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Daily Archives: May 13, 2019

BREAKING: Tension in UNILAG as armed bouncers surround Senate building

There was palpable tension at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, on Monday morning, as 15 hefty men in black attire stormed the university campus and positioned themselves around the Governing Council Chamber, venue of the scheduled special council meeting.

This is as the university’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has kicked against the development, describing it as an attempt to militarise the institution by “an individual.”

The registrar of the university, Mr. Oladejo Azeez, a lawyer, had on Thursday evening issued a notice of emergency meeting scheduled to hold on Monday and Tuesday to council members.

The notice, which was later changed to ‘special meeting,’ was according the registrar at the instance of the council chairman, Mr. Wale Babalakin. He listed issues to be discussed at the meeting to including the raging Mr. Saminu Dagari-led committee’s report on expenditure of the university between May, 2017 and September 2018.

Other items on the agenda include the report of panel set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the institution’s library, which was under construction, Mr. Babalakin’s action of issuing queries to the allegedly indicted university management members including the vice-chancellor, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.

But as early as 8a.m ahead of the meeting scheduled to hold by 10a.m, strange faces numbering 15, who wore black attire had taken strategic positions between the council chamber and the university’s auditorium.

According to the university’s chief security officer, Mr. Sunday Alao, the ‘strange men’ had told him they were invited by the chairman of the university’s governing council- Mr. Babalakin, to provide private security.”

Alao said; “Their leader, who said his name is Lateef told me they are men of K-Square, a private security company, and that they were invited by Mr. Babalakin to provide private security on the campus.

“I simply told them that they would be held responsible if anything untoward happens to any of our students, staff and any other person in the university community.”

The chairman of ASUU on the campus, Dele Ashiru described the development as absurd, strange and draconian.

“This is most unacceptable. The pro-chancellor cannot invade our campus with this kind of military mentality,” Ashiru said.

Efforts to reach the university’s vice-chancellor were unsuccessful as calls to his number were not picked as at the time of filing this report.

SEC moves to ban companies from sharing gifts at AGMs

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it is working to create a subrule that makes the distribution of gifts at annual general meetings (AGM) illegal.

In a draft published on its website, the commission explained that the aim of the subrule is to reduce the cost of organising AGMs and ensure that investors get more value for their investments.

The sundry amendments are: Proposed amendment to Rule 42 (2)- Half-Yearly Returns, Proposed amendment to Rule 67(2)- Individual Sub-broker and Proposed amendment to Part N Rule 602 – Miscellaneous Rules.

The proposed rules also seek to make meetings with a select group of shareholders prior to an annual general meeting/extraordinary general meeting illegal.

“Some companies arrange meetings with select groups of shareholders ahead of general meetings to discuss proposed resolutions and agree on strategies which are often detrimental to the interest of other shareholders,” Efe Ebelo, SEC’s head of corporate communications, said.

“Public companies spend a significant amount of money on corporate gifts at AGMs/EGMs and this has a great impact on their profitability. Few of the companies are making reasonable profits and even fewer can afford to pay dividends.

“If the amount budgeted for gifts at AGMs/EGMs can be reserved for other relevant operational or administrative expenses, it would positively impact on their earnings per share.

Companies that violate these provisions, the SEC warned, “shall be liable to a penalty of not less than N10m”.

The proposed amendment will also lead to the creation of a rule that public companies should disclose some corporate governance information on their websites including governance structure, composition and structure of the board, shareholding and dividend analysis.

No apologies on tackling godfather of Lagos politics, says El-Rufai

Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, says he owes no one any apology over his comments on how to end godfatherism in Lagos state.

El-Rufai, had said he knew how to end godfatherism in Lagos politics.

The statement was seen as being targeted at Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,  the foremost leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress and one time governor of Lagos State widely acknowledged for his stranglehold on the state’s political landscape.

The governor said having retired the four political godfathers in Kaduna, he was confident that the feat could be achieved anywhere else.

But speaking with reporters on the issue, the governor said he did not regret making the comment.

When asked if he wanted Bola Tinubu,  a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), removed as the godfather of Lagos, el-Rufai replied that he is unaware of Tinubu occupying that role, saying it is up to the national leader to say if he is.

He said godfathers could be defeated as far as people are ready to work hard to achieve the feat.

