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Reddington Performs First Complex Open-Heart Surgery in Nigeria Patient hails Nigerian doctors Martins Ifijeh A team of 19 specialists from Reddington Hospital has successfully performed Nigeria’s first complex openheart surgery on a 66-year-old

man who had multiple cardiac problems. With Nigerians now unable to travel abroad for medical tourism due to the travel ban caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the patient, Mr.

Oluwatoyin Adebiyi, said he never thought doctors from Nigeria have the expertise to successfully carry out such a surgery. At a press briefing held yesterday to announce the feat,

the Group Medical Director, Reddington Hospital Group, Dr. Tunde Lalude, said the complex surgery included a coronary artery bypass graft, repair of mitral valve, as well as intervention made in his

kidneys and other related vital organs. He said: “The complex surgery performed by the new Tristate Reddington Cardiac Programme, involved stopping the patient’s heart and putting

him on a heart-lung machine. "The heart was opened to repair the mitral valve and the three blocked vessels to the heart were bypassed. The Continued on page 8

Oil Price Hits $34 One-month High as Restrictions Ease... Page 5 Tuesday 19 May, 2020 Vol 25. No 9171. Price: N250

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Buhari Extends Nationwide Curfew, Kano Lockdown by Two Weeks Urges govs to work with task force 216 fresh cases move tally to 6,175 with 1,644 discharged, 191 dead Mortality rates drop in Kano, Sokoto NAFDAC approves 15 of 40 applications for rapid testing kits CBN, NNPC to fund accommodation, feeding of evacuees First vaccine tested in the US shows promise Omololu Ogunmade, Olawale Ajimotokan, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja, Chiemelie Ezeobi and Funmi Ogundare in Lagos President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension by two weeks of phase one of the relaxation of the lockdown he had imposed on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun states to check the spread of COVID-19.

Specifically, the nationwide curfew, the ban on interstate travel and the lockdown of Kano State, which had emerged the third epicentre of the pandemic, would continue until June 1, according to the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who conveyed the presidential directive at the daily briefing of the task Continued on page 8

Govs Tackle FG Over NLNG Dividends Reject excessive deductions by FAAC

Chuks Okocha in Abuja A delegation of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) yesterday told President Muhammadu Buhari that it was wrong for the federal government to appropriate dividends from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited without remitting it

to the Federation Account. According to a reliable THISDAY source, the governors during a virtual meeting with the president, argued that the company was a national asset and proceeds from it like oil revenue, ought to be remitted to the Federation Continued on page 8

WHEN GENERALS MEET... Former Minister of Defence, Lt-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (left), and President Muhammadu Buhari during the former minister’s visit to the president at the Presidential Villa, Abuja…yesterday godwin omoigui

P&ID: US Court Grants FG Access to Hedge Fund’s Documents... Page 6


TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 •T H I S D AY

TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 • T H I S D AY



TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 •T H I S D AY




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

Oil Price Hits $34 One-month High as Restrictions Ease Ejiofor Alike with agency reports Crude oil prices jumped by about $2 per barrel yesterday with the global benchmark hitting one-month high and the United States’ crude climbing above $30 per barrel. The gradual recovery of oil prices was fuelled by optimism about the reopening of the economies and output cuts by major producers. While Brent crude was up $2.32 or 7.1 per cent at $34.82 a barrel, its highest level since mid-April, the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up $3.35 or almost 11.4 per cent at $32.78 per barrel, its highest since mid-March. Bloomberg reported that summer weather is enticing much of the world to emerge from coronavirus lockdowns. Shops and restaurants prepared to reopen in Italy yesterday, while other centres of the outbreak such as New York and Spain gradually lifted restrictions. The June WTI contract expires today, but there was an indication of it repeating a historic plunge below zero last month on the eve of the May contract’s expiry. However, analysts cautioned

that demand was not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels any time soon. Also supporting oil prices are production cuts by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+. The world’s top exporter Saudi Arabia announced last week that it would cut an additional one million barrels per day in June, while OPEC+ wants to maintain existing oil cuts beyond June when the group meets next. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have agreed to halt oil production from the joint Al-Khafji field for one month, starting from June 1, Kuwait’s Al Rai newspaper reported on Saturday. Production is also falling as US energy firms cut the number of oil and natural gas rigs operating. Citing reports by companies that track crude oil shipments to the international market, Reuters reported that OPEC+ has cut its oil exports sharply in the first half of May, suggesting a strong start in complying with a new production cut agreement. Members of the OPEC+ are cutting supply by a record 9.7

million barrels per day from May 1 to offset a slump in prices and demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Kpler, a company that tracks oil flows, said OPEC+ seaborne oil exports had declined by 6.3 million bpd over the past month towards 27 million bpd, calling the decline a “stunning reversal� from April when producers pumped at will. Also, Petro-Logistics, another tanker tracker, estimated the producers cut exports by 5.96 million bpd for the first 13 days of May

compared to April averages - a “massive� decline, the company posted in a tweet. According to Kpler, Saudi Arabia is showing the largest cutback. Saudi oil exports have averaged 7.26 million bpd, down 2.24 million bpd month on month. Russia is also making a large reduction of 922,000 bpd in May, Kpler said. Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have also reduced shipments significantly. The two countries have

loaded a combined 4.25 million bpd onto ships for export, a drop of 1.26 million bpd month on month, Kpler said. But Iraq has cut exports by 265,000 bpd, Kpler said, suggesting OPEC’s number two producer needs to do more to deliver its pledged cut of 1.06 million bpd in full. Refintiv Eikon data suggest a larger decline. Southern Iraq exports averaged 2.73 million bpd in the first two weeks of May, according to Refinitiv, a drop of more than 600,000

bpd from April. But Nigeria, which like Iraq is a laggard in making its share of earlier OPEC+ cuts, apparently has yet to cut exports. Nigerian crude exports averaged 1.82 million bpd in the first two weeks of May, Refinitiv data shows, steady from April. The OPEC+ agreement applies to production; so, exports do not provide the full picture on compliance, as withdrawals of crude from storage, could boost exports temporarily.

APC Releases Ondo Gov Primaries Schedule Today Inaugurates Bulama as national secretary MEDICAL FEAT... to serve the people.

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

All Progressives Congress (APC) would today release the timetable for the party’s primaries for Ondo State governorship election. APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, told THISDAY yesterday that the party would release the timetable today. Issa-Onilu, however, said the party had not decided on the mode of primary to be used to select the party's governorship candidate. "The party has to meet to decide. The timetable for Ondo governorship election will be released today or tomorrow," he stated. Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday inaugurated Mr. Waziri Bulama as the National Secretary of the ruling party. The choice of Bulama initially caused a major crisis within the party that almost cost Oshiomhole his job before President Muhammadu Buhari reconciled the feuding factions within the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. Speaking after taking the office, Bulama said he was honoured to assume responsibility as the national secretary of the party. He added that the party was conceived by visionary leaders with good intentions

Bulama noted that the success of the party in 2019 general election was achieved through the leadership provided by Buhari, the governors, Oshiomhole, and its members. He said: "I want to assure you Mr. Chairman and all party leaders that I will work with my colleagues to ensure that the party works harmoniously as a party and to consolidate on the success of the party." In attendance were Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, and his Gombe State counterpart, Alhaji Mohammed Inuwa. Inuwa said: "I am very happy that it ended this way. It took some time for us to have this replacement but what is more important is that at the end of the day we are able to come to a resolution and the new national secretary has been sworn in today. We hope he will work with previous leaders and consolidate on the gains of the party. “I know Bulama in the last 40 years. I know that he is a person of impeccable character, a person that you can vouch for and he is very hard working. He knows what to do. In fact, he has already started doing that trying to work and carry everybody along so that APC should deliver on its mandate and that is what he is going to do."

L-R: Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Prof. Kamar Adeleke; patient, Mr. Toyin Adebiyi; and Group Medical Director, Reddington Hospital, Dr. Tunde Lalude, during the press brieďŹ ng to announce the ďŹ rst complex open-heart surgery in Nigeria by the hospital in Lagos‌yesterday mubo peters

Federal High Court Adopts Virtual Proceedings Endorses use of Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, email Davidson Iriekpen The Federal High Court has authorised judges to adopt virtual proceedings for cases in all its judicial divisions nationwide. The Chief Judge of the court, Justice John Tsoho, gave the new direction titled: ‘Practice Directions 2020 for the COVID-19 Period,’ which became effective from yesterday. However, the new rules provide that the proceedings could only be held virtually with the consent of parties and their counsel. Also, under the new rules, judges could not hear more than nine cases in a day. As at July last year, there were 36 divisions of the Federal High Court nationwide with 82 judges to hear over 200,000 pending cases. “Virtual proceeding is hereby adopted for adjudication in the Federal High Court. “Virtual proceedings can be either by Zoom, Skype or any other audio-visual

platform approved by the court,� the CJ said. Where parties and counsel agree to virtual proceedings in a case, he directed them to liaise with the court’s registrar to schedule the hearings. Cases for virtual proceedings shall then be stated on the Cause List, posted on the court’s website and communicated to counsel and parties, either by e-mail or any other electronic means. The judge and counsel in such proceedings must also be robed. The notice also addressed growing calls for technology to be infused in court proceedings. “Service of court processes may be effected by e-mails, WhatsApp or as may be directed by the court, and shall be deemed as good service. “Service of hearing notices may be effected by e-mail, WhatsApp, text messages or as may be directed by the court “The print out of same shall be sufficient proof of

service,� it said. In keeping with federal and states COVID-19 regulations, the chief judge also made the wearing of face masks and maintaining of social distancing mandatory. “Face masks must be properly worn by everyone within the court premises to cover their mouths and noses at all times. “Every person within the premises of the court and inside the court room shall observe the requirement of social and physical distancing of not less than two metres (six feet) apart from each other. “At any given time, there shall not be a congregation of more than 10 within the court premises, except for purposes of court sittings. “There shall not be more than 20 persons inside the court room, including the court staff and counsel at court sittings,� he said. Justice Tsoho was a member of the 10-man committee recently set up by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Tanko Ibrahim

Muhammad. The committee, headed by Justice Olabode RhodesVivour, was to come up with urgent practical strategic measures to ensure courts continue to function despite the lockdown and restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee, which submitted its report penultimate week, recommended far-reaching guidelines for the smooth running of courts during the pandemic, including but not limited to the use of appropriate technology for virtual or remote hearings. However, THISDAY had exclusively reported that some judges were opposed to the virtual courts’ sittings, saying it was unconstitutional. It was gathered that many of the judges, particularly at the high court level and the Court of Appeal, were of the view that there are constitutional hurdles to cross before Nigeria could adopt a system of remote hearing of cases.




P&ID: US Court Grants FG Access to Hedge Fund’s Documents Ejiofor Alike with agency reports A United States court has granted the Nigerian government permission to request documents from VR Capital Group Limited, the part-owner of Process & Industrial Developments (P& ID) Limited, a company that received a $9.8 billion arbitration award the federal government is trying to overturn. Bloomberg reported that the United States’ District Judge, Mr. Paul Engelmayer, ordered in New York that Nigeria could subpoena information from

London-based hedge fund VR Capital, four subsidiaries and three of its directors. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) plans to use the data in its probe of British Virgin Islandsregistered P& ID Limited and alleged corrupt government officials. A Cayman Islands-registered unit of VR Capital acquired a 25 per cent interest in P&ID about two years ago and would have conducted due diligence on the firm that is “highly relevant� to the ongoing investigation, according to a court filing submitted by Nigeria’s

Buhari Appoints Kashim Ibrahim-Imam as TETFUND Chairman

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Kashim Ibrahim-Imam as Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND). The Minister of Education, Adama Adamu, broke news yesterday in a letter. According to the letter, Ibrahim-Imam’s appointment was effective from May 14, 2020. Adamu also said the appointment would run for four years consequent upon which it would be reviewed based on performance. “I write to convey to you the approval of His Execellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President

and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, of your appointment as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) in Abuja with effect from May 14, 2020,� the letter read. “The appointment is for a tenure of four years in the first instance and may be renewed for a further term of four years, upon satisfactory performance. “The conditions of service and remunerations of this appointment are guided by the Public Service Rules and Extant Circulars. Please, accept my congratulations and sincere wishes for a successful tenure.�

Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami on May 12. The successful court application is part of Nigeria’s efforts to show that a 2010 gas-supply contract with P&ID was a sham designed to fail by the company and government officials. Nigeria wants VR Capital to hand over documents concerning the company’s purchase of P&ID shares as well as the contract and arbitration proceedings, according to court filings. EFCC said its investigations showed that P&ID acknowledged destroying records “in or around January 2017� and VR Capital is “a logical source� for recovering such information, according

to the filing by Malami. VR Capital could still seek to quash the subpoena. Malami’s spokesman declined to comment. Questions sent to VR Capital by Bloomberg were referred to a spokesman for P&ID. Nigeria’s “efforts to seek information on a crime that never occurred from a party that was never involved with P&ID until years after the alleged events is prima facie evidence that it has no case at all,� London-based iNHouse Communications, representing P&ID, said by email. “The claim that P&ID deliberately concealed documents by destroying them is totally false.� VR Capital, which has offices in New York,

London and Moscow, is an asset manager that focuses on distressed securities and “event-driven/special situations investments,� according to its website. But Malami described the firm as a “vulture fund� in December in a statement to a UK court. P&ID has denied any wrongdoing, saying the Federal Government of Nigeria invented the allegations to evade its legal obligations. The dispute between the federal government and P&ID became a crisis for Africa’s biggest oil producer in August, when a UK judge ruled P&ID could enforce a 2017 arbitration tribunal’s decision that Nigeria breached the gas-supply contract.

The resulting award now totals $9.8 billion including interest and is equivalent to about 30 per cent of the country’s foreign reserves. An investigation by EFCC has already resulted in criminal charges in Nigeria and would form the basis of the government’s appeal against the ruling. The contract and arbitration award are P&ID’s “sole assets,� according to Nigeria’s filings to the District Court for the Southern District of New York. The company was supposed to build a gas-processing plant, while the government was to supply the raw material. “The only thing P&ID engineered was a fraudulent arbitration claim,� the federal government alleged.

THE SHIPPER’S VISIT... L-R: Director, THISDAY, Mr. Emmanuel Efeni; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers' Council, Mallam Hassan Bello; and Managing Director, THISDAY, Mr. Eniola Bello, during the Shippers' Council CEO visit to THISDAY oďŹƒce in Ikoyi, Lagos...yesterday

FG: Universities Enrolled Dead ASUU Members into IPPIS Says 1,180 staff failed BVN test

James Emejo in Abuja The federal government yesterday accused universities of deliberately accommodating dead members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on the payroll forwarded to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF). The OAGF said the inclusion of ghost workers on the list forwarded to it for the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) might have been orchestrated to get more personnel funds from the federal government. It noted that the quest by staff unions to formalise tax evasion through IPPIS was "not only untenable but unpatriotic request to violate extant laws on tax." OAGF, in a statement, said it had conducted a Biometric Verification Number (BVN) test on the list of personnel forwarded to it by the tertiary institutions only to discover some were dead members who were still on the payroll of the government. It accused the tertiary institutions of misapplication

of the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax prior to migration to IPPIS, thereby resulting in underpayment of personnel tax. It explained that the federal government had borne the cost of such underpayments as the state governments had "made claims on the federal government to pay the differential arising from underpayment of tax by these institutions." "The federal government has paid several billion on behalf of these institutions because of their underpayment of PAYE tax," it added. The OAGF was reacting to reports on claims by tertiary institutions unions, led by ASUU, that IPPIS was deducting their salaries and allowances resulting in their take-home being reduced to about 50 per cent. But, in the statement issued by OAGF Director, Information, Press and Public Relations, Mr. Henshaw Ogubike, the federal government noted that the BVN as a means of confirming all account numbers of the tertiary institutions' personnel that was sent to IPPIS, was forwarded to the relevant agencies for validation

and confirmation. The government added that about 1,180 staff failed the BVN test and details had been forwarded to the universities for correction and update. The OAGF accused ASUU of arm-twisting universities to pay them allowances, which are not approved by the Salaries Income and Wages Commission (SIWC). Addressing a wide range of issues allegedly in contention between ASUU and the federal government, the latter, however, stated that IPPIS had made a great effort to ensure that placement of tertiary institutions' staff on IPPIS is complete and correct in terms of their particulars and salary structure, grade levels and steps, indicating their IPPIS number as a unique identification for every staff on the platform. It said: "This office is not unaware that there are bound to be teething challenges arising from migration of tertiary institutions onto the IPPIS platform and this requires the cooperation and understanding of all the tertiary institutions to enable us to effect the necessary corrections

as quickly as possible. "On the completion of this process, the issue of payment of consequential arrears can be meaningful and realistic to ensure that there is no overpayment or underpayment arising from payment consequential arrears." The statement alleged that ASUU is seeking that National Housing Fund (NHF) law, which stipulates deduction of 2.5 per cent of basic salary should not be applicable to them or be made optional for them. "The request for breach of Act of Parliament is not within the ambit of the IPPIS or the (OAGF). They have been advised to approach the National Assembly for amendment of the Act," it noted. On sabbatical - visiting and adjunct lecturers, the federal government said the payment of sabbatical aid or visiting lecturers is duly recognised by IPPIS, though it is dependent on furnishing the IPPIS with the particulars of such lecturers, including IPPIS number, primary institution, the start date of the sabbatical or the visiting and the end date. "Government recognises the

fact that all staff on sabbatical are entitled to 100 per cent of their salaries as sabbatical allowances, while visiting and adjunct lecturers will enjoy 50 per cent of their salaries as visiting allowance. "The government will no longer incur unnecessary expenditure on pension, NHIS or such allowances that are not part of universities pensionable salaries," it stated. The statement explained that some university staff may have been denied salaries due to lack of uniformity in their names on the payroll and those with their banks. "Employees are expected to update their bank details in conformity with names on the payroll as efforts to change payroll names in the banks is not allowed, except where there is a change of name as a result of marriage," it stated. The statement added: "On the alleged payment to dead university staff, it means the institutions deliberately forwarded to IPPIS the list containing dead ASUU members as being part of their personnel, to get more personnel funds. "When the President (Muhammadu Buhari) directed

that ASUU be paid, the OAGF sent a letter, through NUC Executive Secretary, requesting for the list of ASUU members through their VCs. We run a BVN test on the list forwarded to us as we are aware that we cannot use the old nominal roll because of changes that might have likely taken place. "It is the responsibility of the institutions or agencies to inform the IPPIS office about death, resignation, or exit from service before the due date. We sent payroll analysis to the tertiary institution bursars for review of any omission or names to be excluded. "This issue is cheap propaganda by ASUU to denigrate IPPIS for obvious reasons. "Mention must be made here that good-spirited members of the union personally wrote to inform this office of their not being entitled to February salary payment, and requested for an account to refund the salary. "The OAGF wishes to assure all the tertiary institution staff that we are always willing and ready to serve them as best as possible, but we plead for their understanding and cooperation."

TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 • T H I S D AY




PAGE EIGHT BUHARI EXTENDS NATIONWIDE CURFEW, KANO LOCKDOWN BY TWO WEEKS force in Abuja yesterday. The president had through a regulation signed on May 3 pursuant to the Quarantine Act eased the lockdown he had imposed on March 30, in an effort to balance the requirements of public health safety and the need to safeguard the economy from total collapse. Mustapha said Buhari granted the extension based on the recommendation of the task force. In the meantime, the virus increased the number of its victims by 216 yesterday, bringing the total infection to 6,175 with 1,644 persons discharged and 191 dead. Announcing this last night, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said Lagos recorded 74 new cases, Katsina 33, Oyo 19, Kano 17, Edo 13, Zamfara 10, Ogun, Gombe and Borno eight each, Bauchi and Kwara seven each, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) four, Kaduna and Enugu three each, while Rivers has two cases. This was coming as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), of usurpation of presidential powers by announcing an extension of the curfew in the country. Announcing the president’s decision, the SGF stated that the extension of the restriction across the federation takes

effect from Monday, May 18 to June 1, 2020. He also said the total lockdown on Kano State had been extended by another two weeks, while a precision lockdown would be imposed on states or metropolitan areas that had been identified as high burden areas. He also said the government would henceforth engage in aggressive scaling up of community participation in the campaign against the COVID-19 scourge. He, however, informed again that all the exemptions that had earlier been given as the first phase of eased lockdown commenced would remain as before, especially as it related to farmers who need to resume for planting season. “Ladies and gentlemen, the reality is that in spite of the modest progress made, Nigeria is not yet ready for full opening of the economy and tough decisions have to be taken for the good of the greater majority. Any relaxation will only portend grave danger for our populace,� he said, adding: “Advisedly, the current phase of eased restriction will be maintained for another two weeks during which stricter enforcement and persuasion measures will be pursued.� He said the two-week extension was also to enable other segments of the economy prepare adequately for compliance

with the guidelines, preparatory to reopening in the coming weeks. “For the PTF, we share your pains but our future is in the hands of every Nigerian and future decisions will depend greatly on our compliance,� he said. He stated that the presidential approvals were “based on the recommendations of the PTF." He said: "Mr. President has approved the following: The measures, exemptions, advisories, and scope of entities allowed to reopen under phase one of the eased locked down, shall be maintained across the federation for another two weeks effective from 12.00 midnight today, May 18, 2020 to June 1, 2020; "Intensifying efforts to 'tell (communicate), trace (identify) and treat (manage)’ cases; elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions; “Maintain the existing lockdown order in Kano State for an additional two weeks; "Imposition of precision lockdown in states, or in metropolitan/ high-burden LGAs, that are reporting a rapidly increasing number of cases, when the need arises. This would be complemented with the provision of palliatives and continued re-evaluation of the impact of the interventions;� and

"Aggressive scale up of efforts to ensure that communities are informed, engaged and participating in the response with enhanced public awareness in high-risk states.� He also said the nationwide curfew imposed from 8.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. in addition to the ban of interstate movement would also be in place. Mustapha noted the time was not ripe for the government to relax its containment protocols against COVID-19. The PTF said the fight against the pandemic is a long term as the virus is not likely to go away very soon, with the situation further underscored by the fact that no vaccine is expected till around the end of 2021.

had instructed the task force to work effectively with the governors. “I have directed that they work very closely with the governors," he said. The president, according to a tweet by his media adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, on his Twitter handle, @ FemAdesina, had left the responsibility of unveiling the new guideline for PTF. A statement later by Adesina said the president during his meeting with governors, remarked that the pandemic was “beyond technology, power, and resources." According to him, the countries which have all such resources had recorded the highest rate of casualties across the world.

Buhari Tasks Govs PDP Accuses to Work with PTF Mustapha of Usurping Presidential Powers Meanwhile, for better harmony in the fight against the pandemic, Buhari yesterday appealed to governors to work closely with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the disease. Following the appeal, the president cancelled his scheduled nationwide broadcast yesterday. Speaking during an online meeting with members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), the president told the governors that PTF had briefed him on the way forward on the national response to the pandemic. Consequently, he said he

In a related development, PDP has accused Mustapha of usurpation of presidential powers by announcing an extension of lockdown and curfew in the country. PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, pointed out that nowhere in the laws of Nigeria are the powers to broadcast presidential executive orders to declare curfew and restriction of movements vested in the Office of the SGF. Thye opposition party said the action of the

SGF has brought serious confusion in the polity regarding the legality or otherwise of the directives contained in the SGF's announcement. "Such powers are vested in the person and office of Mr. President and not exercisable by proxy, directly or indirectly; which makes the action of the SGF a recipe for a serious constitutional crisis in our country. "Our nation is a state governed by dictates of the law, particularly in the exercise of powers vested in statutory offices, especially that of the president," the party said. PDP added that it holds that the announcement by the SGF is, therefore, another manifestation of abuse of the statutory offices arising from the abdication of responsibilities by the president since the last five years, which had also become more pronounced in this fight against COVID-19. "Our party, therefore, invites Mr. President to end the confusion in the polity, arising from the action of the SGF, by immediately addressing Nigerians in his official capacity to fulfill the demands of our laws in respect of the necessary protocols on restrictions and other management procedures in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in our country." Continued on page 9

REDDINGTON PERFORMS FIRST COMPLEX OPEN-HEART SURGERY IN NIGERIA heart was then successfully restarted. “This interesting operation happened in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis and by a 100 per cent team of 19 Nigerian doctors, nurses and other experts who live and work in the country.� He explained that when the patient was first brought to the hospital, he had episodes of fainting with his heart rate at 35 beat, adding that with diagnosis, it was obvious his case was critical and would need a timely but complex solution. “With our critical care unit fully equipped, we took him in, brainstormed with the team on how to go about his treatment. Interestingly, our Tristate Reddington Cardiac Programme has been planning on when to start these surgeries. However, the gentleman’s case made

it a lot faster for us. The surgery is the most complex open-heart surgery ever done in Nigeria. We didn’t start this programme with easy treatment; we started with the most complex one. We are proud of the outcome. No one can have a better outcome even in developed countries than what we did here. “This complex surgery demonstrates our ability to expand the range of what is possible in Nigeria particularly at this time when foreign access is highly limited. We now offer a full range of cardiology services with 24/7 emergency availability. Reddington now has an upgraded ICU, and we have trained critical care doctors on the use of the unit," he added. Adebiyi, who is presently recovering after the sevenhour surgical operation,

said when his health deteriorated in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown, he thought this was the end as no one was allowed to leave the country for treatment abroad. “I thank God for giving me the opportunity to live again. I can’t remember how I got to Reddington Hospital, but when I became conscious, I saw an Indian doctor, and I was at peace, thinking he was the person who would lead my treatment process. After the surgery, I realised everyone who attended to me are Nigerians. They saved my life. I owe them and God this life I am in now,� he stated. He explained that he was still surprised at his return to life, adding that he never believed anything good would come out of Nigeria. “Nigerians do not have

any reason to go abroad for treatments which can successfully be administered here,� he said. The head of the surgical team, Prof. Kamar Adeleke, said the COVID-19 pandemic had shown that every country needed to look inward for solutions, adding that with borders closed, the Tristate Reddington Cardiac Programme is ready to offer treatments to complex heart issues, as it has a duty to help Nigerians with such conditions. He said: “This underscores potential Nigeria has. What you are looking for in Sokoto is right here in your pants. Reddington practically has everything needed for the success we are celebrating today. It contributed 99 per cent of what you are seeing, but the remaining one per cent was also very vital,

which we sourced from outside.� On how the surgical process went, Adeleke, who is a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, said when the team first realised the patient’s heart rate was fast going low, it gave him a temporary pacemaker, which enabled him breathe normally and then embarked on the seven-hour repair of the patient's leaking valves and other issues, emphasising that the 19 team members are experts from different areas. He said: “The following day, the patient went into complete kidney failure, but because we had all expertise here, the kidneys were worked on and in a few days, his body system started working perfectly. “COVID-19 has let us know that we cannot depend on outside forever.

an audience to discuss four principal issues, including the ownership of the NLNG Limited, continued deductions from the Federal Allocation Account Committee (FAAC), management and co-ordination of COVID-19 and Basic Health Provision Fund. The president, it was learnt, replied the governors and fixed yesterday for the meeting. The NGF selected eight governors, including the NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, to lead the delegation to a teleconference with the president. According to a source privy to the meeting, also

discussed was the shortfall of revenue accruable to the FAAC, which was due to what a governor described as "too many deductions from the Federation Account." The NLNG is owned by four shareholders, namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (49%); Shell (25.6%); Total Gaz Electricite Holdings France (15%) and Eni (10.4%). One of the governors at the meeting confided in THISDAY that they expressed concern about how the proceeds from the NLNG are being managed exclusively by the federal government and are not remitted to the Federation

Account like oil revenues. The governor said they requested that the proceeds from the NLNG be channelled to the Federation Account and shared by the three tiers of government just the same way the proceeds of crude oil revenue are shared. It was gathered that the governors complained over the distribution of palliatives by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 as well the coordination of the pandemic fight. THISDAY learnt no decision was reached and the meeting was adjourned to another date to enable the president consult with his cabinet over the issues raised by the governors.

GOVS TACKLE FG OVER NLNG DIVIDENDS Account for distribution to the three tiers of government. THISDAY also gathered that the governors have also kicked against what they described as excessive deductions from the Federation Account, which they say reduce the cash available for sharing among the three tiers of government. The governors reportedly cited such deductions for Police Trust Fund, North-East Development Commission and Primary Health Care Fund, which are first-line charges on the Federation Account, arguing that such funds should be charged to the federal government’s share of the central pool.

The governors, just like heads of other tiers of government, have been battling fiscal crisis since the double crises of COVID-19 pandemic and the sharp decline in oil prices occasioned a sharp decline in revenue inflows into the Federation Account. THISDAY checks showed that the governors' advocacy, if it sails through, will widen the income inflows into the Federation Account and make more cash available for distribution among the federal, state, and local governments. It was gathered that the governors, in their meeting held last Thursday under the auspices of NGF, wrote to the president seeking

No one can go out of this country anymore. We will be doing things on our own henceforth. That is what this pandemic has thought us. “COVID-19 is a blessing in disguise for Nigeria. France said they will produce the vaccine and will only administer it to its citizens. India said the same thing. The rest of the world will follow suit with this. So, the best Nigeria can do is to look inward.� He said with the interstate ban on travels, it was important hospitals like Reddington were replicated in all states of the federation for easy accessibility to patients.

