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Unease in Senate as Senators Plot to Remove Lawan North-west may clinch top post

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja In an impending major realignment in the Senate, senators have started consultations on a possible leadership change that could

see President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, shoved out of office, THISDAY learnt last night. A member of the House of Representatives, representing Esan North-east/Esan South-

east Federal Constituency of Edo State, Hon. Sergius Ogun, had while featuring on ‘The Morning Show,’ a programme on ARISE NEWS Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, said plans were

being made for the removal of Lawan. He stated that Lawan might be sacked this week due to the way he chastised Southern governors over their resolutions at their last

week's meeting in Asaba during which they canvassed a national dialogue and ban on open grazing of cattle, among others. "We are in the process of reviewing the constitution

and the chairman of the National Assembly (Lawan) is rebuking, chastising the governors for saying that they should restructure the Continued on page 8

Analysts Express Cautious Optimism as Inflation Drops to 18.12%... Page 5 Tuesday 18 May, 2021 Vol 26. No 9535. Price: N250

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RESTRUCTURING ADVOCATES... L-R: Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Seyi Makinde (Oyo); Bala Mohammed (Bauchi); Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa); Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Samuel Ortom (Benue); Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Douye Diri (Bayelsa); Godwin Obaseki (Edo); and Mahdi Mohd, Deputy Governor (Zamfara), during the PDP Governors' Forum meeting in Ibadan, Oyo State...yesterday

Summon Police Council over Insecurity, State Policing, PDP Govs Urge Buhari Seek executive bill on devolution of powers 24 govs now back open grazing ban Meeting a political jamboree, says APC Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to summon a meeting of the Police Council to discuss the

worsening insecurity and the need to decentralise policing in the country. Also throwing their weight behind the position of the 17 Southern governors demanding devolution of powers and adoption of ranching to replace open

grazing of cattle, the governors, in a communiqué after a meeting in Ibadan urged the president to forward an executive bill to the National Assembly to facilitate the devolution of powers to states. With the PDP’s Northern governors’ support, the

number of governors rooting for open grazing ban have now increased to 24, including Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje of the All Progressives Congress. They demanded a constitution amendment to actualise the devolution of

power, especially the creation of a state police, and called on the National Assembly to fast-track the passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. While noting that the meeting was to advance the conversation on the worsening security situation

and collapsing of the economy, they insisted that the time has come for Buhari to concentrate on projects and policies that would enhance and promote national unity and cohesion. In the communiqué

Osinbajo: My Priority is Fixing Nigeria, Not 2023 Presidency... Page 8

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Group News Editor Ejiofor Alike Email Ejiofor.Alike@thisdaylive.com, 08066066268

APC South-west Leaders to Discuss Secession Agitations on Sunday

Former Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, has summoned a meeting of leaders of the South-west from the party to discuss the rising agitations for secession in the geopolitical zone and other regions. The meeting is billed for Sunday in Lagos. Those expected to attend

the meeting are Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; APC National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; his Ogun State counterpart, Prince Dapo Abiodun; Mr. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and Ondo State Governor, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu. Others invited to the

Analysts Express Cautious Optimism as Inflation Drops to 18.12% James Emejo in Abuja and Nume Ekeghe in Lagos After 20 consecutive months of increase, the Consumer Price Index(CPI), which measures inflation has dropped to 18.12 per cent (year-on-year) in April, compared to 18.17 per cent the previous month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). However, analysts have cautioned that despite the seeming break in the upward trajectory, the coast is not yet clear for celebration. In separate interviews with THISDAY, the analysts said it is currently difficult to assume that the marginal drop in headline inflation marked the beginning of a downward trend in inflation rate. The CPI dropped to 18.12 per cent in April, compared to 18.17 per cent in March. Also, food inflation slowed to 22.72 per cent in April, compared to 22.95 per cent the previous month. However, core inflation strengthened to 12.74 per cent in April from 12.67 per cent in March. According to the CPI report for April 2021 which NBS released yesterday, urban inflation slowed to 18.68 per cent in the review period from 18.67 per cent in March. However, month-on-month, the headline inflation increased by 0.97 per cent in April from 1.56 per cent in March while the food index rose by 0.99 per cent from 1.9 per cent in March. Core Inflation also grew by 0.99 per cent in April from 1.06

per cent in March. However, analysts said the key factors responsible for current hyperinflationary pressures were yet to be addressed, adding that the marginal decline does not represent the reality on the ground. Reacting to the NBS report, Head of Research at Agusto Consulting, Mr. Jimi Ogbobine, said: “We can’t say we are winning the war against inflation because it is still above 18 per cent; especially because at 18 per cent, inflation is still at double-digit, whereas the limit of the CBN’s inflation target is nine per cent. And that means is that we can still be referred to as a high inflation environment. “I think we need to start looking at our current inflation as a security issue even beyond the basic of economics and beyond economic preview. It means it is affecting lots of families, it is increasing poverty levels and it means that the purchasing power of disposable income is weak and when you bring in high unemployment and an increase in working poor.” He said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could play an important role in reducing the high inflation figures. On his part, Head, Retail Investment, Chapel Hill Denham, Mr. Ayodeji Ebo, said: “The inflation figures came as a surprise, but looking at it, it was majorly due to the high base effect of food inflation, which was a result of last year’s lockdown, which started in April and led to a sudden jump in prices.”

meeting include: Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum; the Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC) and former Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Musiliu Smith; a former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd); and former APC South-West Vice Chairman, Mr. Pius Akinyelure. The invite read in part,

“Notice of Meeting: A lot has happened in our country since the last time we met, I hereby formally invite you for a meeting on the state of the nation as follows: Date: Sunday, May 23, 2021. Time: 2pm. Venue: Lagos House, Marina. Lagos. Subject: Review of State of Nation. “Attendees: Chief Bisi Akande, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief Segun Osoba, Gen. Alani Akinrinade (retd.), Speaker,

House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Chief Pius Akinyelure, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, Kayode Fayemi, Governor Dapo Abiodun, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Former IGP, Alhaji Musiliu Smith.” The details of the meeting were not disclosed. However, a source said they would address rising

agitations for secession. The zone has also been championing the demand for fiscal federalism and restructuring. The South-west is also a major contender for the presidency in 2023. Agitators under the aegis of Omo Oduduwa United had on Saturday stormed Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, to demand secession from Nigeria.

WORKING FOR TEACHERS... A consultant, Mrs. Uloma Nwosu (left), and Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, during the inspection of facilities at the Teachers Continuous Training Institute, TCTI in Biase, Cross River State…recently

No Timetable for Congresses, Convention Yet, Say APC Caretakers Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that it has no plans to release the timetable for congresses and convention this week. The National Secretary of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, in a statement yesterday, said the committee was focused and

delivering on its mandate to recover, rebuild and reposition the party. He added that the committee is also focused on achieving peace-building, true reconciliation and to give a sense of belonging to every party member. Akpanudoedehe said: "Our attention has been drawn to obviously coordinated and syndicated misinformation being circulated in some

sections of the media on purported plans and timetable for congresses and the National Convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC). "This is the handiwork of political jobbers parading themselves as media sources. The media, party members and indeed the general public should be wary and completely disregard the misinformation, antics,

and schemes of these fifth columnists." Akpanudoedehe stated that the committee has never lied on party's activities and it has no reason to. According to him, the consultative party leadership style instituted by Yobe State Governor, Mr. Mai Mala Buni, as chairman of the committee has institutionalised the APC as a party of processes and internal democracy.

DHQ: Proposed N100bn Armed Forces Support Trust Fund Inadequate Udora Orizu in Abuja The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday said the N100 billion proposed by the Armed Forces Support Trust Fund Bill would still be inadequate to combat the worsening insecurity bedevilling the country. The Director of Production, Defence Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal M. A. Yakubu, said at the bill's public hearing, organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Defence, that with the fluctuating exchange rates would be impossible sometimes

to fund procurement of equipment already signed for, making them run back to the federal government for interventions. He stated that the United States would not sell equipment without a support package for a minimum of three years. He said: ''There must be training and other things. That total package came to that amount. How many years would it take you to budget? The maximum we have received from 2017 to date - we have received in capital allocation for the Air

Force was about N44 billion per annum. Convert that at the current exchange rate. How many years do you need to gather $500 million to buy just 12 aircraft? Look at the expanse of land we are required to cover? Nigeria is over 920, 000 square kilometres. Every inch of the land needs to be covered by either surveillance or capability to attack. ''About two weeks ago, we had a brief discussion of what we intend to generate from this. We are estimating something in the range of N100 billion per annum. Convert that to dollars because virtually all

the equipment is imported. This will go nowhere. And it would not address the problem we are seeking to address unless we expand the sources. Nobody wants to sleep with only one eye closed. Everybody is scared of travelling on the road because of insecurity. Therefore, I would urge that all stakeholders must educate citizens to understand the need to sacrifice because if we do not do that to address this problem sincerely speaking would continue to be a mirage.'' He called for the raising of the percentage of various areas

that are expected to fund the trust fund. “If we are not able to raise a minimum of $2 billion per annum in the next three years for a start, subsequently may be we can begin to taper down the percentages. But for a start, we need a bulk sum because many of these manufacturers of equipment require a 100 per cent down payment to even start production. So you cannot sign a contract example with the US manufacturers and pay 15 per cent mobilisation as required by the Procurement Act. Nobody would look at

you. Their terms must be followed. Many times we are asked to pay 100 per cent.” Also, the Director-General Defence Research and Development Bureau, Air Vice Marshal U. P. Uzezi, said research and development should be taken more seriously so that the required military hardware could be produced locally. Responding to the stakeholders' inputs, the Chairman of the Committee and the bill's sponsor, Hon. Babajimi Benson, assured them that going forward, all concerns raised would be addressed.


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Govs Appeal for Calm as NLC Grounds Economic Activities in Kaduna el-Rufai: We won't be intimidated Chuks Okocha in Abuja and John Shiklam in Kaduna As the warning strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) grounded economic activities in Kaduna yesterday, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has appealed to the union to exercise restraint in its engagement with the Kaduna State Government. The Chairman of the NGF, who is also the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in a statement, called for a cautious introspection on the part of labour. The statement said no meaningful progress has ever been achieved in an atmosphere of conflict and chaos. He warned that the NLC's actions could become counterproductive, especially as the pandemic of 2020 has adversely affected workers socially and economically. "Therefore, the NGF advises the NLC to explore the already open avenue of rapprochement that the Kaduna State Government has provided to resolve the matter and join the state to evolve a convivial working environment that is befitting for all," he said. The NGF also called on the NLC to be open-minded towards the intention of the staff audit that the Kaduna State Government was embarking upon to sanitise its workforce and make it more productive. The NGF said this should not be seen as a witch-hunt or an attempt to unnecessarily downsize the civil service. Fayemi said: "As we all know, all states are at present going through difficult times and the most feasible option will be for each state to device its own response to its unique challenges without undermining the rights of individuals to seek redress." The NLC began the warning strike to protest the sacking of civil servants without allegedly following due process. As early as 7 am yesterday, the state secretariat and other government offices were shut, while the workers converged on the state secretariat of the

NLC in Kaduna. Although the gates were said to have been opened by the Kaduna State Vigilante Service, the workers refused to go to their offices. Filling stations, commercial banks as well as the branch of the Kaduna Central Bank in Bank (CBN) were all closed. Many private businesses and shops were closed for fear of possible outbreak of violence. However, by 10 am many businesses and markets were opened when it was clear that the protest was peaceful. The state government had in a circular, directed all workers to ignore notice for the warning strike and report to work and sign attendance register. However, the workers shunned the directives and complied with the directives by the NLC. Hundreds of workers, alongside labour leaders led by the NLC President, Dr. Ayuba Wabba, embarked on a peaceful procession. The workers, who were accompanied by security personnel during the peaceful procession marched on the state secretariat and the House of Assembly before dispersing. The state assembly was on recess and there was no official to receive them. Earlier, in his address before leading the procession by workers, pensioners, and students, the Wabba had accused the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, of intimidation, falsehood, and violating labour laws with impunity. He said: “Labour laws are very explicit, but in Kaduna, workers were being sacked without regard to the law. “Political leaders are elected to respect the laws of the land, but in Kaduna, the governor is not only disrespecting the laws but violating the laws with impunity. “First sacked 5,000 local government workers. The second sacking was 2,000. “We are aware that in the Primary Healthcare Development Agency, 1,700 workers were sacked. We are aware in SUBEB, 4,000 workers

EFCC Grills Ex-Kwara Gov, Ahmed, over Alleged N9bn Fraud Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja The immediate past Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, was yesterday grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegation of N9 billion fraud. A source said the former governor was being grilled by a crack team of operatives at the headquarters of the EFCC in Jabi, Abuja. Ahmed was said to have arrived at the EFCC headquarters at about 10 am in response to the invitation extended to him by the agency. A source said: "For the past seven hours, he has been in the interrogation room, writing statements."

Though details of the case were still sketchy as at press time, the source stated that his arrest followed the alleged diversion of funds to the tune of about N9billion from the coffers of Kwara State Government during his tenure as governor of Kwara State between 2011 and 2019 and his time as commissioner for finance under the administration of former Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki. Spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that the former governor responded to the commission’s invitation but declined further comments. Ahmed was still being quizzed at the time of filing this report.

were sacked. We are also aware that the list of 11,000 workers is ready. “He (the governor) claimed he had not reverted the salaries of workers to N18,000. We are aware that out of the 31, 000 workers in the state, he did not pay 20,000 of them. In fact, those he paid three days ago in the local government were given

N18,000. These are the facts and those workers are here to confirm.” Wabba also condemned the governor for increasing school fees by 1,000 per cent after sacking workers. Reacting to the strike, the Special Adviser on Media and Communication to the governor, Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye, said in a statement

the conditions that compelled the government to “right-size its workforce has not been altered by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC)’s campaign of economic and social sabotage”. Adekeye said the government’s resolve “is only reinforced by the desperate actions undertaken by the NLC to unlawful trespass on government facilities, and

prevent officers from signing attendance registers. ‘’ He added that despite the action of the NLC, “the state government has guaranteed access to the state secretariat and other government offices.’’ The statement accused the NLC of shutting down hospitals and chasing away patients and stopping electricity supply.

NEW SHIP ANCHORS... L-R: Chief of Training and Operations Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral Abraham Adaji; Commanding Officer, Nigerian Navy's newest Offshore Survey Vessel, NNS LANA, Captain Abdullateef Mahmud; Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; and Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Barabutemegha Gbassa, during the reception of NNS LANA at Naval Base Apapa, Lagos...yesterday KOLAWOLE ALLI

Dangote Cement Unfolds Measures to Meet Demand, Reduce Price Dike Onwuamaeze Dangote Cement Plc yesterday listed steps it's taking to increase the supply of cement in order to meet the huge demand for the commodity as well as reduce the price of cement. Dangote Group’s new Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Rabiu Umar, at a media briefing in Lagos, yesterday, expressed optimism that the price of cement would decrease once Dangote Cement, a dominant player in the sector brings into operation its new line at Obajana, Kogi State, as well as its new line in Okpella, Edo State and the reactivation of its Gboko plant that has been shut down for almost four years. Apart from increasing its volume of output, the Dangote Cement has also put a hold on its export market in order to ensure that Nigeria has a sufficient supply of cement, he said. The price of cement in the country has risen sharply from about N2,500 as of the fourth quarter of 2020, to about N4,000 presently. Dangote Cement controls 60 per cent of the market in Nigeria. Explaining the reason for the surge in cement price, Umar said: “There is a surge

in demand immediately after COVID-19 disruption. This surge in demand is not a localised Nigerian phenomenon as a couple of countries around the world like Pakistan and Mexico, among others are seeing a rising incident of demand for cement. “So the question is what is the Dangote Cement Plc doing to bring it down? First and foremost we have invested in a new line that has been completed in Obajana, which is waiting for the power plant for us to start bringing out more cement. “We also have a new line in Okpella, Edo State, which is going to start operation very soon. Also we have restarted one of our plants in Gboko, Benue State that has not worked for almost four years all in a bid to make sure that there is enough production to supply the market.” He added: “What drives price is the interplay of the market forces of demand and supply. As a business, we have not increased our price. And the only way to deal with this upsurge is to have adequate capacity to supply the market by producing more to prevent a break in the supply chain that will lead to arbitrage. “So, what we are trying

to do is to ensure that we increase our supply of cement in the market and we believe that will help to manage the skyrocketing prices of cement. "We have also stopped exporting cement to ensure that we meet local demand in spite of the fact that the foreign exchange from exports is very valuable in times like this.” He added that it would be difficult to control exfactory prices, which are responsible for propelling the prices upward because of the number of intermediaries in the distribution chain. Dangote Cement, according to him, has 500 distributors and about 57,000 retail outlets in the country that would not be easy to police in order to enforce uniform price regime. “Nobody can say when the price will drop, which is best left for the forces of demand and supply. All these new capacities we are developing are things we are doing as a responsible business organisation to ensure that we have enough supply that will meet the demand and shift the market to a new equilibrium since pricing is nothing but the willingness to buy and willingness to sell at a price within a given period. But what we are certain of is

that demand and supply will always determine the price of any given product at any time,” he added. Umar stated that the Dangote Cement would be supplying additional 15,000 tonnes of cement per day to help to stabilise the domestic price of the product, in the next 90 days. “We are making record sales, meaning that we are selling more than we did over the past years. That tells you that there is a surge in demand. So, we are in a sold-out situation in the country. The main test of demand is when you have more capacity to supply the market,” he stated. Dangote Cement is also injecting 2,000 brand new trucks in order to make sure that the distribution of the increased output of cement to the market is taken care of. “All these efforts will lead to the creation of 3,000 new direct jobs in the economy,” Umar said. He added that the group has a system that takes care of proper governance of its distributors. “We ensure regional equity in our distribution to ensure price stability. Our philosophy is to stay with our customers who have been with us for many years,” he said.


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Osinbajo: My Priority is Fixing Nigeria, Not 2023 Presidency Deji Elumoye in Abuja Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday dismissed his rumoured presidential bid ahead of the 2023 general election, saying his focus is on how to tackle the security challenges facing the country. According to him, who will get the ruling All Progressives Congress

(APC) presidential ticket is the least of his thinking for now. Osinbajo, in a statement yesterday by his spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, said he was more concerned about solving the myriad of problems, including security challenges, facing the country. He stated that he has not declared an interest

in the 2023 election, "but he is rather focused on working in his capacity as vice president in the current administration to address all the compelling issues in the country and concerns of Nigerians, including finding effective and lasting solutions to the security challenges". The vice president who was reacting to a website

that had started mobilising support for him ahead of 2023 presidential poll, said he had nothing to do with the website and its activities. The statement said: "The attention of the Office of the Vice President has been drawn to a website: supportosinbajo.ng that is calling on Nigerians to join a volunteer group

mobilising support for Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, ahead of the 2023 presidential election. Details of this website and the solicitation of the group are currently trending on WhatsApp with a suggestion that Prof. Osinbajo has "quietly" declared interest in the 2023 election. "The Office of the Vice President is not in any way

connected to this website or the group behind it and considers such an enterprise an unnecessary distraction. Therefore, we ask that people desist from such unhelpful permutations while we all deal together with the challenges confronting us as Nigerians, and resolve them for the benefit of our people, peace and prosperity in the land."

INEC Meets Security Agencies to Curtail Arson on Assets Hoodlums raze Enugu HQs Chuks Okocha in Abuja, Christopher Isiguzo and Gideon Arinze in Enugu The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that it would hold a security meeting with all security agencies as part of the efforts to curtail the burning of its offices across the states of the federation. This is coming as hoodlums have attacked the commission’s headquarters in Enugu State and set it ablaze. The commission’s emergency meeting with heads of all the security agencies in the country under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election

Security (ICCES), is billed to hold on Wednesday (tomorrow), after the commission's meeting with its 37 Resident Electoral Commissions (RECs) in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). A statement issued yesterday by the INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Publicity and Chairman of Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye said, "Last night, Sunday, May 16, 2021, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Enugu State, Emeka Ononamadu, reported an attack on the State Headquarters office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Enugu.

"Some unidentified persons overpowered the security personnel on duty around 9.00 pm and tried to set the entire building ablaze. The attention of the security agencies as well as the Federal and State Fire Services in Enugu was drawn to the unfolding situation and they responded swiftly. "The attackers set the foyer ablaze, vandalised some offices in the main building, and caused extensive damage to some of the Commission's movable assets within the premises.", Okoye explained. He further said that Six utility pick-up vehicles (Toyota Hilux) were burnt down while two more were smashed and damaged. He explained that the

security agencies who were at the scene had commenced an investigation. "As we categorically mentioned in our earlier statements, the spate of attacks on the Commission's facilities portends danger to national electoral activities," he added. In view of this, he said that the Commission will hold an emergency meeting with the RECs tomorrow. At least, 20 offices of the Commission have been gutted by fire in the last two years. A breakdown of the fire incidents showed that the most affected states include Akwa Ibom (four); Abia (three); Anambra (two) and Imo (two). Other states that witnessed fire incidents

between February 2019 and May 2021 are: Borno, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano, Ondo, Plateau and Rivers. Abuja was also affected. It was learnt that while 11 offices were burnt by hoodlums, eight others were gutted by fire under mysterious circumstances or by an electrical fault.

of refusing to release funds for their work. According to them, committee works have almost been grounded as a result of Lawan’s sluggish approval process, pointing out that senators were struggling financially. Added to this, added a source, is the growing embarrassment Lawan’s unbridled support for President Muhammadu Buhari is causing the senators. Efforts to get him to be more circumspect, THISDAY, learnt has been unfruitful. The last straw that broke the Camel’s back, according

to another THISDAY source, was his last week’s diatribe against Southern governors’ demand for restructuring among others. “Many senators, particularly from the South, thought that was unbecoming of the head of another arm of government,” he said, pointing out that not a few of them felt that Lawan had crossed the line. THISDAY learnt that if Lawan is shoved aside, the site may move to the North-west zone, which has the highest number of senators. This current maneuver threatens to obstruct the

Enugu CP Orders Manhunt for Assailants Meanwhile, the Enugu State Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Ndatsu Aliyu has ordered his men to smoke out without delay those who attacked the headquarters of the INEC in the state. In a statement made

available to journalists yesterday and signed by the Police Public Relations Officer, Enugu State Police Command, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, the CP ordered a full-scale investigation to unravel the mystery behind the act as well as fish out the assailants. The statement noted that Aliyu had visited the scene alongside heads of other security agencies in the state. "There, he ordered the emplacement of adequate security within the precincts of the office and enjoined law-abiding citizens of the state to remain vigilant and promptly volunteer useful information that will help the Police in the investigation," he said.

UNEASE IN SENATE AS SENATORS PLOT TO REMOVE LAWAN country. So, if you ask me, any right-thinking person will believe that the process is dead on arrival. He doesn't believe in it; why would he talk like that? "For him really to be talking to governors representing a section of the country like that, he's not fit to be the Senate president and I strongly believe that the senators from the South will do something about it this week." Ogun said the country did not need people that could express their bias in that manner. He wondered why a leader who was supposed to be

bringing people together could be speaking in such a way. "We are even talking about impeachment? Who is the leader? The Chairman of the National Assembly. If we are going to start any process of impeachment of the president, who is going to superintend over that? The same man we are talking about. I think he should go and I am sure the process has started." Asked if the Southern senators have started collating the signatures, the lawmaker said he knew that senators were already thinking along that line.

He, however, added that he was not sure if they would have enough signatures to take him out. THISDAY, however, got more details of the plot last night as North-west senators are said to be mobilizing their colleagues from the North-central even as they have rest assured of the Peoples Democratic Party-dominated Southern caucus for an onslaught on Lawan. Although the reasons for the putsch are still hazy, some insiders told THISDAY that senators had complained about Lawan’s tight-fistedness, accusing him

SUMMON POLICE COUNCIL OVER INSECURITY, STATE POLICING, PDP GOVS URGE BUHARI read by the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the PDP governors called on Buhari to immediately send an executive bill to the National Assembly to amend the constitution to devolve more powers to the states to enable governors to effectively manage security in their domains, especially through the establishment of a state policing system and developing their own internal security arrangements. They said: "In the interim, Mr. President should summon an immediate meeting of the Nigerian Police Council, which

comprises Mr. President and all state governors and other critical stakeholders to evolve and implement strategies to combat the present threats to our union, especially with respect to policing. "The meeting agreed that the police force still remains the appropriate institution to secure our democracy and should not be subjected to personal attacks. The welfare, training, equipment, funding of all security agencies should be given priority. "The meeting supports the earlier position taken by the Nigeria Governors' Forum, Northern Governors' Forum and recently by the Southern Governors' Forum to adopt ranching as the

most viable solution to the herders/farmers clashes in Nigeria; the restructuring of the Nigerian federation to devolve more powers and functions to states; and reform of various civil institutions to achieve efficiency and equity for all sections of Nigeria." In the six-point communiqué, the governors enjoined all Nigerians to work together to achieve peace and harmony with one another, devoid of discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, and other cleavages. Tambuwal said the meeting called on the “incompetent and rudderless APC government to take bold and deliberate steps

to de-escalate and lower tensions in our country, and concentrate on projects and policies that will enhance and promote national unity and cohesion." He added that the meeting reiterated the earlier call for the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the Electoral Act that will ensure a free and fair election, including provisions for electronic accreditation and electronic transmission of votes. The PDP governors thanked their host and colleague in Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde, for being a gracious and wonderful host, and congratulated him for the many landmarks developmental projects he

has executed. They urged him to continue to work with all stakeholders in the Southwest to ensure that PDP takes over the majority of the states in the zone. In attendance at the meeting were Tambuwal; Governors Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State; Douye Diri of Bayelsa State; Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Seyi Makinde Oyo State; Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State; Godwin Obaseki of Edo State; Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mr. Mahdi Mohammed.

stability of the upper chamber procured by former Senate President David Mark and maintained by Senator Bukola Saraki. The putsch may also worry Buhari, who with Lawan in the saddle, had the Senate in his pocket. Efforts to speak to the spokesman of the Senate, Senator Ajibola Basiru, were unsuccessful as calls to his mobile phone did not connect.

TOP GAINERS ETERNA ROYALEXCH CAPITALHOTEL REGENCY STERLBANK TOP LOSERS ENAMELWARE AFRIPRUD NPFMFB

NGN NGN 0.65 7.25 0.07 0.83 0.20 2.40 0.03 0.37 0.12 1.60 NGN 1.95 17.95 0.45 6.05 0.12 1.75 WEMABANK 0.03 0.55 AXAMANSARD 0.03 0.88 HPE Nestle Nig Plc ₦1,420.00 Volume: 357.693 million shares Value: N3.564 billion Deals: 4,394 As at yesterday 17/5/2021 See details on Page 29

% 9.8 9.2 9.0 8.8 8.1 % 9.8 6.9 6.4 5.1 3.3


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Gunmen Attack another Abia Police Station, Kill Two Officers Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia Two police officers were shot dead in the early hours of yesterday as unknown gunmen destroyed a divisional police station at Ubakala in Umuahia South Local Government Area

of Abia State. The attack which was confirmed by the police public relations officer (PPRO), SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, was the seventh incident involving police formations across the state since February. The police spokesman said

Again, Suspected Herdsmen Kill Four People in Benue George Okoh in Makurdi Suspected Herdsmen yesterday killed four persons in two council wards of Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State. The herdsmen simultaneously launched an attack on Tse Shishim village,Tse Iber around Jimba and Ahumen settlement on Makurdi Naka Anpka highway and Mbaatan , Kunav in both Saghev -Ukusu and Sengev council ward of the LGA. According to two survivors of the attack, they had gone to their villages to take some food for their families taking refuge at IDP camps when the armed Fulani attackers on sighting them started pursuing them with AK-47 rifles and cutlasses. While they escaped narrowly,

Terhemba Shishim , Teryila Agbe Yorloko Adumu and Mne Iorhemen were killed by the attackers Terhemen was taken away alive with his motorcycle. According to him, the case was reported to security agencies, who combed the villages and found bodies of those killed. Another resident of the village, Mr. Francis Ugbede said mutilated and decomposed bodies of some of the victims were found by some youths from the areas and deposited at a private mortuary in the local government area. Attempts to reach the council boss, Mrs. Grece Igbabon were not successful but the local government security officer, Mr. Fred Awarga confirmed the attack on the communities

Gunmen Kidnap Professor, Husband in Jos Seriki Adinoyi in Jos A Medical Microbiology professor with the University of Jos, Plateau State, Prof. Grace Ayanbimpe has been kidnapped along with her husband by some unknown gunmen The incident occurred yesterday morning at Haske quarters along Lamingo road in Jos North Local Government Area of the state when the assailants broke into the house of the university don. A resident of the community, Mr. Philip Dachung confirmed to THISDAY that, “it was around 2 am when the kidnappers came to their house. They broke into their apartment and shot into the air. Neighbours, who were terrified by sounds of gunshots could not come out “So, this morning, we realised that the

gunmen had taken the professor and her husband away. We don’t know where they are right now.” A staff of the University of Jos, who also confirmed the incident said, “This morning, we got information that Prof. Grace Ayanbimpe of Dept. of Medical Microbiology was abducted from their residence along with her husband. “Please, pray for their safe and quick release from their abductors. May we also see the end of insecurity in our country.” The Head of the Department of Medical Microbiology of the university, Dr. Mark Okolo declined to speak on the incident. Also, the spokesman of State Police Command, Mr. Ubah Ogaba said he was going to get details on the abduction to journalists later.

Don’t Take Sides in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, CAN Tells Buhari Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against joining the Arab world in their dispute with Israel. It said Nigeria must stay clear from the ongoing violence in the Middle East and should not take side as advocated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey because Nigeria is a secular state. Erdogan had reportedly called “for action by the international community to teach the necessary lesson to unlawful, unjust and unscrupulous Israel” due to its attacks against Palestine, CAN said that President Erdogan expressed his belief that Nigeria would show solidarity

with the Palestinians in this rightful cause. In a statement issued yesterday by its National Secretary, Rev. Daramola Joseph Bade, CAN urged the international community to intervene in the ongoing bloody actions in the Middle East without taking side if they truly wanted an enduring peace. “We are worried that Nigeria which was wrongly labelled an Islamic state because of her unlawful membership of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has been taking side with the Palestinians since the emergence of President Buhari. Hence why the Turkish President asked Nigeria to identify with the Palestinians,” it said.

that the attackers had attempted to gain entry through the front of the station but were repelled by the officers, adding that the hoodlums retreated and re-launched their attack through the back. He said that the ugly incident occurred at about 12.10am, adding that the hoodlums used explosives to destroy the police facility. Ogbonna regretted that

though police operatives were deployed to reinforce security at the station, “we lost two of our men in the process” of repelling the assailants. He said that the number of the hoodlums that launched the deadly attack could not be ascertained, adding that investigation had commenced into the matter. Eyewitnesses said they experienced “extreme fear and

panic when the gunshots and explosions rocked the area just after midnight”. According to a resident, who simply identified himself as Chief Bernard, the entire residents of the vicinity were woken from their sleep when the armed confrontation ensued. “We could not sleep any longer after we were rudely woken by deadly sounds of guns and what seemed to be

explosions,” he said. The attack on the Ubakala Divisional Police Station was the second time a police formation had been targeted within the capital city after the attack on Mike Okiro Police Station near Ubani Modern Market. Other police stations that had been attacked and destroyed include the ones located at Omoba, Abayi Aba, Nkporo, Bende and Uzuakoli.