“We are in the same party, we get along very well, as far as I know,” el-Rufai said.

“I don’t know if he is the godfather of Lagos, it is up to him to say that. What I know for sure is that we have retired godfathers in Kaduna and I have told those that asked me the question that there are six million registered voters in Lagos and only one million voted in the last election, so there are five million people you can bring into the electoral playground and you can defeat anybody if you work hard but it is hard work; it is four years, that is what I said.

“If anyone feels offended by that, that is his business.”

Asked if Lagos should follow the same template he used in defeating the godfathers in his state, el-Rufai said: “I have no recommendation to Lagos, I am the governor of Kaduna state, I know Kaduna politics pretty well and I play my role well in my party towards the overall success of the party.

“So I have no recommendations for anyone. I am just saying If I am asked a question and I give an answer, anyone that feels offended by the answer, that is his own business.

“I have no apologies, I don’t apologise for my views; my views are thought-out and I put them there. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone.

“This is a democracy and in a democratic space, there must be room for people to express their views. You can disagree, you can abuse me if you don’t like my views but that is it.”

Low-key inauguration on May 29 as FG moves ‘major’ events to June 12

President Muhammadu Buhari will have a low-key inauguration for his second term on May 29.

Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, disclosed this to reporters in Abuja on Monday.

Mohammed said most events for May 29 had been moved to June 12, the country’s new Democracy Day.

Last year, Buhari declared June 12 as Democracy Day in honour of MKO Abiola, self-acclaimed winner of the 1993 election.

Mohammed added that world leaders had already been invited to attend the Democracy Day on June 12.

“The decision to have a low-key inauguration for the President was taken at the meeting of federal executive council of Wednesday 8th of May, 2019,” he said.

“Invitations have been sent to all world leaders to attend the ceremonies marking the observance of the democracy day on June 12.

“Since the first observance of democracy day falls on an election year, and as a measure to sustain June 12 as democracy day, the celebration of the inauguration and the advancement of democracy in the country will now take place on June 12.”

He said the country cannot afford two major celebrations within two weeks.

Mohammed said details of the events, slated for the two ceremonies would be unveiled at a world news conference, slated for May 20 in Abuja.

Ganduje presents staff of office to new Kano emirs

Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano state, has presented the staffs of office to the four new emirs following the recent breakup of the Kano emirate.

This is coming on the back of a court order which restrained the governor  from implementing the breakup of the emirate.

Abba Anwar, his chief press secretary, in a statement on Monday, said the governor presented the instrument to Aminu Ado-Bayero, the eldest son of the late emir of Kano, as the emir of Bichi.

The staff of office was also presented to Ibrahim Abubakar II, emir of Karaye; Tafida Abubakar-Ila, emir of Rano, and Ibrahim Abdulkadir, emir of Gaya.

“This Staff of Office represents dedication and commitment to serve your subjects in the areas of security, health care delivery system, education and environment among others,” said the governor while congratulating the new first class traditional rulers.

Ganduje hands staff of office to emir of Bichi

“We, as a government, are always ready to work with you hand in hand for the growth and development of our state in particular and the nation in general.

“You should place greater priority on education, health and the security of your domains. As a government, we will always respond positively to your people-oriented yearnings and aspirations.

“As leaders who are closer to your subjects, you should join hand with government and other security agencies to make sure that security is not only improved but maintained.

“Efforts towards strengthening community policing, as practised globally, should form part of your commitment. Ours is to, together, ensure that global best practices are observed.”

Ganduje had signedthat created four additional emirates in the state, leaving Muhammad Sanusi, emir of Kano, with the control of 10 out of 44 local government areas.

He said the news emirates were created in the state to reduce the burden on Sanusi.

The governor also said he had presented appointment letters to the new emirs before the state high court issued a restraining order.

JAMB remits N5bn to FG

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) remitted N5 billion to the federal government’s coffers after the conduct of its 2019 unified tertiary matriculation examination (UTME).

Fa bian Benjamin, JAMB’s head of media and information, disclosed this in the board’s weekly bulletin, tagged “JAMBULLETIN”.

Benjamin later explained that out of the N5 billion returned to the federal government, N2 billion was given back to the board to enhance its operation.

