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Topmost Rating Agency, Moody's, Says Nigeria Banking Outlook Stable

Wed, 2019-06-19 10:32

Moody’s is keeping its outlook on the Nigerian banking system stable to reflect its resilient capital buffers and stable deposit bases, with high risks likely to subside as the economy is expected to strengthen.

The rating agency stated this in its new report on the African country’s financial institutions.

"Nigerian banks' asset risk and profitability will remain key rating challenges, but we expect these challenges to gradually decline in 2020 as the economy picks up," said Peter Mushangwe, Analyst at Moody's.

"Banks' funding and liquidity profiles will remain stable thanks to solid deposit bases."

The key highlights of its report include the fact that non-performing loans (NPLs) will decline to 7% - 8% over the outlook period from 11.7% at year-end 2018 – but still at a high level; and that system-wide tangible common equity will be stable at 16% of risk-weighted assets at year-end 2018, thereby sufficient to bear losses.

The report also pointed out that “banks revenue will be restrained by subdued loan growth while cost pressures, due to IT investments, an AMCON levy2 and higher staff costs, will slow pre-provision profitability.

“Loan quality pressures will ease but remain banks' main weakness. Nonperforming loans (NPLs) will decline to 7%-8% in the next 12-18 months from 11.7% at the end of 2018 – still a high level. Higher oil prices will constrain new NPL formation while high loan-loss reserves will allow banks to write off some of their bad debts. These credit positives will be moderated by lingering risks from high loan concentrations and high delinquency levels.

“Moody's expects Nigeria's real GDP to expand 2.3% in 2019 and 2.8% in 2020, up from 1.9% last year, but well below the level required to improve living standards. Lending growth will recover in the second half of the year following a contraction in 2018, but it will remain subdued and will not appreciably boost banking revenue,” Moody's Investors Service said in a report published on Tuesday.

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Christian Association Of Nigeria Re-elects Ayokunle As President

Wed, 2019-06-19 10:24

Olasupo Ayokunle, CAN President

Olasupo Ayokunle, CAN President

Rev. Supo Ayokunle has been re-elected President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

The results were announced on Tuesday by Bishop Matthew Kukah, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, at the Ecumenical Centre, Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ayokunle got 59 votes to defeat the runner up, Rev. Caleb Solomon-Ahima, President, Fellowship of Christian Churches in Nigeria (TEKAN), who got 44 votes.

Ahima, according to the CAN constitution, becomes the Vice President of the organisation. See Also Politics Buhari Congratulates Baptist Leader As Ayokunle Wins Christian Association Of Nigeria Election 0 Comments 5 Days Ago

Ayokunle was born on Jan. 25, 1957 and hails from Isheke, Oyo in Oyo State.

He has his first degree in Sociology from the University of Ibadan in 1983.

He had a postgraduate diploma in education (PGDE) and a Master’s of Education (M.Ed) in Guidance and Counselling from the same university.

Ayokunle equally bagged a Master’s in Divinity in Theology (M.Div Th) from the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso in 1995 before proceeding to the United Kingdom to obtain a Master’s of Arts (MA) in Theology and Religious Studies from Liverpool Hope University.

He also obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Theology with an emphasis on liturgical studies. 

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Four Suspects Involved In Malaysian Airlines MH17 Plane Crash To Be Named Today

Wed, 2019-06-19 10:24

Malaysian Airlines MH17 Crash site

Malaysian Airlines MH17 Crash site Time Magazine

Investigators probing the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine in 2014 will present new evidence later on Wednesday.

The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is expected to name suspects and announce charges for the first time.

Flight MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down, killing all 298 on board.

Investigators blame Russian-backed separatists who they say targeted the plane with a Russian-made missile.

The Boeing 777 crashed in rebel-held eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014, at the height of the conflict between government troops and separatists.

Russia has denied any involvement and has maintained the missile was fired from Ukrainian-held territory.

According to the BBC, Dutch investigators will hold a press conference on Wednesday after briefing relatives of victims.

The JIT, which seeks to try the suspects under Dutch law, has previously said it had a "long list" of persons of interest and appealed for witness help.

