Desirous of Spurring Lending, CBN Cuts MPR to 11.5% To contribute N1.8tn economic plan Obinna Chima, Nume Ekeghe in Lagos and James Emejo in Abuja In a surprise move yesterday, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Monetary Policy
Committee (MPC) resolved to reduce the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 100 basis points to 11.5 per cent from 12.5 per cent. The move is expected to encourage more bank lending
in order to stimulate economic activities. The MPR is the rate which the apex bank lends to commercial banks and often determines the cost of funds. However, the MPC adjusted
the asymmetric corridor to +100/-700 basis points around the MPR from +200/-500 basis points, retained the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 27.5 per cent as well as the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.
Addressing journalists at the two-day meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in Abuja, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said six members of the committee voted to reduce
the MPR by 100 basis points, while one member voted to slash it by 50.0 basis points as well as three members who voted to hold the rate at the Continued on page 9
Kyari: Unstable Fiscal Regime Stiﬂing Nigeria's Petroleum Industry...Page 8 Wednesday 23 September, 2020 Vol 25. No 9298. Price: N250
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Tinubu, Oshiomhole are Extra-Constitutional Players, Danger to Democracy, Says Obaseki Extends olive branch to Ize-Iyamu Dismisses suspected plan to return to APC Uche Nnaike in Lagos and Udora Orizu in Abuja Still basking in the euphoria of his last Saturday’s victory in the Edo State governorship election, Governor Godwin Obaseki yesterday came out smoking, dismissing the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, and the party’s former National Chairman, Mr.
Adams Oshiomhole, as extra-constitutional players in the polity. He warned that if their activities remain unchecked, they would become a danger to the development of democracy in the country. ''For us the challenge with people like Oshiomhole, Tinubu and others is that they pose a great danger to Continued on page 10
Critics of Water Bill Ill-informed, FG Insists It’s provocative, says Ijaw group
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja and Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt The federal government has described those opposed to the controversial National Water Resources Bill 2020 as ill-informed, insisting that the bill, which is already before the National Assembly is an amalgamation of water resources laws that had been
in existence for a long time. But the Ijaw Nations Development Group (INDG) has said the re-introduction of the bill to the National Assembly is provocative and distortion of Nigeria’s federalism. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the Continued on page 9
VICTORY SO SWEET… National Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu (left), and Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, during the presentation of the certiﬁcate of return to Obaseki for his victory at last Saturday’s Edo State governorship poll in Benin…yesterday
No Going Back on Strike, Protest, Labour Insists...Page 5
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Group News Editor Ejiofor Alike Email Ejiofor.Alike@thisdaylive.com, 08066066268
No Going Back on Strike, Protest, Labour Insists
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have declared that there is no going back on the decision to start a nationwide protest against the recent rise in the price of petrol and an increase in electricity tariffs in the country beginning from Monday, September 28. The National Executive Committee of NLC met yesterday and endorsed the earlier two-week notice issued by the Central Working Committee (CWC), saying that on September 28, it will in collaboration with other unions and civil society allies ground activities in the country if the federal government fails to reverse the recent hike in the price of petrol and electricity tariffs. While addressing journalists on the outcome of the NEC meeting, NLCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, said yesterday that the union rejected the petrol price increase as well as hike in electricity tariffs approved by the federal government.
He said: "NECâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision is premised on the fact that the government's two decisions along with others, including the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) to 7.5 per cent, including numerous charges charged by banks will further impoverish Nigerian citizens. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Therefore, this increase in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic is not only ill-timed but is also counter-productive. NEC also observed that the privatisation of the electricity subsector, five years down the line has not yielded any positive result. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whereas the entire privatised electricity assets were sold for N400 billion, the congress is surprised that the federal government within the last three years has injected N1.5 trillion over and above the amount that was used to sell these very important national assets. "Thus, NEC came to the conclusion that the entire privatisation process has failed and the hike in tariffs was only a process of continuous exploitation of Nigerians." On the issue of privatisation
of refineries and increase in the price of petrol, Wabba said that NEC believed that the government's argument has not changed from what it used to be. He said that whether it is about partial deregulation or full deregulation or subsidy removal, the matter has always been about an increase in the price of petroleum products. He lamented that the price increase has eroded the gains of the new minimum wage granted Nigerian workers and increased the cost of living for all Nigerians. He said NEC demanded that deregulation should not be import-driven and that the nation's three refineries be made to work optimally. He said NEC believed that the federal government has business in doing business in the downstream sector,
just like other oil-producing countries, which have government-owned refineries. "In light of all these, NEC decided to endorse the two-week ultimatum given to the federal government to reverse those obnoxious decisions and also endorse the action proposed by the Central Working Committee that September 28 will be the date that those actions will be challenged by Nigerian workers, civil society allies and other labour unions," he said. TUC said after an exhaustive meeting held to review its mobilisation strategies on the forthcoming strike to protest the price increases resolved that the congress is going to work in collaboration with its sister labour centre, NLC and the Civil Society allies to execute the strike.
In a statement signed by TUC President, Mr. Quadri Olaleye; and SecretaryGeneral, Mr. Musa-Lawal Ozigi, the union said its ultimatum, which expired last night has been shifted to Monday, September 28, 2020, for effective and maximum effect. TUC stated: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to use this opportunity to call on Nigerians, especially those in the informal sector to bear with us while the industrial action lasts." The union said there is no need for the current pains and hardship that the federal government is subjecting Nigerians to by the price increases. "It is a needless one. They ask us to tighten our belts while they loosen theirs. Services are not rendered yet we are compelled to pay
estimated bills,â&#x20AC;? it stated. The TUC added: "As at today, about eight states are yet to commence the payment of new minimum wage and its consequential adjustment even though the president signed it into law on April 18, 2019. We have written letters to the governors and also engaged them in dialogue but all to no avail. Sometimes we wonder if these people have a conscience at all." The Congress urged all Nigerians to get ready for the unprecedented mass action against corruption, obnoxious policies, rape and other violent offences, breach of collective agreement and unemployment. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We also call on the USA, UK, Germany, Spain, etc. to support our struggle by placing indefinite VISA ban on our political leaders
UN Commends FG over Improved Humanitarian Support in North-east Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja The United Nations (UN) has commended the federal government for improving humanitarian support in the North-east. A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the UN commended Nigeria for the feat amidst international concerns on activities of terrorists and violent extreme groups in the North-east. According to him, the UN observed that the federal government â&#x20AC;&#x153;has taken important steps to improve access to people in need.â&#x20AC;? Adesina disclosed that some international humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had expressed concern over their inability to operate effectively and distribute relief materials in some parts of the North-east as a result of security concerns especially in some remote areas of Borno State. He said the drive to ensure effective access to vital food supplies, made the Humanitarian Affairs Minister, the National Security Adviser and members of the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee to bring the matter to the presidency's attention. "The president then mandated the Vice President to work with the Committee, Governors in the region, and relevant MDAs, including service chiefs to resolve the matter in conjunction with
international NGOs and multilateral agencies operating in the region. "The vice president then held a series of meetings, bringing together the governors, all the relevant government agencies and representatives of international agencies and INGOs. "This intervention by the Presidency has led to a renewed and coordinated effort of providing a new template that supports the activities of the INGOs and offers more secured access to the areas in question," he said. According to the statement, the UN secretariat in its reaction to this intervention by the federal government, during a briefing last week by the Under-SecretaryGeneral for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, told the Security Council about the global body's engagement with Nigeria and its output. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am pleased to report we have had constructive engagements in recent days with the Nigerian authorities, and the Government has taken important steps to improve access to people in need, which we look forward to building on further," it quoted Lowcock as saying. The statement added that Lowcock submitted that â&#x20AC;&#x153;in north-east Nigeria, as we told you...violence by extremist non-state armed groups is largely responsible for driving up humanitarian need.â&#x20AC;?
GANDUJE AT THE VILLAâ&#x20AC;Ś Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje (left), and President Muhammadu Buhari during the governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s visit to the president in Abujaâ&#x20AC;Śyesterday godwin omoigui
Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m Not under Surveillance, Says Atiku Chuks Okocha in Abuja A former vice president and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said neither him nor any member of his family is under any surveillance, explaining that he has not breached any law. He said the report in circulation about the purported surveillance is not new as it was circulated prior to 2019 general election. He said he is not surprised that the report is being regurgitated again because of the season that the country is entering. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an agency of the
US Department of Treasury had reportedly placed Atiku and his family members under close watch. The report alleged that FinCEN flagged some transactions linked to the politician as suspicious as it investigates money movements within the international financial system. But Atiku in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Paul Ibe, said the report was merely recycled and regurgitated lies about the person of Atiku. According to the statement, "For the avoidance of doubt, Atiku Abubakar is not under any US watch list, neither has he been charged or will ever be charged by the United States Justice Department or any other in a foreign jurisdiction. "It will be recalled that these
recycled lies were re-unearthed just before the February 23, 2019, presidential election, and to put paid to them, His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, applied for and received a US visa, whereupon he embarked on a visit to the United States on January 17, 2019. He stayed at a hotel just miles to the United States Department of Justice. "Atiku Abubakar in the course of that trip was also received in audience, by officials of the United States Government." Ibe explained that these â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;newâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; reports are a desperate gambit to recast these discredited accusations, explaining further that "they are meant to divert the attention of Nigerians from the recent statement by the Secretary of State of the United
States, Mr. Mike Pompeo, announcing visa and travel bans for certain unnamed but notorious individuals." The spokesperson of the former vice president said the timing of this report, less than 24 hours after the Edo State gubernatorial election, should give some thought to thinking people. He explained that considering the season that the nation is in more of such jaundiced stories seeking to discredit Atiku would come. He reiterated that the former vice president and every member of his family keep a clean business portfolio that has nothing to do with government resources and in conformity with local and foreign laws of respective countries.
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Kyari: Unstable Fiscal Regime Stifling Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Petroleum Industry Says non-passage of PIB scaring investors Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has said the absence of a stable fiscal environment is inhibiting the growth of the Nigerian petroleum industry, especially the
upstream sector. A statement by the corporationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, Dr. Kennie Obateru, in Abuja yesterday, stated that Kyari spoke while playing host to members of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) who were on
British Lawmaker Expresses Concern over Growing Violence in Nigeria Emmanuel Addeh and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja A member of the British House of Lords, Upper House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (UK), Baroness Anne Cox, has written to the Commonwealth, expressing her worry over escalating violence in Nigeria. The lawmaker, in a letter, addressed to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Hon. Patricia Scotland, obtained by THISDAY yesterday, argued that Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inability to protect its vulnerable citizens was a breach of its obligations under the commonwealth charter. Cox urged the secretarygeneral to raise the matter with the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, noting that in the least, some form of aid must be given to those who have lost loved ones and their livelihoods. She said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We write to highlight urgent concerns about escalating violence in Nigeria, where attacks led by Boko Haram, Fulani herders, and other Islamist militia continue in northern and central-belt states, with reports of increasing violence in the South-east. â&#x20AC;&#x153;According to a report by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, entitled, 'Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide?' thousands of civilians have been killed and elements of the Nigerian government may be complicit in violence. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The APPGâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s concerns reflect the findings of a report by Amnesty International, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;We dried our tears: Addressing the toll on children of Northeast Nigeria's conflict,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; which concludes that the Nigerian Armed Forces have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during their operations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Nigerian Army's former Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma,
whom some of us have met and spoken to, says the armed forces are â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;not neutral: they colludeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ethnic cleansing in... riverine statesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; by Fulani herders. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He insists that villagers must defend themselves because â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;depending on the armed forces will result in them dying â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;one by one. The ethnic cleansing must stopâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, the British MP noted, quoting an earlier report. In the letter copied 18 individuals and organisations, Cox emphasised that several cases of reported human rights violations must be investigated independently and anybody found complicit must be brought to book. She said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s failure to protect its citizens is a clear breach of its obligations under the Commonwealth Charter in respect of human rights. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is now an urgent need to ensure adequate protection and aid for those suffering the loss of family members and the destruction of their homes and livelihoods. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And to end impunity by ensuring that complaints related to human rights violations are promptly, independently, and impartially investigated and those responsible are held to account after fair trials.â&#x20AC;? The letter further stated: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We write, therefore, to ask whether you are able to respond on behalf of the Commonwealth and to raise these urgent concerns with the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. We would be very willing to meet in person (or perhaps more practically online via zoom) to discuss how we might proceed.â&#x20AC;? However, she clarified that she recognised the important distinction between the Fulani in general, which she said is a diverse group of millions of people with hundreds of clans and the sub-group of well-armed, radicalised Fulani who carry out attacks.
an oversight visit to the corporation. Kyari said international investors were losing confidence in the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oil and gas industry and tasked the lawmakers to act fast and arrest the situation. According to Kyari, who emphasised the need for the lawmakers to move quickly in working on and passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), saying the proposed law would be a major game-changer for the sector. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We need to act quickly to move from this unstable situation to a very stable one and the only way is for us to get the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to work
so that countries and investors can work with us,â&#x20AC;? the GMD stated. He said foreign capital is needed in the upstream sector and that the only way to attract it is to have stable laws and a friendly business environment that could guarantee cost recovery and a decent return on investment for investors. He disclosed that the uncertainty in the sector created by the long delay in the passage of the PIB had led to a number of divestments from the country in the recent past. The GMD also stated that the drive by the management of NNPC to entrench the culture
of transparency in the corporation has improved its business fortunes and credit worthiness as lenders are now willing to grant credit to it. In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Musa Adar, expressed the readiness of his committee to provide the necessary support for the corporation to discharge its duties without hindrance. He acknowledged the corporationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s efforts at deepening transparency and accountability, stressing that the committee was impressed with the level of professionalism exhibited by the NNPC management. He also lauded the
leadership role played by the GMD in rallying the oil and gas industry to provide support for the federal governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. In a presentation, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Mr. Mansur Sambo, said the company had increased its gas production to 860mmscf/d and is now the largest supplier of gas to the domestic market. During the meeting, all the business units in the upstream arm of the NNPC made presentations to the committee, the statement said.
LEGISLATIVE CONDOLENCESâ&#x20AC;Ś Emir of Bida, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar (left), and President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, during a condolence visit to the Palace of the Late Emir of Zaria in Zariaâ&#x20AC;Śyesterday
NAF Immortalises Combat Helicopter Pilot Arotile Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja In fulfillment of its promise to honour the memory of Nigeria's first female combat helicopter pilot for her contributions to the fight against armed banditry and insurgency in the country, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) yesterday immortalised the late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile. The newly renovated and remodeled Pilotsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Crew â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Roomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; at the 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG), Port Harcourt, Rivers State was named after the late officer who died on July 14, 2020, at 24. The Pilotsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Crew Room houses an Operations briefing room, computer
room/library, pilotsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; lifesupport room and lounge as well as a kitchen, dining room, changing room for pilots on standby, and many rest rooms. A NAF statement said the facility was provided to ensure a conducive environment, which would enable pilots to more effectively plan and execute assigned missions. Speaking during the ceremony, which also featured the commissioning of a newly constructed Block of 18 x two-bedroom flats for Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs) as well as a water project, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated that immortalising the
late Flying Officer Arotile was done not only to honour her memory but also to further inspire young girls in Nigeria to study, work hard, and pursue their dreams and legitimate aspirations with pride and honour. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is gratifying to note that since late Tolulopeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s demise, many young Nigerian girls have indicated their interest to join the NAF. Besides, no fewer than 12 other female officers, who have undoubtedly been motivated by her inspirational life and the unprecedented and exemplary contributions by other female and male pilots are currently undergoing flying training, both within and outside the country to become NAF pilotsâ&#x20AC;?, the
CAS said. Abubakar noted that immortalising the late Flying Officer Arotile also addressed another area of the NAFâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s policy thrust, which is the commitment to assure personnel that their sacrifices would never be in vain. In his welcome address, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Tactical Air Command (TAC), Air Vice Marshal Olusegun Philip, noted that the CAS had proved beyond doubt that the welfare of NAF personnel was his topmost priority as evidenced by his commitment to the provision of infrastructure for their comfort and optimum performance.
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PAGE NINE CRITICS OF WATER BILL ILL-INFORMED, FG INSISTS clarification yesterday at a joint press conference, which he addressed with the Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu. He said the water resources laws that had existed for a long time comprised the Water Resources Act, Cap W2 LFN 2004; the River Basin Development Authority Act, Cap R9 LFN 2004; Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (Establishment) Act, Cap N1100A, LFN 2004 and the National Water Resources Institute Act, Cap N83 LFN 2004. He emphasised that the laws were being reenacted with the necessary modifications to bring them in line with current global trends as well as best practices in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). The minister said the overall objective of the amalgamation is the efficient management of the water resources sector for the economic development of Nigeria and the well-being of its citizens. ''The bill provides for professional and efficient management of all surface and ground water for the use of the people (for domestic and non-domestic use, irrigation, agricultural purposes, generation of hydro-electric energy, navigation, fisheries and recreation). The bill will ensure that the nation's water resources are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all persons,â&#x20AC;? he explained. Mohammed accused many of the critics of not reading its provisions, relying on second-hand information to reach their conclusions. The minister also added that those who have read it have done so without much attention to its details. He doused the concern that the federal government plans to take over the nation's water
resources by licensing and commercialising the use of water, saying the current Water Resources Act, 2004 (made pursuant to the Constitution) has already made provision for this while the bill is only trying to provide a framework for implementing that provision. ''The Regulatory provisions of the bill require that commercial borehole drillers obtain a licence. The Code of Practice for Water Well Drillers issued by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the NWRI in 2010 already requires this. The code provides technical requirements that a driller must possess to undertake drilling as well as information on each such borehole to be provided to the national database. That code, however, requires the license to be issued by the NWRI in Kaduna. This bill provides for such licenses to now be issued by the states, under the delegation of the National regulator, the Water Resources Regulatory Commission. ''Please note that borehole regulation is an international standard for the abstraction of large volumes of water. Most countries in Africa, and almost every developed country, regulates commercial abstraction. It is also important to note that there is no requirement for licensing of domestic abstraction. Regulating abstraction of large volumes of water is necessary because groundwater abstraction is an activity that has an environmental and ecological impact,'' he explained. He also allayed the fear that the bill will deny Nigerians access to potable water as provided by Section 75, saying that any technically-competent driller should not be afraid of obtaining a licence to practice. He also conceded that it is the responsibility of the state governments to ensure
the provision of potable water and the treatment in the allocation of water use. While responding to another contention that the Bill is illegal, Mohammed noted that the Constitution already grants the Federal Legislature the responsibility (item 64, Exclusive Legislative List, CFRN 1999) while the Water Resources Act, 2004 listed the water bodies to which the Act applies. ''This is maintained in the bill. The interaction of the federal government with the state is only as it concerns the management of the inter-state water that passes through the state. The bill does not apply to water that is wholly within the boundaries of a state. The bill also does not apply to land. It clearly states that land required by any of the institutions established in the bill will be obtained in accordance with the Land Use Act (i.e. with governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s consent). He also said that when the Bill is passed into law, it will guarantee communities on River Banks undisturbed use of water as stated in Section 3 of the bill, while all occupier of land will be guaranteed the right of abstraction for domestic and sustenance, whether by borehole or rivers. He also rejected the notion that the bill is aimed at taking the resources of a certain part of the country for the use of herders, saying it is not possible as the bill reiterates the fact that land can only be acquired by any of the institutions established in accordance with the Land Use Act. The minister also assured that the bill will not lead to 'water wars,' saying the framework for managing and regulating inter-state waters that is represented in the Water Resources Policy, 2016 which is similar to most international conventions and studies like in jurisdiction including
South Africa, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and most developed federal constitutions. Mohammed accused the people condemning the bill and portraying it as a new source of conflict of mischief, while appealing to Nigerians to avail themselves of the provisions of the bill to avoid being misled by those who have chosen to politicise it. Also speaking, the Minister of Water Resources, Adamu, said the bill was never rejected by the 8th Senate as being said in some quarters. He said the upper chamber of the National Assembly only set up a committee to look at the issues raised by stakeholders on the bill. He said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The House of Representatives passed the bill and sent it to the Senate for concurrence. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Senators asked questions. This was within their rights to do so. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Senate did not throw out the bill in 2018. What it did was that it constituted a committee to look into the issues raised and report back. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Before the committee could report back, the 2019 election came. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When I was returned as minister after the election, I felt I should return the bill to the National Assembly. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There was no subterfuge. We followed due process. It is not a Buhari bill. It is a water bill for Nigeria.â&#x20AC;?
But in a swift response, INDG has described the re-introduction of the bill to the National Assembly as provocative and distortion of Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s federalism. At a virtual meeting attended by over 100 participants in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the INDG expressed disappointment that the
federal government sent the bill to the National Assembly without engaging the states and peoples that are the direct stakeholders. They condemned the bill and vowed to resist it vehemently. The keynote speaker at the meeting, Mr. Anthony George-Ikoli, (SAN) said, "Taking a critical look into the much-heralded National Water Resources Bill, 2020, that is currently making its way across our national legislature and national consciousness, I am at once compelled to align myself with more eminent speakers who in recent times have come to the difficult conclusion that such a bill can only be the product of a yet-undisclosed, I fear ultimately deleterious agenda," he said. He noted that federalism serves to recognize the rights of the constituent units to ownership and protection of same, but said the bill by its vesting sections, statutes, agrees, confesses, professes, and confirms itself to being an egregious distortion of federalism. He said the bill is an incursion into the power of the states in relation to property within the territorial area of their jurisdiction which the Land Use Act has vested in them, and it is an infringement of their distinct will and apparatus for the conduct of their respective affairs. He cautioned the ninth National Assembly against working on and passing the bill as the eight National Assembly had to throw out the bill because of the wild condemnation that trailed it when it was introduced. He stated: "It is absurd that while citizens are clamouring for the restructuring of the country, to divest more powers to the federating units, the federal government wants more powers to control waterways and resources in an already over-centralised, unitary system. Instead of initiating
constructive dialogue processes to address the yearnings of Nigerians for true federalism. "The people of the Niger Delta region, particularly of the South-south geopolitical zone, are against the bill in its totality. We consider it an attempt by the federal government to divest Niger Delta communities of their exclusive control of the waterways; seas, rivers, and creeks, in the region. "They have plundered our oil and gas, our hitherto luxurious ecosystem has been devastated, without any meaningful development; they tried to take our lands through the so-called RUGA scheme. Now they want our waterways, Niger Delta Region people will resist it." He said time was past when the Ijaw nation would watch while decisions were taken against its people but that it was now time to set an agenda for its legislators at all levels. "Our senators and representatives from Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Edo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, and any other littoral states that have inadvertently been thrust into the front lines occasioned by this new challenge must stand to be counted.â&#x20AC;? Another Niger Delta activist, Ann Kio-Briggs, also accused the federal government of tampering with the rights of Ijaw people and the Niger Delta region. She said, "Water represents live and belongs to my people, we live in and by the water. For the first time, Ijaws have to wake up - they have taken our land, our oil, our air through pollution and now they want to take our water. "The water which they are all struggling for is where we are. We need the water. It is our responsibility to protect our rights. Now is the time to begin to defend the fate of our children and our future children.â&#x20AC;?
legacy structural factors such as the inadequate state of critical infrastructure and broad-based security challenges across the country, which dampened production activities. Other factors include the disruptions to supply chains following restrictions to move to curb the spread of the pandemic, adverse weather conditions, which resulted in the flooding of farmlands as well as the inflation pass-through to domestic prices following the depreciation in the exchange rate. The committee further observed that the recent increase in energy cost is also expected to further impact the domestic price level in the short-term. Emefiele also disclosed that the CBN was set to contribute over N1.8 trillion of the total sum of N2.30 trillion needed for the federal governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 1-year Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), through its various financing interventions using the channels of Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs).
He said the key factors considered by the MPC is likely to exert upward pressure on domestic prices in the near term included the prevalence of security challenges in the country; adverse weather conditions causing flooding in some farming regions; the increase in petroleum pump price; deregulation in electricity tariff; low crude oil price; and exchange rate adjustment. Reacting to the outcome of the meeting, London-based Chief Economist, Africa/ Middle East, Standard Chartered Bank, Razia Khan, in a note, stated that the CBN surprised markets by the decision to ease monetary policy. He said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Despite recent pressure on inflation caused by higher food prices, and the expectation of further pressure in the near-term as power sector and fuel subsidy reforms get underway, the CBN brought forward an easing that we had only expected at the November meeting. â&#x20AC;&#x153;By cutting the policy
rate and also adjusting the corridor around the monetary policy rate, this
Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Provocative, Says Ijaw Group
DESIROUS OF SPURRING LENDING, CBN CUTS MPR TO 11.5% current level. He said nine members voted to change the asymmetric corridor while one member voted to hold while all members voted to hold the CRR and liquidity ratio. The CBN governor said the MPC was confronted with a difficult set of policy choices, requiring trade-offs and sequencing amidst declining economic growth and rising inflation and bearing in mind its primary mandate of price stability and the need to support the recovery of output growth. He said the committee was of the view that easing policy stance would provide cheaper credit to improve aggregate demand, stimulate production, reduce unemployment and support the recovery of output growth. It, however, observed that with inflation trending upwards, easing of the policy stance may exacerbate the current inflationary pressure through an increase in the money supply.
In addition, the MPC noted the tendency of asymmetric response to downward price adjustments by â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Other Depository Corporations,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; thus undermining the overall beneficial impact of a reduction in the cost of capital. On the other hand, the committee noted that the likely action aimed at addressing the rise in domestic prices would have been to tighten the stance of the policy, as this will not only moderate the upward pressure on prices but will also, attract fresh capital into the economy and improve the level of the external reserves. The MPC also noted that a hold position will allow the economy to adjust to the ongoing stimulus measures put in place by the monetary and fiscal authorities to curb the downturn and allow more time for the MPC to assess their impact on the economy. He said: "After the consideration of the three policy options, Members
were of the opinion that the option to loose will complement the bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commitment to sustain the trajectory of the economic recovery and reduce the negative impact of COVID-19. "In addition, the liquidity injections are expected to stimulate credit expansion to the critically impacted sectors of the economy and offer impetus for output growth and economic recovery." According to the apex bank boss, the MPC had expressed deep concern on the continued uptick in inflation for the 12th consecutive month as headline inflation (yearon-year) rose to 13.22 per cent in August from 12.82 per cent in July. The CBN noted that the increase in headline inflation was largely driven by the persistent increase in the food component, which rose to 16.00 per cent in August 2020 from 15.48 per cent in July 2020. It noted that the upticks were driven primarily by
Continued on page 10
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WEDNESDAY, ÍşÍťË&#x153; ÍşÍ¸ÍşÍ¸ Ëž T H I S D AY
Kwara Loses N10bn to Flooding 15,000 residents displaced Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, yesterday disclosed that the state has lost investments estimated to be worth between N5 billion and N10 billion to flooding. AbdulRahman, who made this disclosure while briefing journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said the flood had
also displaced 15,000 persons. The governor said no fewer than 5,000 houses were also destroyed by rainstorm while hectares of land had been destroyed by flood. According to him, he was in the Presidential Villa to brief the president on ecological challenges troubling his state, adding that the state needs support. "We have about 5,000 houses and thousands of
hectares of farmlands are under water. Close to about 10,000 to 15,000 people are already displaced so far. So, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s straining the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economy. That is why we need virtual aid," he said. Asked about the estimated value of the losses, he said, "we are checking about N5 to N10 billion in losses." He added: "I came to the president, among other things, to discuss ecological and developmental issues,
and over the weekend, we had huge rainstorm that destroyed about 5,000 houses in the state capital. "We had huge flooding in Kwara North and the bank of River Niger. There are a lot of internally displaced people at the bank of River Niger and in the state capital. The state needs virtual aid to abate the crisis." On efforts the government had made to cushion the
effects of the disaster on the state, he said the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Kwara State Emergency Management Agency had promptly moved in to put the situation under control. He also said the relevant authorities are collecting data while CACOVID has has provided some palliatives to victims. "Immediately it started, we have NEMA on ground
and State Emergency Management Agency. The first thing we do is to collate data. "We have been collating data. And from today, palliatives have started going out. We also thank God because of some of food donated by CACOVID to Kwara State. "Some of them are in the warehouse. So, they are very handful and useful in what we are doing," he added.
TINUBU, OSHIOMHOLE ARE EXTRA-CONSTITUTIONAL PLAYERS, DANGER TO DEMOCRACY, SAYS OBASEKI our democracy; they are extra-constitutional players,â&#x20AC;? he told ARISE NEWS Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY newspaper in its flagship programme, The Morning Show, explaining: â&#x20AC;&#x153;They constitute themselves into what they say they are; they try to overlap themselves over people who have constitutional authority and if we allow them to continue, they will destroy our democracy.â&#x20AC;? However, later in the day when he and his deputy, Hon. Philip Shaibu, went to pick up their certificates of return, he mellowed down, offering an olive branch to Oshiomhole and his main challenger in the contest, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m using this opportunity to extend the hand of fellowship to my brother, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and his other colleagues in the All Progressives Congress to join us and work with us so that we can move Edo forward. â&#x20AC;&#x153;On a specific note, I want to use this occasion to call on the former chairman of the APC, [Mr.] Adams Oshiomhole, that the fight is over and he should come and join in building the house, where he was part of laying the foundation,â&#x20AC;? he said in a speech after collecting his certificate from the Independent National Electoral Commission National Commissioner, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu. Obaseki had told ARISE NEWS Channel that while he was ready to embrace
Ize-Iyamu, he would be circumspect about Oshiomhole. He said Oshiomhole, Tinubu, and others are threats to democracy in Nigeria, adding that they cannot sit in the comfort of their houses and determine who becomes what and who gets into what office. He explained: ''Certainly, but for someone like comrade Adams Oshiomhole, I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to say much here but clearly when you find that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been deceived, we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t share the same values or trust at all, it is his responsibility to build back those trust and to build back trust. As we say in Edo State everybody should now maintain their lane, as whatever he is and I will maintain mine. ''For us the challenge with people like Oshiomhole, Tinubu and others is that they pose a great danger to our democracy; they are extra-constitutional players; they constituted themselves into what they say they are; they try to overlap themselves over people who have constitutional authority and if we allow them to continue, they will destroy our democracy. For me itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s straight forward, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a personal issue but about their role in our democracy.â&#x20AC;? He explained further: ''You cannot have people who are guided by the constitution in office and people who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have such mandate or authority or any checks on their conduct come and say
they want to control people who have been properly constituted in office. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oshiomhole and Tinubu are non-constitutional actors. They cannot sit in the comfort of their house or wherever they are and determine who becomes what and who gets into what office. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very antidemocratic.'' The governor vowed to fight Oshiomhole if he continues to create trouble in the state. Responding to a question on his threat during his reelection campaign to drive Oshiomhole out of Edo State if he was re-elected, the governor declared that he had no such intentions. He, however, added that if the former governor continues to be destructive, and create problems for the Edo people, then he will show no mercy, insisting that it is totally up to Oshiomhole to decide what to do. Speaking on Ize-Iyamuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s silence since his victory and if he will accept President Muhammadu Buhariâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s advice on being magnanimous, Obaseki expressed his willingness to be magnanimous with Ize-Iyamu if he comes through. He said that he has no issues with Ize-Iyamu, adding that the problems are factors outside of him, which are the people who lured him into the governorship contest. According to him, ''This is not the first time Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m contesting with Pastor Ize-Iyamu; we have a
family relationship; he is a pastor and I go to church. We cannot live a life of acrimony or hate; he played his politics on how he knows how to and I did mine. I will be magnanimous if he comes through; we will have the conversation; thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s enough room for us to have such a conversation. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think the problem is Pastor Ize-Iyamu, I know him. I think the problem are factors outside of him - the people who lured him into the contest. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure they are the same ones who are trying to fester the acrimony. ''So, between us, there are no issues. The day he calls or makes up his mind on what to do moving forward, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure we will be able to have that conversation. But there are people who work with him that know what they have done and have been very vicious and evil. I will be surprised if they have the courage to even come up and seek reconciliation.'' Asked if he will consider returning to APC, the governor said that will be immoral of him, hence he has no plans to return to his former party. His words: ''At this point in time I have been elected on a platform of the Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Democratic Party (PDP) and I have made promises to the people of Edo State; Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not about me, I won the election on the platform of PDP, it will be immoral and unfair of me to have any other consideration at this point about leaving the platform that gave me the mandate, and there must
be morals in politics, and at this point in time, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s right to jettison the platform, particularly when I have no issues with the party.'' When asked of his views about, his deputy governor, the Governor of River State, Chief Nyesom Wike, and others who stood by him, Obaseki said, ''My deputy governor and I share the same values, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why through thick and thin, he was there for me. For him itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not about money, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about belief, truth, honesty, and human values. You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to be a crook, a fox to be a politician. You can be a noble and straightforward person and still be a politician. ''On Wike, if heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not convinced about a situation or an idea, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no way you can bully him about it, but once heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s convinced and believes in you, he will put everything into supporting what he believes in. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very committed person, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s committed to PDP and heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also a very supportive and considerate person. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fearless if he believes in a cause he will fight for it, you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t cower him. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not true that he didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t support me. When I was first disqualified he was one of the first people, I went to in Port-Harcourt and he advised on what to do, all that time we were going back and forth, he was going to make sure that certain issues were cleared so that to avoid challenges in the future and I am glad he did.''
On bringing down the rate of unemployment in Edo State, he said, ''In case of unemployment we believe that we moved the figures down considerately because the strategy was to create the environment for investment and businesses to thrive. We can continue to ensure that the underlying things, structures that every society needs for growth to exist, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve identified those areas, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, entertainment, technology and so on that we will be working with a lot of people to ensure that.'' He said he would not have any ambition to go into Senate after his tenure, rather he would go to teach. ''I want to go back and impact knowledge, I have been an effective governor,'' he said. At the certificate of return handing over ceremony, he called on his opponents and predecessor to join him in the task of rebuilding the state. Obaseki said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;To our friends and our brothers on the other side of the divide, we are one family in the pursuit to provide services and the public good for our citizens. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our citizens have decided that as for now, they trust us more to provide them leadership. It does not mean that they do not have a role to play. It does not mean that they are not part of a family. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have no malice, the only thing we disagreed on is in the approach in moving Edo forward.â&#x20AC;?
boost growth via cheaper credit given the recession overhang. "I think most banks have appropriately priced their loan books to reflect recent dynamics in the economy if you consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses and households. Notwithstanding, negative real returns just widened as the September inflation outlook is sticky upwards. I maintain that the focus should be on how to bring about a balance in the foreign exchange market by allowing full price discovery and liquidity. This will have the most desired impact on business outputs, employment, and growth." On his part, Head of Research at United Capital, Mr. Wale Olusi, said though
the CBN measure was aimed at safeguarding the economy, it could however further fuel inflation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This was in a bid to salvage the economy from the negative impact of COVID-19 outbreak and reflate the economy by further complementing the CBNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s current expansionary policy stance. "Inflation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; negative as the dovish outcome is likely to stoke inflationary pressures amid injection of fresh liquidity into the financial system even as the demand-side remains depressed." Also commenting on the development, an investment professional, Mr. Ayodeji Ebo, on the other hand, describes the tweak as "a surprise cut" adding that the apex bank was "just
trying to signal as much as possible that they want the lending rate to come down so that there can be growth. But historically, we feel that there might be other measures that they would need to be applied before we can see a major decline in inflation. Because the inflation rate is still very eminent and the banks would consider that before lending.â&#x20AC;? He said: "The loan to deposit ratio policy by the CBN caused a lot of banks to increase their lending then and we would not be surprised to see a circular that would take Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) from 65 to 70 per cent. That may have more effect than the MPR rate because most times the banks donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t adjust their rates.â&#x20AC;?