“Technically, the board returned N5 billion to the federal government but out of that amount, the board was handed N2 billion to further enhance its operation,” he said.

Last year, his first in running the board as the registrar, Ishaq Oloyede remitted N7.8 billion to the treasury, as against the N50 million remitted by his predecessor from 2010-2016.

Following the huge amount recorded from the last UTME, the federal government ordered a reduction in examination fees from N5000 to N3,500.

Police: You have the right to search a policeman before he searches you

The police say Nigerians have the right to search its men in certain situations when the officers are about to carry out inspections.

In a statement titled, “(Part 2) Tips For Safe And Cordial Conduct During An Arrest”, Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer, said if an officer is about to search a citizen or a property, that citizen has the right to first search the policeman in order to ensure that no evidence is planted.

According to him, Nigerians also have the right to demand to know the reason for their arrest whenever an arrest is about to be made.

The force spokesman said in some instances, Nigerians have the right to demand that an arrest warrant is presented before allowing themselves to be apprehended.

“You may politely request that the officer be searched before searching you. Often times, this helps to allay fears that someone may be trying to plant incriminating items on you or implicate you in any other way,” the statement read.

“Demand to see the warrant of arrest where necessary (note, however, that not all invitation/arrest requires a warrant). As a matter of fact, under our laws, the Police have wide powers to arrest without warrant in many circumstances.

“Politely request that the officers allow you inform a trusted friend or a family member or a lawyer soon after your arrest in order to avoid unnecessary apprehension as to your whereabouts or safety.

“If the arrest requires the officer to conduct a search on you, demand to see the Search Warrant and comply with all legitimate instruction during the search (note that there are a lot of instances where a policeman can search you with or without warrant).”

The Force called on Nigerians never to resist arrest, even if it seems unjustified. It also counselled Nigerians to never interfere in the arrest of a third party.

Shell targets 2,400MW electricity from new gas supply project

The ongoing Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project in Imo State, southeast Nigeria will produce 600 million standard cubic feet of gas per day,energy equivalent of about 2400 Megawatts.

This is enough to provide uninterrupted electricity to about 2.4 million homes, Managing Director, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor said on Monday.

Okunbor spoke at the media launch of the 2019 edition of the Shell in Nigeria Briefing Notes, an annual publication detailing the activities of the business interests of the global energy giant in Nigeria covering SPDC, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), Shell Nigeria Gas and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas.

SPDC took the final investment decision on the Assa North/Ohaji South project last December giving a major momentum to the domestic gas aspiration of the Federal Government for increased power generation and industrialisation.

Giving a breakdown of the gas production, Okunbor said 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day would be processed at a new gas processing plant owned by the SPDC Joint Venture while the remaining 300 million will go to a proposed gas processing plant by SEPLAT Petroleum.

Okunbor said, “The project would be a major game-changer in Nigeria’s quest for energy sufficiency and economic growth as we look to grow the domestic gas market.” He added that the SPDC and its joint venture partners – NNPC, Total and Agip – would continue to explore other areas of support for the expansion of domestic gas supply and continue to make investments under the right conditions.

The Assa North/Ohaji South Gas Development Project ranks top among the Federal Government’s Seven Critical Gas Development Projects aimed at accelerating Nigeria’s aspiration for energy sufficiency and diverse industrial growth.

Explaining the company’s gas development strategy, SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli, said Shell was transforming to a gas-oriented business and currently accounts for about 10 percent of Nigeria’s domestic gas most of which is used for power generation.

SPDC and SNEPCo continue to contribute tremendously to the Nigerian economy. They paid N515.14 billion to the Federal Government in 2018 in taxes, royalties and levies while contracts worth N393.94 billion were awarded to Nigerian companies in the same year.

These contributions, according the 2019 Shell in Nigeria Briefing Notes, are aside the N39.58 billion paid to the Niger Delta Development Commission and another N44.36 billion disbursed for various community-driven projects in the Niger Delta under the SPDC JV Global Memorandum of Understanding.

Shell Companies in Nigeria also made direct spending of N17.03 billion on social investment projects making Nigeria the largest concentration of social investment spending in the Shell Group.

Those who attended the Briefing Notes launch included the SNEPCo’s Managing Director, Bayo Ojulari; SNG’s MD, Ed Ubong and the SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli.