On Friday, prosecutors announced the release of new findings, prompting widespread reports in Dutch media that suspects will be named.

Kateryna Zelenko, a spokeswoman for Ukraine's foreign ministry, told the Unian news agency on Tuesday that "as early as tomorrow the world will hear the names of the first four people suspected of involvement".

Ms Zelenko said Dutch prosecutors would then file the case in a Netherlands court.

"The guilt of the four suspects must be proved first and foremost in court," the spokeswoman added.

Internet open source investigators Bellingcat are also due to release a new report into the crash.

The Bellingcat team has already identified individuals it alleges may have been involved in the attack, including a military intelligence colonel in the rebel-held Donetsk area known as Khmuryi (gloomy), and a military intelligence official commanding Russian-backed separatists in Luhansk who went by the codename of Orion.

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No Leader Is Immune To Investigations By God -Emir Sanusi

Wed, 2019-06-19 10:18

Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano has charged leaders to be mindful of how they use the power entrusted upon them.

The statement came on the heels of a political feud between the emir and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, which led to the creation of more emirates in Kano.

There have been allegations that the carving out of four emirates out of the original one and the launch of a corruption investigation into the emirate's finances was targeted at diminishing Sanusi's powers and influence.

The monarch made the remarks while addressing members of the Kano State House of Assembly led by the speaker, Alhaji Abdul’aziz Gafasa, who paid him a courtesy visit at his palace on Tuesday in Kano.

He said, As leaders, you are expected to be spectacularly honest and have the fear of God in whatever you are doing.

“You should all remember that you will one day die and be made to account for your deeds, while in the saddle of authority.

“You and I and everybody are not immune to such investigation by God, who created us to serve humanity as leaders.

“We will be made to account for our deeds and we will also be judged by posterity for being at the helm of affairs and what we did whether it is good or bad, will be the legacy we will all leave behind.

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What Keeps Me Awake At Night Is Extreme Poverty Of Nigerians, Nigeria's Vice-President Osinbajo Says

Wed, 2019-06-19 10:13

Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria's Vice President has said the problem of extreme poverty in Nigeria gives him sleepless nights. 

Osinbajo lamented at a dinner and interactive session with faculty members of the Harvard Business School (HBS) on Tuesday, in Lagos.

He claimed, “I think what keeps me up at night has to do with extreme poverty; the issue is that the largest number of those who vote for us are the very poor.

“The promises that government makes to them is that their lives will be better and obviously they are looking at their lives being better in the shortest possible time.

“I will like to see Nigeria being an industrialised nation in the next 10 years; a very strong middle class and most people living above poverty line.

“If you are going to do business anywhere in Africa, it has to be Nigeria.

“This is where you have the energy; you have the drive.

“We are already seeing that kind of activity; business people will always be driven by profit.

“Talent will always go in the direction where it is best rewarded; one can’t afford to be sentimental about that.

“As people see that the environment is getting better for business, they will come back; the opportunities for making huge profits are here.

“Practically everything we are doing in to ensure that there is an environment for business to thrive. People are leaving but people are coming back.’’

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Study Shows Public Losing Trust In Vaccines

Wed, 2019-06-19 10:08

Public mistrust of vaccines means the world is taking a step backwards in the fight against deadly yet preventable infectious diseases, warn experts.

The biggest global study into attitudes on immunization suggests confidence is low in some regions.

The Wellcome Trust analysis includes responses from more than 140,000 people in over 140 countries, says the BBC.

The World Health Organization lists vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health.

The global survey reveals the number of people who say they have little confidence or trust in vaccination.

When asked if vaccines were safe:

  • 79% "somewhat" or "strongly" agreed
  • 7% somewhat or strongly disagreed
  • 14% neither agreed nor disagreed

When asked if they believed vaccines worked:

  • 84% agree either strongly or somewhat
  • 5% either strongly or somewhat disagree
  • 12% neither agreed nor disagreed
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Fire Razes Benue's Biggest Market

Wed, 2019-06-19 10:03

Fire destroyed a section of the main commercial hub in Makurdi, Benue State on Tuesday night.

The fire has destroyed a section of the main commercial hub in Makurdi, Benue state on Tuesday night.