DESIROUS OF SPURRING LENDING, CBN CUTS MPR TO 11.5% was a deeper easing than we would have expected at this stage. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The CBN attributes price pressures largely to structural rigidities. It is eager to encourage continued bank lending â&#x20AC;&#x201C; especially to critical sectors, especially at subsidised rates - in order to overcome structural issues. Notwithstanding recent pressure on inflation, we have seen the announcement of a significant easing today. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The effect of this cut will be to push the rate on the standing deposit facility (the lower corridor around the MPR) even lower, to 4.5 per cent (from 7.5 per cent earlier). This is more in line with existing market rates â&#x20AC;&#x201C; correcting what previously looked like a bigger mismatch between
the policy rate and market interest rates. â&#x20AC;&#x153;However, with banks still likely facing an upper limit of N2 billion as the amount that can be placed with the CBN, this will force banks to do something else with any additional liquidity.â&#x20AC;? She added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Given current economic weakness, however, generating the lending that might resolve price bottlenecks, might take a little longer. Any infrastructure project, for example, will likely only be completed in the mediumterm. There will be no immediate inflation relief, however well-intentioned the policy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The bigger issue surrounds the more immediate drivers of inflation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; forex bottlenecks that might complicate any
effective harmonisation plans. The action of easing policy while inflation is still accelerating, sends - at best - a mixed message around Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s willingness to re-open the forex market.â&#x20AC;? Speaking in an interview with THISDAY, Managing Director, Afrinvest Research, Mr. Abiodun Keripe, said though not unexpected, the reduction in MPR posed huge challenges for the rest of the economy. "It is not surprising that the Committee agreed to cut the MPR, although this deviates from expectation. The biggest challenge is that the MPR is somehow disconnected from the rest of the economy in terms of its transmission effect. By reducing the MPR, the Committee is signalling that there's an urgent need to
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 ˾ T H I S D AY
Boko Haram: Zulum Donates House, N20m to Slain Commander’s Wife Tributes as ofﬁcer killed by Boko Haram laid to rest
Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has donated a house and N20 million to the widow and children of the late Col. Dahiru Bako, who died from wounds sustained while battling Boko Haram terrorists. The governor made the announcement yesterday at the burial of the late Commander in
Maiduguri. In a statement titled ‘Borno Governor, Zulum donates house, N20million to late Col. D. C. Bako’s widow, orphans,’ Zulum paid a glowing tribute to the deceased. Bako, described by the governor as a fallen warrior, was the Commander of 25 Task Force Brigade of Operation Lafiya Dole in charge of Damboa and the surrounding axis in southern
Borno. He died at a military hospital in Maiduguri on Monday. Zulum added, “Indeed, it is a very sad moment, this is not a loss to the family of the late Col. Dahiru Chiroma Bako alone, not
to the Nigerian Military, it is a loss to Borno and indeed Nigeria. “Col. Bako was a gallant and dogged military officer, under whose watch Damboa was never defeated. He is humble and committed to discharging his
duties, he is part of the success recorded in degrading Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State. “I am reliably informed that Col. Bako did not have a house of his own. We cannot ignore the family he
left behind. We share their grief and nothing can equal his life. Nevertheless, I am pleased to announce that Borno State Government will build a befitting house for the family of late Col. Bako.
Nigeria’s COVID-19 Cases Rise By 176 to 57,613 Martins Ifijeh Nigeria has recorded 176 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 57,613 the number of confirmed cases in the country. Announcing this yesterday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said Lagos recorded 73 new cases; Plateau, 50; Federal Capital Territory (FCT), 17; Rivers,
eight; Ondo, six; Niger and Ogun, five each; Edo and Kaduna, three each; Oyo, two; while Bauchi, Delta, Bayelsa and Nasarawa recorded one each. It said: “So far, Nigeria has recorded 57,613 cases of COVID-19. 48,836 patients have been discharged, while 1,100 persons have died.”
L-R: National President, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr. Nasir Idris; President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; former National President, National Union of Road TransportWorkers (NURTW), Alhaji Najeed Yasin; and the NLC Deputy National President, Comrade Joe Ajero, during the NLC’s media briefing on the planned industrial action against the hike in fuel price and electricity tariffs increase, in Abuja...yesterday ENOCK REUBEN.
Again, Gunmen Attack Plateau Community, Kill Traditional Ruler
$6m Internet Scam: Suspect on FBI’s Watch List Submits Self to EFCC
Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
A traditional ruler in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, Da Bulus Chuwang Jang, has been killed by unknown gunmen. The Chairman of Berom Youth Moulders in the neighbouring Heipang district in the LGA, Mr. Rwang Tengwong confirmed the incident yesterday in Jos, the Plateau State capital. Tengwong said that the late paramount ruler who was the district head of Foron, was killed by some gunmen who attacked the community on Monday night. He said, “We just lost one of our paramount rulers in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area after an attack by gunmen. He was the acting district head of Foron, Da Bulus Chuwang
Jang. He was shot dead in the evening yesterday (Monday) by some gunmen around Shen community.” Confirming the killing, Deputy Leader of Barkin Ladi Legislative Council, Mr. Pam Chollom said that the council had summoned an emergency meeting over the incident. Chollom said, “Yes, it is true that one of our traditional rulers has been killed in an attack by gunmen. This is very unfortunate and we totally condemn the gruesome act. Right now, we are currently meeting over the incident as legislators to take a stand regarding persistent attacks on our communities. “ Plateau State Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), Mr. Gabriel Ubah Ogaba said that the incident had been reported to the command.
Ganduje Briefs Buhari on Kano Blasphemy Case The Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, yesterday visited the Presidential Villa in Abuja where he briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the case of a 22-year-old man sentenced to death by hanging by Kano Upper Shari’a Court for blasphemy. Ganduje told State House correspondents after a meeting with Buhari that he briefed the president on the development that has attracted criticism to the state. The governor said he “updated the President on the blasphemy case in Kano”. The governor said the house of the father of the accused was burnt by locals “but the boy was secured, charged to court, and sentenced to death.” He said the boy can and has appealed the judgment. He, however, did not disclose the position of the President on the matter.
Ganduje also claimed that his state had flattened the curve of COVID-19 pandemic. The claim, however, contradicted the warning by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 that the virus’ curve was yet to be flattened. PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, had last week Thursday said the PTF had observed that the nation was already flattening the curve of the spread. But the National Coordinator of the task force, Dr Sani Aliyu, countered the claim on Monday, saying the PTF was not convinced that the curve was being flattened. Ganduje also disclosed that he was in the Presidential Villa to thank Buhari for assisting Kano with N5 billion to tackle the pandemic and other security issues, insisted that with massive tests which produced negative results, the curve has already been flattened.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday said it has commenced investigation of one Felix Osilama Okpoh, an alleged fraudster on the watch list of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), for his involvement in a $6million internet fraud. A statement issued by EFCC said Okpoh, on Friday, September
18, 2020, turned himself in at the Lagos Zonal Office of the commission in company with his parents, Col. Garuba Okpoh (rtd) and Mrs. Justina Okpoh. Okpoh, alongside Richard Izuchukwu Uzuh, Alex Afolabi Ogunshakin, Abiola Ayorinde Kayode and Nnamdi Orson Benson, had been declared wanted by the FBI sometimes in 2019 for their alleged involvement in a Business Email Compromise
(BEC), scheme that defrauded over 70 businesses in the United States, of over $6,000,000. The suspect allegedly provided over 40 bank accounts to his conspirators, which were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers from their victims totaling over $1,000, 000. He was, on August 21, 2019, indicted in the United States District Court, District of Nebraska, on charges of conspiracy to commit
wire fraud. However, Okpoh, on Friday, September 18, 2020, turned himself in at the Lagos Zonal Office of the Commission in company with his parents. Okpoh, during interrogation, said he made the move to surrender himself to the commission out of respect he had for his parents and his resolve to be morally upright.
NUC Issues New Directives on Reopening of Universities The National Universities Commission (NUC) has released new directives to Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian universities for the safe reopening of schools. This followed a significant decline in the number of recorded cases of COVID-19 in the country. The NUC directive was contained in a memo addressed to the Vice-Chancellors, signed by its Director, Executive Secretary’s Office, Chris Maiyaki, obtained by journalists in Abuja yesterday.
The commission directed Universities to conclude their resumption arrangements in line with the guidelines of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, as well as other existing NUC assurance and guidelines. The memo reads, “Following the recent press briefing by the Presidential Task Force Team on COVID – 19, to the effect that significant deadline in the reproduction number (R-value) for COVID – 19 has been recorded in
the country, the Federal Ministry of Education has accepted the request of the National Universities Commission for Universities to firm up arrangement towards the immediate resumption of academic activities. “Universities should expect inspection visits from staffs of the commission and the Ministry of Education for on-the-spot inspections of physical facilities such as the lecture theatres, accommodation, healthcare
facilities. “Universities must continue to adhere to the safety protocols and the NCDC guidelines which are very much in force.” The commission warned Universities not to violate the full cycle of the semester system, consistent with its (NUC) approved Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard for any reason but ensure strict compliance with other extent quality assurance standards and guidelines.
Fire Guts LASTMA Headquarters Fire gutted a section of the headquarters of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Oshodi, Lagos, yesterday. LASTMA made this known in a statement by its Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Filade Olumide. The statement was titled, ‘Minor fire incident at LASTMA headquarters’.
LASTMA’s General Manager, Olajide Oduyoye, was quoted as saying that the “fire was immediately put out”. He said, “There was a minor fire incident at the LASTMA Headquarters today, September 22, 2020. “Immediately the fire was noticed on the air conditioner, the headquarters staff following the past fire drill training put out
the fire. “The Fire Service were immediately summoned through a telephone call. The Lagos State Fire Service promptly responded to the call, put out the fire which was still slightly burning from the air conditioner, and ensured that the fire did not spread inside the office it occurred or the whole building.”
The General Manager thanked members of staff and the firemen for taking prompt action thereby “averting the untold damage that could have occurred to the human and material resources of the Agency which could have been a setback”. He further enjoined all to always be at alert to the happenings in their environment at all times.
Saudi Resumes ‘Umrah’ Pilgrimage October 4 Saudi Arabia will gradually resume the year-round Umrah pilgrimage from October 4, the interior ministry said yesterday after it was suspended in March
because of the coronavirus pandemic. In the first stage, “6,000 citizens and residents within the kingdom will be allowed to perform the
Umrah per day from October 4”, the ministry said in a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency. Visitors from outside the
kingdom will be permitted from November 1, when Umrah’s capacity will be raised to 20,000 pilgrims per day, the ministry said.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 â&#x20AC;¢T H I S D AY
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 â&#x20AC;¢ T H I S D AY
T H I S D AY Ëž Ë&#x153; Í°ÍąË&#x153; Í°ÍŽÍ°ÍŽ
Editor, Editorial Page PETER ISHAKA Email email@example.com
BANAL LESSONS FROM EDO 2020
Matthew Ayibakuro argues that the political parties have not learnt any lessons in internal democratic values
he curtain has now closed on the democratic soap opera that was the 2020 governorship election in Edo State. This was premium box office stuff. From the intrigues of dizzying defections to the fascinations of the makings and unmakings of godfatherism in the arena of politics; from the creation of imperative brotherhoods to the battle cry of strong men from far-flung lands, this electoral cycle had everything we have come to expect from the strive for political power in Nigeria. Since the declaration of the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki as the winner of the election, many have been quick to declare somewhat optimistic lessons to be taken from the various episodes from the poll in Edo State. It would have been refreshing if these supposed lessons were new and revealing of a trend on which we could anchor our democratic experience as Nigeria approaches 60 years of being an independent country. It would be 21 years by October 1st since the country returned to democratic rule and the outcome of the Edo poll is reminiscent of the same problems that have stunted our democratic experience and left many in a state of despair. The masses who voted for Obaseki at the weekend would, I expect, be celebrating their victory on the basis of the myriad storylines that dominated public discourse in the months leading up to the election, as they should. Apart from a few challenges and incidents of violence recorded, reports from Edo State indicate that the result reflected the will of the majority of the people of the state. And by Michiavellian rationalisation, that should suffice. However, no sustainable democracy can be built on an â&#x20AC;&#x153;ends justify the meansâ&#x20AC;? philosophy. Unfortunately, elections in Nigeria have almost always been just that: politicians doing anything and sacrificing everything to win elections, with no regard for the ramifications of their actions for democracy, development or the disturbing political norms we accumulate after each election. The banal lessons from this are painfully conspicuous. The multi-party political system we claim to practice is now a self-deceiving joke that mocks our constitution and everything else that is built on it. Worse still, we are practically left with a two-party system where the political parties are totally bereft of ideology, internal democratic values or integrity. Considering our political parties are strategic gatekeepers in the process of selecting leaders in Nigeria, the events leading up to the election in Edo State - as has been the case in most other polls in Nigeria over the last 21 years - should be of serious concern to Nigerians. When the dust settles, it is imperative that we look beyond the social media memes and emotional backstories to understand that there is absolutely nothing funny about the dizzying defections that the PDP and APC serve Nigerians at every electoral cycle. There is rather a funda-
THERE IS RATHER A FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM WHERE A COUNTRY IS LED BY INDIVIDUALS WHO DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT OR PRETEND TO DEMONSTRATE A SENSE OF INTEGRITY OR AN ABILITY TO STAND BY THEIR OWN WORDS
mental problem where a country is led by individuals who do not even attempt or pretend to demonstrate a sense of integrity or an ability to stand by their own words. And it would be an irreversible mistake for the citizens of such a country to applaud or deride such individuals simply because they won or lost an election. In Edo State, as is the case with most polls in Nigeria, the citizens were left to vote for candidates who emerged through party selection systems that have little regard for equity, justice or fair representation, the very tenets on which our democracy should be built. This is not just about the fact that an incumbent governor was denied the ticket of his own political party, but moreover, the fact that an opposition party was so eager to accept as its candidate, a governor who it had opposed for over three years. What happened to all the issues the PDP had with Obaseki throughout the duration of the campaigns for his first election and his tenure in office? Did he just become a new creature in the biblical sense of II Corinthians 5:17 by seeking the ticket of the PDP? On the other hand, as a Nigerian, it provides no sense of assurance to find that the party which is leading the country was unable to settle an interpersonal dispute between two individuals, resulting in the eventual loss of its leadership in a key state in the country. This is the party that is supposed to and does choose the ministers and ambassadors and security officials that engage in negotiations on behalf of the country and are saddled with addressing the intricate socio-cultural, political and economic challenges of a country like Nigeria. If the President of the country who is the leader of the party and all the other kingmakers were unable to see the bigger picture and therefore address the rift between a governor and the Chairman of the political party, there is a serious cause for concern. So, at the end of another electoral event where kingmakers and powerful men stole the headlines with egoistic Oscar-deserving performances involving taxpayer-funded private jets, security claims and plastic calls for electoral reforms, what have we learnt? Not much. Nothing new, except the banality of masses left at the mercy of the irony of undemocratic electoral processes, the unrewarding distraction of endless drama in the political arena and bottomless hope that things would actually get better and our democracy would get stronger. Whilst we should all wish the people of Edo State well in terms of tangible development beyond the drama of elections, the substance of the Nigerian situation, reiterated by the Edo governorship election 2020, is that whatever progress we are making is as a burgeoning electocracy, not a democracy. r%S "ZJCBLVSP JT B HPWFSOBODF BOE EFWFMPQNFOU FYQFSU
AKWA IBOM: 33 YEARS ON
Udom Emmanuel is leveraging his ďŹ nancial sector background to drive the growth of the state, writes Etim John
e got to the saddle well prepared for the job. Udom Emmanuel, prior to assuming office as the governor of Akwa-Ibom State in 2015 had cut his teeth in a complex mix of politics and governance as the Secretary to the State Government. It is safe to state that in the 33-year history of the state, Emmanuel distinguishes himself as the consolidated modest gains of the past and escalated deliverables in government in an unprecedented manner. His plans are lofty and ambitious. They are not for faint-hearted men. Only men like Emmanuel who had a successful stint in one of Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most successful financial institutions could conceptualize and bring to fruition big projects in record time. Deploying his financial re-engineering skill set as finance expert, Emmanuel subjects each project to sustainability tests to justify scarce capital for projects. He set out with a smart, realistic five-point agenda of: wealth creation: economic and political inclusion, poverty alleviation, infrastructural consolidation and expansion and job creation. When the federal government was busy tinkering with the plan of relaunching the rested nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s national carrier without success, Udom Emmnauel put Akwa Ibom on the global map by hitting the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s airspace with Ibom Air, the only state-owned airline. The airline that started operations in 2019 with three aircraft today boasts of five solid aircraft in its fleet. The aircraft shuttle Uyo-Lagos â&#x20AC;&#x201C;AbujaEnugu and Calabar with plans to make entry into the West African region market starting with a short haul flight to Douala, the Cameroonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capital. The indelible imprints of Emmanuel
in the socio-economic, infrastructure sphere of Akwa-Ibom have undoubtedly repositioned the state as a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;civil servantsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; state to an emerging thriving sub-national economy. Aside from the revenue outlet the airline provides, the idea of owning an airline also opens up the economic space by stimulating productive economic engagements due to ease of movements in and out of the state. In an organic manner, the planks of his agenda are enabling one another in a creative manner. For instance, Infrastructure development enables job creation through attractions of investors who are ultimate creators of wealth. The resultant effect culminates in poverty alleviation and share-prosperity as many idle-hands get busy. They become economic agents that contribute to the government pool to service more needs. That is vantage Emmanuel thought pattern â&#x20AC;&#x201C; clear, sustainable and dignified economic empowerment model. He knew dishing out handouts to unengaged folks is unsustainable and wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t last. He rather created an enabling environment for them to be self-reliant and thrive. Today, over 20 industries and still counting are operating in the state employing thousands of Akwa Ibom citizens. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit without warning, throwing the entire humanity into utter confusion, Emmannuel was and is one the distinguished leaders that triumphed in the face of unprecedented adversity caused by a major public health crisis. The governor promptly rose to the occasion and triggered measures to mitigate the spread of the deadly plague that was ravaging states. Since April 1, like a General who has a duty to defeat the enemies and protect his troops, the governor forfeited sleep for Akwa Ibom
citizens to live. Every night he holds meetings to review the COVID-19 safety protocol measures and recalibrates his strategies in tandem with emerging realities. Little wonder why Akwa Ibom records the lowest rate of infection. It was largely due to pro-activeness of Governor Udom Emmanuel. On the education front, the governor is repurposing the education curricular of the state to be globally relevant and 21st century competitive. In a technology-driving world where mediocrity has no place, visionary leaders must galvanize their people to be relevant in a knowledge-driven world. This was the premise that led the Udom Emmanuel administration to hold the first ever Education Summit where experts and other stakeholders reviewed the education template in the state and consequently realigned it to modern standards. As a result, a greater premium is placed on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to build the future manpower for the emerging industrialized state. The government also encourages students with payment of West African Examinations Council, WAEC fees and other generous grants to facilitate education development in the state. The administration of Udom Emmanuel also places priority on road construction. The government has constructed over 1700 kilometers of economically viable roads across the state. This road helps in ease of transportation of agricultural produce from the hinterlands to the city thereby boosting economic prosperity. The power supply in the state is rated among the best. Residents enjoy a minimum of 18 hours of uninterrupted power supply. This has drastically reduced the cost of production as huge cost hitherto allotted
for energy is channeled towards core production. Today, Akwa Ibom is adjudged one the most peaceful states in the country. It was not a coincidence. It was a product of creative ways of using economic empowerment to guarantee social harmony especially among restive youth. The Udom Emmanuel administration established Youth Empowerment Programmes (AKEES) to take jobless youths off the streets. Many of the youths who could have been creating havoc and causing social strife in communities in Akwa Ibom State have been empowered. The great strides of Emmanuel in Akwa Ibom are too numerous to enunciate. Is it the first- led factory at Itam, first Shoprite at Ibom Tropicana or the Automobile Assembly Plant at Itu or DAAR Communications Broadcasting Complex, Abak? The achievements are numerous. As the state marks its 33 years anniversary, Akwa Ibom is fortunate to have a man like Emmanuel at the helm. This is the most challenging time to be a leader. Oil, the mainstay of Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economy has plummeted many times. Many sources of livelihood had been ravaged by the pandemic which further constrains leaders from augmenting revenue shortfalls from taxes. Obviously, no mediocre in power will survive this perilous time. It requires great financial wizardry and unusual fiscal discipline to service the government and the people. The financial sector background of Emmanuel has been very invaluable this season. Many are amazed how the government could still flourish amidst pandemic. The reason is simple, Akwa Ibom made the right choice in Emmanuel whose financial discipline and savings for the raining days saved the state.
T H I S D AY Ëž Ë&#x153; Í°ÍąË&#x153; Í°ÍŽÍ°ÍŽ
BEYOND THE ABA BUILDING COLLAPSE The regulatory agencies should be alive to their responsibilities
he Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, last week ordered the suspension of the executive secretary of the Aba Town Planning Authority. This followed his visit to the construction site of a building which collapsed, claiming five lives with scores of others injured. But the Aba tragedy is just the latest in a long list of death arising from building collapse that has become a common occurrence in the country. According to the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, no fewer than 199 Nigerians lost their lives from just four collapsed buildings between 2014 and 2019. In a single incident in 2014, a guesthouse located within the Synagogue Church of All Nations premises in Lagos collapsed, killing 115 people, mostly foreign nationals. PERHAPS THE MORE And in 2017, there FUNDAMENTAL REASONS were 54 reported cases of collapsed FOR THIS INCREASING buildings in major MENACE ARE THE USE towns and cities OF CHEAP AND INFERIOR across the country. As we have MATERIALS, IMPROPER highlighted SUPERVISION AND several times, DISTORTION OF ORIGINAL buildings donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t BUILDING PLANS just collapse every other day or after a single night of rainfall in most countries. That is because from the architectural design stage to civil and structural engineering, actual construction and completion of a project, efforts are made to ensure that laid down regulations are strictly adhered to and there are no shortcuts aimed at minimising costs. But in Nigeria, the failure of the regulatory agencies to properly perform their supervisory roles has given way to a situation where quacks have taken over with the effect that some land speculators have also become estate developers and self-styled construction experts. In an ideal situation, there are site engineers and inspectors whose duty is to ensure that construction of a building is done in accordance
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with approved plans and standards, but above all they are expected to pay attention to the use of quality materials. According to the Nigerian Society of Structural Engineers, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the construction of a building is expected to be managed by qualified professionals including structural engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, architects, quantity surveyors,â&#x20AC;? among others. Despite the abundance of these professionals in Nigeria, buildings still collapse like pack of cards. Some of the reasons that have been adduced for building collapse in Nigeria include nonadherence to approved plans and the absence of qualified professionals at one or more stages of construction as well as lack of geo-technical information which is all about obtaining necessary information concerning the soil where a building is to be erected. But perhaps the more fundamental reasons for this increasing menace are unethical dealings between project promoters and the relevant authorities such as the use of cheap and inferior materials, improper supervision and distortion of original building plans. This is all too common. After securing approval for a specific number of floors in a building, many would add more floors. And we ask, what do the housing and urban development authorities at the federal and state levels do? In most instances, these compromised officials look the other way even when it is so obvious that such a building is nothing but a disaster waiting to happen. There is therefore a great need for a complete overhaul of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s building and construction regulations. A policy should be put in place whereby any professional connected with a collapsed building should forfeit his licence and face the full weight of the law. The land upon which the collapsed building was erected should be forfeited to government and landlord jailed without option of fine. Buildings marked for demolition by town planning authorities should be demolished without delay. Unless drastic steps are taken and building codes implemented to the letter, the nation will continue to have these avoidable serial disasters.
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EDO 2020 AND THE DEMYSTIFICATION OF TIN GODS
rom the north to the south, the east to the west and even in the Diaspora, Nigerians across political party lines are celebrating the trouncing of two tin gods - Adams Oshiomhole and Bola Tinubu. In fact, political analysts and other social commentators say that there hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been an election in recent times that has elicited so much attention and the ovation that followed its outcome. They posit that this is even more striking because members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which was defeated in the poll, appear to be the most excited celebrants. Saturdayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Edo guber election was a categorical denunciation of Adams Oshiomoleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s despotic proclivities which had earlier earned him a well-deserved sack as APC national chairman. President Muhammadu Buhari was said to have tacitly endorsed his unceremonious removal because he had become too enamoured with flexing his muscles in a way that negated all democratic and party ethics. For Oshiomhole, therefore, last Saturdayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s defeat of the APC was another crushing setback that many in Nigeria believe may finally nail his political coffin. And, to be sure, Saturdayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Edo vote has
also earned Chief Bola Tinubu, the muchtouted National Leader of the APC, his own fair share of opprobrium. He has been sent back home with Nigeriansâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; collective chant, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Edo no be Lagos! reverberating behind him. This is in allusion to his perception as the most powerful politician in Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s South West region, the location of Lagos - Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s former capital and current hub of its economic activities. But even then, we must point out that Lagosians and most of the masses of the South West, where Tinubu misconstrues himself to be a political Colossus on account of dishing out cash and political favours, are in solidarity with other Nigerians who believe that he ever-stepped his limits in his broadcast to the Edo people shortly before the election. Just as he had dismissed the legitimate concerns of Nigerians and civil society groups (who are the watchdogs of our democracy) about the bullion vans, Tinubu went ahead to direct Edo voters to listen to him by voting against their beliefs. But, thank God, Edo voters were neither swayed by Tinubuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wealth nor his politics. While he thought that he could cash in on the peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s abject and pervasive poverty and want, which is being deliberately caused by
the Buhari government, in which he is a leading figure, the people saw beyond the facade and unanimously voted against all that he, Oshiomhole and Buhariâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s government, which is ever distraught and adrift, represent. We need not reiterate that Saturdayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Edo vote was chiefly between Obaseki on the one hand and Oshiomhole and Tinubu on the other. Poor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, he was only a passive pawn in the desperate paws of Oshiomhole and Tinubu who were using him to perpetuate their plan of not only putting Edo under the yoke of Oshiomhole but oiling the wheels of Tinubuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quest to rule Nigeria, come 2023. But what has happened in Edo should be a lesson to both men and Buhariâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s federal government that they cannot continue to take Nigerians for a ride, irrespective of their influence, power and wealth. As we rest our case, we must remind Nigerians to ensure that, as they collectively celebrate the demystification of these tin gods, they must seize the spark, inspiration and spirit that the extraordinary Edo example has so overwhelmingly offered, to turn Nigeria around in 2023. rChris Gyang, email@example.com
NOT YET JUSTIFIABLE
houldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the world be balanced? Shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the USA legal system be balanced? Five to four was reasonably balanced but six to three is not balanced, fair, reasonable or necessary. There are too many legal decisions to be made to make this nomination too quickly. Wait till the election has finished and then start a gradual review of candidates and find the best candidate. The decision could change the nature of the legal system and the country for up to 30 years, so it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to be done today. rDennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Australia
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 â&#x20AC;¢T H I S D AY
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 â&#x20AC;¢ T H I S D AY
T H I S D AY ˾ WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020
Group Politics Editor NSEOBONG OKON-EKONG Email firstname.lastname@example.org 08114495324 SMS ONLY
An Almost Violence Free Governorship Election in Edo State
Udora Orizu writes that certain factors may have played a role in ensuring that the much feared high level of violence in the just concluded Edo governorship election was almost nil
Oba Ewuare II
accounted for half of total votes cast (50percent). In addition to the LGAs listed above, Owan West, Esan West and Esan central LGA were considered battleground in the just concluded Edo governorship election. These LGAs, according to the Yiaga Africa report recorded incidence of pre-election violence during political campaigns as both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) battled to win the highest number of votes. To stem any incidence of violence, Yiaga counseled candidates and political parties to enlighten their supporters on these two critical thresholds as experience had shown that party supporters only focused on the first condition of securing majority of votes cast. The group said that it was deeply concerned that despite entreaties by the Oba of Benin urging the major candidates to deescalate the palpable tension in Edo by refraining from inflammatory speech and violence, cases of pre-election violence and hate speech still persisted. The report pointed to increase in violent, physical and verbal attacks during any political party rallies, meetings, campaigns. This could be seen in the weeks leading up to the poll, as there were violent clashes and verbal accusations, between the two major parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The two major political parties, at different fora accused each other of plotting all sorts of electoral malpractices to disrupt the election. Days to the election, the PDP accused the former National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, of piling arms and importing thugs to disrupt the election. The Deputy Governor of the state, Philip Shaibu, who made the allegation, said APC resorted to violence and thuggery to set the state ablaze because it discovered that it could not win the election in a free and fair contest. He said, “Remember, Oshiomhole is my father, and before now I was living in his house each time I visited the village. I have informants in his house who give me update on a daily basis about happenings in his house,” and added that Edo people were determined, more than ever, to resist the ploy of Oshiomhole.