L-R: General Manager External Relations of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC),. Igo WelI; Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), Bayo Ojulari; Managing Director, The Shell Petroleum Development Companies of Nigeria Limited and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor; Managing Director and Shell Nigeria Gas,  Ed Ubong at the Launching of the 2019 Shell Nigeria Briefing Notes.

PHOTOS: Emefiele all smiles as Buhari congratulates him over his reappointment

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), visited President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.

Beaming with smiles, governor of the apex bank shook hands with the president who congratulated him.

Last week, Buhari appointed Emefiele for another term of five years.

Below are the pictures of both men together:

Photo credit: Sunday Aghaeze

Zainab Aliyu arrives Nigeria after four-month detention in Saudi Arabia

Zainab Aliyu, a Nigerian previously detained in Saudi Arabia for alleged drug trafficking, has returned to the country after spending four months in detention.

Aliyu had been detained in the Arab country since December when she was arrested at the Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Medina because tramadol, a banned drug was found in her bag.

She arrived in Nigeria through the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano on Monday in the company of Ibrahim Abubakar, another Nigerian accused of the same crime.

Aliyu, a 22-year-old student of the Maitama Sule University in Kano, had travelled to Saudi Arabia for lesser hajj alongside her mother and sister.

She was arrested by Saudi police authorities over allegations that the bag bearing her name tag contained tramadol.

Her arrest had led to the discovery of an alleged drug cartel at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport that reportedly transferred her excess luggage weight to bag that contained tramadol.

She was released to the Nigerian mission in Saudi Arabia after the federal government made efforts to investigate and establish their innocence.

Zainab Aliyu in a warm embrace with her father

It was reported that the 7-man syndicate specialise in planting banned drugs in travellers’ luggage to export the substances to Saudi Arabia and other foreign countries.

I am wiser now, says Ambode

Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos state, says he has been describing himself as techno-politician but having spent four years on the saddle, he is wiser.

Speaking with state house correspondents during what he referred to as a “thank you visit” to President Muhammadu Buhari for inaugurating some of projects in the state, Ambode said politicians learn everyday.

Asked to state what lesson he has learnt as a politician in Lagos and in a very unpredictable terrain as Nigeria, the governor said: “You see, every politician learns every day. The fact remains that I came in as a technocrat, so I use to call myself a techno-politician but I think I am wiser now. I am more of a politician than a technocrat.”

Since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999, Ambode goes into history as the first Lagos governor not to serve two terms.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor-elect of Lagos, beat him to the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) last year.

APC leaders in the state, including Bola Tinubu, a former governor, supported Sanwo-Olu over Ambode.

On what he wants to be remembered for after bowing out of office in two weeks, the governor said: “Well, in another 16 days or so we will be leaving office but what is important is that I was able to have that opportunity to be elected as governor of Lagos State and to touch humanity in a way that I deem it fit.

“We did our best and most importantly the projects we did were people friendly and people central. I just think a lot more people have enjoyed the benefits and dividends of democracy than we actually met it. And that gives me joy that we were able to touch lives.

“Wherever you find yourself just make positive difference to people and Nigerians, that is the whole essence of service. I’m grateful that I had that opportunity.”

Crisis rocks AAC: Sowore suspended — and he ‘expels’ party chairman in return

A fresh crisis has broken out in the African Action Congress (AAC), one of the parties that participated in the 2019 elections.

Omoyele Sowore, its presidential candidate, and the leadership of the AAC, engaged in what could be described as a “show of strength” on Monday.

Mazi Okwy, a member of the AAC national executive committee (NEC), had announced the suspension of Sowore over “failure to convene national executive council (NEC) meeting, financial misappropriation and other anti-party activities”.

He said the party had appointed Leonard Ezenwa as acting national chairman, with one Abayomi Olufemi as his deputy.

Okwy said the suspension was based “particularly on inflow of illegal foreign funds into the party and personally retaining same in contravention of Section 225 (3)(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), together with eight others.”

However, in reaction, Sowore announced the suspension of top members of the party and expulsion of Nzenwa.

In a statement he personally signed as “national chairman’ of the party, Sowore described those suspended as “misguided individuals”.

“It has come to the notice of the office of the Chairman of the African Action Congress that a group of suspended members, induced by financial reasons and anti-progressive politics, gathered in Abuja today, 13th May, 2019, and purportedly held a NEC meeting,” the statement read.