The blaze started about 6:30 pm and continued for long moments before the arrival of the state fire service. 

Terver Akase, spokesperson for the Benue state government confirmed the incident to newsmen saying the fire affected the George Akume road section of the market.

The market, containing a row of lock-up shops, was built by former Governor Gabriel Suswam to unclog the Makurdi city centre and easy trading.

It served as a temporary shelter for victims of the devastating flood in 2017 and residents who fled their villages at the height of violence by herdsmen between late 2017 and early 2018.

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I'll Never Let America Down, Says Donald Trump As He Launches 2020 Re-election Bid

Wed, 2019-06-19 10:02

US President Donald Trump has formally launched his re-election campaign, urging supporters to "keep this team in place" for four more years.

The Republican president made his case before thousands of supporters at a rally in Florida, calling the state "my second home".

Mr. Trump used the announcement to lash out at Democrats, accusing them of trying to "rip your country apart".

Early polls place Mr. Trump behind some potential Democratic challengers.

He entered the stage with his wife Melania, who said she was "excited" to be the first lady for six more years.

Senior figures from the White House, including Vice President Mike Pence and outgoing press secretary Sarah Sanders, also spoke at the rally.

"Tonight I stand before you to officially launch my campaign for a second term as president of the United States," Mr. Trump told supporters. "I promise you I will never ever let you down."

Florida is a key battleground state and one that Mr. Trump narrowly won in 2016.

"We are going to keep America great again," the president told the Orlando event on Tuesday night, in a reworking of his familiar slogan.

Some supporters had been waiting since the early hours of Monday morning to see the president.

A counter-demonstration against his appearance was also held nearby, the BBC reports.

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Nigerian Governor, Ganduje Says Armed Robbers, Not Money-eating Gorilla, Stole $22,000

Wed, 2019-06-19 09:59

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has said the missing N6.8 million ($22,000) missing from the Kano State Zoological Gardens was not eaten by a gorilla but stolen by armed robbers.

“You know, l already directed the anti-corruption agency in Kano to wade into the issue and they are still investigating. But all l can say now is that preliminary reports indicate that there was an armed robbery at the zoo and not the issue of a gorilla,” he said. 

Speaking on the alleged cash-eating gorilla, the governor noted: “The issue of a gorilla is junk journalism. This is because there is even no gorilla in that zoo. We are told that there was an armed robbery incident in which the entire safe at the zoo was carted away.”

Ganduje was reported to have ordered the state's anti-corruption commission to probe the claims that a gorilla in the state-owned zoo swallowed N6.8 million.

“The order was given on Friday and the commission has already swung into action,” a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Abba Anwar, had said on Sunday in Kano.

It quoted the governor as directing the commission to look into the immediate and remote circumstances surrounding the allegation and “unearth everything surrounding the incident”.

Apart from the gorilla, Gandjue too was last year accused of collecting kickbacks from contractors in the state. See Also VIDEO NEWS Ganduje Under Fire Again As Fresh Video Nails Him For Collecting Millions In Kickbacks 0 Comments 7 Months Ago

In 2018, a video showing Governor Ganduje stuffing wads of dollars in his babaringa went viral.

The governor was seen collecting the money before putting them in his white dress.

The governor had since debunked the video as “cloned” and threatened to sue.

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Nigerian Army Chief Buratai Blames Troops For Fresh Boko Haram Attacks

Wed, 2019-06-19 09:59

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai

Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, Nigeria's chief of army staff, has blamed the lack of commitment of Nigerian soldiers on the frontline for renewed Boko Haram attacks.

He made the comments at the opening of a “Transformational leadership workshop”, organised by the Army Headquarters Department of Transformation and Innovation at the Army Resource Centre, Asokoro, Abuja on Tuesday. 

The statement is coming in the midst of renewed attacks by Boko Haram targeting Ill-equipped Nigerian troops and military bases in Borno State.

Buratai said: “It is unfortunate, but the truth is that almost every setback the Nigerian Army has had in our operations in recent times can be traced to insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks or simply insufficient commitment to a common national/military course by those at the frontlines.

“Many of those on whom the responsibility for physical actions against the adversary squarely falls are yet to fully take ownership of our common national or service cause.