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First Vaccine Tested in the US Shows Promise Meanwhile, early data from Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine, the first to be tested in the United States, showed that it produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers, the company said yesterday. Reuters reported that the data comes from eight people who took part in a 45-subject safety trial that kicked off in March. The Moderna vaccine is one of more than 100 under development intended to protect against the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 4.7 million people globally and killed over 315,000. Overall, the study showed the vaccine was safe and all study participants produced antibodies against the virus. An analysis of the response in the eight individuals showed that those who received a 100 microgram dose and a 25 microgram dose had levels of protective antibodies to fend off the virus that exceeded those found in the blood of people who recovered from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. The news, issued in a release by the US biotechnology company, lifted shares of Moderna more than 22 per cent and helped drive the broader stock market higher. “These are significant findings but it is a Phase 1 clinical trial that only included eight people. It was designed for safety. Not for efficacy,� said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security who was not involved in the study. The very early data offers a glimmer of hope for a vaccine among the most advanced in development. Adalja said many glitches could occur between now and the time this vaccine is tested for efficacy in thousands of people. “What we do see is encouraging,� he said.

Navy Commander Dies Lieutenant Commander Chike Okoro, an officer of the Nigerian Navy (NN), has died of suspected complications arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The deceased, who was of the 53 Regular Course (53RC), was said to have been tested by NCDC but some people claimed the officer did not follow up with his result before he died. Speaking on anonymity, a senior naval officer said although details of his final hours were still sketchy, he had gone for testing but did not receive the result till he died. Asked why they figured out he had the virus, he said although the deceased did not have any recent travel history, he was, however, exposed to the virus, which prompted a call to NCDC. He said: “Yes I knew him. Details of his death are still very sketchy. I learnt he went for testing at the NCDC centre in FESTAC but they never brought or gave the result till he passed.

“This is more painful because he barely had seven months to hang his commander rank (equivalent to lieutenant colonel in the army and wing commander in the air force), something he had been looking forward to for a long time.� The deceased had celebrated his 38th birthday on March 23 and a visit to his Instagram page saw a deluge of condolence messages from friends and colleagues.

Mortality Rates Drops in Kano, Sokoto Meanwhile, the federal government has said that mortality has significantly reduced in both Kano and Sokoto states as a result of the government's recent intervention aimed at checking the spread of infection. The Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, who disclosed this at the daily briefing, said his ministry had engaged influential religious leaders in Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Sokoto and Zamfara states. He also disclosed that a ministerial team of experts had been dispatched to Calabar to engage with state authorities and to determine their material and technical needs. Mamora said the efforts of the federal and state response teams in Kano and Sokoto states are paying off as deaths have now reduced. On the situation in Sokoto, he said the mission to Sokoto was successful, adding that the team was presently in Maiduguri to support the state. "A curious finding in Sokoto is the cluster of COVID-19 cases in only one local government area. The number of deaths has dropped and we are beginning to see a decline in positive cases in the state. I wish to thank Governor Aminu Tambuwal for his support and commitment to the response in the state," he said. With regards to Kano, the minister said the response has been restructured to be more responsive and positioned to effectively tackle the pandemic. He said: "Mortality has significantly reduced. Our community engagement is paying off as more people are submitting themselves for testing. Testing capacity has thus increased to about 660 daily from 250 last week. The ministry has directed that more test kits and laboratory consumables be sent to Kano to ensure the sustenance of the testing capacity." Mamora added that NCDC is collaborating with development partners to engage influential religious leaders in Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Sokoto and Zamfara states on sensitisation mission on the measures to stop the infection. Mamora noted that the ministry had commenced Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) training specifically for the Almajiri in Kano State.

NAFDAC Receives

over 40 Applications on Test Kits In a related development, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, yesterday, said the agency had received more than 40 applications on rapid testing kits, out of which 15 have been approved. She, however, said the agency was yet to receive the Madagascar remedy for COVID-19 from the presidency, noting that once it gets it, the agency would expedite action on it to ensure that the health of the users is safeguarded. Adeyeye, who was a guest at the ARISE NEWS Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY, said: "We have to go through stringent scrutiny to ensure that whatever is coming to the country, will be safe and dependable. The remedy from Madagascar, we have not received it, but as soon as we receive it, we will expedite action because this is important to us; herbal medicine is more complex than the orthodox drug, because there may be eight or 10 chemical components that are active. The way nature has done it is that they work in concert, so you can't just take one out and say it is going to work.� Adeyeye restated that the agency had not approved the use of Chloroquine for the treatment of the dreaded virus. She said the agency only gave the go-ahead for clinical treatment. She added that it was important for Nigerians to know the difference between routine and clinical treatment, noting that the two should not be mixed. “Chloroquine has not been approved for routine use in the treatment of COVID-19. We only approved it for clinical treatment, not for routine treatment. There is a difference between routine use and clinical treatment,� she said. Speaking on the herbal mixture discovered by the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, NAFDAC boss said the agency was still expecting the application of Iwu with regards to finding an herbal cure for the virus. “Prof Iwu is a member of one of our committees. We have not received any application from him. Maybe he’s still working on it,� she added. “NAFDAC is a regulating agency, affiliated with others around the world. We welcome all submissions but it would have to follow a process; it must go through laid down protocols. We have to ensure it follows safety measures. We have to do an analysis and clinical trial of all the products. Those herbal drugs must be well scrutinised and be believable. Data do not lie.�

CBN, NNPC to Fund Accommodation, Feeding of Evacuees Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have agreed to pick the hotel

accommodation and feeding bills of returning stranded Nigerians abroad. The cost is to cater for the remaining over 3,000 Nigerians stranded in several countries as a result of global lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking yesterday at the briefing, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed that both agencies agreed to pick the bills for the isolation of the Nigerians stranded abroad on their return. He said the government was not too happy with the idea of returnees picking their bills but for the paucity of funds. According to him, all efforts to raise funds have been very difficult. He said the fund used for the funding of the first set of evacuees was a fund meant for something else. He explained his predicament: “So, Friday night after getting all the barrage from around the world, including people saying that we were somehow conspiring with hotels to fleece Nigerians and make money for ourselves and other forms of accusation and we continued never the less; we tried to find a way through and they say that two heads are better than one; the Honorable Minister of Environment, Dr. Mahmoud Abubakar, called me and said why not try NNPC? Why not try CBN. You know they have a corporate social responsibility funding and I told him I will do that immediately. “I got in touch with Governor of the CBN and used as much persuasive channel as possible to get him over and told him I will do the same with GMD of NNPC. And the Governor of the CBN, very generously and very kindly, agreed and said the amount that I was talking about was over N1 billion because we have over 4,000 Nigerians out there, and if over 3,000 or something of them come back the cost of accommodation and feeding and everything else is over a billion that we don’t have. “He said he was ready to explore and share the cost with NNPC. I spoke to the GMD of NNPC and he said he was going to consult and we kept our fingers crossed. “Thanks be to God, today he got back to me to say he was ready. He was going to meet up with the Governor of the CBN and together they would fund this portion - a very important portion - the accommodation and feeding of evacuees. So, we go forward in a better environment.�

Flight Ban Delays Return of Chinese Medical Team In another development, the Managing Director of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Mr. Michael Yigao, has said the ban on commercial flights has delayed the return of the Chinese medical team to China, saying the experts, who arrived the country on April 8, were in the company’s care.

Yigao told journalists yesterday that the team came into the country to especially help CCECC fight the disease and protect its employees. “The team had a telecast meeting with the Minister of Health and some doctors around the country and shared their experience in China on how they’re fighting the virus and the meeting was very positive. “They are here with us and have continued to teach our staff how to protect themselves because protection and prevention are more important than the treatment. “Most of the workers understand the situation now and they know the risk, so they follow the proper procedures and cooperate with their instructors,� he said. He said the medical experts would be heading home as soon as the ban on commercial flights to China is lifted. “Right now, commercial flight to China is not open, but when flights are open again, we’re considering the team going back to China,� he stated.

UK Adds Loss of Smell, Taste to List of Symptoms The UK Government has included loss of taste and smell to the list of COVID-19 symptoms people should look out for in addition to previous ones such as cough and fever. England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Mr. Jonathan Van-Tam, said yesterday the development has become imperative to further enhance existing ways of detecting those infected with the novel virus. The Cable quoted him as saying that anyone suffering the loss of taste or smell, or a noticeable change, should now self-isolate for seven days to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. Cough and fever have been the major symptoms suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for people to self-isolate or get tested.

FG Quarantines Pilots of Seized British Aircraft Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, also said at the briefing that the federal government had quarantined the pilots of the impounded aircraft owned by a British company for 14 days. He said: “There is a company called Flairjet. I want to apologise that I tweeted in the afternoon (on Sunday) when the fasting was biting harder and we verified this as Flair Aviation. The correct name is Flairjet and it is a UK registered company. “They have an aircraft, Legacy 600, and the registration number of the aircraft is GPRFX. Their business address is Business Aviation Centre, Terminal Road, Birmingham International Airport, West Midlands, and their code is B26QN “This company applied severally as to operate humanitarian flights and we did approve. It is very

clear at the beginning of this exercise that we defined what those flights should be: essential flights basically – cargo, medical evacuation, medical supplies, and so on and so forth. “Unfortunately, this company decided to become commercial in their service, charging money and flying people in and out. “In the first place, the whole essence of a lockdown is to ensure there is no movement of persons freely because this COVID-19 we are all spending sleepless nights for happened because somebody travelled abroad. So, we believe this shouldn’t happen. “Current status, we are investigating the matter right now, it would finish very soon. The crew is British nationals. The pilots are subjected to 14 days quarantine at the moment while the investigation goes on. Whatever is there in our laws will be applied to the fullest.�

99% Nigerians Aware of COVID-19 Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the latest NOI Poll which was conducted this month showed that 99 per cent of Nigerian respondents said they were aware of the virus, while 28 per cent of respondents in March said they believed they were immune to the virus. The figure according to the minister has now dropped to 26 per cent. The poll also said 57 per cent of the respondents said they were in support of easing down of the lockdown announced on April 27 by the president, while 29 per cent said they did not support it. The poll said 91 per cent of respondents said they were aware of the different preventive measures, handwashing at 87 per cent up by 10 per cent; use of face masks is at 85 per cent up by 22 per cent; and social distancing is at 55 percent up by 43 per cent. Also speaking, PTF National Coordinator, Dr. Sani Aliyu, condemned the growing incidence of fake news associated with the government’s COVID-19 emergency response. He cited examples of fake news around activities of the task force to include false statements about the lockdown guidelines as well as false reports on relief funds received all spent by PTF. The family of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua has, however, donated food and personal protective gears to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to support its palliative drive in the battle against COVID-19 in the territory. A representative of the family under the aegis of Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation, Malam Shehu Yar'Adua, while presenting the items to the administration commended the doggedness of all the health workers, adding that their dedication to service in these challenging times should serve as an example to other professional bodies.

T H I S D AY ˾TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020



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

Triumph Against All Odds Davidson Iriekpen writes that the senator representing Anambra South senatorial district, Ifeanyi Ubah, can finally settle down to his legislative duties after the Supreme Court rested cases challenging his status as a senator


ith two petitions at the tribunal, one at the High Court, three at the Court of Appeal and two at the Supreme Court, the contest for the Anambra South senatorial seat was certainly the most litigated in the history of the contest into Senate. At the end, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah triumphed against all odds. This was the case last Wednesday when the Supreme Court finally put an end to the legal battle to unseat Ubah. Delivering judgment on the two appeals brought by Chief Chris Uba and Dr. Obinna Uzoh, the five-man panel led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta unanimously held that the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory which last January sacked him from the Senate, lacked territorial jurisdiction to entertain the case. The panel added that since the cause of action emanated from Anambra the FCT court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case. It consequently dismissed the appeals. Ubah made history during the February 2019 general election by contesting on the platform of a relatively unknown party, Young Progressives Party (YPP) to sack the incumbent senator, Senator Andy Uba of the the All Progressives Congress (APC), who at the time was the Anambra State Chairman of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Council. The Capital Oil boss polled 87,081 votes to defeat the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), APC, and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Chris Uba, Andy Uba, Nicholas Ukachukwu, who polled 52,462, 13,245 and 51,269 votes, respectively. The senator left APGA for YPP after the leaders of the former disqualified him for the primary election of the party to pave the way for the wife of the late leader of the party, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, who also showed interest in the seat. Both Chris Ubah and Andy Ubah did not take the defeat lightly. They proceeded to the Election Petitions Tribunal and Court of Appeal where they were roundly defeated. Just as he was settling down to his senatorial duties, last January the media was agog with news that he had lost his seat following a court ruling by an FCT High Court in Abuja, nullifying his election on the grounds that he forged the secondary school certificate he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest the February 23, 2019 senatorial election on the platform of YPP. Dr Obinna Uzoh, whose name was not even on the ballot, sneaked into the FCT High Court with a suit, alleging that the National Examinations Council (NECO) secondary school certificate the senator presented to INEC to contest the Anambra South senatorial election was forged. In the suit, he also argued that the YPP which did not conduct the primary election for its candidates for the Anambra South senatorial election, should be disqualified. In his judgment, Justice Bello Kawu nullified Ubah’s election on the grounds that he forged the secondary school certificate he presented to INEC to contest the February 23, 2019 senatorial election. The judge declared that the 2nd defendant in the suit, YPP, did not have the locus standi and should not have participated in the February general election for Anambra South senatorial zone for its inability to conduct a primary election. He also declared that Uzoh is the actual winner of the election having come second in the general election, and having disqualified the 1st and 2nd defendants for non-compliance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).


The judge therefore, ordered the 3rd defendant, INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to Uzoh within 48 hours as the duly elected senator for Anambra South senatorial district, being the candidate of the PDP and having scored the highest number of valid votes cast. He also ordered the Senate President and the Clerk to the National Assembly to swear in Uzoh as the senator representing Anambra South senatorial district within 48 hours. Dissatisfied, Ubah appealed to the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment which he insisted occasioned grave miscarriage of justice against him. The senator who canvassed four grounds of appeal, maintained that he was denied fair hearing by the trial court, adding that he was not served with the processes filed in the suit or any hearing notice in respect of the suit. He also argued that the FCT High Court lacked the territorial jurisdiction to hear and determine a pre-election matter that arose from election that held in Anambra State.

In a unanimous decision by a three-man panel of justices led by Justice Stephen Adah, the appellate court voided the judgment. It held that the April 11, 2019 judgment was based on incompetent processes. It noted that not only were the originating summons not duly signed by any legal practitioner as required by law, but that the High Court Rules made it mandatory that such legal document must be signed. Justice Adah who read the lead judgment, said the High Court acted wrongly when it dismissed a motion Ubah filed to draw its attention to anomalies in the processes and the fact that he was not served with a copy of the suit that led to his removal from the Senate. He said the lower court had no powers to set-aside any of its order or judgment that is a nullity. The appellate court judge held that Ubah’s suit was not caught up by section 285 of the 1999 Constitution which made it mandatory that an appeal must be lodged within 14 days after judgment was delivered. Besides, he said he found

Ubah made history during the February 2019 general election by contesting on the platform of a relatively unknown party, Young Progressives Party (YPP) to sack the incumbent senator, Senator Andy Uba of the the All Progressives Congress (APC), who at the time was the Anambra State Chairman of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Council. The Capital Oil boss polled 87,081 votes to defeat the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), APC, and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Chris Uba, Andy Uba, Nicholas Ukachukwu, who polled 52,462, 13,245 and 51,269 votes, respectively

no evidence that Ubah was served with any hearing notice before the trial court delivered judgment against him. It further held that the Abuja High Court lacked the territorial jurisdiction to entertain the suit that bordered on an election that was conducted in Anambra State. “The lower court clearly had no jurisdiction to entertain that matter. Its decision in the case, therefore, amounted to a nullity and must not be allowed to stand. The decision being a nullity, the Appellant was right to appeal against it. The appeal of the appellant is hereby allowed,” it further held. Aside vacating the judgment of the High Court, the Appeal Court issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Clerk of the National Assembly from giving any effect to it. It further awarded cost of N250,000 each, against the plaintiffs that filed the suit at the lower court, Mr. Anani Chuka and the senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Obinna Uzoh, who was a beneficiary of the judgment. But Chris Uba and Uzoh appealed to the Supreme Court. During the hearing of the appeals, Uba’s lawyer, Chief Akin Olujimi, (SAN) and Chino Obiagwu (SAN) for Uzoh, urged the apex court to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal, insisting that the FCT High Court had territorial jurisdiction over pre-election matters. However, Ifeanyi Ubah’s lawyer, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), urged the apex court to dismiss the appeals. In its verdict, the Supreme Court disagreed them, and consequently, dismissed the appeals on the grounds of lack of territorial jurisdiction on the part of the FCT High Court. With the end of the case, while Ubah can now settle down and be better focused in delivering his electoral promises to his constituents, Uzoh, his counsel, Eziafa Enwedo, and three others who orchestrated the case are left to lick their wounds following the slamming of a six-count charge against them at the Federal High Court in Abuja by the police for alleged forgery.

TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 • T H I S D AY




T H I S D AY ˾ͯͷ, 2020

Photo Editor ĂŒĂ“Ă™ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă˜ÔËÖË Email Ă‹ĂŒĂ“Ă™ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă˜Ë›Ă‹Ă”Ă‹Ă–Ă‹ĚśĂžĂ’Ă“Ă?ĂŽĂ‹ĂŁĂ–Ă“Ă Ă?Ë›Ă?Ù×

L-R; A beneďŹ ciary receiving Pampers from the wife of Kebbi State Governor, Dr. Zainab Bagudu during the distribution of Pampers to mothers in Bagudo, through the support of Procter & Gamble’s RigakaďŹ program as Covid-19 relief eorts in Nigeria...recently

Customers of Guaranty Trust Bank, Kosofe branch, Ketu defying the order to obey social distancing directive by the Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Lagos...recently PHOTO: KOLAWOLE ALLI

L-R: Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma receiving report documents from Chairman of IMSU Visitation Panel, Prof. Chinedu Nebo in Owerri...recently

L-R: Ex-oďŹƒcio, NUJ Lagos State Council, Mrs. Iyabo Wale; Secretary of the Union, Mr. Alfred Odifa; Director, Public Aairs, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Jide Lanre and Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ), Lagos State Council, Dr. Qasim Akinreti, during the presentation of palliative foods to the Council by Lagos State Government, at Ikeja, Lagos‌recently

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehinare(left) and Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, after brieďŹ ng the President on their activities of the PTF at the Presidential Villa State House Abuja...recently

L-R: Technical Sales Specialist for West and East Africa,BASF West Africa Ltd, Mpfareleni Luvhengo; Technical Sales Support, Juliet Ibekwe; Representative of the Commissioner for Transport, Lagos State, Mr. Jide Razack; and Business Development/Account Manager, Oyewale Akeredolu, at the donation of 3D printed face masks to Lagos State Government by BASF West Africa in Lagos... recently PHOTO: ETOP UKUTT

L-R: Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ononye Mordi; Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Chiedu Ebie; Commissioner for Youth Development, Comrade Ifeanyi Egwunyenga; and Zonal Manager Zenith Bank, Mr. Ighade Lucky, during the inauguration of COVID-19 Isolation /Treatment centre at the NYSC Orientation Camp, Issele-Ukwu Delta State..recently

L-R: Inspector General of Police , Mr. Mohammed Adamu ; National Security Adviser to the President , Major General Babagana Mongonu(Rtd) and the Minister of Defence , Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi(Rtd) during the National Security meeting held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja...recently PHOTO: GODWIN OMOIGUI

T H I S D AY ˾TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020


PROPERTY & ENVIRONMENT NIOB Blames Quacks for Collapse of Uncompleted Hotel in Owerri Bennett Oghifo


he Nigeria Institute of Building (NIOB) has called for immediate investigation of the cause of the collapse of a seven-storey hotel building under construction in Owerri, Imo State and to prosecute those responsible for the disaster. The collapse of the uncompleted building, located on Musa Yar’ Adua Road, New

Owerri, was an unfortunate occurrence, according to the National President of NIOB, Builder Kunle Awobodu, in a statement. He said, “On the latest collapsed building in Owerri, those who caused the wanton destruction of property and loss of lives should be prosecuted in order to deter quackery and negligence on building sites in Nigeria. Investigation and prosecution should not be delayed. Justice delayed is

justice denied.” He appealed for collaboration among professionals in the building and construction industry and with other relevant government agencies or organisations to bring to an end this menace of building collapse. Awobodu said members of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Imo State Chapter and those of other professional bodies in the built environment stormed the collapsed building

site on post mortem analysis, which could be equated to medicine after death. He said, “Investigations conducted on many collapsed buildings in Nigeria revealed that inappropriate management of building production on site has been the major cause. Why? Quacks or impostors, who lacked professional competence, have usually succeeded in superintending over the very technical and complex process of building

production.” The ministries and agencies responsible for physical planning and urban development, he said should devote greater attention to the practical stage, which is the actual building construction. “Any company or those that will handle construction of a building should be thoroughly investigated to ensure that round pegs are inserted in round holes. The sensitive building production processes should be managed

by the Professional Builder, who by his or her training and Hippocratic Oath will not compromise on standards or competence. “It really boggles the mind why building collapse has become a recurring decimal in a nation endowed with many trained and licensed Professional Builders, whose statutory responsibility is to technically manage building production on site to a successful delivery.”

COVID-19: Propertymart Donates Food Items to Residents in Shangisha, Environs Real estate company, Propertymart Real Estate Investment Limited, has again demonstrated its love for residents of Shangisha and environs, weeks after carrying out a public awareness on COVID-19 there. As part of its efforts to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID–19 pandemic on homes in the neighbourhood, the company shared foodstuff

to well over 220 households. Representatives of Propertymart also visited the palace of the Oba of Shangisha, Oba Jamiu Adetola Ajibola Lawal and left food items with him, according to a statement by the company. Nobody was left out of the palliative, as even security guards in some premises got food items. “This is a thoughtful

gesture, and we express our gratitude to Propertymart. They could have chosen to go elsewhere, but they decided that their immediate community should benefit first. God will continue to prosper the company,” said one of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Joy. Commenting, the Business Head of Propertymart, Abimbola Arasi, said it was a continuation of the company’s

corporate social responsibility initiatives to tide people over the lockdown period. “Though people prepared for the lockdown, there’s no doubt that their stocks would have diminished. That was why we took it upon ourselves to help members of our immediate environment in Shangisha replenish their homes with these foodstuffs. We all need assistance, and

this is a continuation of our little effort to complement what the Federal and State governments are giving,” he said. Arasi, who assured that the company would not reduce its corporate social responsibility initiatives, urged people to abide by all laws to reduce the spread of the virus with the gradual easing of the lockdown in Lagos

Propertymart a leader in Nigerian real estate sector since its incorporation in 2008, has delivered over 6,000 housing units and serviced plots to families and individuals in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Some of its key projects include Citiview Estate, Arepo; Mitchel Mews, Magodo; Edensville Estate, Simawa and Mitchville and Bel Terraces, Abuja.

Kalejaiye, Real Estate Player, Picks Fashola as Role Model Paul Adeboye Kalejaiye is a reputable player in the Lagos hospitality real estate market, a film producer and politician. He tells Fadekemi Ajakaiye how much the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola has influenced his view of life, and that his birth into a polygamous home of about 30 children did not hold him down. He turns 60 tomorrow Tell us about growing up, your parents. I was born of dual parentage. My late father Otunba James Ijaola Kalejaiye (a Police Officer) from Ode Remo, and my late mother, Mrs. Victoria Daibo Kalejaiye was from Koko Itsekiri, Delta State. What lessons has life taught you? Life is a journey programmed by two factors; first by yourself and second by Divine hand directing one’s programming. In life, you can be what you want to be if you are determined and focused. I was born into a polygamous home of about 30 children, I am the third. My father was not rich; he retired

as a sergeant in the Nigeria Police Force. That can tell you our economic status, but then, out of the whole lot of us, I have been able to move myself up and distinct myself. Tell us about your business life I am a multi-talented human being. First, I’m an academic. I retired from Lagos State Polytechnic as a full time lecturer. I am a politician, having served the government of Lagos State for over 12 years. I served in the cabinet of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for about two years, served in Babatunde Fashola’s cabinet for four years, and Akinwunmi Ambode for 4 years, as the Chairman of Ferry services,

and very notable in Lagos politics. I was the Chairman of the mobilisation committee of the BRF campaign then. I took part in making three governors, except for Tinubu. I have played prominent role even in my local politics, state and national. I am also a film maker, producer, director, actor, and script writer. One of my foremost movies is “Married But Living Single”, which won so many local and international awards. I also produced the soap opera called “The Tweeter” acted in “Needle Eye”, “Boseyekori”, and recently “Social Media 101”. I won the best actor in ‘Shoot 2011’, organised by the Films Corporation. I went to the Nigerian Films Institute

in Jos, obtained a certificate in Cinematography and film directing. I’ve been an educationist per excellence having set up The Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Apapa Campus in Ajegunle, which ran for about 15 years, where I give opportunity to people who could not go to Ijanikin to do NCE, till when the law states, it can no longer run. So, I brought education to the doorstep of the people. Served as a member of the Governing Council of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education; served as a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University; also, served as a member of the Council of Lagos State Scholarship Board. Lastly, I am a business investor. I started my

Kalejaiye little investment in business from the angle of buying and selling. I sold shoes on the street of Lagos, from one office to the other, and incredibly, I was making 100% gain on every shoe sold. I sold on

credit but never lost a kobo. That secret is a story for another day. I also ventured into hospitality business of Choplife Garden and Suites, Vic James Apartment, and Cantonese Chinese Restaurant.

Communities Appreciate Lafarge Africa’s Park Vega Gathers Momentum Ahead of Launch Park Vega, the much talked Association of Amusement “We are happy that this project N500m Infrastructure Intervention about Water Park sited in Delta Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), was sited in our community In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lafarge Africa has deployed a N500m intervention fund to provide medical infrastructure, food and essential medications to its host communities. A statement by the company said during the first phase of the intervention launched on the 6th of April 2020, the company converted two of its facilities in Sagamu and Ashaka to be used as isolation centres, and also provided infrastructure support such as generators, ambulances and critical personal protection equipment (PPE) for health professionals and its host

states. In the second phase of the intervention, Lafarge distributed food and medical supplies to its host communities targeting 60,000 beneficiaries across 10,000 families. According to the statement, Mrs. Elenda Giwa-Amu, NonExecutive Director, Lafarge Africa Plc said: “Our operations are built on the key pillars of sustainability and health and safety. We are therefore mobilizing resources at our disposal at this time to offer succour to Nigerians just as we are collaborating with government agencies at all levels to build enduring structures to end the pandemic.”

While presenting the relief materials to residents in Lagos Island East Local Government Area of Lagos State, the Country Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Khaled El Dokani remarked: ‘At Lafarge Africa, we are deeply committed to our host communities and we are happy to work with them to improve lives through our presence and active citizenship. As a member of LafargeHolcim, the world’s leading building materials and cement maker that operates in over 70 countries, we operate as a key economic player through our activities in the local communities.”

State, has started gathering momentum ahead of its official launch. Rated to be the largest water park in West Africa, the park boasts internationally recognised features and standard facilities of a water park that ranks it matchless. These include: multiple water slides for adults and children, wave pools and splash pad, amongst others. The park has continued to attract commendation from both local and international players, as well as from key stakeholders in the global tourism industry. In his remarks, Coordinator Membership, International

Ignace Woinin, hailed the level of ingenuity and expertise that went to the construction of the park. “We are impressed by your dedication to pioneering the attraction industry in Western Africa,” he said. While on a courtesy visit to the management of the park, elated indigenes of Agbor community in Delta state appreciated the firm for siting the project in the community which they said will help to boost local economy and empower the host community. Spokesman of the community, Emmanuel Tibi, said:

and we thank Park Vega Water Park for this initiative. For our immediate community, Agbor Kingdom, Ika South, Delta State, and Nigeria as a whole, this is a great investment. An investment of this nature will open up the economy of this community and the country as a whole. We expect this hospitality facility to attract people from across the globe to Nigeria with forex. “We equally hope that our sons and daughters who are in the diaspora will be proud to come back home as a result of the development that the waterpark will bring.”