IT’S NICE TO MEET YOU…

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva (left), and Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willy Obiano, during a courtesy call on the minister, at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Towers, Abuja...recently

Stop Entry of Herdsmen into Nigeria, ACF Tells States, FG John Shiklam in Kaduna The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has said that the decision to ban open grazing was in the best interest of all Nigerians but would not be enough to tackle insecurity. The forum called on the states and the federal governments to stop entry of cattle from the neighbouring countries, adding that large population of violent herders come from neighbouring countries. In a statement issued yesterday in Kaduna, the Chairman of the Forum and former Minister of

Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe said, “The ACF does not see any reason to object to a decision taken in the best interest of all.” He said the, “The fact of the matter is that the crisis emanates from the belief by most herdsmen that they are free to enter any farm, eat up the crops and rape or kill any one raising objections. Nobody or society can accept that.” According to him, the current high price of garri is one obvious reason of this behaviour. “Few cassava farms can grow to maturity or be harvested by the farmers. So, food security is already being threatened”, the

statement said. He said: “There is, however, the need to advise the governor’s in all states not to think that merely banning open grazing will end the crisis. “The bulk of the violent herders are the ones marching in from neighboring African countries in large numbers, thousands at a time and showing no regards to boundaries whether state or regional. They have to be stopped. “Therefore, the Ganduje formula must be adopted to stop the entry into Nigeria of cattle from West Africa”, Ogbe said. He said the solution is for

Nigeria to seek an amendment to Article 3 of the ECOWAS Protocols, especially, as regards to free movement of cattle and other livestock without special permits. Ogbe said, “If this is done, we have over 5 million hectatres of land in old grazing reserves left, enough to accommodate over 40 million cows if well grassed and watered.” He called on Northerngovernorsto immediately look into this and see the viability, stressing that within those spaces, ranches can be developed for lease to Nigerian herders so as bring an end to the crisis.

IG Deploys Policemen on Kaduna-Abuja Expressway over Kaduna Workers’ Strike Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja The Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Usman Baba, yesterday ordered the deployment of additional police operatives and crime prevention assets to ensure public safety and strengthen security along the Kaduna–Abuja Expressway. A statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, a Commissioner

of Police, said the IG gave the directive as a proactive measure to protect communities and travellers in anticipation of increased traffic on Kaduna– Abuja Expressway following the disruption of other means of transportation by the industrial action embarked by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in Kaduna State. The police chief noted that the deployment was designed to

enhance police visibility, prevent and neutralise possible criminal activities targeted at citizens plying the road. The statement said the IG directed the Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) and Commissioners of Police (CPs) in zonal and state commands with jurisdictions around the area and surrounding environment to ensure no new threat to lives

and property thrive within their Area of Responsibility (AoR) as a result of the industrial action. Similarly, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Intelligence Bureau was directed to immediately deploy covert operatives from the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and the Special Tactical Squad (STS) to prevent any untoward situation along the expressway.

Mohammed: We’ve Uncovered 476 Websites Set up to Fight FG Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has disclosed that 476 websites set up to fight the federal government have been uncovered. He assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was doing everything possible to restore peace and security in the country. The minister made this yesterday in Abuja, while receiving

the management of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) on a courtesy visit to his office. “It will amaze you that recently, we unveiled almost 476 online publication sites that are dedicated to daily engaging in churning out fake news to fight the government,” he said. “The latest which I found ridiculous is the one that said days ago, that they had information that when Mr President was in the UK the last time, he was advised

to step down because he could not even recognise members of his immediate family. “I begin to wonder how they can go this far, simply because they know that people are gullible and they will make the fake news to go viral.” Mohammed has also accused an unnamed Nigerian firm of Public Relations consultants of misinforming the world in the celebrated dispute involving the federal government and Process

and Industrial Development (P&ID), which led a UK independent tribunal to award in 2017 the award damages amounting to about $9.6 billion against the country for reneging on agreed terms on a gas facility contract. According to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister told the NIPR executives that the administration was working to curb insecurity in the country because security will fuel development.


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Bala-Usman Debunks Allegations of Resisting Inquiries into NPA Finances Eromosele Abiodun The suspended Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman has refuted allegations that she resisted inquiries into the finances of NPA. A Senator representing Adamawa North and former board member of NPA, Binta Garba had alleged that BalaUsman influenced her removal as a board member of the NPA

after she demanded financial transparency But Bala-Usman, in a statement issued yesterday described Garba’s comments as “spurious and unproved allegations”. “Apart from the fact that Senator Binta Garba really said nothing substantial, making only spurious, unproved allegations in the statement she issued on Sunday, she also gave herself away as coming to the board of the Nigerian Ports Authority

(NPA) to lend herself to the agency of destabilisation rather than contribute to its development. “As I say with all emphasis that her allegations of resistant to inquiries on the finances of the NPA are false, “I make bold to say that Authority has since 2016, openly exhibited its readiness to be held to public scrutiny by taking the following steps: ‘Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with BUdgit Open Budget System Platform

and Implementation of a Public Data Dissemination programme; “Publishing the tariff regime of the Authority on the website for the whole world to see in line with the vision of transparency and accountability. “Conducting the statutory Audit of the backlog of Authority’s financial statements for 2013-2016 and presenting same for approval and submission to the appropriate quarters. She said the NPA under her

leadership engaged international renowned auditing firms for the audit of NPA’s financial statements up until 2019 with full compliance to all Nigerian laws and the International Financial Reporting Standards. “The 2020 financial statement is currently being audited. “There are a few questions to ask the Senator: When the Auditors presented the financial statement to the finance committee of which

she was a member, did she seek clarifications on areas that seemed opaqued or suspicious? If she did what happened? If she was not satisfied with the answers provided by the Auditors, why did she not consider withholding assent to the statement? Why did she not formally document her discontent? Why did she not issue a minority opinion on the statement, instead of now speaking after the fact?

Finally, Baba Ijesha Granted Bail Nollywood actor, Mr. Olanrewaju James, popularly known as Baba Ijesha, was last night granted bail by the Lagos State Police Command. He was being detained by police for alleged sexual assault of a minor. A source close to the actor confirmed last night that he was granted bail on health grounds. THISDAY gathered that his bail conditions were being perfected as at press time. According to the source, the bail conditions are two reliable sureties

on grade level 10 officers, and N500,000 bail bond in like sum. The source disclosed that he was granted bail when magistrates went around police stations in Lagos State to hear cases of some suspects. His lawyer, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana had on Friday written the Lagos State Commissioner for Police (CP) Hakeem Odumosu seeking his bail. The lawyer disclosed that he was looking abnormally weak and lean.

Cannabis will Boost Nigeria’s IGR, Says House Spokesman The spokesman of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, has called for the legalisation of cannabis sativa also known as Indian hemp in Nigeria. The federal lawmaker pointed out that many countries of the world have legalised cannabis for industrial purpose, stressing the need for Nigeria to harness this revenue source Speaking yesterday in Akure, Ondo State capital during a chat with journalists, Kalu pointed out that a major challenge to Nigeria’s entry into the cannabis business is that the farming, production, and use of cannabis for medical and industrial purpose have not been legalized. “Agriculture has always been a major strength of

Nigeria and cannabis provides interesting prospects. Industrial hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for industrial use. “Once harvested, the crop has a high yield of edible proteins and fibres with more than 50,000 product applications ranging from paper making, textiles, biodegradable plastics, fuel, construction, healthy food, beverages, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals.” “According to verified market research, the Global Industrial Hemp Market was valued at $5billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $36billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 34 per cent from 2019 to 2026.

PFN to TackleYouth Unemployment with Skills Acquisition Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan In its efforts to tackle unemployment in the country, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) yesterday expressed its determination to create wealth and employment opportunities for Christian youths through skill acquisitions. The President of PFN, Bishop Wale Oke, made the disclosure at a three-day national leaders’ retreat of the body with the theme: ‘Gideon’s Army’, held at the International Skills Acquisition Centre (ISAC) in Gora, Nasarawa State. The resolve came on the heels of the assurance given by the Chairman of the Centre, Prof. John Kennedy Okpara, who

noted that Nigeria was blessed with human and material resources if properly harnessed. While addressing the participants, Okpara expressed the willingness of his organisation to partner the PFN in training their members in agricultural related areas, so as to help in wealth creation in Christendom and to cushion the effect of the biting economy. Oke, however, in a statement made available to journalists in Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday by his media office, expressed concern on the high rate of unemployment among the youths in the land, saying: “To this effect, the PFN has concluded plans to sponsor about 200 Christian youths of Pentecostal denominations for the training and skills acquisition at ISAC.”

YOU ARE WELCOME ONBOARD…

L-R: Marketing Director , Dangote Cement Plc, Ms. Funmi Sanni; Group Sales and Marketing Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr. Rabiu Umar; and Group Chief Branding and Communications Officer, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr. Anthony Chiejina, during introduction of new Group Sales and Marketing Director of Dangote Cement Plc to the media in Lagos…yesterday

Labour Tackles Fayemi over Removal of Minimum Wage, Others Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti The members of the organised labour unions in Ekiti State, yesterday rejected the withdrawal of minimum wage and consequential adjustment on the salaries of workers by the state government. They also kicked against the removal of subventions to some schools in Ekiti. Critical stakeholders that comprised of the representatives of the state government that led

by the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, traditional rulers, workers and organised labour had met a couple of weeks and discussed the dwindling revenues to the state. Fayemi at the meeting submitted that the state government was finding it extremely difficult to pay workers’ salaries owing to the fall in revenues from the federation account to the state. Part of the resolution reached at the meeting was the outright removal of the N30,000 minimum

wage and consequential adjustment effected for workers last year, so that the government can revert to the N18,000 minimum wage. But the workers have described the actions as unacceptable in a statement that was jointly signed by Mr. Kolapo Olatunde, Mr. Sola Adigu and Mr. Kayode Fatomiluyi, Chairmen of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress and the Joint Negotiating Council, respectively.

The statement said: “The organised labour in Ekiti State met today with Govern Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on the state of the economy in the state. “We expressed the position of the entire workforce to Mr. Governor that workers of Ekiti State rejected any withdrawal of minimum wage and consequential adjustment payment of the state, which is a product of a process that has been signed into law.

Again, Medical Consultants Lament Insecurity in Nigeria Seriki Adinoyi in Jos Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has again lamented the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria, warning that the dimension, frequency, and spread of the situation have continued to be a heightening source of major concern for the Nigerian people. The doctors canvassed strongly for the restructuring and reinvigoration of the security architecture of the

country to combat the floundering current security situation, saying: “It is in our view that this is one very important step towards reclaiming our country from the people bent on keeping our national and personal lives permanently disrupted. “The political and military leadership of the country should not shy away from seeking help from relevant nations and international agencies in the fight against terrorism.”

Addressing journalists in Jos after its National Executive Council meeting, MDCAN also expressed worries over unhealthy politics currently trailing the appointment of a Vice Chancellor for the Lagos State University, describing it as an attempt to scuttle the process “by erroneously and mischievously claiming that the frontrunners in the process, our members, were not qualified for the position because they do not possess a PhD degree.

President of MDCAN, Professor Ken Ozoilo, emphasised that “the highest qualification required from clinical lecturers is the Fellowship of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, the respective West African Colleges and their equivalents. Let us state that this primordial and narrow politics is highly condemnable especially coming out from the peak of an Ivory Tower.”

Navy Set to Generate Revenue through New HydrographicVessel Chiemelie Ezeobi The Nigerian Navy is set to generate revenue for the country through its newly acquired hydrographic vessel, the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) LANA. The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, disclosed this in Apapa, Lagos, yesterday at the reception of NNS LANA, after the vessel sailed from France to Nigeria. According to Gambo, the vessel

would also be deployed in Nigeria waters and anywhere it services are required, in order to boost hydrographic efforts within the Nigerian maritime space. He said: “Where we get patronage from the Gulf of Guinea and other parties as may be, we will render services at a cost. “So, the vessel is a revenuegenerating asset for the country, the Nigeria navy and other maritime agencies. “It’s a revenue generating asset

in the sense that the Nigerian hydrographer had been given approval to produce navigation charts for the country and the countries in West and Central Africa. “Therefore, the people, such as maritime stakeholders, will now have to pay for such charts in order to procure them for their safe navigation. “The induction of NNS LANA will enhance the capacity of the service to conduct hydrographic

survey and provide charting service for safe navigation as well as delivery for maritime security.” Noting that the vessel would soon join other naval ships at seas to contribute to the navy’s efforts in the defence of the country’s maritime environment, the CNS added that the federal government has embraced the blue economy initiative in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal-14 agenda.


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COMMENT

Editor, Editorial Page PETER ISHAKA Email peter.ishaka@thisdaylive.com

THE TEARS OF INDIA…

India’s runaway Covid-19 nightmare needs to be stopped urgently, writes Rajendra Aneja

I

ndia is in infinite pain. The Indian people are aghast with the photographs and reports of around 150 bodies, floating onto the banks of the Ganges river. These are corpses of Covid-19 victims, who could not be accommodated in hospitals and later in the crematoriums for their last rites. The bodies were apparently dumped by relatives, into the rivers in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states. Some of the bodies were half cremated. This is a brutal and inhuman situation. There have been pictures of mass cremations and burials, which are heart-rending. The tragedy is that the disease has percolated to the villages, with rotten health infrastructure. These horrible instances show that many district health administrations are collapsing in India. It is indeed gut-tearing, that the fifth largest economy in the world and a purportedly emerging superpower, cannot treat its sick and cannot give them a decent burial or cremation. India will find it difficult to ever forget these macabre times. The bitter part of the situation is that the leaders of many states had proclaimed, that there was no shortage of beds or oxygen. Basic demand forecasting, with varying scenarios about the severity of the disease and the consequent requirements of beds, ICU units, oxygen, medicines, vaccines could have prevented this grim situation. We failed. We were busy with elections and religious gatherings. India is and will be short of hospitals, ICU units, ventilators, etc. Production of these items cannot be ramped exponentially overnight. A new hospital takes 12 to 18 months to construct. The spread of Covid-19 has made many government officials insensitive. A Union Minister tweeted, “The incident of corpses found floating in Ganga in Buxar region of Bihar is unfortunate. This is definitely a matter of investigation. The Modi government is committed to the cleanliness of ‘mother’ Ganga (river)”. The minister’s comment focuses on the commitment of the government to the cleanliness of the river Ganga. He does not mention the plight of the 150 bodies of Covid-19 victims. Why did the local district administration officials not help with hospital admissions, treatment and religious burials or cremations? Why are we becoming so casual about the deaths of our fellow citizens? A clean river is important. But, what is heart-rending and shocking is the sheer helplessness of a nation, that cannot treat its sick. Even more brutal is that when these Covid-19 patients pass away, their families are slipping the bodies into a river, without any last rites and records. Each of the 150 bodies washed to the banks, needs to be identified. Their last rites should be performed. The incident underscores the real tragedy of India. The actual Covid-19 fatalities, may be five to 10 times higher, than the officially reported of about 4,000 daily, according to epidemiologists. Covid-19 is now ravaging the villages of India, where about 70 percent of the population resides. Mass graves are being discovered. In villages, health is managed through Primary Health Centres (PHCs). According to the Economic Survey of India, 60 percent of the PHCs have only one doctor, whilst five percent

INDIA CAN MANAGE THE COVID-19, ONLY THROUGH RAPID VACCINATIONS. INDIA MUST PRODUCE, IMPORT, BORROW, BEG AT LEAST 10 MILLION VACCINES PER DAY AND ADMINISTER THEM DAILY. IT WILL BE HERCULEAN TO VACCINATE AT THE RATE OF 10 MILLION PEOPLE DAILY. HOWEVER, IT HAS TO BE DONE, TO SAVE THE COUNTRY

of them do not have any doctor. Infrastructure is weak in these PHCs. A PHC frequently consists of two or three rooms, with minimal medical equipment. They have no ventilators, oxygen, testing facilities. The PHCs face problems of absenteeism, medicine-shortages and long waits for patients. In addition, villagers have to walk two to five kilometres to reach a PHC. How can a patient, afflicted with Covid-19, walk to a PHC? There are no ambulances in the villages, only the tricycle, called a “rickshaw”, which is also not always available. Covid-19 medicines are difficult to source in the villages. Patients are treated on the floors of hospitals, in the compounds and under trees. Perhaps, the medical units of the Indian army should manage Covid-19 in the villages. Around 60 percent of Indian medical workers are in the urban areas, leaving the balance 40 percent to tend to the 70 percent rural population, according to a WHO study. Many medical workers lack medical qualifications and skills. In the post Covid-19 period, India must revamp its health sector completely. It spends about 1.2 to 1.6 percent of the GDP on health. India should spend eight to 10 percent of its GDP on health. The government and municipal hospitals in the towns and PHCs in villages, need to be thoroughly modernised. Villagers cannot be ignored because they do not scream loudly or they are not covered well by the urban media. India can manage the Covid-19, only through rapid vaccinations. India must produce, import, borrow, beg at least 10 million vaccines per day and administer them daily. It will be herculean to vaccinate at the rate of 10 million people daily. However, it has to be done, to save the country. Unfortunately, India will continue to face intense vaccine shortages. Even if India has to vaccinate 1.2bn people to achieve herd immunity, it needs 2.4bn doses. India is producing just 70m vaccines monthly, which is 840m doses per annum. At this rate, India will need three years to vaccinate 1.2bn people. Now production is being ramped up by the two producers, Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech, to about 200mn doses per month. However, this will happen over the next seven months. At best, India could budget an average of 135m doses per month from June to December, which is 945m doses over a year. Even then, it will be 2.5 years before 1.2b Indians are vaccinated. The Russian vaccine Sputnik V, is expected in June. Seven states are floating global tenders for vaccines. Thus, Indians will have to be patient and hope to get their vaccines over 18 to 24 months. Countries dependent on India in Africa for vaccines, may also have to wait, unless they find alternate sources. India’s runaway Covid-19 nightmare needs to be stopped urgently, so that other nations do not suffer. Aneja was the Managing Director of Unilever Tanzania. He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and the author of books entitled, “Rural Marketing across Countries and “Business Express”. He is a Management Consultant

LAGOS, OKADA AND PUBLIC SECURITY

Tayo Ogunbiyi urges Lagosians to support the government on measures regulating the use of motorbike as means of transportation

T

hese are, indeed, unusual times in our country, especially in terms of insecurity. In the last couple of months, the security situation in the country has become so alarming that many are reasonably apprehensive. Across the country, banditry, kidnapping, maiming and killing have become rampant. According to reports, more than 700 people have been abducted from schools in northwest Nigeria since last December in a rash of kidnappings for ransom in the volatile region. Being the melting point as well as the nation’s commercial and economic nerve centre, Lagos cannot afford to take security issues lightly. There is, probably, no city in Africa that attracts more migrants than Lagos. People continue to flock into the state from diverse parts of the world, and in large numbers for diverse reasons. Studies have shown that the influx of people to Lagos averages 3,500 - 4,000 per day. That is not only huge, it also comes with serious security implications. In this era of wanton security breaches, it has, thus, become vital for the state government to pay more than passing attention to security matters. Being a proactive and people-oriented government, it is quite heartwarming that the government recently organised a stakeholders’ forum on security. The event, held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, had in attendance religious leaders, Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, security chiefs, traditional leaders, community leaders, students, unionists and members of the State Executive Council. The cheering news from the meeting was the

full backing that Lagosians gave the government in tackling thorny security issues. Notable among security threats widely identified at the summit are the menace of commercial motorcycles, kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism and violent assaults. The forum afforded Governor Sanwo-Olu the opportunity to highlight his administration’s efforts in security and also to assure Lagosians that decisive action would be taken on all prospective sources of insecurity in the state. Without a doubt, as identified by stakeholders at the forum, the menace of commercial motorcyclists constitutes grave security challenges to the state. According to available data from the police, 60% of robbery incidents recorded in Lagos in the past four years involved commercial motorcycles, popularly referred to as Okada. According to the report, out of eight robberies that occurred in that period, seven involved the use of Okada. The penchant of Okada riders for disobeying traffic rules and regulations often lead to traffic snarls that give room for social miscreants to rob motorists of valuable items as well as other antisocial acts such as vandalism of vehicles. Indeed, while appraising the security situation in Lagos at the security forum, Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, raised the alarm over rising security breaches resulting from the menace of Okada operations in the state. According to the police chief, between January and early May, 320 commercial motorcycles were arrested in 218 cases of criminal incidents in which 78 suspects were detained and 480 ammunition recovered. In the same period, the Lagos police chief disclosed that Okada accounted for 83 per cent

of 385 cases of avoidable fatal vehicular accidents in Lagos. Odumosu further stressed that crime reports from the field have shown that a greater percentage of crimes, ranging from armed robbery, cultism, kidnapping, murder, burglary and stealing, traffic robbery to carjacking and cash snatching from bank customers, are attributable to armed hoodlums who operate on Okada. He said: “The nuisance constituted by the Okada operators on Lagos roads has become a serious threat to law-abiding citizens. The State Police Command strongly advises the government to immediately review the current guidelines guiding the operation of Okada as a means of commercial transportation in the state and take decisive legal and administrative steps and policies that will curb their traffic, criminal and other nefarious activities in the state.” The string of lawlessness daily witnessed from the confrontation between commercial motorcyclists and law enforcement agencies, no doubt, requires urgent action. It is, thus, reassuring to note that the government already has clear-cut strategies to address the nuisance of Okada riders in the state. Every well-meaning Lagosian must support the government in its bid to take stringent measures on the use of Okada as means of transportation in the state. We cannot achieve the ‘Greater Lagos’ of our collective aspiration in an unruly atmosphere. The gains of the current administration’s strides, especially in transportation and traffic management, in the last two years, can only be effectively maximized when everyone opts to follow the right path. The government has done so much to enhance the transportation sector in the state. It has reconstructed and rehabilitated hundreds of roads. It has remodelled over eight strategic junctions. It

has built and commissioned strategic bridges. It has also recorded several milestones in water transportation, and it is poised to do more. The government is developing rail transportation, particularly via the building of the blue and red lines, both of which are billed to be in operation in the next 22 months. It is equally working on the construction of the 4th Mainland Bridge as well as other strategic roads across the state. The government, no doubt, has the capacity to do more. But it will need the cooperation of the citizenry to achieve more. Therefore, every well-meaning Lagosian must join hand with the government in its bid to build a safe, secure and prosperous Lagos. Lagosians are urged to desist from encouraging Okada riders to ply restricted routes. The enactment of the law restricting Okada operation in the state was primarily meant to protect the interest of the public. It was legislated to ensure that the people do not ride on Okada along routes that could put their lives and those of others in jeopardy. Effective security is crucial to the attainment of a prosperous society. Every segment of the society must support the government and all security agencies to enhance public safety in the state. An effective public security cannot be obtained without the active involvement, participation and support of every section of the society because public security is the responsibility of all individuals, groups, communities, organisations and other units that constitute the state. Ogunbiyi is Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja


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EDITORIAL THE CALL FOR ADR MECHANISM It’s time to give attention to the alternative dispute resolution method

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ascinated by the way and manner disputes were amicably resolved by African people through mediation and arbitration during the colonial era, the British authorities took away certain lessons which they fine-tuned and then integrated into their legal system as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Meanwhile, in place of unending adjudicatory system, many other western countries have also embraced our contribution to modern jurisprudence which Mr Femi Falana, SAN, once said should be described as “African Dispute Resolution” mechanism. What is interesting, however, is that it is a system we have since abandoned on the continent. In response to the remark by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that the “crawling” judicial process poses a nightmare for investors in the country, former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, advocated that ADR could help to hasten the disposition of cases. Another former CJN, Mahmud Mohammed had made the use of ADR one of his major pre-occupations. He promoted APART FROM BEING the idea of evaluatCONVENIENT, IT IS ALSO ing judges based VERY FLEXIBLE; MUCH on the number UNLIKE LITIGATION WHICH of cases decided through ADR in IS RIGID addition to the number of cases determined through the formal legal system. So, it is not as if the idea is new. The main challenge is that it has not been institutionalised. In view of the challenges that are inherent in the current form of adjudication, we urge the stakeholders in the justice sector to embrace the idea. The efficacy of the ADR should not come as a surprise to anyone who has had a bitter experience while trying to get the courts to determine their case. Going through the court system in Nigeria is not only time consuming but very expensive. Corruption within the judicial system has also almost rendered useless the basic tenets

Letters to the Editor

of rule of law as courts of coordinate jurisdiction render different opinions on similar facts. With that, they make a mockery of the pillar upon which the British legal system was built.

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T H I S DAY EDITOR BOLAJI ADEBIYI DEPUTY EDITOR YEMI AJAYI, DAVIDSON IRIEKPEN, MANAGING DIRECTOR ENIOLA BELLO DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR KAYODE KOMOLAFE CHAIRMAN EDITORIAL BOARD OLUSEGUN ADENIYI EDITOR NATION’S CAPITAL IYOBOSA UWUGIAREN MANAGING EDITOR JOSEPH USHIGIALE

T H I S DAY N E W S PA P E R S L I M I T E D EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/CHAIRMAN NDUKA OBAIGBENA GROUP EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS ENIOLA BELLO, KAYODE KOMOLAFE, ISRAEL IWEGBU, IJEOMA NWOGWUGWU, EMMANUEL EFENI DIVISIONAL DIRECTORS BOLAJI ADEBIYI, PETER IWEGBU, ANTHONY OGEDENGBE DEPUTY DIVISIONAL DIRECTOR OJOGUN VICTOR DANBOYI SNR. ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR ERIC OJEH ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS PATRICK EIMIUHI, SAHEED ADEYEMO CONTROLLERS ABIMBOLA TAIWO, UCHENNA DIBIAGWU, NDUKA MOSERI DIRECTOR, PRINTING PRODUCTION CHUKS ONWUDINJO HEAD, COMPUTER DEPARTMENT PATRICIA UBAKA-ADEKOYA TO SEND EMAIL: first name.surname@thisdaylive.com

oday, many Nigerians are turning to ADR because it can resolve disputes much faster when compared to litigation just as it does not have to follow stringent procedure. Those who rely on ADR to resolve their disagreements are likely to spend less money compared to those who choose the adversarial court system. ADR is also convenient to use as it allows parties and their witnesses to take their time. It may dispense with oral hearings and rely only on documents. Apart from being convenient, it is also very flexible; much unlike litigation which is rigid. Besides the foregoing, a major advantage of ADR is that it is most suitable for our environment. Being conciliatory in nature, parties are not likely to become enemies after their disagreement has been resolved. When three arbitrators render an opinion on a dispute, their decision is likely to be correct and should ordinarily enjoy more acceptability compared to the decision of a judge. Again, because ADR takes advantage of modern technology in resolving disputes, it is more precise, efficient, and fast. Today, judges take note in longhand and spend longer time in determining cases to the detriment of investors who want their cases resolved quickly. However, despite the foregoing, many people remain sceptical of the efficacy of ADR hence the preference for taking matters to court. Enforcement is perhaps the biggest challenge. Since it is not yet institutionalised, there is always the possibility that those who get unfavourable verdicts in arbitration could resort to the regular court thus making the entire exercise a waste of time. Yet, all factors considered, we subscribe to the growing position that under our current circumstance, mediation and arbitration may help in the amicable resolution of judicial conflicts in the country.

TO OUR READERS Letters in response to specific publications in THISDAY should be brief (150-200 words) and straight to the point. Interested readers may send such letters along with their contact details to opinion@thisdaylive.com. We also welcome comments and opinions on topical local, national and international issues provided they are well-written and should also not be longer than (9501000 words). They should be sent to opinion@thisdaylive.com along with the email address and phone numbers of the writer.