“I, therefore, believe that the transformational leadership workshops will again remind and clarify to participants what our President and Commander-in-Chief meant by ‘this generation and indeed, future generations of Nigerians have no other country but Nigeria, we must remain here and salvage it together”.

“The President’s exhortation, though about 35 years old, is still relevant today given, as we see in some cases that apathy has even increased amongst the younger generations.

“This is evident in the many successes that the NA has achieved in our operations and the high performance of our personnel (both officers/soldiers) in international/multinational operations or other military duties.

“And this is the reason why I have always ensured that the promotion of NA personnel is essentially based on professional considerations only. But we all know that professional capacity is not a sufficient condition to succeed in a task; willingness to perform the task is equally necessary."

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Gunmen Kidnap Son Of Former Minister Of Health Isaac Adewole

Wed, 2019-06-19 09:27

Yet-to-be-identified gunmen have kidnapped Dayo Adewole, son of the immediate past Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole.

The kidnapping took place on Tuesday.

The abductors have yet to contact the family of the victim. 

Eyewitnesses said he was ambushed at gunpoint on his farm in Iroko, near Fiditi in Afijio Local Government Area of Oyo State about 6 pm.

He was then whisked away to an unknown destination. 

A local who spoke to The Nation said, “The villagers were alerted by the staff who survived the ordeal. Local hunters were mobilized by the Oniroko of Iroko.

“The hunters were said to have located the car of the abductors along the road to Iware village near Iroko.

“But they are yet to locate Dayo’s whereabouts. It was suspected that the kidnappers might have changed their vehicle following persistent announcement on the radio after Oniroko had raised the alarm on air.”

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Sanwo-Olu Makes A U-turn, Denies Promising To Clear Apapa Gridlock In 60 Days

Wed, 2019-06-19 09:23

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State, has denied promising to solve the Apapa gridlock in 60 days upon assumption of office.

He said this while speaking with journalists at the State House in Abuja on Tuesday.

The governor had on May 18, 2019, said during an interactive session with his classmates at the Executive Master of Business Administration class, University of Lagos, 1998/2000 set that he would end the persistent problem of traffic in the area caused by trucks.

He said, “The Apapa trailer issue; it’s a campaign issue, it’s very serious. I’m going to take it very seriously. I believe that it is something that we are going to solve in the first 60 days of our government. Whatever is going to be required of us, we will take them out.

“There is a lot of politics being played around there. But no, it cannot be the way we’ll continue to live. We cannot continue to give excuses.”

However, on Tuesday, Sanwo-Olu told journalists, “Interestingly, some media houses have actually been counting down on me. They said that I mentioned during the campaign train that I was going to clear it in 60 days. 

"I have mentioned it before, what I said was that in 60 days we would review what was done but that does not take the fact that even if people give you dateline, it’s because they want you to do well and they want you to be able to be accountable for those datelines.”

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FG To Float N100bn Sukuk Bond To Finance Infrastructure In 2019 – DMO

Wed, 2019-06-19 09:16

In a bid to address the infrastructure challenge bedevilling the country, the Debt Management Office (DMO) on Tuesday disclosed that the Federal Government would float over N100 billion third Sukuk Bond before the end of 2019.

Ms. Patience Oniha, DMO’s Director-General, stated this at the inaugural edition of the Islamic Finance Network (IFN) Nigeria Forum organised by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in partnership with REDMoney Group in Lagos.

Oniha said the government was perfecting arrangements to float over N100 billion Sukuk Bond for the financing of some infrastructure projects listed in the 2019 budget.

Sukuk are bonds structured to generate returns to ethical investors without infringing on Islamic law, which forbids interest payments.

“It represents an ownership interest in the asset to be financed rather than a debt obligation.

“It will be this year 2019 by God’s grace because the budget has been approved.

“The projects would be those included in the budget and the borrowing will also be what has been approved in the budget, as part of new domestic borrowing. So, it will be this year,” Oniha said.

She said the government was eager to use borrowing to finance infrastructure, which was what the Sukuk represented.

On the specific amount to be raised, Oniha said the DMO had to issue an amount that the market could absorb.

