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Minister denies alleged move to disburse funds from excess crude account

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he minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has said that more funding will be given to the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, from the country’s oil windfall savings. She was speaking on the sidelines of the IMF’s spring meetings in Washington DC. The excess crude account contains monies from Nigeria’s oil windfall savings. One billion dollars seed capital

from the account was used to start the Nigeria Sovereign Investment authority in two thousand and eleven. The agency has been involved in managing and investing these funds for the country. Nigeria’s finance minister now says government intends to improve on the investment authority’s funding. The International Monetary Fund at its spring meeting in Washington DC clarified

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

its poor rat-ing of Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund as targeted at the management of the excess crude account and not the investment authority. Nigeria has been involved in several conversations at the spring meetings targeted at its economic benefit. Nigeria has also sought investment interests into its economy from international investors at the meetings. At the corporate council

Vol. 06 No. 324

on Africa roundtable, for example, where a presentation on Nigeria’s eco-nomic outlook for 2019 was presented, investors were brought up to speed on the country’s reforms in several sectors which promise good returns on investment. The amount in Excess Crude Account was significantly reduced last year after government made heavy withdrawal in just a month. In

November 2018, the Excess Crude Account had $2.3 billion but closed the year with total sum of $631 million. It may be recalled Nigeria’s Acting Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said in December 2018 that debits from the excess crude account were authorized. She said they were expended for security purposes as directed by the National Economic Council.

N200

ISSN: 2408-6703

No plan to remove fuel subsidy now — FG NLC cautions against IMF’s advice

BY NIYI JACOBS mid the raging controversy over fuel subsidy removal, the Federal Government has again clar-

A

ified its stance on the issue, saying it had no plan to do so in the immediate future. The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said this

yesterday at the briefing by the Nigerian delegation on the outcome of their meetings

with investors and institutions at the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington DC.

Ahmed spoke in reaction to IMF’s advice to federal government to remove fuel subsidy, which might have led to panic buying in the country. “There is no imminent plan to remove subsidy. IMF said that fuel subsidy is better removed so that we can use the resources for other im-

portant sectors. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has cautioned the Federal Government against im-plementing the recommendation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the removal of subsidy on petro-leum products in the country. NLC President, Ayuba

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SMEDAN trains 170 youths, women on entrepreneurship

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FRC expresses satisfaction with Lagos-Ibadan rail project Page 25 Lagos State Governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (middle); flanked by the former Military Administrator, Lagos State, Brig-Gen Mohammed Buba Marwa (right) and former Director General, NDLEA, Otunba Lanre Ipinmisho, during a courtesy visit on Sanwo-Olu, by the former, at his Ikoyi resident

No court stopped us from working, says Page 28 NBBF boss

How NCC engages stakeholders on dangers of pre-registered SIM cards

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o reduce and possibly eliminate the various security challenges occasioned by cases of fraudulently-activated Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards in the country, the Nigerian Communications

Commission (NCC) has been exploring different regulatory interventions and striking collaborations with necessary agencies and stakeholders. In order to ensure security and protect consumers of telecoms services, the

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has continued to robustly engage various stakeholders in the country towards curbing the dangers posed by cases of pre-registered and improperlyregistered Subscriber Identity

Module (SIM) cards being use to commit crimes in the country. A pre-registered SIM card is a fraudulently-activated or improperly-registered SIM card, whose registration runs foul of the regulatory

requirements as stipulated by the Commission. Users of such SIM cards do so either out of ignorance or as a deliberate intent to commit crimes. While the Commission has developed the Telephone Subscribers Registration

Guidelines 2011 and a stringent SIM Replacement Procedures to protect telecoms consumers, the sale, purchase and use of pre-registered SIM cards are still being witnessed in some corridors across the

How accessible is National Health Insurance Scheme?

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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

ECONOMY

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

How NCC engages stakeholders on dangers of pre-registered SIM cards

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o reduce and possibly eliminate the various security challenges occasioned by cases of fraudulently-activated Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been exploring different regulatory interventions and striking collaborations with necessary agencies and stakeholders. In order to ensure security and protect consumers of telecoms services, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has continued to robustly engage various stakeholders in the country towards curbing the dangers posed by cases of pre-registered and improperly-registered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards being use to commit crimes in the country. A pre-registered SIM card is a fraudulently-activated or improperlyregistered SIM card, whose registration runs foul of the regulatory requirements as stipulated by the Commission. Users of such SIM cards do so either out of ignorance or as a deliberate intent to commit crimes. While the Commission has developed the Telephone Subscribers Registration Guidelines 2011 and a stringent SIM Replacement Procedures to protect telecoms consumers, the sale, purchase and use of pre-registered SIM cards are still being witnessed in some corridors across the country. Therefore, the Commission’s move to curb the ugly trend, which constitutes grave dangers to individuals and a potential threat to national security of the country, has necessitated the continuous stakeholder engagements in the industry and collaborations with other agencies of government. Collaboration with agencies, stakeholders Apart from constant enforcement activities carried out by the Commission’s Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement (CME) team, which has resulted in securing convictions against more than 200 individuals arrested for indulging in sales of pre-registered SIM cards, NCC has, so far, partnered a number of government agencies/ organisations with a view to ridding the economy of this scourge. Such government agencies include the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the judiciary, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), telecom consumers, among others. This is in addition to ongoing consumer awareness programmes across the six geo-political zones of the country to sensitise the consumers on dangers of patronising pre-registered SIM cards. According to the Commission, due to fraudulently-activated SIM cards, many genuine subscribers have become victims of armed robbery, kidnappings and financial crimes or SIM swap fraud, requiring concerted efforts to address the menace. To date, the Commission has had several meetings and sensitisation workshops with different stakeholder groups across the

often frown at being asked to bring court affidavit, national identification card (or other valid IDs), SIM pack, among other requirements, Danbatta explained that the likelihood by subscribers to think that network providers are putting them through stress to have their SIM replaced is also possible. “But what telecoms consumers should know is that they must appreciate the fact that information being required from them is to establish that anybody coming for SIM swap proves that the number requested to be swapped belongs to him/her. In this case, we enjoin consumers to immediately report to their respective banks to block their accounts or place a notice ‘no withdrawal’ on such account linked to the stoen, damaged or lost SIM cards,” Danbatta advised. Meanwhile, industry observers agree that the issues concerning subscriber registration or reregistration are central to national security and thereby requires severe regulatory framework to keep it under firm control as well as ensuring a high level of compliance, which is a routine exercise by the CME team of the Commission. Buttressing the Commission’s initiative, the President, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Olusola Teniola, has said at a forum that the stringent measures adopted by the NCC should be appreciated by the consumers against backdrop of the danger posed by a loose or casual SIM card registration and re-registration process raising all sorts of concerns in the country.

Danbatta

industry at different points in time. Flowing from these consultations and the extensive activities of the NCC, the Commission has issued several directions to the MNOs and imposed various sanctions on them at different times. For instance, following several reports on the preponderance of preregistered and improperly-registered SIM cards in the market and several challenges raised by the security agencies on difficulties in tracking criminals using improperly-registered SIM cards, the Commission met with all relevant stakeholders in 2017 to set up an inter-agency Task Force to

address the menace. In September 2018, the Commission coordinated a meeting to bring MNOs and the NSCDC together to help drive enforcement against agents involved in the release of fully-activated SIM cards from the MNOs side. This engagement and others have produced key resolutions all aimed at sanitising the industry of pre-registered SIM cards. Stringent SIM Replacement procedures As a proactive measure, the Commission had, at as 2017, came up with a SIM replacement guideline which makes the process of replacing

Unfortunately, by the time the subscriber discovered what is happening, money would have been fraudulently taken out of his or her bank account. SIM swap or replacement has a lot of issues attached to it because, often times, a lot of people who are not theowners of some numbers do SIM swap at various customer centres of the service providers.

lost, stolen or damaged SIM cards more stringent in order to protect telecommunications consumers. While speaking recently on reason for such stringent conditions, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said before replacing a SIM card, consumers are required to identify themselves properly through court affidavit, national identification card (or other valid IDs), SIM pack, among other requirements, saying this is to ensure that telecom subscribers are well protected from being victims of SIM swap fraud. According to him, at times, a subscriber might be having issues with his or her phone number, thinking that it is a network issue. “Unfortunately, by the time the subscriber discovered what is happening, money would have been fraudulently taken out of his or her bank account. SIM swap or replacement has a lot of issues attached to it because, often times, a lot of people who are not theowners of some numbers do SIM swap at various customer centres of the service providers.” Danbatta said there have been cases of fraudulent activities done on people’s bank accounts as a result of SIM swap and the victims often complain to the Commission, expecting that NCC will compensate them. “To stop this SIM swap fraud, the Commission, in 2017, developed guidelines on SIM replacement, which sets water-tight rules for telecoms consumers to replace their SIM card when there is a need for it.” While noting that the regulatory body has observed that consumers

Dealing with SIM Swap fraud It is instructive that one of the fallouts of fraudulently-activated SIM cards is the SIM fraud. SIM fraud, which is also aided by the use of some software technology, to commit crimes have made many unsuspecting bank customers to lose their hard-earned money to SIM fraudsters. SIM fraud is fueled by indulgence of criminally-minded individuals who engage in illegal SIM swap. Today, the SIM Swap fraud trend becomes more prevalent because their mobile numbers are directly linked to their bank accounts. It is trite today that through their SIM cards inserted into their mobile devices and even through online platforms, apps installed on their phones and the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code, consumers can carry out financial transitions without having to physically visit their bank branches. In its usual proactive and consultative approach to handling industry issues, therefore, the Commission, in January this year, held a stakeholder forum on financial fraud using telecoms platforms in Abuja. The event, which featured participants from CBN, MNOs, the banks, law enforcement agencies and the consumer groups, was aimed at furthering inclusive discourse on how to proffer solutions to the issue of preregistered and improperly-registered SIM cards being used to defraud bank customers. Speaking at the financial fraud forum, Danbatta said that despite Continues on page 12


BUSINESSNEWS 6 WESTAFRICA MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

FINANCIALS

FBNH proposes N0.26 dividend over 31.4% PAT rise to N60bn BY BONNY AMADI

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BNHoldings Plc much awaited audited financial statement for financial year ended December 31, 2018, was finally released weekend, with dividend proposal of N0.26 per share, reflecting 4 per cent rise in dividend payment of N0.25 paid in 2018 financial year. However, following release of the company’s result and the dividend proposal, market sentiment greeted the statements which saw the company leading the decliners chart for the day, Friday April 12, 2019. April 11th 2019 closed trade at N7.80 having pulled turnover of 17,737,711 million shares, dropped N0.3 or 3.85 per cent of its share value on Friday April 12, to close at N7.50, with turnover of 25,078,521million shares. The company led the top five decliners, NEM, Ikejahotel, Mansard and ABCTRANS, to close the last trading day of the week low. Meanwhile, FBNH audited financial result released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) weekend, showed remarkable performances in key measuring indices, as Profit before tax soared by 19.7 per cent, to N65.3 billion, against N54.5 billion posted in 2017 financial year. Profit after tax (PAT) buoyed by 31.4 per cent to close the 2018 financial year at N59.7 billion, from N45.5 billion recorded in the prior year. However, gross revenue declined by 2.0 per cent to N583.5 million, from N595.4 million posted in 2017 financial year, while Earnings per Share (EPS) rose by 43.5 per cent to N1.65, compared to N1.15 posted in 2017 financial year. The company’s statement of financial position, for the 2018 financial year, reflects 6.3 per cent in total assets which closed at N5, 568.3trillion, against N5, 236.5 trillion in 2017 financial year. However, liabilities during the period, rose by 10.4 per cent to N5, 037.7 trillion, against N4, 562.8 trillion in the corresponding period of 2017, while total equity closed the period at 21.2 per cent decline to N530.6 billion, from N673.7 billion in 2017 financial year. Following release of the Holding company’s result, the company followed up with announcement on that its Annual General Meeting (AGM) will hold on Friday May 03, 2019 by 10.am in Lagos. The statement signed by the company’s secretary, Seye Kosoko, notified shareholders that, in accordance with Section 89 of Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), the Register of members and transfer books of the Company will be closed from April 2329, 2019 (both dates inclusive) to enable the Registrars update records in preparation for the payment of Dividend.

…As gross revenue drops by 2%

UK Eke, MFR

It further added that, if the proposed N0.26 dividend per share recommended by the Directors is approved by members at the AGM, the Dividend will be payable on Monday, May 6, 2019 to members whose names appear in the Register of Members at the close of business on April 22, 2019. FBNH further assured that shareholders who have completed the e-Dividend Mandate forms will receive a direct credit of the Dividend into their bank accounts. The company secretary, in the press release, further urged the , shareholders to update their records and advise First Registrars & Investor Services Limited of their updated records and relevant bank accounts for payment of their Dividends. “Detachable forms in respect of mandate for e-Dividend payment, and shareholder data update are attached to the Annual Report for convenience. The forms can also be down loaded from the Company’s website. The duly completed form should be delivered to First Registrars & Investor Services Limited,” FBNH advised. Meanwhile, FBNH is made up of subsidiaries, which include. First Bank Limited, a 100 per cent owned subsidiary by the group with N205, 557 billion paid up capital, FBN Merchant bank Limited owned 100 per cent with N8, 206 billion paid up capital as well as FBN Capital Limited which is also owned 100 per cent by the group with paid up

capital of N300 million in 2018, form N4,300 billion in 2017. The FBN Insurance Limited subsidiary of the group is owned 65 per cent with N4,724 billion paid up capital as at the close of the 2018 financial year, while FBN Insurance Brokers Limited is also owned 100 per cent with N25 billion shares holding. Rainbow Town Development Limited, subsidiary of FBNH is

owned 55 per cent with N5,000 billion paid up capital, Aggregated Capital of Sub companies of FBNH as at the close of 2018 financial year stood at N227,812 billion, same in 2017. FBN Holdings Plc.’s Paid-up Capital closed the year at N251,340 billion, same as in 2017. However, excess of FBN Holdings’ capital over aggregated capital of subcos in 2018 stood at N23, 528 billion, as recorded in 2017

Detachable forms in respect of mandate for e-Dividend payment, and shareholder data update are attached to the Annual Report for convenience. The forms can also be down loaded from the Company’s website. The duly completed form should be delivered to First Registrars & Investor Services Limited

financial year. The FBNH’s 2018 audited financial statement further revealed in the group’s operating expenses profile, that regulatory cost, maintenance, out sourced cost and other operating cost, commanded highest volumes during the year under consideration, against what was recorded in 2017 financial year. For instance, regulatory cost rose to N35,103 billion in 2018, form N33,801 billion in 2017, Maintenance also grew to N 23,134 billion, against N21,776 billion in 2017 financial year. Outsourced cost increased to N18,871 billion from N16,529 billion in 2017, while Other operating expenses rose to N10,299 billion, against N6,334 billion in the preceding year. The result further showed that there was a significant rise in auditors fees, but sharp decline in directors emoluments, while Auditors remuneration increased to N910 million from N856 million in 2017, Directors emoluments dropped to N4,077 billion in 2018, from N5,081 billion in 2017, while Insurance premium closed 2018 financial year higher at N1, 688 billion, from N1,164 billion in 2017 financial year. For the same period, rents and rates rose to N5,260 billion, from N4,522 billion in the prior year, Advert and corporate promotions cost during the period increased to N7,770 billion from N6,431 billion in the previous year. The report further disclosed that Legal and other professional fees rose to N8,921 billion from N7,015 billion in 2017.Donations & subscriptions during the period dropped to N831 million , from N1,261 billion in the prior year. Total operating cost in 2018 rose to N147, 976 billion, while in 2017, it stood at N134,799 billion. Westafrica BusinessNews recalls that Chairman of FBN Holdings, Dr Oba Otudeko had earlier in 2018, during the group’s AGM, assured that the holding company would in 2018, consolidate on the progress made in the previous year to deliver a strong and sustainable performance that enhances returns to shareholders. This was as the FBNH’s Group managing Director, Urum Kalu Eke further promised shareholders that the company would intensify efforts to recover all non-performing loans (NPL), which have affected the performance of the firm in the past years. Eke assured shareholders that necessary strategies were being put in place to recover none performing loans. “Loan recovery has been a core focus of the leadership team of the bank” he said, adding that there is a special committee set up to address it, just as an asset management unit had been created for the purpose.