T H I S D AY ËžËœÍŻÍˇËœ 2020


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

OSGOF SECTORIAL REFORMS AND COVID-19 The surveyor-general’s office is at the fore of national development, writes Ofem Uket


he Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation (OSGOF) has broken the restraint limiting it functions to surveying of land boundaries, erecting beacons and mapping of borders between states and countries by successive chief executives. In addition, its ongoing reforms and innovative strategies has played a major role in enlightening the people across the country of the deadly impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The mappings as produced and displayed daily by OSGOF are to ease production capacity of the statistical analyses by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as it creates robust synergy of inter-ministerial cooperation to address the prevailing health crisis. Sectorial reforms to drive needed growth and national development are the major focus of the present administration since assumption of office in 2015. In spite of challenges confronting the administration, it has remained committed to ensuring that ongoing reforms in all sectors of the economy are sustained. For the very first time in the history of the surveyor- general’s office since it was created as a national authority to survey, map and provide in the most cost-effective manner the geographic information of the country for sustainable national development, it has made progressions through it reforms to provide database of affected persons of corona virus through mapping in affected states. It has created a soft landing as it produces maps for accurate and definite interpretation of number of infected persons in states for handlers of the Covid-19, especially as the maps are made available to majority of the Nigerian people who desire current and daily information on happenings and developments in the fight against the widespread pandemic. OSGOF delineates, demarcates, surveys, maintains and administers all international and interstate boundaries of the country, produces geospatial products such as administrative maps, electronic national atlas, and gazettes geographical names, road maps, and other thematic maps. However, the process of repositioning for relevance for sustainable growth and development came to the fore within the last seven or eight months of the present leadership. Indeed, it took off in October last year with vigour to create a new thinking and competence in surveying as well as link its responsibilities to national development. The Surveyor-General of the Federation, Mr Taiwo Samuel Adeniran has demonstrated capacity to ensure the workability of sectorial reforms involving developing the nation’s infrastructure like roads, electricity, agriculture, water supply, health and education by providing geospatial information for the development of needed infrastructure.


He was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in January after acting for three months. Adeniran was also director of International Boundary and had served in different ministries, departments and agencies of government, manning offices and units that were responsible for surveying activities. He has also written several awardwinning papers including “Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Using Geospatial Data.� To further strengthen its resolve in the ongoing reforms, OSGOF is set to produce maps with geospatial needs for all the MDAs of the federal government for proper planning and execution of projects. This was contained in its interactive focus with high profile professionals in the industry, promising to create and expand the frontiers of surveying for the overall development of relevant sectors in governance. OSGOF has said that the competence and high capacity delivery status of the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola on the map project is a demonstration of the fact that government is on the right track. According to the establishment, the minister has deeper insight into the importance of geospatial data and information for planning and implementation of government projects. The minister is said to be a great source of inspiration for the establishment. From statistics made available by the institution, there would hardly be any meaningful implementation and execution of projects without geospatial data or information that would inform evidence-based decisions for proper planning before execution of projects. That explains why geospatial maps for the MDAs would be of great value addition that would curb waste of scarce resources, especially at a time when the country is experiencing dwindling fortunes in revenue earnings. Therefore all MDAs are expected to make relevant briefings to the surveyor- general’s office with its geospatial needs based on its services and functions for the production of the maps. Its commitment and drive are to produce world-class survey contents for the Nigerian government in order to speed up necessary development in the sector for enhanced capacity by collaborating with various professionals to achieve its mandates. “We are committed to issues of surveying and mapping, that is because of the relevance and impact of the sector to national development. Therefore, there has to be compulsory surveying activities before the construction of government building and facilities; the public should as well ensure proper survey by experts before embarking on any construction project to avoid loss of lives and wastes of resources�, said the surveyor-general. It has become very clear that the surveyor -general’s office which by previous headship was hardly known is gradually at the front burner of national development, and in fact determining a wide range of government businesses in all sectors of our national life.

THE MANY BATTLES OF OBASA Sheri Laguda argues that reports of graft against the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly are baseless


ntegrity is a virtue the media cannot afford to play with. If the media toy with this all-important virtue, its death is imminent. I remember this fact while considering the travails of Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, who must have fought many battles since 1999 when his political life began as a councillor in Agege Local Government Area. But, perhaps, none have been as relentless as the war being waged against him by online news medium, Sahara Reporters. Since March, the media house has accused the Speaker of laundering money through contract scams. Obasa, a lawyer, has consistently denied the allegations and even warned the website to recant and apologise. The allegations, which first surfaced on March 21, were repeated the next day in a publication titled, ‘Exposed: Speaker of Lagos Assembly, Obasa, Awards Contracts to self through Company Registered in son’s name’. In it, Sahara Reporters claimed, among others, that the speaker awarded contracts to himself through companies registered in the names of his father, wife and children. The report highlighted a list of companies it claimed the speaker had been using to award the contracts and launder public funds. It alleged that Obasa is the sole signatory to all the bank accounts of one of the companies De Kingrun Multipurpose Nigeria Ltd. It didn’t take Obasa long to respond. On March 23, he described the post as fake news on his Twitter handle @mudashiru_obasa and dared the website to provide proof. The tweet reads: “@Fake News Alert: It’s unfortunate that @SaharaReporters would publish such unfounded allegation. There is a company called Kingrun, but it has never done any business with @lshaofficial. I dare @SaharaReporters to bring forth their evidences.� But that didn’t stop the online news medium.

On March 25, 2020 it repeated some of the claims in a publication ‘Exclusive: Tinubu, GAC back Lagos Assembly Speaker, Obasa, over suspension of Lawmakers, corruption’. The claim was also denied by the speaker. In another report on April 18, it claimed that Obasa illegally approved and released N45,700,000.00 quarterly to a company, Messrs Bloggers Media for a non-existing quarterly media promotion. But it pulled down the report with the link: http://saharareporters.com/2020/04/18/exclusivewasteful-spending-public-funds-lagos-assemblyspeaker-obasa-approves-n475m. A click on the link now says page could not be found. The website followed that up with another report on April 26, titled ‘Lagos Speaker, Obasa, Gets N17m Monthly for Maintenance of Personal Residence, Guest House.’ Obasa, again, wasted no time to respond and this time, he did officially through his lawyer Mr. Lawal Pedro SAN. Pedro, in an April 30 response said none of the firms mentioned by Sahara Reporters had ever been engaged or awarded any contract by the lawmakers. He demanded, on Obasa’s behalf, that Sahara Reporters publisher, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, retract the story within seven days and apologise, otherwise face a N1 billion libel lawsuit. The letter, ‘Demand for retraction of defamatory statements published against and concerning the person of Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, and apology for the publication, reads in part: “Upon our discreet inquiry we were able to confirm that the House of Assembly has never at any time engaged or awarded any contract to any of the listed companies in the publication. “Therefore, we find the publication utterly absurd, abusive, malicious, and amount to irresponsible journalism‌.â€? Pedro said although the lawmakers had already denied the “said false and malicious publication on social media platformsâ€? the online medium repeated the claims elsewhere.

According to him, the publication had damaged Obasa’s reputation. Notwithstanding the threat, Sahara Reporters did not stop publishing new allegations. On May 11 and 13 it published two more reports, the former claiming the Speaker tricked a former governor of the state, and the later titled, ‘Group Petitions President Buhari, National Crime Agency Over Gross Financial Misconduct, Abuse of Office By Lagos Assembly Speaker, Obasa’ which merely repeated previous allegations. But, in the absence of evidence and following past allegations against Sahara Reporters, observers may be wondering if this is not another sponsored campaign against the speaker. Days ago, the members of the Lagos State House of Assembly described as baseless and misleading the allegation that Obasa spends N17million monthly on maintenance of his residence and guest house. The Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni, who called the attention of the lawmakers to the April 26 report explained that it was erroneous. Sanni said: “The sum covers various expenditure of the full offices; the Office of the Chief of Staff, Special Advisers (Budget, Political Matters), office of the Chief Press Secretary, Special Assistant (Protocol), Special Assistant (Research and Development), Special Assistant (Women Affairs), and 15 Special Assistants engaged to attend to the growing demand and specialty of the House. “I must also state that this expenditure has been in existence prior to the emergence of Speaker Obasa. In fact, it is dated back as far as 2012 when it was N27million monthly and I have the document here to show that the expenditure had been in existence since 2012,� the clerk said. He added that the report by Sahara Reporters was a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of the House of Assembly. “On the allegation that the company was registered in 2015, how come the company in

question was just engaged in 2018?,� said the clerk. While condemning the report, the lawmaker representing Somolu Constituency 1 and Chairman House Committee on Finance, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, accused Sahara Reporters of being unprofessional by deliberately publishing misleading reports. Olowo added: “I believe if it is truly investigative journalism that the medium is practising, it should be able to get the other side of the issue before they rush to publish. The medium published recently that former House of Representatives Speaker was late, which is not true. “We have procurement law and there are procedures stated by the law. If a contractor makes an overture to the House for contract bidding, it is not just what he came with but what the House eventually agrees. I remember in 2012, I was a member of this House and I remember the amount that was budgeted was N27m but when Obasa emerged as speaker he reduced it to N17million.� “I think Sahara Reporters needs to be cautioned as it has shown that whatever that is giving them is published without cross-checking,� said Olowo. Obasa explained that it was necessary to correct the wrong impression created by letting the public know that the House is not reckless in spending and not known for frivolous expenditure. He explained that the essence of announcing the report at plenary was to debunk it as silence means consent. “As rightly put by the Clerk, this is an expenditure that has been existing before 2015 and he has been able to trace some document to 2012, 2013, 2014, so it shows Sahara Reporters and its co-travellers would not get anywhere and we are not ready to join issues with them. I agree with you that we don’t have to waste our time on them. We remain resolute�, said Obasa. Laguda, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos


T H I S D AY ˾ TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2020

EDITORIAL COVID-19 AND ATTACKS ON POLICE PERSONNEL Attacks on police personnel hold lessons for the Force


he recent disclosure by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu that no fewer than 27 police personnel had been attacked and assaulted by the public since the enforcement of the lockdown in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic is very instructive. Not only does it speak volume about the acrimonious relationship between the police and the citizenry, it is also a sign of lack of capacity by the force. Adamu specifically added that “apart from the attack on the person of police officers, some of these citizens have equally carried out attacks on police assets and facilities”. These include mob attack resulting in the burning down of two police stations and police quarters in Katsina and Abia States while 15 police vehicles and motorcycles were also damaged. We call on Adamu to investigate these attacks and assaults not only with a view to bringing culprits to justice but also to ensure that appropriate lessons are learnt. POLICE CAN ONLY BE A From the look of FRIEND OF THE PUBLIC IF things, it appears CITIZENS ARE ALSO THEIR there is an absence FRIENDS of trust between the police and citizens whose lives and property are expected to secure. There are far too many cases where the police evidently overstepped their bounds and engaged in activities that highlight significant tension and conflicts between them and the civil populace. It is in the light of this that we recommend to Adamu that his men and officers should begin to engage the people on how they can serve them better. If anything, such interaction should assist in the management of recurring violence and spell out what is proper and appropriate, and the pattern of relations that best ensure the effectiveness of the police. Aside the lack of trust in the police, there is also

a growing weakness which makes sundry cartels of criminals to see their personnel as easy prey. This is the challenge they need to face. Besides, discipline is also an issue. A police officer who lost her life during the lockdown in Rivers State was killed by a fellow policeman. The recent withdrawal of several police personnel from a controversial businessman symptomatic of the rot within the Force. The level of degeneration is such that men and women of dubious character now go about with police personnel who carry bags and umbrella for them. The Inspector-General must put an end to this glaring abuse that continues to cause image problem for the police and undermines the capacity to perform their constitutional responsibility of maintaining law and order.




t a period of national security emergency, such as we have in Nigeria today, this misuse of men and officers of the police and other security outfits should not be allowed to continue. Statutorily, only the president, vice-president, governors, local council chairmen, legislative principal officers in the states and at federal level, magistrates and judges are entitled to police protection. But for some curious reasons, this privilege has over the years been abused by senior officers in charge of police commands and formations who assign most of their men to undeserving Nigerians and foreigners, leaving ever fewer numbers of personnel for real police work. The public should also note the general inscription conspicuously displayed at police stations that ‘Police is your friend’. It is a two-way thing. Police can only be a friend of the public if citizens are also their friends. There is therefore the need for the public to see police personnel as partners, especially in this trying period of enforcing the lockdown order and ban on interstate movements ordered by the federal and some state governments. Attacking the police and their assets, whatever may be the provocation, is both wrong and counter-productive.

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.

Letters to the Editor

Abacha Loot As A Metaphor


side the erratic nature of discourse on the social media, it is also a place of unending puns. Jokes, both cruel and mild, are the norms. Are you stressed? Are you bored? Are you disillusioned? Well, maybe you need to visit the social media where there is never a dull moment in terms of rib-cracking jokes that would readily make your heart merry a bit. Right in the midst of the COVID-19 induced lockdown and all its attendant stress, I came across a joke that really got me reeling hysterically with laughter. It was about the image of late military dictator, General Sani Abacha, in an ATM machine. The picture was quite conspicuous. He was in his ceremonial military uniform with his usual self-effacing look. The ATM machine was copiously bringing out US dollars like an uncontrollable running tap. Then came the catch. A wretched looking chap, putting on a tattered dress with the inscription, ‘Naija Masses’, says: “Thank you our loving ancestor for always coming to our rescue in time such dreadful national emergency as the COVID-19”. Trust the social media. It has its unique way of telling stories. The above is a social media wry reference to the recently repatriated $311m Abacha loot from the United States of America. As flippant as the anecdote is, it is a sad reflection of the ugly state of primitive greed in our nation. The late Abacha died in office on 8th June, 1998, but his astonishing greed reverberates. He had billions our collective patrimony stashed away in several countries. It is no longer news that we have had it bad with leadership, but Abacha is in a different class in terms of unpolished

longing for gratuitous wealth accumulation. In what is now famously referred to as the Abacha loot, subsequent governments since 1998 keep retrieving millions of dollars from the late general’s interminable reservoir of pilfered booty. In short, the late military despot stole so much that the loot he left behind has somehow become a source of steady national revenue. Now, the main gist isn’t really about the person of the late general and his insatiable greed. It is about the unsophisticated thirst for thieving national treasures in our nation. The emphasis is not on Nigerian leaders alone, but Nigerians as a whole. Many a times, in our usual style of unjustified scapegoating, we mischievously zero in on past and present military/political leaders as the major architects of our national misfortune. But our leaders are merely a reflection of our society. So, when they demonstrate primordial greed as in the Abacha’s loot, they simply portray what is in vogue in the larger society. Naively, many Nigerians keep putting all the blames of appalling financial larceny in the public sector space on the political class. This, to me, is too simplistic a deduction. The point here is that the term political class is rather too vague and narrow. Almost every segment of the society is represented in the nation’s political landscape. There are lawyers, bankers, economists, accountants, doctors, university dons, priests, engineers, journalists, actors, sheikhs, retired security personnel, farmers, artists, comedians, comrades, sportsmen and a host of other professionals among our politicians (whom we sarcastically refer to as people in government). Since they cut across every sphere of the society, their action or inaction could easily be taken as a picture of who we

really are. Thus, the reckless pillaging of our national resources, over the years, images our collective obsession for primitive accumulation of illicit wealth. Though, as it in the case of Abacha, it could be agreed that some are more audacious than others in this inglorious path. Notwithstanding, we are a people that worship money at the detriment of our souls. Therefore, the crude tendency to always want to amass wealth, whether it is desirable or not, is virtually a culture in our clime. It is easy to keep pointing accusing fingers at those in government because they are mostly in the glare of the public. But in this country, we have had individuals whose brazen acts of preposterous theft ruined hitherto solid financial institutions, thereby throwing hapless depositors into utter despair. Similarly, we have had instances when highly placed religious leaders betrayed divine trust by mugging celestial coffers. Equally, in the higher institutions, there have been reported cases of lecturers demanding financial gratification to offer students desired grades. Imagine what such hypocrites would do if they find themselves in the corridor of power! Recently, I read that a South-West governor gave out millions of naira facemask contract to tailors in his state, but the leadership of the Association of Tailors swindled their miserable members, who would actually do the job, by offering them peanuts for the job. We can mock and denigrate Abacha for all we care, he was only a torch bearer in the game we love so much. Tayo Ogunbiyi, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Lagos


TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 •T H I S D AY





Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu



Issues in CIDB 2020


The Supersonic CIDB

Thankfully, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, decided to slow down the ‘supersonic’ pace of the passing of the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020 (CIDB) (sponsored by him (the Speaker), Hon. Pascal Obi and Hon. Tanko Sununu). 7KH&,'%PD\ZHOOKDYHTXDOLĂ€HGWREHLQ the Guinness Book of Records, for being the fastest Bill to be passed in Nigeria if it wasn’t halted in its tracks, having scaled WKURXJKWKHĂ€UVWDQGVHFRQGUHDGLQJVRQWKH YHU\GD\WKDWLWZDVLQWURGXFHGRQWKHĂ RRU of the House! Following the public outcry against the CIDB, especially by civil society groups, Hon. Gbajabiamila announced that the House will hold a two-day Public Hearing in the near future, in order to enlighten the public and consider comments on the Bill. Questions Firstly, I cannot but question the extremely wide powers donated to the Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (DG NCDC or DG), who is already responsible for the administration of the NCDC Act 2018, and will also be responsible for administering the CIDB (Section 1, CIDB); or the reasoning behind some of the draconian and sometimes, unconstitutional provisions contained in the CIDB. I would imagine that in drafting a new law, aside from establishing the objectives which the law sets out to achieve, some of the ground rules would include scrutiny of all extant laws in that regard, and of course, a perusal of the grundnorm, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)(the Constitution), to ensure that the provisions of the proposed law are in consonance with the Constitution, and not rendered null and void because of their inconsistency (Section 1(3) of the Constitution). It is also pertinent to note that, the Senate also has its own CIDB, that is, the National Health Emergency Bill 2020, sponsored by Senator Utazi, which has already passed WKH Ă€UVW UHDGLQJ RQ WKHĂ RRURIWKH8SSHU Chamber. Oftentimes, I wonder how anyone can seriously maintain that Nigeria is presently under a democratic dispensation, when what we really have is a bunch of undemocratic democrats in all levels of Government. How can a Bill pass any reading whatsoever in the Senate, without its contents being made known to all the members for consideration? At least, this was the allegation made by Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who demanded that copies of the Bill be made available to him and other Senators, before it can be considered! How ironical! NCDC Act v CIDB Sections 1-4 of the NCDC Act set out its objectives, administration and functions; and while the main objective of the CIDB is, inter alia, to: “make provisions for preventing the introduction into and spread in Nigeria of dangerous infectious diseases and for other related mattersâ€?, the objectives of the NCDC Act are much more extensive than those of the CIDB. However, the CIDB, unlike the NCDC Act, attempts to set out the actual practical application of some of the objectives of both laws, even though some of the processes which the CIDB seeks to adopt in VR GRLQJ DUH REYLRXVO\ Ă DZHG DQG QHHG to be reworked, while others may need to be jettisoned completely. We can safely say that, while the NCDC Act is a ‘what to do’ law, the CIDB seeks to be more of a ‘how to do it’ law. Some Grey Areas Due to space constraints, I can only consider a few areas of the CIDB which caught my attention glancing through (not all). Section 5(2)(a), (b) and (3) of the CIDB gives the DG NCDC the power to sweepingly make ‘any person’ - not just a person suspected to have an infectious or communicable disease, to give samples and be subjected to a medical test, and makes noncompliance to this and practically everything else in the law, RÍżHQFHVSXQLVKDEOHZLWKYDULRXVĂ€QHVWHUPV of imprisonment or both. No wonder this

licence to test indiscriminately reminds me of Nazi Germany, the concentration camps and their experiments. In law we have reasonable cause, reasonable suspicion, reasonable man’s test and the like. You can’t just drag everybody to IDH Yaba or any other testing centre, if there’s no reason or probable cause to do so, where they can be exposed to Covid-19 for H[DPSOH LI WKH\ GLGQ¡W KDYH LW LQ WKH Ă€UVW place. I believe the power given to the DG here, is too wide and may be a breach of some fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. In any event, every individual reserves the right to refuse treatment, even if its life saving. Section 8(1)(a) of the CIDB empowering the DG NCDC to ask a healthcare professional to obtain any information which the DG considers necessary from a patient, is too wide. Non-disclosure by the healthcare SURIHVVLRQDORUWKHSDWLHQWLVDOVRDQRÍżHQFH What if the patient has HIV or has epilepsy or is a hermaphrodite, and prefers to keep his/her status or condition a secret? Is it not a breach of Section 37 of the Constitution (right to privacy), for the DG to have the power to insist that any type of information which he/ she deems necessary in his/her opinion must be provided, because the provision makes it at the DG’s discretion? Is it not hypocritical that, while in the same administration, despite the Freedom of Information Act, Nigerians are oblivious as to the ailments which President Buhari and other public R΀FLDOV VXÍżHU IURP DQRWKHU ODZ LV EHLQJ promulgated mandating full disclosure of everybody’s medical history? Additionally, we all know how careless people can be with such records and information which will travel from the healthcare professional all the way to the DG, and how personal LQIRUPDWLRQFDQEHOHDNHGE\SXEOLFR΀FLDOV HVSHFLDOO\ZLWKVRPHĂ€QDQFLDOLQGXFHPHQW However, Section 71 of the CIDB absolves the DG and all medical personnel of any liability, LIWKH\ÂśPHVVXS¡RUEUHDFKWKHFRQĂ€GHQFH of a patient, as long as their actions were in good faith and in lawful execution of the CIDB. So, if there’s negligence in the treatment of patients which may result in their unnecessary death, those responsible may not be held accountable, nor will they be held responsible if the health status of a patient which the patient had elected to keep secret, is somehow leaked, and becomes public knowledge. The power donated to the Minister of Health in Section 15(1) of the CIDB to inter alia, declare any premises to be an isolation area, is equivocal. Does that mean that, the Minister can declare anybody’s house to be an isolation area? This would again, be a violation of Section 37 of the Constitution. Section 15(3)(f) provides that the Minister can “prohibit, restrict, require or authorise the carrying out of such other act as may EH SUHVFULEHGÂľ  WKLV SURYLVLRQ TXDOLĂ€HV DV the height of vagueness, and ambiguity. This provision gives the Minister the leeway, to

do almost anything. Section 16(1) of the CIDB empowers the DG to instruct the owner of a building that is overcrowded, to abate the overcrowding or close the building or a part of it within a VSHFLĂ€HGWLPHZLWKRXWDQ\PHQWLRQRIWKH provision of alternative accommodation for WKRVHDÍżHFWHGE\WKHHYDFXDWLRQ0DMRULW\RI Nigerians are poor and live in overcrowded ‘face-me-I-face-you’ type accommodation, where several persons share a room. Where will they be expected to go, if they are evacuated from their homes? At least 70% of Nigerians PD\EHDGYHUVHO\DÍżHFWHGE\WKLVSURYLVLRQ which has failed to take into consideration the sad reality of the circumstances of our people - that this is the type of inadequate overcrowded accommodation, which majority RI1LJHULDQVFDQDÍżRUGWROLYHLQ6HFWLRQ   of the Constitution empowers the Legislature to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation, and not to disturb the peace of majority of Nigerians ZKRDUHOHVVSULYLOHJHGDQGLQĂ LFWIXUWKHU hardship on them, by rendering them homeless. While the welfare of the people is the primary purpose of government (Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution), and it can be argued that trying to protect the populace from a deadly virus falls within the purview of this constitutional mandate, Section 17(2) of the same Constitution provides that governmental actions shall be humane, and for sure, rendering people homeless LQGHĂ€QLWHO\GXULQJDSXEOLFKHDOWKFULVLVLV not only inhumane, but counter-productive. Section 54 of the CIDB, in contravention of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, JLYHV+HDOWK2΀FHUVWKHSRZHUWRVHDUFKD premises without a search warrant, and to use such force as is necessary in so doing. ,FDQLPDJLQHRXUSXEOLFR΀FLDOVKDYLQJD Ă€HOGGD\ZLWKWKLVSURYLVLRQDQGVHL]LQJLW as another opportunity to harass citizens, maltreat them and extort money from them - in short, it will most certainly be abused. Also questionable, is the power donated to the Police to arrest those suspected to be infected with a communicable disease, without an arrest warrant. Aside from the fact that this will most certainly be abused by the Police, the provision is not explicit about who will be doing the suspecting as to a person’s medical status. Is it the Police, who are not medical experts trained to determine whether an individual is sick or not? We all know that, for instance, the commonly used GHWHUPLQDQWIRU&RYLGDWĂ€UVWJODQFHLV the individual’s temperature; but, a high temperature does not necessarily translate into Covid-19 - it could be as a result of a fever, malaria or some other non-communicable infection. Will people then be arrested, because their temperatures are higher than normal? 7KLVW\SHRIFLWL]HQ¡VDUUHVWWREHHÍżHFWHGE\ the Police in such cases of a public health emergency, must be restricted possibly to those who have tested positive for a communicable disease and are in hiding or known to be

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila

“YOU CAN’T JUST DRAG EVERYBODY TO IDH YABA OR ANY OTHER TESTING CENTRE, IF THERE’S NO REASON OR PROBABLE CAUSE TO DO SO, WHERE THEY CAN BE EXPOSED TO COVID-19 FOR EXAMPLE, IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE� spreading such disease, or a disease, infection of which can be ascertained by the naked eye like smallpox, or those who may have escaped from treatment centres. Finally, Section 24 of CIDB provides that DQ (QIRUFHPHQW 2΀FHU FDQ REWDLQ D FRXUW order, to destroy any building which a case of infectious disease has occurred. It is however, silent on whether the order can be obtained ex-parte or whether the application for such order must be on notice to all parties. Conclusion Undoubtedly, this is not an exhaustible list of matters arising from the CIDB, but it’s a start - some food for thought. My dear colleagues, kindly, make your comments and contributions, so that, hopefully, they may be considered during the upcoming public hearing. P.S.: Covid-19 Update A few weeks ago, I mentioned the issue of W who was kept in the holding area of IDH Yaba, after initially testing positive for Covid-19 (X and Y had tested negative). W was re-tested, again tested positive for Covid-19, and was then fully admitted to IDH. W was discharged a few days ago, and adjudged the IDH Facility to be well maintained, very clean, with excellent Doctors and medical personnel who were very professional. Kudos to the Lagos State Government, for this. The other day, we drove through the Tejuoso area of Lagos, and I observed that people were refused entry into the main shopping complex if they were not wearing face masks, but there was no social distancing on the queue to gain access into the complex. On the streets, it is business as usual - life is back to normal. Many were not wearing face masks, some were rushing to board public transportation, squeezing themselves into ‘kabu-kabus’, and there was absolutely no social distancing there too. People are just not following the Covid-19 safety guidelines which have been published and circulated by Government and many other bodies, repeatedly.


Constitutionality of Section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015

T Facts

Court of Appeal to sit as an appellate court, with an exception in Section 239 thereof. The fiat issued to Idris, JCA by the President of the Court of Appeal, did not direct him to perform any of the constitutional functions of the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal is not a court of first instance, vested with jurisdiction to hear and determine criminal causes or matters.

he Appellant and the 2nd and 3rd Respondents were arraigned for several criminal allegations and charges, before Honourable Justice M.B. Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges. Thereafter, the case proceeded to trial, with the prosecution calling 19 witnesses. The Appellant entered a No-case Submission upon the close of the case of the prosecution on 28th May, 2018. The prosecution filed a written address dated 17th July, 2018, in opposition to the No-case Submission.