“Once the advisers can give us an indication of appetite about them, I have asked them if they can raise N200 billion for instance. It depends on what is on the table.

“We have to issue an amount that the market can absorb, that we are sure we can raise. Then the remaining we can do our regular FGN bond in the domestic market.

“So in summary, we are happy to do more than a N100 billion once we are sure there is demand at a price that compares with that of a similar FGN bond,” she said.

On the listing of the second N100 billion Sukuk Ijarah Bond on the NSE and FMDQ OTC Securities platforms, Oniha said it would be listed in July.

She said the bond floated in December was yet to be listed on the NSE and FMDQ OTC Securities platforms because of allotment and groundbreaking issues.

The director-general said the DMO needed to ensure allotment to all successful parties as well as the commencement of the infrastructure projects before applying for the listing of the bond.

“There are two conditions and I believe those two conditions have been met and we would list shortly.

“Once we agree, you know FGN securities are listed on two trading platforms, so once the other platform says we can list and trading will start without necessarily having an official ceremony we will do that.

“And I think we should be looking at July for the listing,” she added.

Also speaking, Mr. Oscar Onyema, NSE’s Chief Executive Officer, said the Islamic Finance sector had grown noticeably over the years, from about $1.5 trillion in 2016 to about $2 trillion in 2018.

Onyema, represented by Mr. Jude Chiemeka, Divisional Head, Trading Business, NSE, said the figure was driven by growth in Islamic Banking assets as well as growth in Sukuk issuances.

“This growth has largely been concentrated within the Gulf Cooperation Council region and in Asia.

“However, recent data suggest that Islamic financing is beginning to take root in Africa, with issuers across the Gambia, Sudan, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Togo as well as Nigeria, in more recent times,” Onyema said.

He noted that Islamic Finance represented a turning point and a new paradigm for the financing of infrastructure in Nigeria.

“In 2013, for example, the Osun State government issued an N11.4 billion, seen-year Sukuk instrument used to finance the construction and rehabilitation of 27 schools in the state,” he said.

Onyema, however, applauded the Federal Government, DMO, the Securities and Exchange Commission and National Pension Commission for showing unwavering commitment to the deepening and growth of Islamic Finance in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference had its theme as: “Harnessing the Islamic Finance Sector for Infrastructure Development and Economic  Growth.”

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Election Petitions Tribunal: APC Using Delay Tactics, Alleges Akwa Ibom Liberation Movement

Wed, 2019-06-19 09:12

The All Progressives Congress is using "delay tactics" in the prosecution of its petitions at the election petitions tribunal, says the Akwa Ibom Liberation Movement (AILM).

The leader of the group, Emmanuel Sam, reacting to the outcome of the tribunal sitting on Tuesday, where the APC and its candidates failed to produce its party agents as witnesses but asked for more time, urged the party to quickly show proof of its allegation of rigging.

He said that the undue delay would only serve as a distraction to those who have won the elections, urging the tribunal not to tolerate further delays, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

Last week, the APC candidate in the state Nsima Ekere, through his counsel, asked the Tribunal for an extension of time, a request which the Tribunal though granted but warned against further delay.

Speaking further, Sam said it appeared that the APC was having a hard time convincing its agents to come and stand as witnesses, alleging further that there was a plot to replace the original names of witnesses and party agents.

“The trial should have been a straight forward process. If you say the election was rigged, that results were misappropriated or there were irregularities, show proof. It is most uncalled for to hire revelers and brass band to disturb the tribunal in session,” he said.

Sam added that the APC had the burden of proving their case at the tribunal, advising the party to stay on providing evidence to support its case rather than resort to despicable fanfares like the one acted at the last tribunal session for the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district election.

“As comical as the fanfare was, the witness produced by the petitioner only collaborated INEC’s position that there were no elections in the polling units were INEC cancelled results because there was no accreditation,” he said.

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Buhari Congratulates Baptist Leader As Ayokunle Wins Christian Association Of Nigeria Election

Wed, 2019-06-19 09:09

President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with Rev. Samson Ayokunle on his re-election as President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Tuesday, congratulated church leaders and Christendom in general for the successful election.

