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Debt: AMCON Takes Over Donald Duke’s Ikoyi Home

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 21:39


The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has ordered the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and United Bank for Africa to take over a property belonging to a former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke.

Justice Chuka Obiozor made the order following an ex parte application filed by AMCON and UBA.

The property was to be forfeited over an alleged debt of N537,334,360.77.

Listed as first to third defendants were Stonehedge Investment Limited, Donald Duke and Owunari Bob-Manuel Duke, respectively.

The applicants had prayed the court for “an order of interim attachment, possession and custody of the property being No. 3, Temple Road, Ikoyi, Lagos”.

They told the court that the property was mortgaged by Duke “as collateral in securing the 1st respondent’s indebtedness to the applicants”.

They urged the court to grant them possession of the property “pending the institution and disposal of proceedings for recovery of debt against the respondent, pursuant to Section 49 of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act 2010 (as amended)”.

They also prayed the court for an interim Mareva injunction to take possession of funds in the accounts of Duke and others in any bank “pending the institutional and disposal of proceedings for the recovery of a debt of N537,334,360.77 made up of the principal debt and interest against the respondents pursuant to Section 50 of AMCON Act 2010”.

The judge granted the prayers in addition to an order restraining the respondents from “transacting, transferring, changing or howsoever dealing in any manner or interfering with the applicants’ possession” of the Ikoyi property.

The judge ordered AMCON and UBA to ensure service of substantive originating processes on the respondents within 20 days of the making of the order.

He adjourned the case until September 2, 2019.

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Ministerial Appointment: I Know Nothing About Internal Security, Aregbesola Says

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 21:35


Aregbesola at the ministry of interior

Aregbesola at the ministry of interior building

Few hours after the inauguration of new ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has confessed that he lacked knowledge of how the ministry in charge of internal security operates.

Aregbesola revealed this when he visited the ministry shortly after he was assigned the portfolio by President Buhari.

Addressing officials of the ministry, the former Osun State Governor said that he had no idea of its policies and operations.

He said, “My relationship with the ministry is distant. What I know about the ministry is what I read in the newspapers.

“I will officially assume duties on Monday. I give the Permanent Secretary the grace to run the ministry till then. We will be ready by Monday to take on the huge assignment.”

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Murder Suspects Arrested While Fighting Over Sharing Formula After Selling Victim’s Motorcycle

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 21:28


Two men, who killed a motorcyclist in Ogun State have been arrested by the police while arguing over how to share the proceeds from the sale of the machine.

The suspects – Lekan Odusote, 27, a resident of Sanga area of Ijebu-Ode and Monday John, 22, a resident of Molipa Estate, Ijebu-Ode – reportedly lured the deceased to an isolated area in Ikangba area of Obalende in Ijebu-Ode before snuffing life out of him.

Spokesperson for the police in Ogun, Abimbola Oyeyemi, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, revealing that the body of the victim was buried in a shallow grave in an uncompleted building by his killers.

Speaking further, Oyeyemi said that the suspects were arrested while fighting over how to share the N120,000, which the motorcycle was sold for.

He said, “Luck, however, ran against them when they were about to share the money, because of their inability to agree on a particular sharing formula. 

“This led to a serious altercation between them and some of their pronouncements aroused the suspicion of the people around and they informed the police.

“The DPO, Obalende division, CSP Sunday Omonijo, swiftly dispatched his detectives to effect the arrest of the two suspects.

“On interrogation, they confessed luring a motorcyclist to an isolated area where they killed him and took possession of the motorcycle which they sold, and the sharing formula of the proceeds caused disagreement between them.

“The suspects have taken police to the uncompleted building where the victim was buried, and the corpse has been recovered and taken to the mortuary for post-mortem examination.”

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Nigeria Marks Three Years Without Polio

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 20:54


Polio vaccination

Polio vaccination

Nigeria has achieved three years without a case of Wild Polio Virus since the last isolated case in Borno State on August 21, 2016.

Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this during a briefing with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.

Shuaib said the NPHCDA was acknowledging milestone for this great achievement, which kicks-in the process of attaining World Health Organisation certification of polio free nation by 2020.

He added that attaining three years without new case of WPV means that all the efforts and strategies of the government to end the circulation of WPV was working.

He said, “We need to collectively address the remaining challenges facing the programme, including the poor access to children in some parts of the country due to insecurity, poor health seeking behaviour of our people and vaccine hesitancy, among others.”

Officer in Charge, World Health Organisation, Dr Clement Peter, said as the last polio endemic country in Africa, Nigeria passing three years without WPV case was a step towards certifying Africa WPV free by mid-2020.

He added that following three-year mark, Nigeria has commenced the process of documentation towards the final certification by the Africa Regional Certification Commission.

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Ex-Adamawa Governor’s Aide In Court Over FacebookPost On Senator Abbo

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 20:45


Nurudeen Kama, an aide of former Governor of Adamawa State, Jibrilla Bindow, was on Wednesday paraded in court for allegedly defaming Senator Elisha Abbo, who became infamous for assaulting a woman in a sex toy shop in Abuja.