MATTER AND ANTIMATTER

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t is easy to get caught in a world of daydreams of unbridled enthusiasm regarding progression of knowledge and the consequential effects on the development of the human species and world society. After all, who isn’t impressed by nanotechnology, genetics, advances in electronics and communication plus cutting-edge engineering? The optimist sees a future of peace in the house of humanity where poverty, disease, and strife will be contained and mankind is then truly happy. But this is where it gets worrying for the one who thinks that optimist is being, well, quite unrealistic. An unrealistic optimist, uh? Now, if religion enters our interconnected world-space and warns that “darkness” is lurking to quench the “light” of knowledge and put lots of spanners and monkey wrenches into mankind’s fancy scientific progression, they’d be score that’ll rise to say, “r’ligum is démodé.” This is where it really gets troubling because, truly, there are zillions of scores of hordes who aren’t impressed by nanotechnology, genetics, advances in electronics and communication plus cutting-edge engineering. In

fact, this bunch feels threatened by advances in knowledge and improvement of the situation of the living man. Thus, science and technology plus democracy, human rights, feminism, and suchlike ilk become the enemies that “must be stopped by any means whatever.” Such puerile audacity of the disagreeable kind! What impetuousness!! Alas, this is the true state of the world at present. No, ol’ boy, r’ligum is not démodé. This r’ligum knows best. There will be denial of the truth. There will be perpetuation of hunger and disease. There will be strife and persecution; in fact they’d be terrorism aplenty. Is the humanist still cocooned in his world of utter incomprehension? Non-comprendo, signore? The world should make progress by the absoluteness of the messages of love, peace, selflessness, good investments, education, and a thousand derivatives from the Judeo-Christo sphere. That is “matter,” say. Alas, the “antimatter” lurks and hurtles towards this “matter-system” with the express aim to obliterate it at all costs. Sunday Adole Jonah, Department of Physics, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State

INTO SPACE AND BEYOND

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t appears that China has successfully landed a rover on the planet Mars. It’s a great scientific achievement but some might wonder if it is just part of their expansion plans as they do seem to be on the move. At the moment it’s just a few islands in the Pacific, and then maybe Taiwan, and onto Mars, skipping the moon as it’s a bit dusty and boring. The next thing won’t be ‘Robot Wars’ on British TV but might be ‘International Robot Wars’ on Mars. There won’t be any worry about COVID safe distances as the local crowd might be quite small. Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Australia


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TUESDAY MAY 18, 2021 • T H I S D AY

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T H I S D AY ˾ TUESDAY MAY 18, 2021

18

POLITICS

Group Politics Editor NSEOBONG OKON-EKONG Email nseobong.okonekong@thisdaylive.com (08114495324 SMS ONLY)

PDP Governors Adopt Monthly Peer Review to Set Electoral Goals Governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party have agreed on a monthly internal appraisal to prepare individual and collective scorecard for the 2023 national elections, writes Chuks Okocha

Tambuwal

Makinde

Ortom

Emmanuel

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one state to the other, going forward. We were in Benue, now in Ibadan. From here, we shall know where we’re going next. “The situation in the country calls for everyone who is committed to the Nigerian state to put hands on deck, not only in prayers but also in action by working together to rescue this country,” Tambuwal said at the dinner. According to him, it was part of the scheming of APC, which felt that it had no governor in the South-east to remove the ex-governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, from office. In his place, Hope Uzodinma was brought in. But God intervened and gave Edo to Gov. Godwin Obaseki, thus making the South-south solidly a PDP turf and rendering “APC a party without national outlook,” Tambuwal noted. “With their scheming and shenanigans around the party (PDP),” they tried to manipulate the Edo election, the governor stressed. “It was God’s doing and a message both to the APC and Nigerians- that the APC is not a national party and it does not have national spread,” he added. “It is, therefore, a clarion call for our leaders and people of our country that we must work together to rescue the country,” the forum’s Chairman further added. In his remarks at the modest event, the host governor, Makinde noted that “you may see only six governors here but all the six geopolitical zones are represented. “This is the difference between our party, PDP and the APC. If they try to

have such a meeting they will not have a representative from the South-south. Before the meeting, the host governor, Seyi Makinde like the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom did in April, used the occasion to show his colleagues what he has been doing ranging from new roads, markets and electricity project. It was indeed a peer review of the performances of the PDP governors. Then in the morning, the main day of the meeting, the PDP governors met at the serene atmosphere of the international Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). After a meeting that lasted over three hours, the PDP governors revalidated the position of the 17 southern governors meeting asking that President Muhammadu Buhari should as matter of urgency summon Police councils meeting in the interest of saving the nascent democracy in Nigeria. The PDP Governors Forum also reaffirmed their position on the banning of open grazing by herdsmen. They also called for a constitutional amendment to actualise the devolution of power especially state police and called on the National Assembly to fast track the passage of the electoral act amendments. Reading the communique of their meeting that took place at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan. the Chairman of the PDP governors and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambawul, said, “The

meeting called on M.r President as the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces to immediately send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to amend the Nigerian Constitution to devolve more powers to the States with respect to security arrangements culminating in some form of state policing and the general security architecture.” The PDP governors agreed, “In the interim, Mr President should summon an immediate meeting of the Nigerian Police Council, which comprises Mr President and all state governors and other critical stakeholders to evolve and implement strategies to combat the present threats to our union, especially with respect to policing. “The meeting agreed that the Police Force still remains the appropriate institution to secure our democracy and should not be subjected to personal attacks. The welfare, training, equipment, funding of all security agencies should be given priority.” The chairman of the PDP governors reported that, “The meeting supports the earlier position taken by the Nigeria Governors Forum, Northern Governors Forum and recently by the Southern Governors Forum to adopt ranching as the most viable solution to the herders / farmers clashes in Nigeria; the restructuring of the Nigerian federation to devolve more powers and functions to the States; and reform of various civil institutions to achieve efficiency and equity for all sections of Nigeria.” The meeting enjoined all Nigerians to work together to achieve peace and harmony with one another, devoid of discrimination based on ethnicity, religion and other cleavages. To this end he, the PDP governors called “on the incompetent and rudderless APC government to take bold and deliberate steps to de-escalate and lower tensions in our country, and concentrate on projects and policies that will enhance and promote national unity and cohesion.” The meeting re-iterated the earlier call for the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the Electoral Act that will ensure a free and fair election, including provisions for electronic accreditation and electronic transmission of votes. The PDP governors thanked Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State for being a gracious and wonderful host, and congratulated him for the many landmark developmental projects he has executed, and urged him to continue to work with all stakeholders in the South-west zone to ensure that PDP takes over majority of the states in the zone.

hough, the 2023 general elections is over 650 days away, Nigerian governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since April 2021 adopted a peer review mechanism for accessing the performance of their colleagues. That peer review system adopts a monthly meeting to review the progress of the governors and also in the process commission some of the works like roads and other projects executed by the governors. The 15 PDP governors have agreed to rotate their meeting on monthly basis. The last meeting took place in Markudi, Benue State and the second in the series took place in the ancient city of Ibadan, Oyo State. The meeting commenced with a gala night where all the PDP governors were treated to a cultural dances and music from their respective states by the Oyo State cultural troupe. One of the dance drama titled ‘Repairing the Broken Bridge’ spoke truth to the crisis facing Nigeria. It was concluded with a rendition of the National Anthem. Guests were treated to editions of old school music that brought back old memories to the admiration of all. The Onyeka Onwuenu and Bob Marley music of One Love was the major attraction of the night. Enjoying the didactic spectacle of the night were Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Gov. Udom Emmanul - Akwa Ibom State , Gov. Douye Diri - Bayelsa State Gov. Samuel Ortom. Benue State, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa-Delta State. Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, - Enugu Stat, Gov. Nyesom Wike-Rivers State, Gov. Oluseyi Makinde- Oyo State, Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri- Adamawa State, Gov. Godwin Obaseki-Edo State, Gov. Bala Mohammed-Bauchi State and Deputy Gov. Mahdi Mohd of Zamfara State Speaking later, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party-Governors’ Forum (PDP-GF), Governot Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State, fired canons at the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) describing it as one without the requisite national spread to represent the interest of the country. According to Tambuwal, “The meeting of the PDP-GF holding in Ibadan is already holding a promise…We must not lose hope that Nigeria and Nigerians will triumph against the evil forces working against us. “That is the promise the PDP is holding for Nigeria, by the grace of God, come 2023. We are on a salvation mission; and it is part of the reasons why we have institutionalized this meeting, moving from

The 15 PDP governors have agreed to rotate their meeting on monthly basis. The last meeting took place in Markudi, Benue State and the second in the series took place in the ancient city of Ibadan, Oyo State. The meeting commenced with a gala night where all the PDP governors were treated to a cultural dances and music from their respective states by the Oyo State cultural troupe. One of the dance drama titled ‘Repairing the Broken Bridge’ spoke truth to the crisis facing Nigeria. It was concluded with a rendition of the National Anthem. Guests were treated to editions of old school music that brought back old memories to the admiration of all. The Onyeka Onwuenu and Bob Marley music of One Love was the major attraction of the night


T H I S D AY ˾ TUESDAY MAY 18, 2021

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POLITICS

Swarmed by Detractors on All Sides, Uzodinma is Determined Win

Tony Amadi spent three days moving around Imo State capital, Owerri to witness Governor Hope Uzodimma at work

Uzodinma

Ihedioha

Okorocha

Mbakwe

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Uzodimma came to power. But it was Sam Mbakwe who laid the political and economic foundation for the state when he became governor in 1979. I have followed Governor Hope’s ascendancy to power in Imo state with great interest and right from the very first day in office following the Supreme Court verdict that threw Governor Emeka Ihedioha out of Government House, Owerri. The new governor’s motorcade arrived at the private wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport immediately after the verdict and onto a private jet for the hour long flight to Sam Mbakwe Cargo Airport, Owerri. Former Governor Okorochza was on hand to usher the new Governor to the aircraft. A year after those pleasantries at the airport, Okorocha has become a persona non grata at the Government House under Hope Uzodimma. The two men are at daggers drawn mode right now and the new Governor is determined to go the whole hog to dispossess all the state assets said to have been diverted to the former Governor’s personal use and ownership. The avalanche of political enemies that Hope Uzodimma has gathered in his political career are many and they are being fingered as the sponsors of the destabilization of his Imo state project in the face of the recent insurgent activities which has left the state reeling in extreme insecurity. On Monday 9th May 2021, the governor was working late in his executive mansion, going through security matters with state security officials. He told me later that several arrests have been made and that he was confident that crime figures will drop rapidly and comparative peace will reign.

a veteran journalist and a former national newspaper editor, took me to his office and reeled out the achievements within one year of the Governor in office. He simply handed me a publication titled “Uzodinma One Year After: A Harvest of Projects and Landmark Speeches ‘ produced by the Commissioner for Information Honourable Declan Emelumba. It was not an exercise in futility because Governor Hope Uzodimma showed an element of a hands-on approach to governance that is absent in many states across the country. As I flipped through the book of achievements, I insisted on physical examination and was taken around Owerri town which had become a huge construction site as everywhere breathed new life. Construction works were going on at a frenetic pace and jobs were created massively in the process. It was only when the rain halted my verification exercise and the fact that I had seen enough proof of serious activities that I concluded that Hope is working and positively affecting the lives of his people. Later, I asked the governor what moved him to turn to local vehicle manufacturer Innoson of Nnewi where he had purchased over 500 cars including security vehicles, jeeps for judges, cars for Permanent Secretaries and all sorts of equipment. Little did his detractors realize that the motivation was the job creation content of the purchase agreement. Innoson Motors has already opened a vehicle parts and repair plant in Owerri with hundreds of jobs created for the army of Imo job seekers. Perhaps what a local pundit told me about the Uzodimma strategy that has angered his opponents to accentuate political and physical attacks is because the positive results of his one-year governance was getting to the people who are beginning to see that the governor was not a joke after all. The other issue rattling political opponents of the state governor is the well-oiled political and

economic machinery called Hopism with the pay off line: Where Governance Meets the People “is an ideology and medium committed to delivering Imo’s shared prosperity to the people of the state.” Hopism is therefore expected to take both infrastructural and human capital developments to every corner of the state. It appears that the number one opponent of Hope Uzodimma is the former Governor Rochas Okoroocha because Hope is determined to retrieve all properties belonging to the state that Rochas is claimed to have appropriated to himself and members of his family. The fear among political opponents of Governor Uzodimma is that if the rate of progress continued the way he is going; his ultimate success was already igniting fears that they may not have the chance of driving him out of office before he has generated enough steam and confidence to mount a successful second term challenge. Working through the night every day that I visited, there was little doubt that the governor is determined to make his mark and go down the route of first Imo civilian Governor Sam Mbakwe of blessed memory who not only industrialized the state but put it among Nigeria’s most developed states category during his reign in the Second Republic. The Commissioner for Information Hon Declan Emelumba wrote in the foreword to a 116-page compendium of the State Governor’s achievements over his first year in office that “As Governor Uzodimma marks the one-year anniversary of his administration, Imo people have seen the difference. Today, we can beat our chests to proclaim that a new dawn has arrived. The transformation of the state is on an unstoppable ascendancy to the consternation of critics. Imo State has become one huge construction site, churning out completed road projects every month. “Even locations which previous administrations cringed from addressing, Governor Uzodimma has dared and conquered! One example is the perennial flooding of Owerri, which particularly rendered Chukwuma Nwoha and Dick Tiger Roads impassable. This has been duly arrested with the ongoing balloon technology underground drainage system terminating at the Otamiri River. Recall that this has been on the Owerri masterplan since the creation of Imo state in 1976. But it was ignored at the people’s peril by successive administrations. Kudos to Governor Uzodimma for the fine legacy he is living for posterity.” My Owerri cab driver Charles had no idea that I had just left Governor Hope Uzodimma when he began to lecture me about the new kid in government house. As we drove past Shoprite on the Egbu Road he showed me three roads on the left of the shopping centre. “These roads have just been completed by the new Governor and I admire him so much by the way he is completing other projects left by the outgone administrations. This one on the left leads to my house. It was impassable before. So, you can imagine how much I love him,” he added.

returned to Imo State last week for a three-day assessment of the seemingly beleaguered government of Senator Hope Uzodimma. No one hazarded a guess that the former ranking Senator would dabble into the politics of Imo at the gubernatorial level, but he plunged into those murky waters and battled his way to an election under the All Progressive Congress. The Eastern states were not in the habit of voting for a party that have a Northern colouration and domination. But this strong man of Imo politics was adamant and stuck his neck in it. I developed an interest in his political career during his first Senate term, looking ahead with the possibility of writing a book about the Politics of Hope Uzodimma including his contributions at the Upper House of the Nigerian legislature. There was no doubt about his charismatic bent and strongly reminded me of Dr. K.O. Mbadiwe who hailed from the same senatorial district with the great Mazi Mbonu Ojike in the 50’s. So Hope Uzodimma fits in the mold of these political giants of the zone. Mind you that he took over the Imo West seat held by Senator Arthur Nzeribe who himself was a real political juggernaut in his days at the Senate. My interest in the governorship quest of the senator led me to fly to Owerri during the 2019 political season to witness his political campaign in that election. I watched his soap box performance at the time and had seen a determined political player adept in all facets of the game and wanted seriously to be a factor in the outcome. Ultimately, the final outcome favoured him and he is today the Executive Governor of Imo State. Consequently, he had to face the wrath of determined opponents. The opprobrium of a section of the people of the state followed the Supreme Court decision to make him governor due to the circumstances of the election result. It was this development that led Governor Hope to develop a stoicism that has baffled his opponents who are quite strong and powerful. I was unable to attend the first anniversary of his administration, but four months later last week, I returned to a town that I had known very well before, during and after the Nigeria-Biafra war. I clearly remember the Owerri Prison torched by unknown gunmen last month, where upon the closing days of the war, a Nigerian Army Sergeant had arrested me on my return to Owerri after I had faced Biafran forces who had conscripted me and my pop band members The Fractions which I managed during the three-year war. The Sergeant was not going to jail us for being on the Biafran side, but took me and my group to help him loot tons of imported relief materials stored at the prison for the impoverished and war torn people of the territory. We had carried the goods to his garrison, string of houses converted from seized properties beside Wetheral Road area of Owerri. The military governments that ruled the state before the 1999 return to civil rule made no positive impact to the growth of the state capital until governors Udenwa, Ohakim, Rochas Okorocha, Emeka Ihedioha and now Hope

Economic Development How has Hope Uzodimma handled the crucial matters of development of infrastructure and governance for the past 16 months he has held court at the power pinnacle of the state? Press Secretary Oguwike Nwachukwu,

Little did his detractors realize that the motivation was the job creation content of the purchase agreement. Innoson Motors has already opened a vehicle parts and repair plant in Owerri with hundreds of jobs created for the army of Imo job seekers. Perhaps what a local pundit told me about the Uzodimma strategy that has angered his opponents to accentuate political and physical attacks is because the positive results of his one-year governance was getting to the people who are beginning to see that the governor was not a joke after all. The other issue rattling political opponents of the state governor is the well-oiled political and economic machinery called Hopism with the pay off line: Where Governance Meets the People


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FEATURES

Group Features Editor: Chiemelie Ezeobi Email chiemelie.ezeobi@thisdaylive.com, 07010510430

Championing Sustainable Interventions in Infrastructural Development In a bid to address decades of infrastructural deficit that has riddled the nation, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority has begun to champion sustainable interventions across board, Chiemelie Ezeobi reports

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ver the years, the nation and by extension, the economy, had been crippled by infrastructural deficit that cut across all sectors. With each administration, efforts to tackle it was done in half measures or with zero political will. However, recently, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), has begun to champion change through sustainable interventions. Aside that, the authority, which manages Nigeria's sovereign wealth fund, are also collaborating with the newly-established Infrastructure Company (Infra-Co) to help the company achieve optimal results from its mandate.

Addressing Infrastructural Deficit To address Nigeria's huge infrastructural deficit, President Muhammadu Buhari had recently approved the establishment of Infra-Co, a Public Private Partnership-styled infrastructure company with an initial seed capital of N1 trillion. It is also involved in building three major 'legacy projects' being the 127.6-kilometre Lagos-Ibadan expressway, 45-kilometer second Niger bridge and the 375-kilometer Abuja-Kano highway. According to the Managing Director of NSIA, Mr Uche Orji said; "On the road projects, I have talked about the likelihood of the SUKUK fund, but operationalising these roads, completing the concession agreements for these roads and funding plans for the roads are very important, because I expect them to now start turning it into specific companies. "These are going to be toll roads, I keep emphasising, and they will be run as business. "The federal government set up the Presidential Infrastructural Development Funds to address the funding needs of the three projects. The objective of finishing them is to make them economically viable anywhere from 2022 into 2023. "About Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, I know some people are still struggling with that, but you can also attest to the fact that a lot of progress has been made. We are over 60 per cent completed, I think 63 per cent on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. I believe we should be able to complete that project by the end of 2022. "On the Second Niger Bridge as at the end of the year (2020), we were about 53 per cent completed. I am hoping that by the end of this year, we will have completed the decking of the bridge. So, by the end of this year, I am hopeful that we can see a bridge. "The original scope to the Abuja-Kano road will be done next year, the new scope, the Ministry of Works will give an update. So, all of these projects are moving at pace. Let me emphasise, these are going to be commercial economic corridors. There will be toll roads, trailer parks, there will be all sorts of things that are going to be added to those roads to make sure that they earn revenue." Tackling Funding Concerns Essential to these projects are funding. On this, Orji further hinted at the NSIA plan to raise a SUKUK to address some of the funding concerns of the project. Also, it was noted that the recently recovered $311 million Sani Abachi loot from the United States and the Island of Jersey will be channeled into the three projects on equal basis. So far, the Second Niger Bridge has gulped N116.7 billion as it is projected to cost N414 billion. The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway will cost the FG N311 billion while on the AbujaKano Highway, the government will spend N797 billion. Phosphate Plant Another major infrastructural development being undertaken by NSIA is Nigeria's First Ammonia and Diammonium phosphate plant

Orji in Akwa Ibom State at an estimated cost of $.14 billion. To achieve this, the NSIA sealed the deal with the OCP of Morocco and the Akwa Ibom State government. Partners in the deal include the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria Limited, and Fertiliser Producers & Suppliers Association of Nigeria. Essentially, the MoU comes under NSIA Gas Industrialisation Strategy and would drive implementation of the Multipurpose Industrial Platform project. The project is structured to commercialise Nigeria’s huge natural gas resources and meet Morocco’s demand for cost-competitive ammonia. But $1.4 billion would be invested in building out the plant and its supporting infrastructure with a target operations-commencement date of 2025. On this, ths NISA boss noted that raising the fund for the project would be easy in view of the current liquidity level at both the domestic and the international debt markets. Explaining further, he said the NSIA had planned to raise $400 million from equity and $1 billion from debt instruments but changed the strategy since it now has over $500 million interest from equity interests. According to Orji, the authority will now raise only $900 million from the debt on the overwhelming equity interests seen by the authority. He said: "It could be $900 million, it could be a billion and that is simply because the equity portion of the fund is seeing more interest now than we had planned. So there are a lot of people asking to have the opportunity to invest in equity. The original structure was for us to have about $400 million of equity and a billion dollars of debt. "But at the moment we have over $500 million of equity interest. We might just for

efficiency purposes restrict it to that and $900 million dollars of debt. Now where are we going to raise that? It is very simple. There is a lot of liquidity in the market at the moment. We are having to make a choice as to who will be the underwriter. And if you step back and look at the transaction itself, you have a 100 per cent off take guaranteed and so it is easy to fund projects like that. "I think we are feeling very confident that somewhere at the international market and local market we will be able to raise the debt." The NSIA boss revealed that so far, there has not been agreement yet on the stake of the state-owned petroleum corporation in the partnership. "It hasn't been agreed. At the moment, the partners the OCP and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and NNPC are indicating interest in local content. But I think at the moment, the original partners are NSIA 50 per cent OCP 50 per cent at the development stage and will admit other equity partners soon which will include the NNPC, but the right portions haven't been agreed between the parties". Boosting Healthcare To boost infrastructural development in the healthcare sector, especially in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the NSIA donated 126 units of Patient Monitors and 63 units of Oxygen Concentrators to 21 healthcare institutions across the six geopolitical zones of the country. The move is part of their COVID-19 relief programmes. With the nation’s economy still in recovery, the relief equipment is expected to add to the current stock of critical medical equipment required for the containment of the virus in Nigeria. The supply of oxygen concentrators and patient monitors is expected to boost government's efforts to provide an efficient and effective healthcare response

They attributed the growth in assets to discipline, strategic financial execution and consistent implementation of well-defined infrastructure investment programmes for the year

for those affected by the virus. The shortage of oxygen concentrators and patient monitors had slowed the government's ability in providing an efficient and effective healthcare response for those affected by the virus during the first wave of the pandemic. He said, “We know that our nation is at war with this pervasive enemy and we will ensure that the virus won't spread further. We are happy that the NSIA has assisted in providing these facilities and this equipment is a welcome development. It could not have come at a better time.” He charged the healthcare centres that got the facilities to ensure that they are deployed in a manner that would help to save the lives of Nigerians, adding that "this administration will continue to come up with measures to stop the spread of the virus. We cannot stop the spread if we fail to take responsibility. To those in doubt, COVID-19 is real, wear your face mask, maintain social distancing and if you can, do not travel. I want us to treat everyone as a potential carrier of COVID-19". Still on healthcare, the authority operationalised the NSIA-Kano Diagnostic Centre; operationalised the NSIA-Umuahia Diagnostic Centre and Commissioned Administrative and Training centre for the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre. It also commenced a plan to roll out additional healthcare projects across the country, just as they partnered University College London Consult to develop a pharmaceutical investment strategy with a plan to develop active direct investments in 2021. On this, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, commended the NSIA board for providing the equipment, adding that through this gesture, the authority has been able to demonstrate that investment in healthcare is investment in the economy as it guarantees greater returns, adding that “I want to encourage the NSIA to continue its assistance in the health care sector. The equipment will help to offer succour to families affected by COVID-19". Scorecard In the midst of all the infrastructural renewal going on, penultimate week, the NSIA released its 2020 performance scorecard which revealed that its total assets grew to N981.78 billion in 2020, at a time its counterparts across the world are limping. The N981.78 billion is an increase of N331.93 billion when compared to the N649.85 billion recorded in the previous year. They attributed the growth in assets to discipline, strategic financial execution and consistent implementation of well-defined infrastructure investment programmes for the year. It further weathered the COVID-19 storm owing to strong performance from its investments in international capital markets, improved contribution from subsidiaries and affiliates and exchange gain from foreign currency positions Highlights of NSIA’s activities and performance during the period showed that they recorded 343 per cent growth in Total Comprehensive Income to N160.06 billion in 2020 as against N36.15bn in 2019. Excluding devaluation gain of N51 billion, core income of N109bn was recorded in 2020 compared to N33.07 billion in 2019. The NSIA also received an additional contribution of $250 million; and provided first stabilisation support to the federal government where $150 million was withdrawn from the Stabilisation Fund. Also, to tackle the ongoing pandemic, Orji said the NSIA partnered the Global Citizen, a not-for-profit group, to form the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund. In essence, with all it has achieved and what it still aims to capitalise on, the authority is not slowing on its oars to renew the infrastructural deficit across board.


TUESDAY MAY 18, 2021 • T H I S D AY

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TUESDAY MAY 18, 2021 •T H I S D AY


LAWYER

A

WEEKLY PULLOUT

18.05.2021

MRS FUNKE AGBOR, SAN

‘ADMIRALTY JURISDICTION OF FHC IS BEING ERODED’


2/DASHBOARD

18.05.2021

LAWYER

A

weekly pullout

18.05.2021

Mrs Funke Agbor, sAn

‘AdmirAlty Jurisdiction of fHc is Being eroded’ QuotableS

‘It is so bad, that the Nigerian Army are rationing ammunition!....I have gone round the formations, and I have not seen a Nigerian soldier holding a brand new AK 47 yet. And, I can understand why they cannot do that..... In a budget of N13 trillion, you are allocating less than N30 billion to them......’ - Senator Ali Ndume, Senator representing Borno South, Borno State; Chairman, Senate Committee on the Army, 9th National Assembly, Federal Republic of Nigeria ‘In order to secure the lives and property of every citizen in every State in the country, open grazing, night grazing and underaged grazing will no longer be allowed. It is also in the interest of the Herders....’ - Femi Falana, SAN, Human Rights Lawyer and Activist

Effect of Incomplete Record of Appeal on Appellate Court’s Jurisdiction PAGE 4 All Set for SPIDEL Conference at Ibadan May 23-26 PAGE 5

Police Impunity: NBA Ikeja Chairman Petitions NHRC, IGP and NASS

PAGE 5

Forging a Path for National Rebirth PAGE 6

The Concept of PreElection Matters Under Nigerian Law Simplified PAGE 7


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18.05.2021

Asaba Declaration and Open Grazing Ban Capital Flight Before I go into the ‘Word for Today’, I would like to comment briefly on New Telegraph newspaper’s headline of last Friday, which caught my attention (because of the large amount of money involved) while I was listening to a television anchor going through the dailies. The news story somehow denounced Nigerian Telcos for being owned/ managed predominantly by foreigners, and more importantly, accused them of being responsible for a $2.16 billion annual capital flight from Nigeria, that is, the repatriation of the huge revenues which are earned here in Nigeria, to their own home countries - South Africa, Bahrain, Singapore and so on, thereby denying Nigeria/Nigerians the opportunity of seeing and enjoying the benefits of the monies generated from their own local usage of the Telcos’ services. I would like to make a qualification or clarification, by stating that this allegation must naturally and automatically exclude GLO (Globacom Telecommunications Ltd) which is 100% Nigerian owned, and is obviously not a part of the capital flight which the New Telegraph accused the other Telcos of engaging in. On the contrary, with its revenues, GLO has been able to expand its network, not just to be one of the largest in Nigeria, but enlarge its coast to a few other African countries. Entrepreneurs like Dr Mike Adenuga GCON who have invested heavily, and are still investing in Nigeria, creating jobs for thousands directly and opportunities for millions indirectly, despite the precarious, unpalatable and indeterminate situation which we unfortunately find ourselves in, must therefore, be commended. These days, apart from capital flight, we have people ‘checking out’ like ‘Andrew ’ to Canada, UK, USA, South Africa, Ghana, Cotonou and anywhere else they can gain access to, to live a more serene, sane life, and escape from the unprecedented level of insecurity, unemployment and all the other ills that have encompassed us. As we know, Nigerians are experts at coining catchy buzz words and phrases, the latest being getting a ‘Plan B’, that is, looking for any means available to abscond from Nigeria and start a better life elsewhere. What kind of Leadership do we have? What kind of People are we? But, as some are building, others are pulling down. What type of country has Nigeria become? What kind of leadership do we have, not just the Presidency and the Legislature, but also those who head the various institutions and establishments? What kind of people have we ourselves become? These were some of the questions that agitated my mind last week, when I watched a videoclip of the train tracks which had been sawed off by some criminals, destroying the infrastructure being created for the betterment of Nigeria/Nigerians, as well as putting the lives of commuters in jeopardy and extreme risk, as trains running on tracks which have been tampered with, are most likely to derail and injure or kill people. I wept when I watched a videoclip of Iniobong Umoren’s funeral, and wondered about Investigative Journalist, David Hundeyin’s report that Iniobong’s murder was part of a more sinister plot of either an illegal human organ harvesting operation, or ritual murder on behalf of desperate Politicians. The videoclip of little Esther Chukwuemeka, the daughter of one of the abductees from Greenfield University kidnapped last month, weeping while appealing to the Kidnappers for her mother’s safe return, was particularly heart wrenching, as was the interview of Leah Sharibu’s mother on the occasion of Leah’s 18th birthday last week (she was kidnapped when she was just 14 years old). Have we become so numb and insensitive, with the sole objective of hanging on to political power and/or making money no matter how? As if to rub salt on open wounds, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji ‘Pass the Buck’ made statements about Government knowing where the Kidnappers are, but as usual, passed the buck of Government’s failure to rescue captives, on having to be careful! Professor Yusuf v The Asaba Declaration That Nigeria is presently going through a rough and tremendously difficult time, is not a secret. We therefore, need to be measured in our utterances, instead of aggravating an already heated and troubled polity. Unfortunately, thanks mostly to the Government and Politicians, our country has never been so divided on ethnic and religious lines as it is today; and this is why I thought

perhaps, the videoclip I saw of Professor Usman Yusuf, which was trending on social media last week, must have been somewhat distorted or an incomplete part of a whole taken out of context. I watched the clip a second time, and saw that it was a stand alone comment. Prof Yusuf scornfully and insultingly chided the Southern Governors, for their unanimous decision to ban open grazing, and for making laws without consulting Fulani leaders. This kind of needless, unconscious statement only serves to rile majority of Nigerians instead of healing any wounds, especially for those who may have been brutalised for example, as a result of the Farmer/Herder crisis in places like Benue, Taraba and Ondo States. With the present mood in the country, Prof Yusuf's statement is, at best, confrontational, condescending, arrogant and distasteful. See the case of State v Haruna Usman, where a 15 year old Fulani Herder was found guilty of culpable homicide punishable with death contrary to Section 221 of the Penal Code Act by the then Chief Judge of Kogi State, for stabbing one Happy David to death on his father’s farm, because the deceased had informed his killer that his father’s crops had been sprayed with a pesticide, likely to be harmful to the cattle if they went ahead to graze them on the farm. Usman had repeatedly stabbed Happy in the back, and then fled from the scene. Do Southern Governors now require permission from Fulani leaders, to secure the lives and property of their citizens, which is the primary purpose of Government? (Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria)(as amended in 2018) (the Constitution)? No. Those who have not enacted their anti-open grazing laws, are required to do so forthwith as a follow up to the ban. A pertinent question to ask at this juncture, is whether then Governor of Zamfara State, Ahmed Yerima, consulted the Christians in his State or sought their permission, and if his colleagues also consulted the Christians in their own States too, when they decided to impose the Sharia law in their States, and ban the free and open consumption of alcohol in their States? Did they even consult Section 10 of the Constitution, before they took that step? To the best of my knowledge, in all secular countries, including ours, every individual who has attained the age of 18 years, is permitted by law to consume alcohol, and therefore, placing any restriction on if or how such an adult can consume alcoholic beverages, is a breach of their fundamental human rights, that is, Sections 38(1), 39(1), 41(1) and 42(1)(a) of the Constitution. Consultation with the people has never been that much of a habit with successive administrations; so, why should it be different for the Southern Governors now, especially when they have their work already obviously cut out for them? Even the preamble of the Constitution begins with a falsehood, that the people made certain resolutions (inferring that there was prior consultation and agreement) in making the Constitution, which they did not - the Military did. The Constitution talks about promotion of equality and justice for all Nigerians in its preamble and Section 17(2)(a), so, if the people were not consulted when Sharia Law was adopted even though it is unconstitutional to have done so (Section 10 of the Constitution), why should they be consulted now that open grazing is being banned in order to protect the lives of Nigerians, which is not just a constitutional mandate, but the very essence of Government? Were the livelihoods of those whose occupation was the running of establishments that sell alcoholic beverages in the Sharia States, not truncated when the Sharia laws were passed?

