereby putting Finland significantly ahead of other countries in the top 10.

Denmark and Norway have also increased their average scores.

The United States came in the 19th place, dropping one spot since last year and a total of five spots since 2017.

On the whole, Helliwell said: “What stands out about the happiest and most well connected societies is their resilience and ability to deal with bad things.

“After the 2011 earthquake and now the terrorist attack in Christchurch, with high social capital, where people are connected, people rally and help each other and (in after the earthquake) rebuild immediately,’’ he said.

Nigeria remains Africa’s biggest economy — at CBN rate

Nigeria has maintained its top spot as Africa’s biggest economy, ahead of South Africa and Egypt — but this is only when its gross domestic product (GDP) is calculated at N305/$1.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Nigeria’s GDP stands at $397.47 billion at the end of 2018, while South Africa could only muster $376.68 billion as Egypt was estimated to weigh only $249 billion.

However, Renaissance Capital, a leading emerging and frontier markets investment bank, says South Africa is actually Africa’s biggest economy — if Nigeria’s exchange rate realities are factored into the calculation of the nation’s GDP.

According to RenCap, GDP calculations using the purchasing power parity (PPP) of N362 per dollar brings Nigeria’s GDP to $357 billion — effectively shaving about $40 billion off the country’s GDP.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, have insisted on the current exchange rate regime as the best option for Nigeria at this time when oil prices are below $100.

SOUTH AFRICA AS AFRICA’S BIGGEST ECONOMY?

Charlie Robertson, the global chief economist at Renaissance Capital, made this known on Tuesday while explaining a slowdown in South Africa’s economy in 2018.

“South Africa GDP slowed from 1.4% to 0.8%, but that was still big enough to make it Africa’s biggest economy in 2018 at market exchange rates,” he said.

“We prefer market exchange rates because PPP dollars (which put Nigeria top) don’t buy you a Toyota. Or an oil refinery for that matter.”

Charlie Robertson@RencapMan

South Africa GDP slowed from 1.4% to 0.8%, but that was still big enough to make it Africa’s biggest economy in 2018 at market exchange rates. We prefer market exchange rates because PPP dollars (which put Nigeria top) don’t buy you a Toyota. Or an oil refinery for that matter

95 people are talking about this

RenCap, one of the leading frontier market analyst in the world, forecast Nigeria the biggest economy in Africa in 2017, with a GDP of $395 billion at CBN rate of N304 per dollar, and $327 billion at the market rate of N367 to the greenback.

Charlie Robertson@RencapMan

How do Africa’s economies rank right now? We don’t really know but there is a good argument that SA is first, Kenya again beats Ethiopia

82 people are talking about this

Charlie Robertson@RencapMan

Africa’s economies ranked by size. Nigeria 1st, Egypt 2nd and SA in 3rd place. Size relative to India/California helps explain news coverage

102 people are talking about this

In a note to investors, RenCap said early March that for Nigeria’s GDP to grow faster than its population, oil prices will have to double or the country will have to diversify the economy and pursue industrialisation.

“To diversify the economy, Nigeria must accelerate the rise of adult literacy, aiming for at least 80% as soon as possible,” RenCap said.

“To ensure the north is not left behind, Nigeria will need to enact an adult education campaign, similar in scale and impact to that pursued by South Korea in the 1950s.”

The research and insight firm added that 100 percent adult literacy also will not fix the problem if the country does not fix electricity.

“Even 100% adult literacy will not allow an escape from poverty if there is no reliable supply of electricity to power a factory or office computer,” it said.

How stranded Nigerian was sold for $30,000 in Russia

Two Nigerians have been arrested and charged with human trafficking after striking a deal to sell Blessing Obuson, a teenager from Edo state, for two million rubles (around $30,000).

According to her lawyer, the suspects agreed to sell off Obuson to a police officer who posed as a client.

Obuson, one of the Nigerians stranded in Russia after the World Cup, has also narrated how she was forced into prostitution.

An estimated 1,863 Nigerians who came to Russia last year for the FIFA World Cup are still on the loose in the country, more than two months after their Fan IDs expired.

Dozens of them, who were young women have been forced into prostitution by the traffickers who brought them into the country under the guise of being football fans.

According to a Reuters report, Obuson thought the World Cup would be an opportunity to find a job when she flew into Moscow on a fan ID in June. Instead, she found herself forced to work as a prostitute.

Fan IDs allowed visa-free entry to World Cup supporters with match tickets, but did not confer the right to work.

Despite that, Obuson, 19, said she had hoped to work as a shop assistant to provide for her two-year-old daughter and younger siblings back in Nigeria.

Instead, she said she was locked in a flat on the outskirts of Moscow and forced into sex work along with 11 other Nigerian women who were supervised by a madam, also from Nigeria.