“These members, led by Leonard Nzenwa, former national secretary, who was suspended for financial impropriety and anti-party activities, have demonstrated by their actions that they have never been, and have never shared, the core beliefs that those of us in the African Action Congress hold.

“Leonard Nzenwa is hereby expelled from the party, and the misguided individuals who participated in the Abuja meeting are suspended from the party until investigations reveal the extent of their involvement.”

This crisis comes after the controversy which broke out as a result of the endorsement of the party by Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, in the Rivers governorship election.

Akpo Yeeh, deputy governorship candidate of the AAC in Rivers, had resigned his membership of the party over what he described as undue interference by Amaechi.

Two Saudi oil tankers ‘sabotaged’ in UAE waters

Two Saudi oil tankers were damaged in a “sabotage attack” off the United Arab Emirates coast, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday, quoting the Saudi energy minister.

“Two Saudi oil tankers were subjected to a sabotage attack in the exclusive economic zone of the United Arab Emirates, off the coast of the Emirate of Fujairah, while on their way to cross into the Arabian Gulf,” SPA cited Khalid al-Falih as saying.

The UAE said on Sunday that four commercial vessels of various nationalities had been targeted by acts of sabotage off Fujairah.

The incident comes amid rising tensions between Iran and the United States which has strengthened its military presence in the region, including deploying a number of strategic B-52 bombers in response to alleged threats from Tehran.

Iran has called UAE ships attack ‘worrying’ and called for probe.

It also comes as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is headed to Brussels to discuss Iran with French, British and German officials.

Falih said the sabotage did not result in any casualties or an oil spill but “it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels.”

One of the two tankers was on its way to be loaded with crude oil from Saudi Ras Tanura oil terminal in the Gulf for customers in the United States, the minister said.

UAE did not name who was responsible for the Sunday morning attacks on the vessels but warned that “carrying out acts of sabotage on commercial and civilian vessels and threatening the safety and lives of those on board is a serious development”.

No one was hurt and Abu Dhabi called on world powers to help keep maritime traffic safe.

Fujairah port is the only terminal in the UAE located on the Arabian Sea coast, bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, through which most Gulf oil exports pass, and which Iran has repeatedly threatened to close in case of a military confrontation with the United States.

The small emirate has an oil terminal and a pipeline that delivers crude oil from Abu Dhabi which sits on the majority of UAE oil reserves.

The Pentagon said Friday that it was deploying an amphibious assault ship and a Patriot missile battery to the Middle East to bolster an aircraft carrier force sent to counter alleged threats from Iran.

The increasing tensions come as Tehran said Wednesday it had stopped respecting limits on its nuclear activities agreed under a 2015 deal with major powers.

Iran said it was responding to the sweeping unilateral sanctions that Washington has re-imposed since it quit the agreement one year ago, which have dealt a severe blow to the Iranian economy.

New Gaya Emirate: Wudil indigenes demand return to old Kano Emirate

Wudil indigenes in Kano State have appealed to the State House of Assembly to revisit the recent creation of Gaya Emirate Council under which they have been grouped.

Alhaji Yawale Muhammad-Idris, spokesman of the indigenes made the call shortly after a stakeholders’ meeting on Sunday in Wudil, headquarters of Wudil Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

Muhammad-Idris further appealed to the State Government to return them to the old Kano Emirate where they rightly belong.

According to him, the current arrangement is not backed by historical antecedents and is of no benefit to the affected communities.

He said the stakeholders’ meeting was attended by various groups of indigenes of the LGA pointing out that Wudil town has a different historical background from Gaya. “We cannot afford to exist under Gaya Emirate,” he said.

According to Muhammad-Idris, during the Jihad of Shehu Usman Danfodio, Wudil was one of the five royal hubs that were presented with flags.

He said that the people of Wudil are not happy with the new arrangement.

“If Wudil LGA will not have a first class emir, we prefer to remain under Kano Emirate.

“So for God sake why should government demean us by grouping us under Gaya instead of merging us with the Kano Emirate with which we have the same historical relation.
We reject this arrangement,” he said.

Dr Baba Sani-Wudil, the secretary of the group also said government did not consult with the people of the area before grouping them under Gaya Emirate, describing the arrangement as inappropriate.