FINANCIALS

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

Mobile banking: Competition between banks and telcos begins

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he Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) release of guidelines on the operations of Payment Service Banks (PSB) last November and the subsequent announcement by Nigeria’s biggest telecommunications company, MTN, that it would apply for a PSB license, thereby enabling it launch mobile banking in the country by the second quarter of this year, clearly sent shivers down spines in the banking industry. Indeed, findings by WestAfrica BusinessNews at the time shows that lenders were so disturbed by the development that they regularly held strategy sessions on how to deal with it. As a senior industry player, who did not want to be named, put it: “With a PSB licence, MTN’s subscriber base of over 50 million clearly gives it an edge over banks. In fact, most of the major telcos can easily provide most of the services being offered by banks. This means that retail banking will even become more difficult for most lenders. “Compared with banks, the telcos have a bigger budget and better technical know-how to drive mobile banking. So, banks are going to face more issues when these firms start introducing new financial products,” the top banker said. Perhaps, the lenders were right to be worried. Reason being that in January last year, the Chief Executive Officer, MTN Group, Rob Shuter, had revealed plans to make MTN Africa’s biggest bank. He said: “The core digital service that we have decided to put our money on is mobile money. Mobile money is really about leveraging the strength of the brand and leveraging the strength of the distribution because we have built a huge informal distribution network for prepaid airtime to bring customers into a transactional banking system.” However, apart from the unease over the keen competition that lenders were expecting from telcos, New Telegraph also gathered that bankers were concerned about CBN’s capacity to regulate telcos, when they obtain mobile banking licence. According to a banker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, if CBN goes ahead to permit many telcos to operate as PSBs as is being speculated, the industry may go back to the era prior to the 2004/2005 consolidation when the country had many small and fragile banks. But it seems the banks’ strategy sessions on how to handle the telcos’ looming challenge yielded dividends because, there is now a feeling of optimism in banking circles regarding the issue. For instance, the Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, was reported by Bloomberg last month as saying that the Tier 1 lender was intensifying its digital-banking roll-out, with more than 10,000 agents out of the 500,000 agents, which the CBN has said are needed to cover the unbanked in the country. Also speaking in a recent interview with a national daily, the First Bank CEO was quoted as saying that “agency banking is one of the most successful initiatives we have introduced over the last 12- 18

Deposit money banks (DMBs) are struggling to overcome the jitters triggered by reported plans of leading telecommunications companies (telcos) to apply for Payment Service Bank (PSB) licences, thus enabling them participate actively in Nigeria’s mobile banking space, writes NIYI JACOBS

Enefiele

months. Indeed, over the last year, we now have close to 12,000 agents across the entire network. Our agents are present in all local government in Nigeria except for one or two local governments. “And what means is that when you layer that over 700 operating branches and we also have the largest distribution and network of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) of about close to 3000. So that makes FirstBank a bank with the largest distribution network as far as financial services is concerned and that is quite significant.” He pointed out that the lender’s agency banking strategy is targeted at the unbanked, noting that First Bank had leveraged on its star productUSSD banking- to significantly

grow its customer base to above 6.2 million. According to him, “the reason why we have been quite successful with that is that you don’t need to have an expensive phone to be able to transact. Once you have a basic phone and you are able to send an SMS then that automatically becomes a tool to which you can transact. So a combination of growing our agent network and our very solid and rapidly growing USSD banking for us remains the winning formula in ensuring we have more people at the bottom base of the pyramid.” Westafrica BusinessNews findings also indicate that the growing optimism among bankers stems from widespread expectation that the entity to be produced in the merger

The banks are right to be worried. This is because the telecom companies have the capacity to com-pete with them. But I’m not interested in the competition between the banks and the telcos; service is prime. If the coming of PSBs will ensure that most Nigerians are financially included, then that is good for the country.

between Access Bank and Diamond will, like First Bank, have the capacity to compete effectively with the telcos in the mobile banking space. CEO of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, had said “the combination of our two businesses will create the largest retail bank in Africa by customer base and a very significant player in the Nigerian market. This is a huge step towards the delivery of our goal to bring the power of banking to millions of people across Nigeria and an exciting transaction for Access Bank and Diamond Bank’s customers, staff and shareholders. “Access Bank and Diamond Bank have complementary operating platforms and similar values, and a merger with Diamond Bank, with its leadership in digital and mobileled retail banking, will accelerate our ambition to become a leading corporate and retail bank in Nigeria and a Pan-African financial services champion. We look forward to bringing our discussions to a successful conclusion and delivering the benefits of the merger to our staff, customers, shareholders and other stakeholders.” Analysts’ stance Interestingly, a financial analyst, Mr. Wilson Omorogbe, backed the banks’ capacity to hold their own against telcos. He said: “With agency banking, virtually all the big banks now have agents in almost every part of the country apart from areas where there are security challenges. They (banks) can open accounts using digital financial services. In addition, the clear advantage banks will have over telcos is that they can lend, while the CBN guidelines restrict lending by

PSBs.” However, a senior banker, who did want to be named, said: “It is true that CBN’s guidelines prohibit PSBs from granting any form of loans, advances and guarantees, but who says telcos cannot find a way of offering this type of service without breaching CBN regulations.” Similarly, the Managing Director/ CEO Bic Consultancy Services, Dr. Boniface Chizea, noted that telecom companies have massive reach going by the level and spread of subscriptions. He said: “Banks ought to be concerned. It could mean that the commissions earned by banks from massive transfers might be threatened and such a development could undermine profitability.” Equally, the President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN), who is also a former Registrar and Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Dr. Uju Ogubunka, said: “The banks are right to be worried. This is because the telecom companies have the capacity to compete with them. But I’m not interested in the competition between the banks and the telcos; service is prime. If the coming of PSBs will ensure that most Nigerians are financially included, then that is good for the country.” He, however, stated that “beyond financial inclusion is financial literacy. If we have financial inclusion without financial literacy, there could be trouble. There are so many things that people who have access to financial services are ignorant of. So every effort has to be made to ensure that financial literacy campaigns are taken to all parts of the country.” It will be recalled that in releasing the guidelines on PSBs, the CBN emphasised that the move was primarily aimed at ensuring that the country attains its 20 per cent financial exclusion target by 2020. The regulator stated that PSBs are expected to leverage on mobile and digital services to boost access to financial services for low income earners and the unbanked segments of the population particularly in the rural areas. Under the guidelines, PSBs are permitted to carry out activities such as operation of savings accounts and acceptance of deposits from individuals and small businesses; o payments and remittance (including inbound cross-border personal remittances) services through various channels within Nigeria; issue debit and pre-paid cards as well as operate electronic purse and invest in Federal Government of Nigeria and CBN securities. The guidelines, however, bar PSBs from granting any form of loans, advances and guarantees or trade in the foreign exchange market. Also, PSBs are required to have N5 billion minimum capital.


STOCKS

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

Negative outlook opens equity market over N21bn wtd loss BONNY AMADI

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rading on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) commended the third week in April on negative outlook as policy uncertainty continue to impact negatively on market sentiments. Bearish sentiment held sway during the week ended Friday April 12, 2019, as investors’ losses closed the week at N21 billion during the week which saw week of mixed performances. Equities market which opened the week at N11,124,136 trillion, closed Friday April 12,at N11,103 ,137 trillion, reflecting to loss by N21 billion loss during the five days trading carried out during the week. Nigeria’s equities market began the week on bleeding note, before paring earlier losses as the week progressed, following compelling valuations which had presented exceptional opportunity. Notably, the benchmark index during the week shed 0.2 per cent w/w. Thus, the MtD and YtD losses increased to 4.8 per cent and 5.9 per cent. On sectoral breakdown, all sector indices, save for the Oil & Gas index which gained 0.34 per cent index, closed negative, with the Insurance index with -3.08 per cent leading the pack, followed by Industrial Goods -0.69 per cent, Consumer Goods -0.42 per cent, and Banking -0.26 per cent indices, respectively. The week saw two early days of bearish trades and three later days of bullish trading on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Friday, April 12, the last trading day of the week, ended bullish, as the Nigerian equities market closed in green, gaining 0.73 per cent. However, WTD, the market closed down by 0.17 per cent. Market breadth index was largely positive on Friday with 28 gainers against 7 losers. MEYER with 9.26 per cent gain, led the gainers’ chart while IKEJAHOTEL with -9.73 per cent was the top loser on Friday. SOVRENINS was the most actively traded stock with about 47million units of shares worth N11million. Sector Performance, showed that NSE Banking Index on Friday gained 0.97 per cent, majorly driven by UNITYBNK with +8.22 per cent, ACCESS +3.48 per cent, GUARANTY +2.34 per cent, WEMABANK +1.43 per cent and UBA by 0.78 per cent growth. NSE Industrial Index: Closed up by 0.77%, following the gain in DANGCEM (+1.61%). NSE Oil & Gas Index

Onyeama

advanced by 0.64 per cent, on the back of the buy interests in MOBIL which gained 4.04 per cent, ETERNA +2.50 per cent and OANDO +1.03 per cent. NSE Consumer Goods Index rose by 0.61 per cent, largely due to the improvements in DANGFLOUR by +5.00 per cent, HONYFLOUR by +3.48 per cent, UNILEVER +2.94 per cent, FLOURMILL +1.51 per cent and DANGSUGAR +1.11 per cent. Meanwhile, the Nigerian equities market extended its gains from Wednesday to Thursday closing the fourth trading session of the week in green with 0.53% per cent appreciation. Similarly, market breadth index was positive with 15 gainers against 7 losers. Thursday’s performance was driven by the gains in NEM by 10.00 per cent, NIGERINS by 10.00 per cent, FIDELITYBK by +8.70 per cent, UCAP by +6.54 per cent, FBNH by +6.12 per cent and VERITASKAP which grew by 5.00 per cent. The gains, offset the losses across sectors, in IKEJAHOTEL by -9.76 per cent, ABCTRANS by -8.33 per cent, ETERNA by -8.05 per cent, CHAMS by -7.14 per cent and FLOURMILL that depreciated by -2.35 per cent. Sector performances were relatively positive with banking index growing by 1.19 per cent and the best performing sector, followed by Industrial index by +0.82 per cent. However, Consumer Goods index declined

0.06 per cent and closed negative, while the NSE Oil and Gas index closed flat. In terms of activity levels, total volume and value traded on Thursday, decreased by 53 per cent and 30 per cent compared to Wednesday, as investors exchanged 224million units of shares worth N2.01billion. ZENITHBANK which declined by 0.73 per cent, was the most actively traded stock on Thursday with about 45million units of shares worth N928million. Meanwhile, on Wednesday April 10, the Nigerian equities market closed the third trading session of the week in the green, gaining 0.15 per cent. Equally, market breadth index was positive with 24 gainers against 18 losers. Midweek’s bullish transaction was driven by the gains across sectors, in LIVESTOCK by +10.00 per cent, CUSTODIAN by 9.84 per cent, LEARNAFRCA added 8.96 per cent while TRANSEXPR also grew by 8.70 per cent. Others stocks that drove the bullish trend are, NPFMCRFBK that grew by 8.09 per cent, and LAWUNION which appre-ciated by 5.88 per cent. The cumulative gains offset losses across sectors as well, in CUTIX by -10.00 per cent, GLAX-OSMITH by -10.00 per cent, PZ by -9.69 per cent, IKEJAHOTEL by -9.29 per cent and ROYALEX by -6.90 per cent. Midweek sector performances were mixed, with the NSE

Banking index growing by 0.62 per cent and emerging the best performing sector, followed by Oil & Gas index tat appreciated 0.26 per cent. However, Industrial index declined 1.25 per cent, and Consumer Goods index closing lower by 0.44 per cent. In terms of activity levels, total volume transacted on Wednesday increased by 29 per cent while total value decreased by 6 per cent respectively compared to Tuesday’s dada, as investors exchanged 481million units of shares worth N2.87billion. TRANSCORP with 3.57 per cent growth, emerged the most actively traded stock midweek, with about 174million units of shares worth N200million transacted by investors. Tuesday, the second trading session of the week sustained the bearish trend which opened the week on Monday, as the Nigerian equities market on a negative note as the benchmark index declined slightly by 0.04 per cent to 29,162.24 points, driven by sell-off all sectors. Thus, the Month-to-Date and the Year-to-Date losses increased to 6.09 per cent and 7.26 per cent respectively. On sectoral performance Tuesday, all sector indices closed in red. The NSE Insurance emerged highest sectoral loser with 1.76 per cent, followed by NSE Banking index with -0.48 per cent, Oil & Gas index by -0.39 per cent, Consumer Goods index

by -0.17 per cent, and Industrial Goods by -0.13 per cent, all closed negative. Notable loser stocks include NEM which lost 9.87 per cent, ETI by -6.67 per cent, OANDO by -3.00 per cent, DANGSUGAR by -2.18 per cent and DANGCEM by -0.27 per cent, respectively. Market breadth was negative on Tuesday with 15 losers and 12 gainers, led by NEM which lost 9.87 per cent, leading decliners chart , and GUARANTY which appreciated by 7.77 per cent, leading advancers chart respectively. Total vol-ume of trades decreased by 17.95 per cent to 374.03 million units, valued at NGN3.06 billion exchanged in 3,634.00 deals. Monday April 08, 2019, the Nigerian equities market closed the first trading session of the week in the red, losing 1.53 per cent. Market breadth index on Monday was broadly negative with 30 losers against 13 gainers. The first trading day of last week’s bearish performance was driven by the losses in FIDSON by 10.00 per cent, TRIP-PLEG -9.09 per cent, NPFMCRFBK -8.72 per cent, CHIPLC -7.41 per cent, MCNICHOLS -7.35 per cent and UBN by -7.14 per cent, which offset the gains across sectors as well. Gains in MBENEFIT by +10.00 per cent, NEIMETH by +9.80 per cent, LEARNAFRCA by +8.94 per cent, CHAMS by +8.33 per cent and ETERNA by +6.25 per cent, were not strong enough to hedge huge losses. Sector performances Monday were largely negative with Banking index losing -2.51 per cent and emerging the day’s worst performer, followed by Industrial that dropped -0.88 per cent and Consumer Goods index by -0.35 per cent. However, Oil & Gas index appreciated on Monday by 0.08 per cent to close in green. In terms of activity levels, total volume and total value transacted on Monday rose by 14 per cent and 51 per cent re-spectively compared to the preceding week’s Friday, as investors exchanged 456million units of shares worth N5.26billion. STERLNBANK which declined in equity price by 0.38 per cent was the most actively traded stock on Monday with about 93million units of shares worth N242million exchanged by investors. Meanwhile Codros Capital noted “We reiterate our negative outlook for the equities market in the short-to-medium term, amidst absence of a positive market trigger. However, stable macroeconomic fundamentals and compelling val-uation remain supportive of recovery in the medium-to-long term”


FINANCIALS

WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

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Indebtedness: Heritage Bank takes over Hip TV

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here are indications that Heritage Bank Plc has on the order of Federal High Court Ikoyi seized the property of Smooth Promotions Limited, owner of Hip TV, owned by Ayo Animashaun, situated at No. 4 Ogundana Street, Off Allen Avenue, Ikeja following alleged inability to pay back the bank loan. The asset was seized in execution of an order of the court authorising Gani-Gidado Abubakar, who is a Solicitor and Insolvency Practitioner, as the Receiver/ Manager of Smooth Promotions Limited pending the determination of the orders of Court in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/362/19. Meanwhile, Animashaun on his social media platform hinted that he is suing Heritage bank through his attorney, Kemi Pinheiro LP, but refused to go into details. However, a visit to the premises of the aforementioned property showed that the bank has taken possession of the property under the court order. Also, a source who is familiar with the case disclosed that as the obligor, Animashaun who is indebted to Heritage bank, to the tune of N185 million, and all effort to have him pay up his debt has proved abortive over a long period of time, which prompted the bank to secure a court injunction from a Federal High Court in Ikoyi. The court injunction published on Thisday Newspapers, empowers Heritage bank to take over all properties, assets including production materials belonging to Ayo Animashaun’s Smooth

Promotions. “NOTICE is hereby given that all the properties comprising of but not limited to plants and machineries belonging to SMOOTH PROMOTIONS LIMITED and falling within the ambit of the receivership have been taken over and are now in firm possession of the Receiver/Manager,” the publication stated. Whilst, the Publication further noted that banks, financial institutions, companies, general interested members of the public, debtors and creditors have been directed that all deposits, cash and other Assets currently held should be held until the issuance of further instructions and pay directly to the Receiver/Manager respectively. Meanwhile, Ayo Animashaun had earlier declined further reactions on the above report; he claims the case is ongoing in court, but promised to do so when he is permitted to do so.

SEC urges more synergy among regulators on financial literacy BY BONNY AMADI

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he Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has called for synergy among all regulators towards pursuit of financial literacy advancement in Nigeria. The commission thus expressed its readiness to strengthen collaboration with other regulators in the financial industry in Nigeria,

in its financial literacy campaign. According to the commission, the collaboration, is in a bid to ensure that Nigerians both in the urban and rural areas, are effectively sensitised on the benefits of financial literacy which will in turn lead to an improvement in the economy. Director, Market Development Department, SEC, Edward Okolo, made the call during an advocacy visit by the Financial Literacy

CBN may not revisit FX policy in near term BY JULIUS ALAGBE

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he nation’s external reserve went up by $2.1 billion in the month of March on the back of stability in the global price of oil. For most part of the month, oil price stayed at around $60 per barrel with pro-duction volume moving below budget. The nation plans to be producing minimum of 2.3 million barrels of oil per day to finance fiscal year 2019 budget. However, inconsistence around supply chain has consistently against the target as the nation’s daily production hovering below 2 million barrels of oil per day. In its analysts note, FBNQuest said that the gross official reserves increased by US$2.1bn in March to US$44.4 billion. Analysts say the accretion in the external reserve would strongly support the nation’s ability to supporting Nai-

ra.

According to the analysts, Oil revenue has been the primary driver for movements in reserves. Over the past month, the oil price has been above US$60/b. In addition, oil production has been relatively stable, an obvious positive for accumulation, due to visible reduction in vandalism of oil assets. Trades of foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) have also contributed to the pick-up. Since 23 February, that is post the presidential election, the investors and exporters’ FX window (NAFEX) has recorded inflows of over US$5.0 billion, with FPIs accounting for 73% of the total. Although the trend in weekly transactions at the NAFEX has been downwards, weekly turnover has remained above US$1 billion over the past five weeks. The transactions cover both sides of trades. The reserves data are

gross, covering just fx and exclude swap contracts. “The figure for gross reserves includes the balance in the excess crude account, for which the latest figure in the public domain is US$183 million. Reserves at end-March covered more than 13 months’ merchandise imports, and eight months when we include services on the basis of the balance of pay-ments (BoP) to December 2018. This is a healthy fiscal buffer by any criteria”, FBNQuest reckoned. “The cushion is not wholly the CBN’s. Its latest figures (from November) show that it was the owner of 86% of reserves. Given this cushion of reserves and the fact that sectors such as manufacturing are benefiting from FX availability, we doubt the CBN will be revising its fx policy in the near-future”, FBNQuest stated.

Technical Committee, a market wide committee of the capital market to the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, in Abuja weekend. Okolo said visit is in an effort to further strengthen collaboration between the Committee and NAICOM and expressed appreciation to NAICOM for being a member of the committee in helping to pursue financial literacy awareness in the market. The SEC Director, described the insurance industry as one of the veritable tools of raising money in the market, stressing the need to explore avenues of enlightening the states on insurance during the SEC’s regular enlightenment campaigns. “As we market the capital market, NAICOM can also market insurance products during such cam-paigns. This collaboration will further strengthen our base and strengthen the financial side of the economy. Our sustenance is going to be based on how we can strengthen the market and introduce new products” he said. Also commenting, Member of the Committee, Omagbitse Barrow said the story in the financial sector needs to be told more holistically by all agencies involved. According to him, “we need to be in agreement as well as understand what we do to be able to forge a united front. Already, we are making use of various channels like social media, training students on Over the Counter and

other financial products to enlighten Nigerians. “Our focal area is to get people to understand more about the things we are doing and explore areas where we can collaborate as fellow regulators. We need to pay more attention to financial literacy and use it as a fulcrum to deepen the quality of participation and create more value for the industries. We want to continue to have more co-operation with a unified front to drive financial literacy. When that happens, the market will respond appropriately” Barrow said. Director, Inspection, NAICOM. Barineka Thompson, in his remark, lauded the committee on its work which he said would deepen the financial industry and empower the citizens. Thompson said the work of the committee will lead to improvements in products in the insurance sec-tor and further deepen the market, which will in turn improve the financial sector and the economy. “We are glad that you are collaborating with NAICOM. We will mobilise our representation from the industry and this will further enhance the scope of interaction. “As we plan ahead, we will find areas to work with the committee. We are interested in the work of the committee and can assure you of our support, we support the on-going implementation of the master plan and will continue to support it” he added.