Shaibu, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail and stop “them” from setting the state on the path of chaos and anarchy. On its part, the APC accused Gov. Godwin Obaseki of arming thugs and other non-state actors with newly-purchased guns and weapons to attack innocent people in the state. In a statement, the spokesperson of the APC state campaign council, John Mayaki, alleged that Gov. Obaseki spent state resources on the procurement of hundreds of high grade weapons distributed to thugs sourced from neighbouring states to join his convoy and inflict violence on dissenters during his campaign across the state. Mayaki called on the police and DSS to investigate the matter and look into the governor’s security detail for proper identification of all individuals bearing arms to ascertain if they were state actors with legal backing. Meanwhile, before the commencement of campaigns, the PDP alleged an attack on its supporters who were out on a house-to-house campaign at Irakhor in Etsako Central LGA. Later on, APC accused PDP of alleged attack on the party’s deputy governorship candidate, Mallam Gani Audu, at Agbede in Etsako West LGA. There was also violent clash between the supporters of the APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and that of the PDP candidate, Godwin Obaseki, at the palace of the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewure II back in July. The clash, it was gathered, happened when Obaseki, his deputy, PDP governors, PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, and members of the working committee of the party who were in the state for the campaign flag off visited the palace to seek royal blessing. It was further learnt that the crisis started when supporters of Obaseki were chanting pro-Obaseki slogans while those loyal to the APC candidate who were at the palace waiting for some APC chieftains allegedly invited to a function at the palace were also chanting slogans to disparage the governor. There was exchange of gun fire by the loyalists of both parties, after the intervention of the police to bring the situation under control, as expected they both accused each other of sponsoring
the attack. The Peoples Democratic Party had in a statement soon after the altercation, described the clash as an orchestrated attempt by the APC to cause bodily harm and possibly eliminate PDP national leadership, including visiting governors, that were guests of the monarch. The PDP wondered what the APC members were doing at the gate of the Oba of Benin’s palace on a day that the APC did not have any activity in the neighbourhood. The party accused the APC of masterminding crisis with the prospect of setting up inter-state conflicts on the premise of threats against the visiting governors. Against the anxiety that the election in Edo State would be tainted by violence, surprisingly the election held peacefully in most parts of the state, except for the violence and electoral malpractices such as vote buying, ballot snatching recorded in few local government areas of the state. However several factors are believed to have played a role in preventing the much feared violence.
ollowing concerns over security and electoral malpractices trailing past and recent elections in the country, Nigerians rightly feared that the just concluded Edo State governorship election would be violent. On Saturday, September 19, 2020, Edo citizens, among them 14 governorship candidates in the ballot, chose the incumbent Governor, Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as their preferred choice to handle the affairs of the state for the next four years. Prior to Election Day, there were indications of violence expected to mar the electoral process. With the bloodshed in the presidential and Kogi state gubernatorial election in 2019, the Edo State governorship election just like the usual electoral contest in the country sent indications of battle that will lead to major loss of lives. Pre-election survey conducted by Yiaga Africa and NOIPolls showed that voters are worried about electoral violence, intimidation and the credibility of the poll. Respondents expressed major concerns about violence by political parties and security officials during the elections. Approximately one-in-ten respondents said they had directly experienced violence and intimidation related to the elections, while over one-third had heard political candidates using hate speech on the campaign trail. The report listed potential hot spots of violence where the electoral battles were expected to be fierce. They included Etsako West, Etsako East, Etsako Central, Owan West and Akoko-Edo in Edo North Senatorial district. And in Edo South, Oredo, Orhionmwon, Egor, Ovia North East, and Ikpoba-Okha LGAs. While in Edo Central Senatorial district, Esan Central, Esan North East and Esan West as potential hot spots. Another concern raised by Yiaga Africa was that the two major parties in the governorship race were guilty of hate speech and violence. It said this was largely attributable to an entrenched subculture of violence that is built around wellknown strongmen, thugs, touts, gangsters and cultists on the one hand, and the widespread belief that elections cannot be won or smooth governance guaranteed without strong-arm tactics and the support of thugs. The election observer group had presented a voter analysis that compared elections in Edo state since 2011. In the report, it said that Edo governorship election in 2011 recorded 38.4 percent voter turnout in the Presidential election. In the 2016 governorship election, turnout was 32percent, while in the 2019 general election turnout was 28 percent for the Presidential election and 32.8percent for the state assembly election. While in the 2016 governorship election, the highest number of votes cast came from Edo South senatorial district (49percent) compared to Edo North and Edo Central senatorial districts (32percent and 19percent respectively). Six LGAs (Oredo, Ikpoba/Okha and Egor in Edo South senatorial district and Etsako West, Akoko Edo, and Owan East in Edo North senatorial district)
Against the anxiety that the election in Edo State would be tainted by violence, surprisingly the election held peacefully in most parts of the state, except for the violence and electoral malpractices such as vote buying, ballot snatching recorded in few local government areas of the state. However several factors are believed to have played a role in preventing the much feared violence
Intervention of Oba of Benin The fear of violence during the election had on September 2nd prompted the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, to summon the candidates of the All Progressives Congress, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the Peoples Democratic Party, Godwin Obaseki to his palace, over the verbal clashes among their supporters and violence that had characterised their campaigns. Oba Ewuare II, rebuked politicians in the state, particularly Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu, for the pre-election violence and belligerent electioneering utterances, threatening to tear the state apart ahead of the September 19 election. The Benin monarch at the meeting said there were talks about the candidates of the two major parties arming thugs. He warned them to desist from the act and expressed worry about what the guns would be used for after the election. Oba Ewuare II, who said he was worried about the violence across the state stated that politicians must learn to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner, noting that election was not a do-or-die affair. The monarch told the two leading candidates and their promoters, including former governors John Odigie-Oyegun and Adams Oshiomhole, in subdued anger during the meeting that the utterances, statements and activities that he heared were most immature. He admonished the parties and politicians to note that they have only Edo State to call their own and must do everything possible to protect it from disintegration. He said not only has the state been in the news for the wrong reasons, but that the governorship election had divided the people. NOTE: Interested readers should continue in the online edition on www.thisdaylive.com
T H I S D AY ˾ WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020
Edo Governorship Election as a Bad Omen for APC Ahead of 2023 Adedayo Akinwale writes on the implication of the loss of the All Progressives Congress in the just concluded Edo governorship election on its quest to retain power in 2023
party to hold its mega rally before the election. It was only the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinmma, and his Kano State counterpart, Abdullahi Ganduje, that were visible around Ize-Iyamu in the heat of his campaigns for the votes of the Edo electorate. Initially, Edo state was controlled by PDP, but the party lost the state to the defunct Action Congress (AC) in 2008, following the judgment of Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal of Justice Peter Umeadi, which nullified the victory of the PDP candidate, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, in the April 14, 2007 election, hence, the emergence of Oshiomhole. ACN was part of the political parties that metamorphosed into APC, and since then the party had been ruling the state with the hope of making further inroads into the South-south region by winning more states. The former national chairman of APC spent eight years as the governor of the state before handing over to Obaseki, his estranged political godson. Nevertheless, all efforts by the ruling party to win states in the region in previous elections had proved abortive as the PDP maintained a firm grip on the region. With Obaseki’s victory, the main opposition party in the country, the PDP, has now regained its lost ground in the South-South. Beyond that, political analysts believe that losing Edo to PDP was part of the grand plot to clip the feathers of Tinubu and Oshiomole, who many believe had amassed too much influence within the party ahead of 2023. With that political coupe successfully executed against the duo, Oshiomole has now been politically decapitated, and it has also invariably diminished Tinubu’s influence and his presidential ambition in 2023. Without mincing words, the future of the ruling party looks bleak and also considering the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari who is the only unifying factor will not be on the ballot in 2023, this reality is already a source of concern for the stakeholders of the party. Former Governor of Imo state, Senator Richas Okorocha, had while addressing journalists after the Edo election said that it was the respect for the President that is keeping the ruling
party together. He said, “There is no more APC, what we have is the respect for President Muhammadu Buhari, that is what is keeping us together. What we have is our respect for the person of President Buhari and we still believe that something can be done. “That trust and respect is what we still call APC, outside that, respect for President Buhari and the trust and believe that he could wake up one day and correct all these injustices and make it fine. That is the only thing that is keeping the APC, if not that, I don’t think there is anything like APC because people are beginning to get fed up. Again, PDP is not even better, the party has its own challenges.” Aside the Buhari factor, the policies of the APC-led Federal Government which has been been described by many as anti-people policies have succeeded in plunging more Nigerians into poverty, while ensuring that the country remains the poverty capital of the world. The APC-led government has not feared better in the areas of security, economy and anti-corruption, which are the cardinal areas the government promised to address. With the current level of insecurity in the country, Nigeria is not safer than it was in 2015. While the then administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan battled Boko Haram insurgency throughout his tenure, the Buhari administration has also continued to battle the Islamic sect, while Fulani herdsmen, kidnappings, banditary continued to wreck havoc in different parts of the country. Even, the home state of the president is not spared. The terror sect had recently revealed that it has links with the bandits in the North-west. Some governors from the North have to pay millions of naira to reach a peace accord with the bandits, while even posing for a photograph with the criminals as part of a landmark achievement. This was not the case under former President Jonathan who was described as “clueless” by the party in power now. The APC administration is also notorious for its skewed political appointments to favour the north. This is believed to have opened up the fault lines that were already dissappering before Buhari came to power. The core
supporters of the APC are beginning to have a rethink, and have realised that Buhari may not be the Messiah they were expecting to transform Nigeria. Worthy of note, is the threat by the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) to impose visa ban on election riggers, which appeared to have worked the magic in Edo and made the election more transparent. With the threat of visa ban, it is expected that subsequent elections and even the 2023 elections will be devoid of violence and rigging as political actors would be afraid of being sanctioned. According to a political an analyst, Mr. John Samuel, “Looking at the bigger picture one is tempted to also say what is happening in Edo is to send a clear message to the ruling elite to stop taking Nigerians for granted. Increases in fuel price, electricity tariff, taxes and trying to shut us up with laws that outlaws free speech and to add insult to injury, a water bill targeting river basins for animal use. Aside this, the determination of Edo people and the “threat” of visa restrictions by UK and US also played a role.” Also, the former Governor of Kano state, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso said, “Let me also thank the representatives of the international community in Nigeria, especially the United State embassy in Nigeria and the United Kingdom embassy in Nigeria for their timely advice to merchants of election malpractice and perpetrators of electoral violence. Your advisory to election riggers and promoters of election violence to know that there are consequences, beyond the borders of Nigeria, for their ignominious action was very effective. We thank you for your interest in deepening democracy in our country.” A political analyst, Mr. Jide Ojo, was of the opinion that the triumph of the PDP would impact on ambition of APC in 2023 to retain power at the centre. He added that between 2013 and 2015, APC was in control of 24 states, but they are only in control of 20 at the moment. He said, “PDP is controlling 15 and APGA is controlling one. If they had won on Saturday, the tally would have been increased to 21. As it is said, all politics is local and where do you get to locals if not at the state level. So, it is the sum of the state that makes the centre and God forbid, if APC should lose in Ondo again on October 10, then that means there will be diminishing returns on APC, which is why there was a lot of scolding of Oshimhole that under is watch as a national chairman the party has lost ground. They lost in Zamfara, they lost in Rivers, Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo. “When you look at Ondo, Ondo is too close for comfort, APC lost Presidential election in Ondo last year, even though it is an incumbent governor that is there. Nobody can be too sure of what will happen on October 10 in Ondo. So, coming back to your question, it definitely will impact negatively on 2023 ambtion of the APC to retain power at the centre.” While it is too early to predict how all this will play out in 2023, Edo was a good outing for PDP and a bad omen for APC ahead of 2023.
he Edo state governorship election has come and gone, while the winners and the losers have equally emerged. The success of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election has no doubt changed the political calculation and permutation ahead of the 2023 elections. In the build up to the election, there were apprehensions that the election would be marred by violence, rigging, ballot box snatching, thuggery and all other vices associated with the Nigeria electoral process. But at the end of the day, the Edo election has been adjudged as the freest and most transparent gubernatorial election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in recent times by election observers. The new innovation introduced by the electoral body which allows the result to be uploaded on the server right from the Ward level as earned it some accolades. It has so far helped in no small measure in increasing the transparency of the process, while also restoring the confidence of Nigerians in INEC. Nigerians now believe that indeed, their votes are beginning to count. The governorship candidate of the PDP, Godwin Obaseki has been able to weather the political storm and had his mandate renewed, having defeated his main rival and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. Obaseki won in 13 local government as against Pastor Iyamu’s victory in five. In all, Obaseki polled 307, 955 votes, while Ize-iyamu got 223, 619 votes. However, the triumph of the PDP in Edo election has changed the political calculation and permutations ahead of the 2023 elections. It has equally nailed the coffin of the presidential ambition of the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, while the former national chairman of the party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole has been sent to a political oblivion, no thanks to Obaseki and the PDP. Prior to the election and when it was becoming clearer that the National Working committee (NWC) of the party led by Oshiomhole was bent on forcing Obaseki out of the party by denying him the second term ticket, APC governors rallied round their embattled colleague, pleaded with Oshiomhole and even Tinubu but their plea fell on deaf ears. The Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) which has Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, as its chairman, even though not a statutory organ of the party, wields a lot of influence. The eventual sack of Oshiomhole from office during the emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held at the Presidential Villa apparently had the governors signature on it. Despite, the humiliation of their colleague by Oshiomhole, who denied Obaseki of his right of first refusal for the party’s ticket by disqualifying him from the party primary that produced Ize-Iyamu as the APC candidate, the governors did not desert Obaseki, who later defected to the PDP from the APC. It is no longer news that Ize-Iyamu’s campaign did not enjoy the support of the APC governors, hence, the failure of the ruling
The policies of the APC-led Federal Government which has been been described by many as antipeople policies have succeeded in plunging more Nigerians into poverty, while ensuring that the country remains the poverty capital of the world. The APC-led government has not feared better in the areas of security, economy and anti-corruption, which are the cardinal areas the government promised to address. With the current level of insecurity in the country, Nigeria is not safer than it was in 2015
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Group Features Editor: Chiemelie Ezeobi Email email@example.com, 08038901925
Advocating for Accountability in the Defence Sector The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre recently held a one-day retreat for some members of defence committees in the House of Representatives. Chiemelie Ezeobi reports that the importance of legislative oversight, accountability, reforms and measures to tackle corruption in the defence sector were some of the issues thrashed
Participants at the CISLAC retreat on legislative oversight in the security sector
â&#x20AC;&#x153;It involves the submission of armed forces and security services to political power and direction and extends beyond parliamentary control to include the wider public. Howbeit, parliamentary oversight of the defence sector is essential because it enhances effectiveness and efficiency of the security sector. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It contributes to making this crucial sector synchronised with national priorities as defined by the constitutional authority. Moreover, the security sector is funded by the treasury and parliament needs to check whether public money is spent according to the people's real needs. Without this oversight, a critical bridge to the public is absentâ&#x20AC;?, he added.
egislative oversight is the role the democratically-elected branch of the legislature plays in oversight and monitoring of policies, budgets and processes. In essence, legislative oversight is a critical component of legislative governance. In the defence sector, the same holds true. The role of the legislature in the defence sector is multi-faceted as they approve, develop or reject policy, laws and budgets after due consideration; determine the legal framework for security policy and practice; monitor, debate and shape policy and practice in plenary sessions and in specialised committees; as well as get involved in the appointment processes for senior posts within the security institutions to minimise any political interference.
Legislative Interface with CISLAC Thus, to build on the gains achieved in spearheading accountability in the defence sector, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) recently organised a one-day retreat in Lagos for some members of the House of Representatives including the committee chairmen on Defence, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Army. The retreat was organised by CISLAC in collaboration with Transparency International-Defence and Security Programme (TI-DSP) with support from UK-AID. In attendance were Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson; Chairman, House Committee on Army, Abdulrazak Saâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ad Namdas; Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Yusuf Adamu Gagdi; Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Air Force, Abbas Adigun; Member, Committee on Air Force, Tyough Robert Aondona; and Member, Committee on Air Force, Eta Edim Mbora. Also present were clerks of security committees, the CISLAC team and defence corespondents in Lagos. According to the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, the retreat was multi-faceted as it dealt with the coordination of various defence bills in the National Assembly, the effectiveness it brings on defence sector,
Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson
Chairman, House Committee on Army, Abdulrazak Saâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ad Namdas
highlights of reforms, the accountability component inherent, the role of civilian and oversight agencies, and other entry points for engagements. In essence, the retreat was to achieve a more coordinated approach towards the legislation of the Defence and Security Bills; recognition and reflection of clear defence effectiveness/accountability mechanisms in the concept, process, management and character of the bills; improved administrative capacity and strategies to convene public hearing on the bills with robust participation of CISLAC/TI-DSP in the process; and a more strengthened parliamentary oversight and participation after legislations. Musa in his opening remarks, noted that though the National Assembly was responsible for setting the legal frameworks, adopting the budget, as well as overseeing defence and security activities, it can only exercise these responsibilities in full if it has broad access to information, the necessary technical expertise, and the power and intention to hold the government to account. However, he lamented that the variety and technicalities of the issues involved, the significant size and complex organisation of security personnel and,
frequently, the secrecy of the security sector, make it particularly difficult for parliamentarians to work effectively. Stressing that the interface was on a variety of issues such as the Defence Management Bill, the Armed Forces Revamp Bill and the proposed Armed Forces Service Commission which is a novel idea, he noted that though the legislature has a mandate to set legal frameworks, adopt budgets and defence and security activities, it can only exercise these responsibilities in full if it has a broader access to information, the necessary technical expertise and the power and intention to hold the government to account. Democratic Governance According to Musa, legislative oversight refers to the responsibility control and accountability over the defence sector. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is indeed a crucial mandate but by no means the only pillar of democratic governance of the sector. Democratic governance of the security sector is broader than parliamentary oversight and relates to the constant process, policies and administration of the defence and security sector in a manner that is transparent, accountable and participatory.
Handicaps to Oversight Despite the gains recorded because of such oversight functions, Musa noted that â&#x20AC;&#x153;the capacity of legislature to oversee the defence sector is handicapped by the tendency of the incumbent executive branch of government to marginalise the legislature. The risk of excessive executive domination exists for all sectors and in particular the closed, specialised nature of the security sector makes it susceptible to the proclivity of executive branches to exert monopoly over this central lever of state power â&#x20AC;&#x153;Moreover, in parliamentary traditions, the defence sector has been constitutionally conceded as the exclusive preserve of the executive. Legislature is the workshop of democracy and it is within that workshop that the necessary powers of the state are determined and set within limits. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There should be no area of state activity that is a no-go' zone for parliamentary oversight. Security is one of the core tasks of a state; the agencies within the defence sector hold many leverages of power that needs to be counterbalanced and controlled. That is why ensuring a real separation of powers and a smooth system of checks and balances in security issues is more important than in other fields of government.â&#x20AC;? Tackling Corruption in Defence Sector According to Conflict Advisor CISLAC,
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Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Yusuf Adamu Gagdi
Salaudeen Hashim, corruption must be tackled, especially in the defence sector because it is dangerous, divisive and wasteful. In essence, he said corruption reduces mission effectiveness in the defence sector because it benefits just the spoilers, wastes scarce resources, causes reputational risk, jeopardises trust, facilitates organised crime and hollows out defence capacity. He further tasked the legislative on key issues to ponder like; How does the Whistleblower Act & Policy marry with Official Secrets Act?; Why is it difficult in getting serving personnel to embrace a culture of openness in public service?; How is the negative perception of public scrutiny and accountability? Is openness a threat to national security? He also queried why national security is a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;no- go areaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; for CSO and public engagement whereas national security goes beyond external and internal threats and encompasses human security. Juxtaposing Internal and Kinetic Warfare Afterwards in an interview with Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, he talked about the under policing challenge whereby the military have become involved in matters of internal warfare. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The military has all been about 36 states of the nation in one operation or the other. It should not be so but we live in very interesting times, but unfortunately for us, we are under policed and I don't know how come the Nigerian people are reluctant to be in the police. About 400,000 policemen are policing over 200 million Nigerians, this is against the UN index and against all known parameters. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Because the economic situation doesn't afford or provide jobs for millions of Nigerians, everybody knows that 70 per cent of our population are youth so the devil can find work for the idle man. Youths who do not have anything to do, a lot of them particularly in the North-east are indoctrinated, they turn into Boko Haram and ISWAP. They are all over the place and this indoctrination is spreading to other parts. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s causing banditry, oil bunkering and co, so the Nigeria nation can also not fold its hands and allow things to degenerate. The quickest and the most effective way we can handle this is using the military. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I believe that the government is addressing this. Recently, the police commission was set up. We are talking about community policing and bringing police to all the nooks and crannies of the country so I believe in not too distant future, we will gradually migrate from this abnormal situation into going back into what democracy recognises, which is allowing the police to step in and do their jobs.â&#x20AC;? On the other hand, he commended the military for doing well given the resources available. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think the Nigerian military have excelled exceedingly well outside of Nigeria, they have gone to Sierra Leone, Liberia and other UN sanction operations and they have excelled very well. They are trained to fight in
Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Air Force, Abbas Adigun
kinetic situation, engaging enemies who want to troop into our country. In curbing internal insurgence and banditry, that's not what they are fundamentally trained to do, so they struggled with it. I think with the introduction of the special forces here and there, they have been able to up the game but it hasn't been a perfect situationâ&#x20AC;?. All the same, Benson reiterated that the military needs to ramp up its defence training because if there's no security, there will be no peace and economic prosperity. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We need to find nimble innovative way of funding our defence sector, we need to collaborate more using the legislative advocacy skills, we need to do government to government transactions whereby the middlemen are eliminated, we need to also do trade by barter, we need enough weapons and inventory and platforms to be able to scare and fight insurgency. So yes, in this dwindling times, we need to spend more particularly on our defence so that it will open up prosperity. You see the prosperity of a nation is tied rapidly to how it can develop home grown solutions to address military challenges.â&#x20AC;? Enhancing Capacity of Defence Institutions On this, the Defence Chairman said the Nigerian government is doing a lot in enhancing the capacity of its defence institution. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I'm very impressed. With their lean budget, they are developing bullets. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just DICON, the military also partners some local companies to develop earth shaking innovations in Nigeria. INNOSON is one- I recall a time where importation of Air Force parts, particularly the brakes were banned. The Airforce partnered INNSON and they developed those brakes.â&#x20AC;? He said this increased and enhanced the capacity to develop more parts like the batteries done by Ibeto Betto. He added that DICON does bullets. However, he said the military would be charged to patronise DICON more. Stressing that the gentleman in DICON is doing a yeomanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job, he added that he has excellently positioned the institution. However, he said the military needs to patronise them more. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s demand and supply. If it manufactures and it gets appropriate demand from the services, things can be better. In essence, money should be channelled towards our local production that will make them self sufficient and less dependent on governmentâ&#x20AC;?. On the need for the military to enhance their research and development units, Benson disclosed that the Armed Forces Policy Document stated that 10 per cent percent of the budget of each service should be married for research and development, but â&#x20AC;&#x153;unfortunately, they don't do that. So, it's part of the things we are going to be looking in the next project, to ensure and force them to obey what the policy says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Definitely, the policy will be looked at and it will be stretched. There is also a different sector that is the private sector people, who manufacture defence products. They have done excellently well
Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa
but are we patronising them enough? So going forward, the committee is going to call all the local defence companies, they could do that, sending a strong signals to the service that we believe in these peopleâ&#x20AC;?. Access to Defence Information Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, while speaking said defence is an issue that involves all and sundry as the bedrock of any society is adequate security. He queried that if the House of Assembly can vote for money, why is the Nigerian Armed forces having issues acquiring software to combat the insurgency. On the Maritime bill, he said it has been signed to adjust to some NIMASA roles but noted that some of the roles allotted to NIMASA are obsolete. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Any organisation that plays security role is vital to the stability of the country, as we know that any bandit, whether on water, sea or on ground is projecting the country image in bad light. He enjoined the two arms of the government to come together to address the security issues and also implored the CSOs to still find time to bring together particularly the security chiefs to future discourse. In an aside afterwards, he said the importance of the interface with CISLAC â&#x20AC;&#x153;is one of the efforts put in place by the parliament in collaboration with those non-governmental organisations or civil society organisation to ensure that things are done in the right wayâ&#x20AC;?. On the issue of accountability and open access to defence information he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;To me, the only information that should be restricted to some level to Nigerians is operational issue, otherwise expenditure issues are things that should not be put under lock and key. There shouldn't be secrecy for whatever reason by the defence sector why some certain amount were provided for them.â&#x20AC;? Security as a Paramount Factor Also in an interview with THISDAY, the House Committee Chairman on Army, Abdulrazak Saâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ad Namdas, he said a roundtable of all stakeholders in the security sector is paramount given that peace means a booster for the economy. Admitting that when a soldier agrees to join the military, he or she has sworn an allegiance even in the face of death, he said the government must also play its own part by giving soldiers the required tools to go and fight. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You cannot have a situation where people are alleging that even insurgents have better weapons than the Armed Forces. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not good for us but we as legislators, we try always to always give more funds. Like in the 2020 budget, we have increased funding for the Armed Forces.â&#x20AC;? On the issue of soldiers who went awol being prosecuted he said, â&#x20AC;?if you were well equipped before you ran out of here, then you will face the music but if you ran because you don't have the necessary tools or equipments to defend yourself, this is another thing. But
you have to provide even evidence. The court marshal is as old as the military institution itself. If we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t court marshal people, then there will be indiscipline. I think there should be punishment in the army, I still stand with it. There should be reward system and there should be punishmentâ&#x20AC;?. Addressing Challenge of Inadequate Equipment Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Air Force, Abbas Adigun, who served in the United States Navy where he retired before joining politics in Nigeria, lamented that global conspiracy and internal forces are undermining the security situation in Nigeria. He stressed that the country canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go forward if security issue is treated with levity. Addressing the issue of obsolete equipment he said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;How do you send somebody to war without the right equipment? They canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t win the war. I believe that if the welfare of the personnel is taken care of and with the right equipment, we will winâ&#x20AC;?. While calling on the security and intelligence agencies to address the issue of bandits having access to sophisticated weapons, the lawmaker opined that youth employment was a major contributor to the security challenges in the country. Recommendations Hours after deliberating with CISLAC and defence corespondents on ground, series of recommendations were made and it includes they fact that the executive and legislative arms as well as civil society organisations, should engage constantly to enable a more robust interaction, building of synergy and more effective results. On the other hand, CISLAC was charged to help collate international laws and best practices that could be contextualised and incorporated in the Nigerian law books to boost the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s security sector. Also, it was advocated that there should be a timeline within which the executive should submit its national budget to the legislature, so that proper scrutiny and due diligence could be done on it. This is because the current constitutional timeline that allows the executive to continue spending for up to six months into a new financial year without an approved and enacted appropriation act should never have happened. Meanwhile, there should be concerted efforts by the legislative arm of government to counter wrong perceptions by the public and to bridge existing gaps between them and the citizenry through proactive trust building measures and mechanisms. Furthermore, intelligence and security studies should be taught in schools, recruitment and training locations for recruits should be decentralised and increased beyond just the Kaduna location. Summarily, state governments should be held accountable for the security of their states, and for the utilisation of security votes and other security expenditures while the National Orientation Agency should be engaged at local and community levels, to counter fake and inciting news that are capable of burning up the polity.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 â&#x20AC;¢T H I S D AY
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L-R:GeneralSecretary,RiskManagementAssociationofNigeria(RIMAN), Mr.AdesojiOlasoko; FirstVicePresident,Mr.KolaAjimoko; President,Mr.Magnus Nnoka;SecondVicePresident,Dr.EzekielOseni,andExecutiveSecretary,Mr.VictorOlannye, duringtheassociationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;smembershipinductionprogrammein Lagos...recently
NNPC: More Gas Flared than Supplied to Industries in One Year Chineme Okafor in Abuja The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has disclosed that between July 2019 and July 2020, Nigeria flared more gas than it supplied to its domestic industries, averaging about 600.38 million standard feet per day (mmscf/d). In its July 2020 report on its operations, the NNPC explained that 490.21mmscf/d of gas was sent to industries on the average, making it less than the volume of gas flared. Similarly, the volume of gas flared was slightly lower than the average volume - 680mmscf/d, sent to power generation companies (Gencos) for power production within the period. It equally said that the volume of gas sent to Gencos enabled them to produce up to 2,617 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the national grid. According to the corporation,
ENERGY 660.04mmscf/d was flared in July 2019, 698.78mmscf/d in August 2019, 664.70mmscf/d in September, 565.17mmscf/d in October, 632.37mmscf/d in November, and 598.03mmscf/d in December 2019. In January 2020, 643.59mmscf/d was flared, 629.88mmscf/d in February, 679.54mmscf/d in March, 617.32mmscf/d in April, 486.19mmscf/d in May, 472.94mmscf/d in June, and 456.35mmscf/d in July 2020. On the other hand, it indicated that an average of 500.68mmscf/d was sent to domestic industries in July 2019, 508.82mmscf/d in August, 480.30mmscf/d in September, 458.70mmscf/d in October, 531.82mmscf/d in November, and 525.50mmscf/d in December 2019. In January 2020, 528.10mmscf/d was sent to the industries, 536.71mmscf/d in February, 492.39mmscf/d in March, 445.31mmscf/d in
April, 469.15mmscf/d in May, 427.19mmscf/d in June, and 468.09mmscf/d in July 2020. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For the period of July 2019 to July 2020 an average of 1,170.26mmscfd of gas was supplied to the domestic market comprising an average of 680.05mmscfd or 58.11 per cent as gas supply to the power plants and 490.21mmscfd or 41.89 per cent as gas supply to industries. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Gas flare rate was 5.99 per cent for the month under review i.e. 456.35mmscfd compared with average gas flare rate of 7.69 per cent i.e. 600.38mmscfd for the period July 2019 to July 2020,â&#x20AC;? the NNPC said in the report. In 2018, the Programme Manager for the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP), Mr. Justice Derefaka, had said during a business meeting of the Nigerian Norwegian Chamber of Commerce (NNCC) that Nigeria loses approximately $1 billion of revenue through gas flaring.
Derefaka explained that the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inability to capture and commercialise flared gas meant that she loses that much annually, adding that flared gas if properly exploited, has the potential to create 300,000 jobs, produce 600,000 metric tonnes (MT) of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) per year and generate 2.5 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from new and existing power Gencos as approximately 700mmscf/d is flared from 178 flare sites in the country. The NGFCP, he indicated will however change the situation when implemented. The federal government recently said it would not abandon its plan to concession up to 178 identified flare gas fields through its Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Program (NGFCP) which it initiated in 2018. Derefaka, who disclosed this, Continued on page 23
Recapitalisation: NAICOM Reads Riot Act to Operators over Outstanding Claims Ebere Nwoji The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has said it will not endorse the recapitalisation plan of any firm that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t clear outstanding claims of its clients. The Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, who stated this in a chat with journalists, warned that such firms would not be certified to have crossed the recapitalisation huddle. He, therefore, advised insurance companies to settle outstanding claims in their books. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I believe that the recapitalisation will be the leveler because we are going to factor in all those outstanding claims before we adjudge any company as hav-
ECONOMY ing met requirement. There is what we call age analysis and this ensures that if you have claims that have been more than some number of months in your book, you have to clear them,â&#x20AC;? he stated. He noted that after the exercise, what used to be one underwriting firm may require about 10 companies coming together as one. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You must understand that the recapitalisation exercise is not intended for those who have the potential but donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have sufficient capital to do it. If they can come together with others to form a company that
will be adjudge as good enough to operate,â&#x20AC;? he said. He recognised the fact that allowing firms to go under would pose some challenges, noting that there are challenges associated with running down a company because the commission would need to engage a liquidator, get policyholders and all stakeholders involved. â&#x20AC;&#x153;However, we are also not unaware of the fact that some will still not be able to make it. At that point they will have to go. So, what I am saying is that putting a company out is not a first point of call. The table will be open for some to come together but after 30th of September those who canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make it will cease from transaction business and they
canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t come back in their name anymore,â&#x20AC;? he added. According to Thomas, NAICOM will not tolerate a situation where a failed company in the ongoing recapitalisation would come back after the exercise, claiming that it has the funds and want to register. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This will not be allowed. After the recapitalisation, they just have to fuse with others,â&#x20AC;? he added. He said some of the companies have gotten so bad that the issue of non-payment of claims now is worrisome, stressing that the commission is attending to those firms. He maintained that distress management in the financial Continued on page 23
AXA Mansard Insurance Plc, a member of the AXA Group recently organisedawebinarforinsurancebrokerswithfocusontransformational leadership in the evolving business environment. The company during the event emphasised the importance of transformational leadership, emotional intelligence, mental health awareness and its impact on the industry currently. In his presentation, the Head of Energy and Emerging Corporates, Akinlolu Akinyele, explained that the event was geared towards improving collaboration with partners in the insurance brokerage communityandthuscreatinganavenueforthedeepeningoftechnical excellence and overall growth of the industry. Also, the Head, Preventives andWellness Unit, AXA Mansard Health, Dr. Edeigbini Omokhudu, spoke on mental health. The Principal Consultant and CEO, VTB Consulting Limited, Victor Tamunokuro Briggs, said â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is a state of being that appreciates his or her own abilities and can cope with the normal stresses of life; thus, making him or her productive to themselves and to the society.â&#x20AC;? He also explained that with every state in life, there can also be a state of disequilibrium or imbalance.This was referred to as mental illness. HesaidAXAMansardwasregisteredasacompositecompanywiththe National Insurance Commission of Nigeria (NAICOM) to oďŹ&#x20AC;er life and non-lifeinsuranceproductsandservicestoindividualsandinstitutions across Nigeria, whilst also oďŹ&#x20AC;ering asset/investment management services, health insurance solutions and pension fund administration through its three subsidiaries - AXA Mansard Investments Limited, AXA Mansard Health Limited and AXA Mansard Pensions Limited respectively. He further said the parent company was listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange in November 2009.
AIICO Supports Vulnerable Persons
AIICO Insurance Plc, in partnership with â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;We Stand Foundation,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; recently organised a feeding relief programme to cater to the needs of underprivileged people in Lagos. Inall,300familieswithintheIwayacommunity,Yaba,werebeneďŹ ciaries of the relief packages which included a variety of food items and reusable nose masks. AIICOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;sCorporateResponsibilityandSustainabilityManager,Abimbola Shobanjo, while speaking on the gesture, said it was a delight to bring smiles to the faces of the beneďŹ ciaries. According to her, besides solving hunger, the company, considered the well-being of the beneďŹ ciaries a high priority in view of the need to continue to keep safe. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We leverage on key partners to spot opportunities and drive these initiatives.â&#x20AC;? Also speaking, AIICOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s MD/CEO, Mr. Babatunde Fajemirokun, said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;This endeavour is reďŹ&#x201A;ective of our corporate culture of touching lives and impacting communities. These are challenging times and we are mindful of the impact. We have a long-term plan in place to ensure the sustainability of these eďŹ&#x20AC;orts.â&#x20AC;? AIICOhadorganisedasimilarprogrammeduringthelockdownperiod where food and other health and safety packages were distributed to people in diďŹ&#x20AC;erent communities to mitigate the impact.
Rinotech Group Hails Governor Uzodinma
An automobile company, the Rinotech Group of Companies has extolled the leadership qualities of Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma. The ďŹ rm described the governor as a visionary leader who is focused on providing quality serviceable means of transportation to civil servants in the state. Speaking to journalists in Owerri, the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Group Managing Director, Innocent Anaele expressed gladness over move by the governor to address challenges faced by civil servants in the state. Deliveringvehiclestocivilservantsandsomegovernorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;saidestoenable them carry out their tasks eďŹ&#x20AC;ectively, he said the gesture was a proof of shared prosperity program promises of the governor to the state. Meanwhile, the Rinotech Facilities Nigeria Limited boss, dealers in automobile vehicles that supplied over 30 county seated buses with accommodation of over 34 seaters presented to the civil servants by the Governor, pledged to continue to support the administration of the Imo governor.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;INo country is so poor that it has nothing to give and no country is so rich that it does not need to receiveâ&#x20AC;? Group CEO, Ecobank,
Mr. Ade Ayeyemi
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BUSINESSWORLD NNPC: MORE GAS FLARED THAN SUPPLIED TO INDUSTRIES IN ONE YEAR had said the country had been working on the modalities to achieve this, adding that the process of concluding the first phase of the NGFCP was ongoing with the bid rounds. According to the government, the NGFCP was designed as its strategy to eliminate gas flares from oil fields in the country. It noted that with potentially enormous multiplier and development outcomes for Nigeria, the NGFCP will support technically and commercially sustainable gas utilisation projects developed by competent third-party investors. RECAPITALISATION: NAICOM READS RIOT ACT TO OPERATORS OVER OUTSTANDING CLAIMS
services sector was not all that easy, adding that for every step that the commission takes in managing distress in the financial services sector if not well calculated, it might be a good intention but may claim the life of the company earlier than people think. Thomas said a company that has the potential of survival if not manage well, could get worse. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Imagine a bank is having a challenge and the central bank announces that it is not well. What do you think will happen? There will be a run on the bank. Or you advertise that a company cannot pay claim, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the end of the company. â&#x20AC;&#x153;No new business will come in and even the existing one will be yanked off by the people,â&#x20AC;? he said. He said people may not that bother that a company that has been badly managed was going down, but that it is not the company going down that is the challenge, stressing that the challenge really is what is the company going down with. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If a company has the potential for survival and you allow it to go down, the policyholders will be the loser not as much as the shareholders and this is our primary concern. Of course there are claim issues. I am not going to deny that fact but we are dealing with them,â&#x20AC;? Thomas said.
Group Business Editor
CSCS Sensitises Financial Market Stakeholders on Cyber-Security Goddy Egene The Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capital market infrastructure, has intensified its cyber-security advocacy by sensitising financial market participants on rising rate of cybercrime. In a webinar organised by the CSCS, financial market stakeholders, including bankers and capital market operators dialogued on innovative measures for preventing cybercrimes, dire need for increased campaign and exigency of collaborative investments to reign the rising rate of cybercrime. The theme of the event was: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cyber security and information during the Pandemic,â&#x20AC;? was lauded for its timeliness, as COVID-19 pandemic and attendant remote connections may have increased cyber-security risks in many organisations, particularly. This was so because the crime rate has surged globally, with rising exposure of financial services institutions in Nigeria and the broader African continent. Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, CSCS Plc, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri, said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cyber-security is a collective effort and everyone must play their role to preserve the integrity
and sanctity of the financial market. The pandemic and its attendant remote connections occasioned by business continuity and work-from-home protocols have increased exposures to cyber-security risks and some businesses may have suffered colossal losses due to cyber-attacks since the pandemic. â&#x20AC;&#x153;More than ever, cyber-attacks are like a double whammy at this challenging time when businesses
are re-strategising to adapt to the new normal and ensure sustainability.â&#x20AC;? On his part, the Chief Strategy Officer, CSCS Plc, Mr. Femi Onifade, said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;A breach on any market participantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s network may inadvertently expose the entire system, thus reinforcing why we must collaborate to prevent any vulnerabilities in the financial system and why all participants and stakeholders must take active
and effective measures in ensuring and sustaining cyber-resilience.â&#x20AC;? Also speaking, the Chief Information Security Officer, GTBank Plc, Mr. Bharat Soni, said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;New work culture has expanded remote activities and cloud capabilities to an unprecedented level, thereby making businesses more vulnerable to cyber-attacks such as online scams and phishing, disruptive malware, malicious domains amongst others.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hence, the use of strong authentication for accessing networks would no longer be an option but a necessity.â&#x20AC;? According to him, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Awareness of the new realities of safe cyber practices need to be communicated to employees, partners and customers so that they can remain aware of the evolving cyber threat and how to best protect themselves and their organisations.â&#x20AC;?