Southern Governors Forum at the Asaba Meeting

Food for Thought Come to think of it, is it really the welfare of the Herders that those complaining about the ban on open grazing are concerned about, or is it the interest of the wealthy cattle owners who employ the Herders, that do not want their milk cart overturned, that is the real issue? The latter is probably the case! The average Nigerian Politician or leader couldn’t care less about the welfare of the common man, aside from securing their votes during elections; so, forgive me for sounding cynical if I believe that the interest of some wealthy cattle owner elites, is what is at stake here. Here’s a little food for thought - it is a known fact that the standard of education in the North is extremely low. The cut off mark for entry into a Unity Secondary School is 2, 3 and 4 (next to nothing) for boys in Yobe, Taraba and Zamfara States respectively, while it is 133, 138 and 139 in Lagos, Imo and Anambra States, respectively (with no distinction between the sexes). My question is, why would the elite who don’t even care about giving the children of the masses a decent education be bothered about herdsmen, unless there is some benefit that accrues to them in the matter? Why are they not as concerned about the education of the children of the common man, when we know that education is one of the keys to a brighter future? Ban of Open Grazing Section 1 of the Land Use Act (LUA), which has been in existence since 1978, vests the land of each State in the Governor, thereby giving them the discretion to accept or refuse to grant rights of occupancy to applicants; applying for land is the lawful way to own or occupy land in States. Prior to the enactment of the LUA, in a judgement delivered by Justice Adewale Thompson in Suit No. AB/26/66 also in 1969, he banned open grazing holding that “...it is inimical to peace and tranquillity, and the cattle owners must fence or ranch their animals for peace to reign in these communities”. This judgement has not been overturned to the best of our knowledge, and therefore, remains the precedent in this regard. How then can anyone allege that the ban on open grazing by the Southern Governors is sudden, when it had been banned since 1969? Again, the writing has been very clearly on the wall, since 2016 (five years ago) and 2017 when Ekiti and Benue States respectively, enacted their anti-open grazing laws as a result of the escalation of attacks on their people. It was only a matter of time for other States to follow suit, like the Northern Governors followed suit with Sharia law, especially as many of them had had their own fair share of attacks. The debate on this matter, has raged on on the front burner for at least the last five years; so, what stopped organisations like Miyetti Allah in five years, from making alternative arrangements for their members, in preparation for the inevitable? A Better Way Forward I would have expected Prof Yusuf to make more edifying and conciliatory statements instead of the divisive one he made; to encourage all the Governors, including those from the North, to have their various Houses of Assembly enact laws prohibiting open grazing, if this is a viable solution to the Farmer/Herder crisis and reducing the other security concerns that Nigeria is drowning in today, and suggest alternatives for the Herders, like organising ranches for them, starting immediately in the 24 States which

“......IS IT REALLY THE WELFARE OF THE HERDERS THAT THOSE COMPLAINING ABOUT THE BAN ON OPEN GRAZING ARE CONCERNED ABOUT, OR IS IT THE INTEREST OF THE WEALTHY CATTLE OWNERS WHO EMPLOY THE HERDERS, THAT DO NOT WANT THEIR MILK CART OVERTURNED, THAT IS THE REAL ISSUE?”

the Governor of Kogi State stated are willing to provide land for same. Enough loquaciousness; more action. If there are States willing to provide ranches, why delay? It is no longer news that even the Herders themselves are at risk, since criminals who acquire a couple of cattle and disguise themselves as Herders as their alibi, have infiltrated their ranks, also stealing their cattle and murdering them for good measure. It has been proven that ranching will not only be safer and more lucrative for the Herders, they themselves will be able to receive free adult education (Section 18(3)(c) of the Constitution) and other benefits, like learning modern methods of animal husbandry to boost their businesses if they are stationed in one place, as opposed to constantly being on the move. Conclusion The security situation of Nigeria, is spiralling out of control, and it is obvious that we cannot continue to do things the same way, and expect a different result. I think it is time to start telling ourselves some home truths, instead of trying to be politically correct, so as not to ruffle feathers. If we want peace to reign in one Nigeria, then the interests of all of us must be taken into consideration as a whole, well balanced and fairly. It will be difficult for a nation that is built on corruption, inequity, inequality, bias and partiality, to stand strong on such a shaky foundation. Is having meat more important than having food produce? No. They are equally important. We need them both. Then again, without security, it would be impossible to have either, let alone sit down to enjoy them.


4/LAW REPORT

Effect of Incomplete Record of Appeal on Appellate Court’s Jurisdiction Facts The Respondent instituted an action against the Appellant seeking inter alia, a declaration that his purported dismissal from the Appellant’s employment is null, void and of no effect. At the conclusion of trial, the trial court delivered judgement in favour of the Respondent. Dissatisfied with the judgement of the trial court, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal. However, in transmitting the Record of Appeal, certain exhibits tendered at the trial court and which the trial court heavily relied on in reaching its decision, were not transmitted along with the record of appeal. The Registrar of the Court of Appeal was directed to contact the trial court as well as the counsel for the parties, to intimate them of the situation and for appropriate action to be taken. The Deputy Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal wrote a letter to the Chief Registrar of the trial court, requesting for the transmission of the exhibits. Also, a staff of the Litigation Department of the Court of Appeal allegedly contacted the parties, to no avail. The said staff deposed to an affidavit, stating the steps taken to contact the parties and the trial court. The affidavit was filed on 1st July, 2013 and upon service of same, the Appellant took steps to retrieve the exhibits which were transmitted by the trial court to the registry of the Court of Appeal by a letter dated 2nd July, 2013. The Court of Appeal however, declined to accept the exhibits, and this made the Appellant file a counter-affidavit to the affidavit of the staff in the Litigation Department of the Court of Appeal. Notwithstanding the above, on 4th July, 2013, the Court of Appeal delivered judgement in the matter, dismissing the appeal for non-production of exhibits material to the appeal. Dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, the Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court. Issue for Determination The following sole issue was determined by the Apex Court Whether the Court of Appeal was right by dismissing Appeal No. CA/PH/433/2008: Access Bank Plc v Mr. A.N.C Onwuliri for failure on the part of the Trial Court Registry to transmit along with the record of appeal, all the exhibits tendered at the High Court. Arguments Counsel for the Appellant submitted that the responsibility for compilation and transmission of the record of appeal is tripartite, as same rests on the court as well as the Appellant and the Respondent. He referred to Order 8 Rules 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2007 which is similar to Order 8 Rules 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2011. Counsel argued that the primary duty of compilation and transmission of record, is on the court whose decision is appealed against. He stated that before the 2007 Rules came into existence, it was the sole responsibility of the Registrar of the lower court. He referred to Order 3, Rules 13 and 21 (5) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2002 and the case of NWANA v F.C.D.A. (2007) 11 NWLR (Pt. 1044) 59 at 79-80 H-D, 80 F-G. However, by Order 8, Rule 1 of the 2007 Rules, the Registry of the lower court has 60 days to compile and transmit the record, while the Appellant had to wait for the 60 days given to the Registry to elapse before taking any further step. Further, counsel contended on behalf of the Appellant that an appellate court hearing an appeal has a duty to ensure that the records settled by the parties are completely transmitted, and in the event of any omission, the appellate court ought to make diligent efforts to procure same before determining the appeal. He relied on OKOCHI v ANIMKWOI (2003) 18 NWLR (Pt. 851) at 23 D-E. He argued that the Court of Appeal did not make appropriate recourse to the Appellant or the trial court, and from its counter-affidavit, it is clear that the Appellant was not contacted. He stated that immediately the Appellant was served with the affidavit filed by the staff of the Litigation Department of the Court of Appeal, steps were taken to retrieve the exhibits from the trial court, but the Court of Appeal refused to accept the exhibits. Counsel also contended that the Court of Appeal was wrong, to have dismissed the appeal. He submitted that the courts have consistently held that the proper order to make where the record

Honourable Kudirat Motonmori Olatokunbo Kekere-Ekun, JSC

In the Supreme Court of Nigeria Holden at Abuja On Friday, the 15th day of January, 2021 Before Their Lordships

Olabode Rhodes-Vivour Kudirat Motonmori Olatokunbo Kekere-Ekun Chima Centus Nweze Amina Adamu Augie Uwani Musa Abba Aji Justices, Supreme Court SC.657/2013 Between Access Bank Plc

Mr. A.N.C. Onwuliri … …

… And …

Appellant …

Respondent

(Lead Judgement delivered by Honourable Kudirat Motonmori Olatokunbo Kekere-Ekun, JSC)

“.....THE COMPILATION AND TRANSMISSION OF A COMPLETE RECORD OF APPEAL, IS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO THE ASSUMPTION OF JURISDICTION BY THE APPELLATE COURT.... WHERE THE EXHIBITS OR OTHER MATERIAL ASPECTS OF THE

is incomplete, is to remit the case to the trial court for retrial. He referred to the case of ENGINEERING ENTERPRISE OF NIGER CONTRACTOR CO. OF NIGRERIA v A-G KADUNA STATE (1987) 2 NWLR (Pt. 57) 381, amongst other cases. In response, counsel for the Respondent contented that the cases of NWANA v FCDA (SUPRA) and OKOCHI v ANIMKWOI (SUPRA) cited by the Appellant were decided under the 1981 and 2002 Court of Appeal Rules, in which it was the sole responsibility of the Registrar to compile and transmit records, and there was no prescribed time limit. He submitted that it was for this reason that the court held in those cases that the failure of an officer of the court to discharge his responsibility would not be allowed to defeat the constitutional right of a litigant. Counsel posited that under Order 8, Rule 4 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2007, upon default by the Registrar to compile and transmit the record within 60 days, it becomes mandatory for the Appellant to do so. He argued that after the Registrar defaults, the Registrar becomes the Appellant’s agent and the responsibility for any act or omission falls back on the principal. Counsel submitted further that the Appellant failed to comply with the condition precedent to the presentation and prosecution of a valid appeal; and consequently, the lower court lacked jurisdiction to hear an appeal on an incomplete record. He cited MUTUAL LIFE AND GENERAL INSURANCE v KODI IHEME (2012) ALL FWLR (Pt.610) 1401 at 1409 G-H. He stated that the Court of Appeal was right to have dismissed the appeal, and that the Appellant’s plea that the matter be remitted to the trial court for retrial is a ruse to continue to deny the Respondent the fruit of his judgement. Court’s Judgement and Rationale Deciding the sole issue, the Supreme Court held that an appeal is in the nature of a rehearing in respect of all the issues raised in a case, and the importance of transmission of a complete record to the appellate court cannot be over-emphasised. A complete record consists of all the proceedings in the lower court, including the processes filed that are relevant to the just determination of the appeal, as well as the exhibits tendered. The rules governing the compilation and transmission of records, have evolved over the years. Before the Court of Appeal Rules, 2007, the Registrar of the court from which the appeal arose had sole responsibility of compiling and transmitting the record. However, Order 8, Rules 1,2,3,4 and 6 of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2007 placed additional responsibility on the Appellant, and where applicable, the Respondent. The Registrar of the court has the initial responsibility to compile and transmit the records to the Court of Appeal, within 60 days after the filing of the Notice of Appeal. Where he fails to do so within the specified time, it becomes mandatory for the Appellant to compile and transmit the record. The Apex Court held that the compilation and transmission of a complete record of appeal is a condition precedent to the assumption of jurisdiction by the appellate court. However, where the court is bereft of jurisdiction, the proper order to make is an order of striking out, not dismissal since the appeal has not been heard on the merit. Their Lordships further held that where the exhibits or other material aspects of the record cannot be traced at all, the consequential order to make, is one remitting the case back to the trial court for re-trial. In this case, the exhibits were eventually transmitted to the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court, consequently, directed the appeal to be remitted to the Court of Appeal for re-hearing before another panel of the court.

RECORD CANNOT BE TRACED

Appeal Allowed.

AT ALL, THE CONSEQUENTIAL

Representation T.J. Krukrubo with D.D. Killi and S.M. Tsado for the Appellant.

ORDER TO MAKE IS ONE REMITTING THE CASE BACK TO THE TRIAL COURT FOR RE-TRIAL"

Benjamin Obiora for the Respondent. Reported by Optimum Publishers Limited, Publishers of the Nigerian Monthly Law Reports (NMLR) (An Affiliate of Babalakin & Co.)


NEWS/5

18.05.2021

All Set for SPIDEL Conference at Ibadan May 23-26 Jude Igbanoi The Nigerian Bar Association’s Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) has finalised plans to deliver an A-Class Annual Conference for Nigerian Lawyers. The conference which holds from Sunday, May 23 to Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at the world-class Jogor Centre in Ibadan, Oyo State, is expected to attract the who-is-who in the Nigerian legal community, including all cadre of Lawyers, Judges, Legislators and the Executive. At a media parley at the Bar Centre, Ikeja last week, Chairman of the Conference Planning Committee and former NBA 1st Vice President, Mr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani said the theme of the conference is “The Role of Public Interest in Governance in Nigeria”. He said ‘Aside from the eagerly awaited opening ceremony, a plenary session on “The Imperatives of Public Interest

L-R: Emeka Nwadioke, Monday Ubani, Prof. Paul Ananaba, SAN, Ayo Ademiluyi, Victor Nwakasi in Governance in Nigeria” will hold immediately afterwards. ‘The technical sessions will hold on May 24 and May 25 with varying sub-themes including “Internal security: a prerequisite for national development (legality and efficacy of regional vigilantes and other security frame-

works);” “Internal security: A prerequisite for national development (legality and efficacy of public inquiry by State governments – issues on violent protests and recovery of assets),” and “When the State truly defends: Assessing the role of Office of the Public Defender of Lagos State &

other institutional schemes for access to justice by the public.” Other sessions are “Anticorruption model: Asset declaration, public access and emerging issues;” “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Assessing Nigeria’s progress - focus discussion on gender

equality, climate action, peace, justice and strong institutions;” “Third party data capturing for national identification numbers project: national security and privacy issues;” “Paternity fraud in Nigeria: Legal and social implications”; “Showcase session on public interest lawyering: Capacity building and enhancement of practice skills on public interest lawyering – a continuing professional development perspective” and “NBA Public Interest Litigation Committee: Broadening the strategy for NBA’s intervention in public interest lawyering”. ‘With over 60 leading speakers having confirmed their participation, the annual conference promises to be highly intellectually rewarding. Some of the speakers include Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN; Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan; Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, and House of Representatives Speaker,

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Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila. ‘Other speakers are the Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN; NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata; former Deputy Senate President, Dr Ike Ekweremadu; EFCC Chairman, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa; INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu; ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN; Legal Aid Council Director-General, Mr. Aliyu Abubakar; National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Executive Secretary, Mr. Tony Ojukwu; Oyo State Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, SAN, and leading Political Economist, Prof. Pat Utomi. ‘Aside from Minority Senate Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Senator Dino Melaye, the human rights community is fully represented by fiery human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN; Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, Aisha Yesufu, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa, SAN, Mr. Jiti Ogunye, Mr. Liborous Oshoma and Mallam Mahdi Shehu among others. Among the Governors who have committed to attend the annual conference are the host Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde; Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN and his Bauchi State counterpart, Senator Bala Mohammed. Other speakers are Oyo State Chief Judge, Justice Munta Abimbola, and pioneer NBA-SPIDEL Chairman, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, among others. ‘The hybrid conference will host delegates at the expansive Jogor Centre in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols, while several sideline social events and a State Banquet have been planned to ensure that delegates experience the best that the ancient city of Ibadan can offer. ‘It is recalled that Governor Makinde had during a courtesy visit by NBA-SPIDEL delegation, assured that adequate security would be provided for the delegates throughout their stay in Ibadan. ‘Curtains will be drawn on the conference with the election of a new leadership to take over from current NBA-SPIDEL Chairman, Prof. Paul Ananaba, SAN, following his outstanding revival of the once moribund but influential NBA section’, Ubani said.

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Forging a Path for National Rebirth The Imperative of a New Constitutional Framework Dr Wole Kunuji “Recent events have shown that it is not possible for the three regions of Nigeria to work together effectively in a Federation so closely knit, as that provided by the present Constitution. Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, while greatly regretting this, considers that the Constitution will have to be redrawn to provide for greater regional autonomy, and for the removal of powers of intervention by the Centre in matters which can, without detriment to other Regions, be placed entirely within regional competence….” Sir Oliver Lyttleton, UK Secretary of State for the Colonies, House of Commons Debate, 5th series, 515, 21 May, 1953, cols.2263-2264. Introduction The recent surge in the clamour for a reconfiguration of Nigeria’s extant political arrangement has, once again, drawn critical attention to the national question. The national question cannot be suppressed, neither can it be ignored. It is a prickling issue at the very heart of the Nigerian project. It queries the propriety of our current centripetal federalism and challenges us to make apposite paradigmatic changes. It draws attention to the fact that there is something fundamentally wrong with the idea of running a multi-ethnic state like Nigeria with approaches that are essentially centralist, as is currently the case. Indeed to continue to do so, despite glaring structural anomalies, is to be deliberately blind to the Nigerian reality. The long-term survival of Nigeria as a corporate entity is inexorably tied to the country’s ability to strike a convenient balance between the competing centripetal and centrifugal tendencies in the polity. This is what the national question challenges us to do. And unless this is conscientiously and expeditiously pursued, Nigeria, as we currently know it, may deleteriously unravel in the not-too-distant future. The National Question What is the national question, and to what extent is it important at this critical stage of the nation’s history? In his 2016 book, “The National Question and Corruption”, eminent constitutionalist, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, writes that the national question “is concerned with how, while preserving something of their separate identities, the immense number of diverse ethnic groups comprised in the territorial area of the state created with the name Nigeria and forcibly imposed by British colonialism, can be coalesced and united into one nation and how the state so created can order the relations among the constituent groups to facilitate such coalescing…” Inherent in Nwabueze’s conceptualisation of the national question, are two distinct issues that are now well settled in the literature. The first is that Nigeria, as currently structured, is made up of several ethnic nationalities that are remarkably distinct and separate in identity. The second is that these disparate ethnic formations were forcibly cobbled together and coercively brought under a single state system by British colonialists. Historians have documented how, in a bid to facilitate easy administration of their conquered territories, the colonial authorities lumped together strikingly different ethnicities that were hitherto separated by language, culture, religion, social orientation, and politics. The ethnic groups were brought together under new political arrangements that were evidently faulty and thus bound to generate inter-ethnic strife. This lumping together, facilitated by colonial conquests, continued well into the 1890s and early 1900s and culminated in the (in)famous amalgamation of the Northern and Southern territories of Nigeria in 1914. The 1914 amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria is noteworthy for two major reasons. First, the scheme of amalgamation was designed and implemented solely by the colonial authorities through Sir Frederick Lugard, the colonial Governor of Nigeria. The plan, scheme and mode of amalgamation were entirely the work of Lugard. Lugard himself confirms this in his detailed account of the amalgamation, contained in a report he filed to the colonial authorities in England after the event (see F.D Lugard, Nigeria: Report on Amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria, and Administration, 1912-1919 [London: H.M.S.O, 1919] pp 1-8). Lugard made no attempt whatsoever to consult or gain the consent of the peoples and territories that formed the object of this amalgamation. The amalgamation was unilaterally conceived, unilaterally designed, and forcefully imposed on the “natives.” Indeed, “Nigeria”, the new name given to the amalgamated territories was coined by Miss Flora Shaw, a Briton who later became the wife of Sir Lugard, the colonial Governor of Nigeria. The 1914 amalgamation cobbled together more than 250 large ethnicities each of which had

Dr Wole Kunuji its own distinct identity, economic orientation, political traditions, and religious culture before the arrival of the British. The arbitrariness of the amalgamation, done without any regard for history, ethnicity, and culture, set the stage for the ethnic rivalry, strife and bigotry that have characterised inter-ethnic relations in Nigeria ever since. In a bid to ensure their individual survival, regain their autonomy, and preserve their identities and dignities, Nigeria’s many ethnic groups have, for decades, remained locked in a spirited but acrimonious struggle for power and ascendancy. Quo Vadis?- A New Constitutional Framework The question that arises from the foregoing is, how should Nigeria address the injustice, insensitivity, and indiscretion of the 1914 amalgamation and the structural imbalances occasioned by it? Suggestions on the appropriate approach for addressing Nigeria’s problematic statehood have been varied and wide ranging. However, one suggestion that has become very prominent of late is the call for fragmentation, that is, a breakup of Nigeria into several republics such as happened to the defunct USSR in the early 1990s. The problem with this approach is the potential difficulties inherent in it. Apart from the potential economic, logistical, and administrative difficulties that will most certainly attend such a process, breaking away to start afresh will undoubtedly lead to

“NIGERIA IS CURRENTLY AT A CROSS-ROAD. THERE IS NO BETTER TIME TO DISCUSS THE NIGERIAN PROJECT, THAN NOW. ALL THE INDICES AND SIGNS OF A FAILING STATE ARE ALREADY STARING US IN THE FACE. OUR LEADERS MUST STAND UP TO SAVE THE COUNTRY FROM DISINTEGRATING......”

fresh struggles for power and ascendancy within the new republics. We have seen this happen in South Sudan, a country that seceded from the Republic of Sudan in 2013. Till today, South Sudan is yet to properly settle down. Neither has it been able to fully focus on the business of governance. The country’s secession from Sudan led to the emergence of new political factions and new claims to power within the new State, leading to years of ethnically driven conflict. The intense internal struggle for power among these new centres of power, has completely crippled governance and plunged South Sudan into untold crisis and poverty. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic country and there is no guarantee that should the country become fragmented as is being advocated in some quarters, there would be no new struggles for power among the ethnic groups or clans that constitute any break-away State, as has happened in South Sudan. Such are the uncertainties inherent in the fragmentation option. The most viable solution to the existential problem of Nigeria is to painstakingly and democratically work out, through a new constitutional framework, the parameters under which the several ethnicities and nationalities that constitute the Nigerian State can peacefully cohabit without sacrificing their age-long desire for significant local autonomy. This is the issue that forms the crux of the national question. The Nigerian Government has a huge role to play in facilitating the resolution of this national question. Without the cooperation of the existing federal government, evidenced by the right political will and the willingness to genuinely midwife the Nigeria of our dreams, resolution of the national question will remain a pipe-dream, and the current chaos ravaging the Nigerian State will continue unabated. What then can the federal Government do to facilitate the resolution of the national question and pull Nigeria back from the edge of the precipice? As things stand today, the Federal Government needs to urgently facilitate the birthing of a new constitution that will straighten out the terms of our collective existence as one indivisible State. I will briefly suggest some practical steps which the current Government may wish to pursue in order to actualise this. First, the Government should set up a Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) made up of eminent constitutionalists drawn from all over the country. The CDC should be asked to review the reports and recommendations of all constitutional conferences ever held in our checkered history as a State. The CDC should also examine and review all our previous constitutional texts, especially the 1963 constitution which, by any yardstick, remains the most “federal” of all our constitutions till date. The above mentioned documents contain views that have been expressed by Nigerians at various times in the past on how Nigeria’s federal system should be structured. Using these documents, the CDC should then prepare a draft constitution for Nigeria. This draft constitution should be submitted to a Constituent Assembly popularly elected for the purpose of thoroughly debating the draft constitution. Membership of the Constituent Assembly should be drawn from all the 774 local governments in Nigeria. Following the Constituent’s Assembly’s deliberation on and review of the draft constitution, a final draft adopted by the Constituent Assembly should be presented to Nigerians for ratification at a

properly conducted referendum. All Nigerians of voting age should be allowed to participate in this referendum. The new constitution should then be submitted to the President of Nigeria who shall, in concert with the existing National Assembly, complete the formalities of promulgating the new constitution. The above is just an outline of the steps that should be taken to ensure that the new constitution emanates through a genuinely democratic constitution making process. No doubt, the process outlined above has its own possible challenges. However, those challenges can be mitigated or avoided altogether through measures that I have discussed, in detail, in a forthcoming book on “Constitution Making in Federal Systems.” For now, suffice it to say that the constitution making technique set out above represents the best way to ensure that the ensuing constitution is truly an Act of the Nigerian people. It must be emphasised that it is not the duty of the existing National Assembly to make a new Constitution for Nigeria. Nowhere in the extant 1999 constitution, fundamentally flawed as that document is, is the National Assembly empowered to embark on the process of making a new constitution, from start to finish. Constitution making in a multi-ethnic State is a fundamental and organic process that must be managed and owned by the people themselves in conjunction with representatives that they have specifically chosen for the sole purpose of making a constitution for them. In essence, the process that births the constitution must be genuinely and thoroughly autochthonous. Although it is true that section 9 of the 1999 constitution empowers the National Assembly to amend aspects of the constitution as the need arises, what Nigeria needs at this critical point in her history is not piecemeal amendment of the constitution, as currently being done by the National Assembly. What is needed at a time when insecurity, civil unrest, militancy, power struggles, poverty, corruption, and other forms of social upheaval are threatening to tear the country apart, is a new constitutional framework adopted by a popularly elected Constituent Assembly, and ratified by all Nigerians of voting age at a democratically conducted referendum. The 1999 constitution is an elitist framework foisted on Nigeria by the Military on the eve of their departure from office in 1999. It is a lifeless document that is completely detached from the reality of Nigeria. To dust up this document and insist that it is the basis on which Nigeria must be governed is to play the ostrich despite glaring deficiencies in our current governance arrangement. Conclusion In the last few paragraphs, I have highlighted and discussed a major cause of the separatist and secessionist campaigns currently rocking the Nigerian State, to wit, the arbitrarily contrived amalgamation of 1914 which disregarded consultation, and paid no attention to history, culture, ethnicity, and politics. The ethnicities, kingdoms, city-states, and empires that were insensitively lumped together under the 1914 arrangement, have remained locked in a convulsive battle for power and ascendancy ever since. The failure of Lugard and his colonial superiors to first engage the inhabitants of these distinct and hitherto independent territories in discussions on how they would relate with each other under the amalgamation arrangement, has continued to haunt the Nigerian project. It is very likely indeed that the chaotic campaigns for separation and secession will continue, until this national question is appropriately confronted and resolved. The way out is for the current Government of Nigeria to rise up to the occasion, jettison conservatism and put in motion the process for the birthing of a truly democratic Constitution that is genuinely federal in character. The new Constitution must foster unity, without discountenancing diversity. It must enhance togetherness, without suppressing local autonomy. This, candidly, is the only way out for a multi-national State like Nigeria. The parameters for fostering unity and entrenching significant local autonomy at the same time, are the issues to be discussed at the Constituent Assembly and ratified by the Nigerian people at the referendum proposed above. Nigeria is currently at a cross-road. There is no better time to discuss the Nigerian project, than now. All the indices and signs of a failing State are already staring us in the face. Our leaders must stand up to save the country from disintegrating, by embarking on a genuine process of restructuring through a new constitutional framework. Only then will our children and grandchildren be able to look back several years hence and say “this, indeed, was their finest hour (Winston Churchill)” Dr. Wole Kunuji, LLM (Cantab), Ph.D (Warwick), Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos


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The Concept of Pre-Election Matters Under Nigerian Law Simplified This article by learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Tunde Babalola, discusses the issue of pre-election matters, that is, matters that occur before the actual election; how they originate, their classification, and their importance Meaning of Pre-election matters lection litigation is bound to occur in an electoral process. This is because, before every general election is conducted in Nigeria, the Political Parties are required by law to conduct internal primary elections to nominate candidates that would represent the various parties at the general election. Disputes often arise from issues of qualification, disqualification, nomination, substitution, conduct of primaries and sponsorship of candidates for the general election. These are pre-election matters. Thus, pre-election matters occur from preparations towards the general election. In other words, pre-election matters are, as the name implies, matters that occurred before the general election itself. “They are live issues that must be heard and a judgment delivered. Litigations arising from party primaries, e.g., substitution of candidates. Complaints about the conduct of primaries are pre-election matters.” Per Rhodes-Vivour J.S.C. in A.P.C. v LERE (2020) 1 NWLR (PT. 1705) 254 at 279. Therefore, a number of matters arising from disputes which arise before the General Election are referred to as pre-election matters. The following matters have been classified by the courts as pre-election matters: (1) nomination of candidates, (2) double nomination of a candidate, (3) disqualification of a candidate, (4) wrongful substitution of a successful candidate’s name by the Electoral Body, (5) wrongful omission of a successful candidate’s name on the register, (6) complaints about the conduct of primaries, (7) false declaration on oath about particulars of a candidate. See A.P.C. v LERE (SUPRA), MODIBO v USMAN (2020) 3 NWLR (PT 1712) 470 at 500 – 515, GBILEVE v ADDINGI (2014) 16 NWLR (PT 1433) 394.