In a suit filed at the Magistrate Court 4 in Yola, the capital of Adamawa, on Monday, Kama was brought to court for using foul words against the lawmaker on Facebook, thereby tarnishing his image before members of the public.

Kama had written, “Tafawa Balewa was not bisexual. Tafawa Balewa had no record of molesting women. 

“Tafawa Balewa had no HIV. Balewa didn't transmit HIV to any girl deliberately.

“Tarawa Balewa was not a drunk. Tafawa Balewa never took drugs. Tafawa Balewa was not a gay. Tafawa Balewa was not an idiot. See Also CRIME Sex Toy Shop Assault: Drama As Abbo Tackles Senate Panel Led By Tinubu, Sam Egwu 0 Comments 1 Month Ago

“Therefore, comparing Tafawa Balewa with a sex toy senator is an insult to the late prime minister.”

Kama was however, granted bail by Magistrate Dimas in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties, one of which in the like sum. 

The case was adjourned until September 9, 2019.

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Why We’re Yet To Charge Student’s Rapists To Court –Ondo Police

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 20:08


Femi Joseph, Ondo Police Spokesman

Femi Joseph, Ondo Police Spokesman SaharaReporters Media

The Police in Ondo State have explained why the three suspects arrested for raping a female student of the College of Health Technology, Akure, are yet to be charged to court.

According to the spokesperson for the police in Ondo, Femi Joseph, they stumbled on fresh criminal activities of the rapists identified as Eyitayo Charles, Aderoboye Damilola and Blessing Michael and so had to carry out some more investigation before taking the matter to court.

He said, “The reason why they are still in our custody is because more fact have emerged that the suspects had been raping other students in the past.

“So, the case is not only about the latest victim of the rape but others who had fallen victim in the past.

“We have already obtained warrants from court to keep the three of them in our custody while investigation continues. See Also Education Female Student Raped By Three Men In Ondo 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

“In fact, more students are coming forward to identify the trio with the evidence of their criminal act. And we shall charge them to court soon.”

Meanwhile, a rights activist, Mr Oluyemi Fashipe, has called on the police to ensure the case is thoroughly investigated. 

He said, “The issue of rape in Ondo State is becoming alarming and that is why we will not keep quiet but we shall fight for justice.”

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World Bank, AfDB Bar Nigerian Companies Over Corrupt Practices

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 19:38


The World Bank and the African Development Bank have barred about 16 Nigerian companies from being awarded any of its financed contracts over infractions on corruption.

The banks released the names of companies and individual that have been blacklisted for two years because they had been sanctioned under the bank's fraud and corruption policy as set forth in the procurement guidelines and the consultant guidelines.

The sanction list was published on its website recently.

According to the bank, the sanction was imposed following an administrative process conducted by the bank that permitted the accused firms and individuals to respond to the allegations.

“Through July 2007, this process was conducted in accordance with the Sanctions Committee Procedures adopted on August 2, 2001. 

“The process is currently conducted in accordance with Bank Procedure: Sanctions Proceedings and Settlements in Bank Financed Projects," the bank said.

The companies sectioned include Idemia Nigeria Limited (formerly Oberthur Technologies Nigeria Limited), Best Scan Solutions Limited, Quick Projects Limited, and Marabef Global Limited.

Others are Lutoyilex Construct Limited,  Efemaz Construction & General Services Limited, Oceanic Construction & Engineering Nigeria Limited, and Snc-Lavalin International (Nigeria) Limited. There are dozens others, too. 

They were debarred and declared ineligible to be awarded any World Bank-financed contracts for at least a year, between June 4, 2019 and March 3, 2020.

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Sudan’s Military Head Becomes President Of Country

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 19:36


Four months after Omar El-Bashir was forced out of office, General Abdul Fattah Burhan, head of the now dissolved Transitional Military Council was on Wednesday sworn in as leader of a newly formed sovereign council. 

He was sworn in along with 10 other members, a prime minister and a cabinet is due to be appointed next. 

“We are positive that we are together as Sudanese, a government and people that will together push forward to improve the level of our economy, improve the level of our health system and our education,” Mohanad Hamid, spokesperson for the umbrella opposition, the Sudanese Professional Association, told the BBC.

He said the deal was not perfect but the people were determined to make it work. 

Mohammed Dagalo, Burhan’s deputy in the TMC, said he would uphold the deal. 

Dagalo has been in charge of the Rapid Support Force, a paramilitary group that has been accused for torture, abductions and killings.

Burhan will be in office for 21 months and hand over to a civilian member of the sovereign council before elections are conducted in 2022. 

This is a climax to months of violent protest break-ups and sniper attacks on demonstrators.

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Delta Governorship Election Tribunal Reserves Judgment

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 19:29


The Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, the capital, on Wednesday reserved judgement in the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Great Ogboru, in the March 2019 election in the state.

Ogboru, in a petition marked EPT/DT/GOV/01/2019, had challenged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the People's Democratic Party, who was declared winner of the exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Counsels for both parties argued and adopted their written addresses, affidavits and counter-affidavits for motions that were reserved in the course of proceedings.

Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Suleiman Belgore, who adjourned the sitting sine die after adoption of final written addresses, said the concerned parties will be contacted at least 24 hours before judgement.

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Identities Of Policemen Who Killed Unarmed Suspects In Lagos Revealed

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 19:00


The policemen, who shot an unarmed suspect dead in Lagos has been revealed. 

A viral video of a restrained man shot to death by two policemen had generated outrage on social media, with Nigerians calling for the prosecution of the officers. 

The policemen were identified as Fabiyi Omomayara, Olaniyi Solomon, Solomon Sunday and Aliyu Mukaila.

They were attached to Iba Division Patrol team. 

The Nigeria Police Force apprehended the four personnel and said they would be charged for murder.

It was also revealed that the incident happened on Monday at about 3.00pm. See Also Police Disturbing Video Of How Nigerian Policemen Allegedly Killed Unarmed Suspected Phone Thieves 0 Comments 1 Day Ago

Spokesperson for the police in Lagos, Bala Elkana, said Iba Police Station received a distress call from one Anugu Valentine that he was attacked by a group of armed men, who dispossessed him of his iPhone Max phone. 

He said, “Acting on the information, the Divisional Police Officer of Iba promptly deployed the Divisional Patrol team to the scene. Two of the armed robbers were arrested while two escaped. 

“Two locally-made pistols with six life cartridges and five expended cartridges were recovered. The gang is said to be notorious for series of robberies in Iba and environs. 

“The team, however, went extreme by killing the suspects who were already in their custody instead of taking them to the police station and allowing the normal process of investigation and prosecution to be initiated as stipulated under procedural laws.” See Also Police Shock, Outrage As Nigerians React To Viral Video Of Policemen Who Allegedly Murdered Suspected Phone Thieves 0 Comments 1 Day Ago

Elkana said extrajudicial killings falls short of police professional standards and cannot be condoned by the Command. 

Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Zubairu Muazu, has ordered a thorough investigation into the incident.

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CSOs Tackle DSS Over Plans To Incriminate Sowore

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 17:00


A coalition of Civil Society Organisations has kicked against the latest plan by the Department of State Services to incriminate the convener of #RevolutionNow movement, Omoyele Sowore.

The group disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja in a statement jointly signed Deji Adeyanju of Concerned Nigerians, Adebayo Raphael of Free Nigeria Movement and Ariyo Dare-Atoye of Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy.

The statement said that the DSS was bent on whipping up anti-Sowore sentiments by fabricating non-existent collusion between him and some foreign countries and wielding sheer disinformation to mislead the Nigerian people and judiciary.

The activists said that the fabricated exhibit contained in the affidavits filed before the Federal High Court was aimed at extending Sowore’s detention and enforcing his pre-planned persecution by President Muhammadu Buhari-led regime. 

The statement read, “The relentless efforts by the Department of State Services and President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime to incriminate Omoyele Sowore with malicious falsehood and blatant lies have now reached an alarming crescendo where it must be vehemently questioned and quashed. 

“We must state unambiguously at this juncture that the above-mentioned stratagem by the DSS is simply dead on arrival. 

“And this is so because it is obvious to every progressive Nigerian yearning for better living conditions that the baseless accusations against Omoyele Sowore by the DSS are central to the institution’s agenda of perpetuating the undemocratic, politically rudderless, socially decrepit and economically stagnant regime of Buhari. 

“It is also very obvious to students of history that this is a well-known stratagem which has been rendered trite as a result of Nigeria’s journey through the military juntas of vicious military dictators. 

“Freedom-fighters like the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Gani Fawehinmi among others, were accused several times albeit falsely by different military regimes to smear their character and respective agitations for the liberation of Nigerians.

“To be clear, the purpose of the #RevolutionNowMovement, which Sowore has selflessly dedicated himself to is plainly and simply social, economic, and political change. 

“It has never been and would never be about collusion with foreign countries to carry out a coup in Nigeria.

“Sowore has repeatedly said ‘Nigerians do not want war,’ neither do we want a coup. What Nigerians are demanding through the RevolutionNowMovement is better living conditions

“Bearing in mind that it is the last hope of the common man, the judiciary must remain committed to the ideal of justice for which it was established and which Sowore is presently being denied. 

“The Nigerian people, who are fearlessly calling for #RevolutionNow, must also remain steadfast in their fight for better living conditions and a united, progressive, secure and better Nigeria.”

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Abia: Nigerian Army Dismisses Killer Soldier, To Prosecute Him

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 16:46


Army detains suspected Abia killer soldier

Army detains suspected Abia killer soldier PM News

The 82 Division of the Nigerian Army has dismissed Lance Cpl. Ajayi Johnson, who allegedly killed a commercial motorcyclist, Chimaobi Nwogu, at Umoukereke Ngwa in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia.

The Deputy Director, Public Relations of the division, Col. Aliyu Yusuf, announced this in a statement issued in Enugu on Wednesday.

Yusuf stated that Johnson had been handed over to the police command in Abia for prosecution.