Further, the establishment provision of the Federal High Court is Section 249(1) of the 1999 Constitution, and by Section 252(2), the National Assembly is empowered to make provisions conferring upon the Federal High Court, powers additional to those conferred by the Constitution as may appear desirable or necessary for enabling the court more effectively to exercise its jurisdiction. The provision of Section 396(7) of the ACJA, may be linked to the provisions of Section 252(2) of the Constitution above. However, the powers and jurisdiction in the foregoing section, is circumscribed by Section 253 of the Constitution which provides that, the Federal High Court shall be duly constituted if it consists of at least one Judge of that court. By the tenor of Section 253 of the Constitution, the Federal High Court is not duly constituted by Judge(s) who had ceased to be Judge(s) of that court by fact of their elevation to the Court of Appeal. It would be absurd to construe the provisions of Section 252(2) of the Constitution together with Section 396(7) of the ACJA, 2015, to have the effect of extending the tenure of office of a Judge of the Federal High Court who had been elevated to the Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile, on 20th June, 2018, the Honourable Justice M.B. Idris was elevated to the Court of Appeal, and took his oath of office on 22nd June, 2018. Following his elevation as a Justice of the Appellate Court, he could not proceed with the hearing of the referenced case at the trial court. However, by a letter dated 2nd July 2018, the President of the Court of Appeal, purporting to act under Section 396(7) of theCriminal Justice Act, 2015, issued to Idris, JCA, his fiat/ permission to conclude this part-heard criminal matter, the subject of this appeal, before the end of September, 2018. Pursuant to the fiat, Idris, JCA, resumed hearing of thecriminal matter. On 16th July, 2018, the prosecution sought to amend the charges. This application, though vehemently opposed, was granted by His Lordship. A fresh plea of the Appellant and 2nd and 3rd Respondents were taken, and they pleaded not guilty to the Amended Charge. The court heard arguments on the No-case Submission, and in its ruling, the court dismissed same. The Appellant was thereafter, called upon to enter his defence. The Appellant elected to appeal the ruling, on the No-case Submission. In the appeal, the Appellant challenged the competence of Idris, JCA sitting and hearing the criminal matter, pending at the Federal High Court. The Court of Appeal heard arguments on the appeal, and in its unanimous decision, adjudged it unmeritorious. The Appellant further appealed, to the Supreme Court. Issue for Determination Whether the Court of Appeal was right when it held that Section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA) 2015 vests a Justice of the Court of Appeal with requisite power to sit and conclude a part-heard matter at the Federal High Court, and that the said section is not contrary to Sections 250(2) and 253 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). Arguments Counsel for the Appellant argued that, though the President of the Court of Appeal had by a letter dated 2nd July, 2018 issued a fiat/ permission to Idris, JCA, to conclude the partheard criminal matter pursuant to Section 396(7) of the Criminal Justice Act, he posited that the said provision does not have the capacity of the import attributed to it. Counsel submitted that, to construe the referenced provision of the ACJA as done by the Court of Appeal, will be tantamount to saying that the National Assembly has amended the provisions of Section 250(2) and 253 of the 1999 Constitution, which provisions informed the decision in OGBUNYINYA v OKUDO (1979) NSCC 77 and OUR LINE LIMITED v S.C.C. NIGERIA LTD & ORS (2009) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1170) 383. Counsel for the 1st Respondent argued inversely that, the law as postulated in the cases of OGBUNYINYA v OKUDO and OUR LINE LIMITED v S.C.C. NIGERIA LTD & ORS (supra), has changed since 2015, when the Administration of Criminal Justice Act was enacted. He reasoned that by the provision of Section 396(7) of the Act, a Judge of the High Court, who has been elevated to the Court of Appeal, can have dispensation to continue as a High Court Judge, for the purpose of concluding the part-heard criminal matter, notwithstanding the provision of any other law to the contrary. Court’s Judgement and Rationale The Supreme Court started its determination of the sole issue, by considering the legality of the fiat/permission granted by the President of the Court of Appeal to Honourable Justice M.B. Idris, to conclude the part-heard criminal matter before it at the Federal High Court. The Apex Court observed that the said fiat was issued pursuant to Section 396(7) of the Criminal Justice Act 2015, a nonexistent law. The court noted that an act done pursuant to a non-existent law, is itself a nullity; it has no binding effect – ADEFULU v OKULAJA & ORS (1996) LPELR 90(SC) at 34. Now, Section 396(7) of the ACJA provides that “Notwithstanding the provision of any other law to the contrary, a Judge of the High Court who has been elevated to the Court of Appeal shall have dispensation to continue as a High Court Judge, only for the purpose of concluding any part-heard criminal matter pending before him at the time of his elevation, and shall conclude the same within a reasonable time.” Though Section 495 of the ACJA does not define “law” or “any other law to the contrary” which it purports to override by its provision in Section 396(7), the Supreme Court opined that the National Assembly, in view of the Supremacy provision of the Constitution in Section 1 thereof, could not have intended an audacious insubordination of the Constitution to the

Honourable Ejembi Eko, JSC

In the Supreme Court of Nigeria Holden at Abuja On Friday, the 8th day of May, 2020 Before Their Lordships

Olabode Rhodes-Vivour Mary Ukaego Peter-Odili Olukayode Ariwoola Kudirat Motonmori Olatokunbo Kekere-Ekun John Inyang Okoro Amina Adamu Augie Ejembi Eko Justices, Supreme Court SC.622C/2019 Between Ude Jones Udeogu … … … … Appellant And 1. Federal Republic of Nigeria 2. Orji Uzor Kalu 3. Slok Nigeria Limited … … …


(Lead Judgement delivered by Honourable Ejembi Eko, JSC

provisions of Section 396(7) of the ACJA. Section 237 of the 1999 Constitution, provides for the establishment of the Court of Appeal. Honourable Justice M.B. Idris was elevated as a Justice of the Court of Appeal on 20th June, 2020, and ceased to be a Judge of the Federal High Court thereby. Section 240 of the Constitution provides for the function and jurisdiction of the


More so, by Section 19(3) & 4 of the Federal High Court Act, it is only the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court that has the vires and powers, to issue fiat directing a Judge of that court to conclude part-heard matters pending in that court. The President of the Court of Appeal is neither recognised by the ACJA nor the Federal High Court Act, as the appropriate authority to exercise any powers pursuant to the provisions of either the ACJA or the Federal High Court Act. It follows that, the President of the Court of Appeal acted ultra vires when he granted a fiat to Idris, JCA, to conclude the part-heard criminal matter at the Federal High Court, as the President of the Court of Appeal lacks the competence to control and supervise the administration of the Federal High Court. The statutory functions of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court cannot be usurped by the President of the Court of Appeal, further to the provisions of Section 396(7) of the ACJA. In this case, the Court of Appeal acknowledged the subsistence of the decision in OGBUNYINYA v OKUDO and OUR LINE LIMITED v S.C.C. NIGERIA LTD & ORS (supra), but made effort to distinguish the cases from the instant case by reasoning that the cases above were decided on the state of the law at the material time, and in the absence of a statutory provision such as Section 397(7) of the ACJA. The Supreme Court chided the conclusion of the Court of Appeal, calling in its aid, the relevant provisions of the Constitution. Their Lordships of the Apex Court held that, the cases referenced above were determined further to the provisions of Section 254(1) of the 1979 Constitution (which is in pari materia with Section 290(1) of the 1999 Constitution). The interpretation given to Section 254(1), is that a Judge elevated to a higher court ceases to be a Judge of the court from which he was elevated, and by that appointment, he is deprived of jurisdiction to conclude the cases that were partly heard by him. Given the provision of Section 396(7) of the ACJA, it is clear that the enactment is an attempt by the National Assembly to whittle down the operation of the relevant andextant provision of Section 290(1) of the 1999 Constitution, or to frontally contradict and challenge its letters and substance. To that extent, Section 396(7) of the ACJA, 2015 is inconsistent with the Constitution, particularly Section 290(1) thereof. By the operation of Section 1(3) of the Constitution, Section 396(7) of the ACJA, 2015 is void. It follows that, the fiat/permission issued by the President of the Court of Appeal to Honourable Justice M.B. Idris, pursuant to Section 396(7) of the ACJA, to proceed to conclude the part-heard criminal matter at the Federal High Court, when the said Judge had been elevated to the Court of Appeal, was issued without any lawful or constitutional authority. Appeal Allowed. Representation Chief Solomon Akuma, SAN with George E. Ukaegbu,Emmanuel U. Akuma, and Daniel Okorie, for the Appellant. Adebisi Adeniyi with O.A. Atolagbe for the 1st Respondent. Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN and Chief H.O. Afolabi, SAN with K.O. Fagbemi, Omosanya A. Popoola, and Thomas Ojo, for the 2nd Respondent. Reported by Optimum Publishers Limited, Publishers of Nigerian Monthly Law Reports (NMLR)








Respite for Senator In what the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission described as a ‘Technical Ambush’, the Apex Court on May 8, 2020, delivered judgement in the appeal of Ude Jones Udeogu, one of the co-Defendants of former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, allowing the appeal on the ground that Section 396(7) of the ACJA which allows an elevated High Court Judge to go back to the court below to complete part-heard criminal matters, is unconstitutional. Dr Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Femi Falana, SAN, Uche Wigwe, and Chino Edmund Obiagwu, SAN dissect the judgement of the Apex Court, which in some quarters is seen as being controversial and bad for Nigerian jurisprudence Legal Implications of the NulliďŹ cation of Udeogu’s Conviction and Orji Kalu Dr Mike Ozekhome OFR, SAN

O Introduction

n Friday, 8th May, 2020 Supreme &RXUWRI1LJHULDQXOOLĂ€HGDQGVHW DVLGH´WKHMXGJHPHQWRIWKH&RXUW of Appeal delivered on 24th April, DVLWDÍżHFWHG8GH-RQHV8GHRJX RQO\ ,W ZDV VLOHQW RQ 2UML 8]RU .DOX,W UHPLWWHG WKH FDVH EDFN WR WKH&KLHI-XGJHRIWKH)HGHUDO+LJK &RXUW )+& IRUUHDVVLJQPHQWWRDQRWKHU-XGJHRI WKH)+&IRUWULDOGHQRYRÂľ2UML8]RU.DOXKDVQRW EHHQUHOHDVHGDVZDVGRQH8GHRJX7KH1LJHULDQ &RUUHFWLRQDO6HUYLFH 1&6 DQHZDQGEHWWHUQDPH IRUWKH1LJHULDQ3ULVRQV6HUYLFHDUJXHGWKDW.DOX ZDVQRWDÍżHFWHGE\WKHMXGJHPHQWRIWKH6XSUHPH &RXUW , KXPEO\ GLVDJUHH ZLWK WKLV SRVLWLRQ RQ JURXQGVRIODZDQGMXGLFLDOSUHFHGHQWV Nigeria’s System of Government Nigeria operates a constitutional democracy, where our laws, conducts, actions and inactions,are governed by due process and rule of law, as against rule of the thumb. As held by the Supreme Court in GARBA v FEDERAL CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION & ANOR (1988) LPELR-1304 (SC): “The rule of law knows no fear, it is never cowed down; it can only be silenced....In Governor of Lagos State v Ojukwu (1986)1 NWLR (Pt. 18) 621, this court said fully, per Obaseki, JSC, on the essence of the rule of law :"Once a dispute has arisen between a person and the government or authority and the dispute has been brought before the Court, thereby invoking the judicial powers of the State, it is the duty of the government to allow the law to take its course, or allow the legal and judicial process to run its full courseâ€?. As also held in THE MILITARY GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE & ORS. v OJUKWU & ANOR, The Nigerian Constitution is founded on the rule of law, the primary meaning of which is that, every thing must be done according to law. It means also that, government should be conducted within the frame-work of recognised rules and principles which restrict discretionary power which Coke colourfully spoke of as 'golden and straight met wand of law, as opposed to the uncertain and crooked cord of discretion' ". See also OMATSEYE v FRN (2017) LPELR-42719(CA); EKANEM v AKPAN & ORS (2018) LPELR-44036 (CA). Law and Morality Many people mistake law for morality. Laws are rules that a country mandates its citizens to follow compulsorily, for the purpose of maintaining law and order and regulating the entire society. Morality, on the other hand, concerns people’s beliefs which border on their notion of right and wrong, or good and bad

of the Criminal Code). However, insanity (Section 28), and self defence (Section 287) completely exonerate a murderer; provocation (Section 283); accident (Section 24) and mistake (Section 25), also downgrade murder to manslaughter. The Facts of the Orji Kalu/Udeogu Case On 31st October, 2016, Orji Uzor Kalu, Ude Jones Udeogu and Slock Nig.Ltd, were arraigned before WKH)+&/DJRVZLWQHVVHVWHVWLĂ€HGIRUWKH Prosecution, with several exhibits tendered. 2QWK0D\WKH$SSHOODQWĂ€OHGDQRFDVH submission, which the Respondent opposed on 17th July, 2018. In the meantime, the trial Judge, Hon.Justice M.B. Idris, had taken his oath of R΀FH DV D -XVWLFH RI WKH &RXUW RI$SSHDO RQ 22nd June, 2019, a position he was elevated to, two days earlier. On 2nd July, 2018, the then President of the Court of Appeal, Hon Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, JCA (as she then was) issued Justice Idris a Ă€DW SXUSRUWHGO\ XQGHU 6HFWLRQ    RI WKH Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), to continue and conclude the matter “before the end of September, 2018â€?. Section 396(7) allows a “Judge of the High Court who has been elevated to the Court of Appealâ€? (CA) to continue to “have dispensation to continue to act as a High Court Judge only for the purpose of concluding any part-heard criminal matter pending before him at the time of his elevation, and shall conclude the same within a reasonable timeâ€?. On 31st July, 2018, Justice Idris dismissed the no-case submission. Mr Udeogu (not Orji Kalu) challenged Justice Idris’ competence to continue Senator Orji Uzor Kalu to hear the matter after his elevation to the CA. On 24th April, 2019, the CA dismissed the behaviour. Sanctions are imposed against those morals do not therefore, mean the same thing. who infringe on the law.The law can also be They are incongruous. What is moral may be appeal, and it did this by seeking to distinguish changed, by the Legislature. On the contrary, illegal, and what is legal may be immoral. For extant SC authorities and precedents in OGmorality cannot be deliberately changed “just example, some religions and societies accept as BUNYINYA E ORS v OKUDO F ORS (1979) like thatâ€?. It evolves slowly, and it is a society, moral, the marriage of a man to two or more SCC 77 and OURLINE LTD v S.C.C. NIG. LTD not law, that creates its own morality, which is wives. But, this is considered illegal by the law F ORS (2009) 17 NWLR (Pt 1170) 383. This, XVXDOO\PRUHĂ H[LEOHDQGPDOOHDEOH/DZVDQG against bigamy (Section 370, Criminal Code), notwithstanding that the CA was aware of the when it involves marriage under the Marriage above precedents, including GABRIEL IYELA Act, Cap M6, LFN,2004. As another example, a v COP (1969) 1 NMLR 180; and SODEINDE poor hungry woman may rush to a bread seller, v THE STATE (FCA|1b|20|1977).The CA also snatch a loaf of bread and run home to feed did this, in spite of wholly agreeing with the her hungry children. This may be considered Apex Court’s principle laid down in the above moral – because it was designed to save her cases, that a Judge elevated or appointed to a dying children, but, it is illegal. It is stealing, higher court would cease to be a Judge from the court from which he was elevated and would pure and simple. “IT IS CLEAR AND BEYOND As an opposite example, a court may discharge therefore, lack the requisite jurisdiction. They and acquit a big-time politician or a very wealthy agreed that the decisions are “still extant and in appropriate casesâ€?. ARGUMENT, THATTHE CASE business mogul accused of stealing billions of applicable, The SC upheld the appeal and annulled the naira, based on non-availability of evidence to AND TRIAL OF ORJI KALU prove the case “beyond reasonable doubtâ€? as trial, as it pertains to Jones Udeogu ONLY. Can prescribed by the Constitution and Section 135(1) 2UML.DOXWDNHEHQHĂ€WRIWKLVQRWEHLQJ8GHRJX" of the Evidence Act 2011. Such a discharge and This is the question for determination. AND UDEOGU, BEING AN The law is that, if co-accused persons (Udeogu acquittal may be considered immoral, by an DQJU\SXEOLF%XWWKHMXGJHPHQWDQGWKHĂ€QGLQJV DQG.DOX ZHUHWRKDYHGLÍżHUHQWSUHVHQWDWLRQV INSEPARABLE JOINT ONE, of the trial Judge based on the facts and law and evidence led in proof of the charge against applicable to the case, are legal. See EKPO v them during a trial, then the discharge of Udeogu THE DECISION OF THE SC INEC & ORS (2013) LPELR-20359 (CA); UCHE may not necessarily lead to the discharge of Kalu. The SC so held in YUSUF v FRN (2017) v STATE (2015) LPELR-24693 (SC). WHICH SET ASIDE THE The Holy Bible,Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy LPELR-43830 (SC); and OKORO v THE STATE TRIAL OF UDEOGU, APPLIES 5:17; Romans 13:9; Matthew 5:21; and the Holy (2012) LPELR-7846 (SC). Quran, Surah Al-Maeda, verse 32 and Surah But, Kalu and Udeogu had a Joint Trial Al-Israh, verse 33 provide that: "thou shall not WITH EQUAL FORCE AND IN For the record, Kalu and Udeogu were both killâ€?. comt'd on page 5 SIMILAR MEASURE TO KALUâ€? Murder is immoral.w It is also illegal (Section 316







Orji Uzor Kalu? convicted and sentenced by the FHC, Lagos, to 12 and 10 years’ imprisonment, respectively, on 5th December, 2019. The trial was a joint one, under one charge; same Judge; same court; same time; same facts; same witnesses; and the same evidence. Kalu and Udeogu were thus, tied together by the same umbilical cord. They were inseparable Hamlet and the Prince of Denmark; 6 and half a dozen. They were in the same boat and either swam or sank together, in the raging current of the criminal trial. It must be stated that, Kalu and Udeogu were jointly convicted and sentenced together under counts 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 34, 37, 38 and 39 (eleven whole counts out of 28). Kalu, on the other hand, was sentenced on 18 separate counts. It is also pertinent to state that, during WKH Ă€QDO SURFHHGLQJV RI 2FWREHU   the prosecution had argued that the second Defendant (Udeogu) had already admitted to WKHRÍżHQFHERWKLQKLVH[WUDMXGLFLDOVWDWHPHQW DQGXQGHUFURVVH[DPLQDWLRQ+HDUJXHGWKDW “the admission is binding on all Defendantsâ€?. The Judge agreed, in convicting them. So, what has changed? Nothing, between when the Judge

Dr. Mike Ozekhome OFR, SAN

Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu

convicted Kalu and Udeogu, and 8th May, 2020 when the SC delivered its judgement. Can 2UML 8]RU.DOXWDNH%HQHÀWRIWKH6XSUHPH Court Judgement Yes, he can.The position in law shows that, in cases where an accused is tried jointly with another accused and their case is clearly inseparable and interwoven, the conviction of one can never stand where his FRDFFXVHGLVGLVFKDUJHGDQGDFTXLWWHG7KH Supreme Court emphasised this in ALO v STATE (2015) LPELR-24404 (SC), when it held that: ''‌where an accused is jointly tried with another or other accused persons and their case is clearly interwoven and inseparable from one another, the conviction of one cannot stand where the other accused person was GLVFKDUJHGDQGDFTXLWWHG¾6HHDOVRAFRIBANK

NIG PLC v HOMELUX CONSTRUCTION COMPANY LTD & ANOR (2008) LPELR-9020 (CA); UMANA & ANOR v STATE (2018) LPELR-44403 (CA); SHEKETE v NAF (2007) 14 NWLR (Pt. 1053) 159 at 202; YAU v STATE (2012) LPELR-20798 (CA); and UKPE v STATE (2012) LPELR-19715 (CA). Conclusion It is clear and beyond argument, that the case DQGWULDORI2UML.DOXDQG8GHRJXEHLQJDQ inseparable joint one, the decision of the SC which set aside the trial of Udeogu, applies ZLWK HTXDO IRUFH DQG LQ VLPLODU PHDVXUH WR Kalu. For the avoidance of doubt, and for those FRQFHUQHGWKDWWKH´ÀJKWDJDLQVWFRUUXSWLRQÂľ has in their perception been “defeatedâ€?, the SC

','1276(78GHRJXIUHHQRUGLVFKDUJHKLP WKHEHQHĂ€WRIZKLFK.DOXLVHTXDOO\HQWLWOHG to). It merely set aside the trial of Udeogu and remitted the case back to the Chief Judge of the FHC for reassignment to another Judge of the VDPH)+&IRUWULDOGHQRYRÂľ,QRWKHUZRUGV it is not yet Uhuru for them. So, let us be patient. Let the wheels of justice grind to their sure destination, even if slowly. 7UXHMXVWLFHGHOD\HGLVMXVWLFHGHQLHG%XWPRUH VHULRXVLVMXVWLFHKXUULHGLVMXVWLFHFUXVKHG6HH THE CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL POPULATION COMMISSION v THE CHAIRMAN, IKERE LOCAL GOVERNMENT & ORS (2001) 7 S.C. (Pt. III) 90 at 97-8, 100; TRADE BANK PLC v UDEGBUNAM & ANOR (2004) ALL FWLR (PT. 200) 1576 at 1590 C.A. The imperious Section 396(7) ACJA, which now been roundly invalidated and struck down by the SC, has brazenly but, unfortunately, FKDOOHQJHGH\HEDOOWRH\HEDOOWKHVXSUHPDF\ of the Constitution as the grundnorm and font et origo of our democratic dispensation, contrary to Section 1(3) of the same Constitution. (YHQWKH$&-$LWVHOIZDVSURPXOJDWHGQRW RQO\WR´SURPRWHWKHH΀FLHQWPDQDJHPHQWRI criminal justice institutions, speedy dispensation of justice, protection of the society from crimeâ€?, EXWHTXDOO\IRUWKH´SURWHFWLRQRIWKHULJKWV and interest of the suspect, the Defendant and WKHYLFWLPÂľ6RœÀDWMXVWLFLDUXDWFDHOXP¡ OHW MXVWLFHEHGRQHWKRXJKWKHKHDYHQVIDOO %XW the heavens have never fallen. They will not fall now.The NCS is hereby, humbly advised WRUHOHDVH%27+8GH8GHRJXDQG2UML8]RU Kalu immediately, if they have not already done so. The NCS should await their fresh arraignment, and trial. As was once stated by Cassandra Clare,“the law is hard, but it is the lawâ€?. Dr Mike Ozekhome OFR, SAN, Human Rights Lawyer and Activist

Supreme Court also Sits as a High Court! Femi Falana, SAN


Introduction n the judgement of the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered on May 8, 2020 in the case of Ude Jones Udeogu v Federal Republic of Nigeria (unreported Appeal No SC. 662C/2019), Section 396(7) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (ACJA) was declared illegal and unconstitutional. The section had empowered a newly appointed Justice of the Court of Appeal to return to the +LJK&RXUWWRFRPSOHWHDSDUWKHDUGFULPLQDO FDVH&RQVHTXHQWO\WKHVHFWLRQKDVEHHQVWUXFN GRZQDQGH[SXQJHGIURPWKH$FW(YHQWKRXJK WKH $SH[ &RXUW KDV VSRNHQ ZLWK D QRWH RI DXWKRULW\ DQG ÀQDOLW\ WKH IXOO LPSOLFDWLRQV RI the judgement will continue to reverberate in DQGRXWVLGHWKHFRXQWU\IRUTXLWHVRPHWLPH ,QWKHOHDGMXGJHPHQWRIWKH&RXUW(MHPEL (NR-6&VWDWHGWKDW$ELQLWLR6HFWLRQ  RI the ACJA 201T was set out to frontally contradict and challenge the letters, substance and spirit of section 290 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.To that H[WHQWVHFWLRQ  RIWKH$&-$LVLQFRQVLVWHQW with the Constitution, particularly Section 290(1) thereof. Therefore, by operation of Section (3) of the Constitution, Section 396(7) of the ACJA, WRWKHH[WHQWRILWVLQFRQVLVWHQF\ZLWK6HFWLRQ   RIWKH&RQVWLWXWLRQLVYRLG With respect, many colleagues who have com PHQGHGWKH6XSUHPH&RXUWIRUWKHODQGPDUN MXGJHPHQWKDYHIDLOHGWRDYHUWWKHLUPLQGVWR similar provisions in other statutes which are regularly applied by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Whereas, Section 396(7) of the ACJA permits a Justice of the Court of $SSHDOWRFRQFOXGHDSDUWKHDUGFULPLQDOPDWWHU in the High Court, Section 16 of the Court of

Appeal Act empowers the Justices of the Court WRH[HUFLVHWKHSRZHUVRIDWULDOFRXUWDVLIWKH proceedings had been instituted in the Court RI$SSHDO DV D &RXUW RI ÀUVW LQVWDQFH ,Q WKH same vein, Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act has vested the Justices of the Court of the $SH[ &RXUW ZLWK WKH SRZHUV RI D WULDO FRXUW as if the proceedings had been instituted in the &RXUWDVDFRXUWRIÀUVWLQVWDQFH Power of the Supreme Court to Sit as a High Court Pursuant to Section 22 of the Supreme Court $FW WKH -XVWLFHV RI WKH $SH[ &RXUW  VKDOO have full jurisdiction over the whole proceedings as if the proceedings had been instituted and prosecuted in the Supreme Court as a court of ÀUVWLQVWDQFHDQGPD\UHKHDUWKHFDVHLQZKROH or in part or may remit it to the court below for the purpose of such rehearing, or may give such other directions as to the manner in which the court below shall deal with the case in accordance ZLWK WKH SRZHUV RI WKDW FRXUW 6LPLODUO\ WKH Court of Appeal has been empowered by Section 16 of the Court of Appeal Act to rehear a case, DQGH[HUFLVHDOOWKHSRZHUVRID-XGJHRID+LJK Court in determining any appeal. Thus, by virtue of Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act and Section 16 of the Court of Appeal Act, both appellate courts are permitted by the National Assembly to jettison the judgements of High Courts and rehear the cases, as if they were ÀOHGLQERWKFRXUWVDVFRXUWVRIÀUVWLQVWDQFH,Q the process, the Justices of both appellate courts are allowed to grant interim or interlocutory orders of injunction and conduct trials like Judges of the High Court, and deliver their judgements in accordance with the Rules of 3URFHGXUHRIWKHFRXUWRIÀUVWLQVWDQFH Going by the authority of Ude Jones Udeogu

v FRN, the powers conferred on both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal to UHKHDU FDVHV OLNH FRXUWV RI ÀUVW LQVWDQFH DUH illegal and void, since Sections 233 and 24(1) of the Constitution have limited the powers of both appellate courts to hear and determine DSSHDOVIURPORZHUFRXUWV%XWLIWKHODZWKDW empowers the Justices of the Supreme Court to sit like a High Court and rehear a case in its entirety is not unconstitutional, why should it be unconstitutional for a Justice of the Court of Appeal to return as a High Court Judge to FRQFOXGHDSDUWKHDUGFULPLQDOPDWWHU" As the Constitution has limited the powers of the appellate courts to hear and determine appeals arising from the decisions of lower courts, are we to believe that the National Assembly violated the Constitution when it conferred the powers of a High Court Judge on the Justices of the appellate courts? In other words, can Section 16 of the Court of Appeal Act and Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act be said to be constitutionally valid, in view of the decision of the Supreme court in the case of Ude Jones Udeogu v FRN (supra)? Fiat given to Justices to Chair Judicial Commissions of Inquiry 6LQFH WKH ÀDW JLYHQ WR -XVWLFH 0RKDPPHG Idris of the Court of Appeal to conclude the much delayed case of Orji Kalu & Ors v FRN ZDV GHFODUHG LOOHJDO DQG TXDVKHG E\ the Supreme Court, I have searched in vain for any constitutional provision that empowers the heads of the appellate courts to authorise serving Justices of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court to preside over Judicial &RPPLVVLRQV RI ,QTXLU\ LQVWLWXWHG E\ 6WDWH Governors. For instance, the late Niki Tobi -6& ZDV RQFH JLYHQ D ÀDW WR SUHVLGH RYHU

Femi Falana, SAN

WKH MXGLFLDO FRPPLVVLRQ RI LQTXLU\ VHW XS E\ WKH 3ODWHDX 6WDWH *RYHUQPHQW 2Q WZR RWKHU RFFDVLRQVWKHODWHMXULVWZDVJLYHQĂ€DWVE\WKH Chief Justice of Nigeria to chair Constitutional Review Committees in 1999 and 2005. The Honourable Justice Stephen Adah of the Court of Appeal recently served as the Chair PDQ RI D &RPPLVVLRQ RI ,QTXLU\ VHW XS E\ *RYHUQRU6LPRQ%DNR/DNRQJRI3ODWHDX6WDWH Similarly, the Honourable Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba was appointed the Chairman of WKH-XGLFLDO&RPPLVVLRQRI,QTXLU\VHWXSE\ *RYHUQRU1DVLU(O5XIDLZKLFKSUREHGWKHEUXWDO massacre of the Shiites in Zaria in December 2014. From the information at my disposal, the +RQRXUDEOH-XVWLFH%LREHOH*HRUJHZLOORIWKH Nigerian Court of Appeal has just submitted the UHSRUWRID&RPPLVVLRQRI,QTXLU\LQVWLWXWHGE\ 3UHVLGHQW-XOLXV0DDGD%LRRI6LHUUD/HRQHZKLFK investigated alleged corrupt practices of former comt'd on page 6









Supremacy of the Constitution: An Appraisal of the Supreme Court’s Decision in UDEOGU v FRN & 2 ORS Uche Wigwe



Uche Wigwe







NBA National Elections 2020: IBA to Hold its 2020 Conference The Journey so far The Nigerian Bar Association is set for a change of leadership of its national Executive this year 2020, as the tenure of the present elected national officers of the Association is due to expire, and their offices become vacant by August 2020. It is preparatory to their exit that the National Executive Committee of the Association, on the 12th of March 2020, appointed the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) to midwife the process of electing new officers to pilot the affairs of the Association. Membership of the Committee includes: i. Tawo E. Tawo, SAN – Chairman ii. Abdullahi Haruna, SAN – Member iii. Prof. Augustine Agom – Member iv. Mr. Alozie Echeonwu – Member v. Cordelia U. Eke (Mrs.) – Secretary In a joint statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the ECNBA, it said “The ECNBA started work immediately upon its inauguration, and has continued to carry out its assignment regardless of the challenges of the global Covid-19 pandemic, with the members committed to delivering on the mandate of the Committee in the best interest of the Association and the legal profession. It had been the intention of the Committee to hold periodic conferences and interactive sessions with stakeholders as progress is being made on the assignment, however, we are constrained to make do with Press releases/statements, in the light of the present restrictions on public gatherings and travels, for safety and health reasons. “Every member of our noble profession has a shared responsibility to

protect the integrity of the electoral process, by shunning any activity that would be subversive and counterproductive to this exercise, and to ensure that other individuals or groups also abide by the rules of engagement for the elections. The ECNBA is convinced that, if we all as members determine to change the narrative with respect to our elections and play fair, we shall have an election that will accord our profession its pride of place and set enviable standards for the Nigerian polity. “Candidates and their supporters are advised to abide by the rules provided for the campaigns, as the ECNBA will do the needful and not hesitate to apply the relevant constitutional provisions against any Aspirant or Supporter that is found to have fallen foul of them.