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Importance of Pre-Election Matters The importance of pre-election matters cannot be overemphasised, as they are live issues which must be determined by the court and judgement delivered, even after the general election has been conducted and a candidate has been sworn in to occupy an exalted position such as a Senator, member of the Federal House of Representatives or Governor. This is corroborated by what transpired recently, after the 2019 General Elections, when a Governor was ousted just before the swearing-in ceremony, some Senators and Members of House of Representatives were ousted by the Supreme Court on account of pre-election matters after swearing- in and inauguration ceremony. See P.D.P. v DEGI-EREYMIENYO & ORS (2020) 1 -2 SC (PT. 1), A.P.C V. LERE (supra) and MODIBO v USMAN (supra). Constitutional Provisions for Pre-election matters The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended) makes provisions for pre-election matters and gives its definition. See Section 285 (14) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). The said provisions of section 285(14) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been judicially considered by the Supreme Court in the cases of APC v UMAR (2019) 8 NWLR (PT. 1675) 564, KUSAMOTU v APC (2019) 7NWLR (PT.1670) 51. See also, the recent, unreported Supreme Court decision of APC v Dele Moses & Ors, SC/ CV/29/2021, delivered on 5th March 2021 at page 22 of the lead judgment, per Augie J.S.C., where my noble Lord, summarised the meaning of pre-election matters under Section 285(14)(a) -(c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Analysis of the Constitutional Provisions of Section 285(14) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) By the said provisions of Section 285 (14) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the sub-section recognises three (3) different types of pre-election matters under paragraphs (a) - (c). (1): Paragraph (a): deals with the complaint by an aspirant (targeted at his political party), that there has been failure to comply with the Electoral Act, party constitution or party guidelines in the conduct of the party’s primary election in respect of selection and nomination of candidates for the said primary election. This simply deals with a suit under Section 87(9) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) which can be commenced at the Federal High Court, State High Court and High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“.....PRE-ELECTION MATTERS ARE, AS THE NAME IMPLIES, MATTERS THAT OCCURRED BEFORE THE GENERAL ELECTION ITSELF..... PRE-ELECTION MATTERS OCCUPY A SENSITIVE AND SIGNIFICANT POSITION IN THE NIGERIAN ELECTORAL LAW”

Tunde Babalola, SAN

Please see Section 87(9) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). Thus, where a political party conducts its primaries and an aggrieved aspirant at the primaries complains about the conduct of the primaries, in respect of selection and nomination of candidates for the election, the Courts by virtue of Sections 285(14) (a) and 87(9) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) has the requisite jurisdiction to determine whether the party complied with its’ own constitution and party guidelines during the said primaries. The Court has held that in the conduct of its primaries, it will never allow a political party to act arbitrarily or as it likes. A party must obey its own constitution. See UZODINMA v IZUNASO (NO.2) (2011) 17 NWLR (PT. 1275) 30, A.P.C v LERE (supra). (2): Paragraph (b): deals with the complaint by an aspirant, [targeted at Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC)], that actions, decisions or activities of INEC did not comply with the Electoral Act, or complaint that the provisions of the Electoral Act or any Act of the National Assembly, pertaining to selection or nomination of candidates and participation in an election have not been complied with by INEC. In other words, this covers complaints about INEC not complying with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act pertaining to selection or nomination of candidates and participation in an election. It deals with aspirants who challenge actions, decisions or activities of INEC in respect of their participation in an election. Please see APC v Dele Moses & Ors (supra). Thus, an aspirant can rightfully seek redress in court for any of the above infractions by INEC. Typical examples are registration of voters, delineation of constituencies, formation of political parties, updating of voters’ register, regulation of the conduct of political parties etc. (3): Paragraph (c): deals with cases by a political party (targeted at INEC) for its administrative decisions or actions regarding a party's candidate's nomination or disqualification. It includes suits by a political party in connection with an election time table, registration of voters and other activities of INEC regarding preparation for an election. It includes for instance, cases of undue election. See GWEDE v INEC (2014) 18 NWRL (PT.1438) 56. In other words, paragraph (c), deals with political parties that challenge actions, decisions or activities of INEC in respect of nominations of candidates for an election, timetable for an election, registration of voters and other activities in respect of preparation for an election. Please see APC v Dele Moses & Ors (supra). Definition of Pre-election matter by the provisions of Section 285(14) of the 1999 Constitution is not exhaustive. The provisions of Section 285 (14) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) in defining a pre-election

matter is not exhaustive. Thus, it preceded the definition of pre-election matter with this phrase – “for the purpose of this” - See OKOLI V. DURU & ORS (2006) LPELR 12601 (CA) 21-22. Thus, it is humbly submitted that pre-election matters can emanate from other sources in law. This is contained in section 31(5) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) which provides thus: "Any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that any information given by a candidate in the affidavit or any document submitted given by that candidate is false may file a suit at the Federal High Court, High court of a state or FCT against such person seeking a declaration that the information contained in the affidavit is false." It is posited that the above provision creates another specie of a pre-election matter which clothes any person with the requisite locus standi (capacity to sue) to challenge the information supplied by a candidate of a political party before the general election. Thus, where any person (not an aspirant or a political party) believes that a candidate has furnished false information in his affidavit on oath or any document, inclusive of his nomination form to INEC, may commence an action against him in the High Court, FCT High Court or Federal High Court. This has been judicially construed in plethora of cases. Please see: ABUBAKAR V INEC (2020) 12 NWLR (PT. 1737) 37, EKAGBARA v IKPEAZU (2016) 4 NWLR (PT.1503) 411. Constitutional Provision on limitation of time for commencement of Pre-election matters in court It is pertinent to note that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended) provides for limitation of time for the commencement of pre-election matters under section 285 (9) thereof. It provides thus: "9) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution any pre-election matter shall be filed not later than 14 days from the date of the occurrence of the event, decision or action complained in the suit." This provision has come up for consideration before the Supreme Court in a plethora of cases. See GARBA v A.P.C (2020) 2 NWLR (PT.1708) 345 at 360. Alas! Application of the above Constitutional provision has resulted in the dismissal or striking out of some cases in court for being statute barred, (even though there is a reasonable, genuine and compassionate cause of action), where the matters are filed outside the prescribed time limit of 14 days. Hence, it is very critical for pre-election matters to be filed within 14 days of the accrual of the cause of action, otherwise no matter how compelling or compassionate the case of the litigant is, the matter will be statute barred and struck out or dismissed by the Court. Constitutional Provision on limitation of time for hearing and determination of Pre-election

matters There is a Constitutional provision for the time within which to hear and determine a pre-election matter. That is the time within which the case must be heard and judgment delivered. This is because in election related matters, time is of the essence. Thus, section 285 (10) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, (as amended) stipulates thus: "A court in every pre-election matter shall deliver its judgment in writing within 180 days from the date of filing of the suit" The importance of this provision cannot be overemphasised as cases (even though compelling) have also been struck out or dismissed by the appellate courts as the case was heard and determined outside the prescribed time limit of 180 days. See USMAN ABUBAKAR TUGGAR v ADAMU MUHAMMAD BULICA CHUWA & ORS (2019) LPELR 47883 Constitutional Provisions on limitation of time for filing, hearing and determination of appeals in Pre-election matters Finally, there are also Constitutional provisions on limitation of time for filing, hearing and determination of appeals in Pre-election matters. Hence, Section 285(11) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended) provides: “An appeal from a decision in a pre-election matter shall be filed within 14 days from the date of delivery of the judgment appealed against.” Also, the provision of Section 285 (12) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended) provides: “An appeal from a decision of a court in a pre-election matter shall be heard and disposed of within 60 days from the date of filing of the appeal” Hence, the above two constitutional provisions govern limitation of time regarding filing, hearing and determination of appeals in Pre-election matters. Accordingly, pre-election matters have been struck out by the appellate courts on the ground that the appeal was not filed within the stipulated period of 14 days or was not heard and determined within 60 days. See TOYIN v MUSA (2019) 9 NWLR (PT 1676) 22. Conclusion In view of the foregoing, it is crystal clear that pre-election matters occupy a sensitive and significant position in the Nigerian Electoral Law. Therefore, the political parties, candidates and the electoral umpire (INEC) must ensure that they follow the rules and regulations under the laws. Their watchword must be fairness, justice and adherence to the provisions of the Electoral laws. Tunde Babalola, SAN, Partner, Afe Babalola & Co., Emmanuel Chambers, Abuja


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‘Admiralty Jurisdiction of Nigeria’s dream of becoming West Africa’s shipping hub got a boost in 2004 with the passage of the Cabotage Act; but, doubts have been expressed as to whether the Nigerian maritime sector has really taken advantage of the Act and maximised its benefits. Mrs Funke Agbor, SAN, a Partner in ACAS-Law which recently went into a combination with global law firm, Dentons, has come into prominence as one of Nigeria’s leading maritime Lawyers and Arbitrators. She recently emerged as the President of the Nigerian Maritime Law Association, and in a chat last week, she gave Onikepo Braithwaite and Jude Igbanoi a brief overview of the maritime sector in Nigeria, and her concerns about the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in the MT Sam Purpose case, which she believes has eroded the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court. She further expressed her optimism about the establishment of a National Shipping Line, and more female Lawyers taking Silk

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n a jurisdiction where partnerships hardly thrive, Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun has continued to weather the storm and forge ahead as one of the leading law partnerships in Nigeria. Kindly, share with us the secret of ACAS-Law’s unity and staying power? Kindly, tell us about your new relationship with foreign law firm, Dentons The first part of your question is one that I get asked often, and honestly, I believe that if you ask any of my partners this question, including partners you have not mentioned, they will offer a similar answer. I have been fortunate to have partners who are honest, have strong moral principles, and share the same vision for the kind of law firm I wanted to create. It sounds simplistic, but as a result, we are all pulling in the same direction and enjoying the challenge. One key issue that was settled from inception and which has paved the way for sustaining our unity, concerns our agreement to build a law firm that would succeed its founders. The process by which this transition is to be achieved, with milestones, is written into our partnership agreement and we consider its enforcement the ultimate test against which we will measure our success. It is not the norm in Nigeria for founder-led law firms, to willingly hand over the proverbial keys to the Mercedes to the next generation. Our shared faith in God, is also a key element of our unity of purpose and goals. While not claiming to be perfect as no one is, it however, keeps us in check and ensures that our moral hazard avoidance quotient is remains high. This has helped us traverse the murky waters sometimes encountered, in the day to day of practice of law. With respect to Dentons, our combination was launched on 26 April when we re-branded as Dentons ACAS-Law. Dentons is a global law firm, with presence in 204 locations across more than 80 countries. Our shared infrastructure is now integrated, and we deliver a one-firm experience to our clients. Prior to combining, Dentons and ACAS-Law had for many years enjoyed a very strong correspondent relationship, which was gradually and very deliberately deepened over time. What stood out for us was not just that Dentons is the world’s largest law firm, but of all of the global law firms, it has a unique offering that appealed to us. Dentons is a polycentric global firm. Polycentric is a term Dentons uses to describe a number of attributes that sets it apart. It has no dominant culture or global headquarters. It emphasises that we are “in and of the community” wherever we are, and has taken a path different than most global firms headquartered in

Mrs Funke Agbor, SAN

either the UK or US. Dentons does not seek to “colonise” a market with Lawyers sent from a “home office”. It takes pride in diversity that matches its clients diversity, and consciously rejects a “one size fits all culture”. Consequently, with our combination, the focus has

“IT IS NOT THE NORM IN NIGERIA FOR FOUNDERLED LAW FIRMS, TO WILLINGLY HAND OVER THE PROVERBIAL KEYS TO THE MERCEDES TO THE NEXT GENERATION. OUR SHARED FAITH IN GOD, IS ALSO A KEY ELEMENT OF OUR UNITY OF PURPOSE AND GOALS"

been on harmonisation and bringing in complementary strengths rather than imposing one way of doing things. Permit me to emphasise that as Dentons in Nigeria and in keeping with the Dentons polycentric culture, Dentons ACAS-Law shall remain a fully indigenous Nigerian law firm as required under prevailing regulations governing legal practice in Nigeria, with complete autonomy over our leadership, membership, finances, and administration. Why is it that to date, we have less than 50 female Senior Advocates? Why is it so difficult for women to attain the rank? Is it that gender discrimination exists in our profession, or many women are not interested into aspiring to the rank? Gender discrimination even though a fact, is a strong expression in the Nigerian legal context. It has happened by way of default given our culture where men hold sway in the society, and this is not peculiar to Nigeria. However, I have no doubt that because of the extra-ordinary contributions generations of women have made and continue to make to their societies, it is only a question of time before the current imbalance will become less acute. But, to your point, the route to becoming a Senior Advocate in Nigeria is a very rough terrain, even for men. But, men are better able to navigate the terrain, as society regards them as achievers with no discouraging voices hindering them, while women who go that route can often be labelled as

abandoning their domestic duties as a wife and mother, or even as daughters to elderly parents. So, first of all, if you are married you must have 100% support of your husband and family members, or you could be swimming against the tide. Imagine how super exhausting that could be, if you are married to the wrong person! Women are very interested, but our nurturing instincts sometimes override ambition, so after getting past the nurturing phase ambition kicks in later than it would in men, which is why women arrive at the same destination …not late, but later! So, we need to be intentional about giving our daughters advice early, about career progression in the same way that young men are guided by their fathers and other male mentors. Girls should not be left out, and women should make the extra effort at building up younger women as well as young men. It is our God given duty, as is exhorted in Titus 2 in the Bible. I really do not have an absolute answer as to how to ensure gender equity in attaining the rank of Silk, but I know that the more women there are in the decision making process, the more likely we will begin to see fundamental changes. Our men know the benefits of women in the profession, and are becoming our partners in progress. This resonates in more with men, when they see their daughters unfairly disadvantaged in the work place. We are making progress. The glass ceiling has never been easy to


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FHC Is Being Eroded’ break, anywhere, but we will get, there, as has been said before, one crack at a time. You are listed as one of Nigeria’s leading Maritime practitioners. How would you assess Nigeria’s Cabotage regime since the passage of the Act almost 20 years ago? Do you agree that the Court of Appeal decision in the MT Sam Purpose has whittled down the jurisdiction of the Admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court? If so, explain briefly why, whether the decision has caused any setbacks and if so, what can be done to correct it. Nigeria’s cabotage regime has substantially impacted the Nigerian maritime industry, since the passage of the Act. The Act was passed with the lofty objectives of increasing Nigerian interests in the Nigerian maritime offshore industry, and this has to a large extent, been achieved. You will hardly find an operator in that industry, without some sort of Nigerian interest. Since the inception of the Cabotage regime in 2004, there has been significant growth in domestic tonnage, and the number of Nigerian vessels engaged in Cabotage trade. The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) recently reported that about 68% of vessels engaged in Cabotage trade in Nigeria, are Nigerian-flagged vessels. Some of the Nigerian flagged vessels are owned by Nigerians, while others are bareboat chartered-in. The ability of Nigerians to take advantage of the regime has however, been impacted by economic factors, such as the amount of capital required for acquisition of assets in the industry. Many Nigerians are unable to afford some of the very large and sophisticated vessels required in the industry, consequently, the cabotage waiver regime is still with us. NIMASA recently announced a five-year strategic plan beginning from 2021, through which it intends to end the grant of cabotage waivers in stages. I hope that the plan would include helping eligible Nigerians with financing for acquisition of the large vessels in the industry, and also support for local shipyards. I also hope that a national shipping line will eventually be established, which will make the absolutely necessary sea time training of eligible Nigerian seafarers, possible. Over the years, we have witnessed a series of rather disturbing judgements that have eroded the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court. The decision of the Court of Appeal in the MT Sam Purpose, is just one of such decisions. I will avoid delving into an analysis of the judgement, as I do not think it is necessary to do so here. Crew wages is of paramount importance, such that a claim for crew wages is one of the few claims that create a maritime lien which attaches to and travels with the vessel in respect of which the claim arose. The most concerning aspect of the judgement, is that it has removed the very potent remedy of arresting a vessel to enforce this maritime lien, because the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) does not possess the jurisdiction and capacity to effect the arrest of a vessel to secure a maritime claim. The Third Alteration to the Con-

“.......THE ROUTE TO BECOMING A SENIOR ADVOCATE IN NIGERIA IS A VERY ROUGH TERRAIN, EVEN FOR MEN.... I REALLY DO NOT HAVE AN ABSOLUTE ANSWER AS TO HOW TO ENSURE GENDER EQUITY IN ATTAINING THE

Mrs Funke Agbor, SAN

stitution inadvertently transferred the jurisdiction over claim for crew wages to the NICN, thereby depriving seamen of the veritable weapon of a maritime lien on the vessel on which they served, as security for their wages. It is arguable that the legislature could not have intended this to be the consequence of the third amendment to the Constitution. To correct this anomaly, I hope that there will be a further constitutional amendment sooner rather than later to address the issue. Furthermore, I would like that, in the event of a further appeal to the Supreme Court, the Apex Court would give the Constitution a more purposeful and liberal interpretation in accordance with the intention of the legislature. A distinction should be made between claims for crew wages, and general labour related claims in the industry. The jurisdiction of the Federal High Court over claims for crew wages and masters’ disbursement, should be restored in accordance with the provisions of Section 251(1)(g) of the Constitution and international maritime law practices. Other maritime industry labour claims such as the claims of other employees of a shipping company or a stevedoring company, which do not fall within the admiralty jurisdiction, and of course, do not give rise to a maritime lien on a vessel as security, remain within the jurisdiction of the NICN. It is on record that Nigerian banks are not shipping friendly, as they are said to rarely grant loans for vessel acquisition to Nigerian potential ship-owners. This perhaps, explains why most shippers lease vessels instead outright acquisition. How do we change this narrative? The Nigerian banking system, seems not to be quite compatible with ship finance. The interest rates, the loan tenure etc. all make it impractical for a ship owner to finance a vessel through a Nigerian bank. The narrative can be changed, through educating the Nigerian banking sector on the special nature of the ship finance business. The banks should be educated to view

ship financing, as going into long term business with the ship owner. It goes without saying that the education needs to start with the regulator, CBN, so that banking regulations will take into consideration the special nature of ship finance. The criteria for eligibility for the financing facility, should not include a requirement for the prospective ship owner to already have a contract for the ship before acquisition. The tenure of the loan should be reasonable, depending on the nature of the vessel; for instance, a minimum of 20 years would be reasonable for a new build. The rate of interest on the facility, should not be more than one digit. The bank is always typically protected with a mortgage on the ship, until the facility is paid off. In other countries where shipping is a substantive industry, there are specialist shipping banks, and they are, in effect, business partners with the shipowner or operator. We are not there yet. Is it true that Nigerian Insurance companies are also reluctant to offer coverage to vessel owners? Insurance companies are willing to do more, but are constrained by a sluggish economy and successive governments who do not have the political will or sufficient interest to grow the insurance sector. It could certainly be more vibrant. Insurance is a feature of every type of business, including shipping. But, shipping covers a diverse range of businesses within it. In Nigeria, insurance on goods imported by sea is compulsory, and the insurance market covers that particular risk quite adequately. However when it comes to specialised high value equipment/ goods, perhaps, not so well, but the law allows an element of collaboration with foreign insurers with the consent of the insurance regulator, to insure risks which are beyond the capacity of the Nigerian insurance market. Amidst the nation’s serious security challenges, piracy and kidnapping of crew members is said to be on the increase in the Nigerian coastal waters. What is the

RANK OF SILK....”

implication of this for the maritime sector which depends almost wholly on foreign owned and foreign-crewed vessels? The increase in piracy attacks in Nigerian waters and in the Gulf of Guinea, is no doubt, of great concern. It is a serious setback to the development of our maritime sector. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre, is replete with reports and warnings of pirates’ attacks and risks in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea. The implication of the rising incidents of piracy attacks and kidnapping of crew members on the maritime sector, are many and dire. Piracy attacks increase the risks faced by seafarers and vessels, the attacks adversely affect maritime trade and activities. Shipowners are conscious of security challenges, and heed warnings regarding the vulnerability of vessels to piracy attacks in certain locations. This could result in their complete avoidance of routes considered too dangerous, or the provision of extra security on vessels to deal with any potential attacks. Insurers are equally nervous about the security situation, and tend to demand higher premiums to provide cover for vessels which ply routes considered as high risk. The higher premium and extra security all lead to increase in the costs of shipowners, which increased costs cont'd on page 10


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‘Admiralty Jurisdiction of FHC Is Being Eroded’ cont'd from page 9

would undoubtedly result in higher freight or hire, as the case may be for the Nigerian maritime sector. Also, where the vessels decide to avoid the routes completely, or insurers refuse cover and vessels avoid the routes as a result, the maritime industry will be impacted by the resulting difficulty in movement of goods and services. The Federal High Court exercises exclusive jurisdiction on admiralty matters, and it is a well known fact that the number of Judges that sit there are not enough to handle these admiralty cases. What is your suggested panacea to this worrisome issue? The problem is not just with the number of Judges of the Federal High Court; it is also about the number of cases the few Judges have to deal with. The issue of congestion in our courts is obviously a general problem that cuts across all courts and matters, not just the Federal High Court and admiralty matters. It is imperative, that we begin to limit the number of cases that end up in court. There are too many cases filed in court, which ordinarily could and should have been settled without litigation. Even when a case is filed in court, parties should continue to be open to out of court settlement in appropriate circumstances; it is said that the aim of a civil suit is to force the Defendant to settle on the best possible terms. If litigants adopt this approach towards litigation, the number of cases being adjudicated by the Judges will be reduced drastically. Arbitration or alternative dispute resolution should be actively explored, as a route to decongest the courts. The knowledge, ability, capacity, experience and the supporting institutions, exist in abundance in Nigeria for this to work. At the risk of pointing out the obvious, I would say that appointing more Judges who are experienced in admiralty to the Federal High Court, will be helpful in solving the problem. Maritime law is a specialised system of international laws, and requires particular specialised knowledge and experience. Shipping practice is global, and multi-jurisdictional. It is therefore, important that Judges of the Federal High Court undergo continuous training in admiralty/maritime law, for proper understanding and adjudication of admiralty cases. It is always helpful to appoint admiralty Judges from the rank of Lawyers who are experienced admiralty law practitioners. You would be aware that I was recently, just last month, elected the President of the Nigerian Maritime Law Association, the main objects of which are to promote the practice study and advancement of Maritime law and its administration. We have done a lot of work in this regard over the years, led by previous Presidents who have only been four in number since inception in 1977, so I can name them: Chief C. O. Ogunbanjo, Hon Justice Babatunde Belgore (of blessed memory), Mr L. N. Mbanefo, SAN and Mr Chidi Ilogu, SAN. I am the 5th President with big shoes to fill, but I am undeterred as I have a very strong executive committee and other able hands across the sector, who continue to support the Association! We will continue in the same vein particularly as under our last President, Mr Chidi Ilogu, SAN, an Admiralty Law Reform Committee was constituted, chaired by Mrs Jean Chiazor Anishere, SAN and Sir Osuala Nwagbara, and with the support of very senior maritime Lawyers prepared

Mrs Funke Agbor, SAN

a report on proposed reforms to the Admiralty Jurisdiction Procedure Rules 2011 and the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act 1991. We have submitted our report to the Rules Committee of the Federal High Court. We have also participated in the development of the national maritime transport policy, and key in our contribution, was to entrench the training of Lawyers and Judges into the policy, in order that funds can be allocated specifically for that purpose, with the expectation that this important element is not just assumed or taken for granted.

“OVER THE YEARS, WE HAVE WITNESSED A SERIES OF RATHER DISTURBING JUDGEMENTS THAT HAVE ERODED THE ADMIRALTY JURISDICTION OF THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT. THE DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEAL IN THE MT SAM PURPOSE IS JUST ONE OF SUCH DECISIONS..... THE JURISDICTION OF THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT OVER CLAIMS FOR CREW WAGES AND MASTERS’ DISBURSEMENT, SHOULD BE RESTORED”

Some have observed that in Nigeria, it is very easy to arrest a ship and keep that vessel for many months, with the attendant economic losses. What is it about our laws and legal system, which gives a leeway to this ugly practice? How can it be tackled, to at least ensure the confidence of foreign ship owners and operators? In comparison with some other jurisdictions, it can be said that it is quite easy to arrest and detain a ship in Nigeria. Yet, it must be borne in mind that, the procedure of arrest of a ship to secure a claim is a very useful and potent tool in the hands of a claimant under the right circumstances. I agree that this useful and potent tool, may be misused or abused by litigants. In as much as the law is never perfect and there is always room for improvement, I do not think that our maritime jurisprudence as it is today, permits arbitrary arrest and detention of vessels for a lengthy period without consequences. The Admiralty Jurisdiction Act and the Admiralty jurisdiction Procedure Rules, have made detailed provisions on what an applicant must establish before the Court may order the arrest of a vessel. So, an order of arrest should not be something you just stroll to the court to obtain, as a matter of course. It is now up to litigants to avoid bringing needless applications for arrest. It is equally up to the Judges before whom applications for arrest are brought, to critically evaluate the merits of the applications and grant them only in deserving cases. That said, it is important to point out that Shipowners can always file a Caveat against Arrest at the Admiralty Registry of the Federal High Court, where they foresee a potential claim that could lead to the arrest of their vessels that sail into Nigerian waters. A potential arrestor is obliged to search the Caveat Book, before bringing an application for arrest. It is, however, unfortunate that potential arrestors have, to circumvent a Caveat, developed a habit of inflating their claim above the amount stated in a Caveat. Ideally, the essence of arresting a ship is to compel the Owner to appear in the suit, and post an acceptable security in lieu of the arrested vessel. The alternate security can be a guarantee from a Bank, Insurance Company or Protection and Indemnity Club. Because a guarantee

from a Bank or Insurance Company is quite expensive to maintain, Shipowners will always prefer to furnish a guarantee from their P&I Club. Unfortunately, Claimants are often reluctant to accept a P&I Club guarantee as alternative security, but insist on a Bank Guarantee. I will advice that Judges be bold enough to release vessels from arrest upon the Owners furnishing a guarantee from a reputable P&I Club, even where the arrestor insists on a Bank Guarantee. Finally, I must point out that there is always room for reparation for needless arrest. Damages can be awarded in favour of the Shipowner against the arrestor, where an arrest turns out to be needless. The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a very heavy blow on the legal profession for the past one year. Now the JUSUN strike has compounded the situation, and Lawyers and law firms are hard-hit. Many law firms are downsizing. What is your suggested way out of this quagmire? The reason for the JUSUN strike, is a real issue that continues to bedevil the administration of justice in this country. It is really sad and unfortunate that the basic and fundamental principle of constitutional law and democracy, the Doctrine of Separation of Powers, has never been adhered to in its entirety with respect to the Judiciary. It is an open secret that all is not as it should be, and this strike is also to tell the powers that be that we know all is not as it should be. It is inimical to the effective and transparent administration of justice. While the Nigerian Bar Association supports the strike for this reason, it is also true that the criminal justice and civil justice administration is suffering, in that our citizens in jail or in Police custody for whatever reason, are deprived from having their constitutional right to their day in court. I attended the last meeting of the Lagos Branch of the NBA and this was an issue of great concern, but one key to resolving the strike apparently lies in the interpretation of some provisions of the Constitution as to what, if any, is the extent of the responsibility the Federal Government and the State Government, respectively. There are clearly divergent views. A balance of those views is needed for the courts to go back to work, and for the full implementation of the constitutional provisions giving independence to the judiciary. Are you in support of jettisoning the 1999 Constitution for a new and improved one? Kindly, give reasons for your answer I am not a constitutional Lawyer, who may be better placed to answer this question from that standpoint. However, as a citizen of this country, the discordant and angry voices across our land is concerning. Any arrangement or rearrangement must ensure that our humanity, of both our leaders and our people is not lost to us forever, regardless of the differences in our tribe, tongue and faith. The power of humanity has been said to be “the strength of our individual and commitment and the force of collective action. Both must be mobilised to relieve suffering, ensure respect for human dignity, and ultimately create a more humane society” (ICRC 1999 Declaration). I think this means we should be our brothers’ keeper. Treat each other with respect. Our motto which is on our Coat of Arms is Unity and Faith Peace and Progress. How can we truly get there? Without humanity it is not possible, but with humanity we have a chance. Thank you Learned Silk.


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The Political Class and Its Conspiracy of Silence This article by learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr Muiz Banire, gives an overview of extent of the violence and insecurity that has encompassed practically all parts of the country, and chastises Politicians for being more interested in the upcoming elections of 2023, rather than being part of the solution to our present problems; reminding us about Somalia, Liberia and Rwanda, wondering if perhaps, there will be anything left to govern in 2023 if things are allowed to continue like this “THE GOVERNMENT

Introduction he security situation in Nigeria, has become wholly intractable. What started as an isolated case of insurgency in some parts of Borno State, has become a national malaise rapidly expanding and threatening the fragile fabric of the nation called Nigeria. The human losses at present have befuddled our capacity to take records, and there is hardly an accurate account of people already consumed by the violence of the men of the gun. Thousands of lives have been snuffed out by Boko Haram bombs and guns in the North Eastern part of the country. Suddenly, the North West caught the fever of banditry, which is operating in a most deadly fashion, leaving behind sorrow, tears and blood everywhere as the unscrupulous young agents of death have chosen to carry out their nefarious businesses. Katsina State, the home State of the President, has not been spared the horrors of banditry, killing and kidnap.

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A Grim Situation Report The volumes of death, maiming and rape of women by violent herders have left the whole of the North Central States of Niger, Nasarawa and Benue, a wide expanse of gnashing teeth and fearsome living. The macabre of death enacted by the orgy of violence by bandits in Niger State has divided the State under two sovereignties, as the victims of banditry and Boko Haram campaigns have submitted to the regime of the men of the underworld in order to purchase their peace. Boko Haram now levies and collects taxes from the hapless citizens whose fate is better procured by self-help, rather than the constitutional protection that the Government ought to guarantee. Bandits have made Zamfara a deadly zone, and the allures of gold that the Government allowed to be exploited illegally, have become a source of destruction and wanton loss of life and property. Kaduna State under El-Rufai, has become a theatre of war. Thousands of lives have been lost in the internecine conflicts between the Southern and Northern Kaduna, characterised by ethno-religious dimensions. Now the bandits have made a beautiful Kaduna, another home of kidnapping and huge ransom collection. The raging fire of destruction and devastation has spread to the otherwise peaceful areas of Oyo State, as the whole of the divisions of Ibarapaland have been invaded by people referred to as foreign Fulani herders who are in search of land to graze, a home to call their own notwithstanding that any part they visit is not terra nullius, not hitherto occupied by anybody. Forceful eviction of the traditional and original landowners, killing and maiming of dissenting indigenes, kidnapping and laying of siege have combined to make the food-producing parts of Oyo State a place of terror. The dark and lonely forests of Ondo and Ekiti States where D.O. Fagunwa created the entertaining fables of brave hunters of Igbo Elegbeje, Igbo Eledumare and Ogboju Òdè Ninu Igbo Irunmòlè have today, become real forests of horrors as gun-wielding herdsmen have replaced the gnomes, leprechauns and pterodactyls of Fagunwa’s fertile imagination. The nobility associated with the sojourn of the ancient characters of the creative mind of the writer is, however, foreign to the current occupiers of the forests, as their articles of trade are kidnapping for ransom, killing and maiming of their victims. The Niger Delta with its characteristic violence birthed under the struggle for resource control in the fate of environmental degradation, has assumed another dimension as the lords of today are those youths born into squalor and violence in the ’90s, and who have been deprived of any meaningful future by the terrible system that sees nothing good in good governance. The whole of the South-East today, has bolstered itself ready for another civil war in the secessionist struggles of Indigeneous

COMPLAINS THAT THE VIOLENT AND DANGEROUS HERDERS WHO GRAZE ANIMALS OPENLY AND KILL THE FARM OWNERS ARE FOREIGN FULANI HERDERS, AND YET, IT IS NOT READY TO ENFORCE THE CRIMINAL LAWS AGAINST THESE FOREIGNERS”

Dr Muiz Banire, SAN

People of Biafra (IPOB) whose agitations have assumed a more dangerous dimension. The whole of Nigeria is witnessing all sorts of violent agitations and destructive elimination, by dangerous fighters of no noble cause. In the midst of the conflagration, a new business was born: mass abduction of schoolgirls and boys. Starting with Chibok, later Dapchi and Kagara, the records of mass kidnap today have assumed an unprecedented dimension. Schoolchildren and adults are kidnapped in their hundreds and ransoms are collected by bandits in millions of Naira and Dollars. A most conniving Government has given fillip to all these undesirable elements, by paying ransom to purchase freedom for victims. Government’s Nonchalant Attitude A poor herder making a few thousands of Naira monthly in the business of herding cattle from Kano to Lagos, has discovered a more profitable venture in the kidnap of Nigerians, terrorising them until their relatives or the Government pay. Thousands of lives have been snuffed out in their glory, when these rapacious elements lay siege on our roads and force hapless citizens into forests. The Government complains that the violent and dangerous herders who graze animals openly and kill the farm owners are foreign Fulani herders, and yet, it is not ready to enforce the criminal laws against these foreigners. This lends credence to the accusation that the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari is pro-Fulani, and is only trying to eliminate other tribes to create a huge territorial home for Fulani invaders across Africa. The long silence from the President and his occasional warnings to bandits and Boko Haram elements, paints the picture of a eunuch who only gives verbal expressions to his potency to impress women. 2023 and the Silence of the Politicians The worst aspect of it all, is the average demented Nigerian politician who carries on campaigning for power grab in 2023 as if the whole security crisis in the nation is a tea party. We have seen them junketing from one local government to another, mouthing their insane promises and wild projections. They keep quiet, whenever the horrors being perpetrated by herders are being discussed. They maintain a tied tongue, anytime their opinions conflict with the sentiments of the Presidency. Their people are daily subjected to bloodshed and devastations, and yet, the Nigerian politician is insouciant in his reckless ambition to govern a

burning entity. They are keeping quiet, except for a few whose conscience would not allow them to give further inordinate protection to party loyalty and collective insanity. It was quite impressive to hear Smart Adeyemi, the Senator representing the Kogi West Senatorial District, the other day lamenting the security situation in the country. His genuine emotions could not contain his manliness when he burst out in tears, calling on his comrades on the floor of the Senate to rise up in defence of the land. Ali Ndume has been heard on a number of occasions condemning the conspiracy of Government and the elite, in what is otherwise a consuming conflagration that is herding us towards Somalia, Liberia and Rwanda. Instead of the various political gladiators coming together to find a solution to the challenge of this vanishing country, they are busy strategising over election into an office that is appearing to be a mirage. The elite in Nigeria, the civil society inclusive, have given all manner of justification in defence of Buhari’s Government, from the sensible to the ridiculous. At first, the body language of the President was dangled as the magic wand that would cure Nigeria of all ailments. Later, they relied on the lack of knowledge of the President, and the man too was never aware of any evil happening around him. An excuse at a time, was the incompetence and corruption of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Government, as if that was not what prompted us to elect Buhari. The elite community and the political class has forgotten that when Nigeria finally descends into Rwanda, they themselves would be dislodged from their Don Quixote horse and be made to worship the miscreants who will be in charge of the various streets. Many believe they would run away from Nigeria with their families, forgetting that no one can carry both linear and extended families into safety when the threatening war finally begins. The sentiments against the Igbos, have made many to see the demand for Biafra as a ranting of some lunatics. They have forgotten that to still such voices of secession, we need to have restructured the country genuinely to cater for all interests, and the present Government is too docile and criminally conniving, to save the fragile entity that is about to explode. The politicians have been carrying on as if nothing matters, except securing a place at the top; 2023 is too much of a paradise to jeopardise by the present hell of calling for the country to be preserved. One wonders if there would be

anything to govern, if Nigeria finally descends into the steaming cauldron of civil war with its unceasingly flowing currency of bloodshed. One wonders if there would be a President effectively in charge of different parts of the country under various warlords, the number of which is sufficient in Nigeria of today to make every street a sovereign State under its own government of hoodlums and miscreants. The multitudes of thugs we have produced, sufficiently armed and deployed in the past to unsettle democratic process through rigging and violence, are enough to make Rwanda a child’s play. The last #EndSARS protest with the aftermath takeover by vagrants in Lagos and many other cities, is a pointer to the lugubrious imminence of government of the thugs, by the thugs and for the thugs. This is the time for the Nigerian politicians and elder statesmen to rise up. This is the time to call a spade a spade and let the devil, both home and abroad, be shamed. This is the time for the civil society to jettison its silly and empty sloganeering of fighting corruption in its roundtable approach, and call for the Government to do something serious about the insecurity in the land. While politicians can afford to run away, the question is where will you run to when the crisis finally embraces the entire land? Few peaceful spots in Nigeria that have not been effectively visited by these so-called foreign invaders, are already under the spy gaze of their agents who are only waiting for the call to action. Nigerian politicians in their elite conspiracy, have been in soulful silence of an irresponsible egoism. They dare not voice out their concerns, they do not want to be regarded as an enemy of the Government. Remember that when the chips are down, when the die is finally cast, the money you have kept, the offices you currently occupy, the privileges you fear to lose, will not be available to save you and the nation. The time to speak out is now. Dr Muiz Banire, SAN


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Can Dr Isa Pantami be Prosecuted for Acts of Terrorism? (Part 2) Introduction

exhibited during the World War II? Why will the Presidency be defending a Minister? What is it hiding? Why cry more than the bereaved? I cannot understand, or can you? Under Section 5(2) of the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act, Pantami can be charged for terrorist activities, because terrorism includes “support” for; and “support” includes (in the words of the Act) “incitement to commit a terrorist act through the internet or any electronic means or through the use of printed materials or through the dissemination of terrorist information”. My humble call on Pantami is to honourably resign his Ministerial appointment, and save this clueless Government of further infamy, calumny, obloquy and odium. Where he fails or refuses to do so (as I know he would), then President Buhari should sack him. Where Buhari refuses (as I know he would), then, any and every Nigerian or NGO that feels sufficiently concerned and aggrieved can approach the courts and ask for an Order of Mandamus, to compel the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, to prosecute Pantami, by virtue of Section 174 of the 199 Constitution. Every Nigerian has the right (locus standi) to do this. The Supreme Court has laid this to rest as far back as 1981, in the causa celebre (celebrated case) of Senator Abraham Adesanya v President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1981) JELR 54679 (SC).