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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

ECONOMY

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

Profit for the year up 58% as FBNH reduce impairment charge BY JULIUS ALAGBE

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irst Bank of Nigeria Holdings has declared N59.7 billion profit after tax, its audited result made availa-ble to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, as shown. FBNH has N279.983 billion market capitalisation as its shares traded at N7.50. The performance which analysts have commended came strong as the holding company increased year on year profit take by 58.23 percent from its continuing operations. The holdings co plans to pay 26 kobo per its share in 2018 as against 25 kobo in 2017. At the headline, FBNH recorded N583.477 billion as its gross earnings in the financial year 2018 result compare with N595.45 billion the group made in 2017. Interest income came a bit lower just as ex-penses incurred in funding expanded, thus resulted to 14.28 percent decline in the holdings net inter-est income position. More than 42 percent decline in impairment charge for credit losses was recorded. In 2018, FBNH booked N86.911 billion against its income statement compare with more than N150 billion in 2017.FBNH net insurance premium revenue also rose by about 52 percent from N10.234 billion in 2017 to N15.541 billion in 2018 just as fees and commission income expanded by about 25 percent. In 2018, the group recorded fee and commission income that

closed the year at N92.72 billion as against N74.45 billion achieved in 2017. The audited result however shows an increase in personnel expenses, from N85.678 billion to N93.395 billion it had reported in 2017. This translates to more than 9 percent uptick year on year but below average rate of inflation for the period. Overall operating expenses at the holdings level expanded 9.78 percent, from N134.799 billion to N147.976 billion. It closed financial year 2018 with total invest-

ment in assets at N5.568 trillion as against N5.236 trillion in 2017. This represents more than 6 percent increase in assets but liabilities of the group also expanded by 10.52 percent in the year. As against N4.558 trillion in 2017, FBNH total liabilities settled at N5.037 trillion and its shareholders funds were reduced by about 22 percent. Total shareholders fund berthed at N530 billion compare to N678 billion it carried forward into the year. FBNH earnings per share closed the year

at N1.66 as against N1.05 kobo in 2017 with an increase of 102.23 percent in return on equity from 5.56 percent to 11.24 percent. A former banker who was part of the turnaround management put together by the former Central Bank Governor, San-usi Lamido Sanusi said;“The bank is just recovering from a major downturn. The new management team seem to be achieving progress with turnaround”. “I was part of turnaround management team put together by Sa-

nusi Lamido Sanusi, now Emir of Ka-no”, he said. FBN Holdings Plc provides commercial banking activities. The Company offers merchant, investment banking, trusteeship, fund management, registrars, and advisory services through its subsidiaries. FBN also sells insurance policies and mortgages via subsidiary companies. With 35.9 billion shares outstand-ing, FBNH Plc opened at N7.80 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of N269. 215billion, a PE ratio of 4.6

Kola Ogunwumi, Marketing Manager, Redington (Telco, West Africa); Nwaochei Genevive, Senior Administrative Officer, National Lottery Regulatory Commission; Olafisayo Fapohunda, Marketing Executive, Redington Apple-Business and Okpetu Monday, Sales Officer, Slot Systems Limited at the fifth SLOT-Phone-A-Car raffle draw in Lagos,

We have sufficient fuel, says Kachikwu

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inister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu yesterday assured Nigerians that there is sufficient Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as fuel in the country. Kachikwu in an Interview with journalists in Lagos, said that the country had gone past the era of fuel scarcity and urged motorists to desist from panic buying. “I can say that there shouldn’t be any reason for fuel scarcity, we have gone past the era of fuel scarci-ty. “ NNPC informed me when I made inquires that they imported enough. “Yesterday, I saw a few pockets of scarcity in Abuja, but I was told that it was Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) related distribution issues, and it will be sorted out as soon as possible.. “So, it is not an issue of lack of sufficiency, I am told they have about 28 day’s sufficiency, two weeks ago, they presently have between 14 and 15 days product sufficiency,’’ he said.

The minister noted that the 28 days sufficiency was okay based on 50 million litres daily utilisation in the country. “ I don’t expect to see a scarcity, I just expect them to work hard over the next few days to deal with whatever logistic issues they have. I will be working with NNPC on that,’’ he added On queues building up in some filling stations in Lagos and Abuja, he maintained that the country was wet enough to serve the needs of motorists. “ I haven’t visited Lagos cities, but the information I have is that there is enough product on ground and we should be able to deal with whatever it is. “The problem with fuel scarcity is that if you allow it to last for three days , then it builds up a life of its own. “That is what I have enforced NNPC to do to make sure that it is resolved,’’ he said. Kachikwu noted that it would had been a major issue for the country if there was insufficient product on ground but assured

that NNPC would be able to resolve whatever the situation was in a few days. A check by reporters in Abuja, revealed that there were no queues in most filling stations along Airport road and Kubwa expressway. NNPC outlet, Conoil and NIPPCO filling stations along airport road, motorists were buying fuel with ease, except at the NNPC mega station at the Central business district, which a short queue. A taxi driver, Johnson Adio said “this is not a serious queue, I spent just 20 minutes before buying, it is normal with this station because a lot of people like buying from them. “It was on Friday that we had a little problem, but it is okay now,” he said. Also, along the Kubwa Express way, there was no queue at AA Rano filling station, Shema, Mobil and NNPC stations. Only few filling stations like DAN oil along the airport and the Kubwa express way were closed. Dr. Ibe Kachikwu


FEAUTURES

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

Considering e-commerce industry growth on economic development There have been various projections that in 2019 e-commerce business in Nigeria could hit N100trillion. These projections look attractive and promising but there are challenges and concerns at the moment. NIYI JACOBS in this ANALYSIS writes on the recent worry.

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ith the likes of Jumia, Konga, Dealdey, Wakanow, Jiji, OLX and Payporte, Nigerians have witnessed companies driving the e-commerce service. These companies have been providing jobs to young vibrant population in the country while seeking to bring a shift to online shopping in the country. Similarly, towards the end of 2017 the e-commerce market industry in Nigeria, according to report gathered by westafricanbusinessnews was valued at $13bl (N4.5trl) . The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has also projected that in 2019 this industry could hit N100trillion. These are promising projections, but there are challenges and concerns at the moment. It is no more news that Technologies has acquired Konga operations and OLX recently had shut down its office in the country. Though Zinox has assured Nigerians that the acquisition of Konga will boost the e-commerce ecosystem, but the OLX development raises concerns over the impact of the business model in Nigeria. There are great potentials for the e-commerce segment to thrive in Nigeria and with its position as a market leader in Africa, from a huge population, ready market of over 180 million, an increased adoption of mobile technology, spread of telecommunications coverage to an increase in internet data usage there are a lot of potentials Apart from the fact that OLX (a subsidiary of Naspers) office shutdown affects about 100 workers in the nation, this also impacts the e-commerce business space in Nigeria, that has been in the process of consolidation and value creation. Westafrica BusinessNews recalls that Effritin.com another key platform closed its operations citing the challenges of doing business in the country. Efritin an e-coomerce firm and subsidiary of Saltside Technologies in 2017 shut down its operations citing high cost of data, the harsh economic conditions(recession at the time) and increasing operations costs in the country. Konga a $34ml valued company was recently acquired from Naspers and ASB Kinnevik by Zinox Technologies one of the strategic tech companies in the nation. This is an acquisition which Zinox has assured industry watchers, that it is a move designed to strengthen the value chain. OLX a subsidiary of Naspers on its part stated that it had to make a difficult but important decision by closing its operations in Nigeria, to consolidate its operations across the

globe. This is part of efforts in recalibrating its operations, by leveraging on its leading market in Africa, South Africa. Speaking to Mr Segun Adeshina , a financial analysts, he said that the ease of Doing Business in Nigeria has been challenging, prior to the launch of the reforms by the office of the current Vice President in 2017. According to him from business registration, permits, customs operations reforms, visa-on-arrival for investors, amongst others the business environment has been challenging, but with the current reforms there are prospects of an enabling environment for the e-commerce industry to thrive. Also, Adeshina mentioned that the Slow implementation of the Broadband policy by the Federal Government, and this is affecting the growth in the operations of the e-commerce space in the country. Nigeria has lost millions of dollars in investments with the exit of key e-commerce players (namely Efritin and OLX), hundreds of young vibrant workers who have been disengaged, opportunities for leveraging a viable e-commerce ecosystem(which can be reworked), valuable assets and revenue. With the aforementioned businesses closing down, there must be a pathway for the sustainability of the e-commerce industry in Nigeria. Key issues to consider include: Many market operators also beleve that the current reforms on the Ease of Doing Business carried out by the Federal Government is critical.” At this time businesses like the e-commerce platforms face challenges with the “Cost of Doing Business”. This is vital to ensuring that the business environment is conducive for attracting more investments that will transform the landscape”, they said ..

Barr Adebayo Shittu

“The business model of the e-commerce industry in Nigeria has been wrought with the challenge of an acceptable and viable means of transaction, which values and respects contracts. The Digital space in Nigeria faces the issue of trust and credibility, which explains the adoption of Prepay on Delivery over the Pay on Delivery, which has not been profitable for the e-commerce firms”. Broadband penetration is critical to driving the accessibility of the e-commerce services to millions of Nigerians, especially those in the rural areas who can benefit from it.

With the advent of technologies and innovation like Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Big Data E-Commerce companies in Nigeria, we will have to invest in these technologies to drive the value chain and services in the country

The Government (Federal, State) and Private sector should partner effectively in driving the broadband infrastructure across the Others argued that E-commerce thrives on a robust infrastructure network of solid rail system, roads network and safe waterways. “For the Industry to thrive and create value in the area of logistics and delivery, Infrastructure is critical as we can see in the United States, Europe and Asian markets. Several e-commerce companies have incurred huge costs and damages due to poor infrastructure in the country”, they noted An conomist Mrs Ngosi Nzeijwe however, mentioned that the collaboration amongst the e-commerce players is key in the country, working in silos will not help and to achieve this there is need for the strengthening of the ecosystem that will drive advocacy for the industry particularly in the areas of policies. She said e-Commerce companies will have to forge a strong partnership in the area of service delivery. Nwe-ijwe stressed that In the Digital revolution, technology and innovation are the vehicles of driving the economies which informs the need for businesses to take investment in technology seriously. “With the advent of technologies and innovation like Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Big Data E-Commerce companies in Nigeria, we will

have to invest in these technologies to drive the value chain and services in the country”, she said According to her”Countries like US, UK, Germany, France, China are experiencing a robust e-commerce service because of a viable postal service system. The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology has shared its vision of repositioning the Nigerian Postal Service to support the e-commerce and fintech value chain. The reform of NIPOST is critical to strengthening the e-commerce ecosystem in Nigeria, we expect that the government will take this head on and create the enabler for the digital economy”. The Challenge of the e-commerce Industry in Nigeria seems huge and enormous but surmountable. The pathway is collaboration, strong ecosystem, viable reforms and policies, deploying new technologies, respect for contracts, improved broadband penetration, infrastructure, cost of doing business and the repositioning of NIPOST. “We believe the e-commerce industry has a bright outlook in Nigeria, but the spate of businesses shutting down operations raises concerns, but if the concerned issues are addressed there are prospects of sustainability instead of the survival race for the businesses”, she concluded.


FINANCIALS

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

MediaReach OMD wins Young Lions Media, Nigeria Awards BY BONNY AMADI

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ecent competition among multiple Media Agencies in Nigeria at the Young Lions Media saw, Rita Oladimeji and Tobi Babalola of mediaReach OMD clinching the title of Young Lions Media – Nigeria. With the awards, mediaReach OMD will represent Nigeria at Cannes in June 2019 for the Cannes Young Lions Media - Global Competition. By winning the 2019 edition of the competition, mediaReach OMD will be representing Nigeria for the 9th time at Cannes, since 2008. Babalola and Oladimeji have also won the Young Pitcher Integrated competition and have qualified for Dubai Lynx, which will happen in March 2020. The above two competitions were open to young (under 30 years) media professionals representing various Media Agencies in Nigeria. Teams representing various media agencies this year were given a Media Brief as part of Young Lions Media competition and had little over 24 hours to think, create and submit a communication strategy that answers the Media Brief. Finally, based on the presentations to the Jury, comprising of senior Media Advertising professionals, the winning campaign and team was chosen based on criteria used for the Cannes Young Lions Media - Global competition. The Young Lions Media Global competition to be held at Cannes in June 2019, gives the next gen-

Continued from page 5

advances in technology, human intervention was still required to prevent SIM swap fraud. According to him, controls and processes by network operators have, to a degree, failed and led to instances of human error in retail branches in distributing SIM cards, noting that banks were still trying to find effective ways of identifying when a customer’s mobile number has been fraudulently swapped and ported onto a new device. “With fraudsters continuing to exploit these weaknesses, putting better authentication processes in place is vital. Of course, consumers have a responsibility to be vigilant and take their own precautions as well,” he said. The financial fraud forum subsequently produced a 13-point communique, whose implementation by the Commission, MNOs, the banks, the consumers, law enforcement agents and other concerned stakeholders will help to encourage proper SIM cards registration, diligent adherence to SIM swap procedures by the MNOs and their agents, towards preventing further losses incurred by unsuspecting subscribers/ bank customers through SIM swap fraud.. Nationwide sensitisation programme Unrelenting in its quest to tackle the problem, the Commission, through its CME team, has commenced a

eration of industry superstars the chance to prove themselves by creating campaigns during the Festival week, where more than 400 contestants representing various countries around the globe compete in seven categories (namely Media, Digital, Design, Print, Film, Marketers and

PR). The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the World’s biggest celebration of creativity in marketing communications. It is also the greatest opportunity of the year for industry professionals to network and learn about brand

communications. Young Lions Media and Young Pitcher Integrated Competition are part of Creativity Week Events and Awards in Nigeria, which also had Pitcher Awards that celebrate and recognize Best in Class work under various categories in Nigeria and

Umaru Ibrahim

NCC parley stakeholders on illegal pre-registered SIM cards

nationwide sensitisation programme that will hold across the six geopolitical zones in the country to educate stakeholders, especially telecoms consumers, on the dangers of pre-registered SIM cards. The sensitisation programme, which already held in Enugu for the South-East on Thursday, April 2, 2019 and Nasarawa for the North Central on Thursday April 11, 2019, will be hosted in South-West, NorthEast, South-South and North-West geo-political zones in the coming weeks. Speaking during the Enugu edition of the programme, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Mr. Sunday Dare, stressed the importance of educating all stakeholders on the dangers of pre-registered SIM cards. According to him, “the availability of improperly-registered SIM cards in any corner of Nigeria is a threat to the security of all of us. Such SIM cards make it possible to commit financial crimes whose victims are ordinary hardworking citizens like you and I. “Also, pre-registered and fraudulently- activated SIM cards, if left unchecked, make it difficult for our law enforcement agents to apprehend persons involved in major criminal activities and they can be used in the perpetration of horrible

crimes such as terrorism, kidnapping and similar felonies, making suspect virtue untraceable.” In the meantime, Dare said the Commission is in the process of sponsoring legislation at the National Assembly to directly criminalise certain SIM registration infractions and thereby deterring persons wishing to commit such infractions.

Need for increased collaborations with NCC

While the efforts of the Commission, as exemplified in all the afore-mentioned regulatory interventions, have been commendable, stakeholders have called for effective collaboration of other government agencies and concerned stakeholders with the NCC in order to support the telecoms regulator’s drive at curbing and possibly eliminating the scourge of pre-registered and improperlyregistered SIM cards in the country.

West African region. mediaReach OMD won 3 Pitcher Awards as follows: Gold for Best Use of Media, Silver for Best Use of Media and Gold for PR and Reputation Management. On the awards, Nitinchandra Nandekar, Managing Director mediaReach OMD, Nigeria, said: “Our global winning culture cascades into our local markets; we train our talent on an on-going basis with aninhouse weekly Media Academy in Q2 and Q3 every year, including regular webinars with our Global team so that they are abreast of latest developmentsin the industry, get inspired and raise our game. Additionally, we have many local initiatives through which we encourage our people to produce works that deliver on objectives and help overcome business challenges of our Clients.” mediaReach OMD in Nigeria, West & Central Africa continues to be a thought leader and pioneer of various initiatives at the industry level, including syndicated and proprietary researches. It combines Innovation, Creativity, Empathy and Evidence to make Better Decisions, Faster on behalf of their clients so they can learn faster and act faster, create valued connections with customers, build profitable business outcomes and, ultimately, win the future. OMD globally is the world’s largest media network. Named Adweek’s Global Media Agency of the Year 2019 and was awarded the Most Medaled Media Network at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in 2018. OMD is also currently ranked the world’s most effective media agency network in the Effie Effectiveness Index In 2019, mediaReach OMD celebrates its 20th anniversary in Nigeria and continues to be the leading Media Agency in Nigeria and West Africa and has been consistently ranked No. 1 in Nigeria by RECMA (since report started for Nigeria in 2011). mediaReach OMD has presence in Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon, with partner offices in West and Central Africa giving an unrivalled coverage to their existing Clients in the Region.

NAF destroys bandits’ logistics store in Zamfara

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n a major onslaught, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has said its Air Task Force (ATF) for Operation DIRAN MIKIYA has destroyed some logistics’ stores belonging to bandits at a location within Kagara Forest, in Zamfara. NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, who said this on Sunday in Abuja, added that the operation was conducted on Saturday. ” The operation was executed on Saturday April 13, following credible intelligence reports indicating that some of the bandits who had fled their camps as a result of NAF’s earlier air strikes had relocated some logistics

items, including fuel, motorcycles and local arms making equipment, to another location within Kagara Forest. ” Accordingly, the ATF dispatched an Mi-35 helicopter gunship, supported by an Intelligence, Surveil-lance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform, to attack the target. ” The target area initially appeared uninhabited. ” However, as the helicopter approached, some of the bandits were seen emerging from under the shrubbery and running away from the area,” he said. Daramola said the helicopter engaged the target recording successful hits on the logistics facility, which was

engulfed in flames with thick black smoke seen. He said some bandits, who fired at the aircraft, were taken out by the helicopter. ” Reports from independent sources, including local informants and village leaders around the general area, later confirmed that the logistics base was totally destroyed and four bandits killed as a result of the attack,” he said. The spokesman said the NAF, working in consonance with surface forces and other security agencies, would sustain its operations to flush the bandits out of the North West of the country.