“You can find out, neither our representative at the House of Assembly nor any elder or member of National Assembly was consulted on the issue,” he said.

He said the group would present its grievances to the state government and the State House of Assembly.

Business giants face blacklisting over N5tr AMCON debts

Institutions and individuals on Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria’s (AMCON’s) debtors’ list are to be blacklisted. They will no longer be allowed to do business with the government henceforth, it was learnt at the weekend.

According to a plan by the Federal Government, an inter-agency collaboration framework that comprises Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and supervised by the office of the Vice President, will block the indebted entities from dealing with the government, which is the biggest player in the economy.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who doubles as the Chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC), dropped the hint, when he hosted some members of the AMCON Board led by its Chairman, Muiz Banire at the State House, Abuja.

Prof Osinbajo said the debtors made it impossible for the corporation to resolve its outstanding N5 trillion debts, thereby holding the entire nation to ransom with their “bad behaviour”.

There are 105 debtors on the AMCON list. They include key players in aviation, power, real estate, oil and gas, as well as other sectors of the economy.

AMCON has recovered over N1 trillion since inception in 2011. Of the recovered funds, cash assets account for 60 per cent and non-cash assets, such as properties and equity securities, account for the balance of 40 per cent. Over the same period, AMCON’s repayment of its indebtedness to the CBN was over N1 trillion.

The vice president plans to invite the AMCON team alongside other MDAs to fine-tune how to ensure that anybody or agency that is a debtor to AMCON faces the wrath of the Federal Government as those who are indebted to the government are direct enemies of both the government and the people.

He said the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari will no longer allow a few individuals who owe AMCON huge sums of money walk freely on the streets. Osinbajo said: “I think the time has come for us (Federal Government) to set some examples with some of these top debtors of AMCON, which I believe will set a good example and serve as deterrent to others.”

Osinbajo, who expressed satisfaction with the performance of the executive management of AMCON under Ahmed Kuru’s watch, promised that the government would support AMCON.

He said that the Corporation would be empowered with the tools to go after the obligors who have remained recalcitrant despite the olive branch extended to them over the years by the debt recovery agency.

Osinbajo said: “I congratulate AMCON for the work done so far having recovered over N1 trillion and counting both in cash and in assets. The work you do as a recovery agency is not something that is particularly easy or encouraging because we all know how Nigeria works. But we are committed to working more closely with your administration to ensure that these monies are recovered from AMCON obligors because it will help our economy and provide the government with more money to continue to improve on the development of infrastructure across the nation.”

Banire said AMCON’s visit was to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President on their victory at the polls. He highlighted some of the challenges faced by AMCON as a result of the attitudes of some debtors who behave as if they are above the law.

Banire said: “As at end of December, 2018, AMCON’s Assets Under Management (AUM) amounted to about N172.5 billion.

“It is noteworthy to state that out of the total real estate properties, assets available for sale are valued at N62 billion. Of this N62 billion, about 83 per cent comprises bare land and other assets, which may need considerable improvement to convert into income generating assets.

“Your Excellency may recall that in September 2018, following the takeover of Skye Bank Plc. by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), AMCON was again invited to inject a total sum of N898.45 billion as capital, thereby leading to the emergence of another bridged bank named Polaris Bank Limited.

“The intervention in Skye Bank was caused majorly by internal abuse by the operators. As a result of that development, AMCON’s total debt obligation to the CBN is currently in excess of N6 trillion.

“And it is evident that the Federal Government cannot afford to write off this debt in the short term, hence, our moral obligation to pursue obligors and recover the debts owed. But, despite the successes recorded, the corporation has been facing a number of challenges, which include obligors resorting to all manner of tactics to avoid honouring their obligations.

“Whilst some are still enjoying government patronage, others are using the judiciary and adopting legal technicalities to stall recovery, which is why we need a new strategy to enable AMCON meet its mandate before sunset.”

Kuru said he could not wait for the take-off of the inter-agency collaboration promised by Osinbajo as, according to him, such a move would compel all sister agencies to be on the same page in the interest of the country.

The AMCON boss also reminded the vice president that AMCON’s debts sits on the government’s balance sheet with CBN, and failure to recover them may result in serious consequences including recourse to tax payers’ money, which must be avoided.