So far, the ECNBA had embarked on activities in actualisation of its mandate including:- i. Publication of a Preliminary Notice of Elections ii. Publication of Election Guidelines iii. Call for Proposals on IT Consultancy for the election (e-voting) iv. Call for Branch Bar Dues Lists and National BPF list for Voters Register v. Publication of Nomination Forms on the NBA Website In addition the Committee is engaged in:- i. Compilation of the Interim Voters Register ii. Screening of IT Proposals ii. Interview of IT Consultancy firms�. Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Tawo Tawo, SAN, further said: “There is no gainsaying that the success of the elections would depend to a large extent, on the electronic or IT

Chairman ECNBA, Tawo Tawo, SAN

comt'd from page 6

Conclusion $OWKRXJKWKLVLVWKHĂ€UVWWLPHWKH6XSUHPH Court will make pronouncement on Section 396(7) of the ACJA, several judgements have EHHQGHOLYHUHGZLWKĂ€DWVJUDQWHGSXUVXDQWWR that provision of the law. This decision of the

platform that would be deployed for the election. “The need to procure such a platform, has been a priority. The Committee was briefed that the NBA has its own e-voting platform/ portal for elections developed by TAVIA, an IT firm. TAVIA was invited to brief the Committee, in conjunction with the NBA IT Officer, Umar Gezawa, on the said NBA election platform/ portal. “The ECNBA decided that in spite of the advantages of such a portal, exploring the use of other viable e-voting platforms if necessary, is not foreclosed. As such, there was the need to engage an independent IT Consultant that would examine the NBA portal and critique same, its integrity, functionality and suitability or otherwise, for the purpose of the elections, as well as advice on other options.� On the election timetable, he said: “The ECNBA, on the 15th of April, 2020 published its Preliminary Notice of Elections as provided for in Section 8 (1)-(4) of the Constitution and Paragraph 1.5 of the Second Schedule of the Nigerian Bar Association Constitution 2015 (as amended). “The publication effectively gives notice to members that, the National Elections will hold on the 24th and 25th of July, 2020. Thereafter on the 21st of April, 2020, the Guideline for Elections was published by the ECNBA shedding more light on the modalities for the election, and highlighting constitutional provisions on the eligibility of Candidates and Voters to participate in the electoral process.


The International Bar Association has announced the postponement of this year’s Annual Conference which was earlier slated to hold in Miami, Florida, USA in November. IBA which is Global Voice of the legal profession, in a press release explained its reasons for the inevitable postponement due to the challenges Covid-19 global pandemic. It said: “We believe that the IBA’s role is more vital now, than at any time in our 70- year history. We are the global voice of the legal profession, working to enhance commercial transactions, protecting the legal profession, and advocating for the rule of law and human rights throughout the world. As ever, we depend on your continued support for this essential work. “During the past six weeks, we have created a robust Virtual Association. We have produced more than 17 online webinars, and anticipate up to 25 new ones over the next two months. The IBA’s Covid-19 webpage and monthly Enews, Content, and Global Insight (www.ibanet. org/DigitalContent.aspx) feature numerous items on the IBA’s response to the pandemic, and bring together some of the Association’s best work across all constituencies and departments. The insightful work of the Association’s divisions, sections, committees

and fora also continues to be available online ( www.ibanet. org/ Committees/Committee_Index.aspx). “Notably, the Management Board set aside ÂŁ100,000 for frontline legal aid clinics, who are helping the most vulnerable in our society during the pandemic. We will be working with our 232 law Ă€UP PHPEHUV WR LGHQWLI\ worthy recipients. “One of the key events on the IBA calendar is the Annual Conference, this year scheduled to be in Miami. With so much uncertainty in the world, we have made the decision to move the Miami Conference to 30 October – 4 November, 2022. Therefore, we will hold the IBA Annual Conference in Paris, 17-22 October, 2021, and return to Miami in 2022. “For this current year, we are now turning our attention to creating a unique and dynamic Virtual Annual Conference, to take place during the month of November. We will send full details of this event as ZHĂ€QDOLVH´:HKDYHDOZD\V viewed the IBA, as a family. In these extraordinary times, you remain close in our thoughts. We look forward to seeing each of you again in person.â€? Nigeria has continued to be the IBA’s focal country, and constitutes the second largest delegation at its annual conferences.

SUPREMACY OF THE CONSTITUTION Supreme Court does not necessarily nullify those judgements until there is an appeal against them, and the validity of the provision of Section 396(7) is challenged. Howbeit, it is anticipated that this Supreme &RXUWGHFLVLRQZLOORSHQĂ RRGJDWHRIDSSHDOV and render the mischief sought to be cured by Section 396(7) of the ACJA unabated, unless

the Constitution is amended. For this reason, the National Assembly may consider infusing the ACJA into the Constitution, like the Land Use Act. However, until such amendment is made, it remains unconstitutional for a Judge to simultaneRXVO\SXWRQWZRFDSVRIGLÍżHUHQWFRXUWVLQWKH hierarchy of courts. Also, the Constitution can

be amended to allow for a “period of grace�, before the formal appointment/elevation of a Judge to a higher Court within the hierarchy of courts. The Judge will utilise the period of grace to conclude matters that have reached an DGYDQFHGVWDJHEHIRUHWDNLQJWKH2DWKRIR΀FH Uche Wigwe, Wigwe & Partners, Lagos

Can a Court of Appeal Justice Exercise the Powers of a High Court Judge? A Commentary on the Supreme Court’s decision in Udeogu v FRN Chino Edmund Obiagwu, SAN The Decision


he decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of Ude Jones Udeogu v Federal Republic of Nigeria & 2 Others SC622c/2019 (delivered on May 8, 2020), known in the media as the Orji Uzor Kalu case, has set Nigeria’s criminal jurisprudence backward in a manner that is hardly justifiable. The crux of the judgement is that Section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 (ACJA) which allowed a High Court Judge who is newly elevated to the Court of Appeal to return and conclude his part-heard criminal matters at the High Court while also performing his functions as a Justice of the Court of Appeal, is unconstitutional, because it conflicts with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution on the composition of the High Court. The Supreme Court held that, a Justice of the Court of Appeal is not a Judge of the High Court, and therefore, cannot sit as such Judge, and that a statute such as ACJA cannot confer on him, powers that are absent in the constitutional provision. The innovative provision of Section 396(7) of ACJA was introduced to reduce incidents of part-heard criminal cases starting afresh, because the Judge handling the cases is appointed to a higher court. This practice of starting cases de novo usually leads to failure of prosecutions, because the witnesses will nearly always be reluctant to return to court for another round of tedious trials. The Supreme Court found in this case that Section 396(7) of ACJA contravenes Section 290 of the Constitution, because it tries to give powers of a High Court judge

to a Justice of the Court of Appeal, which is not given by the Constitution. Being the grundnorm, any law contrary to the constitutional provision is null and void. Our Dissenting View: A Flawed Decision We respectfully hold the view that the decision is, procedurally and substantively, unjustified. It is procedurally flawed because it was the Appellant in the case (as Defendants at the trial court) who requested for the newly elevated trial Judge to return to complete the trial. A person cannot benefit, from his own actions, if later found to be unlawful. The decision is also substantively flawed, because a statute can give additional powers to a Judge or Justice, or to the court, and that would not be considered as unlawful or conflicting with the Constitution. It will conflict with the Constitution if such statutory provision removes, limits or diminishes the constitutional provisions. There are other provisions of many statutes that permit the Justices of the appeal court to exercise the powers of the trial court, such as Sections 16 and 22 of the Court of Appeal Act and Supreme Court Act, respectively. Also, laws establishing administrative inquiries or panels, permit a Judge to sit as chair or member of such administrative panel, without diminishing his powers as a Judge of the High Court or Justice of the Appeal Court when he returns to that position or concurrently performs same. Thus, Section 396(7) of ACJA simply added a function to the newly appointed Justice of the Court of Appeal, but has not diminished his role, position or function as a Justice of the Court of Appeal. Secondly, one substantive flaw of the decision is that, it is statute that determines the judicial function of the judicial officer, and on this particular purpose of completing part-heard criminal matters, the statute (ACJA) has, for that purpose only, created a judicial function for the newly elevated Justice of the Court of Appeal, which does not limit or stop him from also sitting as Justice of

the Court of Appeal. For that purpose and period, he is a Judge of the High Court. A provision of a statute that is in conflict the provision of the Constitution is voided because, the (statutory) provision, if put into effect, will defeat the constitutional provision or limit its application or efficacy. A statutory provision cannot be considered as conflicting with the Constitution, if it does not interfere or limit or obstruct the provisions of the Constitution. We most respectfully think that, Section 396(7) of ACJA did not interfere with Section 290 of the Constitution, to limit or diminish its purport. Overturning the Decision of the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal had held that, ordinarily, where a Judge is elevated to the Court of Appeal, he ceased to exercise the function of his former judicial position, and any action or decision he made would be void. This has been Nigeria’s adjudicatory jurisprudence for long, as exemplified in such cases as Ogbunyinye v Okudo (1979) NSCC 77, and Our Line Ltd v S.C.C. Nigeria Ltd & Ors (2009) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1170) 383; Iyela v C.O.P (1969) 1 NMLR 180, among many other cases. However, the Court of Appeal found that, where a statutory provision gives a special dispensation to an elevated Justice, then it is a lawful exception to the rule. It was this decision that the Supreme Court overturned, and declared Section 396(7) of ACJA that made such dispensation, as unconstitutional. Hon. Justice Ejembi Eko, who read the leading judgement of the Supreme Court, stated that the section conflicts with: â€œâ€Ś the powers or the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court as duly constituted under Section 253 of the Constitution. That is, that “the Federal High Court shall be duly constituted, if it consists of at least one Judge of that Courtâ€?. I should think that the special dispensation granted to the “Judge of the High Court elevated to the Court of Appeal – to continue to sit as a

Chino Obiagwu, SAN

High Court Judge only for the purpose of concluding any part-heard criminal matter pending before him at the time of his elevation�, cannot be accommodated under or by Section 252 of the Constitution. I must point out, right away, that by the tenor of Section 253 of the Constitution, the Federal High Court is not duly constituted by Judge(s) who had ceased to be Judge(s) of that Court by the fact of his elevation to the Court of Appeal or otherwise�. His Lordship Ejembi Eko JSC then concluded emphatically that: “Ab initio, Section 396(7) of the ACJA 2015 was set out to frontally contradict and challenge the letters, substance and spirit of Section 290 (1) of the 1999 Constitution. To that extent, Section 396(7) of the ACJA 2015 is inconsistent with the Constitution, particularly Section 290 (1) thereof. Therefore, by operation of Section 1(3) of the Constitution, Section 396(7) of the ACJA 2015, to the extent of its inconsistency with Section 290 (1) of the Constitution, is void.� All the six other Justices that sat at the Full Panel of the court agreed with the leading judgement, a procedural situation that will make a judicial revisit of the decision an uphill task. The process through which the President of the Court of Appeal issued the permission for Justice Idris’s returning to complete the hearing of the case, was initiated by the Appellants. For decades, it is the law that the courts cannot be used as an instrument for a person to take advantage of his own illegal act (as it now turned out, as found by the Supreme Court, that the fiat/permission was unlawful). Chino Edmund Obiagwu, SAN



Is a Constitutional Amendment for Virtual Court Hearings Really Required? In this article, Leaned Senior Advocate, Kemi Pinheiro, explains the reasons why he believes that the implementation of Virtual Remote Hearings in the courts, does not require an amendment of the 1999 Constitution, pointing out that, the Constitution cannot deal with matters of procedure. He therefore, enjoins all Heads of Courts to take steps in line with the NJC Guidelines, to issue Practice Directions for virtual proceedings in their various courts Introduction According to Justice Madan Loukor: “Harnessing technology for the benefit of litigants - seekers of justice - is of utmost importance, and this is eminently achievable through visionary leadership.”


Repayment n view of the recent agitations of some legal pundits that there must be an amendment of the Constitution to accommodate virtual or remote hearings before same can be conducted in Nigeria, and the Bill that was recently introduced at the Nigerian Senate for an amendment of the Constitution to make provision for virtual hearings, it has become pertinent to consider if truly an amendment of the Nigerian Constitution is required. I am of the firm view that, an amendment of the Constitution is not required, and I will state my reasons for same. Before proceeding to state why a constitutional amendment is not required, I wish to first invite the attention of all to the fact that, the United States Constitution of 1787 has been in existence for 230 years, with only 27 alterations. Similarly, the Canadian Constitution of 1867 and 1982 (both in operation in Canada), have been altered only nine times. Those countries have only been faced with little, or no constitutional crisis. The Nigerian Constitution on the other hand, is 21 years old and has been altered five times within its short life span. In fact, it has now become the practice for every Assembly to amend the Constitution. Should that really be the case? I will proceed to now demonstrate why a constitutional amendment for virtual hearing, is not required. Reasons why a Constitutional Amendment for Virtual Hearing is not Required. Firstly, it is imperative that we understand what a Constitution is, and what it should ordinarily contain. In this regard, I will rely on the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of FRN v Osahon (2006) 5 NWLR (Pt. 973) 361 where per Belgore JSC (as he then was) opined thus: “Constitution of any country is the embodiment of what a people desire to be their guiding light in governance, their supreme law, fountain of all their laws…Common sense must be applied to give meaning to all its sections or articles”. Taking a cue from the foregoing, in the case of F.C.D.A. v Ezinkwo it was held that: “The Constitution being the organic law of the country and the fons et origo from which all other laws derive their validity…no part of it can be described to be adjectival or procedural law…The Constitution is a substantive law”. Clearly, matters of procedure cannot be found in the Constitution. May I also invite attention in this regard to the opinion of Nora Hedding of the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, which I adopt as mine as follows: “A Constitution is not meant to provide laws and regulations, for every aspect of a functioning society. It is usually neither practical nor beneficial for a Constitution, when envisioned as a long-term, general framework for operation of the State, to go into details. It is impossible to predict how society will look in the future, and what its specific circumstances and needs will be”. It is therefore, not surprising that there is no provision in the Nigerian Constitution on how the Executive Arm of Government is to hold its meetings (i.e Federal Executive Council Meetings), or for how the Legislature would hold parliamentary sessions. Such issues are easily dealt with, by the rules set up by the Legislative houses. In fact, recently the Federal Executive Council held its meeting virtually, with no constitutional amendment. Why then should there be a constitutional amendment, specifying how the Judiciary should hold court sessions? Furthermore, virtual hearing relates to how the courts carry out their judicial function and therefore, a matter of procedure. Recognising that the respective courts created in the Constitution will need to have its own set rules on how court proceedings will be conducted, provision is made in the Constitution for the various Heads of Court to make rules on practice and procedure in their respective courts. Why then, should we amend the Constitution again, and infuse procedural issues into same. Understood from the standpoint that the Constitution cannot deal with matters of procedure, the next question to then ask is, whether there is any provision of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) that prohibits virtual hear-

Kemi Pinheiro, SAN

ing. My simple answer is that, no provision exists in the Constitution proscribing remote hearing. In fact, remote hearing is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. That said, the principle of law has remained inviolate to the effect that, whatever is not prohibited is permitted. See the case of Theophilus v FRN. Consequently, in the context of our extant 1999 Constitution (as amended), remote hearing having not been prohibited, is impliedly permitted. Furthermore, Section 36(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) often relied on to support constitutional amendment provides as follows: “the proceedings of a court or proceedings of any tribunal relating to the matters mentioned in (1) of this section (including the announcement of the decisions of the court or tribunal) shall be held in public”. As would be rightly observed from Section 36(3) of the Constitution, public has not been restricted to “court room”. Also, physical presence or place was not mentioned. What then is Public? Public as stated in Section 36(3) of the


Constitution is used in an adjectival sense, and according to Oxford Learner’s Dictionary Online, Public when used as an adjective in terms of a place refers to: “where there are a lot of people who can see and hear you” Similarly, public used in an adjectival sense according to the Cambridge Dictionary online is: “relating to or involving people in general, rather than being limited to a particular group of people”. With the modern day reality of the world wide web as a virtual public space which members of the public can easily access, and the advent of virtual public meeting rooms via collaborative platforms such as Zoom and Skype for Business where members of the public can participate, can we then say a hearing conducted via any of those public platforms offends Section 36(3) of the 1999 Constitution, to warrant an amendment of the Constitution? It is my view that, the contention that “public” meansopen court, is a product of a very narrow and restrictiveinterpretation of “Public”. To start with, the cases reliedon for the contention such as Menakaya v Menakaya(2001) 43 WRN 138 and Oviasu v Dr Oviasu & Anor (1973) 1 ALL NLR 730 dealt only with the issue of whether hearings conducted in Judges’ chambers constitute “public”, and it is the settled law that a case can only be good precedent in another case where the facts are similar. Thus, where the facts are not similar theprecedent will be inapplicable. What then is the judicial position on what constitutes “public” within the meaning of Section 36(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)? The judicial position has always been tilted towards considering same as a matter of fact, and before now the appellate courts have not been confronted with facts bordering on remote hearing. However, the appellate courts have always viewed “public” in this context, from the standpoint of access to members of the public. See: Nigeria-Arab Bank Limited v Barri Engineering Nig. Ltd. See also, the dictum of per Muhammad JCA in the case of Kosebinu & Ors v Alimi (2005) LPELR-11442(CA) where he opined as follows: “a place qualifies under Section 36(3) of the 1999 Constitution to be called "public" … if it is outrightly accessible, and not so accessible on the basis of the "permission" or "consent" of the Judge.” Consequently, if the general members of the public can have access to participate in a proceeding, then it meets the requirements of public hearing. This must have been borne in mind by the National Judicial Council (NJC) when, in setting out the policy of the Nigerian Judiciary as it relates to virtual hearings, specified that details of such hearing must be publicised to enable members of the public participate. Therefore, publishing the information of the url and login details becomes sine qua non to a virtual hearing, andas soon as that is done, it qualifies as hearing in “public” All that is now required, is for the appellate courts in Nigeria to adopt a purposive interpretation of the Constitution that will take into account the current realities, and the fact that, by the tenor of the provisions of Section 36(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), public has not been restricted to the courtroom, neither has virtual proceedings been prohibited. It is also my considered view that, the NationalAssembly should give attention to other pressing issuesaffecting the nation, such as giving legislative support tothe fight against the spread of Coronavirus, otherwisesooner than later our Constitution will be an “encyclopaedia of alterations”. What is required is progressive thinking and interpretation of those existing provisions, in the light and context of present day realities. Conclusion It is my considered opinion, that necessity is the mother of invention, and in this period of the Covid-19 pandemic in which access to justice has been hindered to contain the pandemic, there can be no better time for the Nigeria Judiciary to commence virtual hearings. It is my hope that, all Heads of Court will take steps in line with the Guidelines of the NJC, to make Practice Directions for virtual proceedings in their Courts. As stated by Gabrielle Katriel: “Let us rise to the occasion, not stoop to the circumstance” Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, FCIArb, FIoD, Founding Partner, Pinheiro LP


T H I S D AY ËžÍŻÍˇËœ 2020


Group Business Editor Obinna Chima

Email obinna.chima@thisdaylive.com 08152447875


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Quick Takes Coke Cares Lifts Families

A widow and mother of four, Abigail Agatha, has praised a Coca Cola’s initiative tagged ‘Coke Cares’ for lifting her and family during the lockdown. Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus, Agatha worked as a support sta in a local restaurant. Accordingtoher,thedisruptioncausedbythegovernment’sattempt tocurbthespreadofthevirusledtotheclosureoftherestaurantleaving her unemployed. She stated further that with four underage children to feed and no savings, her family was on the brink of starvation but heard the news of an outreach program by Coca-Cola and decided to give it a shot. “My eort turned out to be the miracle I had hoped for because ‘Coke Cares’ turned out to be a timely intervention for saving my life and that of my children. Without work, I didn’t have money, without money, I didn’t have food for me and my children but the food Coke gave us saved the day,â€? she stated.â€? Meanwhile, a statement issued by the promoters of the initiative pointed out that the story of the widow was similar to that of millions of Nigerians observing the COVID-19 lockdown. “Themostvulnerablemembersofourcommunitywerenotprepared fortheharsheconomicrealitiesofthenationwiderestrictionsimposed. With their livelihood threatened, lack of food and income has become imminent,â€? the statement stated.


Chairman,IndependentPetroleumProducersGroup(IPPG),Mr.AdemolaAdeyemi-Bero(left),withLagosStateGovernor,MrBabajideSanwo-Olu, duringthedonationandhandoverofmedicalconsumableandambulancesbyIPPGtostatesintheSouth-westzonetofightthecoronavirus,heldin Lagos...recently ETOP UKUTT

Energy Experts Harp on Diversification of Nigeria’s Revenue Stories by Chineme Okafor in Abuja Experts in energy economics have offered the federal government proposals on how to move Nigeria away from its high dependence on oil for revenue which has left the country susceptible to external shocks. Speaking on the platform of the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics (NAEE), the experts during a webinar focused on the impact of the COVID-19 on the oil industry, advised the country and its political leadership to henceforth consider oil as a means for value addition in the economy and no longer as a source of revenue. The participants during the Webinar included the President of NAEE, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe; a former of Chief Operating Officer (COO) at the Nigerian National

ENERGY Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Tim Okon; a former president of the NAEE, Prof. Wumi Iledare and the first president of the NAEE, Prof. Akin Iwayemi. They explained that the fiscal condition that COVID-19 has brought upon Nigeria was almost predictable on the basis of the country’s huge reliance on oil which prices frequently fluctuate. Okon, indicated that alongside a team which worked with a former minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr. Ike Kachikwu, simulated a fiscal situation that was to climax in 2019, and had advised the government to quickly begin to look away from oil as a revenue earner and focus on incentivising value addition from oil. He said the team proposed to

the government ways to manage the country’s oil industry better and realign incentives towards production and not to consumption as it were with petrol subsidy amongst other imprudent policies. “We talked about the cataclysmic year and it was supposed to be 2019; we were just looking at the fiscal position of Nigeria based on oil prices; and there was no sustainability. “My position was frank, and it was that by 2019, there will be no money left to be shared. This was presented to the Economic Management team and suggestions made,� said Okon. He noted that while the team proposed a better management of the cost and price ratio in oil production, they posited that, “any event that took place or affected the prices of oil was going to affect Nigeria.�

Similarly, Iwayemi in his remarks noted that the country has failed to align its politics with sound economic judgements. He added that this has led the political class to prioritise politics over economic considerations. According to him, the most preferable option available to the country to overcome the impact of COVID-19 and subsequently grow its economy would be to look away from oil revenue. He said: “We need to get our economics right and have a judicious balance between politics and economics in order to transform our country. Politics should no longer outweigh economics and technological considerations. “We need to look away from oil as a revenue generator but as value addition to the developContinued on page 18

Demand for Nigeria’s Gas Yet to Plunge, Says FG The federal government has said that for now, the Covid-19 has not affected the demand for gas, adding that the final impact of the virus was still uncertain. The government, however, noted that outbreak which has impacted oil demands and prices offered Nigeria an opportunity to prioritise its gas market, adding that if stakeholders worked hard, gas could replace oil as the country’s main foreign exchange earner. In a presentation made on behalf of the chair of the National Gas Expansion Programme (NAGEP) to Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) virtual business forum by Mr. Justice Derefaka, who is the Technical Adviser on

ENERGY Gas Business to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, the government said it was working to build a stable gas market for the country. It added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has hit Nigeria’s economy harder than any event as it has shuttered businesses and restricted freedom of movement,â€? but that, “demand for gas has not plunged‌ at least for now.â€? “The ultimate impact of the pandemic is still uncertain and will depend heavily on whether an effective vaccine can be developed. The crisis offers gas industry players a chance

to refocus on long-term sustainability; the use of natural gas to diversify the Nigerian economy. “Gas industry players must now walk a fine line between urgent and important decisions, balancing short, medium and long-term trade-offs to navigate through the crisis and forge ahead.� The government noted that it would expect gas market players to stabilise and building resilience in the medium term through cost reduction programmes, employee development initiatives and other measures as they prepare for recovery from Covid-19. It stated further, “Nigeria is not beyond redemption. We must navigate this fog of uncertainty.

Parochialism and hubris will lead to failure. Victory requires unity of purpose and leadership on a Rooseveltian scale.� To get back to business, it urged players in the market to re-power, adding that, “the most ambitious strategic approach is to treat the pandemic as an opportunity to fundamentally reshape the gas sector and prepare for the long-term global transition away from carbon-based resources.� In addition, it stated that, “this could create a new gas-based economy that would ultimately replace revenue from crude oil sales with value coming from new activities such as green Continued on page 18

PZ Cussons Encourage Hand-washing

PZCussonsFoundationincollaborationwithFoundationforRefugee Economic Empowerment are donating soap to over 40,000 people towards controlling the spread of COVID-19 in six Nigerian cities, a statementhassaid.FoundationforRefugeeEconomicEmpowerment (FREE) is a UK and Nigerian Charity that aims to provide high quality, timely,accountable,andinclusivehumanitarianassistancetodisplaced persons towards enabling them to return to normal and sustainable productive lives. This, according to the statement was disclosed by Eyitayo Lambo, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of PZ Cussons Foundation. Lambo said, “We have since learned that one of the simple ways to stay protected against the coronavirus is by consistent handwashing with soap. “Sadly, however, not everyone can aord to do this. So, the PZ Cussons Foundation has partnered with FREE to ensure that even the most vulnerable communities are catered for at such a time as this to support the on- going eorts to stem the spread and contain the virus in Nigeria.â€? According to him, this kind gesture is to be extended to many vulnerable communities in other regions in the country. He also added, “The PZ Cussons Foundation has been a major advocate for proper sanitation and hygiene standards and has, for the past ďŹ ve years, partnered successfully with United Purpose in increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, eective, and aordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

ACCA Introduces Online Exams

The Association of Chartered CertiďŹ ed Accountants (ACCA) has said it is introducing new exibility for its students around the world to enable them to take their exams at home or in another location in circumstances where centre-based exam sittings are disrupted. It stated that the development would ensure robust and secure way of using the latest technology to enable remote invigilation of ACCA QualiďŹ cation exams, to give its students reassurance that they can continue their exam journey in the face of Covid-19 disruption. ACCA’sExecutiveDirector,StrategyandDevelopment,AlanHatďŹ eld, said: “We recognise the disruption and frustration the pandemic and resulting exam cancellations have caused for our students and their desire to progress, and this development will ensure their opportunity to do so. “We’re targeting June to enable this for our on-demand exams (Applied Knowledge and Foundation level exams) and September for our session-based Applied Skills exams.We’re still exploring the situation for our Strategic Professional exams and we’ll provide updates soon.â€?

“We are at a level where we are reviewing the other arms of the economy. In the coming days, we will be starting what we call Register-to-Open� Lagos State Governorr,

Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu


T H I S D AY ËžÍŻÍˇËœ 2020

BUSINESSWORLD ENERGY EXPERTS HARP ON DIVERSIFICATION OF NIGERIA’S REVENUE ment of Nigeria. Countries have done it. Our federal constitution is about sharing and not producing. We should rework our constitution to bake the cake and not share the cake. “Take a holistic view of our production, example in agriculture. Add value to agriculture and not the way it is talked about now. Nobody has evaluated the CBN anchor borrowers programme. If we don’t change our bad behaviour, it becomes a habit.� While buttressing the views Iwayemi and Okon had, Iledare stated that totally discarding oil and looking at it as basically a revenue generator, will not help Nigeria in its diversification of the economy. He thus suggested that using oil to create economic values that could drive growth was necessary. “If the oil industry collapses, we will see the worst of us, and we need to find solutions to move the industry away from a source of revenue to value addition,� Iledare said while suggesting that the next phase of oil assets’ acquisition should be targeted to indigenous producers and entrepreneurs to amongst other things, save the country from foreign exchange pressures. DEMAND FOR NIGERIA’S GAS YET TO PLUNGE, SAYS FG hydrogen production and environmentally-sustainable heavy industries.� “This is a bold vision and represents the best path forward. As an oil-dependent nation, we must do more than merely hope for the past to return. “Instead, post COVID-19, we must seize the opportunity to transform and diversity our economy with the abundant natural gas resource. The world is gradually turning away from crude oil to gas to drive their economies. “Our collective efforts and putting all machineries in place to make gas a critical catalyst to our economic development should be a priority,� it stated. The government posited that the industry could be averse to risk, bust still needs to prepare with efficient strategies for the changing world which could come after Covid-19.