It would be recalled that the suspect had on August 7, 2019 allegedly shot Nwaogu for reportedly failing to drop N100 at a military checkpoint, killing him on the spot.

The army later arrested him and, according to Yusuf, he was tried in accordance with extant rules and regulations of the Nigerian Army.

Yusuf said that Johnson had been dully charged, tried and reduced to the rank of a private and subsequently dismissed from service.

He said, “He is, hereby, formally handed over to the Nigerian Police Force, Abia State Command today Wednesday August 21, 2019, for further necessary action.

“The 82 Division will not condone any act of lawlessness and unprofessional conduct from any of its personnel, and wherever that happens, decisive action will surely be taken against erring personnel.”

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Delta: Sacked Workers Demand Reinstatement

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 16:20


About 3,000 Delta State civil servants sacked in 2015 by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa have embarked on a protest against the governor, calling for their reinstatement as promised by him before winning his election for a second term in office.

The protesters stormed the premises of the Ministry of Information, Asaba, the capital, on Wednesday demanding for their reinstatement.

Leader of the protesters, Obukohwo Regha, told the Commissioner for Information in the state, Charles Aniagwu, to prevail on his boss to order their reinstatement.

Addressing the protesters, Aniagwu assured the sacked workers that the state government had not jettisoned the report of a committee set up to review the process.

He explained that ongoing recruitment in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources was for specialised areas and that every qualified persons were free to apply.

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Man In Court For Allegedly Raping Minor In Lagos

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 16:19


A 33 year- old man, Suleiman Mohammed, has appeared before a Badagry Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State on Wednesday for allegedly raping a 10-year-old girl.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Mohammed is facing a two-count charge by the Chief Magistrate, Mr Patrick Adekomiya, which includes rape and threat to life.

The prosecution counsel, ASP Akpan Nkem, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on April 27 and August 11 at Awolola Street, Adele Era, Ijanikin area of Lagos.

According to Nkem, Mohammed defiled the young girl and also threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

He added that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 168 and 56 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.

However, Adekomiya admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N300,000 with two sureties in like sum.

The case was adjourned until September 16 for hearing.

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FULL LIST: Buhari Assigns Portfolios To Ministers

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 16:18


President Muhammadu Buhari has assigned portfolios to designated ministers, who would work with him for his second term in office.

The list was unveiled at the end of the ministerial retreat in Abuja on Wednesday.

FULL LIST

1) Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah – Abia, Mines and Steel Development, State

2) Muhammed Musa Bello – Adamawa, FCT

3) Sen. Godswill Obot Akpabio – Akwa Ibom, Niger Delta

4) Chris Ngige – Anambra, Labour & Employment

5) Sharon Ikeazor – Anambra, Environment, State

6) Adamu Adamu – Bauchi, Education

7) Amb Maryam Katagum – Bauchi, Industry, Trade and Investment, State

8) Timipre Silva – Bayelsa, Petroleum, State

9) Sen. George Akume – Benue, Special Duties

10) Mustapha Baba Shehuri – Borno, Agriculture, State

11) Godwin Jedi-Agba – Cross River, Power, State

12) Festus Keyamo – Delta, Niger Delta, State

13) Ogbonnaya Onu – Ebonyi, Science and Technology

14) Dr. Osagie Ehanire – Edo, Health

15) Clement Ikanade Agba – Edo, Budget and National Planning, State

16) Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo – Ekiti, Industry, Trade and Investment

17) Geoffrey Onyeama – Enugu, Foreign Affairs

18)Dr. Ali Isa Pantami – Gombe, Communication

19) Emeka Nwajuba – Imo, Education, State

20) Suleiman Adamu – Jigawa, Water Resources

21) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed – Kaduna, Finance, Budget and National Planning

22) Dr. Mohammad Mahmoud – Kaduna, Environment

23) Mohammed Sabo Nanono – Kano, Agriculture

24) Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd) – Kano, Defence

25) Hadi Sirika – Katsina, Aviation

 

26) Abubakar Malami – Kebbi, HAGF and Minister of Justice

27) Ramatu Tijani Aliyu – Kogi, FCT, State

28) Lai Mohammed – Kwara, Information and Culture

29) Gbemisola Saraki – Kwara, Transportation, State

30) Babatunde Raji Fashola – Lagos, Works and Housing

31) Adeleke Mamora – Lagos, Health, State

32) Mohammed A. Abdullahi – Nasarawa, Science & Tech, State

33) Amb. Zubairu Dada – Niger, Foreign Affairs, State

34) Olamilekan Adegbite – Ogun, Mines & Steel Devpt

35) Sen. Omotayo Alasuadura – Ondo, Labour, State

36) Rauf Aregbesola – Osun, Interior

37) Sunday Dare – Oyo, Youth and Sports

38) Dame Pauline Tallen – Plateau, Women Affairs

39) Rotimi Amaechi – Rivers, Transportation

40) Mohammed Maigari Dangyadi – Sokoto, Police Affairs

41) Engr. Sale Mamman – Taraba, Power

42) Abubakar D. Aliyu – Yobe, Works and Housing, State

43) Sadiya Umar Faruk – Zamfara, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development