The President assured the President of CAN that his administration would continue to strengthen the existing cordial relationship with the association, especially in tackling the challenges facing Nigeria.

Recalling his meetings with Rev. Ayokunle, who is also the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Buhari believed the cleric’s maturity, humility and wise counsels to the government will go a long way in healing and putting the country on the right track for development.

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Start Preparing 2023 Elections Now, National Democratic Institute Urges Nigerian Government

Wed, 2019-06-19 09:07

The National Democratic Institute (NDI), has urged the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to start in earnest preparations for the 2023 general elections to ensure its success.

This year's general elections were marred by the lack of adequate preparations on the part of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

NDI’s Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and West Africa, Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, stated this at the presentation of the institute’s report on 2019 general elections.

While hoping that the preparations for 2023 would begin immediately, Fomunyoh said the NDI, as an international election observation mission had been contributing in the conversation to ensure the success of the elections.

“This is because we hope that if the conversations begin now and a lot of the reform issues that have been touched upon in our report and the election administration authorities, political parties, CSOs and electorates as a whole will be so well prepared. See Also Elections President Buhari Receives IRI/NDI Election Report With Reservations 0 Comments 5 Days Ago

“And when all the aforesaid are well prepared and so well vast in the electoral processes, by the time we get to 2023, we will actually see a vast and very huge successful election that Nigerians across the world will be overwhelmingly proud of.

“We will also see fewer cases before election tribunals or before courts of law,” he said.

“In 2015, Nigeria had one of the most credible elections in the country’s history as was said by most Nigerians and friends of Nigeria across the world.

“The hope for many Nigerians in 2015 was that upward trajectory will be maintained and that 2019 saw improvement on what transpired in 2015. A lot has been accomplished since the transition in 1999 but there is still lots that need to be done,” he said.

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President Buhari Receives IRI/NDI Election Report With Reservations

Wed, 2019-06-19 09:02

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed reservations towards the report of the International Republic Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on the 2019 general elections in Nigeria and their recommendations for the 2023 general elections.

Speaking on behalf of Buhari, Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said in a statement: ”It is instructive that President Buhari clearly won this vote and the report in no way disputes that fundamental fact. President Buhari won by almost four million majority, with a 14 percent margin."

Arguing further, he claimed: ”However, the most important thing in an election is that it reflects the will of the people which in our circumstances was acknowledged to have been a success by ECOWAS Observer Mission and YIAGA AFRICA whose parallel vote tabulation verified INEC’s presidential election result as announced. This we achieved.”

He also gave reasons for the low turnout of voters during the presidential elections saying: ”They also posed a problem for electoral observers: across a country of over 190 million, only 40 observers were deployed to observe just 16 states including the Federal Capital Territory. It was unfortunate that the election was postponed yet imagine if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had gone ahead unprepared. The delay undoubtedly resulted in a lower turnout.

”Because they are registered to vote in their place of birth, and not where they live, many Nigerians could not make arrangements to travel back again. But the fact still remains that major democracies of the world have equally recorded worst turnout in modern history.

”The effect of voter turnout, at any rate, is a two-way traffic that affected both sides equally. To pretend otherwise is wrong considering that in 2015, the INEC postponed the election by six weeks under a PDP president, whom – as an incumbent – it was said to help at the time.

”It didn’t make a difference. Similarly, neither did it aid the sitting president in 2019,” he said.

Shehu also said it was "amazing" that the observers recommended that electoral laws were enforced, and perpetrators of crimes punished ”and at the same time implicitly criticize the removal of the chief justice of Nigeria for failing to disclose his assets as required by law. Which would they prefer?

”The law is a matter of principle that takes its course regardless of time and circumstances. It is never a matter of convenience and indeed remains functional, operational and enforceable without due regard to the electioneering process. As we have already said, we are committed to reviewing our electoral laws and processes, like every democracy across the world, should.”

Continuing, he said: ”This election was won by the candidate who received the most votes. We value the report’s recommendations. We can assure they shall be assessed and evaluated.”