Shell: NLNG Train 7, Our Long-term Strategy for Capital Investment Stories by Peter Uzoho

challenges, Shell continues to see NLNG as a great resource that can deliver value to the people of Nigeria and investors alike. This decision is consistent with our long-term strategy and our disciplined approach to capital investment,� Wetselaar said. Also commenting on the Train

7 EPC contracts’ awards, the Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria and Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Limited, Mr. Osagie Okunbor, expressed the oil giant’s delight with the progress made by the NLNG over the years and its enormous contribu-

tions to the Nigerian economy. “The EPC awards for Train 7 is good news for Nigeria with the potential to bring more export revenues, unlock new projects, and attract foreign direct investments, in addition to transforming the economy of the Niger Delta and Nigeria as

whole� Okunbor said. According to him, Shell was positioned to support NLNG’s expansion by working with the government and other partners to develop new gas resources to sustain growth and enhance both domestic and export gas supplies.

The Director, Integrated Gas and New Energies, Shell Plc, Maarten Wetselaar, has said investing in the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 was his company’s long-term strategy and approach to capital investment. He stated that natural gas was a core component of Shell strategy to provide more and cleaner energy solutions, pointing out that with global LNG demand expected to double by 2040, the expansion of the NLNG Bonny Island facility was crucial in helping the company meet the world’s growing energy needs. He also said all conditions for the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the new LNG processing unit at NLNG had now been met, adding that these conditions included formal commitment from the organisations providing financing for the project. The Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts of the project announced last week was sequel to the FID signed by the shareholders in December last year. “While remaining mindful L-R:AssistantSecretary,LagosStateGovernor’sOfficeCorrespondents,TochukwuIlodigwe;ViceChairman,AkindeleAdeola,andExecutiveDirector,Polo of prevailing macro-economic LuxuryGroup,JenniferObayuwana,duringPoloLuxuryGroup’sReliefoutreachtofrontlineworkersinLagos...recentl


NCDMB Launches BrentPlus to Drive Innovation The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has launched BrentPlus, a series of initiatives that will stimulate innovation in the oil and gas industry and ancillary sectors in Nigeria and create a platform for local creation of digital technologies. The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, while unveiling the initiative during a webinar titled, “Innovating for the Future of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry and its Linkage Sectors,� recently, said

one of the strategic initiatives under the Nigerian Content 10-year roadmap was to promote the development of innovative in-country solutions in the oil and gas industry. The webinar was the first by the board since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and according to Wabote, it would form part of the new channels and technologies NCDMB will be using henceforth to engage stakeholders of the oil and gas industry. He listed the processes of

BrentPlus to include Problems Definition, Call for Innovation, Nigerian Oil and Gas Technology Hackathon, Incubation and Scale-Up. Providing details of the problems definition stage, he said the board would administer surveys to focus groups and stakeholders to understand the biggest challenges facing the sector, promising that the board would soon hold a Webinar to get feedback on the opportunities for digital innovation.

According to him, the problems must not be related to the oil and gas sector. It can be daily life problems.� Subsequently, the NCDMB would pick out the biggest challenges and call for innovations from interested teams with ideas, prototypes, solutions and relevant experiences, after which, the applications would be reviewed by judges and shortlisted, with a few selected. He stated that the third stage of the BrentPlus process would be a Hackathon- a three-day

residential camp where, “participating teams will meet with industry stakeholders and further understand the challenges.� “Teams will revalidate their solutions and pitch at the end of boot camp. Five winning teams will be selected,� he added. Wabote explained further that Hackathon enables crowd sourcing of digital innovations that will solve challenges, saying, the idea was to provide a platform for individuals to get together for a short period of time to collaborate on a project.

Foundation Donates Ambulances to South-west States Raheem Akingbolu The Kesington Adebukunola Adebutu Foundation (KAAF), the chairman of Premiere Lotto, Kesington Adebutu, has donated four ambulances to the governments of Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun, to help in combating the ravaging covid-19 in Nigeria. Making the donation on behalf the donor and KAAF in Lagos, recently, a friend of

Adebutu dynasty, Kola Oyefeso, said the donation of the four ambulances was a continued gesture of Sir Adebutu to help fight the scourge of covid-19 in south-west. Oyefeso said with the donation, the beneficiarystates would have additional medical equipment to deal with the pandemic in their respective states. Speaking further, he disclosed that, before now, the renowned

philanthropist had made monetary donations worth of four hundred million naira in value to the governments of Lagos and Ogun states. According to him, while the Lagos state government received donation of three hundred million, the Ogun state government received one hundred million naira from KAAF all in a bid to help fight the coronavirus in the two states.

Oyefeso, also revealed that apart from monetary donations made, Adebutu had also donated tons of food items worth several millions of naira as palliatives to the 33 towns of Remoland, Ogun state; Remo Growth and Development Foundation ( RemoGDF), Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN), Muslim community, Anglican communion, Methodist Church as well as Surulere and Ajegunle com-

munities in Lagos state. Oyefeso however advised that, all efforts must be concentrated to fight the deadly disease in Nigeria. He noted that government alone can not fight the scourge. Therefore, he called on other spirited individuals in Nigeria, especially in southwest to emulate the benevolent gesture of Sir Adebutu by supporting the governments in their bid to combat the deadly virus.

Group Business Editor

Obinna Chima

Capital Market Editor

Goddy Egene

Comms/e-Business Editor

Emma Okonji

Fayemi: Promasidor’s $5m Investment in Ekiti will Boost Economy Raheem Akingbolu

Senior Correspondent

Raheem Akingbolu (Advertising) Correspondents

Chinedu Eze (Aviation) Eromosele Abiodun (Maritime) James Emejo (Finance) Ebere Nwoji (Insurance) Chineme Okafor ((Energy) Reporters

Nume Ekeghe (Money Market) Nosa Alekhuogie (ICT)

The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has described the investment by Promasidor Nigeria Limited to reactivate the moribund Ikun Dairy Farm in the state, as a major catalyst that would turn around the fortunes of the state when operational. Fayemi said the contribution has made Promasidor a core investor in Ekiti, saying production would have by

now begun in the milk industry located in Ikun Ekiti in Moba Local Government, but for the lockdown caused by the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Fayemi, who spoke in AdoEkiti recently, while receiving donation worth over N34 million from Promasidor Nigeria Limited, reiterated the readiness of his administration to revive some of the ailing industries in the state. He said the donation has further attested to the fact that

Promasidor was just incurably committed to the growth of Ekiti economy. Fayemi, represented by the Special Adviser on Investment, Mr. Akintunde Oyebode, said the move would create more employment opportunities for the youths. The governor branded the donation as eloquent testimony of the company’s belief in publicprivate partnership paradigm shift in the developing of any nation, saying government alone

can’t grow the economy to an enviable height. Fayemi said the reactivation of the ailing industry would be done in partnership with Promasidor Nigeria Limited and the Central Bank of Nigeria, will ensure daily production of about 10, 000 litres of milk. “The revamping of Ikun Dairy Farm, established in 1987, but abandoned by past administrations in the state, was part of the move by our administration to

attract more investors to the state. “Let me reiterate the readiness of our administration to continue to provide an enabling environment for private industries to strive in the state. An arrangement had been concluded to revive Ire Clay Bricks Limited and other industries in the state. “I salute the host community for their unflinching support to the firm. I urge them to give more supports to the farm and ensure its success,� Fayemi said.


T H I S D AY ËžÍŻÍˇËœ 2020



Sylva: Nigeria Has Lost Much to Non-passage of PIB The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, in this interview speaks on sundry issues affecting the oil and gas sector in Nigeria, including the extent he has achieved his eight-point agenda in the last 10 months of being in charge of the ministry. Emmanuel Addeh presents the excerpts. How much has covid-19 impacted the oil and gas industry in the last few months? There is only one thing everybody is talking about right now - the Covid-19. The pandemic is very devastating, but for us in the industry, we are more concerned about the economic devastation of Covid-19 although we also lend a hand medically. Our main purview is the economic effect of Covid-19. But I don’t like to discuss Covid-19 because it’s too depressing. It has brought the world economy to its knees and the Nigerian economy is lying flat on its stomach, but we will prevail. On inauguration, in August 2019, our ministry was given eight mandate areas. They included to curb crude oil theft and product smuggling, completion of the gas flare commercialisation programme, increasing crude oil production to three million barrels per day, reducing cost of crude oil production by five per cent, passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, promotion of inland basin and deep water exploration, collaborating with private sector to increase domestic refining, creating jobs and opportunities. On the first mandate, which is to curb crude oil theft, a lot has been done. We launched ‘Project White,’ which successfully brought down our daily consumption numbers from over 60 million to about 52 million per day, a very significant reduction indeed. DPR launched the crude oil lifting and tracking system (cot)which tracks all crude oil being exported from Nigeria. Today, losses are not from the terminals anymore. All the crude oil theft is before the crude oil arrives at the terminals. That is from the pipeline system, through the mangroves and the forest, that’s where the losses are being recorded. So, the 60,000 to 100,000 barrels that we lose sometimes is usually from the pipelines system. We confirmed this when we give barging permits to companies to barge crude instead of passing through pipelines, we didn’t record any losses. But unfortunately, it’s much more expensive and has its own problems with too many layers involved in barging which is not something that is sustainable. But we were able to eliminate crude theft to almost zero. On top of all these, on the 19th of March, we completely deregulated the product supply system, so we took out subsidy even on PMS. So at this point, I see some kind of paradox because we started by trying to stop product smuggling, but with the removal of subsidy, I see us getting to a point where we will be encouraging the development of markets outside our borders because now, NNPC is no longer bearing the burden. On mandate one we have done very well. How successfully have you carried out your mandate concerning the other agenda set when you were announced minister last year? Another on is the completion of the gas flare commercialisation programme which is progressing very steadily and very encouragingly. A bidders’ conference was held and 200 companies have been pre-qualified to participate in the commercial bid. The response is very encouraging so far. We have released 45 sites and these companies are expected to visit these sites for assessment. Unfortunately, with Covid-19, the site visit is not progressing because of the lockdown. But as soon as we ease the lockdown, this process will rev up very fast. Some early birds were supposed to take final investment decision in June, but because of covid-19, they have not been able to travel to Nigeria. Between now and June, if everything relaxes, they might be able to come and we will see the take-off of some FIDs on the gas commercialisation programme. But if we are talking about gas, by far the flagship in this sector is the train 7 of the Nigeria LNG. Shareholders have released the EPC and the Final Investment Decision has now been taken and train 7 has taken off completely which is something we should be proud of. Today, we were on the programme with the GMD and some international groups, and they said that train 7 might be the last FID to be taken in a long time in an LNG project. So, we have done very well here. On gas development, I will not close without talking about the CNG and LPG penetration programme. What we are

higher cost per barrel, but the regulatory agencies are living up to their billings by shortening approvals and also shortening contracting circles as a result to bring down cost of projects and will soon see a reduction in the cost per barrel. NCDMB, DPR NNPC are involved very largely on this mandate.

Sylva trying do is to get our people to use it more. We have one of the lowest penetration in the whole of Africa. Some of you will be surprised to know that Nigeria has one of the lowest in Africa, in fact Niger Republic has a higher LPG penetration than Nigeria. In Nigeria LPG is used mostly in the cities with gas usage almost absent in the rural areas and villages. What we are trying to do is to encourage penetration so that villages and rural areas will begin to use gas and that will safeguard our forest resources and our environment. How are you going to achieve this? We are going to achieve this by creating a lot of jobs. One of the things we want to do is to make access cheaper. The reason penetration is low is because the initial capital outlay to using gas is quite high to the ordinary man. You have to invest to buy a gas cylinder which is a couple of thousand aira. And when gas finishes, you refill a whole bottle. And if you don’t have enough money for a full bottle refilled, you are in trouble. So, we are looking at how people can have access to gas without necessarily investing all that money upfront. We have created micro distribution centres around the country so that people can pay a little token to actually rent the gas bottles, so instead of paying all that money, you pay a token for rent. And we have introduced the fractional filing system. That means if your gas finishes today and you do not have the money to buy a full bottle, you can buy half or even a quarter so that gas will start competing with other cooking fuels because today, the advantage that kerosene has over gas is that if you don’t have the money for a litre, you buy a bottle. If you don’t have money for a full bottle of kerosene, you can buy half. So, people afford it more. When we roll out this programme, gas will become even more affordable and we believe that a lot more people will enjoy cooking with gas since it’s more efficient fuel and it cooks better. We are also investing in the manufacturing of some of the components. The NCDMB has agreed to fund the training of some youths in Nigeria. We get them across the country on how to produce the gas stoves, that’s what takes the burners, including the sitting for the burners. In the first instance we are training 5,000 youths , so you can imagine the number of jobs we can create. The youths will be given starter packs from the foundries. They will set up small fabrication businesses. So, people can buy or rent their bottles. Gas will become much cheaper , so we can compete with some of the African countries who have no business ranking higher than Nigeria. You have spoken about Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) project which your team is also pursuing. How will it work? The CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) is another

thing we want to encourage. Today, most vehicles use PMS and if you go to some countries, a lot of people have moved away from PMS because it is too expensive and in some cases, some countries are discouraging it because it’s not a very efficient fuel. Unfortunately, we have abundance of gas in Nigeria but have not explored CNG in Nigeria. So, what we want to do is to introduce CNG in the market. So that if PMS is too expensive, you convert your car to dual fuel and the conversion cost about N100,000 maximum. So, they can run either on CNG or PMS. So, you can drive to a station and either buy CNG or fuel. Due to the removal of subsidy, if petrol is too expensive, you have an alternative. If you still want to drive on PMS that would be your decision. We are also doing very well with the gas commercialisation programme. With the LNG a lot of flares are taken down, with LPG and CNG penetration, more flares will be taken down and with gas flare commercialisation programme, by the time we finish, there will be no flares again and this can happen in the next few years. Our third mandate is to increase crude oil production to three million barrels per day. Apart from the usual OPEC constraints, Covid-19 has not done us very well because it wiped out completely demand for oil, so the prices came down very badly. So, the only way OPEC could react was to agree on very unprecedented cuts which has affected the necessity to ramp up production. But nevertheless, we have our eyes on the future because Covid-19 will not be here forever because in many countries of the world, the curve is flattening, in some countries, it’s already coming down, so we are planning for the future. We have our eyes fixed, for example on the Bonga South West project which will add significantly to our country’s production and embarking on the marginal fields programme which will add to production. We are doing very well on this count. We are pursuing the PIB, then we will have a major bid round as expected which will bring some major production nationally. The cost of production per barrel of crude is still a big challenge in the country. How are you handling this? Our mandate four is reduction of crude oil production cost. This is a big problem as you all know because it is unsustainable. You have a situation where the average cost per barrel is around $30. Covid-19 has taught us that we cannot continue like this. And the NNPC is doing very well in this regard and looking deeper into the budget of operating companies. Before now, NAPIMS had largely abdicated its responsibility of auditing the cost of production with Joint Venture Companies. They basically became a contracting agency. But u der the leadership of the GMD, that is changing, because it now living more to its responsibility. Contracting circles was a problem, which led to

We have heard a lot about the Petroleum Industry (PIB). How far have you gone with the preparation? Our mandate number five is the passage of the PIB and on that, I am happy to tell you that we are almost ready. The general structure of the bill is ready. I will not want to discuss details of the bill now because what remains is for this bill to be discussed with the minister, Mr President and presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC). I don’t want to discuss details because it is still work in progress because things can still change after the discussion with the president and FEC. So, it is not right to start discussing details of the PIB. But I will talk about the structure. It has 294 sections and is generally in two parts, the Petroleum Industry Bill and the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill. The PIB is in four broad parts, the part dealing with governance and the other dealing with administration , then another part dealing with host communities development and the fourth dealing with interpretations. The PIFB deals with the fiscal framework and I must tell you that we believe that when this bill is passed, Nigeria will be one of the most attractive investment destinations in the oil industry. That’s the general overview. How far with the deregulation programme? Are you saying that the downstream sector has been fully deregulated? Deregulation was approved on 19 March this year. What we announced was already deregulation. But as we all know, PMS and petroleum products are very strategic commodities, so you cannot allow the price of this commodity to be determined wholly by the marketers. It is government responsibility to protect consumers because anywhere in the world if you want to buy anything, there is the recommended retail price. The consumer protection agency will fix a price so that no one will profiteer inordinately from the people. If we allow marketers to go ahead and be fixing prices as they like, it will not be good for our people because this commodity is very central to the lives of our people. That’s why you have a regulator for that sector that will determine the price bearing in mind what it has cost the marketers to land the product, allowing for some profit for them, making sure the consumer is also protected. It is done everywhere in the world. If the PPPRA does not work with the marketers, they will profiteer from the people. Look at one problem, we have been having with the marketers, for example, today we have brought down the price of PMS because the landing cost came down. The landing cost also of AGO, diesel should have also come down, but the marketers have refused to bring the price down. We have been having a running battle with them to bring their prices down because their landing cost has also reduced. It is government’s role to protect the consumer. That is the role of the PPPRA. The PPPRA is to protect the consumer. We said they should not announce because it’s not necessarily, after all FAAN determines prices of airline tickets, but they don’t announce it every time. They just discuss with operators and agree and increase whatever the ticket price is. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regulates interest rate for the banks. The PPPRA will work with marketers to ensure best pricing for consumers. But as I said, government is also mindful of the fact that prices can go up and will go up. That’s why we are in the race to introduce an alternative fuel for Nigerians, CNG which is a cheaper fuel. If people decide to keep running on PMS, others will migrate to CNG. It has been completely deregulated. NOTE: Interested readers should continue in the online edition on www.thisdaylive.com


T H I S D AY ËžÍŻÍˇËœ 2020


UBA Plans More Contactless Banking for Customers’Safety Nume Ekeghe The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group yesterday disclosed its preparedness to enhance contactless banking across Africa for the safety of its customers. The bank pointed out that with the coronavirus which necessitates social distancing, there is need to ramp up banking channels that would ensure less physical contact by its customers. The Group Head, Digital Banking, UBA, Mr. Sampson Aneke, revealed this during a virtual media parley that involved journalists across the continent. The Chairman Group, Mr. Tony Elumelu, was also in attendance. Aneke, also said the recent upgrade of UBA app offers customers seamless means to pay for goods through the Quick Response code (QR code), adding that the bank also plans to introduce Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) banking in the nearest future. Aneke anticipated that the COVID-19 pandemic would hasten digital banking penetration as well as financial inclusion across the continent. He added: “We are pushing services to what we call BYOD and these are for sustainability. Banks that would survive in the coming days would mean that the more BYOD you do, the more are ready to survive. “We are taking our services to

the devices that customers hold themselves. You would be happier to use the device you came out with from your home to transact than shared facilities.� Speaking on innovations to expect from the bank, Aneke said: “We are thinking of voice banking across various channels, we are thinking of image withdrawals where we can just scan your image and you can withdraw. “So some of these things that would replace point of sale (PoS), some are already here while some are still in the making like QR code we already have in the current app, so you wouldn’t need PoS. “We are making QR code so easy so that you can on your app the merchant to like and use regularly. There a lot of things we are doing to make life easy for our customers and to help maintain good hygiene because the current situation calls for seriousness as far as hygiene is concerned.� Aneke, also said the new UBA app has a feature that allows transfer to telephone numbers. Another feature the bank introduced in the new app is that it allows group transfer. Also speaking during the media briefing, the Group Head, Consumer and Retail Banking, Mr. Jude Anele said: “The era of people going to ATMs to punch keys, slotting cards at PoS terminals where you need

to use your fingers to punch the buttons is almost going because of health concerns. “Most of the transmission you might get and other aliment would come from such. So, what would gain ground is contactless payment systems where you don’t have to make contact to be able to pay.� He added: “If you go to countries like Kenya and most parts of East and central Africa, you would find that while financial inclusion is deepening over there is because of the spread and depth at which financial technology and mobile payments has gone in those countries. “I believe that what COVID-19 has done for Africa, from a positive perspective is that it would actually hasten the adoption of digital banking which is actually the most cost-effective way to reached the unbanked.� Anele further said: “What would take effect now and in the near future in payments in banks would largely be contactless payments. And contactless payments would happen largely around person to person transfers, USSD and that would include many people.� According to him, the most cost-effective way to reach the banked and unbanked would be through the mobile phone. This, he said is because the mobile phone has the greatest penetration across Africa.

Zenith General Insurance Profit Rises By 16% to N3.67bn Zenith General Insurance Limited has released its full-year financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2019. A review of the results showed positive improvements on a yearon-year basis with profit before tax rising by 16 per cent, from N3.16 billion to N3.67 billion. Also, the company’s profit after tax rose by 10 per cent, up from N2.79 billion to N3.06 billion. According to a statement, the company also maintained a robust balance sheet as it closed the year with total assets of N40.1 billion and a shareholders’ fund of N25.9 billion. Similarly, its gross premium grew by 17 per cent year-on-year, from N13.7 billion to N16.1 billion, while there was a 46 per cent growth in underwriting profit from N2.77 billion to N4.06 billion.

The insurer disclosed that it made substantial gains from reduced claim expenses and healthy growth in gross written premiums. Its investment income showed an increase of two per cent year-on-year, up from N3.55 billion in 2018, to N3.63 billion in 2019, despite lower yields on most investment classes in 2019. Commenting on the financial results, the Managing Director/ CEO, Mr. Kehinde Borisade said: “We are re-affirming our mission statement that Zenith General Insurance Limited exists to ensure peace of mind and also create value to people in a world of uncertainties. “This is evident in our strong financial performance showing improvement across the board through increased premium

income, underwriting profits and investment income despite the economic headwinds witnessed in various sectors of the economy. “We also ensured prompt settlement of claims with total claims payment of N3.8 billion for the year and an average settlement turnaround time of three days.� He added, “Our company has continued to maintain a very strong and healthy financial position with a growth of six per cent year-on-year on total assets, and a four per cent increase in shareholders’ funds. “We also continue to strive to be the best in the insurance industry; maintaining the strongest solvency position and closing the year with a solvency ratio of 726 per cent.�

Debtors Africa Partners Proshare on Delinquent Borrowers’Database Debtors Africa – an independent searchable database of recalcitrant and delinquent debtors in Africa was at the weekend unveiled in Nigeria. In addition, a Debtors’ Report - a comprehensive analysis of the Debt/Non-Performing Loans Situation in the Nigerian Banking Industry was also presented to members of the public. The report which was done in partnership with Proshare, represents a culmination of a detailed review of the credit experiences of local Nigerian banks in the last two decades and revealed the challenges of a local

lending cycle that has seen lenders become victims of the tyranny of bad and delinquent debtors. The report makes a case for a new approach to the lending cycle to ensure that integrity, professionalism and evidence-based best lending practices are strictly followed to guarantee the sustainability of the financial system and the prosperity of the larger economy. The report covers the banking industry and its debt position; definition of a delinquent debtor and how this has changed over the years including how banks end up with bad debtors; the sectors and regions affected and the impact

on Gross Domestic Product as well as provisions of the law as regards credit collection and recovery in Nigeria. Similarly, it is covers AMCON approach, lessons learnt, and the way for banks to adopt a revised credit recovery framework; case study of approaches adopted in recovering debt; and fresh methods as well as new approach to banks troubled by delinquent debts. “The Debtors Africa Website is a searchable database of delinquent borrowers which enables speedy assessment of the character of a prospective customer.

L - R: DMD, GPC, Damisa Saliu; Oba Rasaq Aderinsoye Famuyiwa; Chairman/CEO, GPC, Elvis Okonji, and Executive Director Operations, Olusola Tijani, during the handing over of palliatives to Onipapa of Papaland, in Lagos...recently



SEPTEMBER 2019 Money Supply (M3)


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


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The price of OPEC basket of thirteen crudes stood at $26.54 a barrel on Friday, compared with $24.93 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), ZaďŹ ro (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


T H I S D AY ËžÍŻÍˇËœ 2020


Lafarge Africa Grows Profit by 157% to N8bn in First Quarter Goddy Egene Lafarge Africa Plc has reported improved results for the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2020, raising shareholders’ hope of good harvest at the end of the year. The unaudited results showed that Lafarge Africa posted net sales of N63.696 billion, up from N58.016 billion in the corresponding period of 2019. Net profit jumped by 156.5 per cent, from N3,145 billion to

N8.067 billion in 2020. Commenting on the performance, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Khaled El Dokani, said: “I am proud of the plan Lafarge Africa has implemented to protect the health of our people while supporting our partners and communities. The first quarter results confirm that our turn around initiatives are effective and our strong balance sheet is mitigating the risks borne by the pandemic that has started



hitting our country in March.� According to him, COVID-19 impact on the 2020 results cannot be reasonably estimated at this stage, but long-term prospects remains positive. “The company expects that the public safety measures issued by the federal and state authorities in Nigeria and around the world will adversely affect the company’s results in Q2, 2020. Despite short-term disruptions, Lafarge Africa Plc is however confident in the underlying




resilience of its businesses and operating model as the company has developed robust cost and cash optimization initiatives. The Lafarge Africa’s strong balance sheet and reduced cost base will also help minimise the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,� he said. The Chairman of Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Mobolaji Balogun recently announced his voluntarily retire as chairman of the company and step down as member of the board of



directors effective June 4, 2020. According to the company, Mr. Adebode Adefioye will succeed Balogun. He has over 32 years work experience in different industries and is a graduate of the University of Lagos with Masters of Science degree. Commenting, Balogun said: “Having overseen the progress in our transformation plan, the clean-up of our balance sheet, its return to robust profitability, streamlining of our operations,


the renewal of our board and the smooth chief executive officer (CEO) and chief financial officer (CFO) succession plan, it is with a deep sense of gratitude to God, that I feel fulfilled, in retiring as chairman, knowing that the board and our company is in very good shape. My thanks to all our staff, my colleagues on the board for their unwavering commitment and support. Lafarge Africa has enjoyed strong shareholder and market support, for which I remain grateful.

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TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 •T H I S D AY

TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 • T H I S D AY





Group Features Editor: Chiemelie Ezeobi Email chiemelie.ezeobi@thisdaylive.com, 08038901925

Saving a Million Lives in Uncertain Times Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that the collaborative campaign kickstarted by Sahara Group tagged #SavingAMillionLives is a call to action to prioritise all and every effort to combat the effects and spread of COVID-19 through empowerment of communities with healthcare, resources and opportunities

Egbin’s COVID-19 palliatives

So Energy’s donation

Asharami Energy Zambia presenting masks



he COVID-19 pandemic has brought immeasurable uncertainty and distress to communities across the globe. Yet even amidst the grief and despondence there are stories of great hope that underline the power of collaboration and bring reassurance that the road ahead will be smoother if we work together. Over the last two months, stories of collaboration and positive action through vulnerable communities across the world continent have lifted spirits on countless occasions. Many of these have been led across the African continent by the Sahara Foundation, the Corporate Citizenship vehicle of leading energy conglomerate, Sahara Group. Beginning in March, Sahara Group introduced a collaborative campaign called #SavingAMillionLives. The campaign has resonated like a call to action across the group to prioritise all and every effort to combat the effects and spread of COVID-19. It is a simple and effective message that is driving the Sahara’s interventions on the African continent. The quest to save ‘a million lives’ is representative of any and every action geared towards ensuring more lives are saved from the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign includes empowering communities with healthcare, resources and opportunities now and in the future as the world seeks to halt the spread and devastating impact of the COVID-19. The initiatives that the Sahara Foundation have led do not only inspire for the benefits they have brought today, but for the sustainability and engagement example they set for tomorrow. Sahara Group’s #SavingAMillionLives response is predicated on collaboration, a

factor that has inspired Sahara Foundation’s partnerships in the equipping of isolation centres and reaching out to the vulnerable in the society to help the African continent cope with the challenges posed by the pandemic. According to Temitope Shonubi, Executive Director, Sahara Group, the severity of the crisis has shown that no single mind or pair of hands would be sufficient to meet the challenge. “We are so grateful to the patience, commitment and diligence of the Sahara Group family, many of whom have been personally involved in our crisis response, readily volunteering to assist in various capacities through our work in Zambia, Kenya, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire Nigeria and across the African continent. “Each has contributed immeasurably and deserves every credit for delivering our shared effort to save a million lives. We are involved very aggressively in Europe as well, especially in Geneva where we operate. We have learnt that this is not a local or national or continental war, this is a global war and we have used all our global resources to fight it. Because, if this consumes mankind there will be nothing to live for,� he affirms. Across Africa where communities are more disparate and living conditions can vary dramatically, Sahara’s campaign continues to bring succour to the vulnerable - providing and sustaining oxygen supplies for hospitals in Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire, donating dry and cooked food to over one million beneficiaries, face masks, hand sanitizers and relief materials to communities where Sahara’s power affiliates (Ikeja Electric, Egbin Power and First Independent Power Limited), upstream and other Sahara affiliates operate

across Africa. In Zambia, Asharami Energy Limited Company donated tens of thousands of hand-made fabric/Chitenge masks to shore up access to PPE and slow the spread of the virus. The company also publishes materials in English, Bemba, and Nyanja to facilitate the dissemination of information about the pandemic. In Kenya, Asharami Synergy Limited donated thousands of five litre jerrycans of hand sanitizers, whilst oxygen has been donated to hospitals in Ghana as well as Cote d'Ivoire to boost life support operations. Sahara's Downstream entity, Asharami Synergy working in collaboration with other members of the Depot and Petroleum marketers Association not Nigeria (DAPMAN) is providing support towards the completion and equipping of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Hospital in Abuja. The challenge has been enormous, but the response has been equal to it. For Shonubi, the enthusiasm for the collaborative efforts that have been witnessed across the globe should give the world a lot to cheer about. “We have seen different individuals and businesses respond quickly to the threat posed by the virus, especially healthcare personnel and other responders who are working night and day to save and protect as many lives as possible. I am immeasurably proud of the humanitarian work thatthe world has achieved at this time and believe that Sahara’s #SavingAMillionLives campaign will inspire many more acts of selfless devotion, collaboration and generosity in the face of great adversity.� As pan-African Group with global footprint, Sahara Group through the Sahara Foundation has already delivered more than 500 projects

with more than 2,000,000 beneficiaries in communities across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Responding to the COVID-19 crisis, Sahara Group worked quickly to identify opportunities to support communities throughout their work across the African continent and in many of the worst-affected areas. While the path ahead to recovery may be strewn with uncertainties, the response of companies like Sahara Group show that collaboration remains a strong tool for navigating through the pandemic. There is a sense of optimism that acts of kindness and teamwork can inspire in times of great uncertainty. In the words of Shonubi, “This crisis could never have been foreseen and its effects have been daunting; but our response is ours to define, and our #SavingAMillionLives campaign will not only protect the lives of millions but empower them too.� On his take on businesses like Sahara who are committing resources to saving lives in spite downward reviews in their profit forecasts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shonubi says the business of saving lives remains the most important business. “At Sahara, saving lives is part of the reason why we exist. We are passionate about being continuously MAD, that is making a difference in improving the life of mankind. While it is ironic that a company that might have lost money is still giving to causes geared towards saving lives, this sums of the purpose of Sahara, being a tool that can be used to bless mankind. This is Sahara’s overarching purpose, the very essence of our presence and probably the reason why Sahara will be around for a long time to come and achieve sustainable successes,� he adds.


TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 ˾T H I S D AY


Bandits Kill Pastor, Blind Man, Three Others in Niger Laleye Dipo in Minna A pastor, one blind man and three others were killed on Sunday morning when bandits attacked some communities in the Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger state. The church, which the deceased pastor was pasturing, was also burnt just like some houses in one of the affected communities. Shiroro and Rafi Local Government Areas have been

the epicenter of bandits attacks in the state, which has led to the death of scores of people with many others maimed. The affected communities were Nankuna, Nansa Eburo and Lagodo in the Erena district of the local government area. The Sunday morning attack also left several villagers injured with some others displaced following the burning of their houses by the bandits. Eyewitnesses say not less than

1000 cattle were rustled by the invaders. “They came in about 50 motorcycles and were riding dangerously round the communities at times shooting into the air,” the eyewitness said on telephone. He said the blind man was killed as he came out of the bush where he went to ease himself

while the pastor was shot in front of the church before they set it ablaze. The witness said there was no response from security operatives who were supposed to be on duty in the area Efforts by THISDAY to get the reactions of the Niger State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP. Wasiu Abiodun,

were unsuccessful. Also, the cell phones of officials of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) were not connecting. Last week, a site engineer and three construction workers of an indigenous construction company were kidnapped from the same area by the bandits who later demanded for N1billion ransom.

The ransom was later reduced to N700 million on Sunday just as one of the victims reportedly escaped from the kidnappers when they were crossing a river in Kaduna State. The State Ministry of Works where the site engineer works has not made any statement on the matter.

Police Parade Couple, Five Others for Alleged Kidnap of Twins in Ibadan Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan A couple and five other people who confessed to the recent kidnapping of the twins of a popular Islamic cleric in Oyo State, Sheikh Taofeek Akeugbagold, were yesterday paraded by the state Police Command. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Shina Olukolu, while addressing journalists at the Command headquarters at Eleyele, Ibadan, said the suspects in the sensational case of the kidnapping of the 2-year-old twins of the cleric were arrested with substantial parts of the ransom collected with gun used for the operation; the two operational vehicles and one motorcycle recovered from them. The police boss described the seven armed robbers cum

kidnappers as a syndicate terrorising members of the public within Ibadan metropolis and other parts of the state. According to him, “The notorious criminals attacked Akeugbagold’s wife and subsequently abducted his young twins to an unknown destination. The criminal assailants later demanded a ransom of N50million before the two abducted babies would be released. “As soon as the incident was reported at Ojoo Police Station, and later transferred to AKS Eleyele/SARS office in Dugbe, Ibadan, a team of AKS/ SARS operatives swung into action, while concerted efforts were intensified to rescue the abducted toddlers and arrest the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

Kogi Guber Election: SDP, Akpoti Lose to Bello at Election Tribunal Alex Enumah in Abuja The Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate in the Kogi State governorship election, Natasha Akpoti, yesterday lost in their bid to nullify the election of the state Governor, Yahaya Bello, as their petition was dismissed by the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal. A three-man panel of the tribunal in a unanimous judgment dismissed the petition on the grounds that allegations made against the victory of Bello in the November 16 governorship poll was not proved. Following the declaration of Bello as the winner of the gubernatorial election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),

the petitioners, citing electoral malpractices, violence and other abnormalities, approached the tribunal to nullify Bello’s victory and order for a rerun. Apart from their claim that the election was marred by corrupt practices, violence and over-voting in all the polling units in the 21 local government areas of the state, the petitioners also alleged that Bello and his running mate, Mr. Edward Onoja, were not qualified to contest in the election on the grounds that Onoja gave false information in his Form CF001 submitted to INEC concerning the circumstances of his exit from the banking industry. Additionally, they claimed that Onoja falsified his age and forged his educational certificate to aid his qualification to stand the election.

Gbajabiamila Begs FCT Health Workers to Extend Ultimatum on Strike Adedayo Akinwale and Udora Orizu in Abuja The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has appealed to the Joint Health Sector Union and the Assembly of Healthcare Professionals (JOHESU), FCT Chapter, to extend the strike ultimatum they gave to the FCT Administration. The JOHESU had on May 7, given the government up to May 28 to address the irregularities in salary payment since January, nonpayment of arrears of promotion from 2016, 2017 and 2018, delay in the release of conversion and

proper placement of some of the workers, in order to avert workers’ strike. But Gbajabiamila, at a meeting with the officials of the union at the National Assembly, Abuja, yesterday, pleaded with the health workers to tarry a while on the issue and assured them that the House would deliberate on the matter at plenary on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, (today) and come up with a strong resolution. He also hinted that the House would meet with the officials from the FCTA, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Budget Office and IPPIS officials to ensure that all issues were resolved with immediate effect.


Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari (left), and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno, (rtd), during the Chief of Staff’s first official visit to the NSA in Abuja... yesterday

Family Petitions Lagos CP over Mysterious Death, Burial of Daughter Chiemelie Ezeobi Following the alleged mysterious death of their daughter and subsequent burial without their knowldege, the family of the late Adiya Ikumu has petitioned the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu. In the petition, a member of the family, Mr. Tony Iji, said his sister was allegedly killed by the duo

of Marvelous Mary and Nneka Bubby, both roommates of the deceased. The family said their attention was drawn to their daughter’s death on Facebook few days ago somewhere at Ajah area of Lagos where she lived with the other two ladies. The petition read: “upon enquiries, our people were able to establish contact with Marvelous Mary through her

phone number and Nneka Buddy on her Facebook page, who reluctantly revealed to us that their friend was dead and that her dead body was in their custody. “They told us that they had her instruction not to allow members of her family to know anything about her death and that they were authorised by the deceased to bury her according to her wish.

“Since then, all effort by our family and our community here in Lagos to know the cause and circumstances surrounding her death has been rebuffed by Marvelous and Nneka who are the only persons with information about her death.” Iji said the duo later sent a chat on WhatsApp to a family member with a picture of a casket showing that she has been buried.

Court Orders Retired Officer to Initiate Contempt Suit against Olonisakin Davidson Iriekpen The National Industry Court (NIC) in Abuja has issued an order permitting one of the senior officers unlawfully dismissed by the Nigerian Army, Lt. Col. Abdulfatai Mohammed, to initiate committal proceedings against the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin. The court hinged its decision on Olonisakin’s refusal to show

evidence that he transmitted the affected officers’ appeals to President Muhammadu Buhari. The army had in June 2016 forced 38 officers to retire from service. But most of them were illegally removed from service, the industrial court has repeatedly held. Paragraph 09.02(e) of the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service for Officers, 2012 (revised) – provides that any officer compulsorily retired or dismissed

can appeal to the president through the Chief of Defence Staff within 30 days. Following the army’s illegal action, 22 of the affected officers exploited this window and petitioned the president through General Olonisakin, via a July 2016 letter referenced CDS/6/1/A. However, they are concerned that the defence chief has refused to transmit their petition to the president as required by the law.

The order by Justice Sanusi Kado means that General Olonisakin is “legally obligated and duty bound to transmit” Abdufatai’s appeal to the president for administrative review with proof of doing so. The case started two years ago when Abdulfatai approached the court for an order of mandamus to compel the Chief of Defence Staff to forward his letter of redress to the Commander-in-Chief, Buhari and show proof of doing so to the court.

Kaduna Court Convicts Major General, Cleric for LockdownViolation A Kaduna Mobile Court has convicted a serving Army General for violating the COVID-9 lockdown order of the Kaduna State Government to contain the spread of the pandemic. The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Aisha Dikko, said this in a statement issued yesterday. However, Dikko did not reveal the name of the military

chief. The AG, who warned residents against violating the lockdown order, said the Kakuri Mobile Court arrested the army general at Toll Gate area of Kaduna-Abuja Expressway. She said the army chief, who was in uniform, was arrested while driving into the state from Abuja with three passengers not wearing face masks.

Dikko said, “The general identified himself and said he was coming from Abuja and on official duties. However, the court tried and convicted the other three passengers for not complying with the stay-at-home order and wearing face masks.” The commissioner also said the court convicted a popular Islamic cleric in the state, Sheikh Yusuf Rigachukun, and his son

for violating the lockdown order. Dikko said the duo were arrested at Kaduna State University junction for violating the stay-at-home order and not wearing face masks. She said the cleric told the court that he was invited by the Kaduna State Media Corporation for a radio programme, hence he did not obey the lockdown order.

Bill Seeking to LegaliseVirtual Court Proceedings for Second Reading Deji Elumoye in Abuja The constitution alteration bill seeking to legalise virtual court proceedings which passed through the first reading at the Senate last Tuesday is billed for second reading today. The bill entitled: ‘1999 Constitution

of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration)Bill,2020(SB.418)’sponsored by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, is aimed at ensuring the much needed corresponding amendment of relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) in giving legal teeth to virtual court proceedings.

Senator Bamidele told THISDAY yesterday that he is ready to lead the debate at plenary today after which other interested senators will air their views on the bill. He appealed for understanding, as he stressed that the details and general principles of the bill will be exhaustively debated on the floor

of the Senate when it comes up for second reading According to him, copies of the bill had been distributed among senators to enable them study the details ahead of today’s plenary so as to be able to make necessary input to the bill.


TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2020 ˾T H I S D AY


ABC Health Appoints Atoki New Chief Executive Officer The African Business Coalition for Health (ABCHealth) has announced the appointment of Mories Atoki as chief executive officer(CEO). The coalition said in a statement that Mories brings years of experience as senior manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers where she pioneered and led the firm’s Sustainability

& Climate Change practice. It said with an extensive track record in the field of development and as a recognised sustainability expert, she is a member of the Advisory Board of Partners for Review (P4R), a United Nations supported initiative to standardise sustainable development reporting. Mories is also an alumnus of

A Mutual fund (Unit Trust) is an investment vehicle managed by a SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) registered Fund Manager. Investors with similar objectives buy units of the Fund so that the Fund Manager can buy securities that willl generate their desired return. An ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) is a type of fund which owns the assets (shares of stock, bonds, oil futures, gold bars, foreign currency, etc.) and divides ownership of those assets into shares. Investors can buy these ‘shares’ on the

Harvard Business School (HBS) as well as the London School of Business & Finance. Chairman of ABCHealth and Co Chairman of Global Business Coalition for Health (GBCHealth), Aigboje AigImoukhuede said: “Mories’ appointment comes at a critical moment for ABCHealth. We have just finalised a rigorous strategic

floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) is an investment vehicle that allows both small and large investors to part-own real estate ventures (eg. Offices, Houses, Hospitals) in proportion to their investments. The assets are divided into shares that are traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. GUIDE TO DATA: Date: All fund prices are quoted in Naira as at 15May-2020, unless otherwise stated.

planning process aimed at transforming Africa’s Health landscape. Our theory of change now needs to be implemented and Mories has a mandate to successfully drive its implementation.” CEO of Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) and Board member of ABCHealth, Zouera Youssoufou, said: “Mories has a strong

track record for execution, she has good communications skills and great leadership capabilities. Her understanding of Africa’s health landscape provides a balanced perspective in our organisation’s mandate of transforming the continent’s health landscape. Speaking on her appointment, Atoki said: “I am honoured and excited to lead

ABCHealth. I believe that my appointment as the CEO of ABCHealth has come at a time when Africa clearly needs a strong convener of all stakeholders in Africa’s public and private sectors to facilitate deep partnerships and collaboration all with one end in sight – improving the continent’s health outcomes.”

Offer price: The price at which units of a trust or ETF are bought by investors. Bid Price: The price at which Investors redeem (sell) units of a trust or ETF. Yield/Total Return: Denotes the total return an investor would have earned on his investment. Money Market Funds report Yield while others report Year- to-date Total Return. NAV: Is value per share of the real estate assets held by a REIT on a specific date.

DAILY PRICE LIST FOR MUTUAL FUNDS, REITS and ETFS MUTUAL FUNDS / UNIT TRUSTS AFRINVEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD aaml@afrinvest.com Web: www.afrinvest.com; Tel: +234 818 885 6757 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Afrinvest Equity Fund N/A N/A N/A Afrinvest Plutus Fund N/A N/A N/A Nigeria International Debt Fund N/A N/A N/A ALTERNATIVE CAPITAL PARTNERS LTD info@acapng.com Web: www.acapng.com, Tel: +234 1 291 2406, +234 1 291 2868 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn ACAP Canary Growth Fund 0.92 0.93 2.40% ACAP Income Funds 0.78 0.78 9.89% AIICO CAPITAL LTD ammf@aiicocapital.com Web: www.aiicocapital.com, Tel: +234-1-2792974 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AIICO Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 6.78% AIICO Balanced Fund 2.59 2.65 5.36% info@anchoriaam.com ANCHORIA ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED Web:www.anchoriaam.com, Tel: 08166830267; 08036814510; 08028419180 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Anchoria Money Market 100.00 100.00 5.85% Anchoria Equity Fund 94.89 95.20 -7.41% Anchoria Fixed Income Fund 1.19 1.19 4.20% ARM INVESTMENT MANAGERS LTD enquiries@arminvestmentcenter.com Web: www.arm.com.ng; Tel: 0700 CALLARM (0700 225 5276) Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn ARM Aggressive Growth Fund 13.90 14.32 -9.28% ARM Discovery Fund 329.11 339.03 -4.73% ARM Ethical Fund 29.31 30.19 0.77% ARM Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 5.50% AXA MANSARD INVESTMENTS LIMITED investmentcare@axamansard.com Web: www.axamansard.com; Tel: +2341-4488482 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AXA Mansard Equity Income Fund 92.24 92.89 -3.99% AXA Mansard Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 5.43% CAPITAL EXPRESS ASSET AND TRUST LIMITED info@capitalexpressassetandtrust.com Web: www.capitalexpressassetandtrust.com ; Tel: +234 803 307 5048 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn CEAT Fixed Income Fund N/A N/A N/A CHAPELHILL DENHAM MANAGEMENT LTD investmentmanagement@chapelhilldenham.com Web: www.chapelhilldenham.com, Tel: +234 461 0691 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Chapelhill Denham Money Market Fund 0.08 0.05 7.69% Paramount Equity Fund 10.56 10.76 -15.60% Women's Investment Fund 105.94 106.71 -4.13% CORDROS ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED assetmgtteam@cordros.com Web: www.cordros.com, Tel: 019036947 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Cordros Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 5.25% Cordros Milestone Fund 2023 96.69 96.90 Cordros Milestone Fund 2028 104.68 104.94 CORONATION ASSEST MANAGEMENT investment@coronationam.com Web:www.coronationam.com , Tel: 012366215 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Coronation Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 4.30% Coronation Balanced Fund 0.88 0.89 -5.20% Coronation Fixed Income Fund 1.39 1.39 4.69% EDC FUNDS MANAGEMENT LIMITED mutualfundng@ecobank.com Web: www.ecobank.com Tel: 012265281 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn EDC Nigeria Money Market Fund Class A N/A N/A N/A EDC Nigeria Money Market Fund Class B N/A N/A N/A EDC Nigeria Fixed Income Fund N/A N/A N/A FBNQUEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD invest@fbnquest.com Web: www.fbnquest.com/asset-management; Tel: +234-81 0082 0082 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn FBN Fixed Income Fund 1,249.38 1,250.82 3.04% FBN Balanced Fund 141.85 142.87 -3.39% FBN Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 5.24% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Institutional 108.74 109.69 -5.60% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Retail 109.24 110.18 -5.65% FBN Nigeria Smart Beta Equity Fund 112.26 113.59 -13.73% FCMB ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED fcmbamhelpdesk@fcmb.com Web: www.fcmbassetmanagement.com; Tel: +234 1 462 2596 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Legacy Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 6.29% Legacy Debt Fund 3.75 3.75 2.60% Legacy Equity Fund 1.04 1.06 -7.82% Legacy USD Bond Fund 1.10 1.10 1.90% FSDH ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD coralfunds@fsdhgroup.com Web: www.fsdhaml.com; Tel: 01-270 4884-5; 01-280 9740-1 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Coral Growth Fund 2,896.16 2,927.52 -2.90% Coral Income Fund 3,161.57 3,161.57 15.33% FSDH Treasury Bills Fund 100.00 100.00 5.83% GREENWICH ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED assetmanagement@gtlgroup.com Web: www.gtlgroup.com ; Tel: +234 1 4619261-2 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Greenwich Plus Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 5.45% Nigeria Entertainment Fund 118.92 119.46 10.38%

GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED assetmanagement@gdl.com.ng Web: www.gdl.com.ng ; Tel: +234 9055691122 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn GDL Money Market Fund N/A N/A N/A INVESTMENT ONE FUNDS MANAGEMENT LTD enquiries@investment-one.com Web: www.investment-one.com; Tel: +234 812 992 1045,+234 1 448 8888 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Abacus Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 4.39% Vantage Balanced Fund 2.21 2.25 0.86% Vantage Guaranteed Income Fund 1.00 1.00 9.39% Kedari Investment Fund (KIF) 142.52 143.07 -0.62% LOTUS CAPITAL LTD fincon@lotuscapitallimited.com Web: www.lotuscapitallimited.com; Tel: +234 1-291 4626 / +234 1-291 4624 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Lotus Halal Investment Fund 1.19 1.21 1.98% Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund 1,122.92 1,122.92 4.17% MERISTEM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD info@meristemwealth.com Web: http://www.meristemwealth.com/funds/ ; Tel: +234 1-4488260 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Meristem Equity Market Fund 7.47 7.54 -23.78% Meristem Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 4.79% PAC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD info@pacassetmanagement.com Web: www.pacassetmanagement.com/mutualfunds; Tel: +234 1 271 8632 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn PACAM Balanced Fund 1.37 1.39 11.74% PACAM Fixed Income Fund 11.98 12.03 6.29% PACAM Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 3.54% PACAM Equity Fund 1.02 1.03 PACAM EuroBond Fund 93.08 95.25 SCM CAPITAL LIMITED info@scmcapitalng.com Web: www.scmcapitalng.com; Tel: +234 1-280 2226,+234 1- 280 2227 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SCM Capital Frontier Fund 110.74 113.38 -2.64% SFS CAPITAL NIGERIA LTD investments@sfsnigeria.com Web: www.sfsnigeria.com, Tel: +234 (01) 2801400 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SFS Fixed Income Fund 1.01 1.01 3.72% STANBIC IBTC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD assetmanagement@stanbicibtc.com Web: www.stanbicibtcassetmanagement.com; Tel: +234 1 280 1266; 0700 MUTUALFUNDS Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Stanbic IBTC Balanced Fund 2,521.35 2,532.80 0.27% Stanbic IBTC Bond Fund 210.33 210.33 2.79% Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund 0.88 0.89 -5.06% Stanbic IBTC Guaranteed Investment Fund 273.87 273.95 3.16% Stanbic IBTC Iman Fund 154.92 156.64 -3.84% Stanbic IBTC Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 5.05% Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund 7,674.15 7,756.30 -5.93% Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund (USD) 1.16 1.16 2.12% Stanbic IBTC Shariah Fixed Income Fund 118.18 118.18 0.00% UNITED CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web: www.unitedcapitalplcgroup.com; Tel: +234 803 306 2887 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn United Capital Balanced Fund 1.12 1.14 -7.35% United Capital Bond Fund 1.80 1.80 3.76% United Capital Equity Fund 0.62 0.63 -12.45% United Capital Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 6.92% United Capital Eurobond Fund 114.63 114.63 2.49% United Capital Wealth for Women Fund 1.05 1.05 -3.69% QUANTUM ZENITH ASSET MANAGEMENT & INVESTMENTS LTD service@quantumzenithasset.com.ng Web: www.quantumzenith.com.ng; Tel: +234 1-2784219 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Zenith Equity Fund 10.00 10.13 -2.65% Zenith Ethical Fund 11.62 11.79 0.29% Zenith Income Fund 23.44 23.44 5.41% Zenith Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 3.80%


Yield / T-Rtn

3.40 114.44 52.79

-64.85% 2.22% 1.42%

Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

8.14 84.36 65.16

8.24 86.10 66.34

-6.49% -8.81% -11.64%

Fund Name FSDH UPDC Real Estate Investment Fund SFS Skye Shelter Fund Union Homes REIT

EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS Fund Name Lotus Halal Equity Exchange Traded Fund SIAML Pension ETF 40 Stanbic IBTC ETF 30 Fund

VETIVA FUND MANAGERS LTD Web: www.vetiva.com; Tel: +234 1 453 0697 Fund Name Vetiva Banking Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Consumer Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Griffin 30 Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Industrial Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva S&P Nigeria Sovereign Bond Exchange Traded Fund

funds@vetiva.com Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn




NAV Per Share

Yield / T-Rtn



INFRASTRUCTURE FUND Fund Name Chapel Hill Denham Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund

The value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise. Past performance is a guide and not an indication of future returns. Fund prices published in this edition are also available on each fund manager’s website and FMAN’s website at www.fman.com.ng. Fund prices are supplied by the operator of the relevant fund and are published for information purposes only.

TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 ˾T H I S D AY



Bill Gates Foundation Debunks Bribery Allegation over Infectious Diseases Bill House summons CUPP spokesman

Udora Orizu in Abuja Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has debunked allegation that it offered a $10 million bribe to some members of the House of Representatives to see to the speedy passage of the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill. This was as the Ad hoc committee investigating the allegation has given the spokesman of the Coalition of United

Political Parties, (CUPP), Ikenga Ugochinyere, till next Thursday to appear before it with evidence of inducement as alleged by him or face parliamentary contempt. Ugochinyere recently alleged that the American billionaire, Bill Gates, offered the House of Representatives $10 million for the passage of the controversial legislation. But, speaking on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates

Foundation before the House Ad hoc committee yesterday, Gates, who was represented by the Foundation’s Country Director, Paulin Basinga, described such allegations as entirely false and

without merit, saying there was no interaction whatsoever between himself and the parliament. Basinga said the Foundation has not offered any financial incentives to any member of

Nigeria’s legislative branch for the passage of the bill nor has it offered any grant to organisations in Nigeria in connection with the same. He explained that in Nigeria,

the Foundation’s focus is on improving the quality of life for the Nigerian people, and that the foundation is working closely with many partners in achieving that goal.

ASUU Gives Conditions to Suspend Strike NASU threatens to embark on strike over IPPIS Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) has said it would call off its industrial action if progress is made on key areas, including revitalisation fund, lecturers-earned allowances and funding of state universities. This is coming as the NonAcademic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) yesterday threatened to begin strike in all federal universities, polytechnics and Colleges of Education when schools resume if nothing was done to address its grievances. Against the background of the demand by the federal government for ASUU to call off its strike before resumption of the next phase of negotiations, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the union is ready for negotiations, but that

the suspension of the strike would be dependent on how the federal government responses to its key demands. He listed the demands to include earned academic allowances, revitalisation, presidential visitation panel to federal universities, and proliferation of universities by state governors. Ogunyemi said the way forward is “that we should talk; the government shouldopenaspacefordiscussion,as we are ready to discuss and make concrete agreements on those issues we have raised; earned academic allowances, revitalisation, presidential visitation panel to federal universities, discuss the proliferation of universities by state governors and government issues in state universities, as establishment of universities has been turned into constituency projects.


L-R: Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde; son of the deceased, Folarin Ayoola; the widow, Prof. Olukemi Ayoola; son, Beel’loluwawi Ayoola; Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun; and Head of Service, Alhaja Ololade Agboola, during a valedictory executive council session for the late commissioner, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola, held at Government House, Ibadan...yesterday

FG Queries Perm Sec for Buying Uncompleted Building for N7bn Raheem Akingbolu The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr. Muhammed Umar Bello, has been asked by the presidency to explain why N7,044,746,264.06 was spent on the purchase of uncompleted building without the conduct of the mandatory statutory structural and mechanical integrity tests and prior approval of the FCDA

Public Building Department. After purchase, the building was eventually found to be an uncompleted carcass, requiring billions of naira to complete and make safe for occupation. In a preliminary letter/query issued on May 11, 2020 and signed by the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, copy of which was obtained by THISDAY, Bello was alleged to have used his position

as Permanent Secretary and Accounting Officer, to engage in acts of serious misconduct which, if proven, could lead to dismissal from service. According to the letter, in spite of the budgetary release of the N98, 405,763,678.68 in 2018 (which represents 99.44 of 2018 appropriation) to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Bello as the permanent secretary did not

take necessary action to pay the eligible contractors, which led to the ministry having an outstanding contractual liability in the sum of N48,429,543,895.72. It was also stated that under his leadership, the ministry utilised the entire 2019 first quarter release of N7,737,208,135.18 to pay for the 2018 contractors that were fully funded in 2018 which, Presidency admitted it constituted virement without authority.

One Killed in Cult Clash in Kwara Oil Workers Accuse Companies of Breaching Contract Agreements was strangulated and machete to Hammed Shittu in Ilorin The supremacy tussle between two rival cult gangs in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, at the weekend claimed the life of yet-to-be identified man. Already, the state police command has commenced full investigation into the incident so as to arrest the culprits. The incident, according to THISDAY checks, happened at the premises of a Junior Secondary school in Okelele area of Ilorin last Sunday. The development led the residents of the area to run for safety following the display of dangerous weapons by the two cult gangs in the area. During the melee, it was further gathered that the victim

death by his assailants An eyewitness, who confirmed the incident to THISDAY yesterday in Ilorin, said the incident happened within the premises of the Junior School section. He added that the suspected assassins came with a tricycle fully armed with dangerous weapons. The eyewitness stressed that: “From the way it happened, I think he had been on their death list and his movement was being watched before he was finally tracked down in the school.” Also speaking, the school gateman confirmed that two suspects have been arrested by the state police command, while the remains of victim had been evacuated by the police.

Osun Moves to Diversify Economy Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo Osun State Government has said that it is putting plans in place to diversify its economy into agriculture and mining as part of its post COVID-19 economic revival strategies. This was disclosed through a press statement by the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, after the fifth virtual State Executive Council meeting, held yesterday. Egbemode announced that the State Executive Council agreed to empower 5,764

farmers to grow cassava, cotton and engage in fish farming, with the help of the Central Bank of Nigeria. According to her, 12 Local Government Areas have also earmarked about 2,000 hectares of agricultural land in addition to the existing Farm Settlements across the State. Speaking on the state’s immediate agricultural intervention, Egbemode said: “On Thursday May 21, the state will be flagging off its planting season. It has already moved farming equipment into its Ila Farm Settlement”.