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Buhari Fails To Name Petroleum Minister

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 16:16


During the swearing-in of appointed ministers on Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari named ministers for every ministry except the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

Despite the fact that crude oil is Nigeria’s major resource, there are concerns that there may not be a substantive minister for the ministry for the second time under Buhari’s presidency.​

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Nigerian Women 'Burning Their Breasts' To Stay In Business

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 16:00


Iya Bisi, as she asks to be addressed, sits by the junction of Brown street at Oshodi, a popular Lagos suburb known for the diversity of its market space. She sits with her wares, eating roasted corn as she calls out to potential customers. Iya Bisi is attractive, not for the head-turning beauty of a young African damsel but her breasts. Under the black, polo shirt she wears, one sees the frame of her breasts, as they dangle down, resting midway to her stomach, just by the tip of the stray on which she displays her goods. It is a spectacle and figurative for how many Nigerian women put out their breasts to eke a living.

The struggle for funds demands from Nigerian female petty traders their breasts— symbol of their pride. Access to loan facilities is restrictive for many market women. The scale of their business is hardly enough to secure a loan in any conventional banks. When the business is big enough, many of them are illiterate, unbanked and have no significant collateral.

"Ori omo ni ere run si," says Iya Bisi. She means her children are her investments and collateral. Most women operating in the informal sector of the economy spend a chunk of their meager profit on upkeep and family expenses, hardly able or even considering long term investments. And until banks could accept mothers' dream for her children as collateral, women like Iya Bisi have no chance in any conventional bank.

Nigeria's economy is mostly informal. The informal sector accounted for 65% of the country's entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017, says Nigeria's Bank of Industry (BoI). In the same vein, the sector accounts for 70% of industrial employment but, significantly, women hugely populate the industry. The International Labour Organization report finds that women dominate 46% of the informal sector in urban Nigeria. These women are in different market clusters across the country.

The pains of breasts on kindle

The advent of Microfinance Banks in Nigeria provides petty traders the possibility of small-scale loans to support their businesses. These banks target poor, often, illiterate market women. The traders can access N20,000 loans and grow it to N300,000 through the banks. The loan facility can potentially boost the business and increase profit over time for Iya Bisi, whose entire wares are less than N20,000.

However, the scheme is not without its shortfalls. The crude means by which banks recoup loans leave some of the women physically and emotionally bruised. The frustration and, sometimes, the humiliation that comes with repayment earn the financial scheme the Yoruba coinage; 'komu le lantern' (put your breasts on a burning lantern).

Shakira Abolore is unable to hold back hot tears as they roll down her cheeks. Her eyeballs red from memory she is about to share. She is completely overwhelmed by missed emotions— mostly sadness and regrets. She weeps at the open market not minding the uninvited audience that now gathers around her as she retells the humiliation that sends her out of her childhood community.

The 35-year-old woman lived at Kosofe area of Lagos. She grew up there and moved in with her husband in the same neighborhood when she got married. Now, she hawks walnut at Berger market. Her small tray is filled with N100 packs of walnut tied in transparent plastics. It is her last resort following the crash of her oil business.

"It breaks my heart as I am telling you this," Shakira says, struggling to control the tears. "I was a housegirl for a year, to raise money to start my own business. I went back to where I did an apprenticeship, learning how to make palm oil. After my freedom, I opened my shop. I was making palm oil and selling."

Some months in, marketers of Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO), one of the first and, perhaps, the most popular microfinance banks, approached her for a loan. She would later take a N50,000 loan which became laborious to repay.

"I was paying N3,500 every week, but when I could not meet up the first week, they came to lock up my husband's house. In the second week, I got money from my sister to pay for the weeks. By the time I got to the 10th week, I had totally lost all investment, the money I had borrowed and my own. There was nothing left in my shop.

"Once I remove the loan payment for the week, I hardly have enough to buy material for my business. The money gradually evaporates from my hands."

By the 11th week, Shakirat says she could no longer meet up. Already, her stocks were gone at this point. That was when she decided to come into Berger to begin hawking, in other to meet her weekly payment. By the 12th week, she has defaulted for two consecutive weeks.

"I was here when my sister's husband called that my sister had been arrested. I had gathered funds for two weeks; I sent to my brother-in-law to pay so they would let my sister go. I could not go back to my area. The shame was too much. They had locked my husband's house and then lock up my sister. I stayed back here to hawk so I can pay back the loan."

Eventually, she repaid the loan with the profit from her walnut sales with swear and sweat. Her savings with the bank was liquidated to augment payment, she says.

"Because of the incident," she explains, breaking into fresh tears." Ihad to put my two children in custody of different relatives. My first child is about to write WAEC; I have not been able to pay. I thought to get the loan so I could, but I was advised against it. I might have to put her where she would learn some vocation."

The love-hate relationship

The tales of loss, humiliation, and frustrations lace experiences of these women as they struggle to secure funds to boost their small businesses. Across various markets in Lagos State, Komu le lantern has a love-hate reputation. It is that friend one misses but becomes troublesome when around.