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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

STOCK TABLE


STOCK TABLE

WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

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MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

Fund Electricity with Fuel Subsidy savings

F THE TEAM Publisher Westafrican Business Newspapers Ltd. EXECUTIVE EDITOR Enyi Moses, Esq NEWS EDITOR Bonny Amadi EDITOR, SPECIAL REPORTS Julius Alagbe AG. BUSINESS EDITOR Niyi Jacobs CORRESPONDENTS David Ayodeji Rasaq Olalekan Goddy Obinwa Clifford Agbajor Amanda Mella, Abuja DEPUTY ADVERT MANAGER Tope Adesiyan, arpa DEPUTY ADVERT MANAGER Monday Itodo ADVERTS Oniovosa Diejomaoh Rosemary Ugiomoh Rita Azita PRODUCTION EDITOR Emmanuel Nwagbo PRODUCTION Akintunde Akinsanmi Henry Enegede HEAD, IT Chinonye Moses PHOTO EDITOR Sunday Adesanya CIRCULATION MANAGER Chidi Ephraim LOGISTICS Akan Ekwere SALES Victoria Nnake

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or the umpteenth time, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised Nigeria and other countries still subsidising fuel for local consumption to stop doing so. The Breton Woods institution hinged its advice on the premise that subsidy removal would boost revenue and make more funds available for infrastructure development. There is no doubt that this has been the position of IMF over the years. It contrasts sharply with the position of most Nigerians especially those who hate to hear about IMF. The common man believes that nothing good can come out of IMF except inflicting wounds and hardship on the generality of the people. But there is common sense in the position of IMF. If our leaders can, for at least once be sincere to the people and implement the idea with determination to alleviate certain problems such as epileptic power supply, the advice by the IMF would enthrone healthier economy for Nigeria. Successive Nigerian governments including the present administration had shied away from subsidy removal due to the hardship it will unleash on the people, but if it is the price to pay for Nigeria to have steady power supply to move the economy forward, we believe Nigerians would be ready to bear it. We believe that as it stands presently, government has little or no choice but to heed IMF’s advice and remove fuel subsidy. But the issues must be discussed extensively by all stakeholders including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Indus-try, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), electricity generat-

President Buhari

There is no other palliative that can cushion the attendant hardship from subsidy removal that will be acceptable to the generality of Nigerians, than steady electricity supply. ing and distributing companies and all rele-vant government agencies. There is no other palliative that can cushion the attendant hardship from subsidy removal that will be acceptable to the generality of Nigerians, than steady electricity supply. Government must therefore remove fuel subsidy with one hand and give the people steady power supply with the other. The usual excuses that the contract agreement between immediate past gov-ernment and the electricity generating and distributing companies bars present government from tak-ing bold steps, does not avail in this matter. ‘In public interest’, government can repudiate or renegotiate any contract for the interest of

the peo-ple. If it requires renegotiating with GENCOS or DISCOS for the country to move forward, let the gov-ernment do it. Epileptic power supply is holding down the economy of this country. The harsh after-effect of subsidy removal will pale into insignificance if the people could be given steady power for fuel subsidy removal. Like IMF President, Christine Lagarde counselled, fuel subsidy removal would boost revenue at the disposal of government and in turn improve local infrastructure development. Government should draw a time line with stakeholders particularly electricity generating companies and Discos by how much electricity generation and distribution would improve

on a monthly basis as fuel subsidy is being removed. Lagarde declared at the IMF/World Bank spring meeting in Washington DC last week, that subsidy payment had consumed about 5.2 trillion dollars globally from 2015 till date. Zeroing in on Nigeria, Ms Lagarde said IMF wanted Nigeria to remove subsidy due to the paucity of funds to take care of infrastructure reforms and other social services. The advice is not hook, line and sinker bad if government can be committed to ploughing the addition-al revenue saved from subsidy, to improving electricity infrastructure such that epileptic power supply would become a thing of the past in the country. We are of the considered view that this is the time to take the bull by the horn and engage stakehold-ers in critical discussions with a view to begin phased removal of fuel subsidy. The critical thing is to genuinely plough the additional revenue to better the lives of the people through improvement in electricity supply.


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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

Group urges Fayemi to run youth inclusive govt A

group, League of Young Leaders on Sunday urged the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, to run a youth inclusive government in the state. In a statement in Ado Ekiti , Olumuyiwa-Aschor Babalola, founder of the league, said that it was time to recognise the role and contribution of youths in nation building. “It is high time the governor recognised the roles and contributions of our youths in politics, hence, they deserve the opportunity to serve too. “If we are not too young to run, we cannot be too young to serve. “If our young men and women can be relied upon prior to and during elections, I see no reason why we cannot be relied upon to serve even at the highest level. “The modern knowledge and creativity a vibrant 30 year old commissioner will contribute to our state should not be underestimated,’’ he said. While congratulating the new appointees, Balogun, the General Overseer, Raising New Voices (Ekiti State Chapter), said it was mind

boggling since the governor did not put the youths into consideration in his appointments. He, therefore, advised the governor to uphold the interest of the youths in his political agenda, saying that it was time Ekiti State stopped neglecting the youth. “It is time we stop looking down on the modern initiatives our youths can bring to the table in areas of governance and our collective development as a people. “The time has come for Governor Fayemi-led government to stand up for what is right and just and do what successive governments have failed to do. “May I also note that my argument does not put to question the competence or integrity of your current political appointees. “Rather; my argument focuses on the need for Ekiti State to start nurturing her brilliant young leaders now, for tomorrow never comes, but today will always be at it again. “Ekiti State is very unique and young intellectuals are in abundance, it is a known fact that Ekiti State remains Nigeria’s fountain

.L-R: Guest, Engr. Chief Tunde Zedomi; Elder of the Ikeja Branch, Engr. Kayode Adekoya; Lead Speaker Investment, Dr. Waheed Olagunju; Chairman, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Ikeja Branch, Engr. Funmi Akingbagbohun; Gold Sponsor/ Panelist, Managing Director/CEO Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Engr. Adeoye Fadeyibi and Panel Discussant, Engr. Tasiu Saadgidri-Wudil, during the 2019 Annual Business Luncheon on the Dynamism in the Power Sector: Opportunities and Challenges by NSE Ikeja Branch

of knowledge”. “When the average age of our major political appointees at state level seats at 60 -years of age, by the time such people serve 8 years in

Over 80 private health facilities in C/River operated by quacks — Board

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egulatory Board, has raised an alarm over the high rate of medical quackery in the state. Chairman of the board, Dr Norbert Mogar, made this known in an interview with journalists in Calabar . Medical quackery is synonymous with health fraud, as it is the promotion of fraudulent or ignorant medical practises by non-doctors and unqualified personnel. Mogar described the situation as worrisome, shortly after he had inspected some private medical facilities in the state. According to him, more than 80 of the hospitals visited were operated by quacks, while 50 of them were yet to be registered with the state’s Ministry of Health. He added that 70 of them were equally not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. The board chairman further said that operators of the

facilities claimed that they did not know how to go about the registering the health facilities with the relevant authorities. “In the course of our inspection, we found out that more than 80 of the hospitals visited were operated by quacks and unqualified personnel. “Also, 50 of the facilities were yet to be registered with the state’s Ministry of Health, while 70 of them were equally not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. “It was also sad to realise that most of the quacks operate as mobile doctors, conducting tests and performing surgeries on patients in their respective homes and visiting them for continuity of care. “From the statistics gathered, it was very clear that a significant percentage of the private facilities have been operating illegally. “They thus constitute a great danger to the health

status of the state,” he warned. Mogar further warned that the state could lose substantial revenue by allowing private health facilities not duly registered and certified by the appropriate authorities to operate in the state. He said that on March 25, some medical facilities in Yala and Obudu Local Government Areas of the state were shut down owing to medical quackery. He attributed the development to the commitment and dedication of the state’s Ministry of Health, the board, the Nigerian Medical Association, and the Primary Healthcare Coordinators in the affected areas. The board chairman appealed to the state government to provide the private hospital regulatory board with at least two operational vehicles to enable it to succeed in the war against quackery in the state.

a single government, they are near expiration”. “Give us a 30 year old competent commissioner, not mediocre appointments like special advisers on so-

cial media matters. We do more than tweeting, we are innovative” “It will be interesting to see a 25 year old Local Government Chairman under

your party, with genuine autonomy to perform his/her duties”. “True leaders raise young leaders, not followers,’’ he said.

Osinbajo’s wife urges women to join fight against illicit drugs

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ife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, has urged Nigerian Women to support the fight against illicit drugs to free the society from inactive youths. The Vice President’s wife made the call on the sidelines of the visit of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drugs Abuse to Women’s Helping Hands Initiative (TWHHI) in Lagos on Sunday. TWHHI is an initiative of the wife of the Vice President. Osinbajo said women have realised the great need to support the government in the fight against illict drugs. “ If the drug addicts have access to gun, they can walk into a place and kill innocent people. “As long as we allow this menace to continue, it makes the society to be unsafe for all. “The only thing that can

change the drugs’ lives some people are living now is the truth. So we must be an ambassador of sharing the truth. “Families of most security officers who had lost their lives in the course of intercepting smuggled illicit drugs were not encouraged as much as possible. The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drugs Abuse (PCEDA), Retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, called for provision of modern technologies to enable the security agencies to eliminate the illicit drugs in the society. The committee visited facilities at seaports, airports, border stations, Non-Governmental Organisations, stakeholders and Lagos Federal Medical warehouse. According to him, there is need for government agencies and other stakeholders to support

the Federal Government in eradicating importation of illicit drugs into the country. Marwa said that there was need to equip the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and provide tools for the security agencies to enable them perform their functions effectively. The committee chairman said that they also had an interface with the NGOs that were involved in drug abuse matter. He said that the committee has listened to their challenges, adding that all suggestion would be included in the recommendations to the Federal Government. Marwa said that the committee also examined the distribution processes of the Narcotic Schedule ‘A’ drugs across the country by the Lagos Federal Medical Warehouse.


WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

FG begins cleaning of Lagos highway drains, massive road rehabilitation T

Representative of Director General, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Mr Obiora Manafa (fifth right) with Enugu State Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mrs Chinwe Kanu ( middle) and some other of security personnel, during SON destruction of substandard tyres in Enugu.

Banditry: Yari security agencies to sustain operations in Zamfara

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overnor Abdula’ziz Yari of Zamfara has called on the Nigerian Army and other security agencies to sustain their ongoing operations against bandits operating in the state. Yari’s call is contained in a statement issued yesterday by the governor’s acting Director-General, Press Affairs, Bashir Kabir. Kabir said that Yari made the call at a meeting with the Force Commander of the Operation Sharan Daji, Maj.Gen. Hakeem Otiki at the Government House Gusau on Saturday. Kabir also said that the governor congratulated the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in the state for the good work they were doing in trying to check the activities of the bandits. According to him, reports from the areas where the bandits carried out their deadly acts indicate that efforts to flush out the criminals are yielding fruitful results. “I am, therefore, appealing for more efforts and sustainability from the security agencies,” he said. Yari said that the incessant killing of innocent people in the state by the bandits had also resulted in the destruction of property. “If we recall in 2015, Zam-

fara was affected seriously by cattle rustling and reprisal attacks by the bandits on our communities and today kidnapping is the order of the day across the state,” he said. He assured the security agencies that the Zamfara government would do its best possible to assist them in their campaign against banditry and other crimes in the state. Earlier, Otiki who briefed the governor on `Operation Sharan Daji’ being carried out by the Nigerian army, said that the military was carrying out operations at various locations across the state. He expressed appreciation for the support and coop-

eration given to the Nigerian Army by the state government and entire people of the state. According to Kabir, the governor later held a closeddoor meeting with the security chiefs in the state, traditional rulers, and local government chairmen VSF reconstructs public infrastructure in North East, Benue Victims Support Fund (VSF) has reconstructed a number of public infrastructure in the insurgency ravaged North East states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe and parts of Benue and Taraba states. Executive Director, VSF, Dr Sunday Ochoche, dis-

closed this on the flagship programme, NAN Forum, in Abuja. Ochoche said that the organisation had focused serious attention on schools, hospitals and other government infrastructures in the affected states. He explained that as part of its effort to expand the scope of its intervention, VSF had extended its services to Benue and Taraba states where farmer-herdsmen crisis affected many public infrastructures. “We have reconstructed all the school in Dikwa in Borno state, we reconstructed all the schools in Bama in Borno state, we have reconstructed eight schools in Michika Local Government in Adamawa.

Fire razes market in Kano

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he Kano State Fire Service has disclosed that 35 temporary shops have been destroyed by fire at Kurmin Yan-nama Market in Kano State. The spokesman of the service, Saidu Mohammed confirmed the incident yesterday while speaking with newsmen in Kano . He said 27 of the shops were completely razed, while eight were slightly burnt.

“We received a distress call in the early hours of Sunday at about 04:56 a.m from one Ado Musa that there was fire outbreak at the market. “On receiving the information, we quickly sent our persfromonnel and fire fighting vehicles to the scene of the incident at about 05:03 a.m to stop the fire spreading to other shops,“ he said. He advised traders to

be more careful and desist from using instruments capable of triggering fire as a way of guarding against future occurrence. Mohammed also advised residents to keep fire buckets, blankets and extinguishers at home to enable them curtail fire outbreak before calling on the fire service. Mohammed said the cause of the fire was still being investigated.

o check flooding on highways, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Adedamola Kuti, yesterday said that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing had begun cleaning of drains. Kuti told reporters in Lagos that desilting of drains had begun in Ijora and evacuation of drainage channels on highways across Lagos would commence soon. “Cleaning drains on highways are things we are doing very soon before the commencement of the rains. Watch out for us. “Of course, for us to enjoy the rainy season, we need to ensure that some of these areas as we have identified are opened up for proper drainage,” he said. Speaking on the Alaka Bridge project, Kuti said that expansion joints were being replaced. “It is the maintenance work we are carrying out on the Alaka Bridge because the work requires the replacement of some expansion joints that are bad, about eight of them. “We have already completed the entire milling and resurfacing of that stretch of the Alaka Bridge even towards the Ijora end some of those silted drains have been cleared. “Other works include the replacement of those hand rails, those guard rails will be replaced, some manhole covers will be provided to replace those vandalised,” he said. He listed the inner routes where rehabilitation works had been completed in Yaba to include Adekunle, Herbert Macaulay, Sabo, Alagomeji and WAEC Junction roads. “And we have done some work around Iganmu area, we have intervened somewhere around Barracks in Suru-lere as well as Ojuelegba. “The interventions are continuous, we are picking them one after the other,” he said. On potholes on some sections of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Kuti said that the ministry was col-

laborating with the Lagos State Government on the repairs. He explained that the contract for the rehabilitation of the highway had been awarded to Julius Berger and that the contractor was still working on site and was expected to repair the bad portions. He said the collaboration was going to be around Abule Egba to Ota sections of the highway where the state government had an ongoing project. “I will give instructions to that effect since the contractor is on site, the contractor is supposed to make the road motorable at all times,” he said. On the ongoing reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, he said that work was ongoing on the first kilometer. “Surveys are ongoing and the contractor has his equipment on ground and trying to get them in proper shape and has already started scarification and filling of some of the embarkment and work has started. “We are working on the first kilometer stretch, from Agbara,” he said.. Commenting on the Third Mainland Bridge, Kuti said: “We completed the investigative test last year. “The results are out and we have an idea of the number of critical expansion joints that we are replacing. Just last week, we did a confirmatory test on some of the piles. “We actually sent some divers into the water to confirm the state of some of those piles, so work is ongoing because the contract itself includes the maintenance work on some of those piles that are having problem. “No cause for alarm, serious work will soon start, materials are getting in soon but meanwhile, surfacing works on the Third Mainland Bridge is ongoing. “We have already completed the Island bound carriageway, we are working on the mainland bound,” he said.


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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

ICT

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

NITDA pledges to promote ICT among youths

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Chief of Defence staff, Maj Gen Abayomi G. Olonishakin pictured with Abia North Senator (elect) Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu at the ongoing induction for Senators (elect) in Abuja at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.

n assurance came yesterday from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) that it boost the morale of young innovators to develop Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the country. The Director General of the agency, Dr Isa Pantami, said this on Friday during a one-day workshop organised by the office for ICT Information and Entrepreneurs tagged “Startup Friday for Young Innovators, North West Zone’’ held in Kano. He said that the ICT eco system was on the increase in North East as a result of establishment of Information Technology (IT) hubs by young innovators to pave way for the development of IT. Pantami said that the workshop was aimed at identifying young innovators and bringing them to network, and motivate them on the challenges ahead. According to him, NITDA is putting much emphasis on seven strategic pillars aimed at transforming the ICT sector in Nigeria. He added that “regulation, capacity building, cyber security,

digital job creation, digital inclusion, government services promotion and development, as well as local content promotion and development are pillars the agency is working on to transform the sector.” The National Coordinator of the programme, Dr Amina Magaji, said said that the agency had organised similar workshops in all the six geopolitical zones. Magaji said that the programme was aimed at creating awareness among youths on how to utilise opportunities in ICT, especially in job creation. Earlier, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, represented by the state’s Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Ahmad Rabiu, commended NITDA for selecting Kano for the 11th edition of the Startup Friday programme. Ganduje said that the state government was committed to partnering with NITDA for the promotion of ICT and job creation in Kano. Meanwhile, NITDA had presented certificates and token to young innovators who made presentations during the workshop.