L-R: Marketing Director, Beebeejump Solar International, Abel Su; Regional Sales Manager, South-west, David Idem; Chief Executive officer, Power AlternativesSolutions, RotimiAdebari; Director, EPCDepartment, BeebeejumpSolarInternational,CharlieWen,andSalesManager,PowerAlternatives Solutions,CatherineEloh,duringthelaunchofPowerAlternativesSolutionsOffice,officialpartnerofBeebeejumpSolarinternationalinAbeokuta,Ogun State...recently
FG Outlines Procedures for Regional Maritime Development Bank Project Kasim Sumaina in Abuja The federal government has said Nigeria will proceed with the Regional Maritime Development Bank Project if only two-thirds of member states accept the decision reached by the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA). Amaechi disclosed this when he declared-open the meeting of MOWCA Committee of Experts on the Regional Maritime Development Bank Project and
Interim Board of Directors in Lagos, recently. The minister in a statement noted that member countries of the MOWCA having identified the major deficit in the development of indigenous participation in the regional maritime sector and associated value chain, agreed to establish a maritime bank focused on the growth and development in West and Central Africa with a view to raising debt and equity capital of $850 million and $150 million respectively.
He revealed that the organisation had via a resolution at a regional maritime development bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s annual general session said the intention was to establish a maritime bank that cuts across West Africa and Central Africa. He explained that the federal government through the ministry of transportation was then mandated to take all necessary steps to bring the bank to actualisation. According to Amaechi, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Nigeria is going to sign to be part of that meeting and we are willing
to make our contributions, but we will not make those contributions until the two-thirds of the member states have accepted the decision and have agreed on a timeline which they will make their contributions.â&#x20AC;? He said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whatever decision we reach here is subject to approval and confirmation of every member states in writing. I will not convene whatever decision reached here to the President until I have the binding of two-thirds of the member organisation because if we take it to the President and
the President approves and every other person backs out, are we going to establish a maritime bank of Nigeria? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Any decision reached at the end of the meeting wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be taken to Mr. President until other member states indicate interest in writing to be part of the project which would develop the maritime sector in Africa.â&#x20AC;? He added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m willing to participate, we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have just six countries passing a law on behalf of over 20 countries in the region.â&#x20AC;?
Firm Calls for Innovations to Improve Port Access Roads Rebecca Ejifoma A logistic firm, 4Runner Global Services Limited has called for innovative and systematic approach to fixing the roads in and out of the Lagos ports for improved and efficient service deliveries across the country. The firm made this known through its Chairman, Mr. Femi Dada, during a networking and strategy session with stakeholders in Lagos State.
Dada admitted that the COVID-19 affected virtually all sectors in the economy in the world, logistics inclusive. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are so many shipments that cannot be moved due to the nature of goods they are. The government needs to do more in terms of shipping and transporting the goods to the destination,â&#x20AC;? he implored. He emphasised: â&#x20AC;&#x153;A job we are meant to clear in a day or two we end up clearing such
in four to five days or two to three weeks. And the storage in the shipping terminal keeps counting every day.â&#x20AC;? The logistic expert bemoaned that some of the trucks stay on queue for more than 30 days. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If they want to bribe their way they will be paying N20,000 to N30,000 to all the agencies present on the road to get a fast track road.â&#x20AC;? However, Dada noted that if, â&#x20AC;&#x153;you want to go through the
normal route, you have to stay about 25 to 30 days before you can get back to the port. And the port services charges you for returning their container late.â&#x20AC;? While stressing that there is a whole lot still the government was expected to do, he urged the government to fix the road if they intend to as it would avoid congesting port roads. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Lagos port roads should be the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s priority. And the issue of port thugs should be
addressed, too. The roads and ports are not secure. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now, as the world continues to deploy technology for their daily businesses, 4Runner Global Logistics Services Ltd has joined the bandwagon with its ecommerce business coming up in two weeksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;COVID-19 has really shaped a lot of businesses and it has really opened eyes to see that you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to be in your business place or office to get your business done.â&#x20AC;?
Capital Market Editor
Abuja Intâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;l Trade Fair Holds in October
Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x2019;Ă?Ă?Ă&#x2014; Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x2DC;Ă&#x2018;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x2013;Ă&#x; (Advertising) Correspondents
Ă&#x2019;Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x2DC;Ă?Ă&#x17D;Ă&#x; Ă¤Ă? (Aviation) Ă&#x153;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x2014;Ă&#x2122;Ă?Ă?Ă&#x2013;Ă? Ă&#x152;Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x17D;Ă&#x;Ă&#x2DC; (Maritime) James Emejo (Finance) Ebere Nwoji (Insurance) Chineme Okafor (Energy) Emmanuel Addeh (Energy) Reporters
Ă&#x;Ă&#x2014;Ă? Ă&#x2022;Ă?Ă&#x2018;Ă&#x2019;Ă? (Money Market) Ă&#x2122;Ă?Ă&#x2039; Ă&#x2013;Ă?Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x2019;Ă&#x;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x2018;Ă&#x201C;Ă? (ICT) Peter Uzoho (Energy)
James Emejo in Abuja The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has concluded plan to host the 15th edition of the Abuja international trade fair from October 22nd to November 2nd, 2020. With the theme: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Trade and Commerce Beyond Borders,â&#x20AC;? the fair will provide a platform for sharing of trade, investment and market opportunity as well as information among businesses
and stakeholders as well as foster business relationships among buyers, investors and traders. According to the organisers, this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event will be observed in compliance with the COVID-19 protocol put in place by the Presidential Task Force and only showcase indoor and virtual exhibitions, to make room for a controlled environment that will ensure social distancing. In a statement issued by ACCI Media Officer, Latifat Opoola, the chamber noted that over 500
exhibitors from all sectors of the economy including agriculture, manufacturing, mining, electricity, oil and gas, tourism, textile, transport, telecommunications, financial and service sectors are expected to participate from within and outside the country. It said an average attendance of 100,000 visitors from both Nigeria and from over 150 countries including United Kingdom, USA, UAE, India, Malasyia, and China are expected to participate both
physically and virtually during the fair. Other countries expected to participate are Saudi Arabia, Ghana, South Africa, amongst others. The statement added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;With a team of trade professionals, we are persistent in providing a conducive trading atmosphere for our exhibitors, which will lead to the strategies and tactics needed to innovate, grow and promote businesses.â&#x20AC;? Over the years, the Abuja
international trade fair had provided the platform for international and domestic industry professionals, leading brands and SMEs to come together to transact, share market insights, cutting edge technology and expertise in an interactive environment. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event will provide a platform for sharing of trade, investment and market opportunity as well as information. It will also help buyers, investors and traders to foster business relationships.
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Ogbonna: Banks Creating Conducive Platforms for Customers The Deputy Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Roosevelt Ogbonna, in this interview speaks on the bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proactive investment in technology which he said has started paying off. Dike Onwuamaeze provides the excerpts:
ow has your bank managed the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations since the outbreak of the virus? It is evident that the pandemic has affected operations of businesses not just in the banking industry but across all the sectors of the economy. It has had significant effect on how we have done business. Prior to our merger with Diamond Bank, we made a lot of investment in information technology, training and innovation. This pandemic has given us an opportunity to test the innovation and resilience of that investment made over the course of two years. You would recall that the restrictions meant banks had to prioritise branch openings, but we still needed to serve customers. We had to rely on our digital platforms to be able to do so. As you may well know, we have the largest mobile banking network within the Nigerian banking system, with our 11 million customers on mobile banking app, we needed to upgrade that service and make it a lot more user friendly. A friendly digital platform has made it easy for customers to interact and achieve their banking needs. Overall, the operations were impacted but it might interest you to know that as a bank, we have grown through the crisis. In all of the last four to five months the bank has continued to grow, we continue to sign on new customers and leverage our agency banking to allow customers do business within their own locality rather than traveling far to do so. This would be the new normal. As we go into the future, more customers will rely on the digital platforms and alternative channels to be able to continue their transactions and do business. We are ready to serve customers and help them through that journey to arrive at a place where it will be very profitable. Are you impressed about how the pandemic has been tackled so far? I think to a large extent I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know if it is the work that we have done that has limited the impact of COVID in Nigeria, or we are just lucky or as some will argue that the weather itself has played a significant role. But whatever it is, government initiative and a quick thinking of the federal and state governments in Lagos, Ogun and Kano helped limit the transmission of COVID-19 across the market. We played our role, working as a partnership under CA-COVID with several large corporates within this market to provide funding and financing. We want government to realise that it is not just their fight, it is our fight and collectively we can win. The investment which CA-COVID has done in purchasing equipment, setting up testing centres and rehabilitation centres was to show support to government as well as Nigerians that it is all not just about making money but about making an impact. For us, it was important to protect our staff, our customers and entire stakeholders including the general public. I thank the government in the work that they have done and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in taking clear initiative that helped limit the spread. You rightly pointed out that, the graph is going down, and we pray it continues that way. How has your bank been able to thrive in the face of central bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s policies such as the cash reserve ratio (CRR) hike that has taken so much deposits away from banksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; balance sheets? Well I think in times like this, these are normal things that banks have to be prepared for. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think there is any single bank that will tell you that this is news to them or this is the first time they will see things like this happening. The monetary policy authority will try the best it can to manage local currency liquidity, foreign exchange liquidity, and of course the stability of our currency. Price stability continues to be priority for the regulator and they will do what it takes to manage the imported inflation that might slip through into our market. It is not a new policy, banks have come to terms with its reality and it is here to stay. From our perspective, I think what is clear is that we needed to trade significant liquidity buffers as well as significant capital buffers. On the foreign exchange side, we have been very discipline in how we manage our foreign exchange deposit
liability. We have ensured that we are not too aggressive in our lending of funds because of the scare liquidity that you find at times like this. We have leveraged our partners the like of the IFC, the FMO, the EIB and of course the like of trading syndicate bank to raise about $400 million in the course of the last three to four months. So that is what is coming to Nigeria, providing significant liquidity in the Nigerian economy as well as to help us strengthen and buffer our balance sheet from a tenure perspective. On the naira side, we have continued to invest significantly in financial inclusion, there is still a lot of money outside the informal sector, we are leveraging our agency banking networks and also the telcos that we have significant relationship with to continue to deepen financial inclusion. Through that source, we have seen significant naira liquidity that has come through. It will interest you to know that even in the height of the crisis as a bank, we are signing on about 400,000 and 500,000 customers monthly and each comes with significant liability. We have built liquidity buffers to manage ourselves through this period. As for the CBN policy, we understand why they have to do it, we have seen the impact that it is making and it is one that we will support fully. The short term implication for us as a bank on liquidity is something I believe most banks can manage. You talked about having thousands of new customers monthly and earlier you talked about the new normal and how your bank is actually adapting to that. How are you positioning as a bank to fully reopen all your doors as the economy gradually reopens? I think one of the things we have come to realise is that we will not go back to how things used to be done before. The idea of big offices, big branches, and having significant customer foothold might never come back. The investment that banks and many institutions have made in technology will have to begin to payoff. What we believe we see in the future is that branch network will still be relevant, but 70 to 80 per cent of our transactions would be done via alternative channels. So, it is about banks making the right investment and ensuring they have the right partnership to support their online and digital aspiration. So, the new normal is here and it is real and it is about banks and customer looking for a platform that is comfortable for them
and allows them to be able to transact. Some customers are more comfortable on mobile banking if the platform exist, some customer are more comfortable with online banking or USSD. So, I think there is a channel for every customer depending on the security awareness, depending on skill level and adoption of technology. And I think banks are ready, including Access Bank to provide alternative platforms for all customers to be able to transact. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s talk about concern among holders of Eurobond that there could be default by Nigerian banks; do you think it is a genuine concern and what can you say to some of the Eurobond investors? Well, I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t speak for the entire industry, but I can definitely speak for Access Bank. As you are aware, we have been through several of this crisis and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe to the best of my recollection that there is any Nigerian bank that has failed to make Eurobond payment up on till date and Access Bank is no different as well. I am not sure that those concerns are genuine. I believe that Nigerian banks working with the regulator and of course the investors, would continue to find a way to ensure that capital investment as well as coupons, interest and yields are remitted to the home countries of investors in our market. You might find subsequently that it is no different from what we saw in 2015 and 2016 and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think this will be any different. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s discuss Access Bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recent acquisition in Kenya and in Zambia. What informed those moves? Well, as a bank we have been repeatedly bold enough to come out every five years to share with the market what our plans for the next five years are. In the course of these five years which runs up to 2022, we have stated that we want to be one of the most respected African banks and Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gateway to the world. To be able to do so means that we have to be in several relevant markets within the African continent. Zambia and Kenya just happened to be one of those markets. We already exist in Zambia, we have been there in the last 10 years and what we are doing is consolidating our franchise in Zambia. The bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s thrust is that in every significant market that we play, we want to be in the top five bank in those
markets, if we are not going to do so then there is no point being in that market. So, Zambia is to consolidate our franchise and Kenya is an entry. We have acquired a bank operated in Kenya and believe that leveraging off the entire Access Bank global network we should be able to bring significant value to the Nigerian market. As you know, the way we have divided the Access world is that we have global financial centres, which includes the likes of London, Hong Kong, New York and Tokyo. We have to be in several of those markets over the course of the next two to three years. We have what we consider as trade hubs in the likes of Dubai, Mumbai, China and Lebanon. In those hubs, we have created, several of them will operate as branches or rep office and of course we have the rest of Africa. So, we are connecting Africa to the rest of the world as well as ensuring that Africa connects within itself. In East Africa, you cannot rule out Kenya because it is central to how they do business there, and in Kenya for us to do our hub as we spread across east Africa. You know we are in Rwanda, we are also in Mozambique and we are going to use Kenya as our hub in managing that entire network that we have. There are two or three other markets in Southern Africa that looks interesting but Zambia is going to be our anchor as we invest in the rest of the southern African region. The consolidation of Access Bank in Zambia places us about seventh in that market today and I think the rest will have to be on growth and we are going to find significant opportunity to take advantage of it. We just got a license in Guinea and that operation will start in earnest, the delay has come from COVID but I think before the end of the quarter Guinea will also start operation as well as Mozambique that started about a week. We are expanding across Africa and doing that intelligently by ensuring we are not putting our capital under significant pressure and in markets that are relevant and can help us connect Africa as we see it. What is your outlook for the economy and industry for the rest of the year? It is all about staying afloat, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do anything aggressively that will expose your institution to either liquidity or capital risk. Surviving and ensuring that 2020 is as good as last year will be a victory already. We have seen three or more sectors that are critical and we are making significant investment in those sectors, infrastructure is one. We are working with several state governments as well as the central bank, where we see opportunities for infrastructure lending we do so. For healthcare, we are working with central bank in the scheme they brought about for healthcare to lend and support the growth of the healthcare sector. We also see opportunities in SMEs, women banking, personal banking we and of course agriculture. They are sectors that have significant opportunities and have not been affected or dampened by COVID. Telecom, food and beverages also. So, in those sectors we are growing and we will continue to invest and put our money behind it. For several sectors that are affected by COVID, we have had to realign and make payment extensions for those customers to carry them over this crisis. We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see a quick recovery, we are not expecting to see a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Vâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; shape recovery post COVID, we think it is going to be a gradual â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Uâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; shape recovery and it will take us to the next 12 or 15 months to fully come out of it. It is at times like this that banks have to stand with their customers, support them through the crisis and that is the only way to ensure that the partnership is sustained. So, to those sectors like hospitality and airline and the likes of construction, real estate, some commodity trading, we just have to work with them to carry them through this crisis that COVID has brought on their business. We are positive, but cautiously so and hoping that with the opening of the global market we begin to sift through into the Nigerian market. And of course you know that the World Bank is projecting that there will be GDP decline of about five per cent globally and second quarter result shows about 6.1 per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline. But with the economic recovery plan and all that the government is trying to do to spend its way through this crisis, we expect that to narrow to about two per cent down in 2020.
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Taiwo: Creativity, Innovation Essential in Era of New Normal Mr. Femi Taiwo who is an Executive Director at LEAP Africa, in this interview speaks about the leadership skills youths in the country and Africa must develop to remain relevant in the post Covid-19 era. He also talks about his organisationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s upcoming Social Innovatorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Programme. Obinna Chima brings the excerpts What leadership skills do you think young people in Nigeria and other African countries must focus on in order to address challenges facing the continent? I think if weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to solve the problems in this country and in our continent, we need to collaborate more as young people. I will also say a lot of collaboration, co-creation and teamwork are required. Secondly, I will say we need to be visionary. You cannot separate vision from leadership. So, we should not just be quick to jump at doing things, taking action or making moves, we have to be very visionary. Being visionary means thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an opportunity for everybody and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an opportunity for growth. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the hallmark of vision. I like the definition of vision which says that its foresight based on insight to develop to the benefit of our hindsight. In this our generation, we need to pay attention to our history because our foresight must be based on insight. We cannot afford to have vision in isolation. We need to envision using the context of where we are coming from, what is going on right now, so that we can use that to define where we need to get to and what we need to go to. That also includes paying attention to what is going on around the world and how the world has navigated challenges that we are presently navigating. Obviously, the next thing is that we have to work hard. Diligence and perseverance are important for young people. We are going against very big issues in our country and in our continent, and we just have to be ready to do the hard work. Hard work here is not just laboring; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also requires smart work. We have to use our head, hands and be ready to go the extra mile because thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no short cut to these things. There is no short cut to developing our country and continent and so we have to be ready to roll up our sleeves and really dig deep and also carry out the smart work and hard work that would get us there. We have to be ready to do things with integrity and with purpose and we have to be principled. So, considering the pandemic, what sector will you advise youths to focus on in terms of skill development? One of the major things we teach at LEAP Africa is that we tell every individuals to discover themselves. This is very important because before you even start adding skills, can you even start with who you are and what you have; your talents and your skill-set. That is because the reality is that thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always a place for the passion, the gift and the talent that each individual carries. That will be my first message. So, find your own place in this world; find what you have and what you carry because it was given to you for a purpose and you can own it with excellence. Such talent can help doors open for you and people will respond to you. The second thing is that there are some fundamental skill-sets that irrespective of the industry you want to work in, irrespective of the opportunities out there, it would always make you a high flier. Those are things the world call 21st century skills, soft skills or core skills. The first one is critical thinking. No matter the sector you will end up playing in, no matter the talent or the gift you have, if you can think critically and solve problems, you will be very valuable. So, critical thinking and problem-solving are major skills that cut across any industry any time and any day, especially in this hot industrial revolution and season that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in presently. We are in the age of machines and artificial intelligence. So, critical thinking and problem solving are core skills. Secondly is creativity. Our world is demanding for more creativity. So, creativity and innovation are what young people would need to develop. Another skill required is
sector to be able to collaborate with the social sectors. We have the social sector- people like us who work in the non-profit space to solve problems, add value and even do that which government alone cannot do, while the private sector is focused on profit. No matter how youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re telling them to balance profit with people and with talent and be sustainable in how they do it, their major motive is profit, and they will forever be going for profit. The government on the other hand is focused primarily on public good and they are not the most efficient in delivering this public good. Even when they are efficient, they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have all the resources. On the third leg, the social sector too has its own limitations. Now, we have limited resources, we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the wherewithal of private sector or even the wherewithal of the government. So, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to amplify the message and the need for more social enterprises. We want to raise more talents, and unleash more youth agencies towards actualising the SDGs. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what the Social Innovatorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Program and the conference is all about.
communication skills. No matter where you are working, your ability to pass across your ideas is a skill that you will forever need. Interpersonal skills and team work are important skill-sets that young people need to develop. So, these are core skills that young people need to develop. So, technology has democratised access for young people; young people can work from anywhere right now. The future of work by default means that the traditional employment, where people are employed full-time in a particular job for years is changing. What is the Social Innovatorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Programme all about and why is LEAP Africa championing this initiative? One of the biggest things in the radar of the whole world, including Africa is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the world has set 2030, which is less than 10 years as the timeline to help actualise these goals. Now, one thing that the whole world has agreed on is that if weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to achieve the SDGs, we need all hands on the deck; we need all sectors participating. But one major category of stakeholders that the whole world has also agreed and has
There is no short cut to developing our country and continent and so we have to be ready to roll up our sleeves and really dig deep and also carry out the smart work and hard work that would get us there
recognised as very crucial and critical to helping actualise the SDGs are young people. In Africa and also in Nigeria, young people form the largest demography and if weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to achieve the SDGs, we need to make it the goals for young people. This is because theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re the ones who have the energy, creativity and numbers to be able to tackle these goals. They form the largest proportion of the labour force. So, LEAP Africa, over the past seven years has actually been at the forefront of raising young change agents. That is young people who are not just trying to make a living, but are trying to solve problems and even make a life for other people. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been doing in the Social Innovatorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Program. The Social Innovatorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Program is a year-long fellowship where we accelerate youth-led social innovations. So, young people who are the forefront of solving problems in their community, country and in the continent are helped with capacity building to be able to do more. We connect them with resources so they can do more and scale up their initiatives. We provide business-support services and all manner of support to help them become more resilient and be able to scale up their work and be more sustainable in how they deliver their work. So, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what the Social Innovatorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Program is all about. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a year-long program, but we now celebrate it with Social Innovatorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Program and Award conference. The conference will be taking place in less than three weeks from now. And what we do within that conference is to bring young people and leaders across multiple sectors to help amplify the message of social innovation and social enterprise. We amplify the message of sustainability to the private sector in the social innovatorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; conference. We help to amplify the message of government and how they can amplify the works they are doing and also to support private/public
When is this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s conference coming up what is the structure; that is will it require physical gathering or it is going to be virtual? When it used to be held physically, the conference used to have between 1500 and 2000 people. Last year, we did it physically and we had more than 2000 persons in attendance. This year, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve opened up the program to other countries in Africa. Previously, we used to take only entrepreneurs in Nigeria, but this year, even before COVID-19, we had decided to expand the class and bring more slot for other West African countries. So, by default we have opened up the conference to the whole world. So, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to be a wholly virtual conference and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s happening between October 2nd and 3rd, and the theme is: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Mobilising Collective Action for Systemic Change.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; What led to this theme is that many people are working in isolation and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one of the challenges facing our development goals. The private sector players are doing their own, every company is doing their own CSR. Government agencies are not necessarily interfacing with themselves as much as possible. The problems we are trying to tackle are systemic and deep-rooted and if weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to solve these problems, especially in this decade, we need more collaboration and synergy. We need collective action and everybody bringing more strength together to make up for the differences of others. This involves everyone bringing their own little resources together with that of others to be able to tackle this very big, broad and systemic issues. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why the aim is mobilising collective action for systemic change. COVID-19 has taught us that we need to work together, and that there is need for more urgency in how we are tackling these issues. We need to work together even more, unless we are going to have a bigger issue on our hands. We can achieve more together, rather than working in isolation and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to do. So LEAP Africa is a youth-focused organisation; our goal is to raise leaders that would transform Africa. All of our programs are aimed at improving and increasing the urgency of young people to be able to solve problems in their community and in their continent. So, we focus on helping them develop the capacity to solve their own problems first and ultimately to extend that capability to solving problems in their community and in their continent. So, we want to raise talents to help actualise the SDGs. We believe so much in young people, we believe in creativity, the energy and the voice of young people to be able to solve problems. So, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to collaborate more to support young people.
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Vaccines for Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Inflation Rate Syndrome Vincent Nwanma businesses, and government, can help reflate both demand and supply sides of the economy with the prospect for stemming supply induced inflationary pressures. Incidentally, increasing interest rate at this time may exacerbate the supply-induced inflation, as a higher cost of capital for infrastructure and production, would ultimately be priced in the form of higher prices for consumer goods and services. The uncommon logic of using low interest rate to stem Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inflation Whilst it may be an â&#x20AC;&#x153;unpopular logicâ&#x20AC;?, pursuing a low interest rate regime and channeling system liquidity towards infrastructure development and productive finance may be the true vaccine for Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obstinate inflationary pressures. As the CBN continues to leverage complementary tools; policy measures, moral suasion and direct interventions, to redirect credit towards financing of infrastructure and productive activities across the real sector of the economy, it may be able to address some of the age-long structural challenges undermining adequate local supply of basic consumer goods and subsequently rein-in the rising inflation rate. Thus, it is a chicken-and-egg dilemma, which comes first: should interest rate be lowered to stimulate supply and stem cost-push inflationary pressures or should the CBN wait for inflation to moderate before unlocking credit to the real sector?
erhaps it is important to refresh memories with the simple deďŹ nition of inďŹ&#x201A;ation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a persistent rise in the prices of goods and services over a period of time. Putting this deďŹ nition in perspective, inďŹ&#x201A;ation erodes purchasing power, undercuts the intrinsic value of income, and reduces â&#x20AC;&#x153;buying powerâ&#x20AC;?, increases cost of living and thus demeaning standards of living. Summarily, inflation is seen to be cancerous and unwanted like the COVID-19 pandemic. While everyone tends to think negative of inflation, it is interestingly not entirely bad. As much as no country seeks a high inflationary environment, a low-inflation environment is synonymous to low economic activities and in extreme cases may be early signals of economic recession. To better drive home the point, the â&#x20AC;&#x153;simpleâ&#x20AC;? opposite of inflation is deflation, termed persistent decline in the prices of goods and services over a period of time. No country wants to be stuck with deflationary pressures. A case in point is the Japanese economy, which was stuck in a deflationary mode for almost two decades, defying all policy measures aimed at stimulating aggregate demand and price increase until 2013 when Prime Minister Shinzo Abeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Abenomicsâ&#x20AC;? stimulus policies helped revive parts of the economy out of the doldrums. With every country dreading the Japanese experience, popularly known as the â&#x20AC;&#x153;lost decadeâ&#x20AC;?, which undermined the economic progress of the hitherto Asian Tigers, deflation is not a preferred choice for any country. Thus, the aspiration of every policy maker is a fine balance that ensures stable prices, with tolerable inflation rate levels that support economic growth without undercutting standards of living. In principle and practice, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has over time reiterated its preference for a low-inflation rate environment, with target range of six per cent to nine per cent for headline inflation. While Nigeria is not a pure inflation targeting economy like South Africa and Ghana, which anchor their monetary policies on inflation expectations and target, the appetite of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is reflected in the consistent policies and advocacies of the Committee towards addressing some of the notable fundamentals behind Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obstinate inflationary pressures. Over the past decade, headline inflation has averaged 11.7 per cent, with ebb and peak of 7.7 per cent and 18.7 per cent in February 2014 and January 2017, respectively. Like a pendulum, Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s headline inflation is quick to reverse any benign trend, which has been largely reflective of statistical and seasonal effects. While monetary policy authorities have repeatedly adopted â&#x20AC;&#x153;hawkishâ&#x20AC;? monetary policies, aimed at stemming the wild pressures, the impact has been seemingly negligible. If at all noticeable, the impact of a higher interest rate environment on headline inflation can only be traced to its probable impact on exchange rate stability, which has implications for stabilising the prices of imported goods and services. Notably, a higher interest rate environment often serve as a bait for attracting foreign and local portfolio investments in sovereign instruments, thereby increasing the autonomous supply of foreign currencies in the form of â&#x20AC;&#x153;capital importation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the hot money componentâ&#x20AC;? and reducing the speculative demand for foreign currency stockpiles respectively. Notwithstanding the observable impact of a tight monetary policy on exchange rate stability and its domino effect on inflation rate, such probable impact is often transitory and unsustainable, as the core drivers of Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s headline inflation are barely monetary. So why burn candles in the day? Having the headlamps on during a fog helps to mitigate accidents but it can never be the solution to the fog. The primary responsibility of every central bank is â&#x20AC;&#x153;price stabilityâ&#x20AC;?, which may be elaborately summarised to mean 1. Ensuring the stability of prices of goods and services; 2. Ensuring the stability of price of the local currency â&#x20AC;&#x201C; otherwise called exchange rate stability; 3. the stability of prices of capital â&#x20AC;&#x201C; simply put stable interest rate. Interestingly, this economic trinity is popularly seen to be impossible. Perhaps the most challenging part of any CBN
governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job is determining the equilibrium of this trinity that optimises societal progress. Implicitly referencing the cause-effect relationship amongst the three variables, Governor Godwin Emefiele in reviewing the Nigerian macros at its inaugural presentation on assuming office in June 2014 noted, â&#x20AC;&#x153;owing to the tight monetary policy of the Bank coupled with improved food harvest, inflation moderated to a six-year low of 7.9 per cent at end-April 2014. Debt-to-GDP ratio fell to 11 per cent, while foreign exchange reserves stood at US$37.15 billion as at 27th May 2014â&#x20AC;?. This assertion succinctly describes how monetary policy tightening, manifested through high interest rate can help rein-in inflationary pressures and attract foreign capital, which is requisite for shoring up external reserve and ultimately stabilising the local currency, naira. This primary role of the central bank is what puts the monetary authorities out as being responsible for taming inflationary pressures. It is truly so in many countries, particularly developed liberal markets, with strong monetary policy transmission mechanisms and limited structural constraints. Albeit, the peculiarities of Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inflation defy this â&#x20AC;&#x153;logical consensusâ&#x20AC;? and high expectations from the monetary authorities in stemming inflationary pressures. To start with, headline inflation has two broad components: Food inflation and Core inflation. Splitting the beans, the August 2020 headline inflation of 13.2 per cent was driven mainly by the soaring food inflation, which printed at 16 per cent, thus obscuring the relatively benign core inflation of 10.5 per cent. It is instructive to note that monetary policies can only at best be reflected in core inflation, particularly in a country like Nigeria where agricultural activities are still largely informal. Whilst one may be quick to recognise the secondary role of the CBN in promoting economic development, the CBN indeed has limited role to play in improving agricultural productivity and addressing the structural challenges associated with harvest, transportation and storage etc. A case in point is the masked impact of the CBN Anchor Borrowers programme, which helps to democratise credit to the otherwise financially excluded farmers. Notwithstanding the funding programme, a host of structural challenges may continue to mute the impact of the developmental intervention. With flood washing away over 450,000 hectares of rice farm, the demand-supply equilibrium for this essential staple has been distorted, thus suggesting probable price hike in the months ahead. This reality of inflation rate dynamics reinforces the limitations of Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s central bank in taming inflationary pressures. More importantly, the outlook for inflation rate is concerning, as the 13 per cent year-to-date rise
in petrol price begins to reflect on transportation cost and consumer goodsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; prices. The higher electricity tariff for consumer segments A, B and C would also exacerbate the inflationary pressure, especially given its implication on production costs. Whilst both transportation and electricity are components of core inflation basket, the rising costs are non-monetary, rather a reflection of the structural macro challenges which are outside of monetary policy sphere. In fact, a tight monetary policy may heighten the crisis, as higher financing cost for power, transportation, manufacturing and infrastructure development amongst others would increase operating cost and ultimately impact consumer goodsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; prices. â&#x20AC;Śand whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the vaccine for Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rising inflation? There are two pertinent questions that monetary economists are not asking to understand the position of the CBN and perhaps objectively assess the current regimeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unorthodox policies are: 1. Why is the CBN not increasing interest rate to stem the rising inflation? 2. Is the CBN not aware that a higher interest rate may help to stem the pressure on the Naira? Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attempt to answer these questions, perhaps situating the response in the contest of the CBNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dilemma. As the rising inflation rate coincides with declining interest rate, it is apparently tempting to play to the gallery by upholding the rationale of the monetary economists who increasingly posit the need to increase interest rate to stem inflationary pressures. First, it is important to understand that headline inflation has very weak correlation with interest rate in Nigeria, given that the headline inflation basket is mainly composed of items such as food, which has little or no interactions with monetary policies in Nigeria. As observed in the case of flood washing away rice farms in Kebbi State, the rise in food inflation are mainly structural, beyond the CBN mandate and has less sensitivity to monetary policies, especially as the Nigerian agricultural value chain and logistics remain largely informal. With core inflation at 10.1 per cent, the CBN may have less justifiable incentive for monetary tightening, particularly at a period when money supply aggregates are below the pre-set targets for the year. More so, the modest rise in core inflation has been devoid of money supply, rather it has been driven mainly by supply disruptions occasioned by closure of land borders, weak supply of credit, COVID-19 induced â&#x20AC;&#x153;lockdownâ&#x20AC;? and other structural factors. This evidences the fact that the rising inflation has not been demand-pull, rather reflective of supply shocks. Thus, pursuing a low interest rate to stimulate credit to all the three economic agents; households,
The hard decision Nigerians must make With savings rate lowered to barely 1.25 per cent and treasuries trading at low single digit, there are concerns on the ability of Nigeria to mobilise savings for the much-needed investment in Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s real sector. However, the hitherto unusually high-interest rate regime is rather a disincentive for channelling savings into investment. It is pertinent to note that savings in banks is a fraction of an economyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s savings pool, particularly in an economy like Nigeria, with low banking penetration. More so, investment as loosely used in the macroeconomic parlance refers to fixed capital formation, which is purely investment in infrastructure and the real sector of the economy for sustainable expansion of output, unlike the perennial investment in sovereign instruments, with public sector borrowing crowding out private sector credit and investments in the rea sector. Thus, the current low-interest rate environment may serve to discourage passive investments in sovereign instruments, which has very limited impact on economic growth, job creation and production while encouraging private-sector investments in the real sector. Interestingly, investments in sovereign instruments accentuates inflationary pressure, as it further exacerbates the demand/supply gaps for consumer goods, while private-sector investments through equity or debt financing that guarantee productive activities and capital formation help to strengthen local supply and moderate inflationary pressures. More importantly, fixing Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s infrastructural deficit and industrialisation requires cheap, long-term capital that can encourage entrepreneurial activities, generate jobs for the teeming youths and ensure the profitability of businesses. As observed over the past decade, a high-interest rate regime can only at best widens the inequality gaps in Nigeria, undermine the competitiveness of locally manufactured products and threaten the survival of emerging SMEs. Beyond the relatively higher cost of doing business in Nigeria, local firms have had to compete with foreign peers, whose operations are financed with low single digit debt, thus naturally undermining the competitiveness of Nigerian firms, which are financed at double digit interest rates. It is a choice for Nigerians, either earn a high interest on savings to pay higher cost for goods and contend with the social cost of rising unemployment, as Nigeria increasingly become a dumping site for foreign goods, or take the pain of earning low interest rate on savings, finance productive activities to lower inflation rate and earn sustainably higher income through mutual prosperity. t/XBONB BVUIPS PG 3FQPSUJOH #VTJOFTT BOE &DPOPNZ " )BOECPPL GPS "OBMZTUT BOE +PVSOBMJTUT XSPUF GSPN -BHPT
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Of Cost Reflective and Service Reflective Tariffs Rumundaka Wonodi On September 1, the regulator of Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s electricity sector â&#x20AC;&#x201C; NERC, announced a new tariff regime dubbed Service Reflective Tariff with some attendant increase in rates paid by some consumers. Going forward, rates paid by consumers will be tied to the level of service provided to them within a cluster. This tariff review is consistent with the federal governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s target to transition the industry to a full cost reflective tariff, eliminating the need for the government to provide subsidies to the sector. It is also intended to provide a basis for a higher minimum remittance by the DisCos to market accounts. Ever since we privatised the power sector, two major issues seem to have dominated the interactions between the operators and consumers; these are retail tariffs charged consumers and metering. The operators always maintained that it is impossible to improve service without tariffs that incorporate all the cost of production and delivery including profit margin. Consumers, on the other hand complain and insist that any further tariff increase must be preceded by provision of meters and improved service. A vexatious issue for consumers is the Estimated Billing which some DisCos have used to exploit consumers with implied grossly inflated tariff in excess of what is approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) There are other key conversations in the industry; experts, especially in the financing space believe that a cost reflective tariff and metering combination is the silver bullet to transform the industry to bankability, while some stakeholders believe that electricity is a social service that should be subsidized especially at a time like this. The right end of the conversations is firmly occupied by the neoclassical economists, who believe that the best way to administer the sector is for government to step back and allow the forces of demand and supply to determine the market processes. They fail to appreciate that prevailing technology supporting electricity distribution makes it a natural monopoly. In these discussions, what had been absent is the clear relationship between service delivery and rates. So, while that mass metering and cost reflective tariff are important in the industry, I have argued in the past that a missing link in all these contentious debates is the definition of service or more appropriately the product sold to consumers at cost reflective tariffs (CRT). Consistently, I have maintained that cost reflective tariff is a meaningless concept to the consumers in the absence of acceptable minimum service level or well-defined product. Further, I hold the opinion that tariffs with predictable service delivery value hold stronger incentives for payment compliance than metering. I believe that without predictability of service, consumer satisfaction will remain low and so will be compliance to payment. It is therefore a welcome development that after many years of advocacy, NERC on September 1 mandated the DisCos to tie their tariffs to service level dominated by daily hours of supply and by less, as well as service interruptions and fault response time. Indeed, different products should attract different prices and NERC has come up with five distinct tariff bands in descending order of hours of service and rates: Band A for customers who get minimum of 20 hours of power daily; Band B for customers who receive service for a minimum of 16 hours daily; C-band has customers who enjoy power for minimum of 12 hours daily; Band D customers enjoy a minimum service for 8 hours daily, and finally, Band E has customers who only get between 4 hours and 8 hours daily. Consumers who are enjoying more hours of service will pay higher prices. This is good, most practical and fair for the industry. And, the key factors that support the transition to Service Reflective Tariffs are: Diversity and Fairness - as I argued in an article in 2017, DisCo footprints are too large
million has an installed capacity of 42,000MW while South Africa with a population of 60 million has a capacity of 51GW. Therefore, service rotation, is a must. Unfair Pricing of Units and Continued Cross Subsidisation: This argument says that each unit of electricity cost the same and that charging some consumers a higher price implies that the affluent are subsidising the less affluent. While cross subsidies are common in utility economics, it is important to point out that this is mitigated by two factors; the first is utility as mentioned earlier which is defined by time of use and length of supply, the second, is source of generation. An analysis of data obtained from the NBET indicates that the wholesale cost of power per the power purchase agreement with NBET shows that the cheapest sources of power are the NNPC-Shell Afam 6 power plant, followed by the NNPC-Agip Okpai power plants, then the hydros that do not require gas for running, and at the most expensive end is the Azura-Edo power plant. If we assume an economic merit order dispatch of the power plants, consumers with lower hours of service who invariably consume less power per capita, will majorly be served with the lower cost generation, while consumers in clusters of higher supply will be served by a combination dominated by the more expensive outputs. Implementation Challenges: Experts are rightly concerned that without clear delineation of clusters and effective mechanism for both monitoring service and effecting sanctions, some DisCos under the regime may take consumers to the cleaners, billing at the rate of a premium service band while delivering less to consumers.