Mummy Olamide says she has palpitations and fear of possible embarrassments when she takes the Microfinance loans. But she continues to take up multiple loans, and from different banks, too. She takes loans from LAPO, Grooming Microfinance, and Eagle Eye.

"What can I do?" she asks. "I don't have any helper, and I have no one to give me money for this small thing I am selling."

Mummy Olamide is a dark, friendly woman. Unlike Shakira, she is lettered. She says she serves as secretary of three different women's groups. LAPO requires the petty traders to form a small group through which they access loans. Mummy Olamide says she has taken loans from all these groups. Surprisingly, her snack business is diminishing. The transparent rectangular plastic she keeps eggroll and doughnuts has less than 30 pieces of the varieties. Yet, mummy Olamide has taken four different loans to scale up the business.

"I have taken two N50,000 loans, N100,000, the last one I am paying is N250,000," she reveals. "But I cannot see the difference. By the time I finish paying, my wares have gone back to how I started".

She claims she always meets up payment hence escapes humiliation, but not everyone is as lucky.

"We've seen instances where they would put a signboard saying they are debtors around their necks and ask them to beg about the market. They could also bring a small crowd to your shop. The crowd would be shouting and singing insulting songs. They've locked people in public toilets. All the microfinance banks do it," she says.

In another instance, the strokes are different for Stephany Okoli, or maybe she chooses to see the good. She sells baby clothes by the roadside. She used to own a shop, but her shop was demolished. She now puts her wares on a tarpaulin spread so she can quickly fold and run to safety when law enforcement officials violently disperse roadside hawkers.

When Stephany got married in 2015, she needed money to start up a business. She had only LAPO to turn to. The 38-year-old, bubbly lady got on her feet with the help of her first loan. She managed well until the Lagos State Government demolished her stall.

"See, the loan is good so long as you do not default. When my shop got demolished, and I could not meet up payment. The officer came and wanted to start talking to me anyhow. I told her to take me to her manager.

"When the manager saw my books, he was surprised. I have never defaulted, I explained to him, and he understood. They gave me another plan for repaying. It has been good. I paid back and got another one."

The opportunity cost of faulty government's Frameworks

The Nigerian government has initiatives that could provide a more convenient credit facility for those in the informal sector and protect those who choose to engage the services of the commercial banks. But for lack of proper implementation, the industry suffers, and these helpless women become the opportunity cost.

A government scheme that could potentially provide credit facilities to small businesses is the TraderMoni interest-free loan. TraderMoni is a cash-based payment meant for traders like Iya Bisi and Mummy Olamide. It is positioned as a scheme to put money into the informal sector. The aim, as propagated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is to provide small loans for petty traders like the microfinance banks, but even better because it adds no interest.

"The TraderMoni, if properly scrutinized and well-implemented, can build our small and medium scale entrepreneurs and enterprises in Nigeria," says Lanre Suraj, the Executive Director of Human and Development Agenda (HEDA).

However, the implementation of the scheme has limited its intended impact. The process of disbursement was politicized; hence, those who should benefit could not access it. In an interview with SaharaReporters in January, Awwal Rafsanjani, Chairman of Transparency International in Nigeria, says the scheme is merely to score political points.

Rafsanjani re-echoes this position when he dubs TraderMoni as voters’ inducement hence its failure to achieve set objectives.

Also, one of the key performance indicators of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy of the Central Bank of Nigeria is consumer protection. The strategy says, "financial institutions are to provide financial services that are accessible, affordable, meet consumer needs and align with established consumer protection principles." The CBN says it is to prevent exploitation by service providers.

There is also the Consumer Protection Framework (CPF) to protect end-users of financial services. The CBN says that "CPF stipulates that consumers should be proactively engaged and given early notice of outstanding obligations before the commencement of debt collection actions.

"Where consumers are, however, unable to meet their financial obligations, financial institutions are to adopt fair and ethical debt recovery practices."

These guidelines are being neglected as microfinance banks continue to deploy crude means in recovering their investments.

The services of these microfinance banks are important, as they remain the only viable source of credit facility for these traders. Nonetheless, the banks must also ensure that the rights of their customers are not infringed on in any way.

Economy Money News Reports AddThis :  Original Author :  Banjo Damilola Disable advertisements : 

Ministerial Appointments: Experts Speak On Capable Choices For Petroleum, Power, And Finance Ministries

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 15:42


As Nigerians await the assigning of portfolios to President Muhammadu Buhari's ministers-designate, experts have expressed their views to SaharaReporters on who they feel will be best positioned to handle the "power, petroleum and finance" ministries.

About 81 days after Buhari was sworn into office as the fourth President of Nigeria in the fourth republic, its citizens are yet to know who the persons that will do the bidding of the Presidency across various sectors of the economy are. The wait could end today. It is expected that each of the appointees will be capable of steering the economy, which is still within the throws of the 2016 recession and staring another in the eye, due to plummeting oil prices, towards sustainability.