Last week, we commenced this vexed issue. We shall continue same today. Read on. The EFCC Act Applies The definition of terrorism under the EFCC Act, is however, very broad. It includes any act that is intended to intimidate, force, coerce, or induce any government, body, institution, the general public or any segment thereof, to do or abstain from doing any act or to adopt or abandon a particular standpoint, or to act according to certain principles, or disrupt any public service, the delivery of any essential service to the public or to create a public emergency, or create general insurrection in a State, and any promotion, sponsorship of, contribution to, command, aid incitement, encouragement, attempt threat, conspiracy, organisation or procurement of any person. The combustible and inflammable comments of Dr. Pantami, no doubt were intended to cause fear or make any government or bodies abandon a standpoint, induce fear in the public or government, etc. He can be charged under the EFCC Act. The Penal Code Act and the Criminal Code Act The Penal Code Act and the Criminal Code Act, do not provide for the offence of terrorism. The Criminal Code provides for the offence of unlawful profession and unlawful society. There is no similar provision in the Penal Code. Since the alleged act took place in the Northern Part of Nigeria, Dr. Pantami cannot be charged with unlawful society or unlawful profession. But, he can be surely charged for terrorism under the EFCC Act. As expected, Presidency, through its second-in-command, Chief Propagandist, Garba Shehu (as expected), has risen to the defence of Pantami. What did you expect? That he would not exonerate him? That would have been the eighth wonder of the world following the Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Statue of Zues at Olympia, Mausoleum of Mausolus, Collosus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. The President appoints Ministers by virtue of Section 147(1) of the 1999 Constitution. It is his sole prerogative, constitutionally speaking. But, such Ministers must first be confirmed by the Senate of the NASS, under Section 147(2). The President can also sack a Minister (see Section 11 of the Interpretation Act). He who hires, can also fire. I can, however vow, that Pantami will NEVER be sacked. Garba Shehu has said that much. But, Pantami occupies a sensitive Ministerial portfolio (Minister of Communications and Digital Economy). He has unhindered access to all Nigerians’ data, NIN, BVN, and confidential information. Therein, lies Nigerians’ worries. Nay, nightmares. It has nothing to do with alleged “cancel campaign”, purported faceless “enemies”, or alleged ICP companies’ collusion (because of their alleged financial losses “through lower prices and greater consumer protection”), allegedly introduced by Pantami, as Garba would want some gullible Nigerians or pro-Buhari party people to believe. Do I, for example, as a Nigerian patriot, fall into any of the above categories? Absolutely no. Pantami’s albatross has nothing to do with his alleged effectiveness, or efficaciousness in his duties. But, it has everything to do with his dangerous religious antecedents which, on the surface, he says he has renounced, but is still effectively practicing in reality. Otherwise, why will he invite only a very little known Al-Afrikiy (a wholly Muslim Television station, that broadcasts strictly religious matters) to solely cover a programme of a whole Federal Government’s activity – the virtual Flag-off capacity development programme on VSAT Installation Skills and TVRO Systems for 600 youths? Why? This was only on March 22, 2021. Where were Arise, AIT, Channels, NTA, NAN, TVC, ITV, SilverBird, Oak TV, or the several Radio Stations across Nigeria? This is Nigerians’ great worry, Mallam Shehu. Do not run away from the substance, and pursue the shadow. Please, face the real issues at stake. Pantami’s religious bigotry, earlier inflammatory speeches in support of and sympathy with terrorist groups, such as Al Qaeda, Taliban and Boko Haram (the third group of whose shed blood he described as “our Muslim brothers’ blood”), are the real issues at stake. Please, face them. If we go by Garba’s pedestrian argument that woefully fails the acid test of logic and rigorous reasoning, why did Nigerians not pardon brilliant Mrs Kemi Adeosun who was accused of forging her NYSC Certificate, rather than pressurise and force her to resign her office? Why didn’t the Presidency trenchantly defend Mrs Adeosun, a Yoruba woman? Who is more dangerous – a certificate forger or a terrorist group sympathiser and supporter? Why support only Northern-Muslim Pantami? What about the death of one young lad, Sunday Achi, who was said to have been killed due to his incendiary preachment? What about the consequential killings of Christians in Kaduna, Kano, Jos,

Dr Isa Pantami

Maiduguri, Katsina and other parts of the North, occasioned by his bigoted religious teachings? What did former CJN, Onnoghen do that made the Presidency rubbish, hound and hunt him out of office in a most premature, disgraceful and unconscionable manner? What was the offence of the #EndSARS innocent protesters, that were mindlessly and callously mauled down at the Lekki tollgate, even as they were harmlessly waving the Green-White-Green Nigerian flag in a peaceful protest? Why does the Presidency perennially have a “siege mentality”? Why does the Presidency forever play victimhood, when it is always the aggressor? Why do presidential spokespersons always scramble to outdo each other to beat Adolf Hitler’s Goebel to vile propaganda as

“MY HUMBLE CALL ON PANTAMI IS TO HONOURABLY RESIGN HIS MINISTERIAL APPOINTMENT, AND SAVE THIS CLUELESS GOVERNMENT OF FURTHER INFAMY, CALUMNY, OBLOQUY AND ODIUM. WHERE HE FAILS OR REFUSES TO DO SO (AS I KNOW HE WOULD), THEN PRESIDENT BUHARI SHOULD SACK HIM”

Isa Pantami: The Leopard and its Unchanging Spots Mallam Isa Pantami is no ordinary Nigerian. He is a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Pantami is also no ordinary Minister. He is charged with the sensitive portfolio of Communications and Digital Economy. Before his ministerial appointment, he had headed the very sensitive and delicate position of Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency. As Minister, Pantami oversees the critical agencies of NCC, NITDA, NIPOST, NIGCOMSAT and GALAXY BACKBONE. In this digitalised world, Pantami by his office has access to Nigerians' private communications, NIN, identities, etc. Ordinarily, this would not have posed a problem at all, since someone, a Nigerian, out of our 210 million population, must head the Ministry any way. But, his antecedents are quite worrisome. That is what has led to the sudden bedlam and ruckus by Nigerians, generated through the traditional and social media routes. How? Why? I will tell you. Isa is an acclaimed Islamic fanatic, fundamentalist and supporter of extremist Islamic sects. Taught in Saudi Arabia by fiery Muhammad Inn Uthaymin (nicknamed “giant of Islam”, a Cleric who once opposed women driving for fear of mixture of men and women at petrol stations, traffic lights and Police checkpoints), Pantami as a Graduate Assistant, started preaching and leading prayers in Mosques right from his days at the Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, where he had graduated from. He is said to be the Chief Imam of the Al Mannar Mosque, Abuja, where he preaches. There is nothing wrong about one being close to his maker, including his present tafsir teaching during the Ramadan fasting season. So, I do not begrudge him of his passionate pastime. To me, it is even a plus that as Minister, he still finds time to worship his God. After all, the Holy Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), when asked by the pagans of Mecca (Makkah) to worship their gods, answered: “Say, O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion” (Surah Al-Kafirun109:1). What he was simply emphasising was the freedom and individuality of religion and conscience, between a person and his God. We call this secularity. It is entrenched in Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria. But, does Isa Patami realise this in his earlier fiery teachings of extremism and religious intolerance, and bigotry, even as far back as nearly 20 years ago? I think not. Let me show you a sample of his expressed mindset, and why Nigerians are united in reactions that have since gone viral, and are calling for his immediate resignation or outright sack. Amongst others in his Salafist ideology and spine-chilling teachings in support of two of the most globally acclaimed deadliest terrorist groups in the world (the Taliban and al-Quaeda), some years ago, Pantami had said unapologetically, “Oh God, give victory to the Talibans and to the al-Quaeda..This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria”. He also reportedly endorsed the killings of “unbelievers” (non-Moslems). (To be concluded next week). THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK “Anyone who supports terrorism, anyone who sees terrorism as a legitimate means, anyone who uses terrorism to cause the death of innocent people, is a terrorist in my eyes.” (Milos Zeman)


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PROPERTY & ENVIRONMENT Adebayo: IFMA Nigeria Offered FG Free Sustainability Consulting on National Theatre, Others Segun Adebayo, the 11th President of the International Facility Management Association, (IFMA) Nigeria Chapter, tells Bennett Oghifo how they offered the federal government free sustainability consulting on the National Theatre edifice and on other projects of such stature

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FMA has been in Nigeria since 1995, what are those things the association has done to enhance the practice in the country? The founding members of the Association started in 1995 but got the Association incorporated in February 1997. Therefore, in the eye of the law, we will be 25 years of impactful existence by next year. Within those 25 years of valuable existence, we have, in line with our objective, changed the narratives of knowledge development and capacity building in Nigeria, having trained several people and certified about 825 people from 2005 with foreign certifications of FMP and CFM respectively. Our strategic collaborations in the enhancement of the practice in the Industry through academic knowledge further gave birth to the introduction of Masters of Science in Facility Management by the University of Lagos. We have also, as a proactive Association, continued to deepen our relevance through advocacy and strategic engagement with stakeholders towards a better Facility Management Industry

while our impact through collaboration with relevant public institutions, professional organisations, and organised private sector to deliver knowledge and capacity-driven environment have also enhanced growth of the industry. With the state of infrastructure decay in Nigeria, what are the steps taken by IFMA to address such societal challenge? IFMA has always been a strong advocate on the urgent need by the relevant stakeholders to address the challenges of infrastructural decay in Nigeria and I think our efforts are yielding steady and gradual positive results. Beyond our continuous engagement with the appropriate public institution, we have also been part of policy development at the federal level, even as we also collaborated with Lagos State Government through the pioneer agency in Facility Management in Nigeria, Lagos State Infrastructure and Asset Management Agency (LASIAMA) through strategic alliances and capacity building. An example of one of our several steps was our reaction to the

collaborative initiative adopted by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lagos State Government and Bankers Committee on the revamp of National Theater, Iganmu, Lagos. We did commend the federal government on this laudable initiative and further advised that such initiatives should be extended to other federal government’s properties. We equally offered to provide free “sustainability consulting” on the project and others in the nearest future. In the private sector, many people assume that Facility Management is largely at the level of janitorial services, what are you doing to correct this impression? Facility Management, as defined by IFMA, “is a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality, comfort, safety, and efficiency of the built environment, by integrating people, place, process and technology.” Beyond the definition that clearly shows that FM is beyond janitorial, IFMA also has 11 core competences, such as communication,

Project Management, Operation and Maintenance, Business Continuity and Emergency Preparedness, amongst others. Those competencies are the guides to an effective operating model and framework in the industry in line with global best practice, As for us, we are committed to the advocacy and orientation of the public on their assumption that FM is all about janitorial services. Indeed, Facility Management goes beyond janitorial services in all ramifications. Last year changed the game for many industries. What are the ways in which FM was affected and what were the challenges and the new lessons learnt from the pandemic? Just like every other business interest, COVID-19 pandemic equally has its impact on the FM sector in Nigeria, although the severity of the impact is debatable. According to the industry operator, at the height of the pandemic where the nation experienced total lockdown, the integrated services of facility managers were still required by FCMG, Pharmaceuticals,

Adebayo

Health sectors, amongst others, to ensure their continuous operations while other sectors operating skeletal also required the services but at a reduced pace. The challenges faced by all also vary amongst the industry players. However, most of the industry players/operators applied the principle of “Business Continuity and Emergency Preparedness” concept, one of the Core Competence of Facility Management Practice, and adopt same to overcome the challenges of the pandemic. IFMA, Nigeria Chapter also,

during the period, commenced strategic advocacy through our monthly series of Knowledge Sharing Session where we virtually had conversations around the sustainability and value of FM during and after the pandemic. This is not to say that we did not learn some lessons. The practitioners did learn new ways of doing business and making the environment cleaner and safer; we equally learnt how to integrate technology in making various aspects of the business work better. The lesson is endless if you ask me.

Rotary Club of Akowonjo Renovates Classrooms in Alimosho LGA Fadekemi Ajakaiye As part of its numerous community development initiatives, Rotary Club of Akowonjo has commissioned a two-classroom building it renovated at State Senior High School Alimosho, in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State, with a promise to continue with the trend in the next two months. Speaking during the commissioning of the classroom building at the school, the president of Rotary Club of Akowonjo, Rotarian Olamide Abegunde declared that the project was a joint effort between the club and Rotary District 9110 through a grant arrangement, noting that it gave him a high sense of fulfillment despite initial hitches experienced. Corroborating the presi-

dent’s statement, the Chairman, District Grant Committee for Rotary District 9110, Past District Governor, Patrick Ikheloa said Rotary Club of Akowonjo has constantly won the district’s grants because of its consistent delivery of quality projects. He commended the club and admonished the school’s management to always put forward its requests for assistance so as to receive the urgent attention of any Rotary club in the community, since Rotary is a community-based humanitarian organisation. Rotarian Ikheloa, who dispelled the notion that Rotary was an elite-only club, reiterated that the grants from the district are monies contributed by Rotarians but shared among clubs in small bits while the clubs on their own raise the partnership equity funds for any project

of their choice. In his own speech, the Chairman, Rotary Foundation, Past District Governor, Kola Sodipo, who also graced the project commissioning, appreciated the leg-work by the Lagos State Education Board’s representative, Mrs. Bello Moriyeba Iyabo, who is the Deputy Director HOU Admin, in ensuring that the project was embarked upon and completed by Rotary Club of Akowonjo. Past District Governor Sodipo therefore, challenged the staff and students of the school present at the occasion to join Rotary and get involved in the service to humanity. The Principal, State Senior High School Alimosho, Mrs. Iribiri Monilola Oladunni, appreciated Rotary Club of Akowonjo and prayed for continued ability for more projects’ delivery by the club,

while appealing for more projects to be executed in the school which according to her yearns for serious

infrastructural intervention. In his closing remarks, the Rotary club’s president, Rotarian Abegunde charged

the school’s management and students to maintain the facilities and put them to good use.

L-R: Project Chairman, Rotarian Sunday Adeosun; Past Assistant Governor, Rotarian Kayode Odebode; President-elect, Rotarian Victor Amaraegbu; club President, Rotarian Olamide Abegunde; Principal, State Senior High School, Alimosho, Mrs. Iribiri Monilola Oladunni; Past District Governor, and Chairman, Rotary District 9110 Rotary International Foundation, Rotarian Kola Sodipo; Deputy Director HOU Admin, Lagos State Education Board, Mrs. Bello Moriyeba Iyabo; Past District Governor and Chairman District 9110 Grants Committee, Rotarian Patrick Ikheloa with the Head Boy and Head Girl of State Senior High School, Alimosho at the commissioning of the renovation of the two classrooms by Rotary Club of Akowonjo… recently

Prof Igwe Advises Housing Developers to Explore Local Architecture Fadekemi Ajakaiye Professor of Architectural History, Theory and Criticism, University of Lagos, Prof Joseph Igwe has advised housing developers and investors in Nigeria to explore local architectural designs that suit the nation. Prof Igwe, who is about to retire from UNILAG, stated this at a Book Presentation and Hybrid Colloquium held in his honour (a festschrift), by the Architecture and Urbanism Research Hub of the University of Lagos, recently. As a festschrift (a book

honouring a respected person, especially an academic, and presented during their lifetime) for Professor Joseph Mgbonyejugboh Igwe, a resounding name at the University of Lagos Department of Architecture for several decades, the Architecture and Urbanism Research Hub of the University recently held a Book Presentation and Hybrid Colloquium. The event came as part of the festivities leading to the exit of the erudite Don from the lecture halls of the University. “The book explores architecture from our African-Nigerian perspective. We have always

memorised what we were taught by people of other climates, copy their designs and in the end, we are not comfortable in it, we are going back to the grassroots now, by looking at our past, where we are now, and projecting into the future,” Igwe said. “The book is a must read for everybody interested in academic issues. We do not want people copying, but have the academic basis for everything. There is both philosophical and cultural basis, architecture itself is cultural, and we have to look at that and their interpretation of things. Despite the fact that

culture is dynamic, we need to know how these changes are going, then we can design today as at where we are,” he said. Also present at the launch was the former Governor of Ebonyi State, and Chief Launcher, Senator Sam Egwu, who recommended the book to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing, the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Federal Housing Corporation, and to operators in the built environment. Former NIA Chairman (Lagos chapter), Arc Ladipo Lewis stated that it was an opportunity to see architecture theory being

exposed to the public, and to the profession as well. “Architecture theory is a field of architecture that has not been fully embraced in Nigeria. It is the engine room of ideas and iteration process of creating great architecture. It is not just the drawing of lines, but seeing the philosophy, ideas, the concept, theoretical basis, and research of symbols, artifacts and objects that makes the history and culture of architecture in a particular environment, synthesising them to give recognition and understanding to how the process is developed,” he said. “Recently seen event which

took a cue from traditional and cultural style of architecture was in the movie Black Panther, where Afrocentric architecture was used to create the background for the city of Wakanda. We saw how African symbols and objects were used to create architecture; the society needs to embrace this in creating our buildings. This book comes handy as it throws more light on all these,” he said. Also in attendance was the National PR & Media Director for Association of Nigerian Chartered Architects, (ANCA), Arc. Bodunrin Oguntoye, academic representatives, and some NGOs.


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BUSINESSWORLD

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Quick Takes Modion Communications Wins Award

UNVEILING COMMUNITY POST OFFICE

L-R: Alara of Ilara Kingdom, Oba Olufolarin Ogunsanwo; Zonal Manager, NIPOST Lagos Zone, Mrs. Toyin Egbesola, Chairman of Eredo LCDA, Adeniyi Saliu, and former Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Oluwatoyin Lawal, during the unveiling of Eredo Post Office, in Eredo Local Council Development Area, in Lagos State...recently

NEITI Advocates Sanctions for Non-compliance with Extractive Industries’ Reports Stories by Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has advocated a mechanism that will henceforth ensure prompt implementation of its reports and punish noncompliance. To this end, the transparency initiative noted that it would this month sign various Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the country’s anti-graft agencies to enforce compliance forthwith, starting this May. Speaking when some members of the Energy Correspondent Association of Nigeria (ECAN) paid him a visit in his Abuja office, Executive Secretary, NEITI, Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji, stated that the agency would specifically sign agreements with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related

ECONOMY Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU). Orji noted that compliance had been a challenge to the organisation’s work in the extractive industries, disclosing that the agencies over which NEITI has oversight are being encouraged to set up extractive industry desks to aid the work of the initiative. “One of the challenges we have in implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is compliance and enforcement. You are aware that reports are published in Nigeria and it is usually a challenge to implement. “This is because agencies just don’t think to do so. If there are no sanctions or incentives, sanctions for refusing to implement, incentives for doing well, everybody moves on and that is

the bane of our society,” he said. He noted that it was part of the reasons the organisation was aligning with those who have very “powerful machineries” to enforce sanctions, stressing that in the next couple of days the agreements will be completed. He added: “The draft with the ICPC is being reviewed by the two organisations and the draft with the NFIU is also being reviewed. In the EFCC we have geologists, geoscientists and people who have worked in the oil and gas industry. If they don’t have, they will engage and when our reports are released we share with them.” Orji stated that the reports would be analysed by officials of the anti-corruption agencies, maintaining that if any malfeasance and misconduct in terms of managing extractive industry revenues are discovered, the organisations will move against such individuals or government

agencies. According to him: “If it is outside the country, such as the stealing of our crude oil, the NFIU will trace it. The NFIU is an international agency.” He noted that the end goal of the collaboration with the anti-corruption agencies was to ensure that oil revenues reflect in the lives of citizens of the country and make funds available to boost infrastructure, arguing that the current insecurity in the country could be traced to the impact of poverty. Orji stated that the agency had commenced moves to partner the federal ministry of environment on how to draw up data on how activities in the extractive industries affect the environment, adding that NEITI would be linking its reports to physical impacts, going forward. “We are equally trying to make sure that we are able to link our reports to impacts.

Report: Despite Pandemic, Renewable Energy Records Strong Growth The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that renewable sources of electricity such as wind and solar grew at their fastest rate in the past two decades in 2020, despite the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Making the disclosure in its latest market update, the IEA noted that the amount of renewable electricity capacity added in 2020 rose by 45 per cent, to 280GW, the largest year-on-year increase since 1999. According to the report, the increase in 2020 was set to become the “new normal”, with about 270 GW of renewable capacity on course to be added in 2021 and almost 280GW in 2022, despite a slowdown in China

ENERGY after an exceptional level of additions last year. The forecasts were revised upwards by more than 25 per cent from the IEA’s previous estimates in November as governments around the world have auctioned record levels of renewable capacity and companies have signed record-level power purchase agreements. “Wind and solar power are giving us more reasons to be optimistic about our climate goals as they break record after record. “Last year, the increase in renewable capacity accounted for 90 per cent of the entire global

power sector’s expansion,” the Executive Director of the IEA, Fatih Birol, said. He added: “Governments need to build on this promising momentum through policies that encourage greater investment in solar and wind, in the additional grid infrastructure they will require, and in other key renewable technologies such as hydropower, bioenergy and geothermal. “A massive expansion of clean electricity is essential to giving the world a chance of achieving its net zero goals.’’ Global wind capacity additions almost doubled last year to 114 GW and increases will still be 50 per cent larger than the average expansion during the

2017-19 period in 2021-2022, the organisation projected. It stated that solar PV installations will continue to break new records, with annual additions forecast to reach over 160 GW by 2022, an almost 50 per cent higher than the level achieved in 2019 prior to the pandemic. According to the world body, China is at the centre of global renewable demand and supply, accounting for around 40 per cent of global renewable capacity growth for several years, with the country’s share rising to 50 per cent for the first time due to a rush to complete projects before government subsidies were phased oout

Modion Communications, a public relations (PR) and marketing communication solutions providing agency, has announced that its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) focused campaign for Lumos Nigeria has won the Sabre Awards Africa 2021, an internationally coveted prize in PR. With the recent feat, the agency has now won back-to-back Sabre Awards in two years, having secured double Sabre Diamonds on its debut participation in 2020 with its brand activation for Leadway Assurance#SeeFinish,andits#Gokada2.0,astrategiccrisismanagement campaign for Gokada. This year’s recognition was for the agency’s 2020 CSR campaign for Lumos Nigeria tagged, ‘Touching LivesThrough a Determined School Child – Dele Fathia’. The entry came tops in the Sabre Awards CSR category, which featured competitive entries from Kenya’s Oxygène Marketing Communication; Nigeria’s Integrated Indigo; Mauritious’ Circus! Advertising and international agency, Burson Cohn & Wolfe for Centenary Bank of Uganda. In addition, Modion Communications’ 2021 winning entry has been shortlistedforthegrandPlatinumSabreAwardtobeannouncedduring the award ceremony on May 27, 2021. According to a statement, other nominees included Kazi Mtaani — State Department for Housing and Urban Development with Oxygène Marketing Communications; Project Fabric Campaign against the ban of second-hand clothes — Mitumba Association of Kenya with Hill+Knowlton Strategies Kenya; Rebuilding Stakeholders’ Trust in Kenya Airways — Kenya Airways with Edelman Africa and Shoprite GroupCorporateImage—TheShopriteGroupCommunicationsTeam.

Bolt Launches Car-sharing Service

Bolt has launched its car-sharing service tagged: ‘Bolt Drive.’ The new service allows customers to rent a car for short periods of time using the Bolt app. Bolt will invest €20 million in launching Bolt Drive in Europe this year, starting with a pilot in its home market, Estonia. Bolt is the first mobility platform in Europe to offer car-sharing, ride-hailing and micromobility with scooters and electric bikes in one app. By enabling customers to quickly and conveniently rent a car at the tap of a button, Bolt allows them to be less dependent on personal cars and encourages the use of alternative modes of transport for short-distance trips. CEO at Bolt, Markus Villig, said: “Personal cars are the primary cause of problems in urban transport.They are responsible for traffic, environmental emissions and taking up city space. Bolt’s mission is to helppeoplegiveuptheirpersonalcarsbyprovidingabetteralternative. “For people to switch from ownership to on-demand transport, we need to offer a more convenient, affordable and environmentally sustainable option for every distance. We are already doing this for short and medium distance trips.

Cordros Partners Slum2School

Two hundred children are set to receive educational relief packs from the Cordros Group under the Slum2School programme. This commitment was disclosed during a presentation ceremony by the financial services group at the Slum2School Innovation Hub in Lagos, recently. According to Founder/Executive Director of Slum2School, Mr. Otto Orondaam, the support from Cordros would help Slum2School make remarkable progress in supporting more underserved children across communities. Alsospeaking,PartnershipsandStakeholderManageratSlum2School, Sandra Onyedum, confirmed that the 200 beneficiaries would receive the relief packs under the organisation’s Cluster Learning Programme. She noted that the donation would be maximised to provide academic opportunities to undeserved children across slums and remote communities. On her part, Director at Cordros Insurance Brokers Limited, Shola Bola-Audu, noted that Cordros is very deliberate about positively impactingthelivesofyoungNigeriansbyprovidingtherelevantfinancial literacy contents, and promoting social inclusion.

“In healthcare, the feedback has been good. Some people I know have been there and didn’t know that it was owned by the NSIA. But when they found out they called me and said that is a great” MD, NSIA Uche Orji


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Is Nigeria Ready for Low-carbon Energy Transition? In this report, Emmanuel Addeh examines the global rush for renewable energy sources, a development that is expected to see a huge decline in the use of fossil fuels as a major energy generating source

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igeria has the largest oil and gas reserve in Sub-Saharan Africa, with crude oil accounting for 90 per cent of its export earnings and government’s major budgetary decisions as well as annual revenue trajectories mostly revolving around the commodity. However, as the country gets pushed on all sides by the dynamics of global energy politics and policies, including the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and universal commitments to transition to low-carbon energy, the oil and gas industry now faces a bleak future. Pressures from these global actors have now put the country’s decades-long dependence on oil on a shaky ground, leaving Nigeria in a vulnerable and increasingly unsustainable position as international finance institutions continue to withdraw their backing for fossil-fuel related projects. The global transition to embrace renewable sources of energy impacts Nigeria in two major critical ways: fossil fuel as a source of foreign exchange earner and as a source of energy for powering homes and social investments like schools and hospitals as well as industries. As the downturn in world’s oil and gas industry continues and countries like Nigeria weigh the likely consequences, it would appear that the country has again positioned itself as a spectator rather than a major actor in the goings-on on the global stage. Phasing out fossil fuels As the saying goes, whatever has a beginning must have an end. What is not in contention is that the gradual reduction of the use of fossil fuels to zero and it’s replacement with sustainable energy sources in all sectors has become a reality that any serious nation will only ignore at its own peril. For instance, in 2020 alone, it was estimated that companies, governments and households invested over $501.3 billion in decarbonisation efforts as fresh attention moved towards renewable energy, including solar, wind, electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure, energy storage, energy-efficient heating systems, carbon capture and storage as well as hydrogen. As implementation of renewable energy sources continues to increase, the costs have inevitably declined in many countries, including those ones buying Nigeria’s oil, thereby worsening the future outlook of the commodity. It will not be out of place to posit that the world has seen this transition, although in a smaller scale in the past. Before the last decade, the use of coal as a major source of energy was huge. But coal use peaked in 2013 and is expected to fizzle out soon. As of 2018, many countries and many subnational governments and businesses had become members of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, each making a declaration to advance the transition away from unabated coal power generation as more coal power is retired , rather than built. The same transition is being largely faced by crude oil, whether refined into fuel, diesel or petrol or for use in transportation by conventional cars, trucks, trains, planes and ships. Although , quite a handful of countries, including Nigeria, propose to use natural gas, which has an emission intensity of about 500g/kWh as a temporary “bridge fuel” to replace petroleum, even this is already being phase-out by some regions, especially in Europe and America. In the main, anti-fossil fuel campaigners believe that halting its deployment will reduce deaths and illnesses caused by air pollution, limit climate change, reduce energy subsidies and generally mitigate its impact whether from heating and cooking, or outdoors from vehicle exhaust, from gas flaring or its use in industries, which accounts for over 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Countries, even the least expected to comply are making commitments to a carbon-free world. China has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060, India has committed to a target of achieving 40 per cent of its total electricity generation from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030, the UK sees the country carbon neutral by 2050 and for the first time, in 2020, renewables overtook fossil fuels as the European Union’s main source of electricity. Some of these alternative sources of energy are: solar energy, hydroelectricity, marine energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, biofuels, ethanol

who took a slightly different stance on the question of the energy transition, it is not just possible for now to totally jettison fossil fuels. Buhari said Nigeria is working on ways to improve cooking fuel, which he said will involve shifting from the use of wood stoves to kerosene, LPG, biogas and electricity, further pushing the argument that for traditional hydrocarbon producers like Nigeria, there are major challenges ahead for any talk about energy transition.