Buhari with diverse customer clusters for any DisCo to offer same product at the same tariffs for all customers across its geographical spread. I made the case that if we take the case of any of the two Lagos DisCos Eko or Ikeja, the consumers in Ikoyi have different paying capability and utilisation characteristics (Willing to Pay and Load Profile respectively) from the consumers in Iyana Ipaja or Okokomaiko or Epe. Therefore, it is sub-optimal to approve the same tariff for two very different consumer clusters, and with this, the DisCo is economically incentivised to provide its Ikoyi customers with more hours of service at same price as is offered to Okokomaiko and Iyana Ipaja consumers with less hours of supply. This is not equitable and fundamentally poses a challenge to efficacy of government interventions with regards to subsidies. If DisCos are divided into different tariff jurisdictions, it would allow governments to target subsidies to poorer districts ending the current practice where subsidies end up supporting the rich who consume most of the power generated. Predictability - a second fact that is often overlooked in this argument is that the worst attribute of grid power supply is neither high tariffs nor estimated billing but the erratic supply. Erratic supply, not high tariffs, is the driver of expensive self-generation and captive power. Indeed, when pundits or passionate promoters of CRT make their point, they compare self-generation cost of N100/kwh to CRT of N50/kwh. What is not addressed is the reliability premium due to the generator being fully reliable based on its predictability. Utility â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a third fact is that the value of electricity is directly proportional to time of use and length of non-interruptible hours of service especially in a supply constrained environment such as ours. As an illustration, imagine an 8-hours/day service delivered to consumers in outskirt of the city between 4am and 8am, and between 6pm and 10pm compared to a service between 10am and 2pm and again, 10pm to 2am. Intuitively, the former offering has higher utility and value because service is delivered at periods when residential consumers are likely be home to use power. Now compare issues with hours of service to electricity-dependent operations and existence, the longer the service, the lower the cost of alternative supply. Therefore, an 18-hour service is more valuable than a 6-hour service on a
unit per unit basis for those who are likely to crank up their generators. Limited Capacity - a fourth set of facts is Discos do not have enough capacity to serve every consumer at the same time, more specifically, service cannot be offered to every cluster at the same time. Because of this limiting factor, service must be rotated among clusters in order to maximize the utilization of available capacity. In a related manner, power cannot be efficiently stored, therefore it is most economical to deliver power at a time and place where it can be used. Let us attach to this, that because of technology limitation in the delivery of electricity through distribution networks, DisCos cannot offer individualized services as TelCos can through airwaves. Product differentiation in electricity supply at present can only be by clusters or electricity tariff jurisdictions. Trade-offs - relating to consumption, we recognize that resources are hardly limitless and that there are competing needs for each individual and societies. Therefore, according to the dictates of economics principles, there must be trade-offs between needs based on available resources. This is a very key point as some pundits have alleged that it is unfair to individuals in clusters with less hours of supply but are willing to pay for longer service hours. It is presumed that in setting the tariffs, the relevant DisCo would have consulted with the cluster consumers and to the extent that a minority hold alternative views, they may wish to relocate to clusters of higher service. Again, as mentioned, the technology and capacity currently does not support individualized service. Some Industry Arguments Issue of Service Discrimination: Some experts have argued that Service Reflective Tariff is discriminatory to consumers in less affluent neighborhoods by depriving them of service levels offered affluent neighborhood consumers even if at different per unit costs. They posit that what is fair is for the government through NERC to prevail and compel the DisCos to provide meters to all consumers and then, allow each to consume as they are willing and able to pay. Unfortunately, they miss the point that there must be some rotation because we do not have available capacity to serve all customers simultaneously, not at 5,000MW for the 100 million people connected to the grid. For comparison, Egypt at about 100
Conclusion The transition to Service Reflective Tariff should not be seen as an alternative to Cost Reflective Tariff but rather an enhancement that ties rates to a guaranteed service level. If SRT is efficiently and procedurally implemented, consumers will benefit from the higher value for money from predictability and utility. It should allow businesses and citizens to better schedule their operations and daily lives around power supply and at the same time, providing a more equitable tariff regime where those who receive and can afford longer hours of service pay for the premium until there is adequate capacity to go around. Service Reflective Tariff is expected to incentivise payment compliance from a more satisfied consumer base. While meters are key to consumer satisfaction, predictability and higher utility value have a higher potential to raise customer satisfaction and with that, willingness to pay. Finally, SRT should lead to more equitable distribution of resources by eliminating a situation where a higher proportion of government subsidies go to consumers who can afford to pay more but consume a higher proportion of the commodity cheaply through these subsidies. However, I believe that transition to SRT requires diligent prosecution. The government and the NERC target 12 months for the transition to full SRT. This is an aggressive timeline. DisCos will have to carry out detailed enumeration to collect data not only of customer numbers but also load profiles, total demand within clusters and infrastructure readiness. In parallel, it is important that the required enabling investments in distribution and transmission network are identified and fed into the Presidential Power Initiative driven by Siemens. Most importantly, is the almighty consultation and public enlightenment of customers in delineated tariff cluster to obtain their buy-in into the program. This is key! Service Reflective Tariff is a great opportunity that requires significant amount of work but the benefits greatly outstrip the labour and the best time to start is now! Wonodi is the Founder/CEO, ZKJ Energy Partners Limited and the pioneer MD/ CEO, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company
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Despite COVID-19, Comercio Partners Foresees Bright Prospects Maduabuchi Ubani
he Nigerian economy is currently in dire straits with major economic indicators looking grim due to increasing external shocks. The COVID-19 as well as the drop in crude oil prices, the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s major source of revenue, indeed exposed Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s weak underbelly. Crude oil represents over 80 per cent of Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s export revenue and a downturn in the market for the commodity always has a ripple effect on the economy. Often, this shock has a pass-through effect on the foreign exchange market thereby leading to depreciation of the naira exchange rate and putting pressure on external reserves as seen in recent times. Indeed, as predicted, due to these external shocks, Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 contracted by 6.1 per cent, which was the first negative growth since the first quarter of 2017. This has been the trend globally due to the impact of the virus, as countries such as South Korea (-3.3%), Singapore (-41.2%), US (-9.5%), Germany (-10.1%), had earlier reported GDP contraction in Q2. More worrisome is the projection that the country will plunge into a severe economic recession this year, the worst since the 1980s, according to the World Bank. In fact, the World Bank has projected that the pandemic would push about five million more Nigerians into poverty this year, adding that while before the pandemic, the number of poor Nigerians was expected
to increase by about two million largely due to population growth, the number would now increase by seven million. Owing to the gloomy outlook, analysts at Comercio Partners noted that the impact of the pandemic and its unprecedented consequences has taught the global economy an important lesson on the need for brands to be innovative and agile. They pointed out that the global economy is in an era of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity), adding that the uncertainty has been heightened by the destabilisation of financial markets, protracted ultra-low interest rates, and changes in international affairs. An integral part of Comercio Partners is empathy. Guided by this commitment as a brand, the firm acknowledges the facts and realities occasioned by the current pandemic. It pointed out that even though the full effect and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown, though it appears to have peaked in certain countries, most countries are still in a constant state of flux.
The world continues to reel from the effect of the COVID 19 pandemic, which has created a new world order for businesses around the globe just as governments, brands and consumers are struggling to survive the deleterious effects of the virus. But despite concerns in the global economy, the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Head Financial Advisory/Co-Managing Partner, Steve Osho, said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We see a great future in Africa, occurrences such as the pandemic is a reminder of this assertion. We like the dream of the future better than the history of the past; our words, messages, actions, services, businesses further confirm our belief in Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business ecosystem.â&#x20AC;? On his part, Head of Trading/ Co-Managing Partner, Nnamdi Nwizu, noted that, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the world as we know it changed over the last six months. Comercio Partners is ready to partner with you and lead you to the new tomorrow. Now more than ever, the current situation has made the market more dynamic. We, therefore, owe our clients, the
obligation to provide innovative financial products, by investing in traditional and alternative asset classes in various geographies across currencies for our proprietary and client portfolios. We will leverage our broad array of strategic, international partnerships to expose our proprietary and client portfolios to assets in the international financial markets. Similarly, the Head of Investments/ Co-Managing Partner, Tosin Osunkoya, pointed out that, â&#x20AC;&#x153;leveraging our depth of resources to provide stability to your growing wealth and the right partnership to the financing demands to support your strategic business growth we remain your anchor to the future.â&#x20AC;? According to Comercio Partners, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the impact and facts are starring at us in the face as the world slides into a global recession; the coronavirus pandemic is having devastating impacts across global market and wiping out trillions in asset value. Invariably, businesses are closing, people are losing income daily, families are being painfully separated by death, and life is taking a turn to what this generation has not experienced before. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Admittedly, these are the facts, but are they the truth? The long age question of seeing the water in the cup as being half empty or half full comes to mind at this point. Let us delve a little bit more between truth and fact. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The animals who survived the apocalypse are not the strongest, they are the ones that are able to adapt, they are able to separate fact from truth, they are the ones who were able to unlearn, relearn, forecast and took a stand for survival.â&#x20AC;?
The firm expressed optimism that if the world survived the First World War, survived the Spanish flu and the Second World War and other â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;socio-economic pandemics,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; it would also overcome the Covid-19. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As an organisation, a collection of people, beliefs, and mindset; as a brand, we have studied, unlearned, relearned and we quite seriously, acknowledge the facts and realities occasioned by this pandemic. We acknowledge that the situation will change and reshape a lot of things, we also, quite convincingly, know that a fact is transient while the truth is constant. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The truth is that we irreversibly believe in the sheer audacity of hope that exist particularly in Africa, hope that authenticated by the possibilities and potentials that pervade Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business landscape. We hold so strongly to this truth at Comercio Partners to the extent that it has inspired us to reinforce and re-emphasize our philosophy, our processes, and to reposition our brand as one that sees a greater future ahead of Africa especially in the financial services eco-system. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Moving forward, our words, messages, actions, services, businesses will confirm our belief in Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business eco-system. In making decisions in life, you will not only face the limits of time and imperfect knowledge, but the existence of multiple, complex and often conflicting goals. You will also face inner conflict of emotion, attitudes, and beliefs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have seen all of that during this pandemic with various conspiracy theories flying around from 5G to G7conspiracy but the search for the truth is ours and only ours to solve,â&#x20AC;? the firm added.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 â&#x20AC;¢T H I S D AY
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 â&#x20AC;¢ T H I S D AY
Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai (right), confers with the Chief of StaďŹ&#x20AC;, Prof Ibrahim Gambari during the burial of the Late Emir of Zazzau, Shehu Idris in Kaduna State...recently PHOTO: STATE HOUSE
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Photo Editor Ă&#x152;Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x17D;Ă&#x;Ă&#x2DC; Ă&#x201D;Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x2013;Ă&#x2039; Email Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x17D;Ă&#x;Ă&#x2DC;Ë&#x203A;Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x201D;Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x2013;Ă&#x2039;ĚśĂ&#x17E;Ă&#x2019;Ă&#x201C;Ă?Ă&#x17D;Ă&#x2039;ĂŁĂ&#x2013;Ă&#x201C;Ă Ă?Ë&#x203A;Ă?Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x2014;
Former Chairman of Military Pension Board, Maj.-Gen. Bala Adamu (right), presenting hand over note to the new Chairman, Commodore Abayomi Lawal in Abuja....recently
L-R ; Chairman of PDP National Campaign Council for Edo gubernatorial election and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike; Edo State Governor and governor-elect, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, and Chairman of Edo State PDP Campaign Council, Chief Dan Orbih, during a press conference after Obaseki was announced winner of September 19, 2020 guber election in Benin...recently
L-R: Olu of Aga Olowo, Oba Kayode Adio Kusoro; Aboro of Iboro, Oba Daniel Salako; and Director, Dangote Cement Ibese Plant, Mr. Azad Nawabuddin, during the opening ceremony of 2020 Acutherapy training organised by the Company as part of its Host Community Youth Skill Acquisition & Empowerment Programme in Ibese Ogun state...recently
L-R: Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Former Governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao- Akala and Senator Olufemi Lanlehin during a meeting to reconcile Oyo State APC leaders in lbadan...recently
Cross section of family heads who lost their farmlands, and properties to ďŹ&#x201A;ood with palliatives shared to them by First Lady Aisha Buhariâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Future Assured Initiative in Zamfara...recently
Supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party celebrating the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki in Benin City.. recently
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L-R: Managing Director, Nigeria Film Corporation, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe; Director General, Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Isu-Gekpe and Director, Industries and Communications, BPE, Abdullahi Dikko, during the inauguration of the Steering Committee on the Commercialization of the Nigeria Film Corporation by the Minister in Abuja...recently
L-R: Special Adviser to Ekiti State Governor on Developmental Partnership /SDGs, Mrs. Margaret Fagboyo; Commissioner for Budget, Mr. Femi Ajayi; Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Head of Service, Mrs. Peju Babafemi, during the inauguration of the Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership in Ado- Ekiti..recently
President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean Claude kassi-Brou (right),and Chairman of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government, President Nana Akufo-Addo, during the visit of Chairman of ECOWAS to the ECOWAS Commission, in Abuja...recently
L-R: Commissioner of Budget and Economic Planning, Hon. Akpoebidei Alamieyeseigha; Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo and Leader of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Monday Obolo, during the Public Interactive Session for the Preparation of the 2021 Citizens/ Annual Budget, held at Dappa Biriye Conference Centre, Onopa Villa, Yenagoa...recently
Edo State Deputy Governor, Hon. Philip Shaibu (left), addressing members of the Edo State chapter of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), during their congratulatory visit to Government House in Benin City..recently
Commandant of Naval War College, Nigeria, Rear Admiral Adeseye Ayobanjo(left) and Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike during the visit of participants of Naval Warfare Course at the Nigerian Naval War College to the governor in Port Harcourt...recently
Students of All Souls Anglican Secondary School in Ado-Ekiti, receiving lecture during the resumption of Schools in Ado-Ekiti.. recently
L-R: Education Specialist UNICEF, Murtak Mohammed; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono; Commissioner for Education Oyo State, Olaleye Olasunkanmi; and Consultant Epidemiologist/Infection Prevention and Control, NCDC, Dr Abiodun Ogunniyi, during the Federal Ministry of Education Zonal Stakeholders Dialogue for South West States on School re-opening in Ibadan...recently
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EDUCATION Borno, Awaking to the Reality of Education Borno State, in the north-east of Nigeria, has for over a decade being terrorised by Boko Haram, which literally means western education is forbidden, this has been traced by many to a population with dearth of western education allowing a fundamentalist group to brainwash its youth. The current administration of Governor Babagana Zulum has seen this and has started taking steps to change the narrative. Michael Olugbode reports
Ongoing construction at the Borno State University
ccording to late President Nelson Mandela, â&#x20AC;&#x153;education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.â&#x20AC;? Mandelaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s view seems to be in line with Prof. Isa Marte, the erstwhile Borno State Commissioner of Higher Education, who was recently appointed the Chief of Staff (CoS) to Borno State Governor. The respected Professor of Pharmacology and fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science, who had the honour of overseeing the administration of higher institutions in the state which has been besieged by Boko Haram for over a decade said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Education is the engine for social and economic development, it is the engine of industrialization so any society that ignores education is doomed to fail and that society, state or country will never compete globally so it is a necessity we have to train our people and education is the way out of poverty, it s a way out of unemployment, it is a way out of the insurgency we have.â&#x20AC;? He added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Because if we have educated people, educated society nobody will come and brainwash people to go and start senseless killing of their own parents, their own children and people that have not done anything to them. So the number one priority to develop any society is to push for education and spend as much as possible resources to ensure that people are educated and that is why UNESCO set minimum portion of the budget to be about 26 per cent and if you look at our state Borno, this year we have about 19 per cent on education, education carries the lion share. Education is the way out of underdevelopment.â&#x20AC;? The erstwhile commissioner seems to be one of the favourites of the governor, no wonder his elevation and subsequent replacement with another erudite scholar, Dr. Babagana Mallumbe, who was given an additional responsibility of overseeing the Ministry of Higher Education with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation he has had to handle since the inception of the administration. The governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s passion for education is not in doubt going by what he had to do to get it and use it to rise to the top in all facets of life. Young Zulum had to drive a commercial vehicle for 16 years to finance his education, an investment which has brought him to the pinnacle in the academic field as a professor and took him to the political peak in his state. The governor, who in the past recounted the story of his life, came from the humblest of beginning and had to join his father in tilling the ground at a tender age in Loskuri Village in Mafa Local Government Area of the state. He, at a point in time, had to trek seven kilometers daily to reach his fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s farm from their home. He combined farming with his primary and secondary school in Mafa and Monguno from 1975 to 1980 and 1980 to 1985 respectively. He had to take the decision to work at getting education when he was in class 5 in secondary school. He said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;From 1984 to around 1999 (16 years) I became a commercial driver of taxis, particularly Peugeot 404. At some point, I also drove buses carrying passengers to different
villages, and neighbouring states. At a later time, I drove commercial pickup trucks carrying firewood from forests. While working as commercial driver, I learned how to fix any vehicle I drove.â&#x20AC;? He added in an interview with journalists over a year ago that: â&#x20AC;&#x153;In 1986, I gained admission into Ramat Polytechnic in Maiduguri, owned by the state government, to study for a National Diploma in Irrigation Engineering, and lived with relatives off-campus in Kofa Biyu, a densely-populated area. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I trekked for eight kilometers from Kofa Biyu to Ramat Polytechnic and back whenever I had lectures. But I was already used to long walks all my life, as I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t afford transport to school. Whenever I drove taxis and returned the vehicles to owners, I used what I got for my basic school needs. I later also became a commercial operator of grinding machine, and I owned one in Mafa, and during weekends I went there to serve customers.â&#x20AC;? He obtained his ND in 1988, and in 1989, joined the Borno State Civil Service as an Assistant Technical Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture. In 1990, he moved into Borno State Unified Local Government Service as Senior Field Overseer. He lamented that: â&#x20AC;&#x153;While working, the salary couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t cater for my needs and some dependants, so I continued commercial driving to augment my income. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was still as a commercial driver that in 1990, I secured admission into the University of Maiduguri for a degree in Agricultural Engineering, I graduated in 1994. After three years, I got admission into the University of Ibadan for an MSc in Agricultural Engineering.â&#x20AC;? He said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;An experience after gaining admission in Ibadan will always remain memorable, as my registration was delayed for three weeks because I could not pay my registration fees. I did not have the money when I departed Maiduguri, but I believed I could get some work to do in Lagos. For three weeks, I lived in Alaba Rago working with commercial vehicles and there I raised the money for my tuition. I went to Ibadan, paid my fees and started. I graduated in 1998, returned to the civil service as a Senior Agricultural Engineer and later Principal Water Engineer,â&#x20AC;? he noted. After obtaining a masters degree, Zulum said he joined the University of Maiduguri in 1998 as an assistant lecturer. From 2005 to 2009, he obtained PhD in Soil and Water Engineering from University of Maiduguri, rising through the ranks, at some point Deputy Dean and acting Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering. His passion for education made him to continue lecturing in UNIMAID even after his appointment as a rector of Ramat Polytechnic in 2011 by Governor Kashim Shettima. As a rector he ensured he expanded the school and erected capital infrastructure using internallygenerated revenue and attracting interventions from federal agencies. Though he had a glorious outing as a Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, a position he held from 2015 and from where he blossomed, the development of education was prominent in his mind and
he has a mission to use it as a launchpad to reinvent the state and bring it back to the track of development. Zulum, having inherited a good foundation in the education sector from his successor, Senator Kashim Shettima, has started bringing his dream and passion into reality and things have started taking shape in the sector and most importantly with the higher institutions especially with the newly established Borno State University. Marte speaking on the state governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plan on education, especially higher education, said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The target is to train as many Borno State indigenes and prepare them for the training of manpower and also teachers for our schools, the secondary schools and even universities. We hope to train at least in terms of teachers of PhD and masters, 1,000 in the next two or three years.â&#x20AC;? He said higher education is the core in the plan of the government, adding that: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have about nine tertiary institutions and about forty per cent budget to education goes to higher education, with the new state university, the government is spending a lot to make sure our students get access to higher education. On investment in higher institutions, Marte said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the area of infrastructure we have done a lot, we have renovated a lot of structures, we have built a lot of structures and we have sponsored people, we have awarded scholarships to about 23,000 students domestically, outside we have spent to the tune of N26 million. Already the government has released over N300 million. So a lot in terms of scholarship to allow for human capacity building. Next we are now trying to purchase equipment for Borno State University and most of the courses because of the insurgency have not been accredited, we have started doing that. We have done that of Kashim Ibrahim College of Education and very soon we will start working on Ramat Polytechnic and Borno State University.â&#x20AC;? He regretted that: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Because of the insurgency most accreditation panels did not want to come to Borno State. So now we have to really change that as peace has come and for you to invite accreditation team you must make sure that you have everything on ground, you must have the structures, you must have the equipment and you must have the manpower. All these three are very important in getting accreditation and without accreditation that means you are running sub-standard courses.â&#x20AC;? He said everything has been put in place to make higher institutions in the state a place of pride and institutions that can complete with the best in the country. Marte stated that there is no plan to establish additional higher institution (especially another university), but instead make the one on ground effective and efficient. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think we are going to establish a new university because we have to make sure that the one we have established is functional and it is optimum, that it has all the students it requires because apart from the state university there is a military university in Biu so there is no need to have so many universities. As far as I know, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think we have any plan to have additional university. This university is
enough for now for the six million indigenes of Borno State.â&#x20AC;? But on the need for the establishment of Borno State University since the state has allegedly not filled its quota in institutions it has catchment, Marte said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think that is true, in Maiduguri alone, you can get between 2,000 and 5,000 students who have completed secondary school and have good scores in JAMB and are not able to get admission into higher institutions. I know of a fact that last year 2,000 of our students did not get into University of Maiduguri and when we opened the Borno State University, close to 1,000 that applied we admitted them. There are lot of students going around without admission into higher institutions and we opened a portal, thousands of them have applied and they indicated that they did not have jobs and they are not admitted into any higher institution. It is not true that we lack students who are qualified to go into higher institutions outside Borno State. Marte said the establishment of the state university was of essence and not a status symbol. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are opening opportunities for indigenes of Borno State who are not able to get admission into other institutions because if you look at NUC requirements for getting into higher institutions, the minimum for JAMB is 160 and there are so many students who have not gotten admission into other universities who have higher than 160, all these are qualified and most of them cannot go to private universities because their parents are not rich, this is an opportunity for our students to get into higher institution. Ramat Polytechnic alone has almost 22,000 students and we have almost 60 percent of students in University of Maiduguri that are from Borno State, and there are lot of students that are qualified to go to universities that have not been admitted, so it is not just that we are trying to showcase or see it as a symbol, no we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have such money to waste. It is out of necessity that was why the university was established.â&#x20AC;? On investment in the state university to bring it to standard, Marte said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We actually wanted to establish 11 faculties but you know you have to look at the budget, so initially we established five faculties and they include arts, science, education, agriculture and social sciences. Very soon we are going to establish Faculties of Engineering and Medicine. And to make sure that this particular university is very competitive, we built structures that are really solid and state-of-the-art facilities, we have already placed orders for state-of-the-art equipment but most importantly we have for now recruited a number of professors most of them are on sabbatical, but very soon we are going to recruit permanent staff and most of them we are going to send for PhD and masters immediately. So it is a pride for the state not just having the school, but to create an environment that is very conducive and give them the best education that money can buy.â&#x20AC;? Now Borno State seems to have gotten right how to end illiteracy and the brainwashing of its people and kill the life of Boko Haram and bring back the pride of the state with one big punch, education.
T H I S D AY Ëž Í°ÍąË&#x153; Í°ÍŽÍ°ÍŽ
Boosting Teaching, Learning in Lagos Schools through Technology Teaching and learning in Lagos State recently received a boost with the second phase of the EkoExcel training for primary school teachers in the state, aimed at building their capacity through technology to improve pupilsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; learning outcomes. Funmi Ogundare reports
s schools plan a phased reopening after the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teaching and learning approaches, especially for primary school teachers in Lagos State, will no longer be what it used to be. For one week, over 2,000 teachers from 200 public schools in the state converged on CMS Primary School, Bariga and Vetland Primary School, Ifako-Ijaye for the phase II Excellence in Child Education and Learning (EkoExcel) training, organised by the Lagos State government, to build their capacity and leverage on technology to improve the learning outcomes of pupils. During the training, the teachers were taught how to combine the classroom and teaching techniques through a blended and integrative learning using technology, while ensuring that they are culture sensitive. The head teachers were also tasked with the responsibility of identifying the relevance of building team culture through their everyday actions, set goals for each teacher and ensure that they are achieved with the overall aim of improving lesson delivery. The Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Wahab Alawiye-King stressed the need for the teachers to brace up for the new world order, adding that manpower development and capacity building is the only way to achieve quality education. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Before the pandemic, the Lagos state government had planned to use technology for schools. Moreso, there have been online classes since the closure of schools. We all know that with the new normal, we can continue to learn without being in a classroom environment. That is the new world order, so we have to brace up for it, and that is the essence of the training for teachers,â&#x20AC;? he said. With the new world order, he said the dynamics of what is currently happening in the world must be understood and evaluated, this he said moved the state government to take such initiative. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Nobody envisaged COVID-19. We have started this programme before then and we have been using technology in our classes, so it shows that government is proactive. We must not stop there. It is a new world order and as such, we must identify, understand and evaluate the dynamics of what is happening in the world. We are preparing for the future, COVID-19 is here, we must learn how to live with it and accept it and that is why we must prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead,â&#x20AC;? the chairman stressed. Asked the challenges faced by teachers that were trained
last year and advancement in implementation for teaching and learning, Alawiye-King said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Part of what we intend to do is organise a refresher course to accommodate some of the challenges we have identified and also expose them to the realities on ground. Nobody envisaged COVID-19, which has opened up windows for us to expand our training and infuse technology more into our teaching style.â&#x20AC;? The pedagogy which is the art and science of teaching and learning, the curriculum which is the content and the manner which the delivery is done, needs to change, as he said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Teaching needs to be more collaborative, they need to be culture sensitive, pupils centric and learners centred. They need to be relevant and responsive to what is on ground.â&#x20AC;? On how the teachers will be able to cope with a compressed time-table during the pandemic, the chairman said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;that is why we are talking about the new world order which is the integrative and blended learning as it has been established that learning and teaching can happen outside of the classroom. We can teach and learn with the combination of the classroom manner of teaching and infusion of technology to assist in bridging the gap that has existed.â&#x20AC;? He urged the teachers to make use of the opportunity to impact their pupils by the time they resume classes. The Permanent Board Member, SUBEB, in charge of EkoExcel, Bayo Adefuye said with the training, the teachers are expected to be more technology compliant, rather than shying away from it. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We told them to embrace it and once they go back to their respective schools, they are going to raise the standard. Raising the standard is not just providing them with all these facilities, they too have to actively ensure that the standard is raised. We want our teachers and children to be rated globally. We canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t rate the children without the teachers and that is why their capacity is being built.â&#x20AC;? Aside this, he noted that their classroom management skills should ensure that they have livelier classes as children learn better in a playful and fun environment. He corroborated AlawiyeKing saying that teachers who had previously been trained, will get a refresher course. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They have been off from the classroom for several months, so it is possible that they are out of practice, so we are planning a refresher course for them.â&#x20AC;? Asked about the difference between last year and this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s training he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the only thing we added was the COVID-19 protocols which is now very essential
A cross-section of teachers at the EkoExcel training held recently in whatever you are doing, but it is still the same quality of training. They have keyed into this. Before the lockdown, we had feedbacks from the schools that had EkoExcel and the difference is very clear. The initiative is a fantastic endeavour by the governor.â&#x20AC;? On feedback on challenges faced by the teachers, Adefuye said they were scared of technology, adding that they have changed their mindsets towards adopting it, â&#x20AC;&#x153;as that is the world we are going into.â&#x20AC;? Asked how technology will improve teaching in the state, the board member said it will enhance teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; efficiency by making them better at their jobs, as well as ensuring that the pupils learn better. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The feedback from the first set already proved that we have recorded a lot of successes. COVID is the new normal, so we have to take that into consideration.â&#x20AC;? A member of the Commisionerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Education
Transformation Team, Mrs. Wunmi Tolu-Alalade who came to inspect the training, expressed satisfaction with the level of performance by the facilitators, saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;it was quite interactive, the teachers were eager, agile and excited. There was no dull moment.â&#x20AC;? She commended the Lagos State goverment for the initiative, most especially Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the teachers are happy that this is happening and I am very sure that by the time they get back to school, they will continue the first phase.â&#x20AC;? Some of the teachers who were trained told THISDAY how educative it has been and that it would change their mentality towards ensuring a good delivery of learning. A teacher with African Child Model School, Alagbado, Mrs. Kehinde Temitope said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Since the beginning of the training, it has been very educative and I must say that coming to the training has changed
our mentality as teachers and would make teaching and learning effective.â&#x20AC;? She said when she resumes, she will inculcate what she had learnt to teach her the pupils. Mr. Abiodun Fabolude of African Secondary School, Lagos said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;we find the training programme very enjoyable as it will allow teachers to improve more on their teaching. Through what we have learnt here, it will help us improve learnersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ability.â&#x20AC;? The Head Teacher, Ilajo Community Primary School, Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Mrs. Modupe Adesanwo also described the training as an eye opener, saying that at the long run, pupils will not be left behind. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They are training us to ensure that pupils are not left behind. If you train them very well, they will be able to do it. Their lives lie in our hands, it all depends on the
way you teach them that they will be able to learn.â&#x20AC;? Asked how she plans to inculcate the blended learning in her school, she said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I will first of all observe the teachers, talk to them and tell them what they need to do and then go round to observe and monitor them. If they are not doing well, I will redirect them. We have short and long observation that we need to do, so we are going to adopt that.â&#x20AC;? On her assesesement, Adesanwo said the old ways of teaching pupils and introducing the cane system especially for the dull ones will no longer occur, as teachers need to be redirected so that they can properly teach the pupils. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For dull students, the teachers will take them separately and make sure that they are taught properly. With what the teachers have been taught here, it is practicable,â&#x20AC;? the head teacher said.