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources

Ibe Kachikwu, a private sector veteran in the oil and gas sector, was deemed not to be good enough by PMB to return as the Minister of State for Petroleum. It is unclear if PMB will choose to hold on to the office Minister of Petroleum Resources but Abel Akeni, head of Extractives at public finance advocacy firm BudgIt, believes Uchechukwu Ogah’s years of investing in the oil and gas sector could make him a candidate to replace Kachikwu.

“He is sound, he is coming from the private sector,” Akeni said.’ Ogah, who contested for the governorship sit in Abia state in the March 2019 polls under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is a private investor that has built assets in the oil and gas industry. He owns an energy firm, Master Energy Group and has years of experience in the banking industry.

The choice of a minister or minister of state for the ministry which oversees Nigeria’s life support oil and gas will be between Ogah and Godwin Jedy-Agba, former Group General Manager Crude Oil Marketing Division in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Power 

The power industry in Nigeria is burdened by huge liquidity concerns. Yet, German firm Siemens feels it can improve power generation, transmission and distribution in the country to 25,000mw at over N1.15tn in costs.  This sector was merged with works and housing during PMB’s first term in office and headed by Babatunde Raji Fashola. Kunle Olubiyo, the convener of the Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, says Fashola will most likely get the nod to handle the power sector In order to continue the policies of the government.

He, however, feels that the ministers are simply figureheads doing the bidding of the president. He believes bureaucrats such as the permanent secretaries, are best positioned to move the various ministries forward.

“The ministers do not really play the role, it is the bureaucrats… the accountable officer is the perm sec. whatever direction that they pick they will just give the minister and the SA – special adviser and the minister will roll along. He, however, said the presidency and whoever it chooses to head the ministry of power should ensure the mid-term review scheduled with electricity distribution companies in the 2013 privatization of power assets, is duly organised.

Finance

The Nigerian economy is facing another slump as oil prices trend below $60. The expectation that low oil prices could become structurally etched in stone draws near and Atiku Samuel, a policy analyst, believes none of the persons in the list of ministerial nominees is prepared or capable of dealing with the complex situation the country’s economy is facing.

Mr. Atiku says the ministry of finance is saddled with increasing Nigeria’s revenue generation and the distribution of the country’s
‘very thin resources'.

“We are in a very critical stage if you look globally, people are exiting from fossil fuel which is the backbone that holds everything together in Nigeria,” Atiku said.

He said whoever gets the nod needs to improve the country’s revenue collection and resource distribution.

“The minister needs to look at how to increase revenue collection, how to widen the tax net. Nigeria has one of the largest Company Income Tax in the world, the minister needs to look at that, how to capture all the companies in the tax bracket.

“A list of about 19,000 organizations were published recently, that they’ve been evading tax, the Minister of finance will have to know why they are evading tax, how they are evading these taxes so that they can plug those holes.”

He also said the new minister will have to think out an effective way of implementing PMB’s policy of halting the use of the country’s foreign exchange reserve for food import.

He, however, thinks that Zainab Ahmed will return as minister of finance, thanks to her connection with Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State.

Where the economy is in four years will speak to the success of these ministers and Buhari’s presidency. Some of his protectionist policies such as import restrictions are however bound to clash with the country’s signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement and experts like Atiku, say there is little margin for error in the next four years.
 

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

Proposed Portfolios For President Buhari's Ministers: PART 2

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 15:22


President Muhammadu Buhari 54 days after he was sworn in for a second term in office sent a list of ministerial nominees to the Nigerian Senate for screening. The list had 43 nominees, comprising seven (7) women and thirty-six (36) men, drawn from all the 36 states of the federation to fulfil constitutional stipulation.

The Nigerian Constitutional stipulates—to ensure equal representation— the country’s 36 states must be represented in the cabinet.

Prior to the announcement of the ministerial nominees, on July 19, to be precise, Buhari had said that most of the members of his cabinet in his first term in office were foisted on him.

He promised something different in his second term. In fact, while addressing the leadership of the legislature, the president promised he would appoint only those he knew. However, when the announcement was eventually made there was a difference, but not a radical one, from the composition of his first-time list.

Names of 19 ministers who served in Buhari’s first time in office were dropped and replaced with new nominees. The names transmitted to the senate were not assigned with portfolios which made speculations so rife in the polity concerning who will have what portfolio.

After a series of orientations for the ministers, the portfolios of the ministers will be announced today.

Here are likely portfolios for 10 ministers-designate; five returning ministers and five ‘new faces’ made the cut of those considered.

Also factored into the analysis are their strengths and flaws, in short, their antecedents, which may likely inform the president’s decision.

NEW FACES

Mariam Yalwaji Katgum: She is from Bauchi. She is a technocrat and an intellectual. She is Nigeria's representative to the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Strength: The expertise garnered over the years will serve her in good stead either as a minister of education or culture.
Proposed Portfolio: Minister of Education or Culture.

Sunday Dare:  A veteran journalist who has worked in diverse aspects of the media in broadcasting (TV and radio)and print journalism. He is currently the executive commissioner (stakeholder management) of the
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Strength: He has formidable credentials as a technocrat. He once served as a media adviser and chief of staff to a former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu.