Buhari and Hydrogen. In the same vein, Norway is phasing out internal combustion engines by 2025, several US states already have a zero-emissions vehicle mandate, incrementally requiring a certain percent of cars sold to be electric, same for Germany and many other nations. It is estimated that as of 2020, 1200 institutions possessing $14 trillion divested or made a commitment to do so from the fossil fuel industry. For national oil companies, NOCs like Algeria’s Sonatrach, Brazil’s Petrobras, Malaysia’s Petronas, Norway’s Equinor, and Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Aramco are already putting the transition at the centre of their business strategies; undergoing corporate governance reforms in support of their governments’ efforts at reducing carbon emissions and increasing investment and research in renewables. Any provisions for renewables in the PIB? Experts have argued that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), currently before the national assembly, should have presented the perfect avenue for the Nigerian government to enunciate its policies and proposals to move to a more sustainable renewable energy future. But aside the usual platitudes, including proposal for environmental clean-ups, the conclusion is that these are not far-reaching enough to guarantee a wholesome trajectory. In addition, the PIB also seeks to prohibit flaring of gas, except for emergency purposes or for safety reasons which would attract a fine and requires the installation of metering equipment. The bill would also require gas producing licensees or lessees to submit an elimination and monetisation plan for the associated gas within one year of the effective date of the law. Furthermore, there’s the host communities development aspect, which includes the establishment of host communities development trusts that would act as funds for environmental, social, and infrastructure projects. But in the end, it fails to account for climate change, acknowledge the Paris Agreement, and address the need for diversification to adequately prepare Nigeria for the energy transition that is already underway. However, as Solina Kennedy and co argue in their treatise, “Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Bill: A Missed Opportunity to Prepare for the Zero-Carbon Future,” rather than locking more capital into projects and infrastructure that will soon be obsolete, Nigeria should be promoting the stewardship of assets that propel the energy transition forward, not those that will be left behind. According to them, diversifying away from oil, investing in clean energy sources, and improving governance are essential steps for Nigeria to effectively break free from its oil dependence and seize the business opportunity. Put differently, they propose that the government should include climate change governance principles in the NNPC reform agenda, establish a separate strategic division within

the corporation to develop clear target metrics and performance results around low-carbon energy responsibilities such as reducing carbon emissions, planning how to limit future oil and gas projects, and developing new business in renewable energy. Little insignificant steps As stated earlier, the transition from fossil fuels will markedly affect the petroleum sector where the country gets up to 90 per cent of its badly needed foreign exchange earnings and how and from where it generates its electricity. Admittedly, there have been moves, although still baby steps to make renewables a part of the country’s electricity supply mix driven mainly by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). For instance, there’s an ongoing scheme to deliver and maintain five million new solar connections under a ‘solar power strategy’, expected to support 250,000 new jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation of 5 million solar home systems and mini-grids. The plan also supports the upstream value chain by promoting the large-scale assembly of solar components in Nigeria. In addition, the federal government has said that it is addressing clean cooking in its plan with a commitment to implement the National Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) expansion programme to support the transition from traditional fuels for cooking, such as kerosene and firewood, to cleaner LPG fuel. But in the sense of transitioning from over-reliance on petroleum products to earn foreign exchange or for transportation and other related areas, it would appear that nothing much is being done. Nigeria versus Africa Last month’s climate change meeting organised by the United States President, Joe Biden, presented an opportunity for global leaders to enunciate clear policies or efforts to decarbonise the provision of energy. In concrete terms, Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s President, highlighted the appeal of geothermal power in the East African state, noting that the country also has wind potential, as highlighted by the Lake Turkana project. In his remarks, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, also took the opportunity of the US summit to highlight green energy plans, mentioning the country’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) which has set the goal of achieving 17 GW of electricity by 2030. Ramaphosa stated that a “just transition” involved reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and emissions. This must come, he said, with “sustaining economic growth, creating jobs and protecting those most affected by these changes”. South Africa requires an energy shift “where the uptake of sustainable systems and technologies proceeds at a realistic pace,” he opined. For Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari,

Stakeholders’ thoughts on energy transition For the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, Nigeria does not have enough resources to join the race to renewable energy any time soon. Reacting to criticisms that the PIB does not make provision for transition to a decarbonised energy ecosystem, the minister noted that Nigeria should work on its areas of comparative advantage, rather than join the call for energy transition. “We are not really in the race to renewables as a country and even as a continent, we are not really very much in the race to renewable. Let’s look at where we have our comparative advantage. “Our comparative advantage today as far as energy is concerned is the area of oil and gas. We have a lot of gas in this territory, unfortunately we have not focused on gas and gas is considered to be a cleaner fuel. “In fact some people have begun to discuss gas not as a transition fuel, but as a destination fuel. So, it is also considered as a renewable fuel. What we doing in the PIB is to move the focus from oil to gas,” he posited. He added: “That is why I always advocate internationally that they cannot pigeonhole us. That is not our area of strength. We will concentrate as a country in our area of strength which is gas. Even if they consider gas as a transition fuel, then we are going to be very strong in that.” For the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, although technology and innovation were facilitating a new global energy order aimed at decarbonising the world and safeguarding the climate, a wholesale transition may not be possible for now. He stressed that renewable energy sources such as solar and wind which would be key components of the new energy mix were largely influenced by seasons and were non-transportable to demand centres where they are in short supply. Kyari is of the view that natural gas as well as blue hydrogen, will play key roles in the clean energy drive even as it provides a significant proportion of the global energy mix as well as guarantee feedstock to gas-based industries. “Nigeria has committed huge resources to ensure that domestic gas infrastructure reaches every corner of our country to deepen natural gas utilisation, spur investment in power and gas-based industries, grow the economy and generate employment for millions of our young people,” Kyari stated. One other stakeholder in the sector who has bared his mind on the global phenomenon is the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF), Aliyu Gusau, who also opined that the country cannot afford such an immediate transition to renewables. “Our estimation is that we are going to have a window of let’s say at most 20 years to continue to use fossil fuel, because the whole world is transiting to a cleaner and more carbon neutral situation. “But we cannot throw away the oil. We have to make optimal utilisation of that resource within the time that is available to us. So the drafting and the design of the bill is predicated on the fact that what can we do within this window to be able to optimally utilise the resources to provide the means of transition”. But the African Refiners and Distribution Association (ARDA) led by Nigeria’s Anibor Kragha, believes that there is the need for the continent to quickly take visible steps as the rest of world moves towards cleaner and renewable sources of energy, even if for now it can only afford to focus on gas. NOTE: Interested readers should continue in the online edition on www.thisdaylive.com


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CBN and Youth Empowerment Hamid Ayodeji writes on some initiatives aimed at improving access to finance for youths and youth-owned enterprises in the country

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igeria’s rising youth unemployment has remained a source of concern to policy makers in the country. With unemployment rate as of fourth quarter (Q4) 2020 was put at 33.3 per cent by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which was an increase from the 27.1 per cent recorded in the second quarter of 2020; and unemployment rate among young people (15-34 years) put at 42.5 per cent as of Q4, there have been deliberate efforts by institutions such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to empower this class of persons in the country. This was in recognition of the fact that there is no better segment of the Nigerian population than the youths to propel the country to its muchneeded economic recovery and diversification. For instance, the central bank had launched the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP) to enhance the deployment of the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Nigerian youths for maximum economic development. The YEDP aims to fix the triple-barreled constraints of insufficiency, high cost and inadequate term of capital usually faced by youth entrepreneurs and startups. It offers credit of up to N3 million to eligible youth or N10 million for groups of three to five youths, interest rate of less than 10 per cent per annum. The tenor broadly depends on project complexity and cash flow, but is between one year for working capital loan and three years for term loan. The collateral requirements include academic and NYSC certificates, third party guarantees and other movable assets. Under this intervention fund, the target beneficiaries are members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), non-NYSC (but not more than five years post-NYSC), those who possess a verifiable tertiary institution certificate, and artisans with First School Leaving Certificate or a technical certificate or accredited proficiency certificate from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), whichever is applicable. Beneficiaries can be encouraged to migrate to other CBN interventions to obtain more funding if they utilise the YEDP facility properly. The Guidelines for the programme indicate that activities eligible for financing include startups and expansion projects in agricultural value chains (fish farming, poultry, snail farming, etc.), cottage Industry, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts) and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) among others. CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had said the programme was aimed at harnessing the teeming youth population in the country to propel that demography to the much-needed economic recovery. Emefiele, who had decried the alarming unemployment figures from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, had said the situation could not be allowed to degenerate further, given the bright ideas and big dreams of the youth. The Governor stressed that the YEDP would provide timely and affordable credit to assist youths in implementing their business ideas, thereby providing the mechanism of stimulating growth, reducing unemployment as well as addressing youth restiveness. Similarly, as part of efforts to encourage entrepreneurship among youths in the country, the central bank in collaboration with the federal government introduced the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF). The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had last July, approved the disbursement of the fund for the period of 2020 – 2023. The fund is also dedicated to investment in the innovative ideas, skills and talents of Nigerian youths between the ages of 18-35 years, and to institutionally provide them with a special window for accessing much needed funds, finances, business management skills and other inputs critical for sustainable enterprise development. The framework among other things stated that NYIF aims to financially empower Nigeria youth to generate at least 500,000 jobs between 2020 and 2023. It also states that informal business enterprises (individuals and sole proprietors) and formal business enterprises (youth owned enterprises) are eligible to apply for the loan. However, the framework notes that applicants currently enjoying Nirsal MFB loans, including the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) and Agribusi-

ness/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) loans that remain unpaid are not eligible to apply. Furthermore, it noted that beneficiaries of other government loan schemes that remain unpaid are also not eligible to participate. The loan tenor, according to the framework, is a maximum of 5 years depending on the nature of the business and the assets acquired with an interest rate of 5 percent per annum. The CBN had outlined in the NYIF framework, the businesses and activities that are legally allowed to be eligible to participate in the scheme. These include technology/innovation, agriculture and its related value chain, green economy and the renewable energy sector. Others are manufacturing, hospitality/tourism, construction, logistics and supply chain, healthcare value chain, the creative sector, trading and services, as well as others that would be certified by the CBN from time to time. The administration of the N75 billion NYIF is mainly the responsibility of Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, had said the NYIF underscored the importance placed on youths by the administration, saying the fund would be spread over three years to cater for youth-owned businesses and investment needs. Another targeted intervention is the Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (AADS). Indeed, the apex bank authorised the commercial banks

The fund is also dedicated to investment in the innovative ideas, skills and talents of Nigerian youths between the ages of 18-35 years, and to institutionally provide them with a special window for accessing much needed funds, finances, business management skills and other inputs critical for sustainable enterprise development

to give up to N2 billion maximum loan to youths interested in agriculture. The loan, according to the regulator, comes under the Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme at five per cent interest rate per annum. This was created by the apex bank in collaboration with state governments to engage 370,000 youth in agriculture. According to the loan guideline released and signed by CBN Director, Development Finance Department, Yusuf Yila in Abuja, recently, the maximum loan accessible under the scheme shall be N2 billion per obligor. Yila said the country’s population pyramid was bulging around the youth segment, with an estimated 75 per cent of the population identified to be aged below 35 years. The All-Farmers Association of Nigeria, which is the umbrella body of all farmers in Nigeria, commended the federal government and the CBN, pointing out that the intervention loan would really boost job creation through agro-allied value chains. AFAN’s Lagos chapter Chairman, Dr. Femi Oke, commended the central bank over the initiative. Oke noted that the move was in order since it was going to open doors of opportunities for the teeming youths aspiring to go into agriculture. In addition, the Bankers’ Committee and the CBN recently commenced renovation work on the National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, in line with its efforts to support young entrepreneurs in the country. In February, FEC had approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the CBN and the ministry of information and culture for the project. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the project showed the commitment of all parties involved towards giving the facility a facelift. According to him, when completed, the National Theatre would be the number one event centre in Africa. He said there would also be the development of clusters to support the creative industry. “Not only will the National Theatre be restored, there would not be a single job loss and more jobs would be created during the construction of the facility,” Mohammed said. The project is being funded through the Creative Industry Funds Initiative (CIFI) of the Bankers’ Committee. The CBN and other members of the Bankers’ Committee had set up the Creative Industries and Financing Initiative through which banks set aside, on an annual basis, five percent of their profit after tax (PAT). To Emefiele, who is the Chairman of the Bankers’ Committee, the idea behind the project, christened ‘Lagos Creative and Entertainment Centre,’ was to restore the glory of the iconic building by aligning

most of the fabric, equipment and facilities in the building with the aesthetics of the 21st century and secondly to develop an ecosystem of creative hubs on the adjoining 44-hectare parcel of land. The new facility would complement and enhance the National Arts Theatre, he said. “This facility will be a convenor – providing space, support network, business development and community engagement for the creative, cultural and technology sectors. “The Signature Cluster will consist of a building each for music, film, fashion and information technology verticals. In addition to these, a welcome/visitor’s centre, police and fire stations and structured parking for up to 500 vehicles will be built,“ he added. Emefiele stated that the 44-hectare site adjourning the National Theatre would be developed and utilised for the development of purpose-built creative hubs for the music, film, fashion and information technology. He said the aim was to deliver a successful creative and entertainment city that would encourage additional investment into Nigeria’s creative industry. According to him, the anticipation is that there will be at least 10,000 direct and indirect jobs created during the construction phase and over 25,000 people would be engaged in different sections of the centre when the Signature Cluster is completed, with anticipated multiplier effect of other job opportunities. “The fashion building is a full-fledged apparel production facility with textile showroom, retail and photography spaces and teaching laboratories “The music building will house recording studios with all front and back-end spaces and facilities. An amphitheatre has been designed to adjoin the music hub in the master plan. “The film facility consists of stage set-up areas as well as all back-end spaces necessary for full production of films. “The information technology facility consists of co-working and co-living spaces, training facilities and indoor and outdoor breakout clusters, all carefully designed to ensure that interface with the creative users is enhanced,” Emefiele added. He said the Bankers’ Committee embarked on the project because of the rapid growth recorded by the creative sector over the years. “This project will no doubt bring considerable benefits to all Nigerians, especially the youth who are the reason and inspiration behind this initiative. The tenacity of our youth is highly commendable and admirable and has reflected in the economic returns of the creative industry. Their activities, through the music, film and fashion industry, have also brought global acclaim to Nigeria,” Emefiele said.


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How Local Scientific Innovations Can Boost Food Security Patricia Pessu

I

f you visit many offices across Nigeria at lunchtime during the months of May, June, July and August, chances are high that you will find a good number of workers munching away at“mouth organs”.Yes, it is the period of the year when corn is in season and one of the most popular delicacies at this time is the combination of roasted corn, popularly code-named as“mouth organ”and the African pear. Coconut is an occasional close substitute for pear and this writer has it on good authority that many people find the coconut and“mouthorgan”combination, just as delicious too. Unfortunately, outside of those months when both corn and pear are in season, this delicious combination is unavailable. Interestingly, during those harvest months, enough corn and pear to sustain the country for a substantial period, if not for the entire year, may have been harvested. But with inadequate knowledge of the existence of modern and cost-effective storage and preservation methods, tonnes of maize and pear end up wasted every year. Upon harvesting, pear in particular, has a very short window within which it must be consumed before it goes bad. The same applies to practically every other agricultural commodity in Nigeria. In the countryside at harvest periods, you will practically find a surplus of agricultural commodities, but often, in the absence of proper storage, a huge proportion of these harvests eventually goes to waste. These perennial losses pose a huge threat to the economic wellbeing of farmers, majority of whom operate at the small scale or subsistence level. It also has a negative implication on our ability as a country, to feed ourselves and export surplus to other countries for our economic benefit. The challenge which poor storage poses to food security in Nigeria will worsen in the post-COVID era, if it is not systematically tackled and in good time, too. It is, therefore, imperative that beyond improving the volumes of our agricultural output, we look critically at how to empower farmers across the country to better manage their harvests. This will translate to immense economic value not only for the farmers themselves whose livelihoods will be enhanced, but also for the country as a whole, as more food will become more widely available and for extended periods, for consumption and export. Incidentally, several research organisations and universities as well, have over the years, ardently sought solutions to this problem, with a handful of innovations to show for their efforts. Many of the solutions are particularly unique because being homegrown, they reflect the realities of our local environment. Not only are they relatively cheap and far more efficient than many traditional methods, as they are also often technically uncomplicated, farmers can adopt them readily. In the area of fish farming for instance, there is an innovation known as the “iced-fish box” with which harvested fish may be stored and kept fresh for a few days for instance, while being transported to the market. The ice-fish box is also very useful in the hospitality industry, especially for hotels and restaurants, which need to keep harvested fish fresh ahead of further processing. So it’s a very useful means of keeping fish fresh and natural ahead of further handling even while such fish may be in transit. In addition, specialised smoking kilns have been developed to replace the labor-intensive, yet inefficient and unhealthy traditional fishsmoking methods. Output from these kilns is good enough for export and is several multiples of what is ordinarily obtainable by traditional fish-smoking methods. Nigerian researchers have also produced composite packaging material that can be used for packaging such smoked fish or even smoked meat as the case may be, preserving the end product and boosting its commercial appeal. Whether it is beans, corn or rice that become discolored, mouldy, smelly or infested with weevils, grains pose problems of storage for farmers, often leading to considerable financial losses. In the past, grains exported from Nigeria have also faced rejection because

Pessu of the unacceptable levels of chemical residues (often from pesticides) they contain. Local researchers have been active in the area of grain preservation, churning out a handful of innovative solutions over the years. For instance, there are solar dryers that have been developed for different agricultural commodities. Given the abundance of sunshine in our country and the simplicity of construction of these dryers, they are relatively affordable by the average farmer. Farmers are also able to replicate the construction of these solar dryers using a huge proportion of locally available raw materials. Essentially, these solar dryers work to enhance the efficiency of drying of agricultural produce, saving time and availing farmers of more convenience too. They do this by concentrating the rays of the sun on a particular surface, enhancing drying efficiency over the traditional method of spreading grains, plantain and cassava peelings among others, indiscriminately under the sun. Specially constructed steel drums which when properly shut become airtight (hermetic) and with which farmers can store grains over several months, have also been developed by local researchers. Because these drums are airtight, insects, fungi and other germs are unable to survive in them, and damage to stored grains is avoided. There are specialised storage silos as well, which can help store and preserve grains over many months. There is in fact, a particular twin silo, which can jointly accommodate up to 100 tonnes of grains at a time. Grains are preserved so well by the silos that after more than three years of storage, they are still able to germinate. Local researchers have also developed bio-pesticides as an alternative to chemical pesticides. Commonly available chemical pesticides though effective against pests are often harmful to man and the environment. Bio-pesticides, on the other hand, are much safer and constitute no environmental hazard. One such pesticide, (NSPRI DUST) an innovation by the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute, was made from diatomaceous earth, a particular kind of rock, which occurs naturally in parts of Nigeria. Bio-pesticides will help to make Nigerian grains potentially more acceptable in the export market. For fruits and vegetables, local researchers have over the years, come up with a number of

different solutions, as well. There is the “Fruit and Vegetable Shed” for instance, which is constructed with simple and locally available raw materials, and which helps farmers to store and preserve fruits and vegetables, in so doing, extending their shelf lives and enabling farmers derive more value from their harvests. There is the fruit dryer, which by drying certain fruits helps to preserve them. When water evaporates from a surface, it produces a cooling effect, similar for instance to what happens when sweat evaporates from our skins. The cooling effect which water produces when it evaporates is known as “evaporative cooling.” Local scientists have been working over several years to deploy this principle of evaporative cooling to the preservation of fruits and vegetables. Incidentally the principle of evaporative cooling is not new and has been practiced by Nigerians in traditional settings for many decades, as a method of preserving fruits and vegetables. The intervention by local researchers is now targeted at enhancing the efficiency and scale of these traditional methods in such a manner that farmers are able to preserve larger volumes of agricultural produce over longer periods. Results garnered so far are very impressive and in the not-too-distant future, more innovations are likely to emanate from this area. The emphasis on the innovative use of evaporative cooling recognises that more sophisticated approaches such as refrigeration, which is commonly used in developed countries to preserve fruits and vegetables, are hardly feasible in our environment. This is not only because of high upfront costs but also the unreliability and sometimes sheer unavailability of power, particularly in rural areas where the majority of farmers operate. Evaporate cooling systems, on the other hand will be locally made with freely available raw materials, uncomplicated and easy to operate. Tubers such as yams and potatoes have not been left out. Researchers have since come up with such innovations as “ventilated yam barns” for the storage of yam tubers, “diffused-light store” for the storage of potatoes, “cassava root warehouse” for the storage of cassava roots among many others. There is no doubt that widespread adoption of these technologies by farmers across the

country will help to considerably stem the tide of post-harvest losses in Nigeria. This will translate to considerable savings for millions of farmers and in addition provide a robust window of opportunity for exports of additional Nigerian products. For the average consumer in Nigeria, it will very likely lead to better food availability which will in turn result to a drop in cost of food. There is therefore, an imperative for farmers to adopt these new technologies that are being churned out by our research institutes regularly. Getting the agricultural value chain to increasingly adopt these innovations will entail patient and systematic engagement. Farmers’ cooperatives and associations are very good platforms with which to reach farmers across the country with information and education. Spread around the country, these farmers’ cooperatives will help to disseminate information and education to tens of thousands of individual farmers. Engaging farmers’ cooperatives effectively, will entail detailed product demonstrations. It may also entail a technique that is very commonly used in the commercial sector, namely, sampling. If free samples are generously but strategically distributed to farmers’ cooperatives and farmers experience first-hand the added value, which these innovations translate to, it is very likely that popularity and adoption will spread very fast. The financial sector also needs to be strategically engaged. Banks and financial institutions can potentially enhance the widespread adoption of these technologies by helping farmers to finance the acquisition, either through farmers’ cooperatives and associations or directly with individual farmers themselves. It is critical too, that the innovations remain affordable to the average farmer. Researchers must not rest on their oars. They must continue to examine and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the different agricultural innovations. Researchers must continue to seek to deploy new cost-effective approaches towards solving these age-old problems. As a vital link between different publics, the media needs to be carried along more intricately too, by Nigeria’s agricultural science industry. The media needs to better understand and appreciate the challenges with which the agricultural sector is confronted as well as promote the innovative solutions that continue to be churned out regularly, in order to help enhance adoption of these solutions by the agriculture value chain. Research institutes and Faculties of Agriculture in our various universities, being hotbeds of innovation, must increasingly, work more collaboratively in order to jointly share and popularize innovations that are emanating therefrom. Agricultural chambers of commerce are a potential source of popularising these innovations especially among policy makers and influencers and should also be engaged. Today’s smartphone comes with immense computing power and lots of possibilities including the ability to keep large communities of farmers abreast of new innovations and developments in a simple manner and in a language they understand. Smartphone penetration is growing very fast in Nigeria. Though exact data with which to quantify its adoption and spread especially among rural farmers, is not readily available, we can logically project, based on current trends, that smartphone penetration will continue to deepen in the coming years, with smartphones getting into the hands of many more farmers. By providing a quick and easy access to the Internet, smartphones portend a highly effective medium with which to reach millions of farmers and other members of the agriculture value chain. It’s also a veritable means with which to reach influencers and opinion leaders who can help to further enhance awareness of these local agricultural innovations and gradually spread this awareness to the wider population. Ultimately, smartphones have enormous potential to take information and education to millions of people and in doing so, motivate them to adopt these value-laden innovations. t%S 1FTTV JT &YFDVUJWF %JSFDUPS PG /JHFSJBO 4UPSFE 1SPEVDUT 3FTFBSDI *OTUJUVUF *MPSJO


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T H I S D AY ˾ ͯͶ˜ ͰͮͰͯ

NCDMB: Work on $10bn Train 7 Project to Accelerate This Month Peter Uzoho After over one year drawback as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has stated that construction work on the $10 billion Train 7 project of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited will be accelerated this month. The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, said this in Lagos, recently, at

a media briefing heralding the third/ 2021 edition of the biennial Nigeria Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF) which will hold virtually between May 25 and 26, 2021, Wabote said despite all challenges, the contract for Train 7 which comprised the midstream and upstream was signed by the stakeholders as part of the opportunities existing in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. “But despite all that challenge, we were able to sign the contract

Fashola Wants Synergy among Surveyors in MDAs, Private Sector The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has called for linkages between professional surveyors in government ministries departments and agencies as well as the private sector to enhance their role in the society. Fashola, who was represented by the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Mr. Abubakar Aliyu, advised the management of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) to sensitise other government and non- governmental institutions on how surveying can assist in infrastructure development. Speaking during a courtesy visit by a delegation of the institution, Fashola further added that other institutions like the Nigerian Army should be sensitised on the importance of survey in construction works so that they can partner the institution in some of their activities. He

Coca-Cola Foundation Partners AREAi on Zero Plastic Initiative Raheem Akingbolu In a bid to promote a “World Without Waste”, the Coca-Cola Foundation in partnership with Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative (AREAi) recently kicked off its Mission Zero Plastic initiative in Kwara State. Recall that the “Mission Zero Plastic” initiative, funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation, was initially launched earlier this year in Abuja and has now moved to Kwara State where the project was officially launched recently. This project seeks to promote a recycling culture amongst residents of Kwara State while raising awareness on the harmful effects of plastic pollution. Speaking on the initiative, Director, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Amaka Onyemelukwe, stated that the project seeks to curb plastic pollution through the recovery and repurposing of 600 tons of PET Bottles, and creation of 30 EcoBrick Structures (constructed from repurposed bottles) for increased educational opportunities for 7200 out-of-school children. She noted that the project would help communities in Kwara State tackle the plastic waste problem and better understand how and where to recycle for a more sustainable environment.

added that the world would be chaotic without survey, stating that without proper coordinates, no structure can be built without problems. The minister assured the delegation of the ministry’s support towards the successful hosting of the 2021 annual meeting of the institution billed to hold in Abuja.

for the Train 7 today, which is almost about $5 billion worth of opportunity that came into the country. “So, when you look at it, in 2020, we signed that Train 7 contract. Hopefully, this May, I think activities will accelerate with regards to the Train 7 project that will come into effect. And once that opportunity comes, the upstream opportunities will kick in,” Wabote said. He said for each of the mid-

stream and upstream sides of the Train 7 project, there was $5 billion opportunity in it, adding that, “despite the $5 billion for the Train 7 project, there is another $5 billion out there for the upstream opportunity. So, in the whole process, you see that we’ve been able to lock almost about $10 billion only on the Train 7 project”. While noting that work on the Train 7 project had been slow in reaching advanced stage and

keeping the fabrication yards busy, he assured the local vendors that work would start to accelerate this month. “It has been slow, to be fair, in coming to full steam to keep the various yards in the country busy. But I have been told that by this May, things will begin to accelerate. And I’m sure, a lot of those Nigerians vendors that are within the 50 per cent bracket could benefit immensely from the opportunity,” he said.

Wabote, who attributed the continuous activities in the upstream sector despite the pandemic to the capacities brought into the sector by the board, said oil production had never stopped in the country throughout the period. According to him, “vessels were working, people were going in, logistics was being provided back and forth because most of the offshore platforms are still manually being controlled.”

Oil, Gas Experts to Discuss Emerging Industry Issues Stories by Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja Oil and gas experts across Africa are set to converge on Houston, United States, for the 2021 SubSaharan Africa Oil/Gas (SSOAG) conference to discuss emerging opportunities and challenges in the industry. With the title: “Future of Upstream, Advancing Digitisation and Gas Development”, the organisers noted that the topic had become critical as pressure

mounts on the industry to address issues like climate change and decarbonisation efforts. The event is expected to be attended by energy ministers, leaders of national oil companies, executives of international oil companies, indigenous oil firms and other critical players in the industry. In addition, it would also create a leeway for the continent and evaluate the future of upstream, challenges of digitalisation as well as the options available to

harness the continent’s huge gas resources coming in the midst of the new global energy landscape. The event, which is being organised by Energy & Corporate Africa will take place in August and is pegged against the backdrop of the global trends fuelling energy transition. Chief Executive Officer of Energy & Corporate Africa, Sunny Oputa, in his remarks noted that while Africa readies to position itself for the paradigm shift in global perspective of the oil and

gas industry, the event would offer insights into critical steps and strategies that could set the continent on the right track. “While the new clamour from industry experts remain that Africa like most developing economies should be given fossil fuel space to advance its economy and catch up with developed economies through investments, project funding, technologies, digitalisation and manpower development.


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T H I S D AY ˾ ͯͶ˜ 2021

BUSINESS/MONEYGUIDE

Report: Global Insurers Incur Highest Claims from COVID-19, Others Ebere Nwoji A report on the trend of risks, losses and claims from global financial services sector has showed that insurers in the past five years experienced highest quantum of losses and claims from risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercrimes, compliance and environment social and governance trend (ESG). The report, published by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), a global corporate insurance carrier and a key business unit of Allianz Group, stated that the pandemic may drive market corrections and insolvencies – which could impact financial institutions’ balance

sheets, increase exposures for directors and result in litigation. The AGCS analysis of $1 billion of insurance industry claims showed that cyber incidents, including crime, was the top cause of loss. “Insurers, see a rising number of losses from outages or privacy breaches with third-party service providers a potential weak link,” it added. It further noted that compliance issues were already one of the biggest drivers of claims, adding that the burden has been on the upswing, particularly around ESG factors and climate change. According to the report, in Johannesburg, London, Munich, New York, Paris, Sao Paulo and

Singapore, financial institutions and their directors had to navigate a rapidly changing world, marked by new and emerging risks driven by cyber exposures. In Nigeria, insurers recently disclosed that they have in the interim paid over N4 billion claims to businesses damaged by hoodlums during the endsars protest promising to pay the balance as the victims file their claims. Furthermore, the AGCS report noted that the behavior and culture of financial institutions were undergoing scrutiny from a wide range of stakeholders in areas such as sustainability, employment practices, diversity and inclusion and executive pay.