Anambra Technovation girls, IFEST boys NIS issues 6,097 passports worth billion dollars –Silicon-Valley group in Edo

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he Silicon Valley-Nigeria Economic Development (SV-NED) has disclosed that the five Nigerian girls from Regina Pacies Secondary School, Onitsha, and the four boys from St. John Science and Technical College, Alor, both in Anambra, are worth several billions of dollars. Chairman of SV-NED, Chief Temitope Ajayi, said after Jumia listed on New York Stock Exchange that the Anambra girls and boys were littered all over Nigeria, adding all they need is opportunity. The five girls represented Nigeria and Africa at the World Technovation Challenge in the Silicon Valley in San Francisco, where they won the Gold Medal in the contest. The girls – including Promise Nnalue, Jessica Osita, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo and Vivian Okoye – defeated representatives of other technological giants including the USA, Spain, Turkey, Uzbekistan and China to clinch the gold medal. They won the Challenge with a mobile application called the FDDetector, which they developed to help tackle the challenge of fake pharmaceutical products in Nigeria. Similarly, the boys – Meshac Ugwuisi, Anthony Chika-Umeora, Daniel Nwachukwu and Dominic Machi, clinched Bronze medal at a recent International Festival of Engineering, Science and Technology (IFEST) competition in Tunisia. The boys developed two devices called the “Adaptable Alternative Power Supply for SubSaharan Africa”, which is a single, fully-packaged solar technology. The other device was a “Noise-

less Inverter System”, which was all-locally sourced and produced by the boys. The device electric inverter had a solar panel that enables it to absorb energy from the sun, warehouse the energy in inverter and subsequently distribute it in households and offices as the case may be. Ajayi said the girls and the boys needed to be brought back to Silicon Valley to develop their capacity so they could help contribute to the technological advancement of Nigeria. “I spoke with the Deputy Governor of Anambra State. I told him that those girls can change the economy of Anambra State. They’ve already discovered them. “Let them bring them back to Silicon Valley. We will bring them in front of Angel Investors. For them to win that award, they are worth billions of dollars. “That is my advice for Nigeria. The Nigerian and Anambra Governments should monitor the students. Let them bring those girls back, we will repackage them and let us see what God has in stock for them. “Anambra state is the luckiest state in Nigeria right now if they know their (girls and boys) potential, if they know the value of those kids, those are protégées. “If they buy that thing (inventions) for a couple of billions, everybody will shake because they are potential billionaires. I love my country. “I saw those Anambra girls and boys littered all over Nigeria. All they need is opportunities and we have it in Silicon Valley,” she said. The SV-NED chief urged the

federal and state governments to give their own equity contributions for those kids, asking, “who talked about them again?” “But there is something I see about those kids if we utilise their intellectual property positively. “Let’s commend Anambra Government for investing in education and see what the girls and the boys have brought. “Can you beat representing Nigeria and Africa in the Technovation Challenge in Silicon Valley. Their software has the potential of tracking the challenge of fake pharmaceutical products in Nigeria, that’s huge, that’s saving lives. “Can you imagine those are kids. If they are in America, they will be celebrated. “I ‘m praying that Nigeria knows their potential and value of their intellectual property. Those kids “The boys developed a device – Adaptable Alternative Power Supply – for Sub-Saharan Africa, not only Nigeria and then, a noiseless inverter. “To be honest, climate change is real. The heat Nigeria experienced and the destruction caused by storms are effects of climate change. So clean energy is the future,” Ajayi said. She said bringing them to Silicon Valley would ensure investment in their intellectual property through the Angel Investors, adding that the big corporations could buy their intellectual property. Ajayi said Nigeria was very fortunate and commended the initiative of the President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo through various programmes to empower the youth.

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n consonance with duties, the Edo Command of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) said it issued 6,097 international passports to applicants in the first quarter of 2019. The Comptroller of NIS in the state, Kayode Eniolorunda, said this in an interview with reporters in Benin on Saturday. Eniolorunda added that the command also issued 275 ECOWAS Travel Certificates and 12 Combined Expatriate Resident Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC) within the period. According to the comptroller, the command recorded one Regularisation of Stay and Regularisation of Migration with four arrivals and four departures in the quarter. He told reporters that the command had continued to witness tremendous growth and improvement in its responsibilities

Governor Obaseki

with direct bearing on the citizens of the state. He stated that at the moment, it takes only 48 hours to process and produce international passports. According to him, this has led to a significant improvement in passport application. Eniolorunda added that the fight against Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants (SoM) had excelled due to the effective collaboration of the command’s irregular migration section and other stakeholders. He said that the command had observed the presence of unskilled artisans in some strategic areas within the state capital, especially around the various by-passes leading in and out of the state capital. He explained that the command was currently working closely with the Edo Government to redress the situation before it became a menace.


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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

COMPANIES

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

ExxonMobil, other oil firms not leaving Nigeria –Kachikwu M inister of State for Petroleum Resource, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has said that no International Oil Company (ICO) is planning to exit Nigeria contrary to reports in some section of the media. Kachikwu made this known while briefing newsmen after facility tour of ExxonMobil Erha Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessels (FPSO) in Lagos on Sunday. FPSO unit is a floating vessel used by the Offshore oil and gas industry for the production and processing of hydrocarbons for the storage of oil. Erha FPSO has a liquid storage capacity of 2.2 million barrel, making it one of its biggest kind in the world. The Erha field and Erha North satellite field, was completed in 2006. The fields are located approximately 97km offshore Nigeria in water depths ranging from 1,000m to 1,200m. They were developed with an investment of 3.5 billion dollars. He said that it was not possible for a company like ExxonMobil to sell off its assets for the small amount quoted in the report as its assets were much more worth than that. “I have confirmed that it is not true, there are going to be here for a long stay, they will be here over the next 50 years, they are looking for more, they are doing all kinds

L-R Hadiza Lawal, Founder/CEO, Woven Blends; Nkechi ‘Ink’ Eze, Founder & CEO, Asoebi Bella Ltd; Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, Strategic Media Partnerships Manager, Africa, Facebook, and popular comedian, Bright Okpocha aka Basketmouth at the ‘It’s Your Facebook’ pop-up event held in Lagos.

of things, they just begun the exploration campaign first time in four years because of the new cash call policies we put in place. “ That is not a sign of somebody who is exiting. But different

Alleged killing: Senator urges Abuja indigenes to remain calm

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o ensure justice, the Senate Minority Whip, Philip Aduda, has urged protesting indigenes of Abuja to remain calm, while the Senate investigates alleged clash with the military which reportedly led to the death of one person. Aduda, who made the plea in an interview with reporters in Abuja, said the matter was already before the Senate. He said the matter “has to do with the invasion of the military on some farmlands in Tunga Maje, which cost the lives of some of our people. “I have raised the matter before the Senate in plenary and I will continue to talk to the people to be law abiding since I have raised it in senate for justice to be done. “The Senate has asked the Chairman Senate Committee on Defence to immediately move in, get to the military authority and get back to the Senate. “I urge them to remain calm while the committee carries out its assignment and the senate intervenes,” he said. In a separate interview, Senator. Shehu Sani decried that Abuja indigenes had suffered discrimination, marginalisation, violence and dispossession. He called on relevant authorities to wade into the matter, to find

lasting solution that would ensure the protection of the lives of Abuja indigenes. “I promise that I will speak for them on the floor of the Senate. “From what I know, the land in question has been designated as military land. I believe these are issues that can be solved with dialogue. “What needs to be verified is to know if the people have been adequately compensated. “We cannot go about killing our people and complain when South Africans kill Nigerians.” He commended the indigenes for not taking laws into their hands, adding that as an advocate of the people, he would play his part in ensuring justice at all times. “The protest is good, I support the protesters. In fact if I am not in the Senate I would have joined them. “If I was delegated to go and speak with them by the leadership of the Senate, first of all is to identify with the people who have given up their land for us to found a new capital,” he said. A group of people under the aegis of Coalition of Federal Capital(FCT) Indigenous Groups, on Thursday staged a protest at the National Assembly in Abuja over the alleged killing of one Hamza Haruna by security operatives.

from not exiting is to be aggressive. ExxonMobil needs to be more aggressive in terms of development policies,’’ he said He added that ExxonMobil need to be more aggressive with business as Bonga South west was almost on FID, Egina just kicked off and AGip is struggling to get Zabzaba online. “ So, I need to see a very ro-

bust development ,’’ he advised Commenting on the aim of his visit, he said that it was to encourage the company and see the development programmes as well as share in the challenges they were experiencing in their operations. “First is to draw attention to the very complex and complication of operations of FPSOs when we do production off shore.

NMA urges FG to improve health infrastructure, remuneration

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o check mass migration of Nigerian doctors abroadThe Nigerian Medical Association, South South Zone, has advised the Federal Government to improve on the country’s health infrastructure, working conditions and remuneration of doctors to curb mass migration of Nigerian doctors to other countries. The Association stated this in a statement released at the end of the South South Zonal Executive Council Meeting held in Delta state between April 5 and April 7. The statement was signed yesterday in Calabar by the Chairman, NMA South South Zone, Dr Agam Ayuk and its Secretary, Dr Ezoke Epoke of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital. The association described as worrisome that most health facilities across the country were currently short of manpower and qualified skilled personnel, hence the need for the Federal Government to improve health infrastructures across the country. “In the South South Zonal meeting held in Delta state, NMA resolved on many items includ-

ing an urgent need for the Federal Government to address the issue of migration of doctors by improving health infrastructure, working conditions, remuneration and proper placement for all doctors. “NMA also advocated for judicious use of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund towards providing quality and affordable healthcare services to all Nigerians. “NMA strongly appeals to the Federal and State Governments in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals to show commitment in achieving Universal Health Coverage for all Nigerians by 2030. “The Zone implores doctors at all levels especially those in leadership positions to be conversant with the Strategic Health Development Plan II and to actively play their part to see to its successful implementation. “NMA South South zone is also appealing to Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River to approve and implement the 100 per cent Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) for doctors in the state in line with other South South states.

“This is about 100 km from Land, and part of the thing I am doing this month is visiting some of them. Including Egina that is just recently buoyed in different location and the one of Agip. “I am here to look at what they are doing, to encourage them to continue the fantastic work they are doing and also discuss with them what their problems are,’’ he said According to him, the visit is also to draw attention nationally and internationally to the few challenges in operations as complicated as this one. He urged the company to brace up to the challenges in the sector as oil had recently been found in many African countries. Earlier, ExxonMobil Executive Director, Production, Richard Laingcommended the minister for making out time to visit the facility and reiterated that the company had no plans to exit Nigeria. “We are happy with Nigeria, We have our differences, we don’t agree on everything, we are happy and content. We are delighted over the minister’s visit and we are happy that he has come back to his spiritual home. “As the minister said, the corporation has been here for many years, we intend to stay, we have ambitious growth programmes to build wealth and grow business to make more profit, key into the gas commercialisation project. “ We fully support what the minister said and we look forward to working with him,’’ he said . Laing said that the company was being faced with the challenges of competition for capital and expertise in running the business. NCC tasks consumers on protection of telecom infrastructure


WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

COMPANIES

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

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SMEDAN trains 170 youths, women on entrepreneurship

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he Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), has said it has trained 170 youths and women in the area of marketing and entrepreneurship. The State Coordinator, Thaddeus Asochukwu said the training would enable them run successful businesses and remain productive. Asochukwu, stated this yesterday in an interview with the on more plans to train and empower youths in the state. He also stated that the agency would reduce reliance on whitecollar jobs, make them self-reliant, help eradicate poverty, create employment and give people stable means of income. The Coordinator said that the federal government through the agency, sought the development and promotion of Micro Small and Medium Enterprise sector in Nigeria. He said that the agency targeted that the 170 participants would create jobs by themselves and be employers of Labour after the training. He said participants were trained on business management skills, Human resources management, sales and marketing. Other areas are finance and records, team building, entrepreneurship development among other strategies. “The first empowerment is

building their capacity to enable them succeed. “We started in building their capacity on entrepreneurship which is educating them on business success strategy. “The one- week workshop of capacity building and skill acquisition is for 170 participants who will be trained on tailoring, hairdressing, making of liquid soaps, toiletries among other skills,” asochukwu said. According to him, consultants with Michael Jacobs Consulting Limited collaborated with SMEDAN to run the theoretical aspect of the exercise on capacity building. Asochukwu, however assured that participants would be financially empowered to enable them start. He advised participants to advance their knowledge more on capacity building as the one week training would not be enough to impact all the needed skills. He acknowledged the role of passion,which he said was key to basic skill development in achieving success in business. He also advised them to look for a mentor who would advice them, while also attending trainings regularly to improve their capacity. He urged them to visit SMEDAN office in the state for business ideas and other supportive measures that would be given to them.

Mines, steel ministry to redress challenges in metal sector —Spokesman

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he Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) said yesterday that it would explore feasible options to redress all existing challenges facing operators in the metal sector. A statement by Edwin Opara, the ministry’s Director Press, said that the ministry would also assist private metal operators to create the necessary linkages required for rapid development of the sector. According to him, the ministry is organising an all-inclusive stakeholders’ forum to avail metal operators in the South-South and other zones of the country the opportunity to interface with the Federal Government to address the challenges in the sector. He said that the stakeholders’ forum would hold on April 16 and 17 in Asaba and would have as its theme, “Panacea for National Development and Im-

perative for Economic Diversification”. Opara said that all metallurgical operators, chief executives, captains of industry, academia and all metallurgical professionals would participate in the forum. The director of press said that the forum would provide the platform on which to discuss how to reposition the Nigerian metallurgical industry for economic diversification and industrialisation. “The Forum which is the second Nigeria Metallurgical Industry stakeholders event is envisaged to reposition the Nigeria’s metallurgical industry for economic diversification and industrialisation,” he said. Some of the areas that would be discussed at the forum are health safety and environment; sourcing and sustainable development of raw materials; failure analysis; and mechanical testing.

.L-R: Chairman Steering Committee on Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme, Mr. Rabiu Suleiman;Minister of State for Petroleum Recourse , Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; representative of Director of Department of Petroleum Recourse, Mr. Musa Zagia and Programme Manager, Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme, office of the Minister state for petroleum Resources, Mr. Opelamina Derefaka, during a press conference on the journey so far and the next line of action on Gas Flare in Abuja.

Emirates lines up a list of entertainment package for Nigerian travellers

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mirates says it’s offering a growing list of entertainment for Nigerian travellers this April on ice, Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment has of over 4,000 channels of on-demand entertainment. With a diverse mix of African and Nollywood films and music, Nigerian customers can fly better and get a taste of home on every Emirates flight from either Lagos or Abuja. Customers can enjoy the highly celebrated Nollywood movie ‘Lara and the beat’ which was premiered in 2018. The movie starred leading Nollywood actors such as Seyi Shay, Vector, Somkele Iyamah, Wale

Ojo, Sharon Ooja, Shaffy Bello and Uche Jombo, amongst others. They can also look forward to other movies from Nigeria and West Africa such as Not So Perfect, Ghanaian’s Bad luck Joe, Azali, and My Very Ghanaian Wedding, and Cameroon’s ‘Ward Zee and a man for the weekend’. Amongst its wide music offering, customers can look forward to Nigerian and African beats including Davido’s Son of MercyEP, Burna Boy’s Outside, King Aiyeoba’s 1000 can die, Wizkid and Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s playlists, amongst others. Ensuring passengers’ comfort on board its flights, Emir-

ates now offers passengers the choice to make their entertainment playlist before they fly. To create the ultimate ice playlist, the traveller can use the Emirates app, see what’s playing on their flight, and create a playlist. On select Boeing 777s, the passengers can then pair with the seat back screen using onboard WiFi, follow the syncing process, and then sit back and enjoy their bespoke playlist. The syncing capability is currently available on over 100 Emirates Boeing 777 aircraft and will be made available progressively across the entire fleet, including A380 aircraft in the coming months.


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NASS Leadership: Loyal party members should be considered — Analyst A

Political analyst, Wale Ogunade yesterday said that loyal party members should be considered for appointments into the National Assembly leadership and other committees. Ogunade, also the President, Voters Awareness Initiative, gave the advice in Lagos. According to him, appointing members based on their loyalty to the party is one of the ways the 9th Assembly can perform better than the previous ones. “What is going on at the National Assembly is a very bad precedence set by Bukola Saraki in 2015 and I hope the wise ones among the legislators will not follow such example. “All the members of the NASS came on a platform of a party and there is what we call ‘party supremacy’. “If a political party fights and win an election and there are positions to be occupied, the party has the right to determine who gets what position. That to me is not an act of imposition as people are calling it. “These people have been elected on the platform of the party and the party knows that if the wrong person gets the leadership positions, they may disrupt the progress of the party,” he said. “And I’m sure the party will not forget in a hurry, their experience in 2015 with Saraki and Dogara. “These people were members of the APC in name, but PDP members in soul, thus not full-fledged APC members. And they really frustrated the activities of the government. “So the party needs to put its house in order to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2015. “Rather than imposition, it’s about party loyalty. Those that are loyal to the party should be given leadership positions in the parliament.”

.From left: Sen. ABUBAKAR KYARI Borno South , Chief of Defence staff, Maj Gen Abayomi G. Olonishakin , Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu Senator Abia North ,Senator Uche Uche Ekwunife Anambra Central and Senator Betty Apiafi Ahaoda East at the ongoing induction for Senators (elect) in Abuja at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.

Ogunade added: “Loyalty matters in situations like this because these are offices and positions that you need people who really believe in the party, not those who will go and form alliances with opposition in order to win. “Once that happens, their loyalty is divided and they will become a clog in the wheel of good governance. “So, the party has a right to determine the leaders of NASS so that they can work in synergy with the executive arm of government to deliver the dividends of democracy,” he said.

Sokoto chapter okays leadership of APC National Vice Chairman

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he Sokoto State Executive Committee of All Progressives Congress (APC) has passed a vote of no confidence on the party’s National Vice Chairman, North West, Malam Inuwa Abdulkadir. A statement signed by the state’s APC Chairman, Alhaji Bello Danchadi disclosed this yesterday in Sokoto. Danchadi said the decision was taken after a meeting in Sokoto “The executive committees of the party and their chairmen in the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state as well as elected national and state House of Assembly members under APC umbrella made the decision during a meeting in Sokoto. ” The committee members condemned the actions of the National Vice Chairman in

charge of the zone, Malam Inuwa Abdulkadir, and unanimously passed a vote of no confidence on him, sequel to sustained and flagrant anti party activities. ” The party regretted that, Abdulkadir has continued to romance and openly work for the opposition party, rather than his supposed party, the APC. ”The leaders of the party have therefore called on the lational leadership of the APC to urgently do the needful, take all the necessary steps to remove Abdulkadir from office,” he said. According to him, the APC committee also passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of Sen. Aliyu Wamakko (APC-Sokoto) in the state. Danchadi expressed reservation over acts of intimidation against civil servants perceived to be sympathetic to the APC by the State Government.

Saraki, Dogara mourn Justice Nasir

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he President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara have expressed sadness over the death of former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mamman Nasir. Saraki in statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, on Saturday, described the late justice as an eminent jurist, who contributed immensely to national development. He said the legacies of Nasir, which were replete in his copious rulings and judgements on the many cases he presided upon, would remain a guiding light and source of inspiration to members of the bench and bar for a long time. “Justice Mamman Nasir was a fearless and hardworking jurist, who approached every assignment with firmness and patriotism.