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Governor Ganduje vs Emir Sanusi: Court Stops Kano Anti-corruption Agency From Acting Against Former CBN Governor

Wed, 2019-06-19 08:55

A Federal High Court sitting in Kano on Tuesday granted an order restraining Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje and the State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission from acting on the preliminary report on alleged misappropriation of N3.4 billion by the Kano Emirate Council.

The order followed a suit filed on June 7, by Muhammad Mannir-Sanusi, Dan Buran Kano, seeking an order to restrain Ganduje, the commission and the state attorney general or their agents from acting on the preliminary report of the investigation.

Justice Obiara A. Egwuatu issued the restraining order and directed that the respondents be served through a publication in the Daily Trust newspaper and the attorney general of the state.

He adjourned the case until June 28, for a hearing of the motion on notice.

The anti-corruption commission had on June 14, forwarded the preliminary report of the investigation in which it indicated the Kano Emirate Council, to the Secretary to the State Government for appropriate action by the state government.

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Code Of Conduct Bureau’s Refusal To Disclose Asset Declarations Of Presidents, Governors Illogical - Falana

Tue, 2019-06-18 22:47

A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has condemned the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) over its refusal to grant a Freedom of Information request by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on the ground that asset declaration form is private information.

Falana described the ground as “illogical.”

Falana stated this today in Kano in a keynote address titled Involvement of Nigerian people in the fight against corruption and delivered at Stakeholders Dialogue on Corruption in Nigeria organised by ActionAid Nigeria.

According to Falana, “The federal government has also failed to show commitment to the fight against corruption by encouraging secrecy with respect to asset declaration by public officers. A few days ago, the CCB turned down the request made by SERAP for the release of copies of the declaration forms of former state governors and Presidents on the grounds that the declaration forms are private documents.”

Falana said, “With respect, it is illogical to claim that the asset declaration forms submitted by the erstwhile public officers are private documents. Accordingly, the rejection of the request by SERAP is a contravention of section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 and article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.”

Falana also said, “It is hoped that the CCB will review its position and allow citizens to access the information in the declaration forms submitted to it by all public officers in view of the new policy of the Buhari administration to enforce effective asset declaration by public office holders.”

Falana’s paper read in part: “It is an undeniable fact that the progressive withdrawal of subsidies from social services by the State which is a key component of the IMF/World Bank sponsored Structural Adjustment Programme has led to mass poverty in the land.”

“Through the privatization of public enterprises and assets including banks and other financial institutions the economy was taken over completely by foreign and local interest groups. Thus, the privatization of public companies, commercialization of social services have increased poverty and income inequality in society.”

“From the reports compiled by the federal ministry of justice and federal ministry of finance as well as the anti-graft agencies the federal government has recovered not less that N1 trillion from treasury looters and through the whistleblowing policy of the Buhari administration.”

“It is suggested that the sum of N1 billion be set aside for the establishment of a factory in each of the 774 local governments in the country while the balance should be allocated to the police to secure the country. Having managed the Petroleum Trust Fund under the Sani Abacha junta President Buhari should have no difficulty in investing the recovered loot in addressing the crises of insecurity and unemployment. After all, the sum of $321 million from the Abacha loot is being distributed to the poor as dictated by Switzerland that illegally warehoused the loot for almost two decades.”

“The role of the civil society in ensuring the effective fight against corruption and the implementation of the above recommendations cannot be over-stressed. In fact, both the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption clearly articulates important roles for civil society in the fight against corruption.”

“A good example of the role civil society can play is that currently being played by SERAP, a Nigerian based human rights, and anti-corruption NGO. But as corruption in Nigeria has assumed a dangerous dimension due to the anti-people’s economic programme of the government CSOs must link up with the people in combating the menace of corruption.”

“We have shown that since the imposition of the Structural Adjustment Programme in the 1980s the country has continued to witness increasing poverty and underdevelopment in spite of the many laws that have been enacted against corruption. To reverse the dangerous trend the government should mobilize the people to create wealth and abolish poverty.”

“Henceforth, the anti-graft agencies aided by CSOs should form an alliance with progressive political parties, trade unions, women and youth organizations with a view to fighting together for a society where the welfare and security of the majority of the people will be the primary purpose of government.”