Proposed Portfolio: Since Adebayo Shittu is not returning as Minister of Communication and they are both from Oyo State.

Sunday Dare is a perfect replacement for Shittu as Minister of communication.

Rauf Aregebesola: Former governor of Osun State.

Strength: His frugal and penny-pinching approach to governance may make the president put him in a crucial ministry. Having served as commissioner of works in Lagos before the experience may serve him in good stead.

Flaw: He left a backlog of unpaid salaries as governor of Osun state. Proposed Portfolio: Minister of Budget and Planning.

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

Proposed Portfolios For President Buhari's Ministers: PART 1

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2019-08-21 15:17


President Muhammadu Buhari 54 days after he was sworn in for a second term in office sent a list of ministerial nominees to the Nigerian Senate for screening. The list had 43 nominees, comprising seven (7) women and thirty-six (36) men, drawn from all the 36 states of the federation to fulfil constitutional stipulation. 

The Nigerian Constitutional stipulates—to ensure equal representation— the country’s 36 states must be represented in the cabinet.

Prior to the announcement of the ministerial nominees, on July 19, to be precise, Buhari had said that most of the members of his cabinet in his first term in office were foisted on him. 

He promised something different in his second term. In fact, while addressing the leadership of the legislature, the president promised he would appoint only those he knew.

However, when the announcement was eventually made there was a difference, but not a radical one, from the composition of his first-time list.  

Names of 19 ministers who served in Buhari’s first time in office were dropped and replaced with new nominees. The names transmitted to the senate were not assigned with portfolios which made speculations so rife in the polity concerning who will have what portfolio.

After a series of orientations for the ministers, the portfolios of the ministers will be announced today. 

Here are likely portfolios for 10 ministers-designate; five returning ministers and five ‘new faces’ made the cut of those considered.

Also factored into the analysis are their strengths and flaws, in short, their antecedents, which may likely inform the president’s decision.

Returning Ministers

Babatunde Raji Fashola: A lawyer and veteran politician in his own right. He served as chief of staff during Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s tenure as governor of Lagos State. He eventually succeeded Tinubu and became the governor of Lagos State in 2007. PresidentMuhammadu Buhari appointed him as Minister of Power, Works, and Housing in his first term in office.

Strength
He is reputed to be a workaholic and conscientious reformist. His
track record of achievements during his time as governor of Lagos State earned him ‘super minister’ portfolio where three ministries (Power, Works, and Housing) were literally subsumed into one and placed under his watch.

Flaw: From the evidence of what happened during his four years as a minister it is now clear that Fashola doesn’t have the otherworldly competence required to handle three ministries. He seems to be high on ideas but low on implementation. Buhari will definitely strip him of the ‘super minister’ status.

Proposed Portfolio: POWER

Lai Mohammed: Former National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress and is from Oro in Kwara State and a lawyer.
Strength: He has a keen and incisive mind which makes him capable of thinking right on his feet. He can defend the seemingly indefensible. This quality became evident during his time as the megaphone of his party when the party was the main opposition party. He was a thorn in the flesh of the ruling People’s Democratic Party(PDP) and a niggling pain in the necks of the party’s political apparatchiks. While his time lasted in the office he was a paradox of sort, he could confuse and convince at the same time.  This quality must have endeared him to Buhari who made him his ‘Minister of Information’ in his first time
in office.

Flaw: He performed below par during Buhari’s first tenure. Even his facility for propaganda seems to  have deserted him. It’s like Lai has run out of steam and may not be suitable for Ministry again. Lai, it can be said, is just one of the beneficiaries of political patronage this time round. Buhari may find a replacement in someone who is more adept at ‘polishing’ the image of his administration as he begins his second term in office.

Proposed Portfolio: Minister of Environment

Chris Ngige: Former governor of  Anambra State and one of President Muhammadu Buhari's loyalists from the South-East. Ngige served as Buhari’s Minister of Labour and Productivity in Buhari’s first tenure.

Strength: He is a denizen in Nigeria’s political space. In fact, he is one of the few politicians that have been jostling for political space ever since the beginning of the fourth republic.

Flaw: He loses his cool easily. He is also given to making tactless statements when diplomacy and tact are required of him. Despite the deepening crisis in public health, Ngige remarked that talent-strapped Nigeria had medical doctors in surfeit and that medical professionals should feel free to seek opportunities abroad. Though he later ate his words; many believed the statement was unbecoming of a man who is a doctor by training too.

Proposed Portfolio:  Labour/ Education

Ogbonnaya Onu: The immediate past Minister of Science Technology and the first civilian governor of  Abia State.
Strength: He is a politician and engineer.

Flaw: During his time as Minister of Science Technology  he made a comical outburst by saying by talking about local manufacturing of pencils in this time and age.

Proposed Portfolio: Minister of Solid Minerals

Note: Buhari is very likely to replace Onu with Ali Isa Ibrahim

Pantami from Gombe State as  Minister of Science and Technology.
Pantami is a world-class technology expert who has led the National Information Technology Development since 2016.
 

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