Justice Mamman Nasir

“He contributed immensely to the development of the judiciary in particular and the nation in general. We shall all miss him. “He looked very strong when I presented his award to him at the inaugural annual awards ceremony of the Body of Benchers. “Nobody could see him that day and predict that he was in his last days. But Allah knows best,” Saraki said. The President of the Senate commiserated with the immediate family of the deceased, the judiciary, and the government and people of Katsina State over the sad and irreparable loss. He prayed “Allah to grant the departed soul a place among the righteous ones in Aljannah firdaus and his family and loved ones the fortitude to bear the loss.” In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and

Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan in Abuja, Dogara described Nasir as a legal icon. He said Nasir was a courageous jurist who served the country meritoriously and contributed immensely to the development of the law and independence of the judiciary. The lawmaker said Nasir, the Galadima of Katsina played major roles in stabilising Nigeria at various times during periods of difficulty and uncertainty. According to Dogara, his contribution to the overall development of Nigeria will be remembered as one of his legacies. The speaker noted that Nasir’s death came at a time his wisdom, wealth of experience and fatherly guidance were most needed, not only in his home state, Katsina, but in Nigeria at large. “Nigeria has indeed lost a great and courageous man who exhibited good character and served his country with dignity and integrity. “His death will surely leave a huge vacuum that will be difficult to fill,” dogara said. The speaker condoled with the government and people of Katsina State as well as Katsina Emirate Council and prayed God to grant his soul eternal rest and his immediate family, the fortitude to bear the loss. The late Nasir, former president of the Court of Appeal and the District Head of Malumfashi in Katsina State, born in 1929, reportedly died at the Federal Medical Centre, Katsina.


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Supplementary Poll: Calm in Rivers 4 LGAs – Police

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o crisis as INEC holds Rivers supplementary polls-Police The Rivers Police Command have said that there is calm in the four Local Government Areas of the state where Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is conducting the State Constituency Assembly supplementary election. The Command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed this in an interview in Port Harcourt. “There is calm in the four LGAs; there is no report of any incidence for now. “Police personnel and officers from sister security agencies are on ground to ensure that the election is conducted in a peaceful atmosphere,” he said. INEC, Head of Voter Education and Publicity in Rivers, Edwin Enabor, said that senior officials of the commission were going round to monitor the election. “The election is ongoing, and there is no case of violence incidence for now; we are keenly monitoring the process,” he said. Enabor said that supplementary election was going on in all the units of Abua/Odual and Gokana LGAs, but in Ahoada-West and Opobo/Nkoro LGAs, the election was being conducted only in the affected units. He explained that in Opobo/ Nkoro and Ahoada-West, results were collated during the general elections but the margin of lead in the two constituencies was less

Voters queueing at one of the polling unit during the ongoing Supplementary election on Saturday than the number of voters in some units. Enabor said that the supplementary election was holding in the affected units to ”determine the winner in the two constituen-

cies.” The INEC head of voter education and publicity said that voting would end by 2p.m except in areas were challenges would be encountered.

INEC visits family of late ad hoc staff in Rivers

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he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said its delegation had paid a condolence visit to the family of the late Miss Ibisaki Amachree. Amachree, an INEC ad hoc staff was shot and killed during the February 23 Presidential Election in Rivers.

The Commission in a notice on its official facebook page on Saturday, said that the delegation was led by the Electoral Officer, Degema LGA , Patrick Uzoka .The visit took place a few days after the unfortunate incident. It noted that Uzoka commiserated with and presented a

token to her family on behalf of the Commission. It disclosed that Uzoka was accompanied by the Head, Servicom, Augustine Okogbule. Amachree, was reported to have been hit by a bullet while returning from election duty in Degema. She was buried on Saturday, March 30 at the Port Harcourt cemetery.

Bauchi governor-elect hires 65 lawyers to defend mandate

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he Bauchi State Governor-elect, Sen. Bala Muhammed said he was optimistic that the petition of outgoing governor, Muhammed Abubakar, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), challenging his victory at the tribunal, would fail. Muhammed, who is of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), told newsmen in Bauchi on Saturday that no fewer than 65 lawyers, five of them Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), would defend the mandate given to him by the people of the state.

He, however, said that the decision of the APC to challenge his victory at the tribunal was a normal course of action backed by the Electoral Act. “We have not been served yet; once we are served and we see the details, we are going to respond. “We are also going to have our lawyers, about five Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), 10 other senior lawyers and about 50 Bauchi indigenous lawyers of conscience. “They will see to it that the pe-

tition at tribunal is dead on arrival because of the endorsement of people of conscience from Bauchi State,” Muhammed said. He reiterated his pledge to conduct council polls in the state to enable the third tier of government operate independently. “My intention is to make local government councils independent and functional, just like in the past,” he said. Muhammed also promised that his administration would effectively engage the people of the state and make them useful, irrespective of their level of education.

Palm Sunday: Clerics counsel Christians on love, unity

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ev. Cannon Okey Obodozie of the Saint Mary’s Anglican Church,Lagos, has urged Christians to show love to one another and live in unity as exhibited by Jesus Christ. Obodozie, in an interview with reporters in Lagos, urged Nigerians to reconcile themselves with God and their neighbours during and after Lent. According to him, Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the Holy Week, adding that Jesus Christ’s display of humility and selfless service when he died on the cross is for the salvation of mankind. “Palm Sunday is the beginning of the most holy of the sublime week of the Christendom, because it contains the three most important days in the life of the church. “Palm Sunday introduces Holy Thursday, institution of priesthood; institution of the Eucharist the body of Christ, Good Friday is the suffering; Jesus Christ died and resurrected on Sunday, Easter. “During the Lenten period, we have been emphasising intensive prayers and if any nation needs prayers, Nigeria should be one of them. “We are going through stress, hence prayers against bribery, corruption, inordinate ambition, and so many things bedeviling the nation. “So, lent is not just to pray, but to fast, fasting is not just to punish ourselves from not eating, but the things you saved from fasting,

should be given to the poor. “Unfortunately, I don’t think that many know the true meaning of fasting, when you give, your right hand should not know what your left hand is doing,’’ he said. Cherubim and Seraphim Movement leader Edward Onyejiuba told reporters that when Nigerians allowed Christ to reign in their lives, the challenges facing the country would be a thing of the past. “Palm Sunday is used to mark the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem as a king; Jesus Christ should reign in the lives of everybody even in our nation. “If we honour Him and allow Him to ride on us as asses, surely, the will of God will be done in our lives,’’ he said. Rev. Fr Stephen Akinsowon, Parish Priest, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Ikeja, Lagos, said that Nigeria would be greater if Nigerians renewed their relationship with God. “Nigeria is a great country with great people, but Nigeria will be greater if we reconnect and renew our relationship with our God and our neighbors. “It is important for us to use this period to reflect on our past and see how we can be better engaged for the future. “God loves Nigerians and we cannot afford to misuse the opportunity he has given to us to be transformers of our own society,’’ he said.


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Buhari pledges to sustain investments in education for better development

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resident Muhammadu Buhari has expressed commitment to sustaining meaningful investments in the education sector. Buhari gave the assurance at the 35th to 37th combined convocation of the Usmanu Dan fodiyo University, Sokoto, on Saturday.

The President has also urged graduates across the country to queue into national building initiatives. He urged managements of universities to evolve measures toward improving the welfare of their staff and students. The President, who was rep-

resented by the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwuka, described the strike by staff as detrimental to academic and manpower development in the country. He urged the unions to be considerate as his government was not unaware of their problems

.L – R: Mr. Mukul Mathur, Country Head, Olam Nigeria Limited presenting an award to Hon. Olusola Fatoba, Warehouse Manager and Mrs. Oluwakemi Fatoba for his 25years of meritorious service to the company at the Long Service Award ceremony which took place in Lagos, Photo; SUNDAY ADESANYA.

FRC expresses satisfaction with Lagos-Ibadan rail project

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lated members of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) have said that the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project has met the agency’s mandate of ensuring value for money and expected to be completed according to standards. Director of the Audit Department, FRC, Ibrahim Dauda made the assertion during an inspection conducted by the agency’s team on the project in Lagos. The FRC’s inspection of the Nigerian Railway Modernisation Project focuses on the Lagos-Ibadan section with extension to Apapa Port. According to him, the project has substantially met the criteria for transparency and accountability in the management of the funds. “The team have been to the site of the ongoing construction of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line which passes through Abeokuta. “From the briefing we have received and seen on the site, the project will be substantially completed and delivered. “We are happy that the Federal Government has always been meeting up with its funding and the China Eximbank has been up too. Their commitment has assisted in the project. “The Fiscal Responsibility Com-

mission has the mandate to ensure that all projects promote prudent and transparent fiscal management in the country. “This means ensuring that all projects have value for money, they are completed according to standards, transparency and accountability, particularly in the management of funds. Dauda commended the government on efforts taken so far in ensuring the project became a reality. “We can say that this project has met substantially that criteria. So, it is going to be to the benefit of the country that this project is completed as envisaged. That is, it goes beyond Ibadan,’’ the auditor added. Also, Chukwudum Ugonabo, the Resident Engineer, Ministry of Transport, said that the Federal Government had always released funds as and when due for the project. Ugonabo said that the contract which has a completion period of 36 months would come to an end in May 2020 and was broken into stages to achieve the deadline target on time. He said the consultants had promised the minister that the project would be delivered on time. Project Manager, China Civil Engineering Construction Compa-

ny (CCECC), Leonardo Portanova, while receiving the team, said the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail double track project might be completed even be before the deadline. Portanova said the LagosIbadan standard gauge rail double track had reached a little bit above 60 per cent level of completion. He also said that the construction had gone beyond the initial 65 to 75 kilometres out of the total 156 kilometers, starting from the Apapa Port as cargo handling operation to Iju-Agbado, introduced as a new station and to PapalantoAbeokuta. He said: “All indications are showing that if things go as it should, we should be able to complete the project even before the completion date. “Construction on the LagosIbadan standard gauge rail double track has advanced from the 65 kilometer to 75 kilometer distance. The consultant also said that the railway modernisation project would be stretched from Abeokuta to Ibadan by the end of June. Contributing, the Deputy Project Manager, CCECC, Loutfi Saad, said that 10 stations were designed along the entire corridor from Apapa Port complex to Ibadan and were classified according to the nature of the operations.

and would not leave any stones unturned in addressing them. The president congratulated the graduates and enjoined them to be good ambassadors of the institution and the country. He further thanked Nigerians for renewing his mandate and giving his party the majority in the National Assembly and assured that they he would continue with the good works started and improve on them. Also, the Pro-chancellor of the university, Justice Pearl Enejere, congratulated the President for his re-election, which she said was as a result of his proven integrity and sincerity of purposes. She said the university would continue to be active on the formulation and implementation of his government’s policies. She, however, noted that the institution was left behind in terms of infrastructure and internally generated revenue as a result of which they could not maintain their infrastructure among others. The Pro-Chancellor urged the management of the university to find ways of improving their internally generated revenue. In his presentation, the Chancellor of the University and Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu thanked the Federal Government for providing additional projects in the university. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, said 12, 282 students graduated within the period out of which 135 were Ph.D holders, 770 Masters degress and 10,034 obtained first degrees among others. Zuru said that 121 bagged first class digrees, including a first female student to bag first class in Physics, Zainab Abdullahi, who hailed from Katsina State. The Vice-Chancellor explained

that 109 students would also receive various prizes based on their excellent performances. He said 2,375 graduants obtained Second Class Upper Degrees, 6,603 Second Class Lower, 1,556 Third Class, while 347 were on unclassified degree categories. The VC said a total of 4,548 undergraduates passed out in 2015/2016, 4,166 in 2016/2017 and 2,280 in 2017/2018 graduating years. Zuru explained that the university recorded achievements on establishment of modern urology centre, new faculty of agriculture and modern communication support centre among others. Three eminent Nigerians were conferred with Honorary Doctorate Degrees: Business Mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Iliyasu Bashar and Sheikh Mujtaba Isa-Talatan Mafara. Bashar received honourary in Law (D. LLD) and Isa-Talatan Marafa Letters (D.Litts) Honoris Causa while Dangote’s was deferred to receive Doctorates on Science (D.Sc), Also, two distinguished retirees, who had dedicated their entire working career to the service of UDUS and the nation at large were conferred with Emeritus status. The beneficiaries were Dr Zayyanu Abdullahi, the Emir of Yauri in Kebbi state as Chancellor Emeritus and Prof. Tijjani Bande, the Permanent Representative to the United Nation as Professor Emeritus. The event was attended by Governors of Sokoto and Kebbi States, Aminu Tambuwal and Abubakar Bagudu, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, among others.

NPA donates food, other items to Bakassi refugees

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n a rare display of hospitality , the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) yesterday donated food items to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Akpabuyo Camp, Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River. The Calabar Port Manager, Mrs Olufumilayo Olotu, made the donation on behalf of the Managing Director of NPA, Mrs Adiza Usman. Presenting the items, Olotu said it was part of NPA’s community relations and social responsibilities to the host communities. Item donated were rice, beans, garri, tubers yam, Indomie noodles, eggs, toiletries, diapers, detergent, tissues, salt and sachet water. The port manager said the items were worth over N800,000 She said that the NPA was moved by the dilapidated living condition of the Bakassi returnees in the camp and felt there was the need to extend a hand of fellowship to them. “When we came here last time, we saw the terrible condition in

which they existed and the management felt there was need to help in our own little way. “Nothing is too much and nothing is too small. It is our own way of encouraging them and identifying with their deplorable conditions. “This is also part of our social responsibility and community relations with NPA host communities. “We have renovated schools and hospitals and rendered social services in various parts of Calabar and we will continue to do more in this regard, ‘’ Olotu said. She gave the assurance that the gesture would go round other camps in Bakassi Local Government Area. Responding on behalf of the IDPs, the Chairman of the camp, Mr Okon Effiong, appreciated the NPA management for the gesture. “We thank you so much for your support and for fulfilling your promise made last year when you visited us. You have proved to us that you care and we are grateful, ‘’ he said.


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NTIC urges FG to dredge Ogun-Osun river basin

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he Nigeria Tulip International College (NTIC), Ogun Chapter, has urged the Federal Government to direct the immediate dredging of the Ogun-Osun River Basin to accommodate more water and prevent flooding of areas around the dam. Vice -Principal of the College, Olayinka Aderoju, made the plea in an interview with reporters in Lagos. Aderoju said that there was need to dredge the dam before June/July when the rain would become more intense and the dam would be forced open, hence flooding. “The Federal Government should immediately direct the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority, a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in charge of dredging the dam to do the work. “The Oyan Dam, on the Ogun river basin is responsible for about 60 to 75 per cent of water that flows around the school vicinity towards Abeokuta. “The dam is usually full anytime from June/July and by October, if the rain does not subside, the authority of the dam will be forced to open it. “As soon as the dam is opened, it flows along waters in other tributaries and flood the area towards the lagoon, including NTIC, Opic and Isheri, ” he said. Aderoju said the school and its academic calendar was adversely

affected by the flood and at most seasons could not operate during the raining period. He said the school was always in touch with the River Basin authority as from June/July to know the level of the water and if it had reached the gauge at which the dam would be opened. “Once there is a notice to the stakeholders within the area that the dam will be opened, we inform our parents weeks ahead if there will be need to evacuate their children. “We plan our activities with the water level and weather forecast from NIMET, ” he said. The vice-principal said although the problem had been addressed to a large extent, unlike in 2016, 2012 and 2010 when residents of the area had to be evacuated, there was need to still intensify efforts. He, however, lauded the Lagos and Ogun state governments for their intervention to ensure that the authorities of the basin began to release the water gradually before the dam was full. “With the intervention, there is enough space for the authorities to accommodate more water at least for a month before the dam is full and they will be forced to open it,” he said. The Nigeria Tulip International College was formerly known as the Nigeria Turkish International College before it changed its nomenclature.

.L-R: Member, Oraukwu Grammar School Old Boys Association, Anambra State, Sir Zita C. J. Okeke; Coordinator, Mr. Akachukwu Ezeobeke; National Vice President, Anthony Obiora Chukwuka; National President, Chief Barr. Vincent Ananti and Member, Mr. Enendu Ojukwu, during the Press Conference on the forth coming 60th Years Celebration of the Grammar School Old Boys Association in Lagos.

Sahara energy has no outstanding loan with UBA —Management

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iting misinformation, the of Sahara Energy Resource Ltd., has disclosed that the company has no outstanding facilities with the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), contrary to media reports sourced from a petition filed by UBA. Sahara Group management said on its website on Saturday that it has instructed its lawyers

Chibok Girls: There is still hope for their return – Buhari

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resident Muhammadu Buhari yesterday promised to ensure the release of Leah Sharibu and the remaining Chibok girls in captivity of Boko Haram remains valid and will be fulfilled. The President renewed the pledge in a message by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, to mark the fifth anniversary of the abduction of the Chibok girls. About 210 school girls of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State were kidnapped on April 14, 2014, with 107 of them later released following successful negotiations between the Buhari administration and the abductors. Buhari had promised the parents of the kidnapped girls when he met them at the beginning of his first term as president, that he would ensure their daughters returned home. The President acknowledged that it was this promise that made the people of Chibok vote for him overwhelmingly in the February presidential election. He said that though his government had so far succeeded in securing the release of 107 of the girls, ”it will not rest until the remaining are reunited with their families”. The President assured the parents of the girls that his administration is still on the matter. ”Diverse efforts are being intensi-

fied to secure the release of the Chibok Girls, along with all hostages in Boko Haram captivity, including Leah Sharibu, who was kidnapped from her school – Science Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State, on Feb. 19, 2018. ”On Leah Sharibu’s abduction, the interlocutors have reported encouraging progress so far. ”The report reaching us says her return to her family has unfortunately been hindered by the fear of the militants. ”They worry that heavy military presence in areas where they previously moved about freely could affect their safety after they return her to the government. ”At the same time, the military cannot jeopardise the security of the entire north-eastern region by halting their operations to accommodate Boko Haram’s fears,” he added. According to him, Leah Sharibu will be reunited with her family as soon as any conclusions are reached on a number of options being considered for her safe transportation. “The success of the Nigerian military in subduing Boko Haram is evidenced by the large numbers of militants who have surrendered recently, especially in neighbouring Cameroon and Niger. “A similar mass surrender of militants is expected to happen soon in

Nigeria. “While Nigerian military operations are ongoing, the government is also engaging with the militants but the talks have been affected by the factionalisation of Boko Haram – with one group adopting a hard line posture and intensifying attacks on Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad, and another group engaging with the government for peaceful resolution,” he said.

Chibok Girls

to take necessary steps to ensure UBA’s petition is dismissed. UBA Plc had filed a petition against Sahara Energy Resource Ltd at a Federal High Court in Lagos asking for an order to take over and wind down the operations of the oil firm over a N15 billion debt. UBA said Sahara Energy stood as a guarantor for KEPCO Energy Resources Ltd., to access a loan of 35 million dollars in August 2013, which it has not been able to pay back. “We assure our esteemed clients, bankers, suppliers, stakeholders and the general public that SERL and its legal team are taking all lawful steps to ensure that SERL interest is vigorously defended. “And SERL has implicit confidence in the Nigerian judiciary to resolve the matter and dispense justice between the parties.