CIBN to Construct Lecture Halls in Tertiary Institutions Oluchi Chibuzor The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has announced the approval to build a mini hall in selected linkage institutions across the six geo-political zones of the country. The institute disclosed this at its 2021 Annual General Meeting held in Lagos at the weekend. President/Chairman of Council, CIBN, Dr Bayo Olugbemi, who disclosed this at the meeting, said the proposed hall of 200-seating capacity would be fully furnished with air conditioning and well equipped modern multi-media communication

gadgets and donated to the banking and finance department of the respective institutions as a legacy project from the institute. Speaking further, he said that the Council has approved the developmental of its landed property in Owerri, Imo State and Osogbo- Osun State to serve the south-east and south-west zones of the Institute respectively. He noted that the institute would also be upgrading its facility in Ilorin, Kwara State and the construction of its Lagos State permanent secretariat at Yaba, Lagos. The National Treasurer of the Institute, Mr. Oladele Alabi, gave the financial highlights of the

institute for the 2020 fiscal year with an operating surplus of N570.27 million. This represented a decrease of 0.6 per cent over the N535.49 million recorded in 2019. He said the initially approved net operating surplus budget was N535.49 million but was reviewed to N316.17 million and approved by the Governing Council due to the uncertainty posed by the Covid 19 pandemic. Also, Mr. Kayode Sunmola of Moore Stephens RoseWater, the external auditors of the institute gave report for 2020 financials and stated that the financial position of the CIBN was in agreement with the book

Eko Disco Moves to Improve Service Delivery Peter Uzoho Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) has commenced the construction and rehabilitation of its network infrastructure for improved power supply to customers. The company, in a statement yesterday signed by its General Manager, Corporate Communication, Mr. Godwin Idemudia, the projects included the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of installations across its distribution network. Idemudia revealed that the projects once completed, would help the company achieve among other things, network improvement, increase reliability and quality of supply,

allow flexibility for evacuation of additional power, address safety issues and relieve overloaded transformers and substations. He listed some of the projects as the construction and rehabilitation of eight injection substations, explaining that projects that fell under this category include the upgrade of Keffi substation, reactivation of NTDA injection substation, Ajah. Others are the upgrade of Ajah Local substation, construction of a new Surulere injection sub-station, upgrade of Trade Fair injection substation, construction of Olugborogun injection substation, Lekki, replacement of failed power transformer at Agbara Injection substation, and upgrade of Agungi station for

higher capacity. Idemudia added that the Eko Disco was also projected to procure 217 500KVA transformers which would be distributed across its 10 districts. “During the same period the company has also committed to the construction of five new 33kv feeders that will cut across areas like Surulere, Festac, Ojo and Lekki, while 24 33kv feeders at Ikoyi, Lekki, Ibeju, Elemoro, Eleko, Apapa, Orile, FESTAC and Agbara will be rehabilitated. “About five new 11kv feeders are expected to be deployed to Lekki, Ajah and Ojo to relieve overloaded feeders, while a total of 167 11kv feeder will be rehabilitated across our distribution network,” he said.

Accion MFB Supports School Owners with Interest-free Loans Ugo Aliogo The Managing Director, Accion Microfinance Limited, Mr. Taiwo Joda, has disclosed that the bank gave out interest-free loans totaling N160 million in the past five months to school owners. Joda, who revealed this in Lagos, recently, during the corporative social responsibility (CSR) activity of the bank, said despite the company’s interest rate reduction, it was determined to do more support students to grow. He also noted that education was key to fighting poverty and tackling unemployment. The Accion boss further explained that the bank

remains passionate about education, while expressing confidence that Morit International School would continue to strive. He said the uniqueness of the proposition of the school was how school fees’ are paid, stating that the pupils collect used plastic bottles and submit to the school to pay their school fees’, “the school in turn gives the plastics to recycling companies.” According to him: “We are here to support the vision of the founder of Morit International School who also is a customer of the bank. He has been our customer for over six years. We keyed into the vision of education

for all especially for children. “We have helped him to grow and have up to 172 school pupils of the poor and vulnerable. The founder’s overriding vision is to have education for every child and every family who cannot afford school fees in Ajegunle. “The uniqueness of the proposition of the school is how school fees’ are paid. The pupils use plastic bottles to pay their schools which is then recycled. “The founder of the school will move the plastic bottle to recyclers for recycling. So when we heard this story, we were excited and ensured that we mobolised bottles and containers.

MARKET INDICATORS MONEY AND CREDIT STATISTICS

(MILLION NAIRA)

JANUARY 2021 Money Supply (M3)

38,779,455.43

-- CBN Bills Held by Money Holding Sectors

1,039,129.55

Money Supply (M2)

37,740,325.88

-- Quasi Money

21,779,302.69

-- Narrow Money (M1)

15,961,023.19

---- Currency Outside Banks

2,364,871.13

---- Demand Deposits

13,596,152.06

Net Foreign Assets (NFA)

7,414,275.50

Net Domestic Assets(NDA)

31,365,179.93

-- Net Domestic Credit (NDC)

42,916,586.63

---- Credit to Government (Net)

12,304,773.44

---- Memo: Credit to Govt. (Net) less FMA

0.00

---- Memo: Fed. and Mirror Accounts (FMA)

0.00

---- Credit to Private Sector (CPS)

30,611,813.19

--Other Assets Net

3,892,112.74

Reserve Money (Base Money

13,264,585.14

--Currency in Circulation

2,831,167.19

--Banks Reserves --Special Intervention Reserves

10,433,417.96 317,234.17

˾ ÙßÜÍÏ ̋

Money Market Indicators (in Percentage) Month

March 2018

Inter-Bank Call Rate

15.16

Minimum Rediscount Rate (MRR) Monetary Policy Rate (MPR)

14.00

Treasury Bill Rate

11.84

Savings Deposit Rate

4.07

1 Month Deposit Rate

8.82

3 Months Deposit Rate

9.72

6 Months Deposit Rate

10.93

12 Months Deposit Rate

10.21

Prime Lending rate

17.35

Maximum Lending Rate

31.55

˾ ÙØÏÞËÜã ÙÖÓÍã ËÞÏ ̋ ͯͱϱ

OPEC DAILY BASKET PRICE ˜ ͯͲ ͰͮͰͯ

The price of OPEC basket of thirteen crudes stood at $66.16 a barrel on Friday, compared with $66.78 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. The OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Djeno (Congo), Zafiro (Equatorial Guinea), Rabi Light (Gabon), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela). SOURCE: OPEC headquarters, Vienna


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FMDQ Admits Mixta Real Estate Plc’s N960m Commercial Paper Goddy Egene FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited has approved the quotation of the N960 million Series 35 Mixta Real Estate Plc Commercial Paper (CP) under its N20 billion CP Issuance Programme on its platform. The proceeds from this CP quotation will be used to finance Mixta Real Estate Plc’s short-term funding requirements. Mixta Real Estate Plc, a

subsidiary of Mixta Africa, is a real estate development company in Nigeria, with a strong track record and diverse real estate portfolio, and operations spanning the residential, commercial, and retail sectors of the Nigerian real estate industry. It has successfully developed well over 5,000 properties spanning across affordable homes, luxury residences, and commercial projects, and continues to seek innovative solutions to activate development finance

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for affordable housing in Nigeria. According to FMDQ, the quotation of the Mixta Real Estate Plc’s CP was a further testament to the exchange’s leadership and resilience in providing the required support to businesses, corporates and government entities through the delivery of innovative and value-adding capital market solutions. “As part of efforts towards unlocking the potential of the Nigerian economy, FMDQ

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Exchange shall continue to support institutional growth and stimulate continuous development of the economy at large, through the provision of a world-class quotations service, in line with its mandate,” the exchange said. Meanwhile, trading at the stock market yesterday was bearish as the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) All-Share Index (ASI) fell by 0.4 per cent to close at 39,306.47, while market capitalisation shed N91.4 billion to be at

T R A D E D MAIN BOARD

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N20.5 trillion. However, trading activity improved as volume and value rose 62.9 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively to 357.7 million shares and N3.4 billion. The most traded stocks by volume were Zenith Bank Plc (52.7 million shares units), FBN Holdings Plc (42.5 million shares) and NEM Insurance (39.5 million shares) while Zenith Bank (N1.2 billion), Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc (N368.8 million), and MTN

O F

Nigeria (N313.9 million) led by value. In terms of sectoral performance the NGX Industrial Goods Index led the losers, down 0.7 per cent due to profit taking in BUA Cement Plc and Lafarge Africa Plc. Similarly, the NGX Banking Index declined 0.6 per cent due to sell-offs in Stanbic IBTC and Guaranty Trust Bank. The NGX Insurance Index and NGX Consumer Goods Index went down by 0.3 per cent and 0.07 per cent respectively.

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TUESDAY MAY 18, 2021 ˾ T H I S D AY

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NEWSXTRA

Govs Meet Tomorrow over Executive Order 10 Chuks Okocha in Abuja The governors of the 36 state of the federation would be convening their 30th teleconference meeting on Wednesday (tomorrow) to address matters such as the contentious Executive Order 10 and the third wave of COVID-19.

The Director General of the Governors Forum, Mr. Asishana B Okauru, is expected to brief the forum on the series of Executive Order 10 meetings with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, about the ongoing industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union

of Nigeria (JSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PSAN). A statement by the Head, Media and Public Affairs of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat, Mr. Abdulrazaque BelloBarkindo, said that the meeting would also

Asaba Accord: South’s ‘Independence’ Scares Northerners, Says Ozekhome Alex Enumah in Abuja Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome, has disclosed that northern elite had kicked against Southern governors’ Asaba accord because the North was afraid that the South had woken up and “may finally attain their independence”. The senior lawyer was reacting to the opposition mounted by the Governor of Kogi State, Mr. Yahaya Bello; Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan and other northern elite against the resolutions of the Southern governors. In a statement issued yesterday, Ozekhome stated that, “The sudden unexpected kick by

some Northern elite against the patriotic resolutions passed last week at a meeting held in Asaba by the 17 Southern Governors of Nigeria is quite worrisome, but definitely uncalled for. The kick is illegal, unconstitutional and even immoral. “The sudden hoopla and ruckus seem to suggest that these few vocal elements are suddenly scared. What are they afraid of? I do not know. Or do you? But, let me do some guess work here. They may probably be afraid that the South has finally woken up and shaken off its Stockholm Syndrome. “I guess they are scared that the assumed long suffering ‘slaves’ of Nigeria may finally

achieve their overdue liberation, liberty and freedom, and attain their independence from the asphyxiating grip of perpetual overlords, ‘slave’ masters, neo-Colonialists and territorial expansionists. “They may fear that under a true fiscal federation, anchored on the true principles of Federalism, everyone will now be required to contribute to the baking of the national cake and not just merely sharing it.” The senior lawyer reminded those against the Asaba Declaration that it was the northern governors that actually first set the ball rolling at their Virtual Meeting of February 9, 2021,about the urgent need to ban open grazing.

Lagos Secures $629m Loan for Lekki Deep Seaport Project Segun James The Lagos State Government has secured a $629 million loan to fund the Lekki Deep Sea Port Enterprise Limited’s project. This was disclosed by the state Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr. Lola Akande. The loan, according to Akande, was secured from China Development Bank (CBD), to facilitate the construction and

development of the project and its early targeted operation in 2022. He said: “Current completion percentage as at February 2021 stood at 47 per cent, trial operations of the port is slated for third quarter of 2022 while commercial operations is slated for first quarter of year 2023.” Akande explained that the project has provided job opportunities to 611 local workers during the 2021 ministerial press briefing to commemorate the

second year in office of Lagos State Governor, Mr. Bababjide Sanwo-Olu. He said that the Lekki deep seaport is being built over 90 hectares of land at the centre of the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), which is the first deep seaport to be built in Nigeria on Built Own and Transfer agreement. The construction of the deep sea port began in December 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2023.

No Fraud in NACA, Says DG Nseobong Okon-Ekong The Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Gambo Aliyu, has debunked the news that the agency was queried over grants from the Global Fund, and stressed that “there is no fraud or misappropriation whatsoever in NACA as is being insinuated.” Aliyu made the clarification yesterday after some newspapers and online publications had claimed that the agency was

queried in 2016 for allegedly not releasing documents about grants it received from the Global Fund in the fight against HIV/ AIDS in Nigeria. He, however, expressed shock over the ‘misleading’ report and attributed the controversy over non-release of audit report documents to miscommunication. The director general reiterated that it is inconceivable for anybody to assume that donor funds could be mismanaged without

repercussions as the procedures for accessing and disbursing foreign grants are so stringent and rigorous that it would impossible to embezzle such funds. He stated that the amount of money the NACA received and the agency’s audit report documents were public information that could be accessed from the NACA and several independent bodies, including the Global Fund and its appointed auditors.

Man Seeks to Wind up MBA Trading over N17m Debt The Federal High Court in Lagos will on May 19, 2021 (tomorrow) hear a winding-up petition by Mr. Ikechukwu Ago-Amaechi against MBA Trading and Capital Investment Limited. The petitioner, through his lawyer, Mr. Nnamdi Oragwu of Punuka Attorneys and Solicitors, is praying the court to wind up the company under the Companies and Allied Matters Act for its inability to pay a N17million debt. Ago-Amaechi stated in his petition that sometime in March 2020, the respondent, through its

marketing agent, Mr. Michael Mackintosh invited him to invest in the company and that he would get a 40 per cent return on the investment (ROI). Ago-Amaechi invested N10million and signed an agreement with the company on March 10, 2020, but Mackintosh informed him a few weeks later that the ROI would be delayed for some time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The petitioner said when the money was not paid,

his lawyers wrote a demand letter on May 4, 2020, asking the company to honour the contract it executed with the petitioner, but “the respondent has continued to ignore the petitioner’s demand letters and has refused to pay the petitioner”. “The petitioner avers that the respondent is (insolvent and) unable to pay its debts. In the circumstances, it is just and equitable that the respondent should be wound up,” AgoAmaechi added.

discuss an update of the States Fiscal Transparency Accountability (SFTAS), report among other things.

The meeting would be held vi r t u a l l y a n d would cover lessons for States and Actions

for Governors on Sustainability as well as the adoption of SaaS E-procurement.

Despite Banditry, Herdsmen Attacks, Rice Farmers Declare Surplus Yields Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja The Rice Farmers Association of Nigerian (RIFAN) has revealed that in spite of the deteriorating insecurity characterised by banditry, kidnapping, Boko Haram insurgency and herdsmen attacks on farmlands across the country, local rice farmers still produced enough quantity for domestic consumption. The Chairman of RIFAN, Aminu Goronyo, who made this assertion yesterday, disclosed

that the country produced 7.5 million metric tonnes of paddy rice in all the three cropping seasons in 2020, against the 7 million metric tonnes produced in 2019. The country’s required consumption volume of the staple varies between 7.5 million to 8.5 million metric tonnes per annum. Goronyo made the clarification in response to the outcry by the Nigerian Rice Millers Association that insecurity was affecting output and had led to insufficient

supply of paddy to millers for rice processing across the country. He stated that RIFAN was aiming to consolidate on the gains of last year by cultivating 14 million metric tonnes in all the three cropping seasons this year. He named Niger State as the country’s largest rice growing state for the past two years, contrary to the impression that its capacity to produce had been disrupted as a result of the infiltration of the state by insurgents, kidnappers and bandits.

NEMA Distributes Relief Materials to Victims of Windstorm in Cross River Kasim Sumaina inAbuja The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at the weekend distributed relief materials to 1,112 households devastated by a windstorm that swept through four communities in Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State. The agency in a statement issued in Abuja by its Head of Media and Public Relations, Mr. Manzo Ezekiel,

noted that Ogomogom, Akorofono, Nkarasi and Abinti communities in Ikom LGA of the state bore the brunt of the windstorm, which pulled off roofs and destroyed houses worth millions of naira. The NEMA Director-General, AVM Muhammadu Muhammed (rtd), who flagged off the relief distribution at Ikom LGA Secretariat, Sympathised with the affected persons, saying the relief items were approved by President

Muhammadu Buhari for delivery to them by the agency. Muhammed, who was represented by the agency’s South-south Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Godwin Tepikor, stated: “Considering this year’s flood forecasts, I will advise the people to minimise the predicted floods’ impact, and must take seriously the forecast as concerning Cross River State for preparedness, mitigation and response activities.


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˜ ͹΀˜ ͺ͸ͺ͹ ˾ T H I S D AY

TUESDAYSPORTS

Group Sports Editor Duro Ikhazuagbe Email duro.ikhazuagbe@thisdaylive.com 0811 181 3083 SMS ONLY

Buhari Felicitates with Ex-Green Eagles Goalkeeper, Okala, at 70 NFF hails the AFCON ‘80 winner, congratulates Oshoala, four others Deji Elumoye in Abuja President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with the former Green Eagles Goalkeeper, Emmanuel Okala, as he celebrated his 70th platinum birthday anniversary yesterday. The President, in a statement on Monday by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, joined sports loving Nigerians in wishing one of the world’s best goalkeepers, Okala, a happy 70th birthday. As a goalkeeper for the senior national football team in his prime, President Buhari recalled that Okala represented the best of Nigerian talent and dexterity. The President thanked the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations winner for inspiring many footballers with his brand of patriotism and dedication to duty each time he donned the national colours on duty. According to him, “Okala is worthy of honour and celebration as a coach and mentor who has helped many footballers succeed in their chosen careers.” President Buhari prayed Almighty God to grant the elder statesman more memorable years of health and fulfilment in all his endeavours. Similarly, General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Dr Mohammed Sanusi, yesterday praised the towering goaltender for his glorious service to fatherland in the round leather game, delivering his best anytime he turned out for both the senior national team then known as Green Eagles and Rangers International FC of Enugu. “We all remember the heroic feats and unforgettable deeds of the great Emmanuel Okala. He served Nigeria to the best of his ability and we commend him for his patriotism, discipline, dedication and sense of duty. We wish him a happy platinum anniversary celebration and prayed that he lives many more years in good health and in joy,” Sanusi said yesterday in Abuja in the congratulatory messages

Iheanacho Wins Leicester Goal of the Month Back-to-back Kelechi Iheanacho has won the Leicester City Goal of the Month award for April. The 24-year-old Nigerian international fondly called ‘Senior Man Kelz’ has now won the Award back-to-back having similarly honoured with the March award last month. Iheanacho’s superb winner in the 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace was selected as the club’s best goal for the month. The Nigeria international strike beat off competition from Jamie Vardy, Timothy Castagne, U23 stars Tyrese Shade, Thanawat Suengchitthawon, Cole Dasilva and Leicester City Women’s Natasha Flint to clinch the individual prize. His first-time volley against Burnley beat off competition from Ayoze Perez, Youri Tielemans, U23 star Kasey McAteer and Leicester City Women’s stars Shannon O’Brien, Esmee De Graaf and Sam Tierney to clinch the award in March. Iheanacho’s 18 goals in 36 appearances in all competitions in the 2020-21 campaign now ranks him as the second most prolific attacker in Europe’s top five leagues with only his compatriot Simy Nwankwo of Crotone in the Italian topflight having more goals to stay in the lead.

sent to him. Okala, an imposing figure between the sticks at 6feet 5inches, emerged during an era that Nigeria produced a long line of exceptional goalkeepers, including Inua Rigogo, Peter Fregene, Amusa Adisa and Eyo Essien. He earned his first cap in a friendly against Tanzania in Lagos that Nigeria won 3-2, and was in the team that won All-Africa Games football gold in Lagos in 1973, took bronze medals at the Africa Cup of Nations in 1978 and finished as runners-up at the All-Africa Games in Algiers four months later. Okala was also in the Green Eagles’ squad that won Nigeria’s first Africa Cup of Nations on home soil in 1980. He was named Africa’s best goalkeeper by the Africa Sports Journalists Union in 1975 and was in the Rangers FC squad that won

Emmanuel Okala (left, NOW and THEN in action for Green Eagles) the Africa Cup Winners’ Cup in 1977. Sanusi also sent messages of congratulation to Super Falcons’ Captain, Asisat Oshoala whose

team, FC Barcelona Femenino defeated Chelsea Ladies FC of England to lift the UEFA Women’s Champions Cup on Sunday evening.

Asisat Oshoala makes history with Barcelona Femenino in the Women’s Champions League Oshoala is a four-time winner of the Africa Woman Player of the Year award, was Most Valuable Player and Top Scorer of the FIFA U20 World Cup finals in 2014 and

has harambeed with the Super Falcons to win successive Women Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2014, 2016 and 2018. “We felicitate with Asisat (Oshoala) on the victory of Barcelona and wish her many more medals and honours in her career with Club and Country.” Also celebrated were the duo of Leon Balogun and Joseph Ayodele-Aribo, whose club, Glasgow Rangers FC won the Scottish Premier League on Saturday. “We celebrate with Balogun and Aribo for their success in the Scottish Premiership. They are our worthy ambassadors and we are happy for them as we are happy for Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho who won the English FA Cup with Leicester City on Saturday,” concludes the messages from the general secretary of the Nigerian federation.


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Price: N250

MISSILE NLC to El-Rufai

“He never promised that he will sack Kaduna workers, he never promised that he will demolish the shops of traders, he never promised that he will sell everything that belong to public, he never said he is going to increase school fees when he was campaigning” – NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, criticising Governor Nasir el-Rufai during a protest march in Kaduna.

TUESDAY WITH REUBENABATI abati1990@gmail.com

The Asaba Declaration by Southern Governors

O

n Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 17 Governors of the Southern States of Nigeria met in Asaba, Delta State to discuss issues of common interest. They came up with a 12-point communique in which they raised key issues about the future of Nigeria and the Southern region. This was not the first time Southern Governors would meet under the same roof. They are all members of the Nigerian Governors Forum –a pan-Nigeria Forum for all CEOs of Nigeria’s sub-nationals. There is also the Progressive Governors’ Forum which is the umbrella body of the Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party in Nigeria. There is the Northern Governors Forum. Nigeria also has the North East Governors Forum. The South West Governors Forum. The South East Governors Forum. And the PDP Governors Forum. But the meeting of the Southern Governors attracted special interest for a number of reasons: the symbolism of it, the timing (at a time of serious existential crisis in the country), its bi-partisan character and the weightiness of the outcome. The 17 Southern Governors comprise 9 Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, seven Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and one Governor of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Two Governors were absent – Ben Ayade (Cross River, PDP) and Gboyega Oyetola (Osun State, APC). The Governors of Imo and Akwa Ibom were represented by their Deputies. As far as meetings go, it was a successful outing, nonetheless, and one week later, there has been no voice of dissension – the Southern Governors seem to be united on all the 12 points that they raised. That there has been such unanimity of purpose is in part responsible for the furore that the statement by the 17 Southern Governors has generated. Their submissions can be divided into two parts: the non-controversial and the controversial. In the former category, we can group such declarations as the expression of commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness and equity – that is more or less a familiar cliché from official quarters; co-operation among the Southern states – that is understandable; strategies needed to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic – of course, yes; the need to address the security challenges in the country – that is obvious enough, the need for the activation and establishment of ports in other states of the Federation to create new jobs and promote socioeconomic activities – with Nigeria’s unemployment standing at 33.3% according to the National Bureau of Statistics, it would be difficult to fault this proposal. The problem, however, is with the controversial observations and resolutions of the Southern Governors Forum, beginning with their declaration of a ban on open grazing of cattle in every part of Southern Nigeria, their call for the convocation of a national dialogue; their demand for restructuring (state police, review of revenue allocation formula in favour of the sub-national units, and practice of true federalism) and their resolve that appointments into Federal Government agencies must be reviewed in line with Federal Character. The meeting of the Southern Governors’ Forum has been regarded as an affront by many Northern stakeholders. This has thrown up ethnic and geographical sentiments – a veritable indication of the fault lines in Nigeria and the inherited culture of mistrust that has been the bane of the country’s development process. The Leaders of the North and the South first met together in Ibadan in 1950. Northern Governors have been holding meetings since 1959. Even if that has not at any point translated into any concrete benefits for the Northern masses, at no point did leaders of the South query the

Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu right of Northerners to discuss issues of interest in their region. A Southern Governors’ Forum was announced and hell literally broke loose! The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) says the meeting of the Southern Governors is “a call for secession” and that the Southern Governors are “confused and mischievous”. Northern Leaders - Tanko Yakassai, Professor Usman Yusuf, Senator Ali Ndume and curiously enough, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan - have also faulted the position of the Southern Governors. The sub-text of their argument is that the Southern Governors should have consulted their Northern counterparts because the issues they addressed at the May 12 meeting were of national interest. But when have the Northern Governors ever consulted Southern Governors when they take decisions about security, education, the Sharia and the development process in the North? There is an independent forum for the meeting of all Governors and that is the Nigeria Governors Forum. Governors across the country have been meeting on a regional basis and that is why we have the North East Governors Forum, and the South East Governors Forum and the South West Governors Forum, because every region has its own peculiar concerns within the Nigerian Federation. To condemn Southern Governors for meeting in that context would amount to a sheer display of intolerance and pretentious censorship. And what gives anyone the audacity to think they can dictate the format of a meeting of any concerned stakeholder-group in Nigeria? Further, the presence of the Southern APC Governors at the meeting was considered an act of rebellion against the President of Nigeria and disloyalty against the ruling party. How? The Southern Governors asked for the support of the Federal Government to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems as a way of ensuring the ban on open grazing is upheld as declared. How is that an act of rebellion against the President? Southern Governors also asked for a review of appointments into Federal Government agencies in line with Federal Character. They are more or less in that regard reminding the President that the Federal Character Principle is enshrined into the 1999 Constitution: Section 14(3) thereof. It is common knowledge that the Buhari administration has been criticised heavily by other Nigerian stakeholders for gifting key positions in government to persons from his own ethnic group. Most recently, the people of the South East protested that a decision to introduce yet undisclosed security measures in that part of the country was the outcome of a meeting which had no person of South Eastern extraction in

attendance, who could have at least expressed an opinion and have an idea of the secret measures targeted at the people of the South East. The point needs to be stressed that being an APC Governor is not a wilful submission to slavery or mental lobotomy. Bi-partisanship is a civilized, public-spirit mode of politics. Membership of a political party should not turn politicians into zombies without a mind of their own. The President of Nigeria is not a monarch, even if the 1999 Constitution gives the impression that he is. Even members of his own party should be at liberty to criticize his government. Southern APC Governors attending the Asaba meeting should not be vilified. They should refuse to be intimidated. Since the Asaba meeting, I have seen reports that APC Governors in the South are being summoned to meetings, ostensibly to whip them into line. It is shameful that this is the kind of politics we play. The decision of the Southern Governors to ban open grazing, already a matter of law in some of the states: Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Ebonyi, and elsewhere has been described as illegal and unconstitutional to the extent, so the argument goes, that it is a violation of the Land Use Act and Section 41 of the Constitution and therefore a derogation of the fundamental human rights of the cattle herder. A notable academic of Northern extraction, a good friend of mine, has also argued that before the Southern Governors can ban open grazing of cattle, they must first of all give land to the Fulani herdsman, otherwise they would be violating the Land Use Act. But this is incorrect. There is nowhere the Constitution of Nigeria talks about the exclusive rights of cattle herders. If a cattle rearer says he is entitled to land in the Southern part of Nigeria, can a farmer or fisherman make a similar claim in the North? Section 1 of the Land Use Act vests the ownership of land, in public trust, in the Governor of a State. Not even the President of Nigeria can control land in the states. He can only do so in the Federal Capital Territory. There is no law that makes the President of Nigeria and/or his kinsmen owners of the Nigerian territory. By the same token, Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution is clear enough. Section 41 talks about the right of every citizen to move freely throughout Nigeria, to reside in any part thereof, and not to be expelled from the country or refused entry or exit therefrom. The Constitution in Section 41 does not grant the right of free movement to cattle. It refers to human beings. What the Southern Governors are opposed to is the free movement of cattle on foot, a phenomenon that has created herders and farmers conflicts with grave implications for national unity and stability. The impression that the President of Nigeria, a patron of the Miyetti Allah, and himself, a cattle owner, is biased in the matter is the key problem. In defining the emergent conflict as North-South, it is however noteworthy that some key voices in the North also agree with the Southern Governors. Umar Ganduje, the Governor of Kano State, Bala Mohammed, his colleague in Bauchi state, former Governor Saminu Turaki of Jigawa State, now, Deputy Chairman of the Justice and Equity for Peace and Unity Initiative (JEPUIN), and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) think that the Southern Governors are right. The peripatetic movement of cattle from the North to the South and backwards is not a matter of tradition or culture or ethnicity. It is more about commerce and the best way to maximize returns on investment. The Southern Governors are therefore, calling for modernization, progress and stability. It is again a function of where we are as a country that this has been reduced to the politics of ethnicity. The Southern Governors are also calling

for a national dialogue and restructuring and this is considered rebellious? There is no harm in having a dialogue. We can talk from now till 2023, but from our experience, how many people pay attention to dialogue or are ready to have a conversation? Nigeria, most unfortunately has reached a point where persons, groups, constituencies, or communities believe that their own version of reality is the only possible interpretation. For a country that gained independence and emerged as a Republic through dialogue and negotiations, this new reality is tragic. Communal leaders have lost control. The government has lost the people. The people have lost trust in government. The country has lost direction. Non-state actors have filled the vacuum. Nigeria is now at a point where non-state actors can declare openly that there will be no elections in 2023 because they will not allow it to happen in parts of the country. Bandits and terrorists now share palliatives to the people and they are enthusiastically embraced. Thugs have become local heroes. Pastors no longer preach hope and endurance. They preach anarchy and ask the Congregation to have a Plan B. Citizens in successful countries do not have Plan B. They are committed to the land of their birth. Nigeria falters. It has become fragile, because it is a country in search of committed citizens. To worsen matters, the word restructuring has become a cliché in popular parlance. It means too many things to many people. On the question of national dialogue, what does it matter if people insist that they would rather talk than fight? But notably, one major objection to the idea of another round of national dialogue as currently shaped, came from the South. Mike Ozekhome, SAN holds the viewpoint that there is no point spending so much money organizing another national dialogue when the last one in 2014, of which he was a participant, had already raised all the cogent points that the Southern Governors believe will move the country forward, to wit: the devolution of powers, review of revenue allocation formula, state police and the need for restructuring. Ozekhome defends the outcome of the 2014 National Conference. He believes it could have marked a new beginning for Nigeria and the search for a new way forward. It is unfortunate that the same conference gathers dust in the people’s memory. Nobody should be surprised if the paper on which it is written is now being used by road side hawkers on the streets of Abuja to sell roasted corn and groundnut. The reason has nothing to do with the common good but the politics of ego and difference. Whatever is wrong with Nigeria is well known and had been debated before now. The courage to do what is right by the people is what we miss. The organizers of the Southern Governors Forum can pat themselves on the back, despite it all, that they got the attention they wanted. What do they expect? All the Governors of the Southern part of Nigeria coming together under one roof is in itself enough “act of provocation” and surprise, in the eyes of those who understand that the country is truly at a precipice. What is required is a little push and yet nobody wants to go down in history as the catalyst for such an end-game moment. All of a sudden, even the National Assembly is divided. Southern lawmakers have all aligned behind the Governors of their part of the country. Northerners are supporting their own region as well, with the exception of a few. Not even before the Civil war (1967 -70) was Nigeria this clinically polarized along geographical lines. This proves a point: Nigeria is in need of redemption, rescue, and leadership. Those who think otherwise are enemies of the people.

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