“He said for an organisation like AMCON with sunset date, all hands must be on deck to provide the support required. According to him, considering the huge portfolio of debt, no obligor must be allowed to go scot free – no matter how highly placed in the society.

N10bn debt: Union Bank, Petrocam, trade tackles in court

A N10bn  debt recovery suit filed at the Federal High Court Lagos by the Union Bank Plc  against an oil company, Petrocam Ltd may have to wait till May 23, 2019 to determine whether it was an abuse of court process or not. The bank had instituted a N10,062,643,928.72 and $5,247,693,.83 suit against the oil company and two others, Messrs Patrick Ilo and Petrocam Trading Ltd, South Africa for what it termed breach of contract.

In a statement of claim filled before the court by Union bank Plc’s lawyer, Chief Ajibola Aribisala SAN., the bank averred that the  business structure is such that while Petrocam Trading Nigeria had direct allocation for AGO importation, the company enters into joint venture agreement with interested companies that have PPPRA allocation for importation of Petrol. This is to assist companies that have allocations but lacks the needed funding to do their business thereby, sharing both risk and reward with the company. Consequently, in pursuance of the banker customer relationship, between September 29,2014 and  21st of April 2015 Union bank granted the company Import Trade Facilities to finance the importation of Petroleum products which as of January 10, 2018 Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited and its Managing Director /alter Ego of the company Mr. Patrick Ilo are indebted to Union bank as follows :the sum of N10,062,643,928.82 and US$5,247,963.82 with interests still running at prevailing rate

The bank further averred that although the sum of N200million was remitted into the opening account with the bank no explanation was made by the company on the failure to remit the whole sovereign debt notes FX and interest differentials or subsidy payments in the sum of N2,162,248,931.01received from the Federal Government on the said  letter of credit finance by the bank before the account was abandoned by the company

Consequently the bank claims against the defendants are as follows N10,062,643,928.72, and $5,247,693.82 with accrued interest; and N20million as the cost of instituting this action.

However, the defendants in their application filed and argued before the court by their counsel Mr. Gboyega Oyewole SAN, urged the court to dismiss or strike out the suit on the ground that, they have subsisting legal action against the bank on the same subject matter before the Lagos State High court, therefore the present suit amounts to abuse of court process.

But Chief Ajibola Aribisala in a counter argument stated that the suit does not constitute an abuse of court process to the one at the Lagos high court filed by the defendants as parties, reliefs and issues are not the same. The cause of action is equally not the same.

While the suit filed at the Lagos State High Court is predicated on acts of gross negligence allegedly committed by the bank, the suit filed by the bank before the Federal high court is a debt recovery of suit, therefore, the institution of the suit at the Lagos state high court by the defendants does not preclude the bank from bringing this action before this court, therefore, in the interest of justice urged the court to dismiss the defendants’ application with heavy cost.

Army rescues 29 women, 25 children

Troops of the Nigerian Army have rescued 54 Boko Haram kidnapped persons in Borno, including 29 women and 25 children.

In a statement, Col. Sagir Musa, the Acting Director Army Public Relations, said the victims were freed after troops cleared Ma’allasuwa and Yaa-Munye villages in the state.

Musa explained that the terrorists fled from the troops’ onslaught and abandoned their victims.

He also said that troops on clearance operation in Damasak general area of Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno, destroyed two Boko Haram logistics vehicles and make shift camp.

In another development, Musa disclosed that a Mobile policeman, Sgt. Markus John, with number PNo 383106 was arrested at Njimtilo check point along Maiduguri-Damaturu road, while on transit to Lagos.

He said that at the time of arrest, John was in possession of two magazines, 146 rounds of 7.62 mm Special ammunition and one round of anti aircraft gun concealed in his bag.

On May 10, Musa said the army in conjunction with the police, arrested Pte Paul Ojochegbe (14NA7113208) and Lance Cpl. Oko Eke (12NA672586), also at the Njimtilo check point.

He alleged that they were in possession of one disassembled AK 47 Rifle.

Musa restated the army’s appeal to the public to continue to provide useful information about suspicious movement of terrorists and criminals.

28 states cannot fund their 2019 budgets with two-year revenue

Data made available by the Nigeria Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has shown that 28 states would be unable to fund their 2019 budgets from revenue realised in 2018 and 2017.