“The attention of Sahara Energy Resource Ltd (SERL) Nigeria and the entire Sahara Group have been drawn to a publication in the media made by United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA). “And their counsel pursuant to the ex parte order made by Justice Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, in the Suit No. FHC/L/CP/387/19 pursuant to a winding up petition in Suit No. FHC/L/CP/387/19,’’ the statement said. The statement said that Sahara was not indebted to UBA, has no outstanding facilities with UBA nor did it borrow any money from UBA in any loan transaction that is the subject matter of either the civil petition (FHC/L/CP/387/19) or the civil summons (FHC/L/CS/387/19 as advertised) that formed the subject of the ex parte order. The company said SERL did not grant a direct guarantee to UBA on any loan transaction that UBA could unilaterally enforce or sue on. It said that SERL and one of its affiliate companies, NG Power-HPS Ltd., sued UBA in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/236/19 at the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Feb. 13, 2019, claiming a number of declarative and injunctive remedies relating to unorthodox methods employed by UBA in relation to its dealings with the plaintiffs. The company said UBA, on March 12, 2019 sued New Electricity Distribution Company Limited and SERL along with two other institutions, First Trustees Ltd and Ecobank Capital Ltd. SERL said FHC/L/ CS/382/2019, by way of Originating Summons, claiming certain declarations and injunctions to which it had filed full and comprehensive response.


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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

NEWS

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

NCC tasks telecoms consumers on infrastructure protection

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he Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has again enjoined telecoms consumers and other stakeholders to join hands with the Commission towards protecting telecom infrastructure for improved telecoms service delivery to them. The Commission made the call during a sensitisation programme on the protection of telecoms infrastructure in Okene Kogi State recently, urging all stakeholders, including traditional rulers, and individuals to collectively protect telecoms infrastructure in their communities. While addressing an audience of telecoms consumers at the event, the Director Zonal Operations, NCC, Mrs. Amina Shehu, said concerted efforts of all stakeholders were needed to protect telecoms infrastructure. Shehu, who was represented by a Principal Manager in the Zonal Operations Directorate, Mr. Ekisola Oladisun, said that if the Quality of service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) enjoyed by the consumers are to be improved upon, the consumers needed to play a role by joining hands in protecting telecoms infrastructure such as base transceiver stations (BTS) and fibre optic cables located in their vicinities.

While noting that Nigeria has, over the years, recorded tremendous growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) following the liberalisation of the telecoms industry in 2001, Shehu, however, lamented that there are various changes facing optimum protection for telecoms infrastructure, which , in turn, hinder delivery highly improved services to the consumers by the mobile networks. The challenges, according to her, include vandalism, theft of telecoms site equipment’s and harassment and intimidation of telecoms site engineers, indiscriminate shutdown of telecoms facilities by government agencies, right of way (RoW) issues among others. According to Shehu, “It is important to note that the spate of vandalism of telecoms infrastructure across the country has resulted in cases of poor quality of service which telecoms consumers complain about.” She added that it was on the basis of these realities, that the Commission has organised the workshop in order to educate consumers on the imperative of protecting telecoms infrastructure, which has become the backbone for the entire economy, stressing that “we need to collectively protect telecoms infrastructure in our

Prof. Umar Danbatta

communities to prevent decline in quality of service on the networks of our service providers.” Speaking in the same vein, an official in the Technical Standards and Network Integrity (TSNI) Directorate, NCC, Mr. Musa Daibu, said the Commission and other

stakeholders were pushing for the passing into law of a bill on Critical National Infrastructure, which, if passed into law, will help to further improve telecoms infrastructure protection, as it will classify telecoms infrastructure as national assets.

The forum provided opportunity for telecoms consumers to ask questions on various aspects of telecomm service delivery with the Commission’s officials providing appropriate responses to issues raised to the satisfaction of the consumers.

IBEDC, NSE partner on educational Group wants govt to tackle poverty, social exclusion, development political instability

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he Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) yesterday revealed that it sponsored the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Ibadan branch quiz competition for secondary schools as part of its corporate responsibility. This, it said, was part of its collaboration with the United States Agency for African Development (USAID). IBEDC’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr John Ayodele, made the disclosure on Saturday in Lagos. He said that the quiz competition formed a core part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Ayodele said that the initiative was focused on educational development for students, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). He said it was a good platform to promote and encourage students in the engineering field. “We must give the future generation some level of mentorship to aid continuity of this profession. As a corporate body, IBEDC is very passionate about the educational sector which is why we take this quiz competition seriously. “Unlike entertainment programmes where winners get millions of Naira as cash prizes, we must inculcate the virtue of this

industry and promote young and intelligent minds. “I want to encourage and express to every student here to give their best and always remember that this is a quiz competition, everyone here is already a winner,” he said in a company’s statement by Mr Ade Ayileka. Ayodele said that the quiz competition had students from Oritamefa Baptist Model College, Total Garden, Oladipo Alayande School of Science, Oke Bola, Loyola College, Old Ife Road and Command Day Secondary School, Odogbo Cantonment. “Bishop Philip Academy, Iwo Road and Adelayo Academy, Wakajaya Iyana Church, participated in five rounds of the quiz questions in English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics subjects. “These six selected schools emerged from pre-competition comprising 36 schools, following a grueling seven rounds, while Oritamefa Baptist Model School emerged winner of the competition. “Command Day Secondary School and Oladipo Alayande School of Science came 2nd and 3rd respectively,” he said. Also, Mrs Angela Olanrewaju, Head, Branding and Corporate

Communication, IBEDC, said it was an opportunity to groom young people into the field of sciences which was critical to the development of Nigeria. Olanrewaju said the prizes to be won included a desktop, textbooks and teaching aids for the winner, desktop and textbooks for the second place and teaching aid and textbooks for the third place. Textbooks were given as consolation prizes for other schools as well as IBEDC branded gift items for all participants. According to her, these prizes will directly impact on the lives of the children and prizes will be improved on from here on to encourage more schools to participate. Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of the NSE, Mr Adedamola Falade-Fatila, said the quiz was an annual competition and had become a pet project of the Ibadan branch of the association. “The idea is to encourage students to cultivate interests in the science and technology fields. We started this initiative in 2018 with fewer schools and less support. But thankfully, we found partners who share our vision. “That is why we really appreciate the IBEDC for coming on board to sponsor this year’s competition,” he said.

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Non-governmental Organisation, the Nigerian Social Contract, has called on government at all levels to work towards overcoming poverty, social exclusion and political instability in the country. The group made the call at a programme tagged “The Nigerian Social Contract and Stakeholders Engagement” organised by the Omudodu Youth Foundation (a.k.a Ourmumudondo Movement) in Owerri on Saturday. The National Coordinator of the group, Charles Oputa, said that time had come for Nigerians to take the bull by the horn by invoving themselves in political governance for enhanced development. He said that his group had outlined various actions which political leadership in Nigeria should imbibe to overcome pervasive poverty, social exclusion and political instability. “Nigeria is fracturing under the weight of structural contradictions as members of different groups contend against one another on allegations of marginalisation and oppression. “Self-determination, regional autonomy or restructuring have become the new language of those protesting against public governance that spoils and impoverishes the citizenry. “These structural contradictions in Nigerian politics is framed as a

“nationality question”. “Nigerians have lost the sense of belonging to a common nation that protects their security and welfare as Nigerians. There is a crying to address the nationality question,” he said. Oputa said there was an urgent need to mainstream the “centrality of effective citizenship as a solution to the crisis of identity in Nigeria.” He said that Nigeria’s efforts at governance had not positively transformed its huge human and naturaL resources to prosperity, freedom and peace for the Nigerian citizens and residents and called for a change of action. The Ourmumudondo coordinator urged the South East governors to rise up to the challenges of good governance or face stiff opposition from the group. The Consultant to the group, Dr Sam Amadi said that the “Contract” was a set of commitment among Nigerian citizens, citizens groups, government institutions and public officials to utilize the resources of public offices in Nigeria to drive economic and social welfare of the Nigerian people. “The Nigerian social contract is a strategic initiative to cure the democracy and development deficits of public leadership in Nigeria through increasing citizens bargaining power in political negotiation,” he said.


WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

SPORTS

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

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‘Nigeria ready to host Zone 3 Volleyball Championships’ T he Zone 3 President, Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB), Paul Atchoe yesterday said that Nigeria was ready to stage the 3rd CAVB Club Championships scheduled to hold in Lagos. Atchoe told reporters that four countries with 11 teams would compete for honours at the competition billed for the University of Lagos, Akoka Volleyball Hall from April 14 to April 18. “We are happy that Nigeria has taking up the responsibility to organise the competition which promises to be exciting and very competitive. “Already we have the teams from three other countries, Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic ready to battle for the championships’ title. “The essence of this competition is to bring member states together and get them busy and also to create more awareness for the development of the sport. “We also intend to use the competition as qualifications to pick the best two teams for the CAVB Africa Championships’ coming up later in the year,’’ Atchoe said. He added that Nigeria was hosting the competition for the second time and was proud of the passion shown by the country’s

Volleyball Federation to stage another event. “This will be Nigeria’s opportunity for hosting the competition second time out because they have shown the big brother character of always coming to our rescue. “The championships first held in 2015 in Cote D’Ivoire but due to financial constraints could not be hosted by any member country until Nigeria came to help out last year. “We want to keep volleyball very active in our zone because we know we have abundant talents ready to draw the positive attention for the sport. “We want to use the competition to develop our youths and create awareness for the sport in Zone 3, this is why as member countries we task ourselves on organising events,’’ Atchoe said. Similarly, Prof. Babatunde Morakinyo, the Chairman Local Organising Committee, said that Nigeria was ready to host the competition. “We are ready to host the competition as regards security, medicals, accommodations, food and every other logistics necessary for the success of the championships. “We want to use the opportu-

Nigerian Female Volleyball team in action

nity to appeal to corporate companies to key into the initiative and help to develop volleyball in Nigeria and in the zone,’’ Morakinyo said.

No court stopped us from working, says NBBF boss

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actional President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Musa Kida, has disclosed there is no court injunction restraining him and his board from carrying out any activity in the name of NBBF. Kida said this in an interview with reporters following reports that his board had no right to organise the just-concluded 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the federation held in Abuja on Saturday (April 13). “There is no court injunction stopping us from doing anything, what you see in the press is the figment of some people who sit down and begin to misinterpret the decision of the court,” he said. It would be recalled that one El Hassan Auwalu and Abdullahi Bello had in 2017 joined the Minister of Sports Solomon Dalung, Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC) and the NBBF as defendants in a suit challenging the authenticity of the election which brought Kida as president. The NOC and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development were dragged into the matter having participated in the election as observers. But a Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice B.O. Quadri later struck out the case, saying that the suit would amount to merely an academic exercise since the matter was already before the Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA), which the NBBF is an affiliate, in addition to its membership of the NOC. In a related issue, Justice A.I.

Chikere of Federal High Court in Abuja, had in an order of interlocutory injunction granted on March 18, 2019, restrained both factions of NBBF led by Kida and Tijani Umar from parading themselves as head of the federation until the case filed before it by boards of Kwese Premier League and two clubs — Gombe Bulls and Kwara Falcons Basketball Clubs, is resolved. The teams which are winners and runners up of the 2018 Kwese Premier Basketball League are challenging the NBBF’s plan to organise an “abridged” Premier Basketball League for the purpose of selecting the country’s representatives in the 2018/2019 Africa Basketball League, the FIBA Africa champion clubs tournament. However, Kida explained that it was not correct to say that there was an order of the court preventing his board from performing its duties after the court struck out the matter. “At the beginning of our tenure, Auwalu sued the Ministry of Sports and the minister in person before the election of June 13, 2017 that brought us, trying to stop it from holding. “After our election, Auwalu in his suit also joined us individually and collectively in the NBBF for the court to rule that we are not a board or we should not be the NBBF. “What has happened in the last two weeks is that the court has struck it out and has said that we are the NBBF board elected on June 13, so, we challenge those misinterpreting the court ruling to prove that there is a court injunc-

tion stopping us from working. “We have analysed it very well and we have made public statements and we abide by that because we are law abiding people,” he said. Kida also explained that the Kwese league management which claimed it had an order of court stopping his board from running the NBBF, had no relationship whatsoever with the federation and wondered why it was attaching itself where it does not belong. He said: “How can the Kwese League management which was formed amorphously without any legal backing or legal standing issue an order on NBBF that it has no relationship with whatsoever, claiming it has served us a court order?

Raheem Sterling

Sterling double helps Manchester City beat Palace, top table

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anchester City forward Raheem Sterling struck twice as the Premier League champions beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at Selhurst Park on Sunday. The victory took City on top of the table and heap pressure on title rivals Liverpool. Victory left City on 83 points from 33 matches, one point above Liverpool although the Merseyside club can leapfrog Pep Guardiola’s team with a win over third-placed Chelsea on Sunday. The victory was the ninth straight win for City in the Premier League. Having missed an easy chance early on, Sterling put City ahead in the 15th minute when he ran on to Kevin De Bruyne’s inch-perfect

pass from behind the halfway line. The England international added a second for his 17th league goal of the season after the break. He met Leroy Sane’s first-time cross into the box with a calm leftfooted finish that wrong-footed Guaita as it rolled in. Palace ensured an entertaining finish to the contest when Luka Milivojevic scored from a free kick with nine minutes to go after midfielder James McArthur was brought down on the edge of the penalty area. City, however, sealed the deal with their third of the match as De Bruyne latched on to a poor pass from defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka. He then fed substitute Gabriel Jesus who finished emphatically. “We controlled the ball really well but one moment in the game and they are back in it. “But we responded again and got the third goal,” said Sterling, who added his belief that the title race will go down to the wire. “100 percent the way Liverpool have been playing. It will go down to the wire. I don’t see us slowing down now. “Liverpool have a great squad, great self-belief, but so do we,” said the former Liverpool forward. Pep Guardiola’s side now face a crucial ten days starting with a home game against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday in their Champions League quarter-final second leg match. They trail 0-1 from the opening game. City will play Spurs at the Etihad again, in the league, on Saturday before the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on April 24.


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MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

Cathedral Church of Christ, (Anglican Communion), Diocese of Lagos, in procession to mark the celebration of Palm Sunday, in Lagos on 14/4/2019, Photo; SUNDAY ADESANYA

FG denies moves to remove fuel subsidy

Continued from page 1

Wabba, gave the advice at a news conference on Saturday in Abuja. The news conference was tagged: “Public Declaration of Nigeria’s Host of the 6th African Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba, September 23 to September 25 and Inauguration of Local Organising Committee (LOC). “In principle, It’s a good suggestion, but in Nigeria we don’t have any plans to remove fuel subsidy at this time because we have not yet designed buffers that will enable us remove the subsidy and pro-vide cushions for our people. “So there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy. “We will be working with

various groups to find an alternative if we have to remove it. We are not yet at the point of removing fuel subsidy yet,” Ahmed said. Ahmed described the outing in Washington DC as a successful one, which provided Nigeria with the opportunity to review developments in the global economy and proffer potential solutions. She said that the general advice for Nigeria is to prioritise cost-effective policies that would increase resilience to shocks, boost productivity and raise incomes of the bottom 40 per cent of the population. “In my capacity as representative of 23 African countries, I addressed the IMFC and issued a statement calling for normalisation of trade re-

lations among the contending parties and called for concerted ef-forts to supporting multilaterism and avoid protectionist sentiments. “At the G-24 meeting, I drew the attention of the World Bank to some of the challenges we face in implementing our portfolio like the implementation of the new environmental and social safeguards framework which tends to slow down implementation of our infrastructure projects. “My engagement at the IMFC also focused on the global policy agenda. “Governors underscored the importance of strengthening market competition, encouraging innova-tion, tackling weak governance and corruption and meeting

the SDGs. “Governors underlined the importance of strengthening international coordination and cooperation to tackle shared challenges, given the potentially damaging effects of trade tensions on global economic developments, and impact of natural disasters on developing countries,” she said. Also, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, . Udoma Udo Udoma, said he had discussions with investors and development partners on potential investment opportunities in the country. According to him, he had discussions on improving the business climate, sensitised potential investors on incentives and opportunities for investments in Nigeria.

FRSC pledges to reduce traffic crashes on highway – Commander

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he Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Bayelsa State Command, has reiterated its commitment to re-duce traffic crashes in the state, urging drivers to desist from speeding and alcoholism on the wheels. The Sector Commander, Ikechukwu Igwe made the call on Saturday in Yenagoa during the closing ses-sion of the Corp’s 2019 Quarterly Healthy Week. Igwe stated that the weeklong programme tagged: “Good Sight, Essential for Safe Motoring and Acci-dent Reduction,” was to help drivers in Bayelsa know their health status and thereby promote safer roads. “The programme is our

own initiative and we intend to make it a quarterly event for drivers in the state. “This is part of our efforts to ensure that road crashes are reduced on the highway because, it is dan-gerous to be on the road as driver, when you have bad eye sight and High Blood Pressure. “We have given them some medical assistant including eye check up, especially on glaucoma screening and Hepatitis B test. “I believe we have made a good start; a hitch free exercise and so much of the drivers have benefited; some with serious cases have been referred to specialist hospital,” he said. Optometrist from Optom-

etry Department in the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yenagoa, Dr Uzoegbo Okechukwu said good eye sight could aid good driving. He said that a driver could

Dr. Boboye Olayemi

not be safe in the road with poor sight and other related illness like Hepatitis B. “There is need for glaucoma screening for drivers to enable them have good eye sight in order to re-duce accident on the roads,” the doctor explained. Chairman of Welfare and Association of Protection Human Right for Drivers/TricycleOwners Associa-tion of Nigeria (TOAN), Bayelsa State , Okoafor Jones, lauded FRSC on the medical outreach. Jones, who urged the corps to make the programme a continuous exercise for drivers, said his members were ready to support all policies towards having safer road.