Edo Varsity Iyamho to Commence New Academic Session on November 16 Sunday Ehigiator Edo University Iyamho has concluded its 2019/2020 academic session online on CANVAS LMS due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has planned to hold its postUTME screening exercise on Thursday, September 24, 2020 for the purpose of admitting students for the 2020/2021 new academic session, which commences on November 16, 2020. According to the ViceChancellor, Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor, the completion of the 2019/2020 academic session online was in line with the universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s calendar which was hinged on the acquisition
and utilization of the Canvas - Learning Management System despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Edo University Iyamho is among the few universities in the world where academic activities did not shut down due to the Corona virus and this is in the belief that the university was set up to find solutions to new challenges. The university was also commended by stakeholders in the education sector for the use of Canvas Leaning Management System which it believes will continue to serve as assurance against academic disruptions should the pandemic persist. Established with a mandate
of producing leaders of tomorrow in various fields of learning, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the university is poised to give your child that education you may be thinking of acquiring from the best universities around the world. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The university management wishes to call on all qualified candidates who have obtained the minimum JAMB requirements for admission, including those who wrote this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s WAEC and NECO examinations and are awaiting results to take advantage of the post-UTME exercise that has been scheduled to hold on September 24 to join the screening process as their academic dreams are assured.â&#x20AC;?
Established by the Edo State government in 2016, Edo University Iyamho has just graduated its second batch of students with the conclusion of the 2019/2020 sessional examinations recently and has scheduled the 2020/2021 academic year to commence on November 16. The Registrar of the institution, Dr. Isoken Ogboro stated that in line with the observance of all COVID-19 protocols of the federal government, the university is fully ready to resume academic activities, but that if the pandemic continues, it will continue its academic activities on CANVAS LMS.
T H I S D AY Ëž SEPTEMBER 23, 2020
Post-COVID: Firmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Survey Emphasises Technology in Learning Funmi Ogundare SchoolsCompass, an online schools discovery platform has taken the bold step to ascertain the non-health impact of COVID-19 on Nigerian schools through research, while harping on the need for schools to utilise technology in learning especially post-COVID in order to remain relevant. The firm recently presented its findings to the Lagos State Government. Receiving the report titled â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Understanding the Stance of a Nigerian Parent in a Typical Post-COVID Learning Environmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; on behalf of the state government in her office, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo described the SchoolsCompass initiative as laudable and complementary, adding that education being a critical success factor for socio-economic development in any emerging economy requires all the technicalities, reports and researches that allow for critical assessment to gauge and drive policies in advancing reforms. She said the Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu (BOS) Education Transformation Plan is an integration of several action
initiatives and ideas put together to meet the sectorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needs and leverage on existing needs, expertise, partnership and resources to improve quality and relevance of the public schools system and administration. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With findings from the survey carried out by SchoolsCompass, policies will be effectively improved upon to better deliver government deliverables,â&#x20AC;? the commissioner said. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Abosede Adelaja lauded the organisationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s collaborative effort with the ministry of education, saying that the results from such surveys support transitions into knowledge-based economy and help distill the specific initiatives and intervention plans required to execute on the mandate of the state government. She encouraged other stakeholders to take a cue from SchoolsCompass by identifying the ministryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s focus areas for potential public/private sector collaborations, stressing that the sectorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s development requires collective partnerships and stakeholdersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; participation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With the gradual easing of nationwide lockdown due to a progressive decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in
Nigeria, we are getting ready for schools re-opening and also ensuring adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols in the face of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;post-COVID education realities.â&#x20AC;? In his presentation, the founder, SchoolsCompass, Mr. Yomi Ojo said COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries and all continents. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If we are to reiterate the stands of notable authorities in the education sector, one might agree that the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pre-COVID education system was not sustainable as the sector is currently experiencing the drastic impact of the downturn caused by the pandemic. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As a tech driven organisation, SchoolsCompass was established to assist parents in aligning with an ideal school(s) for their wards by giving them access to relevant information about different schools all in one platform.â&#x20AC;? He said his organisation conducted a survey utilising the vast database on its platform to reach the targeted Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s education stakeholders and decision makers to determine the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s post-COVID learning expectations.
The research involved respondents from the six geopolitical zones in the country and supported active parentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; inclusivity in every childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s education. According to him, the organisationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s findings revealed that the pandemic encouraged the need for schools to utilise technology in learning; in a post-COVID learning environment, school owners and key decision-makers must involve parents throughout the learning process for the way forward for education; the tuition fees payment package should be personalised in terms of each parents capabilities as authorities in the sector forecast a more competitive environment for school owners as they strive to remain in business. Other findings show that even with the gradual easing of lockdown due to expected decline in the number of COVID-19 infections in Nigeria, school owners must show leadership by providing preventive measures that would curb the spread so as to boost parentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; trust in institutions; and now more than ever, school owners must revamp their IT department in order not to be taken unawares in the future.â&#x20AC;?
L-R: The Head, Business Development, SchoolsCompass, Nwanneka Cynthia; founder, SchoolsCompass, Yomi Ojo; Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade AdeďŹ sayo; and Support Lead, SchoolsCompass, Ojo Afolabi, during the presentation of a report, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Understanding the Stance of a Nigerian Parent in a Typical Post-COVID Learning Environmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to the state government... recently
UNICEF, FME, NCDC, UBEC Map Out School Reopening Template Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi As schools in the country gradually reopen, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), in colloboration with the Federal Ministry of Education, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), has developed a school reopening template as part of efforts to ensure that safety measures are put in place as laid down by NCDC for the reopening of schools. The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who stated this in a keynote address at the Zonal Stakeholders Dialogue on School Reopening Readiness for School Resumption, held at the Zaranda Hotel, Bauchi, recalled that the closure of schools was part of governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strategy to
curtail the spread of the virus, as the school environment was considered to be vertible grounds to spread the virus. Represented by a director in the ministry, Mr. Asanbe O.F, the minister said the ministry considered it expedient to hold a stakeholders dialogue on safe school readiness, taking place simultaneously in the six geographical zones across the country, adding that the readiness template requires the full engagement of all stakeholders which is considered for successful implementation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The closure and the ease down period, particularly as regards the closure of schools, have lasted for seven months. Generally, through the concerted efforts of governments at all levels, there is a cautious belief and understanding that the pandemic curve has
started flattening. This news provides the impetus for hope that things are getting better. Regrettably, learners have lost a lot of grounds as far as education is concerned. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is on this premise that we are all here to deliberate and adopt the template for the safe re-opening of schools and learning facilities. The template has some key roles and shared responsibilities to be played by the stakeholders at national, state, local government and at the school levels,â&#x20AC;? he said. In his goodwill message, the UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Bauchi, Mr. Bhanu Pathak stated that since the closure of schools across the 36 states as a result of COVID-19, millions of school children and their staff at all levels are currently staying at home, adding that not only are
they missing out on education which is a fundamental human right, children are exposed to more risk of education setbacks such as examination failure and have been uprooted from their schools where they have been taught and sensitised on COVID-19 prevention. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As the curve of the pandemic begins to flatten, there is the need to make plans on the reopening of schools and ensure that safety preventive measures are put in place as laid down by the NCDC guidelines for the reopening of schools. This resulted in our gathering here today to share the school reopening readiness template with stakeholders for further review during which all stakeholders will look at the template and make objective contributions to ensure inclusiveness of all concerned.â&#x20AC;?
KEHINDE OMORU www.kayomoru.com
WRITING NON JUDGMENTALLY If you feel pensive about writing progress reports, you are not alone. It is a time consuming and stressful task for teachers and departmental leads.There is no doubt that it is an emotionally intense experience that inmanywaysmirrorsyourownmentorshipeffectiveness.Todoitwell,a teacher must do a serious evaluation of the staffâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s or studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work, his performancesandthensynthesizeherobservationsintoinformationthat is useful to the subject, his parents and relevant others. Someteachersfeelthatthepurposeofareportcardistoprovideasnapshot of a studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s academic and social skills. Others view it more seriously and realise that whilst writing the report, they are capturing a snippet in someoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;shistoryfortheparent,fortheschool,andforthenextteacher (college or institution) who might need it. The following points are tips that you may find useful for writing your next report: Do not write narratives, keep your writing brief. Youneedtoknowwhatinformationtocollectforareportcard.Startfrom dayoneofthestudentsinyourclasstogettoknowthemandcollectallround dataonthem.Youwillusuallynotbetheonlyoneimputingintotheirlives, keepaneyeonwhatotherrelevantteachersknowoftheirperformances, attitudes and behavior. Gain clarity from: your head-teacher, principal or administrator, model reportsandfromotherrelevantteachers.Checkyourschoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;sassessment philosophy;perusemodelsofexcellentreportswrittenbyotherteachers in a similar class or subject area. Knowpreciselywhatyouareassessing.Isitprogressincomparisontothe studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;spreviousworkorisitanevaluationofhisworkincomparisonto his class or dormitory mates? Are you grading effort, ability, regression or degeneration? Each of these states has â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;politically correctâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ways of feeding back in writing. Getorganised!Gettheschoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;sacademiccalendarandstartearlytocollect thetoolsyouâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;dusetomakeyourevaluationsuchastestresults,studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; self-assessment, other teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; appraisals and your own impressions. Other sources to help you comment objectively are recorded studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; involvements and contribution to extra-curricular activities and house performances. You may want to set up an assessment system early. This is critical to successfully writing your comments. You cannot afford to assess on the spot as this is likely to be guess work, un-substantiated statements and damaging to studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; characters. Chooseyourwordscarefully.Youcannotsumupahumanbeinginaboxthatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s onlyacoupleofincheswideanddeep!Itisimportanttowritejudiciously whether or not youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re writing sparingly. Be proactive; do not wait for report card time to deliver any bad news. Mostparentswouldappreciateknowingthesituation-good,badorugly, early.That way, they cooperate with you to shape their child early and so are prepared emotionally to read the report card. Communicatingwellwithparentsbeforeandafterthereportcardisvery important.Parent-teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;conferencescanhelptofacilitatethis.Establish a professional rapport with parents on these occasions. Createapersonalisedorindividualisedâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ProgressTrackingRecordSystemâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Thiswouldembodyanyconcernyouhaveaboutthestudent,yourtarget behaviors,waysyouwouldsupportthestudenttoachievethemandtime scalesinwhichyouproposetoachievechangesinstudentbehavior.Intimate yourhead-teacher,thestudentandtheparentsofthisâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;care-planningâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;effort andobtaintheirconsenttousethistool.Thisrecordshouldbeaccessible to the student and should be kept confidential. Nomatterwhat,alwaysrememberthatyouarewritingaboutsomeoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s child, someone whose parent(s) love, someone whose unconditional acqceptancetoanotherschoolmaydependonwhatyouwriteandlastly someone youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve only known for a small fraction of their lives.
Mrs Kehinde Omoru writes from the UK
WIEN Applauds NSE President for Supporting Girl-child Education The Women in Energy Network (WIEN) has commended the President, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Babagana Mohammed for his commitment to the education of the girl-child. The President of WIEN, Mrs. Funmi Ogbue in a congratulatory letter, reacting to the presentation of cheque for APWENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Engr. Babagana Mohammed Engineering Scholarship for Girls and Bridging the Gap Mentoring scheme for best UTME 2020 candidates, described Mohammed as a true example of a leader. The presentation of cheques held last week at the Government House, Maiduguri.
Ogbue said the network was established in 2020 to provide a platform for women that work across the energy sector value chain, to network and build confidence and links to progress their careers and businesses. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our vision is to become the leading womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s association that advocates womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s participation and leadership across the energy value chain. We pride ourselves on transparency, reliability, empowerment, collaborations and innovation.â&#x20AC;? She pledged WIENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s support to the initiative by providing mentorship and internships for girls during their course of study and into their career paths.
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WASSCE: Delta UNIOSUN Governing Council Commends Sanctions 41 Teachers Oyetola for Autonomy to Operate over Alleged Exam Malpractice Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
Sylvester Idowu in Warri The Delta Government has sanctioned 41 teachers for examination malpractice during the 2019 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). This was contained in a statement by the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Patrick Ukah, who said the decision was based on the recommendations by the Examination Ethics Disciplinary Committee of the state. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They are to suffer deferment of promotion by one year and banned from the supervision of any school examination for a period of three years. I have directed the Post Primary Education Board (PPEB) to implement the deferment of promotions by one year for the 41 affected teachers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;While others are being sanctioned, P.O Okolo is to be given a letter of commendation for a job well done during the examination. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The principals and examination officers of 13 public secondary schools and one
private secondary school indicted for examination malpractice are to be issued with letters of warning by PPEB to desist from acts of negligence,â&#x20AC;? he said. Ukah also approved that Anointed Secondary School, Ubogo, Udu Local Government Area, which was closed down last year for examination malpractice be issued a warning letter and allowed to reopen to give the school a second chance to abide by laid down examination ethics. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mary Mount College, BojiBoji Owa was found guilty of examination malpractice and fined N100,000 as a penalty to act as a deterrent to other schools.â&#x20AC;? The Examination Ethics Disciplinary Committee was headed by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Sam Dietake. Other representatives are the PPEB, Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Union of Teachers, All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools, Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools and other officials of the ministry.
The leadership of the Osun State University (UNIOSUN) has commended Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for the autonomy it was given to run the institution without interference. The council attributed the achievements made since the establishment of the institution to the free-hand it was given to transform the citadel of learning into a world-class university. This was even as the governor named a prominent road leading from the university gate to the Chief Tunde Ponle Drive intersect after the ProChancellor, Mallam Yusuf Ali. The leadership of the council stated this at the Government House, Osogbo during a courtesy visit preceding the institutionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ninth convocation ceremony. Ali, who described Oyetola as an unrepentant lover of education, said the govern-
mentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s intervention in the last two years has contributed to the actualisation of the collective goal of advancing the university. He commended the state government for prioritising education and making it the bedrock of socio-economic development. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We commend you for your largeness of heart in reappointing us for another four years after the first term. We thank you for reposing confidence in us. You have decided to invest faith in us and we pledge not to disappoint you and your government,â&#x20AC;? Ali said. Responding, Oyetola expressed satisfaction with the way the university is being run by its leadership, saying that members of the institutionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s governing council have proven to be the most diligent and capable hands to reposition the university and improve the standard and quality of teaching and learning. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am particularly delighted
to see the brand new governing council of the university serving a new term. This is possible because to us, we believe that one doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to change a winning team. That is why we reappointed you. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I commend the vice-chancellor for taking the university far and we are happy to see that the university is among the top rating institutions and one of the best citadels of knowledge in Nigeria and beyond. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For this singular reason, I have the privilege to name a prominent road leading from the University Gate to the Chief Tunde Ponle Drive intersect, after the institutionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pro-Chancellor, Mallam Yusuf Ali, SAN. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is in appreciation of his commitment to the growth and development of the institution as displayed in the prudent management of the finances of the institution. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As a government, we are satisfied with the quality of
teaching and the calibre of people that made up the governing council,â&#x20AC;? he said. Oyetola, who used the opportunity to renew his administrationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commitment to quality and functional education, said no effort would be spared in taking the university to enviable heights. He applauded the Chancellor of the university, Dr. Folorunso Alakija for her contributions to turning around the fortunes of the institution. While describing the support received from the chancellor as wholesome and unprecedented, he said the government and people of the state would forever be grateful to the Alakija family for donating a world-class teaching hospital to the university. According to him, the establishment of the hospital would boost the quality of teaching and learning, most importantly medicine and other related courses, thus placing the institution on the world map.
Ojukwu Varsity Lecturers Boycott School Resumption David-Chyddy Eleke in Akwa Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), Anambra State branch, have said they will not return to the university to carry out their duties as academic activities resume in the institution. The Chairman of the universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chapter of ASUU, Prof. Okey Aniebo, who addressed journalists, advised parents not to bother bringing their children to the institution as it would be a waste of time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The congress of ASUUCOOU resolved today to sustain the unionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s struggle. ASUU members are therefore not part of the planned resumption of academic activities in the university as announced by COOU management. â&#x20AC;&#x153;ASUU members will not engage in any form of teaching, examinations, supervisions and statutory meetings within the pendency of the national industrial action. No amount of threat will deter the union from prosecuting this selfless and reasonable course of action to get government do the needful in public universities in Nigeria. â&#x20AC;&#x153;ASUU-COOU is therefore using this opportunity to inform students that her members will not resume academic activities on September 21, 2020. Parents are by this being advised to withhold their wards from returning
to the university while the industrial action is still on because this will give them an opportunity to engage in nefarious activities.â&#x20AC;? The group stated a number of reasons for its action, insisting that contrary to insinuations that it is on a solidarity strike with the national ASUU, it decided to down tools because of lack of basic learning aids in the institution and non- payment of some allowances to its members. Meanwhile, the Vice- Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Greg Nwakoby has debunked the claims by lecturers, insisting that the institution will go ahead with resumption and academic activities. â&#x20AC;&#x153;First is that it is not all our students that are coming back to school. It is only those who have exams and students of exiting classes that are coming back. Secondly, we are not hesitating in resuming schools. This is government directive and we are following it. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I will not respond to the imaginary view of the ASUU people who are just out to tarnish the image of the university. If they are on strike or not, the university must exist. We can do without them. You should have asked yourself why only about 41 out of 600 lecturers told you they will not resume? ASUU is on strike because of IPPIS, and we are not running IPPIS here, so why are they going on strike?â&#x20AC;?
Community-based Conservation Club adopted by the Trust in God Organisation (TIGO) in Agbare Community Agbagi Town, lfo, LGA, Ogun State, during the climate change adaptation and mitigation activities to sensitize the community, to commemorate the 2020 Action for Sustainable Development activities for a friendly and dependable environment. Courtesy of Dr. Oyekanmi Oyemade for TIGO
NIMechE Charts Future Path for Engineering Graduates Funmi Ogundare As part of efforts to empower budding mechanical engineers after graduation, the Forging Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Future Mechanical Engineers (FAFME) Implementation Board of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NIMechE), under the Royal Academy of Engineers, UK, initiative recently held a round table to discuss how they could be trained and mentored to become professionals in the field. In her remarks during a virtual meeting with its graduate members, the Project Coordinator of the board, Mrs. Osazoduwa Agboneni said the institution has entered into remarkable partnership with some organisations that will avail its young engineers to explore the opportunities available.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;This initiative was necessitated from a survey we carried out last month. From the findings, there is need for a structure that will help harness the capacity of our graduates by empowering them with industry skills.â&#x20AC;? She said the engagement was aimed at bridging the gap between the institution and student members, adding that the institution has a robust structure in place that caters for the needs and most especially the growth and development of its students and professionals, but lacked the structure for graduates. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The structure is important as over the years, there had been lots of complaints from companies and industries of graduatesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; inability to meet industries demand as they were termed crude for the world of work. They also observed that most
graduates lacked the finite skills to harness their already gained classroom knowledge into building their own enterprise.â&#x20AC;? Agboneni said the graduates will be trained on building and fabrication, automation, plumbing, as well as on soft skills such as autocads, adding, â&#x20AC;&#x153;we will be starting the programme in October for those that applied and visiting a bio-digester laboratory to see how we could turn our waste to wealth.â&#x20AC;? The National Chairman of the institution, Professor Mohammed Ndaliman said no organisation can stand the test of time without developing its youths, adding that the institution is committed to doing same for its young engineers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In 2013, we established the studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; forum to facilitate our activities for young engineers,
but we had limitations to carry our graduates along. As it is, we have collaborated with organisations and also set up training opportunities for our graduate members,â&#x20AC;? he said. The Chairman of FAFME Implementation Board, Dr. Robinson Ejilah stressed the importance of upskilling graduate members through mentorship and training so that they can be future industrial leaders. The highpoints of the meeting include creating a forum for its graduate members of 0 to four years to be named the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers-Budding Professionals Forum (NIMechEBPF) and inaugurated at its international conference and annual general meeting which will be held in Jos, Plateau State from September 20 to 23, 2020.
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Ă&#x153;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x;Ă&#x161; Ă?Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x;Ă&#x153;Ă?Ă? Ă&#x17D;Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x153;Ë? Ă&#x2019;Ă&#x201C;Ă?Ă&#x2014;Ă?Ă&#x2013;Ă&#x201C;Ă? Ă¤Ă?Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x201C; Ă&#x2014;Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x2013; Ă?Ă&#x2019;Ă&#x201C;Ă?Ă&#x2014;Ă?Ă&#x2013;Ă&#x201C;Ă?Ë&#x203A;Ă?Ă¤Ă?Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x201C;ĚśĂ&#x17E;Ă&#x2019;Ă&#x201C;Ă?Ă&#x17D;Ă&#x2039;ĂŁĂ&#x2013;Ă&#x201C;Ă Ă?Ë&#x203A;Ă?Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x2014;Ë&#x153; Í&#x2018;Í&#x2122;Í&#x2019;Í&#x2013;Í&#x201C;Í&#x201C;Í&#x2013;Í&#x201C;Í&#x201D;Í&#x201C;Í&#x2013;
International Peace Day and Ugwuanyi as Peace Ambassador Samson Ezea
very year, the International Peace Day is observed globally on September 21. The United Nations General Assembly has delcared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24hours non-violence and ceasefire. This year's theme is Shaping Peace Together. As beautiful as this year's theme is, the questions are people really shaping peace together by their actions and inactions? Do people know and understand the essence or importance of peace. Do they know that enduring peace is inevitable in every society? Do they live, co-habit and work in peace? Are they weapon of war or peace? How often do they work for and promote peace even in their homes and communities, especially when they have political powers and financial wherewithal? How often do they let go for peace to be? This is despite the fact that apart from UN's declaration of International Peace Day, peace is paramount and a tradition in various religious doctrines and practices. It is even written in the Bible that blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God. Are you called a child of God, because you have always craved for peace consistently and uncompromisingly? Are you a hypocrite, who pays lip service to peace? Where do you belong? Reflect on these and do self-assessment from time to time. Well, in recognition of their various contributions to the promotion and sustenance of peace in diverse ways, Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, former President, Goodluck Jonathan, Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi and others were named Peace Ambassadors in celebration of this year's International Peace event. A statement in Enugu by the Country's Programmes Director, Global Society For Anti-Corruption (GSAC) Mrs. Amaka Nweke, said that they were named because of their numerous contributions and consistent support for promotion of peace and unity in several ways. That Gov. Ugwuanyi was among those named Peace Ambassadors this year is an honour well deserved, considering that he assumed office at a time, when fragile peace, community conflicts and political crises cum differences were at its peak in the state. Not
L-R: Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo (jnr) and the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe during the recent visit of some Igbo leaders to Government House, Enugu daunted by these, Ugwuanyi has since then remained a champion, symbol and epitome of peace in the state. He has pursued peace with sincerity, diligence, integrity and fear of God. He has rebuilt broken bridges, reconciled the irreconcilables and mended cracked walls. He has sacrificed a lot for peace to reign in the state. Even with his exalted and powerful office as governor, he had continued to stoop to conquer. He has become a pencil in the hands of God to keep the state on the right track and peaceful. He has strongly demonstrated his penchant for genuine peace in every situation, without minding whose ox is gored. With Ugwuanyi's numerous peace initiatives and overtures, longtime political rivals and warring communities have embraced, dialogued and resolved thier differences in the interest of peace and unity in the state. The relationship between the executive and the legislature has remained cordial. It is not different in that between the state government and workers as Ugwuanyi has remained one of the most workers' friendly governors in the country today. Even the oppositions in the state are in total agreement that Ugwuanyi's peaceful and tolerant disposition has promoted sustainable and enduring peace. To the low and high within and outside the state, Ugwuanyi is a genuine peacemaker who
is always ready to sacrifice anything for peace to prevail. He has been consistent and practical in his peace pursuits. It is for this reason that so many laurels, awards and honours have been given to and conferred on him in this regard by some national dailies, reputable national and international organisations and groups before he was named as one of the Peace Ambassadors in this year's International Peace Day celebrations. Ugwuanyi's milestones in peacemaking is a lesson and at the same time a challenge to political leaders, especially in Enugu State, where Ugwuanyi has become an exemplar and model in leadership. It is a lesson because political leaders ought to be peaceful and pursue peace at all times. It is a challenge, because majority of political leaders find it difficult to be peaceful and at peace with themselves and others. They are often intoxicated or carried away by perks of office and power, forgetting its ephemerality. Ugwuanyi is conscious and mindful of that thus has remained himself in power- humble, focused, accessible, peaceful, diligent, taciturn, lenient, forgiving and caring as well. His leadership style is exceptional and unique. As if Ugwuanyi's recognition as Peace Ambassador this year is not enough, some prominent Igbo leaders visited him on the same day and commended him for his
UNICEF, FG Committed to Protecting Rights of Female Children Amby Uneze in Owerri The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with states and the federal government have reassured of their commitment and support to promote and protect the rights of the girl child from all forms of violence and discrimination. This submission was made by the UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Enugu, Dr. Ibrahim Conteh, while presenting an address at the three-day sensitisation conference in Owerri, with Civil Society Organisations, Young Peoples Network, and Orientation Advocacy Group, organised by the Imo State Ministry of Gender and Vulnerable Groups Affairs with support from UNICEF. Dr Conteh stressed that UNICEF had initiated a number of innovative measures towards the actualisation of individual needs, corporate bodies and institutions that are conscientiously committed to the protection and elevation of the rights of children and women across the country. Conteh who was represented by the UNICEF consultant for Imo
and Ebonyi States, Benjamin Mbakwem, commended the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in the state for the remarkable role to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), highlighting that the CSO and the UNICEF would continue to re-strategise towards achieving this objective. Declaring the workshop open, the Commissioner for Gender and Vulnerable Groups Affairs, Nkechi Ugwu explained that the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS 2018) has indicated that the prevalent rate of FGM in the state rose from 32.3 per cent to 63 per cent in 2018 and expressed astonishment in this regard. The commissioner submitted that it had become absolutely necessary for CSOs and the young peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s network to play fundamental role in providing the government with credible, reliable and independent information about the status of the FGM elimination campaign in the state. Mrs Ugwu, who stressed the need to strengthen the capacity of CSO and young peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s network in the campaign against FGM, stated that the United Nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
Joint Programme on FGM in phases one and two partnered the state government and CSOs to respond to issues associated with FGM. According to the commissioner, in phase III, the joint programme would further strengthen this relationship by building capacity in the participation consultative engagement with CSOs. The commissioner who was represented by the permanent secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Obiageri Amadi-Obi, who paid special attention to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic in the country, charged the participants to provide integrated messages on positive ways to end violence against children and to increase the engagement of COS's and young peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s network with policy makers for the elimination of FGM in the state. Speaking, the state Director of the NOA, Vitus Ekeocha said the agency had commenced rigorous sensitisation and awareness campaign in the focal communities in the state against FGM. This, he said is in collaboration with the relevant institutions such as the Ministries of Health
and Gender and Vulnerable Group Affairs with tremendous success already record through consensus youth building, women and traditional rulers on how to eliminate FGM from their cultural practices. In her contribution, the Director of Women Affairs of the state Ministry of Gender Affairs, Mrs. Blessing Azubuike revealed that a total of 35 cases were reported to the state committee on violence against women and children between the months of April and August this year. She described rape as one of the different forms of violence against women, adding that the ministry had commenced a comprehensive documentation of cases of violence against women, which according to her is on the increase. The workshop which featured lectures on violence against children, women, girls, their forms, perpetrators where they occur, causes and risk factors, also examined the imports of cultures and traditions, their dynamism, values, benefits and dangers as well as factors reinforcing harmful traditional practices across the state.
accomplishments in the areas of peace, good governance and the recent stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economic rating. Speaking during the visit at the Government House, Enugu, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, applauded the governor for the recent rating of Enugu as one of the six economically viable states in Nigeria that can survive without federal allocations. Nwodo, who was accompanied by the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, added that Enugu was the only state in the South East geopolitical zone to accomplish such an outstanding feat. He disclosed that they were at the Government House, Enugu on a routine consultation â&#x20AC;&#x153;we are having with our governors on matters of Igbo concernâ&#x20AC;?. The Ohanaeze President-General revealed that they appraised the developmental issues in Igbo land and took brief on Gov. Ugwuanyiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s budget priorities in the areas of digital education, health, infrastructure, security, among others â&#x20AC;&#x153;and we are pleased with what he told usâ&#x20AC;?. The Igbo leaders expressed delight that the governor has maintained a peaceful atmosphere in Enugu State, and has equally reduced political differences to the barest minimum that there is no more issue of bickering or quarrel. According to Nwodo, â&#x20AC;&#x153;we have listened to the governor about things he has done to make Enugu remain peaceful and to ensure that the people of the state live in peace,i and we commend him for what he has done to earn Enugu the enviable status as one of the most peaceful states in Igbo land and Nigeria." As one of my friends will always say, Enugu State has a priest in leadership and politics in the person of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who has resolved and settled lingering crises and conflicts with ease. The verdict of the Igbo leaders on Ugwuanyi's sterling performance, especially in the area of peace is in tandem with that of others, who have experienced, witnessed and benefitted immensely from several of his peace pursuits and accomplishments. Just like the theme of this year's International Peace Day celebrations titled Shaping the Peace Together, it behoves the people of Enugu State, especially the political bigwigs and leaders to continue to join hands with Ugwuanyi to shape the peace of the state together, because peace is paramount and key to unity and development. That is the best way for them to appreciate, support and celebrate Ugwuanyi for his unparalleled feats in the area of peacemaking and peaceful coexistence which has kept the state more peaceful and united and earned him Peace Ambassador of the year. What a befitting and deserving honour to a governor and leader who has proven that with sincerity and sacrifice peace is achievable and sustainable no matter the circumstances and odds. ...Ezea writes from Independence Layout, Enugu State
T H I S D AY Ëž SEPTEMBER 23, 2020
A Motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pain
Rebecca Ejifoma writes about the pains of Mrs. Seluona Ubebe, a mother of three, who has been separated from her kids since 2018 after their father allegedly denied her access to them, thus breaching the terms of their joint custody, although he argued that there is a pending appeal on the case
istening to her pleas and pitiful narration, I reminisced an excerpt from Buchi Emecheta's â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Joyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s of Motherhoodâ&#x20AC;? where the protagonist, Nnu Ego, soliloquises, â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you don't have children, the worrying will kill you. Once you have children, the worrying will kill youâ&#x20AC;?. Although it sounds ridiculous to some, it holds some truism. This, in a way, was the situation playing out in the case of Mrs. Seluona Ubebe, a graduate of English and Literature, who got married to Victor Nordi, a lawyer, in 1998 in Lagos. Although she is a proud mother of three children, the worry to reunite with them is gradually ripping her peace of mind. In an exclusive interview with THISDAY, she poured out her heavy heart, as she regaled how the ex-husband, picked up the children up for a long vacation in 2018 but never brought them back till date and allegedly refused her access. Marriage After THISDAY read her story on Instagram in the early hours of Tuesday September 1, this reporter was assigned to swing into action and hear from both parties â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Ubebe and Nordi. In a telephone interview with the downcast mother, she recounted, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We got married on October 2, 1998 at the Surulere Registry in Lagos. We did the native law and custom the following year.â&#x20AC;? Allegations of Domestic Violence She continued, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I didn't move in with him until the following year, 1999. Soon after I started living with him he started showing signs of violence which I didn't see in our four years of courtship. I was in school, so I didn't see him all the time. Maybe it was part of the reasons it was easy for him to pretend about his real character.â&#x20AC;? Shortly after marriage, she alleged, â&#x20AC;&#x153;he began to hit me at the slightest provocation. At first, he would apologise that he was sorry, it was a mistake, it was the devil, he wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it again. Before I knew what was going on, it became a full-blown kind of beating, like beating me to a pulp. I would have injuries all over my body. This continued up almost until almost 10 years into the marriageâ&#x20AC;?. Initial Separation Ubebe said she was no longer down with the violence and pitiful apologies. Rather than be carried on shoulders by able-bodied men, she defied the marital vow â&#x20AC;&#x201C; â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Till death do us part' and left on her own two feet. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One day I just couldn't take it anymore. I ran away. This was in 2006. My kids, twin boys, were just four years old at the time. I left for Lagos. I was in Lagos for a yearâ&#x20AC;?. According to her, Nordi showed remorse. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He came begging throughout the one year. He said he was sorry, he had changed. It was the Devil. He got a lot of people on the phone, pastors inclusive, to beg me nonstop. He said he had repented and promised that all of those violence would never happen again. I didn't believe him because for over 10 years I had seen so much. On one of those visits, because he used to come visit then in Lagos at this time we had moved to Abuja. So, I ran to Lagos to my family. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I allowed him visit the children freely and come around them. On one of his visits when he realised that he had been pleading for a year and I was not ready to change my mind and come back to him, he came to visit as usual and pretended he wanted to take the children out to eat at the eatery. That was how he took the children, who were age four at the time, and ran to Abuja in 2007.â&#x20AC;? Brief Reunion Few months after being away from her children, Ubebe looked back. â&#x20AC;&#x153;After a few months in Lagos, the mother of three continued, I just couldn't cope. I knew I needed to be in the lives of my kids, who were age four. For their sakes, I decided to go back even though I knew that all his pleadings that he had changed may not really be true. I didn't
want them to stay on their own or be at the mercy of maybe another woman who would maltreat them. I went back in 2007â&#x20AC;?. Having decided to give the marriage a second chance, Ubebe stayed with him again until finally in 2016. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He did not change at all. Everything he promised he was going to do did not happen. He would not only beat me, he forbade me from working. I'm a university graduate, I could not work because of this man. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He kept claiming he would set me up in business, which he never intended to do. He just wanted me to sit in the house, go nowhere. If I'm a housewife, at least be responsible for majority of my needs. He was not even providing to the extent I would say okay I'm satisfied not working.â&#x20AC;?
to Abuja. He changed his mind that I should hold on, he would let me know when. He has been playing all these mind games with me for a long time. He would say hold on I'm not ready yet or he is about to travel. He won't call me. Sometimes he would take his calls and other times he wouldn't.â&#x20AC;? While airing her displeasure to THISDAY, she recalled that recently her estranged hubby stopped taking her calls, hence, she hit the road. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So I decided okay, let me come to Abuja and look for my children anyhow. That's why I came. I was able to locate his house after making enquiries. I got there, and met the security man, who didn't let me in. I called him, he didn't answer. I did a text to him, he didn't reply. The security man told me the children were in but I couldn't see them without their father's permission. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He goes through their phones. I can't communicate with them directly on their own phone. He has an office in that house. He is always home. There was a time I was talking to them on phone, he found out and changed their sim. He seized their phones for many months but gave them later with new sims. He rules them like a military general. He doesn't realise that they are old enough to know better.â&#x20AC;? When asked if no family member had tried to mediate, she replied with a sigh, â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you understand who this man is â&#x20AC;&#x201C; he is a bully. He bullies the family to the extent that he bullies his mother so much that she can't open her mouth to say this is what I want you to doâ&#x20AC;?.