The data was made available in the NEITI quarterly review.

The eight states that would be able to fund their budgets are Enugu, Kaduna, Delta, Yobe, Lagos, Kano, Nasarawa and Rivers.

According to the report, only Yobe can fund its 2019 budget from the disbursements it received from the federation accounts allocations committee (FAAC).

A drop in oil prices also affected FAAC disbursements as the three tiers of government were unable to share N2 trillion in the first quarter of 2019 as was the trend since the second quarter of 2018.

“Oil prices experienced a downward spiral from November 2018. Oil prices were above $80 per barrel in October 2018 but by December 2018 they had dropped to $57 per barrel,” NEITI said.

“Average oil price for the first quarter of 2019 was $63.17 per barrel. The average oil price for the year 2018 was $71.06 per barrel. Thus, oil prices have been considerably lower in the first three months of 2019 than they were in 2018.”

NEITI described the budgets of states as being “largely too optimistic” adding that there are wide disparities in the net FAAC disbursements to states.

“This review showed that budgets for states are largely too optimistic. There is no state whose net FAAC disbursements in either 2017 or 2018 can adequately finance their budgets for 2019,” it said.

“This highlights the critical gap in the ability of FAAC disbursements to finance state budgets and brings into focus the importance of internally generated revenue (IGR). It also shows the inevitability of borrowing by states.”

CBN threatens legal action over ‘stolen’ N500bn allegation, says money was given to states

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says N150 billion which was reported as stolen from its coffers was part of a N650 billion loan to states.

The audiotape of a conversation between Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor; Adamu Lamatek, the deputy governor of the bank, and other top officials of the bank was leaked on Sunday.

The men could be heard having a conversation about how to reconcile the apex bank’s balance sheet.

In a statement released by the bank on Sunday, the CBN said: “As publicly known the CBN was approached in 2015 by the National Economic Management Team and the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by the Vice President, to assist State Governments with Conditional Budget Support, in the aftermath of the significant nose-dive in global oil prices and associated FAAC allocations.

“In order to ensure that ordinary Nigerians workers got their salaries, pensions and gratuities and that the economy continued to recover from
the recession, the Bank provided about N650 billion in loans at 9% with a two-year grace period to 35 States of the Federation. These monies were distributed to the States monthly with documented approval of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Presidency.

In closing the Bank’s 2018 accounts, external auditors in their Draft Account erroneously classified about N150 billion of these loans as bad, which negatively affected the Bank’s Balance Sheet and shareholders fund.”

The apex bank said it resolved the matter by approaching the ministry of finance.

“Obviously, it soon became clear that a State Government loan cannot be classified as “bad” or “irrecoverable” when the State still exists and getting FAAC allocations.

“The Bank then reached out to the Federal Ministry of Finance and they jointly gave comfort to the auditors who accepted in writing that these monies would be repaid.

“On this basis, the auditors reversed the negative entry and the certified that the CBN’s 2018 accounts were a true reflection of the State of Affairs.”

The apex bank said it would ensure that the perpetrators to justice.

Hamzat, Lagos deputy-governor elect loses father

The Lagos State Deputy Governor-elect, Dr Obafemi Hamzat has lost his father, Oba Mufutau Olatunji  Hamzat.

He was until his death on Sunday the traditional ruler of Afowowa Kingdom in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State. He was aged 86.

According to a family source who pleaded anonymity, his remains would be buried on Monday at his Yaya Abatan Street, Ogba residence according to Islamic rites.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)reports that the deputy governor- elect has also confirmed the passage of his father.

In his verified Twitter handle@drobafemihamzat,Hamzat, the former Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure in the state , expressed gratitude to God for the life his departed father lived .

”Today ,I lost my father, Oba Mufutau Olatunji Hamzat. I thank Allah, the most gracious for the life he lived .

”One of the greatest things a father can give his children is courage and belief in their dreams .

”Thank you father for believing in ours ”,he tweeted .

NAN reports that the late Hamzat was a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC),the highest decision making organ of the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He was  also a  prominent member of the party’s elders’ council in the state .

He was a former National Vice Chairman of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) before it morphed into Action Congress (AC),later Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and now All Progressives Congress