“In the course of my meeting with officials of the International Finance Corporation, I asked for their support for our efforts to leverage the private sector capital to fund critical infrastructure in Nigeria,” he said. Also, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, spoke about his meeting with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands who is the UN Secretary-General Special Advocate on financial in-clusion. “We reviewed the position of Nigeria in terms of financial inclusion, observing that the rate of inclusion is moving up aggressively and we are very optimistic that in 2020 we will meet the 80 per cent inclusion target. “We also met with foreign investors who expressed confidence in what we are doing in Nigeria and this has been supported by the inflows that you may have observed recently between December and this time. “A major take away from this meeting is that although the GDP numbers for Nigeria is low at 1.9 per cent in 2018 I’m encouraged by the IMF predictions that global growth will pick up by second half of 2019 and emerging market economies like India, Brazil, China and Nigeria will help to drive growth. “This means that a lot of eyes are on Nigeria and we must work hard to aggressively push up our growth numbers. But I’m hopeful that this can be achieved,” he said. Wabba said that the continued devaluation of the Nigerian currency had created the impression of the existence of subsidy. He said that as long as the value of the Naira was left to market forces, the issue of subsidy would continue in the country. The NLC leader urged that efforts should be made by government to upgrade the nation’s refineries. “As President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), I recently led organised labour across the world to a meeting with the IMF and the World Bank. “I told them point blank that their one-stop recommendation on subsidy removal and other sundry policy rec-ommendations to the third world are not working and will not work.” He said that there was no country in the world where IMF’s recommendations had worked “or are working.’’ According to Wabba, Nigeria should be cautious in considering the options suggested by the IMF. ‘’I saw that many media houses are trying to amplify that the IMF has recommended that subsidy should be removed. “In the first instance, is there subsidy? This is a question we have not been able to answer.

“And I want to corroborate with what President Buhari said years back that subsidy is actually corrup-tion and that whoever is subsidising is aiding corruption and we stand by that position. “In fact, that has remained a consistent position of NLC. We can kill that issue of subsidy if we refine our prod-ucts for our domestic use and it is not rocket science. “Very soon, we are going to forward a document to government on that,’’ he stated. He noted that “countries like Venezuela are celebrated because they stood their ground on policies that must work for the people and not for the capitalist.’’ According to him, our own case is a sorry one and the situation is even laughable. “You own crude oil, you pay for it to be extracted from the ground, you pay for it to be taken outside to be re-fined, you pay for tax to where you took it to and you also pay to bring it back to your country for consump-tion. ”This is simply the pathetic story of Nigeria. God Almighty has already given us this resource in abun-dance, why should our citizens have to suffer to get it for use? “In the first place, we should only be talking about subsidy if actually we do not produce this product. “But whereas we are producing it and in abundance in that matter, yet we suffer like we don’t even own a drop of it. “This is the shameful ordeal Nigerians go through. It is really a funny situation,’’ he said. Wabba said that if petroleum was refined in the country, the word “subsidy’’ would be a thing of the past. On the public declaration of Nigeria as the host of the forthcoming meeting, the NLC president said: “We must never forget the sacrifice of Cuban people for the liberation of most African countries. “And also for decades, Nigerians have been beneficiaries of Cuban government scholarships and edu-cation, most especially in the medical field,’’ he said. Also speaking, Mr Carlos Trejo, Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, commended the NLC and the Nigerian govern-ment for their continued support to ensure the freedom of the Cuban people. Trejo said that Cuba has constantly been attacked due to their support to the Venezuela government to stand on policies that must work for the people. “We will never abandon the duty to act in solidarity with Venezuela. So we will continue to call for sup-port for our sovereignty from African countries, among others that can support us,” he said


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NEWS

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

Onyema lauds FinTech’s contributions to economic development

BY BONNY AMADI

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hief Executive officer, Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) Oscar Onyema has lauded the contributions of financial technology (FinTech) to national economic development, start-ups, amongst others. At the FinTechNGR Social Meet 4.0, hosted recently by The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), with theme: “Growth Funding and Strategic Capital Raise – Extending Financial Inclusiveness through the Capital Market” Onyema said “is of particular interest to the Exchange due to its connection to our core function as a hub for accessing capital; it is also of key interest to the larger economy, particularly the business community of startups and SMEs” The NSE CEO, said that while the Exchange is focused on delivering on its mandate to be Africa’s Pre-ferred Exchange Hub, the bigger picture is to create a dynamic marketplace that fuels growth “and empowers our people towards excellence in business and ventures”.

Outing KPMG’s remark on contributions of finTech to economic advancement, he said, that “2018 Global Analysis of Investment” equity

investment into global FinTech companies almost tripled from $18.9 billion to $50.8 billion between 2013 and 2017; and has continued to gain traction. He added that, in Nigeria,

FinTech offers the opportunity to deepen capital market activities and also achieve sustainable economic growth by, empowering a larger portion of the populace to access

Falana tackles minister over alleged $60bn oil revenue loss

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ights activist, Femi Falana, SAN, has written to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, demanding information on the loss of $60 billion oil revenue which the Nigerian govern-ment had refused to collect from the international oil companies as at August 2017. Falana, in the letter dated April 10, 2019 said he recalled that in his letter dated 5th November, 2015 and addressed to Kachikwu, in his capacity then as the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, he drew the attention of the minister to the refusal of regulatory agencies in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to enforce the production sharing contracts signed by the International Oil Companies. He explained that in a public statement credited to Kachikwu in August 2017, he did disclosed to the media that Nigeria had lost not less than $60 billion due to the refusal of some public officials to im-plement the terms of the Production Sharing Contracts between the

Federal Government and the International Oil Companies. “In another public statement made on January 19, 2019 by the Acting Chairman of the Revenue, Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Mr. Shetima Bana confirmed the loss of oil revenue of $60 billion arising from the non-implementation of the said production sharing contracts. “In view of the foregoing, I am compelled to request you to furnish me with information on the reve-nue of $60 billion which the Federal Government has refused to collect from the International Oil Companies as at August 2017. As this request is made pursuant to section in the provision of the Free-dom of Information Act, you are required to supply the requested information not later than 7 days from the date of the receipt of this letter,” he said. Falana added that if the minister failed or refused to accede to his request, he shall be compelled to apply to the Federal High Court to direct him to avail him with the information on the loss of the oil revenue of $60 billion.

Femi Falana SAN

finan-cial services, unlocking efficiencies in product and service delivery for financial institutions; and increas-ing transparency and resilience of the Nigerian capital market and larger financial ecosystem. According to the NSE CEO, the global picture of capital flow into FinTechs especially in emerging mar-kets is proof that FinTechs are important economic catalysts in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Surprisingly, foreign investors seem to be seeing these gains better than local investors as statistics show that they have dominated capital raise for indigenous startups in the last couple of years. “At the NSE, one of our key strategies is the segmentation of our market with the introduction of a Growth Board to cater to companies with high growth prospects, including FinTechs emerging from Venture Capital management to a more mature management that would require public investment and corporate consolidation. This approach, in our opinion, would assist companies with high growth potential, leverage public finance for growth and expansion. Apart from this, we are also exploring al-ternative platforms to catalyse smart and innovative capital raise, leveraging new technologies like the Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)” Onyema said.


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MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

Tourism experts urge FG to fund sector stories by Ebere Chibuzor

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igeria’s tourism experts have urged government to adequately fund ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in charge of tourism, advocating for a full ministry of tourism and culture, such that tourism can attain utmost height. The experts said this at the Tourism Journalism Communication Training programme organised for members of Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET) in Abuja. Experts appealed that the government to adopt realistic approach towards having useful tourism statistics in Nigeria. They also reiterated the need for the ministry and agencies in charge of implementing Tourism Satellite Account and the training was organised by Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) in collaboration with National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) In a communique issued at the end of the four days training in Abuja, with the theme: “Building a Sustainable Destina-

tion through Tourism Reportage”, the participants stressed that the TSA is a critical tool for tourism development. The tourism players urged all stakeholders to live up to expectation and turn the potential of the sector into reality because tourism is beneficial to individuals, communities, states and nations. The participants also called for greater co-ordination between stakeholders, to ensure sustainable tourism development in the industry. The forum enjoined travel writers to go beyond reporting; but to also work as a pressure group that can facilitate rapid change in the industry, including balanced reportage in accordance with professional code of conduct and ethics. It urged tourism and Culture agencies to make their presence felt and be functional in every state, considering the importance of their mandates to tourism development. Other decisions reached at the training and contained in the communique include: That the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in charge of Tourism should be adequately funded for better performance, the dire need to privatize the tourist sites to make them

Arts exhibition begins today in Lagos

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he attention of the art community will from today shift to a new art gallery, under LVI Home and Office Solutions Limited at Henry Ojogho Crescent, Lekki Phase1, Lekki in Lagos, as it prepares to host its debut exhibition Theme: Beauty and the Beholder which runs through Monday April 15, up till April 20, 2019. CEO, LVI Home and Office Solutions Limited, Mr. Julius Iyoghiojie said that the exhibition, which will showcase artworks from contemporary Nigerian artists. The exhibition got its theme from the works on display tagged “Beauty” while our clients and guests are the “Beholder” in this case. We are exposing beauty to the world and giving the Beholders something that last more than a lifetime, something that aims to develop the career of artists while promoting Nigeria’s heritage in the

art space. Iyoghiojie disclosed that the gallery was founded on the mantra of ‘quality and affordable art’, assuring that there will be no compromise. “We don’t allow the price affect the finishing. We give you first class piece of artwork. I mean first class by every standard at economy price. I have not seen anybody that does not like a piece of art work, be it a sculptural piece or painting of whatever kind, what varies is the taste from one person to another. Most people are afraid to admit they appreciate art works because of affordability,” he added. He said that the gallery’s maiden exhibition will showcase works of artists such as Soji Yoloye, Ehigbor O.B.J, Pitar Alakhume, Joel Utuedor, Alagbada Olayinka, Odeyemi Oluwaseun amongst others. Iyoghiojie who studied

Petroleum Engineering at the University of Benin, Edo State, got inspired by the artworks of his artist friends who were fine art students at the university. He recalled that some of the students who were in final year, used art works as their projects and they talked about artworks as being very expensive. This led him into collection, marketing and promotion of art and artists, which brought the concept of affordable art. “The pride of an artist is for his works to be in homes and offices, museums and churches for people to see and appreciate. Why would you have something that is beautiful and is hidden? What is the value for an artist to secretly admire his/ her creation alone? “Let their creation be exposed to the world for people to appreciate and by this the artist will gain appreciation too. As a collector, I was able to gain some level of trust from the artists and I became their marketing agent. I started selling art works in 1994. I sold a lot of artwork in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where I also had my first art exhibition as a collector which was sponsored by Alliances Française in 1995 titled, ‘Colour Explosion’. “I have done a lot of art exhibitions after that, but still maintaining the concept of affordable art. The beauty about art is that art is priceless because you cannot put a price to someone’s creativity. But, there is always a common ground with the artists in terms of pricing,” he said.

President Muammadu Buhari

functional, the need for relevant agencies of government on tourism to create platforms to educate operators, managers of tourism destination and communities on crisis management. The forum further called for NCAC Zonal offices to be given autonomy to run programmes or collaborate with other stakeholders, including having diplomatic staff in all embassies, while NIHOTOUR should do more by publicizing its programmes and activities through print, electronic media and Road shows. It was noted in the communique

that for the impact of Tourism to be felt in Nigeria, infrastructural facilities such as roads, airports, rail and water ways must be developed and well maintained, while airport users should be enlightened on areas/zones for photo shoot to aviod harrasement. The participants while appreciating NIHOTOUR, NTDC and NCAC for making the ANJET training a reality, implored the agencies to make the Training programme an annual event, in view of its importance to Tourism promotion and development.

Tourism professionals hold summit April 29, that the Institute for hire services, Uber, NURTW, 30 at Abuja Council Tourism Professionals, in RTEAN, road traffic and

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or a more robust sector, the Institute for Tourism Professionals (ITP),in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and the Federal Ministry of Transportation has concluded arrangements for the hosting of the second edition of the National Tourism Transport Summit and Expo from Monday, April 29 and Tuesday April 30, 2019 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. This year’s edition of the summit and expo however, has an international dimension hence its tagged International Tourism Transport Summit and Expo with the theme: ‘TOURISM AND TRANSPORTATION INTERDEPENDENCIES FOR INCLUSIVE GROWTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT’. The conference is been organized based on approval by the National Council on Transportation (NCT) at its meeting in Sokoto in 2017 as well as the approval by the Federal Executive

collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Federal Ministry of Information,Culture and Tourism. Also, it was decided that the Organized Private Sector and Non-Governmental Organizations should organize annually, a summit and exposition on transportation and tourism with the objective of deepening the connectivity between tourism and transportation for maximum inclusive growth and sustainable development of the Nigerian economy. Participants at the two-day event will be drawn from major key players and stakeholders in the transportation and tourism sectors from the international community in critical are as such as the air transportation; i.e. Airlines, tour and travel operators, administrators of the aviation industry; the maritime industry --sea transport, boats and sea Cruising operators; Road Transportation including major transport owners, car

safety agencies including the FRSC, NPF, NSCDC, motor Insurance Cos; State Transport Ministries and Agencies; rail transport services. Others are operators of the Tourism and Hospitality industry including tourism resort operators,National Parks services;museums and monuments,State Tourism Ministries and Boards,festivals and tourism events managers; hoteliers, restaurants and fast food operators; conferences and events managers; as well as service providers in the banking, oil and gas industries The Tourism Transport Summit and Expo programme will begin with the Host City Walk on Saturday, April 27; The Tourism Transport Summit and Exhibition proper will hold from April 29 -30 with B2B and G2B sessions; The events will be rounded off with the Award and Gala Night, while the entire programme will end with the Host City Walk on May 1, 2019.


MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019 Vol. 06 No. 324

MARKET WATCH

How accessible is National Health Insurance Scheme? BY MOHAMMAD TOLA

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ince it became operational in 2005, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has been contending with many challenges in the course of defining its objective of making healthcare accessible and affordable to Nigerians. The scheme has Formal Sector Social Health Insurance Programme which covers the federal, states and local governments as well as the organised private sector. It also has Informal Sector Social Health Insurance Programme which covers the Community Based So-cial Health Insurance Programme and the Voluntary Contributors Social Health Insurance Programme. The third category is the Vulnerable Group Social Health Insurance Programme which covers the physi-cally challenged persons, prison inmates, children under five, pregnant women and immigrants, among others. Analysts, however, note that lack of political will, inefficiency of the regulatory agency, the Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) and optional enrollment policy, among others, remain contending issues that the scheme has been grappling with in recent times. According to them, one of the issues is the role of HMOs that are privately owned but play an im-portant role in the operation of the scheme. They note also that there is a servicegap with the public hospitals that have the distribution of enrol-lees, playing a dominant role in its healthcare delivery. They cite instances when enrollees have complained of poor service delivery with long waiting time, use of substandard drugs and poor attitude of healthcare providers. Concerned citizens have also expressed grave concern that the primary purpose of the scheme, which is to make healthcare financially available and affordable to all Nigerians, is seemed to have been compromised. Beside this, they note that out-ofpocket payment for healthcare services has, indeed, been a chal-lenge in Nigeria as such affects the ability of households and individuals to meet basic needs. However, the management of NHIS says it has been making efforts at ensuring commitment and polit-ical will to achieve Universal Health Coverage as recommended by the World Health Organisation. Malam Attahiru Ibrahim, former Executive Secretary of NHIS, said that 98 per cent of the Formal Sector Social Health Insurance Programme has been covered. “One of our mandates in the scheme is to cover the formal sector and presently we have covered 98 per cent of the work force at the federal level. “The formal sector consists of the public sector, organised private sector, armed forces, police and other uniformed

Isaac Adewole

Also for the vulnerable groups to have access to healthcare insurance there is need for equity funds that would cater for the vulnerable group such as the physically challenged persons, prison inmates, children less than five years of age, pregnant women and immigrants, among others. services,’’ Ibrahim said. Prof. Usman Yusuf, Executive Secretary, NHIS, nonetheless, acknowledged that the major challenge in the accessibility of health insurance to many Nigerians was the inability to extend the benefit package to the informal sector. Yusuf also expressed his determination to reposition the scheme to deliver healthcare for all Nigeri-ans, especially to the poor and vulnerable in the society. He said that the scheme would design and implement strategies that would make NHIS a good stew-ard of the nation’s commonwealth. He stated that the Community Based Social Health Insurance Programme with a well-developed de-sign and implementation manual in place was a strategy to reach out

to the informal sector. “So far, more than 48 Community Based Social Health Insurance Programmes are operational in Nige-ria. “The scheme has inaugurated the programmes in Emoriko and Egbe both in Kogi state, Nkana West Ward 11 of Akwa Ibom, Lamodi-Offa in Kwara and Igarra in Edo, among others. “The Tertiary Institutions Social Health Insurance Programme, Voluntary Contributors Social Health In-surance Programme and private health plans are part of the programmes to boost health coverage by the scheme,’’ he said. According to him, the Federal Capital Territory, Kwara, Lagos, Delta, Cross River, Kano State, Kebbi, Plateau, Gombe

State, Osun, Imo and Rivers have adopted the scheme to boost access to healthcare services. Similarly, Dr Emmanuael Uba, General Manager, Formal Sector Department, said that the Vital Con-tributor’s Social Health Insurance Programme was designed to cover the healthcare needs of senior citizens, retirees, aged and Nigerians who are not on the platform of NHIS. “The programme allows individuals to pay N15, 000 annually for their own contributions, renewable annually and provides access to quality healthcare services for the enrollees. “NHIS is a contributory scheme, which means, is either you contribute or someone else contributes on your behalf which keeps you covered. “When people retire from service, they are out of government payroll and they do not contribute to the contributory fund, this programme, therefore, enables them to have access to healthcare after retirement. “Also for the vulnerable groups to have access to healthcare insurance there is need for equity funds that would cater for the vulnerable group such as the physically challenged persons, prison inmates, children less than five years of age, pregnant women and immigrants, among others. “There is also need to explore Innovative Financing where various companies such as telecommunica-tions, beverages and alcohol companies can be taxed and some percentage could go into the pool for the vulnerable groups. “For this to work we will need a legislation by the National Assembly, the president’s assent to it as well as the support from stakeholders and political will from the state government,’’ Uba said. To ensure unhindered access to healthcare services, Mr Roberts Ukeje, FCT Chapter Manager, Man-aged Healthcare Services, a HMO, sought the cooperation of enrollees to give feedback on service delivery in healthcare facilities and to insist on their rights to quality healthcare. He said that regular feedback by enrollees would enhance improvement on services as well as quality standard in hospitals across the country. He noted that there ought to be feedback from enrollees on their experiences at service delivery points and health facilities to assist the scheme in sustaining and improving quality healthcare. Ukeje also said that every enrollee registered in the scheme had a right to access medical treatment as outlined in the NHIS benefit package, “such as the right to select a healthcare facility of their choice as long as the facility is accredited by the scheme. “The right to change a primary healthcare facility after six months of access if not satisfied with the services provided and the right to choose an alternative facility for dependents if they are living in a different location, among others’’. (NANFeatures)

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