Second Separation In 2016, Ubebe threw in the towel on the marriage. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I couldn't even understand his aim of my not working was all about other than his ego that was at play here. I just couldn't take it anymore. At this time around, my kids were older. I had another one, a third child. All three of us left for Lagos. I made up my mind that nothing was going to make me come back. I finally left in April 2016 when nothing changed at all. In fact, things got worst. Since then I have not returned to him.â&#x20AC;? Breach of Joint Custody In 2018, the mother continued, â&#x20AC;&#x153;because the court had given us joint custody over the children, he came under the pretext of coming to pick them for a long vacation. He said they would spend just two months with him and come back to resume school in Lagos in September. Instead of returning them in September, till now he has not returned the children since July 27, 2018.â&#x20AC;? Now, the twins are 18 and the last one is nine - all boys. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All through the period he stayed with the children, a few times he allowed me to talk to them on phone. He would put them on the phone and say, 'Talk to the kids'.â&#x20AC;? On some occasions, she said more often than not, â&#x20AC;&#x153;he has not allowed me to talk to them. Whenever I call him sometimes to talk to them, because he changed their sim cards so I can only reach them through him and can't see them, I must call his line. On some occasions he would pick his call and allow me talk to them. On some occasions, he would not pick his calls. This has been going on for the longest time. It's such a problem that I can't even see my kids. I can't correspond or relate with themâ&#x20AC;?. Recent Efforts at Reunion To reunite with her kids, the graduate of English and Literature took a bold step in 2020. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So, in February this year I came to Abuja. I spoke to him that I haven't seen my kids in a long time and I wanted to see them. At first he said no problem I could come see the children. Suddenly, the lockdown happened.â&#x20AC;? Speaking further, Ubebe said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;After the lockdown, I called him again that I was coming
Mr. Nordiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Defence, Threats Meanwhile, in a call to Nordi for his own side of the story, this reporter got an earful. He responded at the top of his coerced voice coupled with threats to come after this reporter. When asked to hear his own side of the story in order to get a balance the report on the allegations leveled against him, he roared, "Yes, what can I do for you?â&#x20AC;? his response to the name of the reporter, and a crime journalist with THISDAY, "Excuse me! I'm driving. I'm driving. You are flashing (beeping) me. I expected you to have texted me. "Yes, what do you want from me?" he quickly interrupted the apologies and possible explanations of calls and not flash. Indeed, this reporter had called twice before finally connecting through. In the first call, Nordi said â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hello!â&#x20AC;? repeatedly. The second time, he picked the call, as this reporter kept saying hello but no response. After a while, this reporter called again, and he answered then accused her of flashing (beeping). He yelled at the top of his voice, "Allegations! Allegations! Against me or who?" he queried. "Go ahead and publish. Go ahead and publish. I'm a lawyer. I'm not afraid of that. If you go ahead and publish what you cannot substantiate, I will respond accordingly. Go ahead and publish. If you publish the truth I'll respond, but if you publish untruth, we both know what it means.â&#x20AC;? When asked that his ex-wife had claimed that he took the kids and refused her access
to them, thereby, defying court order, he questioned with rage, " Excuse me. Is that a matter for the press now? Okay. Is that what she told you? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Did she tell you there is a court case? Did she tell you consequent on the court case I was given custody? At the moment, there is a pending appeal. She won't tell you. That is why when you threatened that you are going to publish, go ahead and publish, by the time I start with you Nduka Obaigbena (THISDAY Publisher and Chairman) will be looking for me all over the place. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Listen, you don't know me, you are only going by what they told you. Let me make it easy for the both of us. She came to you with half truth, unfounded allegations intended to deceive you, fine. Let me tell you what I need to tell you. As I speak to you there is a pending court of appeal matterâ&#x20AC;?. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I took the issue of custody of my children to court of appeal. The reason being that they were she and her several lawyers she changed. This time is the fact that judgement favoured me on the custody of the children. Two of the children, boys, are 18 plus. Even the judgement said when the boys are 18, they can decide what they want to do with their lives. She won't tell you all that. She will not also tell you that out of my magnanimity I allowed her access. She was talking to the boys regularly.â&#x20AC;? He narrated how he implored the kidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mother to do video calls in order to see them. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She did that for several weeks and suddenly said she wanted to come and visit them. I said â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;no no no no; it's too soon. You started talking to them in early March how can you now bump in on me in April you want to see them with all what is on ground?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; I need guarantee on my safety and that of the children.â&#x20AC;? The lawyer further frowned at her decision to reach out to the media. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She is going about press. Don't I also know press? She went to FIDA, when FIDA heard her story and my own side they started to drag in. She should have told you that also.â&#x20AC;? Now, he blew his fuse again and punctuated it with more threats, â&#x20AC;&#x153;any journalist who attacks me and destroys my reputation, I will go after that journalist, I will go after that media organisation because that is criminal libel under the laws of FCT that I stand on; it is criminal libel, seven years imprisonment if you write something against somebody. I'm not any lawyer, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a senior lawyerâ&#x20AC;?. At exactly 1:11p.m, same Friday, September 4, he called back but this time, he took off on a more docile tone, which he could not maintain for too long. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you want the suit number of the pending case at the court of appeal I will send it to you. If you want to talk to the children and interview them as to when was the last time they spoke to their mother they will talk to you. You can also talk to the children on how often do they speak to their mother and secondly I will also give you a referral of the FIDA woman who called me last week and I had to narrate my account,â&#x20AC;? he highlighted. In Nordi's view, Ubebeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fight is more than meet the eyes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What this is about is not even about the children because even on their birthday she did not do anything for them, Easter she didn't do anything for them but she spoke to them. On her own birthday the children called her and wished her a happy birthday. So, it's not about the children. I'm the target. That is why I'm a bit aggressive, and I have responsibility for the children's safety.â&#x20AC;? He argued, however, that he will not let anything go wrong. He says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not going to allow anything to go wrong. Anybody who wants to get involved can come and give undertaking that nothing will go wrong then I will consider with my lawyers the implications, this and this is the case in court. That was what I told her. I said go to your lawyers let them meet my lawyers, let them sort it out or go to court and ask for order or report.â&#x20AC;? NOTE: Interested readers should continue in the online edition on www.thisdaylive.com
T H I S D AY Ëž Í°ÍąË&#x153; 2020
CBN Disburses N374bn to Smallholder Farmers James Emejo and Folalumi Alaran Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x2DC; Ă&#x152;Ă&#x;Ă&#x201D;Ă&#x2039; The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday said it has funded smallholder farmers (SHFs) under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) to the tune of N374 billion across the cassava, maize, cotton and rice value chain from 2016 to date. CBN Director, Development Finance Department, Mr. Yila Yusuf, disclosed this at a meeting of key stakeholders in the programme. Specifically, he said in the 2020 wet season farming, the apex bank disbursed over N200 billion to SHFs which represented the highest amount made available in a single year from the inception of the programme. He said the CBN had accentuated the importance of
cultivating staple foods locally to drive its food security mandate and shore up its foreign reserves by discouraging the importation of these commodities that could easily be cultivated in the country. He said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;In this season, we have emphasised the use of new improved seeds which will guarantee bumper harvest for the farmers and enable the SHFs to pay back their loans with ease. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The season also saw more involvement of prime anchors participation in the programme. The proposed 2020 dry season farming, will focus on the use of contagious lands for mechanisation by increasing land under cultivation with state government contributing between 20,000 to 100,000 hectares, use of improved seed and establishment of off take agreement.â&#x20AC;? The CBN director, also pointed out that the ABP which was
introduced in 2015, had witnessed a reasonable degree of success as indicated by the reduction in commodities importation, value chain development- particularly development of processing capacity of indigenous companies, empowerment and job creation as well as financial inclusion among others. Yila, said the stakeholdersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; meeting had been convened to, â&#x20AC;&#x153;take stock of our achievements and strategise on ways of achieving increased food production to meet the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ever-increasing food needs and avert predicting food crisis on the nearest future. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We will therefore capitalise on our learning experiences thus far to achieve early successes, to move the bank forward particularly in its effort to achieve employment creation, poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth.â&#x20AC;?
L-R: Media Executive, Mr. Peter Jones Ailuorio; author of the book, Felix Amadi, and Media Executive, Mr. Samuel Diala, at the pre- launch media presentation of the book titled: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Retirement in Nigeria Management Approach,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; by Felix Amadi held in Lagos... recently
FG Seeks to Enhance Ease of Doing Business
MONEY AND CREDIT STATISTICS
In a bid to promote inclusiveness and enhance ease of doing business in Nigeria, the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole has called on stakeholders to submit ideas for the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Omnibus Billâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; which is in its draft stage. Oduwole, made this call while speaking during a virtual conference titled: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Easing Business in Nigeria: CAMA 2020 and Economic Growth,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; organsied by Simmonscooper partner and law pavilion yesterday. Oduwole said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have been working on business law with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) on a business facilitation bill â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Omnibus billâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. â&#x20AC;&#x153;An omnibus bill is a legal tool used around the world to chip in several reforms and amendments. We can scope the
business environment and get a number of relics that we want to change altogether in one piece of legislation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So, it is amendment to countries like Canada, Australia, Kenya have used omnibus bills to quickly reform their business climate.â&#x20AC;? She added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;So, Nigeria has been working on one since 2018 with stakeholders and the Ministry of Justice. We have a draft but a number of amendments that we had chronicled have gone into the Finance Bill of 2019 and the Companies and Allied Matter Act (CAMA) bill of 2020. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We call for submissions, not a call to review a draft, but a call to submit ideas for amendment just stating what provision you would like amended and we would look at it with the ministry of justice, review and engage with the MDAs whose legislations
are going to be amended so we have a situation where we have continuous improvement.â&#x20AC;? In his contribution, the Acting Director General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Mr. Ambrose Oruche, commended the federal governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CAMA law, saying it would improve business practices across Nigeria. Oruche said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We see this new CAMA law as a revolutionary way of reducing the cost of doing business and it would aid transparency in running of companies and that would help investors and also encourage new businesses to be set up.â&#x20AC;? Speaking on what can be done better by the federal government, he said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We require that the process of operation of regulatory agencies be looked into where there is a conflicting mandate between regulatory agencies which creates double regulation for businesses.â&#x20AC;?
PolarisMarks First Anniversary ofAdopting UNEP-FI Principles Polaris Bank said it has recorded remarkable success in adopting the United Nations Environment Programme Financial Initiatives (UNEP-FI) Principles for Responsible Banking. The Principles for Responsible Banking, an initiative of UNEP, an Agency of United Nations (UN), provide a framework of six principles for integrating Sustainability into the heart of banking operations. By signing on to adopt the framework, in September 2019, Polaris Bank committed to aligning its strategies with the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs). Outlining some of the successes it has recorded since its membership of the UNEP-FI Banking Principles in New York, Polaris Bank in a statement yesterday, explained that within its first 100 days of introducing its agency banking platform, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sure Padi,â&#x20AC;? it serviced over half a million customers and was ranked fifth in the first quarter 2020 by the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF). Commenting on the progress made so far, the Acting MD/CEO of Polaris Bank, Innocent Ike, was quoted in the statement to have said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Signing the UNEP-FI
Principles for Responsible Banking in 2019 has ensured that we remain committed to developing a sustainable economy and empowering our stakeholders to build a better future. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our role as intermediaries means we can significantly influence the direction that our clients and customers take. Through concerted efforts of the Bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stakeholders, the progress we have made in key focus areas proves that driving sustainable businesses can yield positive returns. We look forward, with renewed vigour, to surpassing our achievements in the first year.â&#x20AC;?
Sâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;African Firm Supports Anambra Community with Palliatives A South Africa-based financial institution, DafriBank Plc and Umeh Foundation have given palliatives worth millions of naira to Ezinifite Community, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic The foundation and the bank doled out N100 million to train the less-privileged children in school in the community for 10 years of which N10 million would be spent each year. According to a statement, some
of the palliatives shared to the members of the community, especially the aged and widows included 250 bags of 50kg rice, 800 cartons of tomatoes, 800 cartons of groundnut oil and 3,000 pieces of face masks. In addition to those items, members of the community received N3, 000 among others. Addressing the beneficiaries, a senior staff of DafriBank Plc, Onos Oma, said the institution and Umeh Foundation were in the community to alleviate the sufferings of the people that had
been affected by the pandemic. She said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;So, we want to give out 16 metric tonnes of food supplies: 250 bags of rice, cartons of tomatoes and others to the people. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Founder and Chairman of DafriBank in South Africa is a son of the soil. He hails from here, Ezinifite community, Aguata LGA of Anambra State. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have made impact in over 23 countries. We have done this in South Africa and we are here also to give back to the community.â&#x20AC;?
JULY 2020 Money Supply (M3)
-- CBN Bills Held by Money Holding Sectors
Money Supply (M2)
-- Quasi Money
-- Narrow Money (M1)
---- Currency Outside Banks
---- Demand Deposits
Net Foreign Assets (NFA)
Net Domestic Assets(NDA)
-- Net Domestic Credit (NDC)
---- Credit to Government (Net)
---- Memo: Credit to Govt. (Net) less FMA
---- Memo: Fed. and Mirror Accounts (FMA)
---- Credit to Private Sector (CPS)
--Other Assets Net
Reserve Money (Base Money
--Currency in Circulation
--Banks Reserves --Special Intervention Reserves
Ëž Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x;Ă&#x153;Ă?Ă? Ě&#x2039;
Money Market Indicators (in Percentage) Month
Inter-Bank Call Rate
Minimum Rediscount Rate (MRR) Monetary Policy Rate (MPR)
Treasury Bill Rate
Savings Deposit Rate
1 Month Deposit Rate
3 Months Deposit Rate
6 Months Deposit Rate
12 Months Deposit Rate
Prime Lending rate
Maximum Lending Rate
Ëž Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x2DC;Ă?Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x153;ĂŁ Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x2013;Ă&#x201C;Ă?ĂŁ Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x17E;Ă? Ě&#x2039; ÍŻÍąĎą
OPEC DAILY BASKET PRICE Ë&#x153; Í°ÍŻ Í°ÍŽÍ°ÍŽ
The price of OPEC basket of thirteen crudes stood at $41.49 a barrel on Monday, compared with $42.98 the previous Friday, 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 Ëž Í°ÍąË&#x153; Í°ÍŽÍ°ÍŽ
NSE Lists Retail Investment Opportunities in Nigerian Capital Market Goddy Egene The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has expressed its commitment to redefining and improving investorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; overall experience in the Nigerian capital market. The Chief Executive Officer of NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, who made the commitment at the inaugural edition of the Retail Investorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; theme: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Capital market investing in
a digital age.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; According to him, investor participation is central to the growth and sustainable development of any economy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The exchange is, therefore, committed to facilitating conversations that will expound on the retail investment opportunities available in the capital market and the channels through which they can be accessed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Today, our determination to develop the market and
P R I C E S MAIN BOARD
F O R DEALS
strengthen investor confidence has birthed a number of technology driven solutions that allow investors to conveniently trade electronically in an increasing array of product offerings that includes equities, bonds, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and other collective investment schemes(CIS). â&#x20AC;&#x153;We will, therefore, continue to take advantage of the vast opportunities to equip existing and potential investors
S E C U R I T I E S MARKET PRICE
VALUE TRADED ( N )
with the necessary skills to effectively manage and grow the financial resources at their disposal,â&#x20AC;? he said. On his part, the Managing Director, Nigerian International Securities Limited (NISL), Mr. Laolu Martins said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;NSE has consistently pioneered far-reaching innovations within the Nigerian capital market, positively driving market integrity, boosting both investor confidence and
T R A D E D MAIN BOARD
market participation.â&#x20AC;? He highlighted the efforts of the NISL to create wealth for investors via an appropriate mix of securities using well spelt out market research to help investors meet their financial objectives. The event also featured a presentation on the importance of Market Data in making investment decisions by the Head, Market Services, NSE, Mr. Olufemi Balogun. As part of the efforts to make
the market more accessible to all stakeholders, the NSE upgraded to its X-DataPortal. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The revamped portal has been designed to serve as a principal source for brokers, fund managers, research analysts, other professionals and non-professional participants like students and investors to get quality real-time and reference data reports for analysis, research and reporting purposes,â&#x20AC;? the exchange said.
2 2 / 0 9 / 2 0 2 0 DEALS
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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 ˾ T H I S D AY
NSE Lists United Capital Plc’s N10 Billion Bond Goddy Egene The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE)
has listed the United Capital Plc’s N10 billion 5-year 12.5 per cent Senior Unsecured Fixed Rate Series I Bonds
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
Due 2025 under its N30 bond Bond Programme. United Capital Plc had said that bond
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 21Sep-2020, unless otherwise stated.
issuance added to the impressive portfolio of innovative and landmark transactions which are hallmark of its brand. The
bond issuance recorded a 124 per cent subscription, which the company said it was investors’ confidence in United
Capital Plc and a testament to the leading role the organisation continues to play in the financial services space.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 0.93 0.94 3.25% ACAP Income Funds 0.79 0.79 10.35% AIICO CAPITAL LTD email@example.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 5.53% AIICO Balanced Fund 3.02 3.11 23.37% ANCHORIA ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED firstname.lastname@example.org Web:www.anchoriaam.com, Tel: 08166830267; 08036814510; 08028419180 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Anchoria Money Market 100.00 100.00 2.36% Anchoria Equity Fund 100.32 100.66 -1.60% Anchoria Fixed Income Fund 1.29 1.29 11.63% ARM INVESTMENT MANAGERS LTD email@example.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 14.54 14.98 -5.06% ARM Discovery Fund 342.68 353.01 -0.80% ARM Ethical Fund 30.71 31.64 5.60% ARM Eurobond Fund ($) 1.15 1.15 14.96% ARM Fixed Income Fund 1.08 1.09 8.63% ARM Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 4.17% AXA MANSARD INVESTMENTS LIMITED firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.axamansard.com; Tel: +2341-4488482 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AXA Mansard Equity Income Fund N/A N/A N/A AXA Mansard Money Market Fund N/A N/A N/A CAPITAL EXPRESS ASSET AND TRUST LIMITED email@example.com Web: www.capitalexpressassetandtrust.com ; Tel: +234 803 307 5048 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn CEAT Fixed Income Fund 2.19 2.19 18.76% Capital Express Balanced Fund(Formerly: Union Trustees Mixed Fund) 1.87 1.89 7.36% CHAPELHILL DENHAM MANAGEMENT LTD firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.chapelhilldenham.com, Tel: +234 461 0691 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Chapelhill Denham Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 5.07% Paramount Equity Fund 11.45 11.64 -8.59% Women's Investment Fund 111.10 112.07 0.62% CORDROS ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED email@example.com Web: www.cordros.com, Tel: 019036947 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Cordros Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 4.19% Cordros Milestone Fund 2023 106.19 106.53 Cordros Milestone Fund 2028 119.28 120.15 Cordros Dollar Fund ($) 103.71 103.71 CORONATION ASSEST MANAGEMENT firstname.lastname@example.org Web:www.coronationam.com , Tel: 012366215 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Coronation Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 3.38% Coronation Balanced Fund 0.95 0.97 2.93% Coronation Fixed Income Fund 1.58 1.58 18.73% EDC FUNDS MANAGEMENT LIMITED email@example.com Web: www.ecobank.com Tel: 012265281 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn EDC Nigeria Money Market Fund Class A 100.00 100.00 3.72% EDC Nigeria Money Market Fund Class B 1,000,000.00 1,000,000.00 2.66% EDC Nigeria Fixed Income Fund 1,174.58 1,187.78 5.95% FBNQUEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.fbnquest.com/asset-management; Tel: +234-81 0082 0082 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn FBN Fixed Income Fund N/A N/A N/A FBN Balanced Fund 153.23 154.27 4.37% FBN Halal Fund N/A N/A N/A FBN Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 4.39% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Retail 120.92 121.34 4.10% FBN Nigeria Smart Beta Equity Fund 115.07 116.85 -11.57% FCMB ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED email@example.com Web: www.fcmbassetmanagement.com; Tel: +234 1 462 2596 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Legacy Money Market Fund N/A N/A N/A Legacy Debt Fund N/A N/A N/A Legacy Equity Fund N/A N/A N/A Legacy USD Bond Fund N/A N/A N/A FSDH ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD firstname.lastname@example.org 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 3,168.95 3,204.23 4.21% Coral Income Fund 3,197.30 3,197.30 3.95% FSDH Treasury Bills Fund 100.00 100.00 4.00% GREENWICH ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED email@example.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 4.05% Nigeria Entertainment Fund 114.53 120.55 9.00%
GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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 3.82% Vantage Balanced Fund 2.11 2.15 -3.47% Vantage Guaranteed Income Fund 1.00 1.00 8.51% Kedari Investment Fund (KIF) 150.64 151.38 5.09% 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 1.26 1.28 7.93% Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund 1,140.75 1,140.75 7.70% MERISTEM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.meristemwealth.com/funds/ ; Tel: +234 1-4488260 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Meristem Equity Market Fund N/A N/A N/A Meristem Money Market Fund N/A N/A N/A PAC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD email@example.com Web: www.pacassetmanagement.com/mutualfunds; Tel: +234 1 271 8632 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn PACAM Balanced Fund 1.32 1.35 8.58% PACAM Fixed Income Fund 11.90 11.97 5.71% PACAM Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 3.29% PACAM Equity Fund 1.07 1.08 PACAM EuroBond Fund 108.16 110.72 SCM CAPITAL LIMITED firstname.lastname@example.org 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 119.24 121.59 -4.54% SFS CAPITAL NIGERIA LTD email@example.com Web: www.sfsnigeria.com, Tel: +234 (01) 2801400 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SFS Fixed Income Fund 1.02 1.02 6.62% STANBIC IBTC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD firstname.lastname@example.org 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 6.01% Stanbic IBTC Bond Fund 210.33 210.33 5.21% Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund 0.88 0.89 -0.56% Stanbic IBTC Guaranteed Investment Fund 273.87 273.95 6.02% Stanbic IBTC Iman Fund 154.92 156.64 4.94% Stanbic IBTC Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 3.59% Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund 7,674.15 7,756.30 -3.03% Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund (USD) 1.21 1.21 4.02% Stanbic IBTC Shariah Fixed Income Fund 109.52 109.52 5.10% 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 1.16 1.18 -3.07% United Capital Bond Fund 1.86 1.86 7.26% United Capital Equity Fund 0.66 0.68 -5.61% United Capital Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 4.56% United Capital Eurobond Fund 114.83 114.83 5.09% United Capital Wealth for Women Fund 1.03 1.03 -2.19% QUANTUM ZENITH ASSET MANAGEMENT & INVESTMENTS LTD email@example.com Web: www.quantumzenith.com.ng; Tel: +234 1-2784219 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Zenith Equity Fund 10.37 10.48 0.86% Zenith Ethical Fund 11.56 11.66 -0.56% Zenith Income Fund 24.41 24.41 6.76% Zenith Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 3.55%
REITS NAV Per Share
Fund Name SFS Skye Shelter Fund
Yield / T-Rtn
Yield / T-Rtn
9.18 85.10 66.75
9.28 86.94 67.97
5.37% -9.91% -11.16%
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 Money Market Fund Vetiva Industrial Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva S&P Nigeria Sovereign Bond Exchange Traded Fund
firstname.lastname@example.org Bid Price
Yield / T-Rtn
3.04 4.29 12.05 1.00 11.24 186.00
3.08 4.37 12.15 1.00 11.44 188.00
-14.35% -27.20% -0.63% 2.84% 8.08% -1.24%
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.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 ˾ T H I S D AY
COVID-19: US Death Toll Passes 200,000 The US coronavirus death toll has passed 200,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
More than 6.8 million people are known to have been infected in the US, more than in any other country.
New COVID-19 Restrictions Could Last Six Months, Says UK PM The UK has reached “a perilous turning point”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said, as he set out a raft of new coronavirus restrictions for England which could last for up to six months. Shop staff will have to wear face masks and weddings will be limited to a maximum of 15 people, under the rules. Fines for breaking laws on gatherings and not wearing a mask will increase to £200 for a first offence. He also warned “significantly greater restrictions” could come if necessary. Johnson said “similar steps” would be taken across the UK after he met with the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on Tuesday morning. Like England, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, also announced a 22:00 curfew for hospitality businesses. The same measure is also set to come into force in Wales on Thursday. But Ms Sturgeon went further than England on restrictions, banning the visiting of other households indoors. It comes as the number of UK cases rose by 4,926 on Tuesday, government figures showed, with deaths increasing by 37. Speaking in the House of Common, the prime minister told MPs: “We always knew that while we might have driven the virus into retreat, the prospect of a second wave was real. I’m sorry
to say that, as in Spain and France and many other countries, we’ve reached a perilous turning point.” Mr Johnson said the new rules were “carefully judged” to achieve the maximum reduction in the R number - which measures how quickly the virus is spreading - while causing “the minimum damage to lives and livelihoods”. But he said this was “by no means a return to the full lockdown of March”, with no general instructions to stay at home. Businesses, schools, colleges and universities will remain open. Attendance figures show the number of schools in England sending home groups of pupils due to Covid-19 incidents quadrupled in a week. In the last fortnight, hospital admissions have doubled and Covid-19 is likely to spread faster in winter, Mr Johnson said, adding: “So this is the moment when we must act.” If these restrictions fail to bring the R number below one - the point where the epidemic is no longer growing - “then we reserve the right to deploy greater fire power with significantly greater restrictions” he said. Mr Johnson said: “We will spare no effort in developing vaccines, treatments, new forms of masstesting but unless we palpably make progress we should assume that the restrictions that I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months.”
EU Tells UK to Stop Playing Games on Brexit Senior EU and British officials will meet urgently next week on the Brexit withdrawal agreement, which has been threatened by London’s attempt to override parts of the treaty, Brussels said Tuesday. “But please, dear friends in London: Stop the games. Time is running out,” Germany’s European affairs minister Michael Roth warned as he met colleagues in Brussels ahead of a summit of EU leaders on Thursday. EU Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said he would meet senior British minister Michel Gove in Brussels on Monday, just ahead of Brussels’ end-of-the-month deadline for London to drop a bill designed to rewrite the deal. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is pushing ahead with legislation designed to override parts of the treaty, an act which it admits breaks international law, and Brussels is furiously defending the deal. “The so-called Internal Market Bill worries us extremely, because it violates the guiding principles of the withdrawal agreement, and this is totally unacceptable for us,” Roth said. Sefcovic said he would meet Gove as joint chair of the EU-UK Joint Coordination Committee
overseeing the divorce agreement. However, “we will not be renegotiating, but we are dedicated to its full and timely implementation — nothing more and nothing less.” In parallel to the wrangling over the existing agreement, which Johnson signed last year and hailed as an “oven-ready” deal to get Britain out of Europe, EU and UK teams are negotiating a possible trade deal. The EU leaders meeting Thursday will receive a “point of information” on progress in these talks, but for the moment have left the protracted debate in the hands of their negotiator, Michel Barnier. The next round of trade talks begin on October 2 in Brussels. Johnson has set a mid-October deadline for success or failure, and EU officials say the deal must be done by the end of the month if it is to pass into law by the end of the year. Britain left the European Union on January 31, and will leave the bloc’s single market and customs union at the end of the year. Experts fear economic chaos if no new trade deal can be agreed by then.
The milestone comes amid an increase in cases in a number of states, including North Dakota and Utah. In March, President Donald Trump said if deaths were between 100,000 and 200,000, the country would have done a “very good job”. The previous month, when 15 cases had been reported in the country, he predicted that the number was going to be
“close to zero” within a couple of days. JHU reported the new death toll of 200,005 on Tuesday. The university has been collecting US and global coronavirus data since the outbreak began late last year in China. The first case in the US was confirmed in January. President Trump’s administration has been repeatedly criticised over its
handling of the outbreak. “Due to Donald Trump’s lies and incompetence in the past six months, [we] have seen one of the greatest losses of American life in history,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said on Monday. “With this crisis, a real crisis, a crisis that required serious presidential leadership, he just wasn’t up to it. He froze. He
failed to act. He panicked. And America has paid the worst price of any nation in the world.” But on the same day, Mr Trump said he and his administration had done “a phenomenal job” and gave himself an “A+” for his handling of the pandemic. He said the US was “rounding the corner on the pandemic, with or without a vaccine”.
Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh (left), receiving a plaque from the First Counsellor Deputy Head of Delegation, European Union Delegation to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Alexandre Gorges Gomes, after an engagement session in Abuja...recently
UN Chief Warns against New Cold War UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged the world to prevent a Cold War between the United States and China and halt conflicts so it can focus on the Covid-19 pandemic. “We must do everything to avoid a new Cold War,” Guterres said in an address as he opened an almost entirely virtual UN General Assembly. “We are moving in a very dangerous direction. Our world
cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a Great Fracture — each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities,” he said, without saying the United States and China by name. Tensions have soared between the United States and China in recent months, with President Donald Trump blaming Beijing for the Covid-19 pandemic that
has claimed some 950,000 lives around the world and cast a shadow over his reelection bid. Guterres has campaigned for an end to all violent conflicts as the world instead focuses on stopping the disease. He pointed to some partial successes including ceasefires declared in Cameroon, Colombia and Cameroon. He pressed for a universal ceasefire by the end of the year. “I appeal for a stepped-up
international effort — led by the Security Council — to achieve a global ceasefire by the end of this year,” Guterres said. “We have 100 days. The clock is ticking.” Guterres also offered open criticism of right-wing movements in the face of the coronavirus. “Populism and nationalism have failed. Those approaches to contain the virus have often made things manifestly worse. ”
Mali Junta Chief Urges Support for French, UN Troops in Country The leader of Mali’s military junta, Colonel Assimi Goita, on Tuesday urged support for French and United Nations troops, a frequent target of popular anger in the war-torn country. Speaking to reporters during a ceremony marking Mali’s 60 years of independence from France, Goita asked Malians to support national troops as well as “partner forces” from France and the UN. Mali has struggled to contain a jihadist insurgency that first emerged in the north in 2012, and which has since spread to
the centre of the country and neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger. Thousands of foreign troops in Mali do not appear to have slowed the fighting, and their presence has often stoked controversy in the country. The urging came as a protest against foreign troops was expected in Mali’s capital Bamako on Tuesday. Frustration over the longrunning conflict contributed to mass protests against president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, which
culminated in his ouster in a military coup on August 18. Goita on Tuesday also called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to lift economic sanctions it imposed in the wake of the coup. West African leaders warned last week that they will not lift the sanctions unless Mali’s junta appoints civilian leaders. The junta on Monday chose retired colonel Bah Ndaw to lead an interim government before staging elections and
returning to civilian rule to the poor Sahel country. “The international community is watching us… which is why we accepted the ECOWAS principles,” Goita said on Tuesday. “In the coming days ECOWAS must remove these sanctions for the happiness of the Malian people,” he added. West African leaders have not yet reacted to the nomination of Ndaw — a retiree but also a consumate military man — as interim president.
Republicans Secure Vote to Replace Ginsburg in Supreme Court Republicans have secured the numbers needed to ensure that President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee will face a confirmation vote in the Senate. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah has given the party the 51 backers needed to move forward with voting on Mr Trump’s candidate to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday.
Democrats argued there should be no confirmation in an election year. The move guarantees a bitter political battle going into November’s vote. President Trump says he will announce his chosen nominee on Saturday, and has vowed to pick a woman. Supreme Court justices are nominated to the bench by the US
president, but must be approved by the Senate. With the death of Justice Ginsburg, a liberal stalwart, Mr Trump has been given the chance to cement a rightward ideological tilt of the nine-member court by replacing her with a conservative. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to hold a confirmation vote before the election in
November, but a question mark had hung all week over whether enough Republicans in the chamber would back him. Although they hold a slim majority with 53 seats, two centrist Republican senators - Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - said they were sceptical of confirming a lifetime judicial appointment in an election year.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 â&#x20AC;¢T H I S D AY
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 ˾ T H I S D AY
Suspected Herdsmen Kill Three People in Benue George Okoh in Makurdi Suspected herdsmen last Sunday killed three persons and wounded eight other in Tse-Apera, Nzorov, Benue State, the state Governor, Samuel Ortom’s home town in Guma Local Government Area of the state. The Chairman of Guma LGA, Mr. Caleb Aba, confirmed this in a telephone conversation with
journalists in Makurdi, adding that the herdsmen invaded the community at the early hours of Sunday, as they woke the people up and starting shooting sporadically. According to him, while the people ran in fear for safety, some were cut with machete in the process. Aba, who stated that two persons were killed on the spot,
noted that the wounded persons were taken to the Teaching Hospital in the state where one person later died. “There were killed, as five persons were taken to the Teaching
Hospital in Makurdi, while two were taken to the General Hospital in Gbajimba, Guma LGA. The killers are Fulani herdsmen. We identified them by the language they spoke as they carried out the
activity. They were also carrying rods with them. The state Police Command Public Relations Officer, DSP Catherine Anene, also confirmed the incident.
Anene, in a text message, said: “The attack was recorded last Sunday. Two persons died while five were injured. I’m not aware of the beheading of anyone.”
Wrong Economic Decisions Affect Nigerians, Says Sanusi John Shiklam in Kaduna A former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has lamented the effects of wrong economic decisions on Nigerians. He said this yesterday while delivering a keynote address at the fifth Kaduna Investments Summit. According to the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), wrong economic decisions have impacted on the means of livelihood of many Nigerians. He urged governments across all levels to consider the impact of their economic decisions on Nigerians. Sanusi narrated how many Nigerians had moved from being millionaires to paupers, noting that some parents have had to withdraw their children studying abroad. He said, “One of the things the government needs to do is to understand the impact of wrong economic decisions or address economic occurrences on human beings and individuals. It affects us in direct and personal ways. Most people are not looking at human beings. We should not just walk away when inflation rises. “For those of us who have
grown up – in my generation, those who grew up in the oil period – we suffered I think about three occasions now with this boom and bust. We have seen highs and lows, friends who are multimillionaire became paupers. “We have seen people who send their children to school only to bring them back. Even this year, people are bringing their children back. If your child is in the United Kingdom and you need to buy pounds at over N600, you move him to Cyprus, Benin, and so on.” He also recommended diversification of Nigeria’s economy. Sanusi said, “Think of the millions of people who can no longer afford to eat. Then, two per cent becomes a massive number. GDP has declined by one percent! In an exam, (if) you move from 67 per cent to 66 per cent (it) is no deal. But if your GDP falls by one per cent, for example, $250 billion – GDP, then we are talking of $2.5 billion. You think of N2.5 billion in terms of people that are earning N20,000, N30,000 per month, how many millions of Nigerians are wiped out or family won’t be able to afford to eat.
Govs Blame High Food Prices on COVID-19 Palliatives Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja The National Food Security Council (NFC) yesterday in Abuja attributed the high cost of food items in the market to bulk purchase of food commodities for distribution as COVID-19 palliatives. However, the council was swift to add that the situation would change as the country is entering the harvest season, and more commodities are arriving at the markets. Briefing State House correspondents after a meeting of the council chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru, who is a member of the council, said the Coalition Against Covid-19 (CACOVID) and the federal and state governments were all involved in bulk purchase of food items as COVID-19 palliatives. He said the situation was not unusual, noting that in economic principle, the higher the demand, the higher the price. Badaru also recalled that whereas the council recently announced that the cost of food items had started coming down, the trend would not immediately reflect in market prices until the items in stock are exhausted.
According to him, “Let me explain further on the prices of food crops. You will not see it (drop in prices) immediately for those living in the cities like Abuja. You will not see the price drop immediately because there is always transition between drop in the price and on the counter price dropping. “Prices started dropping at the local markets. It has to be bought and transported. If you have an existing stock, you will not lose money and drop the price. “They will wait until they have exhausted the stock or there is a lot of the produce in the market, then they will be forced to drop the prices. “So, the crops have started coming up and getting cheaper. It’s being transported and it takes time, depending on how fast the stocks are and how fast the traders are bringing the cheaper stock into the market before you will see that final drop. “I’m sure if you go out now, you will experience the drop. But I’m worried about people talking about expensive food. This is a cycle. For all of us that understand farming cycle, we know in May, June and July foods are expensive because all the stock has started going down.
IN HONOUR OF FLYING OFFICER AROTILE...
L-R: Chief of Training and Operations, Nigerian Air force Abuja, Air Vice Marshal James Gwani; Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; and Air Officer Commanding, Tactical Air Command, Makurdi, Air Vice Marshal Olusegun Philip, during the inauguration of Pilots Crew rooms and projects at 115 Special Operations Group, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State...yesterday
FG Deploys Revenue Directors to Govt-owned Companies Ndubuisi Francis and James Emejo in Abuja The federal government has deployed directors of revenue from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to Federal Government-owned Enterprises (FGOEs) to ensure improved revenue drive. Their deployment is in compliance with the presidential approval conveyed through a circular by the Secretary
to the Government of the Federation (SGF) with reference SGF.50/S.3/C.9/24 and dated October 16, 2018 on the approved revenue performance management framework for FGOEs. Presenting a keynote address to declare open a special orientation workshop for directors of revenue in tandem with the federal government’s Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI), in Abuja, yesterday, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning,
Mrs. Zainab Ahmed said the FGOEs had been identified as an important sector with huge potential for revenue generation. According to her, an analysis of the revenue and expenditure profile of some of the FGOEs shows that they have the capacities for improved revenue performance, She said: “A recent study of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that the combined expenditures of the FGOEs exceed
the federal budget. It is in this light that the deployment of the treasury directors is considered expedient to selected FGOEs which will run as a pilot basis.” The deployment of directors of revenue to the FGOEs, she noted, is in compliance with Presidential approval which was conveyed via a circular by the SGF with reference SGF.50/S.3/C.9/24 dated October 16, 2018 on the approved revenue performance management framework for FGOEs.
AIB, Quorum Aviation Bicker over Late Pilot’s Certiﬁcate The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has insisted that Quorum Aviation Limited did not send any letter to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) requesting an extension of its pilot’s licence to fly the ill-fated Bell 206B III helicopter. In a statement issued yesterday and titled ‘AIB- We stand by our report,’ AIB said there was
no evidence of submission of an application for exemption provided by the NCAA’s All Operators’ Letter (AOL) DG020/20. It added that there was no evidence of an application for the exemption provided by the AOL DG018/20 for proficiency check. The AIB had in its initial
findings released on Monday said there was no fuel left in the fuel tanks after the crash even after the helicopter was topped to full tank capacity on August 27 in Port Harcourt. It also said the pilot’s last medical examination was valid till August 6 while the proficiency check was valid till August 24. Quorum Aviation, however, said
a letter written by the Managing Director and Accountable Manager, Quorum Aviation Limited, Mr. Abiola Lawal, had requested for extension. According to Quorum Aviation, they sought to extend pilot’s licence because of the challenges in organising additional crew travel training.
Gas Agreement Review Won’t Raise Price, Says GACN The Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria (GACN) Limited has said that its decision to review existing agreements used in transactions within Nigeria’s domestic gas market will not lead to hike in prices of gas. According to GACN, the review was meant to reflect modern realities in the market and attract new investments in the sector.
A statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the management of the firm, said the company was not in charge of setting gas prices, as that was the prerogative of the Minister of Petroleum Resources. The GACN explained that the Master Gas Sale and Aggregation Agreements used in the country’s domestic gas market was being reviewed to provide room for improved investments in the
sector. It stated that at its recent workshop, which was chaired by its Chairman and Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited, Mansur Sambo, the focus of participants was on gas reviews. It noted that the reviews would engender expedited negotiation and execution of Gas Sale Aggregation
Agreements by industry players, Interruptible Gas Sales Agreement, as well as gas swap transactions. It further stated that incentivising payment and contract performance, minimising risks and potential for contract disputes and processes to engender new investment in the gas sector were part of the review process.
Ogun Police Arrest Robbery Gang in Military Uniform Kayode Fasua in Abeokuta The Ogun State Police Command yesterday paraded nine criminal suspects, among them a seven-man armed robbery gang operating in military uniform along the Lagos-Ore-Benin expressway. The suspects, Ikechukwu Alore, Ifeanyi Emmanuel, Chibueze Kingsley, Obiora Michael, Elias John and Vincent Magnus, were fished out
from their different hideouts within and outside Ogun State by operatives of the Special Anti - Robbery Squads (SARS). They were rounded up following a confessional statement extracted from one of the members of the gang who later died from gunshot injuries. Also paraded along with the suspected robbers were two armed herdsmen, who abducted and gang-raped
a 16-year-old daughter of a farm settler at Afowowa farm settlement in Ewekoro Local Government Area of the state. Parading the suspects at the Command headquarters in Eleweran, Abeokuta, the state Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, said the arrest of the suspects formed part of the determination of the command not to give criminals any breathing space in the state. Ajogun said the suspected
leader of the seven-man robbery syndicate, Obiora Michael, was traced to his residence in Ajangbadi area of Lagos State on September 17, 2020, where his wife was treating him of the bullet wounds he sustained during a gun duel with the SARS operatives. “He had lied to his wife that he sustained the injuries in a road accident,” he said.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 ˾ T H I S D AY
We’ll Liberate Yoruba from Oppression, Invasion, Says Akintoye Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti The President-General of the Yoruba World Congress (YWC), Prof. Banji Akintoye, has assured Nigerians that no effort would be spared to rescue the South-west people from ‘oppression and invasion’ by those he described as political marauders and bandits. The scholar said everything
possible would be done to ensure the liberation of the region (the Yoruba nation) from the current challenges of under-development and insecurity pervading the land. The Second Republic senator made the vow yesterday in Okemesi, Ekiti South West Local Government Area of Ekiti State, during the commemoration of the 134th anniversary end of Kiriji war
and 2020 Yoruba National Day celebration organised by YWC. The Kiriji war, also known as the Ekiti-Parapo war, was a 16-year long drawn civil war among the Yoruba people where all the sub-ethnic groups either supported the Ibadan or the Ekiti. The war ended on September
23, 1886, with the signing of the peace treaty in Okemesi, which marks the beginning of the unification of Yorubaland as one. Speaking through the Ekiti State Coordinator of YWC, Mr. Praise Ayodele, Akintoye maintained that “the historic
event was organised to help in discovering and promoting the history of Yoruba after 134 years, and use the same to enhance unity among its residents for the ultimate goal of achieving the desired liberation for the people of the region. “ We decided to return to
Okemesi, Imesi-Ile and Igbajo to recover our pristine history, promote our history and use our history to further foster unity among us, as this place was where we signed the peace treaty in 1886 exactly 134 years ago.
Supreme Court Urged to Reject Shell’s Request to Reopen N17bn Judgment Alex Enumah in Abuja The Supreme Court was yesterday urged to reject request by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited to review and set aside a N17 billion judgment entered against it last year. The Supreme Court had on January 11, 2019, upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which had slammed a N17 billion damages against the oil giant for oil spillage in Ejama-Ebubu in Tai Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State. However, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Shell International Petroleum Company Limited and Shell International Exploration and Production BV in an application
dated July 24, 2019, urged the apex court to set aside its judgment of January 11, 2019. Objecting to the request yesterday, the respondents, however, urged the court to dismiss Shell’s request “being frivolous and an attempt to ridicule the integrity of the apex court.” The respondents are Isaac Agbara, Chief Victor Obari, Chief Humphrey Ogiri, Chief F. N. Ogosu, Chief Joseph Ogosu, Chief John Ogosu, Chief G. O. Nnah, Chief George Osaro, Chief Adanta Obele and Mrs. Laleoka Ejii. The lead counsel to the respondents, Chief Lucius Nwosu (SAN), described Shell’s request as scandalous and an affront to the finality of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Abuja Metropolitan Lions Club to Build N45m Paediatric Cancer Centre
Gets new ofﬁcers
The newly installed President of Abuja Metropolitan Lions Club, Mr. Charlz Opusunju; and his team have unveiled plan to build a N45million Paediatric Cancer Centre in Abuja. This according to the new president, was predicated on the total absence of a Paediatric Cancer Centre at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital. According to him, the club will deliver a brand new and fully furnished Paediatrics Cancer Centre to the teaching hospital within a duration of six months. He made this disclosure last weekend in Abuja during the investiture ceremony of club officers for the 2020/2021 Lions year. He also revealed that the club whichjustrecently commissioned and donated a solar-powered borehole to the Tunga Maji, an Abuja suburb, is determined to continue touching the lives of the poor in the society. Since July this year, the club had donated and commissioned some projects including a solar borehole for the same Tunga Maji community. The solar borehole project built a cost of about N2million, was funded and supervised by members through direct labour. The club, according to Opusunju, is already raising funds to build the N45 million Paediatrics Cancer Centre inside the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital. “We visited the Teaching Hospital and discovered that there was no ward for paediatric cancer patients. Sadly, people hardly talk about paediatric cancer because it is always overshadowed by adult cancer. This is what propelled us to start creating awareness that there is also cancer among children. This is going to be our major
project, we know it is a huge task but we intend to accomplish it in the next six months and we urge Nigerians to key into it. We intend to build and possibly furnish depending on the amount we can raise,” he promised. On the hurdles before his new administration, he said: “We notice in humanitarian services that the less privileged suffer so much while the rich are not so interested in helping the poor but prefer flaunting their wealth. We hope to sensitise our people about this” Similarly, the immediate past president, Monique Welson in enumerating the various projects carried out by her team, said: “We actually did so much in terms of project execution. We touched lives at the FCT School for the Blind by providing some signages for people to easily locate the place. “We screened them to ascertain the level of their sight problem and we celebrated with them. To cap it all, we built and furnished a resource centre for the school because the students needed a library where they can keep their belongings. “We visited Government Secondary School in Nyanya, distributed sanitary pads to many of the girls desperately in need of them and also distributed customised notebooks, biros and other items the students genuinely needed but could not afford,” she noted. The investiture ceremony was attended by representatives of the governors of Ekiti and Sokoto states, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, respectively, who were honoured at the event.
L-R: Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; and CACOVID State representative, Mr. Amaechi Okobi, during the presentation of CACOVID food to the Lagos Government,
Kafaru Dismisses Estranged Wife’s Allegations Idowu Sowunmi A popular Lagos-based nightlife king, Temidayo Lucky Kafaru, has denied all the allegations levelled against him by his estranged wife, Diana Logico. Kafaru, in a five-page petition signed by his lawyer, Omo-Elo Akokaike, a Senior Associate at Regency Law Firm in Lagos, described Diana’s allegations as defamatory and sheer wickedness, which should be discarded. “We wish to state to all and sundry that the publications made Diana Faith Logico against Temidayo Lucky Kafaru are not only defamatory but sheer
wickedness and all right-minded Nigerians should discard the make-belief story which has brought public opprobrium against our client and treat the same as sheer blackmail and an abysmal campaign of calumny against our client. “These false stories will expectedly continue to flood the social media in order to damage our client’s reputation, blackmail and intimidate him. The lawyer accused the estranged wife of his client of flooding his client’s place of work using the Coordinator of Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) of Lagos State
and reporting these very false allegations to his boss. “The persistence of these unfounded actions by our client’s wife and mother has made our Client very fearful for his life and safety. “Therefore, we appeal to the general public and the law enforcement agents to come to the aid of TEMIDAYO KAFARU and protect him from the venomous fangs launched against our client,” the petitioner alleged. Diana, who got married to Kafaru on August 31, 2019 in a flamboyant society wedding, had recently accused her husband
of sexual violence. “I am calling on the Inspector General of Police to intervene in my case and not allow my life and that of my family to be wasted. He has refused to make himself available for investigation on allegations against him,” she alleged. Diana called on Lagos State Government, Inspector General of Police (IG), and other relevant authorities to investigate her husband for a number of offences. Diana’s legal counsel, Bamidele Ogundele, was also said to have reported the case to DSVRT at Alausa in Ikeja.
Truck Drivers Drag States to Court over Alleged Excessive Taxation Alex Enumah in Abuja Truck drivers in the country have dragged the government of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) before a Federal High Court in Abuja over what they described as ‘increasing excruciating taxes’ being levied on them by the governments. In the egal action, the drivers under the aegis of Heavy Duty and Haulage Transport Association of Nigeria is praying the court for an order compelling the Attorney General of the Federation and
those of the 36 states to stop the road blocks and collection of tax, levy or fee from heavy duty vehicles and haulage. In an originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1198/2020 and dated September 21, 2020, the drivers also joined the 774 local government areas in Nigeria through the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and the National Freight Haulers Association as defendants in the suit. The plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Mr. Abel Ozoko, are asking the court to determine
whether under the provisions of Sections 59, 62(a) and 63 of Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Sections 2 (2) and 3 of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List For Collection) Act, the states and local governments are prohibited from mounting road blocks for the purposes of tax collection. The truck drivers attached newspaper publications which decried the extortion and harassment of its members on the highways, and the
rising food crises as a result of difficulty faced by their members in conveying food to various parts of the country. They are seeking a declaration of the court that the defendants “are by the provisions of Sections 2 (2) and 3 of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act prohibited from mounting a road block in any part of Nigeria for the purpose of collecting any form of tax, levy or fee from heavy duty vehicles and haulage drivers.
FCTA Demolishes 2,400 Ruga Shanties on Airport Corridor Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has commenced the demolition of 2,400 shanties in Ruga settlement in Kukwuaba-Wuye District along the corridor of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. Over 1,000 shacks were removed during the exercise carried out yesterday under heavy security presence by the FCT Development and Control department. The Director of Development and Control department, Muktah Galadima, said the exercise was
to checkmate security challenges posed by the threat of Boko Haram as well as kidnapping, and bring orderliness and sanitation to the capital city. The Chairman, FCT Task Force on Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, said the Ruga was growing too fast and becoming notorious for rape and other crimes. According to him, “From my own assessment, what will eventually go here will be about 2,400 structures because even as at today (yesterday), the bulldozers were still working. It is really painful, but the displaced persons should
understand that the city centre is not for everybody; they should go to the suburbs.” The Chief Security Officer to the FCT Minister, Ahmed Rashid, said security assessment claimed that 90 per cent of the crimes perpetrated in Wuye and Kukwuaba districts were traced to the shanty settlement, stressing that it was resolved after due diligence from all the security agencies that if the Ruga was removed everybody within this area would be secured. He also stated that some months ago, some people from the shanty attacked and broke four
glass windows of a train on test running on the rail line. “It’s good for us (FCTA) to remove the shanties to make sure that the railway corridor is safe and the people in Wuye and Kukwuaba districts as well as the city are secure. ‘The director of Development Control Department has also set up a team to do a follow-up cleaning on a daily routine in conjunction with security agencies, so that this kind of illegal settlement will not come up again. This is the best approach for security control of a city like Abuja,” Rashid said.
Ë&#x153; ÍşÍťË&#x153; ÍşÍ¸ÍşÍ¸ Ëž T H I S D AY
WEDNESDAYSPORTS NPFL: Sunshine Stars Unveil Ogunbote for a Second Spell as Technical Adviser
Group Sports Editor Duro Ikhazuagbe Email email@example.com 0811 181 3083 SMS ONLY
Tasked with returning â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Akure Gunnersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to CAF competitions Duro Ikhazuagbe One of the most experienced coaches in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), Gbenga Ogunbote yesterday returned to Sunshine Stars FC for a second spell with the Akure Gunners. Ogunbote who has had stints at topflight clubs like Enyimba FC, Rangers International, Shooting Stars, Kwara United, Gateway United, Giwa FC, and Sharks FC, was unveiled yesterday as the new Technical Adviser of the NPFL team. Speaking at the event, Chairman of the Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA),
Gbenga Ogunboteâ&#x20AC;Śat his unveiling yesterday in Akure
managers of Sunshine Stars, Tajudeen Akinyemi, said the choice of Ogunbote was arrived at after considering his vast experience, managing several clubs in the domestic topflight. Because of the not to impressive level the Ondo State government owned club has descended in the past seasons, Ogunbote was tasked with reviving the team by returning the Akure Gunners to continental campaigns once more. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have been trying to get him for some seasons ago now, even before I was appointed (as Chairman of ODSFA). But luckily for us, we now have him here,â&#x20AC;? Akinyemi announced with glint in his face. According to Spokesman of Sunshine Stars FC, Chris Okunnuwa, Ogunbote thanked all those who prevailed on him to return to the team where he cut his teeth, assisting Coach Solomon Ogbeide before becoming substantive manager from the 2011/2012 NPFL season. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When we were here during my first spell, Sunshine Stars were ranked third best in Africa. But the reverse is the case now. We can make it back to the continent,â&#x20AC;? stressed the gaffer. He however insisted that the task of returning the Akure team to the summit was not his responsibility
Ladan Bosso Tipped to Return as Flying Eagles Coach Coach Ladan Bosso has been club Adamawa United. tipped as one of the gaffer listed to be reengaged by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in the shake up expected to be carried out in all the national teams. SCORENigeria reported yesterday that Bosso will return to his former post as coach of the Flying Eagles almost 13 years since he led the country to the 2007 U20 World Cup. Super Eagles stars Brown Ideye, Elderson Echeijile, Efe Ambrose and Ikechukwu Ezenwa featured at this U20 World Cup campaign in Canada in 2007. Bosso leads the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s coaches association and only recently agreed to handle NPFL
He previously handled Kano Pillars, Niger Tornadoes, Wikki Tourists, Gombe United, Abia Warriors, among other clubs. He will replace Paul Aigbogun, whose time in charge of the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s youth team was strewn with controversies and below-par showings. Aigbogun was the long-time favourite to keep his job, but SCORENigeria has now learnt that there was a lot of pressure to make sure he was not reappointed. Plateau United coach Abdu Maikaba, who assisted Aigbogun last year, was also in the running for the post.
Brentford Knock out West Brom from Carabao Cup Brentford fought back twice yesterday before beating Premier League West Brom 5-4 on penalties in the Carabao Cup. All four goals in normal time came in the second half, with Hal Robson-Kanu putting the hosts 1-0 and 2-1 in front from the spot. But Emiliano Marcondesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; superb overhead kick and a Marcus Forss spot-kick drew the Bees level to force the shootout. Christian Norgaard scored the winning penalty after Grady Dianganaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s effort had been saved. Brentford will host Premier League Fulham or Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round. Ties are due to take place in the
week commencing 28 September. Elsewhere, Manchester United progressed to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with 3-0 victory at Championship side Luton. Juan Mata opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half. United goalkeeper Dean Henderson produced an excellent save late on to deny Tom Lockyer, before substitute Marcus Rashford tucked in a second. Mason Greenwood, who also came off the bench late, added a third with a curled finish to wrap up the win. Victory means Manchester United will face either fellow Premier League side Brighton or Preston of the Championship in the next round.
alone. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All hands must be on deck. We (coaches) canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it alone. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The management must make funds available at all times, (and) it is the duty of coaches to ensure that they encourage the management to do more.
For it to end in praise, we must do our bit. â&#x20AC;&#x153;During the first period I was around, it would not have been a beautiful one if not for the support I was given. â&#x20AC;&#x153;God has used me to earn six tickets to play on the continent
across various clubs in the last eight years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The question we must ask is what we had done then that is not being done now. We must review all,â&#x20AC;? he observed. Ogunbote insisted that the easiest way to failure in
coaching business is trying to please everybody. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is not just about stepping on toes at times, you have to cut some to be successful,â&#x20AC;? the nononsense coach stressed with emphasis.
Juan Mata (right) taking the penalty that earned Manchester United their ďŹ rst goal in the 3-0 defeat of Luton Town in the Carabao Cupâ&#x20AC;Ś last night
SPIKE IN COVID-19
UK Calls off Return to Sport Events in October UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has confirmed plans for fans to return to watch live sport events in England from 1 October will not go ahead. The plans were placed under review after a rise in coronavirus cases. The UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Covid-19 alert level has moved to 4, meaning transmission is â&#x20AC;&#x153;high or rising exponentiallyâ&#x20AC;?. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have to acknowledge the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen large sporting events,â&#x20AC;? said the prime minister. In an address to the Commons on Tuesday, he announced new restrictions for the country and those included the halting of the phased return of fans. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We will not be able to do this from October 1 and I recognise the implications for our sports clubs, which are the life and soul of our communities,â&#x20AC;? he added. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The chancellor and the culture secretary are working urgently on what we can do
now to support them.â&#x20AC;? The prime minister also said current restrictions are likely to remain in place for the next six months. The pilot programme, which was to trial events of up to 1,000 spectators, has also been paused. Two Premiership Rugby matches - Bath v Gloucester on Tuesday night and Bristol v Leicester next week - will now be played behind closed doors, as will a race meeting at Newmarket later this week. The majority of sports in England have been played behind closed doors since the coronavirus lockdown in March, including Premier League football, the FA Cup final, Englandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Test cricket matches and two Formula 1 races at Silverstone. Sport events that took place with full crowds in March shortly before all fixtures were postponed and the UK locked down have come under scrutiny.
The impact of Liverpoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Champions League fixture with Atletico Madrid on the spread of coronavirus is being investigated by the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s council, while there have also been calls for an investigation into whether the Cheltenham Festival should have gone ahead. The government defended its decision to allow such events to proceed before restrictions on mass gatherings were introduced. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People look back now at the beginning of the pandemic at some of the major sporting events then and ask the question why were they allowed to go ahead,â&#x20AC;? said Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove on BBC Breakfast earlier on Tuesday. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What we must do is look at sporting events now with caution but we also recognise that sport is a vital part of this nation and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking at everything we can do to support our athletes, our great clubs, through what will
be a challenging time.â&#x20AC;? Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee, said â&#x20AC;&#x153;if we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t find a route map with smart solutions to allow sports and live events to gradually reopen, we risk decimation of our sporting and cultural infrastructureâ&#x20AC;?. The leaders of more than 100 sports bodies have written to the prime minister to ask for emergency funding, warning of â&#x20AC;&#x153;a lost generation of activityâ&#x20AC;? because of coronavirus. Sport England has handed out ÂŁ200m for emergency cases, but many in the sector believe more is needed. Earlier this month, Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters told BBC Sport it was â&#x20AC;&#x153;absolutely criticalâ&#x20AC;? fans were allowed back inside stadiums as soon as possible and failure to do so would cost clubs ÂŁ700m during the 2020-21 season.
Edo Sports Commission Congratulates Obaseki on His Re-Election The management and staff of the Edo State Sports Commission (ESSC) have felicitated with Governor Godwin Obaseki on his re-election as governor of the state. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Obaseki winner of last Saturdayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s governorship election with a margin of over
85,000 votes against his close rival and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. The ESSC in a congratulatory letter to the governor signed by itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Executive Chairman, Godwin Dudu-Orumen (Esq.), the Commission noted that Governor Obasekiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s re-election by the people of Edo State
was well deserved. Continuing DuduOrumen said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is with great excitement that I on behalf of the entire members of staff of the Edo State Sports Commission congratulate you on your re-election for a second term as governor at the recently concluded September 19th 2020 Governorship election. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Indeed it was a hard
fought election in which your enviable achievements in your first term propelled you to a well deserved victory. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We thank God for His mercy in granting you good health and protection during the period that made it possible for you to undertake the election project without hitches and emerged successful at the e n d â&#x20AC;? .
Wednesday September 23, 2020
& RE A SO
Obaseki to Oshiomhole
“I have no plans (to chase Oshiomhole out) but if he continues to behave the way he has done. If he continues to be destructive, if he continues to fund his lions and tigers in Edo State and if he tries to create problems for us here, then we will not have any mercy. So, it is totally up to him” – Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, warning his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, to behave himself or be dealt with in the state.
KAYODEKOMOLAFE THE HORIZON
0805 500 1974
Floods, Tears and Policy K
wara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq was in Aso Rock yesterday to seek federal government’s support in tackling the menace of floods in his state. According to AbdulRazaq, about 15, 000 persons have been internally displaced and 5,000 houses destroyed in the state, which has lost an estimate of between N5 billion and N10 billion to flood disasters. AbdulRazaq’s counterparts in other states had paid similar visits earlier in the year to Abuja. Some others may tread in the Kwara governor’s footsteps in the coming weeks. Doubtless, the rest of the year promises to be environmentally challenging for the country. Flood disasters have been reported in Kebbi, Akwa Ibom, Borno, Lagos, Ogun, Niger, Kano, Niger, Adamawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Yobe etc. In the last few weeks, President Muhammadu Buhari has been sending solidarity messages to some states affected by flood disasters with promises of federal aid. The organising logic of the governors’ visits should be seen in that light. The tragic stories of loss of lives, massive destruction of property, anguish and tears have become perennial. It’s worth stressing that as these disasters happen yearly, the poor are the most severely affected because of their material vulnerability. The names of the poor are certainly those you would find in the register of the displaced. About this time last year, due to a combination of heavy rainfall and rise in water levels of Rivers Niger and Benue, Kogi, Cross River, Taraba and Niger states experienced severe flooding. Between June and September that year, about 124 local government areas in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory were troubled by flash floods after torrential rains. No fewer than 130,000 persons were displaced while tens of casualties were reported in the hospitals. Yet, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, dutifully issued the yearly “flood outlook” in July last year that 74 local government areas in 30 states could be affected by floods. If the warning had been heeded, the impact of the disaster in some states could have been reduced in some areas. The national experience eight years ago was worse than that of last year as 32 of the 36 states were affected by flash floods leaving 360 persons dead and about two million persons displaced. The current flooding didn’t come without prior expert warning. Four months ago, the NIHSA alerted the nation that about 28 states were at the risk of flooding in varying degrees. The projection was that 102 of the 774 local government areas could be flooded with heavy rainfall and rise in the water level of rivers. As a matter of fact, flash floods have compounded existing ecological and socio-economic crises in different parts of Nigeria. From the creeks to the Sahel the ravages of flash foods are making the lives of the poor people more miserable. Governments at all levels are confronted with ecological challenges among other issues. For instance, in the northeast the vulnerable population of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) created by insecurity have been swollen by victims of flood disasters. Before the advent of this year’s flooding, fears were rife about imminent food insecurity as a consequence of the enormous disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria. The expert
Buhari prediction has been that of hunger looming on the horizon. To worsen the situation, farmlands have now been washed away in Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Benue etc. In the southeast, the devastation caused by massive erosion ought to be a prominent item on policy agenda. It’s unpardonable that politicians do not focus sufficiently on erosion as an existential danger to the geo-political zone in developmental terms. Some communities are cut from the landscape of their respective states. It could be extremely agonising watching on television villagers who are victims of erosion even appealing to “the federal government and the World Bank” to come to their rescue. Yes, World Bank! The victims have reached a conclusion that the solution to their problems is beyond the capacity of the state governments. In the south-south, in addition to the havoc wreaked by erosion in places such as Cross River, Edo and Akwa Ibom, for instance, the environment is
also degraded by the socially irresponsible extractive activities in the oil-bearing areas. Oil spillage due to vandalisation of pipelines have exacerbated the ecological crisis in the region. Now, to add to the woes heart-rending flooding of communities and farmlands have been reported in Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and other states. While the upland of the southwest also suffers from massive erosion, the coastal areas are very prominent on the list of flood-prone areas every year. It is a measure of the effectiveness of the institutions and policies in place for years that the problems of environment have assumed this scary magnitude. An institution established to manage ecological affairs should not be just another bureaucracy. If the capacities of the institutions are enhanced and a synergy of purpose subsists among the federal institutions and state governments, things would be better coordinated. In that wise, governors may not have to be rushing to Aso Rock every year asking the President to save communities from being washed away by flash floods. A workable system for ecological management should be put in place. This should be anchored on a clearly articulated policy. The system should be well funded. Globally, it is a well- known fact that it costs money to save the habitat. To be sure, funding the solutions to ecological problems was envisaged long time ago when 3% of the federal account was categorised as the Ecological Fund. The fund is strictly meant for ecological projects. If the vision embodied in the great idea of an ecological fund had been fulfilled, governors would not have to rush to Abuja seasonally on save-our-soul missions, requesting the President to rescue their respective states from flash floods. In 2018, the Senate raised an alarm that about N500billion of ecological funds were diverted by state governments in 15 years. The National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly should constitutionally and honestly perform their oversight
functions to ensure that the fund is devoted exclusively to the purpose stated in the law establishing it. The problem is not only with the government. The consciousness about environmental issues is relatively low amongst the elite and masses alike. Climate change is still perceived even among some public intellectuals as an abstract topic. Some would even describe it as a “dry topic” for discussion. Ecological issues are scarcely approached as central questions of development. It is always a painful reminder of the limited conception of development in the discussions that dominate the public sphere. The campaigns against ecologically destructive policies of government and methods of business are not popular in this clime. It’s as if Nigeria is not part of the global debate on environment or that the country is immune to the consequences of ecological mismanagement. Nigeria should drop the environmental mentality that the nation is always at the mercy of the elements. Yes, flood is a natural disaster. But the failure of environment policy is a human error. That’s not natural. Lack of preparedness is a man-made disaster. Flood disasters can be scientifically explained. Researches are being conducted on the problem in Nigerian institutions despite the limited facilities. . If an area is defined as “flood prone,” it’s simply irrational (if not criminal) to ignore the warnings until disasters happen. . Governments must take drastic and responsible steps to avoid disasters. The people should also be reasonable enough to respond to official warnings. If the hurricane-prone communities in other parts of the world are careless about the natural disaster as things are done in Nigeria, some coastal communities could have been long wiped out of the face of the earth. It’s time governments at all levels adopted a full-scale application of science as a matter of policy in solving the ecological problem of erosion.
Illegal Powers of AGF and Govs to Detain
To legitimize the colonial legacy the Administration of Criminal Justice Laws of all states in Nigeria have empowered State Governors to detain people at their pleasure. Curiously, hell was let loose last week when Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State signed into law the Administration of Criminal Justice Bill which had been passed by the Imo State House. Instead of the diversionary fixation on the Imo State Law it is time the constitutionality of keeping citizens in custody at the pleasure of the AGF and State Governors was examined. Section 484 of the Imo State Administration of Criminal Justice Law provides that: “Where any person is ordered to be detained during the Governor’s pleasure he shall notwithstanding anything in this Law or in any other written law contained be liable to be detained in such place and under such conditions as the Governor may direct and whilst so detained shall be deemed to be in legal custody” while section 485 thereof states that “A person detained during the Governor’s pleasure may at any time be discharged by the Governor on license. “The license under the section may at any time be revoked or varied by the Governor and where license has been revoked the person to whom the license relates shall proceed to such place as the Governor may direct and if he fails
to do so, may be arrested without warrant and taken to such place.” In supporting the controversial sections of the Imo State Administration of Criminal Justice Law some lawyers have placed premium on the case of Guabadia v. The State (2004) ALL FWLR (Pt. 205) 191 SC, (2004) 2 SCNJ 55 where the death sentence passed on the appellant was set aside and, in its place, the appellant was ordered to be detained at the pleasure of the Governor of Edo State. With respect, the case is totally irrelevant as the constitutional validity of section 208 of the repealed Criminal Procedure Law of Edo State was not considered by the Supreme Court. In fact, when the constitutionality of a similar provision was raised in the case of Sunday Modupe v The State (1988) All N.L.R.371 the apex court said that it could not be considered as it had not arisen from the issues for determination formulated by the parties in the appeal. Other lawyers have made a strong case for the retention of the provision of the law on the grounds that the order is always made by courts to detain convicted children and persons who are non compos mentis. It is submitted, without any fear of contradiction, that the provisions of all laws that empower citizens to be detained at the pleasure of the Federal Attorney-General and State Governors cannot be justified under section 35 of the Constitution of Nigeria and
article 6 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights Act which have guaranteed the personal liberty of every person in Nigeria. No doubt, the human right to personal liberty is not absolute. But no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in strict compliance with a procedure permitted by law. It is submitted that no violation of fundamental rights to personal liberty and fair hearing can be worse that the treatment that is meted out to a convict who is detained indefinitely at the pleasure of the AGF. In other words, neither the Constitution nor the Criminal Code could have contemplated a situation whereby a trial court that has tried and convicted a defendant will turn round to make an order to the effect that the convict be detained by the AGF who had successfully prosecuted him! By directing a convicted person to be detained indefinitely in a safe custody on the orders of the AGF a trial court has abdicated its judicial functions to the executive organ of the Government. More so that it is only the AGF who may at any time revoke or vary the licence. All laws that provide for the preventive detention and post-conviction detention of citizens are inconsistent with section 35 of the Constitution and are illegal, null and void by virtue of section 1(3) of the Constitution. *The full text of this piece is available on www. thisdaylive.com
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