“I cried really hard. But what choice did I have?” Obuson said after being freed by anti-slavery activists.

She said her madam had confiscated her passport and told her she’d only get it back once she’d worked off a fictional debt of $50,000.

Obuson told her story to a rare English-speaking client who got anti-slavery activists involved.

Her case is not isolated. Reuters met eight Nigerian women aged between 16 and 22 brought into Russia on fan IDs and forced into sex work. All said they had endured violence.

“They don’t give you food for days, they slap you, they beat you, they spit in your face… It’s like a cage,” said one 21-year old woman, who declined to be named.

In September, a Nigerian woman was killed by a man who refused to pay for sex, police said. The Nigerian embassy later identified her as 22-year old Alifat Momoh who had come to Russia from Nigeria with a fan ID.

Kenny Kehindo, who works with several Moscow NGOs to help sex trafficking victims, estimates that more than 2,000 Nigerian women were brought in on fan IDs.

“Fan ID is a very good thing, but in the hands of the human traffickers it’s just an instrument,” he said, calling for more cooperation between the authorities and anti-trafficking NGOs during major sporting events, including the 2022 Qatar World Cup where a fan ID system is also being considered.

Anti-slavery group Alternativa said its helpline had fielded calls from Nigerian women held in St Petersburg and other World Cup host cities.

While a prosecution has been launched in Obuson’s case, police have been unable to act against suspected traffickers in other cases due to a lack of evidence.

“A lot of girls are still out there,” said Obuson.

Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the ministry of foreign affairs to bring back home the 230 stranded Nigerians in Russia after the World Cup.

A nursing mother and 154 out of the 230 were brought home through Ethiopian Airline flight number ET-ALP that arrived Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja in July.

Saudi King, Emir of Qatar congratulate Buhari…Russia hails transparent elections

 

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election for a new presidential term.

In a telephone conversation with President Buhari on Thursday, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques wished the Nigerian President success and good health in his second term in office.

The Saudi King extended good wishes of steady progress and prosperity to the government and people of Nigeria.

President Buhari expressed appreciation to the King, affirming his readiness to enhance aspects of cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

Also, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani sent a cable of congratulations to President Buhari on his re-election, wishing the Nigerian President success and the Nigerian people further development and progress.

Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshin, also sent a congratulatory message, saying:

”I am honoured to extend my congratulations to you personally, Mr President, and the people of Nigeria on the successful conduct of free, transparent and credible Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 23, 2019, that will shape the destiny of this nation for the upcoming four years and beyond.”

While describing the elections as yet another substantial step towards further strengthening of Nigerian democracy, the Russian Ambassador wrote: ” It is my conviction that your decisive victory will pave the way for yet stronger and more prosperous Nigeria that you will be able to deliver on the people’s mandate. ”

The Russian Ambassador expressed the hope that the Nigerian President’s second term in office will be associated with further enhancements of bilateral cooperation and closer contacts between the two countries.

UK Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, said: ”I offer my congratulations to President Buhari on securing a second term as the Nigerian President. The UK is a long-standing friend and partner of Nigeria and the Nigerian people, and a stable and prosperous Nigeria benefits Africa and the world. ”

French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in its congratulatory message said:

”France congratulates President Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election on February 23. It will continue to stand by Nigeria and to provide its full support for the implementation of the country’s priorities, especially economic diversification, job creation, counter terrorism and the fight against corruption.”

President Buhari has also received congratulatory messages from Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.

 

Anti-graft war suffers setback as EU adds Nigeria to ‘dirty-money backlist’

The European Union (EU) has added Nigeria to countries on its “dirty money blacklist”.

According to Reuters, the EU said the nations in this category pose a threat because of tax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering.

Also added to the list which was initially 16, are Saudi Arabia, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and four US territories of American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.

The other listed countries are Afghanistan, North Korea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen.

Criteria used to blacklist the countries include low sanctions against money laundering and terrorism financing.

Other criteria were insufficient cooperation with the EU on the matter and lack of transparency over the beneficial owners of companies and trusts

The move has triggered criticism from several EU states worried about their economic relations with the listed states, notably Saudi Arabia.

The list now includes 23 jurisdictions, with Bosnia Herzegovina, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu removed.

The 28 EU states have one month, which can be extended to two, to endorse the list.

Vera Jourova, EU justice commissioner, who proposed the list, was quoted as saying she was confident states would not block it.

She said it was urgent to act on the list because of the “risks spread like wildfire in the banking sector.”

She added the commission would continue monitoring other jurisdictions not yet listed.

IMPLICATIONS

Apart from reputational damage, inclusion on the list complicates financial relations with the EU.

The bloc’s banks would also have to carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from listed jurisdictions.

This comes at a time President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is insisting it has been committed to the fight against corruption and money laundering.

In 2017, the president signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to give room for prosecution of Nigerians who launder public funds to the country.