Peter Uzoho

Oil companies in Nigeria have been accused of using the hard times occasioned by COVID-19 as a pretext to breach subsisting contract agreements they have with their employees. The accusation was made by the National President of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Mr. Williams

Akporeha, who stated that oil companies were terminating contracts without recourse to the subsisting collective bargaining agreements. Akporeha stated this at the virtual session organised recently by the African Initiative for Transparency and Responsible Leadership (AfriTAL) under its Save Nigeria Oil Gas Initiative Programme, which focused on “Post COVID-19: Oil and

Gas Industry Challenges and Prospects.” A communique emanating from the session that was signed by the Executive Director of AfriTAL, Mr. Ogbeifun Brown, which quoted Akporeha said: “Though everybody is saying that the unions should cooperate with the companies to survive, that survival should not be translated into redundancies all the time on the part of the unions.”

He alleged that the union has not been consulted when government and the companies were taking decisions on issues that required their inputs. Citing the issue of removal of subsidy on petrol and the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Brown noted that government has a lot to do in terms of consultation with key stakeholders, including the oil workers.

Firm Demands $1.5bn from FG over Terminated Contract Nigeria may be heading for another billion-dollar arbitration as a debt-recovery firm is demanding $1,501,539,032 from the federal government over a botched contract, THISDAY has learnt. The firm, Trobell International Limited, engaged by the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in April 2018 to help recover an estimated

$43 billion unpaid “oil profits” from multinational companies at a commission of five per cent, is threatening to sue the federal government. However, federal government decided in October 2019 to step down the recovery process following a meeting of stakeholders after Trobell had issued demand notices to the oil companies.

According to TheCable, Trobell which was to pocket $2.15 billion as commission, is now claiming 50 per cent of the fee, saying it had already done significant work. Nigeria is currently in international arbitration with P&ID over a botched oil and gas processing contract in which $9.8 billion including interest has been awarded against the country. Also, Sunrise Power is making

a $2.3 billion claim in arbitration against Nigeria over the Mambilla power project, although it has now entered into a $200million settlement. Nigeria had, in 1993, signed production contracts with oil companies to explore deep offshore and inland basins, before changing the agreements to production sharing contracts (PSCs) in 1999.

NIMC Workers Proffer Use of NIN for Data on the Vulnerable Olawale AjimotokaninAbuja The workers’ union of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has urged the federal government to seek the support of NIMC to give accurate data on number of the poor and vulnerable people requiring palliative in the light of the COVID-19 crisis.

The union Chairman of NIMC, Lucky Michael Afelokhai, said the controversy surrounding the federal government’s COVID-19 palliative distribution can be bridged if there is identity authentication of the recipients. He proffered the use of the National Identity Number (NIN) and payment applet embedded in

the GMPC e-ID card issued by the NIMC as solution to the identity gap. Afelokhai noted that while National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its executive summary of the 2019 poverty and equality report released last week put the number of the poor people in the country at 82.9 million or 40.1 per cent of the population, the National Social Register of poor

put the numbers of the vulnerable households and individuals at 2.6 million and 11 million respectively. The NIMC union called on the attention of the government, saying the nearest solution to the conflicting data is to use the NIN issued by NIMC for authentication of the real vulnerable people.


TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 ˾T H I S D AY



We’re Not Trying New Drugs, Says WHO The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday said that in developing an effecting regimen for the treatment of COVID-19, it is not trying out new drugs but repurposing available ones to determine their effect on the virus. It also said it is still at the information gathering stage of the multi-country solidarity trial which should ultimately lead to a most effective formulation for treating COVID-19. The Country Representative of the WHO, Fiona Braka, made this known during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.

According to her, “The solidarity trial is a large multi-country effort that is going on across several countries globally. We are picking up on that trial in Nigeria; some states have started while some are yet to start. “The whole idea is that the large pool of information across countries will be systematically analysed at the global level, in addition to what is coming in from the other countries. Guidance will now be provided to countries on which formulation is more effective. “These are not new drugs that we are trying but drugs that we

already have available but are simply being repurposed for the intention of determining their effect on the coronavirus. We will keep you updated on what the timeline for the vaccine will look like. But

we are still early in the process in collection of the data.” She added: “Overall, we have relatively few cases of COVID-19 confirmed in infants, children, and those that get infected experience

mild symptoms. “However, recently, we have received reports from Europe and North America that have described a cluster of children and adolescents requiring

admission to intensive care units with a multi-cystic inflammatory disorder which has some features similar to those of Kawasaki diseases and toxic shock syndrome.

Setraco Chairman Cushions Pains of Pandemic in Edo Community The Chairman of Setraco Nigeria Limited, Chief Abu Inu Umoru, has joined many illustrious sons of Nigeria to support the most vulnerable households as the COVID-19 pandemic bites harder following the many lockdowns and restrictions to curtail its spread. Inu Umoru donated palliatives in thousands to the Auchi Sacred Kingdom in Edo State. Food items, including 80 bags of rice, 50 bags of beans, 80 cartons to vegetable oil, and 960 tubers of yam were distributed to the residents of the community. Others include 96 cartons of tomato paste, and 120 cartons

of super pack noodles. These food items are targeted at 1,000 households and would be distributed among the 25 villages of Auchi among the Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and other communities in the Auchi Sacred Kingdom. In appreciation, the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Aliru H. Momoh Ikelebe III, who personally received the items, praised Inu Umoru for the kind gesture. The mornach commended the chairman’s actions which he described as selfless since political interest was not his motivation. The Otaru prayed Allah to reward Inu Umoru and replenish his pocket.

Ekiti Threatens to Shut Major Markets Indefinitely Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti The Ekiti State Government yesterday threatened to shut down major markets in Ado Ekiti metropolis indefinitely if the traders fail to adhere strictly to the compulsory use of face masks and sanitizers. The state government said it decided to reopen the Oja Oba, Shasha and Bisi Markets, all in Ado Ekiti metropolis, following rules handed down by the state government that traders must take precautions regarding personal hygiene to contain COVID-19 spread, saying there was no compromise on this order. The Coordinator of the COVID-19 Task Force and Director-General Office of Transformation, Strategy and

Delivery, Professor Bolaji Aluko, stated this in Ado Ekiti yesterday while giving update on the pandemic. Aluko, who declared last weekend that the state government had received N631 million for supports against COVID-19, said names of individual and corporate donors have been published in line with the transparency and accountability agenda of the government. According to him, “We have our rules and guidelines, which border on compulsory use of face masks, sanitizers and hand washing mechanism in our markets. “But the government will not hesitate to close down these markets indefinitely with the reports that people are not complying with this directive.”

Bauchi Hotels Seek N500m Palliatives Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi Hotel proprietors in Bauchi State have cried out that their businesses are being paralysed by the ban on social gatherings and partial lockdown of the state to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state. The Chairman of Nigeria Hotels Association, Bauchi State Chapter, Mr. Eze Patrick Anyanwu, who addressed newsmen yesterday at Obuna Royal Hotel, Bauchi, also called on the state government to assist the association with the sum of N500 million in order to save

the hotels from collapse. Anyanwu said that the negative impact of COVID-19 on their businesses has constrained them to resort to borrowing from banks to maintain their hotels and pay staffs’ salaries. He said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the hotels. Yet we are expected at the end of the month to still pay taxes, pay for electricity, water and so on. “Some of our staffs are being paid fully, some are paid half salaries. We have not decided to have any of our staff sacked. They are still on the job.


L-R: Representative of Save the Children Nigeria, Dr. Opeyemi Odedere; Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye; and Manager, The Cuppy Foundation,Mr. Adebola Ajayi, during the donation of COVID-19 medical equipment to the Lagos State Government by Save the Children Nigeria in Lagos... yesterday ETOP UKUTT

Pandemic Drugs: We Are Studying Claims, Says Minister Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has stated that his ministry is currently verifying claims for the cure of COVID-19. He made this known in a statement after the ministry’s quarterly management meeting with its agencies yesterday in

Abuja. According to the statement, “The ministry has begun verification claims for the cure of COVID-19. And that all submissions for the pandemic cure have been directed to the Academy of Science for verification as well as recommendation to the ministry.” The ministry had offered the sum of N36 million to scientists

and inventors that could find the cure for COVID-19 and Lassa fever, reiterating that the ministry was working hard to develop home-grown solutions to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic. He assured Nigerians that encouraging results had been submitted, and in no distant time, details on the submissions would be made known to the

country. Onu added that for Nigeria to increase foreign earnings, the country must look inwards for solutions to its problems and export same to other countries. The ministry said it was working to procure huge grants in order to support research and development efforts in the science and technology sector.

Delta Takes Life Insurance for over 2,550 Health Workers Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba Delta State Government has taken life-insurance for a total of 2,557 health workers as part of a motivational package for those regarded as first-line charge in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye, disclosed this while presenting an update on the state response activities against the

COVID-19 to journalists at the Government House in Asaba yesterday. Ononye, who is also the Chairman, Delta State Technical Committee on COVID-19, was flanked at a reasonable distance by his Information counterpart, Mr. Charles Aniagwu and Mrs. Minnie Oseji, permanent secretary in the health ministry. The health commissioner also said the government was also in

the process of negotiating with the Medical and Health Workers Union concerning the hazard allowance for different categories of health workers. Ononye said: “We have continued to ensure the welfare of health workers as well as providing the needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We are also engaging with them and their unions to ensure that their allowances are paid. “The state has also taken life-

insurance for 2,557 health workers to motivate them. I commend them for their selfless efforts so far, and urge them to do more for Deltans.” He also cautioned against discrimination or stigmatisation whatsoever against anyone who may have tested positive for coronavirus as it discourages people from going to the hospitals, even as he said individuals should feel free to take the test for the COVID-19 voluntarily.

NCDC Commends Cross River’s Pandemic-free Status Bassey Inyang in Calabar The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has commended the Cross River State Government for taking proactive measures against the spread of COVID-19, saying from every indication, the state is free from the virus, which has infected about 6,000 Nigerians. The NCDC stated this yesterday when a seven-member Response Team from the federal

government agency visited the state to ascertain the state’s real status in relation to the spread of the COVID-19 in the territory occupied by a population of about four million people. So far, only Cross River and Kogi states have not officially recorded any case of COVID-19. Speaking in Calabar, the state capital, after listening to the report on COVID-19 in relation to Cross River State, the leader

of the NCDC delegation, Dr. Omobolanle Olowu, said they have every reason to believe that COVID-19 has not spread to the state as a result of the swift response and proactive measures put in place by the state Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, to keep the ravaging virus away from the state. She said their visit has addressed a lot of anxiety about the controversy relating to COVID-19 and the state,

especially the reports that made the rounds that NCDC officials will be quarantined, if they set their feet on the soil of the state. “There was a lot of anxiety before coming to Cross River State, but I am glad we were given a warm reception. “We are surprised at the level of work that has been put in place. So far, all the people we saw were all on face masks with different teams at various points in the state.”

Akeredolu Considers Reopening of Worship Centres Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said he might consider reopening religious centres across the state. The state government had earlier placed a ban on social and religious gatherings in the state to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Akeredolu, who spoke with journalists at the Government House, Alagbaka, Akure yesterday, said he would meet with the religious leaders in the state in order to devise means of bringing back activities at worship centres. Akeredolu said, “We will do

all to ensure freedom, confidence, and prosperity for our people, including the right to seek the face of God at all times and especially at these crucial times. “In furtherance to this, the government will be meeting with religious leaders and other

stakeholders within the state to explore ways of returning religious worship to our society. We will accelerate such consultations and review and without doubt, the people will hear from me very soon.”

TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 • T H I S D AY


TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020 • T H I S D AY


Ëœ͚Π˜ͺ͸ͺ͸ËžT H I S D AY



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

NFF Board Votes for NPFL Season to be Completed Orders Gernot Rohr’s contract sealed within one week Duro Ikhazuagbe As major football leagues around the world are battling to either cancel their 2019/2020 season or play behind closed

doors to complete their fixtures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has voted for the NPFL and other leagues in the country to run their full courses once

... Lagos Gets Masks, Hand Gloves, PPE Covers Support from NFF The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), yesterday donated thousands of masks, hand gloves, sanitisers and Personal Preventive Equipment, to the Lagos State Government. The NFF donation was presented to the Lagos State Government by the federation’s First Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, supported by executive board member and Head of Committee, Nigeria Women Football League, Aisha Falode. The donation of 3,000 pieces of face masks, 1,000 pair of hand gloves, 1,000 bottles of hand sanitisers and 50 pieces of Personal Preventive Equipment (PPE) covers, were received on behalf of the state by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mr. Segun Ogboye, at the Alausa secretariat, Ikeja, Lagos. The NFF Vice President, said the donation was the football federation’s support to Lagos, going by the state’s proactive

response to preventive measures against the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. He noted that, going by the immeasurable contributions of the state in nipping the deadly pandemic in the bud, the NFF was compelled to support the state government’s excellent programmes, which had safeguarded the lives of people living in the financial capital of Nigeria. “If the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had not proactively responded the way he did to tackle the spread of the Coronavirus, the cases in Nigeria would have been catastrophic, compared to the controlled situation in the country today. “Our donation is in support and solidarity with the state government for the wonderful job done so far to save the lives of Lagosians and by extension, Nigerians. We won’t hesitate to do more if the need arises,� Akinwunmi concluded.

government finds it expedient for sports to return. At its Executive Committee meeting which held by video conference last Thursday, the NFF Board mandated its Football Committee to liaise with the heads of the various Leagues (Nigeria Professional Football League; Nigeria National League; Nigeria Women Football League and; Nigeria Nation-wide League One) and other important stakeholders on the return of the domestic football season. “This however is subject to announcement by the

Federal Government on resumption of football and other sporting activities in the country,� stressed the communique issued at the end of the board meeting. The NFF board meeting commended the proactive and comprehensive policies, strategies and measures instituted by the Federal Government to tackle the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) that has left pain and sorrow in most nations of the world in the past couple of months. It equally praised the Federal Ministry of Health,

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), all first responders and all other public health workers in the frontline for their efforts in reducing community transmission and saving lives. The Board acknowledged the advice of world footballgoverning body, FIFA on how the $500,000 relief fund sent to the NFF, among other FIFA monies available to the NFF, should be spent. During the League Management Company’s online conference with NPFL clubs and other major stakeholders penultimate

week, the league organizers had listed four options before them on how to end the season if the pandemic persists. One of the options was to complete the fixtures as soon as government finds the situation conducive for sports to return. The Executive Committee also mandated the General Secretary of the federation, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, to liaise with the Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Mr. Gernot Rohr with a view to concluding all matters around Mr. Rohr’s new contract within the next one week.

Sadio Mane (2nd right) and his Liverpool teammates are due to return to group training today ahead of expected restart of the English Premier League any time next month

Premier League: Clubs’ Small Groups Trainings to Resume Today

R-L: NFF’s Executive Committee member, Aisha Falode; NFF’s First Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi presenting the donation to the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mr. Segun Ogboye, who received them on behalf of the state govt at the Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja, Lagos...yesterday

Oparanozie Confirms Exit from Guingamp Former Nigeria’s Super Falcons striker and skipper, Desire Oparanozie, has confirmed her exit from French side, Guingamp. The contract of the former Bayelsa Queen attacker, according to www.bsn.com, ended at the end of this season and has decided to move on. She announced her departure from the club via her social media handle yesterday while also expressing appreciation to the club’s management, players and fans.

“After six years of playing for Guingamp, I won’t be continuing with them for the next season and I will be starting a new chapter. “I want to use this opportunity to thank everyone at the club, the board members, the coaching crew, my teammates, the staff, and most importantly the fans for the amazing years,� she wrote. Oparanozie joined the club in 2014, making 106 appearances and scored 45 goals.

Premier League clubs have agreed to stage one of the return to training protocols which allows teams to start training in small groups from today. Clubs voted unanimously on the decision at Monday’s “Project Restart� meeting. Players must observe social distancing rules, and contact training is not permitted. The first stage “has been agreed in consultation with players, managers, club doctors, independent experts and the government�. The Premier League statement added: “Strict medical protocols of the highest standard will ensure everyone returns to training in the safest environment possible. “The health and wellbeing of all participants is the Premier League’s priority, and the safe return to training is a step-by-step

process. “Full consultation will now continue with players, managers, clubs, the PFA and LMA as protocols for full-contact training are developed.� The Premier league had previously identified 12 June for matches to possibly start again but there is now an expectation this will need to be pushed back. The Premier League is likely to be given extra time to decide when it hopes to restart the 201920 season, after UEFA moved its executive committee meeting back from 27 May to 17 June on Monday. UEFA had previously said it wanted leagues to tell them what their plans are by 25 May, as these can only be signed off by the executive committee. It took the Bundesliga nearly five weeks from starting non-

contact training to playing matches. After Monday’s announcement by the Premier League, that would leave them looking at either 19 or 26 June. Official protocols sent to players and managers last week and obtained by the BBC revealed that corner-flags, balls, cones, goalposts and even playing surfaces will be disinfected after each training session. Ongoing surveillance measures included in further guidance include twice-weekly testing and a daily pre-training questionnaire and temperature check. Clubs have been carrying out coronavirus testing this weekend. Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce said the return to training will be “as safe as it can be�, with players arriving in kit and wearing snoods during training. “It’s been a really difficult time, but I hope with the news that

phase one is about to start - and I must stress that phase one looks as if it’s as safe as it can be - I’m sure everyone will be delighted that we’re trying to make that effort,� he told NUFC TV. “In phase one we’re allowed to train four to five people on one pitch, so basically a player has a quarter of a pitch to work within, so social distancing is not a problem. We’ll train with eight to 10 at a time on two separate pitches. “Everything is in place in the safety aspect. I’ve got no issues and I can tell the supporters the players and the staff are as safe as we possibly can be. We all understand that this virus isn’t going to go away just like that - it’s going to hang around a bit, but I think with the protocols in place we’ll do everything we possibly can to get up and running again.�

Over 220 Athletes Benefitted from Sports Ministry’s Relief Fund Over 220 sportsmen and women have benefitted from the Athletes Relief Fund set up by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to provide palliative for them in response to their inability to earn income as a result of disruptions to the sporting calendar by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The N11millions private sector donated fund, administered by a committee chaired by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Gabriel Tanimu Aduda, paid N50,000 to each beneficiary. The committee had set criteria for eligibility to assess the fund, which requires that beneficiary

is an Olympic bound athlete, or an athletes that has represented Nigeria in the past one year, or an athlete that is bound or qualified to represent Nigeira, or an athlete confirmed to be in dire need. The N11million donated funds were paid directly into the Ministry’s account

domicile with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from where the disbursements were made to the athletes. Following the disbursements, the Ministry has closed the adhoc sports relief fund, which was meant to serve only as a pillative for the COVID-19 lock down period.

Tuesday May 19, 2020



& RE A S O


Price: N250

MISSILE FG to ASUU “It is immoral and despicable for those who should be conducting research as Nigerians for the discovery of new drugs and medical equipment that will be used during COVID-19 period to say that they are at home playing Ludo and Draft and other games” – The federal government telling the Academic Staff Union of Universities to suspend the industrial action, began in March.

TUESDAY WITH REUBENABATI abati1990@gmail.com

COVID-19 and Nigerian Banks T he COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the entire world – the future of everything and the world of work, but perhaps the most visible effect of this disruption is most felt in the financial services sector, the markets and the global economy. In this regard, the banking sector is one of the most gravely impacted. It would be useful to reflect a little on the extent to which this is so in Nigeria and the meaning of the multi-dimensional implications, and hopefully, someday, someone will take on the task of analyzing in greater detail, bank-customer relations and the role of the banks in the time of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. I seek to provide a preliminary sketch, throw up a few posers and make some observations. When on March 29, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced the imposition of an initial two-week lockdown on Lagos and Ogun States and the Federal Capital Territory, the three parts of the country that had then presented a higher COVID-19 sero-prevalence, he exempted healthcare workers, security personnel, pharmaceutical companies, oil company workers, the country’s food supply chain, the media, and other essential workers. His speech made no mention of the banks. This omission was addressed the following day, March 30, by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Governor of the Central Bank who further informed the public that Nigerian banks/money markets would also be expected to provide essential services during the period of the lock-down. Obviously, during the period of the lock down, Nigerians would need money either in terms of access to cash, or the completion of pending transactions, transfers, payments and savings. In April, the Federal Government further extended the lockdown by another two weeks and yet by another week, towards the end of the month. As it turned out, other states of the Federation relying on Section 8 of the Quarantine Act and enabling state laws also enforced their own versions of the lockdown. Effectively, Nigeria became part of the global response to COVID-19. People were asked to stay at home, stay safe, follow guidelines, and avoid the risk of infection and transmission. It all happened so suddenly, so unexpectedly. Nobody was prepared for it. There were reports of harvests of death in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Fear gripped the world. Panic reigned. People asked the inevitable question: will humanity survive given the virulence of the virus? As people stayed at home and off the streets, they still needed to survive. Nobody had withdrawn cash or saved towards COVID-19. The importance of access to the banks and to cash was writ large; earning an income became a matter of life and death for households and businesses. The world thus found itself in a pre-historic Darwinian situation where only the fittest survived. The banks in Nigeria were not of much help. Their rating in terms of customer relations/support fell. The banks simply refused to open their doors to customers. The few that pretended to do so in Lagos, provided only skeletal services. People were advised to make withdrawals using Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), but most of these machines had no cash supply, and where they had, long queues could be seen daily, without anyone observing the physical distancing guidelines. Digital banking transactions, which had been touted as the new way of the world, proved difficult. If you went directly to an open branch, you would be kept waiting by a gate man who knew nothing about banking. He would return later to tell you that the officer hidden inside the banking hall would need to contact someone at the Headquarters. Many account officers who attended to the middle

Wigwe class were also under quarantine. Their phones were switched off. A major pillar of the banking business - making the customer happy, collapsed. The bankers took their own survival more seriously. The customer was no longer king! COVID 19 is the great destroyer of all known norms. It has shifted paradigms and turned the table against all known norms. When on one occasion, I had cause to protest, I was told that the banks were also being careful. They needed to protect their staff. They would not allow customers to bring the virus into their banking halls. They had also recorded quite a few cases of fraud during the lockdown. So does that justify the scarcity of cash at cash points and the epileptic e-banking platforms? It will be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced a Financial Inclusion Strategy in 2016, the objective of which was to promote electronic banking and mobile money transactions. This led to the increasing digitalization of banking transactions in the country and the emergence of such features as the use of POS, e-banking and payment service agents. Whereas this has been hailed as a progressive development, Nigeria remains far behind other countries like Kenya and South Africa, where a higher rate of financial inclusion has been recorded. Nigeria’s slow penetration rate in this regard was exposed by the COVID-19 lockdown and indeed in reality, Nigeria remains under-banked; its banking practices are still far behind. For many subsistence workers whose survival depended on daily work, the banking situation was worse because these blue-collar workers live or suffer relative to their daily hustle. Whatever work that linked them to the banking value-added chain was cut off. The extended family community that often helps to bridge the gap in Africa, was also adversely affected. Nigerians in Diaspora whose financial remittances constitute a major source of oxygen for local households and the economy also ran into troubled waters. In every sense, Nigeria’s financial sector faced a severe respiratory crisis with corresponding implications for economic growth and social stability. It didn’t take long before Nigerians especially the youth, became restive. A social crisis loomed large in the horizon. In Lagos and Ogun States, neighborhoods were attacked by those who called themselves “One Million Boys”. The rich became afraid of their own shadows. Nigerian banks had to take extra security measures. Organized Labour and the Organized Private Sector began to push the argument that the lockdown would not work in Africa, and that it was better government re-opened

the business space. On April 27, it may be said that the Federal Government succumbed to pressure when in a nationwide broadcast, President Muhammadu Buhari announced a “phased and gradual” easing of the lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Ogun and Lagos States, with the same advice for other parts of the Federation subject to their own peculiar circumstances with regard to COVID-19. The responses were varied. Ogun State chose to defer its own relaxation of the lockdown by a week, having joined a week later than the FCT and Lagos State. On May 17, the state announced yet a further extension of the lockdown. Other states of the Federation again took their cue from the Federal Government in due course. Delta, Ebonyi, Katsina, and Borno states have since allowed mosques and churches to re-open. Kaduna state and others have also announced relaxed measures. Across the country, a curfew remains in place from 8 pm to 6am. Inter-state travel has been banned, even if there are concerns about the movement of the almajirai across state borders with many of them testing positive for COVID-19. In the face of new guidelines, banks also opened their doors. But even then, bank customers are still unhappy, particularly in Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory. The banks remain an index of the people’s frustration. From May 4 to date, the premises of virtually every bank has been a war zone. Customers besiege the banks daily, without caring about either physical or social distancing rules. They sit outside or they queue up in a long, snaky, stretch. The people seem determined to die, if possible, just to gain access to their bank accounts. The queues are long. The desperation is palpable. A few banks have since provided tents and chairs in front of their branches. I won’t be surprised if in the third week of the easing of the lockdown, some Nigerian banks also begin to provide mattresses and mats!. Those queues may not disappear unless the banks open up more branches and pay better attention to customer care. Just how serious this is, was brought to the fore in a now popular, and sensational video, showing the Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government in Rivers State, Samuel Nwanosike who led a mini-task force to a branch of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) to disperse a crowd of bank customers, who did not wear face masks, and did not observe physical or social distancing. “Do you want to kill my people?”, Nwanosike asked the bank officials, angrily. “Who is the bank manager here?... Who is the second in command?” One bank official told him: “The people are not listening to us”. There may be a lot to learn from this as all businesses adjust to a “new normal” occasioned by a capricious virus. The banks and their sympathizers insist however, that they do not deserve any blame, vulnerable as they are like every other business, without any measurable support from either government or their regulator, and yet they continue to play their part as responsible corporate citizens. There is probably a point here: it is on record that the banks and their CEOs enthusiastically joined the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 known as CA-COVID which has so far raised over N27 billion. It is part of the burden that banks face that many of their customers think that the donations should have been given to them directly since the banks have their bank accounts and verification numbers. The banks were accused of seeking tax reliefs, and their CEOs, of promoting their own individual egos. But perhaps the biggest challenge for Nigerian banks, and the extent of their vulnerability, emerged when a tele-conference video was leaked, showing

the CEO of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, in which he announced that Access Bank was going to cut staff salaries and retrench staff as part of its business continuity and sustainability plans in the context of a public health crisis that has crippled business. The leakage of the Access Bank video was met with outrage. Wigwe was called names. The Bank was abused. A few days later, the Central Bank of Nigeria in response to this drama, announced that no bank is allowed to cut any job without its express approval, and that indeed job cuts in the banking sector are forbidden at this time. Access Bank denied the video that was in circulation. Stakeholders may accuse Nigerian banks of lapses in the face of COVID-19 but the truth is that the attack on Wigwe and Access Bank was totally unwarranted. In my view, Wigwe showed leadership and was honest. The only “COVI-diot” in the Access Bank matter is the disloyal staff who leaked the content of an in-house conversation. No serious organization should condone that kind of treachery. Wigwe says salaries will be cut and branches will be rationalized. Last year, Access Bank acquired Diamond Bank in one of the biggest Merger and Acquisitions that the Nigerian banking sector has witnessed in the past decade. Since that merger, Access Bank has not rationalized staff or branch networks. It simply inherited all the branches and staff that belonged to the defunct Diamond Bank resulting in a situation where you could have up to three branches of the same bank on the same street. Access Bank may have chosen the wrong time to announce its business re-design plan, but it is confronted with a reality that every business would have to deal with. But the question should be asked: Is it part of the work of the regulator to dictate cost and business models? Before COVID-19, one of the problems Nigerian banks faced was that of over-regulation by the Central Bank. Regulatory high-handedness hampered the capacity of the banks. Many of the banks also faced the threat of deteriorating credit quality due to over-exposure particularly to ailing sectors - oil and gas and the power companies. COVID-19, collapsing oil prices and naira devaluation turned the crisis in the banking sector into a triple whammy. Micro-finance Banks are losing over N45 billion uncollected loans. To all intents and purposes, it is part of the role of the Central bank to protect the banks and stave off the possibility of corrosive stress. Elsewhere we have seen Central Banks intervening to protect the banking sector. The Central Bank of Nigeria has made useful interventions in other areas– to protect SMEs, pharmaceuticals, loans, manufacturing sector, agriculture… but it has done little to strengthen the capacity of the banks to survive as business. The plug on job cuts, or the furloughing of bank staff is at best the postponement of the evil day. Bank staff as well as other employees must prepare for the worst. Many businesses will end up as part of the COVID-19 death rate statistics. Jobs will die too. Previous pandemics posted a V-shaped recovery trajectory. There are no such guarantees this time around. A U-shaped recovery scenario may even be optimistic. Many economies will sink in an L-shaped format. And that is where leadership matters. What should leaders do in relation to economic risks and the structural legacy of COVID-19? This is the kind of rigorous thinking we need to see instead of the same government that wants to implement the Oronsaye Report, cut cost and ensure economic sustainability telling banks and other businesses that they cannot cut costs. The mixed messaging that has characterized Nigeria’s management of the COVID-19 tragedy so far points to serious issues of governance.

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