“To achieve the objective, popular forces should be prepared to challenge neo-liberal ideologues who are promoting poverty through the domination of the economy by market forces.”

Politics News AddThis :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

Yahaya Bello, Kogi House Of Assembly Cannot Remove Chief Judge -High Court

Tue, 2019-06-18 21:54

A Kogi High Court has ruled that both the executive and legislature cannot remove Justice Nasir Ajanah, the Chief Justice (CJ) of the state, without the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The court made this pronouncement on Tuesday during the hearing of the suit to determine where the other two government arms have the power to remove the chief judge, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Justice Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye, the presiding judge also declared that the chief registrar of the state high court held a statutory position as the accounting officer of the Judiciary and was, therefore, not subject to the control and supervision of either the executive or the legislature.

Justice Ajanah and the Chief Registrar, Alhaji Yahaya Adamu had approached the court to decide if they can be removed from office by the executive or the legislature, over their refusal to be investigated by the state House of Assembly.

Omolaye-Ajileye who granted all the reliefs and declarations sought by the claimants in the suit said, “On the whole, I find merit in this action and it succeeds. All the declarations sought are allowed.

“By item 21 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as Amended), the National Judicial Council (NJC) is the body empowered to exercise disciplinary control over all Judicial Officers of Nigeria.

“It is also the NJC, established under Section 153(i) of the constitution (as amended), that has the power to recommend to the Governor, the removal of a judicial officer.

“Where a Chief Judge of a state is to be removed, for whatever reason, it is the NJC, not the state House of Assembly that is empowered to make recommendations to the governor of a state under item 21(d) of the Third Schedule to the Constitution.

“To allow only the House of Assembly and the governor of a state to remove a chief judge of a state or any judicial officer for that matter, without the input of the NJC, will be monstrous and outrageous as it is capable of destroying the very substratum of justice and introducing a system of servitude, utterly inconsistent with the constitutional independence of judges,” he said.

The suit named as respondents, Kogi State House of Assembly; Speaker of the House; Bello Hassan Abdullahi, Chairman of the ad hoc committee; the Governor of Kogi and the state attorney-general.

The claimants, in their originating summons, posed four questions for determination which revolved around whether the defendants had the power to remove the chief judge as a “judicial officer” within the meaning of sections 292 and 318 of the 1999 constitution.

They also sought to know among others, whether the 1st defendants (Assembly) or its committee was vested with the power to invite the 1st claimant (Ajanah) to the floor of the house for the purpose of investigation.

They sought declarations that the defendants were not vested with the power to remove the CJ or invite him to the floor of the house for purpose of investigation; that the constitution of the ad hoc committee by the House of Assembly on December 11, 2018, was unconstitutional, ultra vires and therefore, null, void and of no effect.

They equally sought orders of perpetual injunction setting aside the purported resolution and another restraining the defendants, their agents, privies or servants from investigating or exercising any form of disciplinary control or sanctions on the claimants.

Omolaye-Ajileye said that the facts of the matter according to the affidavit supporting the Originating summons deposed to by Shaibu Yakubu, a legal practitioner, revealed that the impasse was ignited by a missive between the heads of the Executive and the Judiciary.

According to him, Mrs. Folashade Ayoade-Arike, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) who had a pending case before the chief judge had addressed a letter to him on the orders of the state governor to release the payroll of Judiciary staff for pay parade of civil servants in the state.

The chief judge had instructed the chief registrar to reply to the letter as it was unethical for him to communicate directly with her while the case was pending.

In the reply, the Jurist said, the claimants declined to yield to the demand for staff payroll on the grounds that the request was contrary to the provisions of Kogi State Public Finance (Judiciary Special Provisions), Edict No. 6 of 1991 and sections 81(3) and 162 (d) of the 1999 Constitution.

The development led to a communication between the SSG and the House of Assembly, alleging financial misappropriation on the leadership of the judiciary.

The House subsequently constituted an ad hoc committee to investigate the chief judge and chief registrar on the matter.

On April 2, 2019, the assembly recommended to the governor and the state judicial council, the removal of the chief judge and sanctions for the chief registrar after it adopted the report and recommendations of the ad hoc committee.

Legal Politics Scandal News AddThis :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements :