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Politics / See What Was Found In Sunday Igboho's House In Ibadan by Slayer1914: 4:54pm On Jul 02
PRESS BRIEFING AT THE NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE SERVICES (DSS) ABUJA ON A JOINT SECURITY OPERATION ON
1ST JULY, 2021 AT IBADAN, OYO STATE

In the early hours (about 0134 hours) of today, 1st July, 2021, a joint team of security operatives raided the residence of Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo a.k.a. SUNDAY IGBOHO at Soka, Ibadan, Oyo State. This was based on intelligence that he had stockpiled arms in the place. On approach to the residence, the team came under heavy gun attack by nine (9) men, suspected to be IGBOHO’s guards. Six (6) of them were armed with AK-47 gun and Three (3) others, with Pump-Action riffles.

2. In the course of the exchange, two (2) of IGBOHO’s armed men were gunned down while the rest were subdued and arrested. Only one operative who was shot by the assailants on his right hand sustained injury. He has however received medical attention and is very stable.

3. Afterwards, the team procedurally searched the house and subsequently recovered the following among others:
i. Seven (7) AK-47 assault rifles;
ii. Three (3) Pump Action guns;
iii. Thirty (30) fully charged AK-47 magazines;
iv. Five Thousand (5,000) rounds of 7.62mm ammunition;
v. Five (5) Cutlasses, One (1) Jack knife, One (1) Pen Knife
vi. Two (2) Pistol holsters;
vii. One (1) binoculars
viii. A wallet containing Five (5) US Dollars in one (1) Dollar denomination; local and international driver’s licences in his name, ATM Cards, a German residence permit No. YO2N6K1NY bearing his name;
ix. Two (2) whistles;
x. Fifty (5) Cartridges;
xi. Eighteen (18) Walkie-Talkies;
xii. Three Voodoo charm jackets/traditional body armour;
xiii. Two (2) Laptops (One (1) Toshiba and One (1) Compaq); and
xiv. His International Passport and those of many others (as displayed here). Further exploitation and forensic analysis are ongoing.

4. Aside the items recovered from the building, about thirteen (13) suspects including twelve (12) males and one (1) female were arrested and brought to Abuja. While one suspect is being profiled, the other twelve (12) paraded here are:
i. Abdulateef OFEYAGBE
ii. Amoda BABATUNDE aka Lady K (female)
iii. Tajudeen ERINOYEN
iv. Diakola ADEMOLA
v. Abideen SHITTU
vi. Jamiu NOAH
vii. Ayobami DONALD
viii. Adelabe USMAN
ix. Oluwafelumi KUNLE
x. Raji KAZEEM
xi. Taiwo OPEYEMI and
xii. Bamidele SUNDAY.

5. Highlights of this brief are to:
i. Inform Nigerians and the world that Sunday IGBOHO and his group, in the guise of campaign for self-determination, have become well-armed and determined to undermine public order. This, the arrests and seizures are, no doubt, a confirmation of a grand plan by IGBOHO and his cohorts to wage a violent insurrection against the Nigerian State.
ii. Alert foreign missions and licencing authorities within and outside Nigeria about this development and the possibility that IGBOHO could declare some of his personal permit and identity cards missing in order to seek their replacement.
iii. Apprise stakeholders that the Five (5) AK-47 assault rifles recovered from the building are suspected to be those collected by IGBOHO’s men from Nigerian Customs and Immigration personnel at Idi Iroko, Ogun State.

6. The gun duel which lasted for an hour offered IGBOHO the chance to escape. Sunday ADEYEMO a.k.a Sunday IGBOHO is now on the run. IGBOHO may run as far as he can. He may hide as long as he wants. He might have attacked security operatives as his strength carried him. But this will be the end of his shenanigans. Soon, he will not have a hiding place. His strength will sure fail him. And the law will catch up with him. The law may be slow. But it will be steady.

7. Consequently, ADEYEMO/IGBOHO is advised to turn himself in to the nearest security agency. Those cheering and eulogising him may appeal to or advise him to do the needful. He should surrender himself to the appropriate authorities. He or anyone can never be above the law. Meanwhile, those arrested will be charged accordingly.

Peter Afunanya, Ph.D
Public Relations Officer
Department of State Services
National Headquarters
Abuja.
1st July, 2021

Politics / GUNNING FOR GAMBARI By Adamu Aliyu by Slayer1914: 2:41pm On May 05
GUNNING FOR GAMBARI

By Adamu Aliyu

About this time last year, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled his new Chief of Staff, after the sad passage of the occupant of the office, Mallam Abba Kyari.

The new Chief of the Presidential Villa was none other than respected academic and International diplomat, Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari. The choice received wide plaudits, both from home and abroad. Gambari was sure a round peg in a round hole. A perfect fit.

The new Chief and Muhammadu Buhari were by no means strangers. In his first incarnation as military head of state (December 1983-August 1985), young Gambari was Minister of External Affairs to Buhari. He served well, and no wonder he got another nod 35 years later.

But as Gambari clocks one year in office, the hounds have come after him. The coyotes are baying for blood, which, unfortunately, is often the lot of public officers in this country, no matter how altruistic the officer is.

I have read a malicious piece making the rounds on social media, under the headline, ‘The Truth Gambari Must Hear About Himself.’ What a cruel hatchet job! Only a spiteful mind could have conceived and conjured such venom, no wonder the piece bears no attribution. The scuba diver went under the sea to do evil, and cowardly kept off his name.

What was the piece saying, in summary? Prof Gambari no longer picks phone calls. He has not used his position to help his people in Kwara in any way. His son now receives patronage and gratification from business men. He is not deploying his elevated position to find solution to the myriad of problems besetting the nation. He is not feared or respected in the Presidential Villa, unlike his predecessor. And on and on.

Now, should we begin to disturb the eternal sleep of Abba Kyari, after he has completed his course and gone to rest? Unconscionable. The dead deserves his rest, and it is a fate that awaits every mortal.

Comparing Gambari with Kyari, all in an effort to run down the former, is mean, dishonorable and reprehensible. Sadly, some people don’t know better. Style is peculiar to individuals. Kyari had his own, and Gambari has his. Those who know how the Villa runs now attest to the fluidity of processes under Gambari, without necessarily impugning Kyari’s style. He has played his part, and is off the stage of life.

The writer claims he has called the phone number of Prof Gambari repeatedly, without getting a response. So, what law has been broken? Doesn’t he know the pressures of the office of the Chief of Staff to a President? The situation calls for understanding, rather than condemnation.

Don’t we equally pile too much on people who hold public offices, and when we can’t have our way, we turn round to flagellate them unduly? If you, or any other person, can’t get a COS on the phone, it is no reason to conclude that he has changed, and joined the oppressors. That would be unkind, even cruel.

Why do we often believe the worst about people who hold elevated public offices, whether they have wronged us or not. Bile? Malice? Jealousy? But Prof Gambari has served far and wide, home and abroad, and acquitted himself creditably, so why begrudge him what the author called ‘a retirement position,’ in which he is also discharging his duties effectively?

The ghost writer alleges libelous things against Gambari and his son, as grievous as bribery and corruption. And what evidence has he adduced? He only quoted an online publication, without a shred of evidence. Shame. Must you run a man down by all means, without the slightest justification?Shame, again shame.

If those gunning for Gambari wish to know, the man is not being defined by his position as COS. He had been long proven, tested, and defined. He has just merely come to use that hard earned reputation to serve the President. Those of us who have known him for decades will attest to that.

When he came to the position in May, last year, Gambari granted an interview to Channels Television, and it is about the only interview in record against his name. He said he had come to government to help President Buhari succeed, and would be loyal and answerable to him and him alone. So, what’s all the trash about not using his position to help his native Kwara State? Doesn’t the state have a Governor, deputy governor, Senators, House of Representatives members, State Assembly members, local government chairmen, who have all been elected to serve their people? So why wait for a Chief of Staff at the Federal level, before things get done. Come on!

The hatchet piece says Gambari has contributed in no way to bringing peace to a currently troubled country. Ignorance. How many peace sorties has the COS embarked on, to different regions of the country? How many peace missions has he led, as representative of the President? One can only pity ignorant people.

The shadowy writer concluded the piece by saying Gambari would one day return to the society, “after brief luxury of power.” Ridiculous mindset. Gambari is no stranger to lofty positions, and the appurtenances thereof. Saying he would return to society “without honor and respect “ can only be an evil wish of the writer.
It won’t come to pass. Honor and respect are earned, and Gambari long got his stripes.

*Adamu Aliyu, an I.T specialist, lives in Abuja
Politics / NLC: Now Is The Time To Say Goodbye To Subsidy: By Amina Ado by Slayer1914: 1:37pm On Sep 24, 2020
NLC: Now is the time to say goodbye to subsidy

By Amina Ado

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called on its members and the public to embark on demonstrations and strike actions to protest the increase in price of petrol and electricity tariff from Monday 28 September. I call on NLC to call off the actions as this is not the time for protests but a time to come together in solidarity and support the government to prevent a health catastrophe and an economic meltdown.

Nigeria is facing two severe challenges: Covid – 19 and collapse of oil price and crude oil production. So far, due to diligence of governments at all levels and compliance with health protocols by most Nigerians, the pandemic appears to be under control and the human toll has been low compared to most countries. However, mass gatherings could undermine the efforts and could lead to avoidable deaths and overburdening of the health system. The protests in the US at the peak of the pandemic and mass movements of people in India when the pandemic was taking hold, appear to have contributed to the increase in infections in these two worst affected countries. Nigeria must do all it can to avoid a second wave of the pandemic. I am very sure NLC does not want the death of Nigerians on its hand, which is almost inevitable if, due to mass gatherings, Covid-19 reappears with a vengeance.

However, the economic fallout is going to be significant, painful and will unfortunately last longer. Governments at all levels were already fiscally challenged even before the pandemic. Consequently, the pandemic made the already weak situation worst. A careful review of Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) distributions from 2013 to 2020 will reveal the extent of the fiscal challenge especially when the dollar values are considered. In 2013, all three tiers of government shared a total of N8.52 trillion, equivalent to $54.7 billion. Meanwhile, in 2019, that is six years later, the three tiers of government shared N7.05 trillion, equivalent to $21.62 billion. Meaning, in dollar terms, the three tiers of government received in 2019 only 40% of what they received in 2013. Indeed, 2016 and 2017 were even worse. How many people can comfortably survive a 40% reduction to their pay? Very few. This is precisely the challenge all tiers of government have been facing in the last six years: a tight fiscal space with no respite in sight.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government still managed to spend over N1 trillion keeping the electricity sector afloat in the last four years by bridging the gap between remittances by distribution companies (DisCos) and invoices for electricity generated by generating companies. Without the support of the Federal Government the sector would have collapsed. Let’s be honest, should the Federal Government really be subsidising electricity? The benefit of electricity subsidy disproportionately favours the rich more than the poor even more than petrol subsidy. The rich consume more electricity and live in areas where the DisCos supply the most electricity. So, electricity subsidy is one policy Labour ought to oppose and not support.

Importantly, the electricity sector has since been privatised but because tariffs were allowed to remain flat for many years, contrary to the contract signed with DisCos and GenCos, investments in the sector have stalled. Take for example the simple issue of meters, which has now become unbelievably and needlessly complicated because the sector has refused to make the investments required to ensure all consumers are metered. Leaving Nigerians frustrated with arbitrary bills and poor electricity supply, which undermines Nigerian manufacturers by reducing the competitiveness of their goods against foreign imports. Surely, NLC will prefer a strong manufacturing sector rather than a weak one. However, as long as electricity is not sorted out, made in Nigeria goods will continue to struggle to compete with foreign goods. The electricity sector can only be sorted out by a cost reflective tariff, that also allows a modest return on investment.

PPPRA recently informed the public that the government spent N8.94 trillion between 2006 and 2015 on petrol subsidy. That is a staggering $57.5 billion dollars, using the exchange rates prevailing during those years. This does not include NNPC under recovery between 2017 and 2019, which will add at least another $4.5 billion, rounding the figure to $62 billion. I suspect most Nigerians have not realised the quantum of the subsidy. To put it in context the following projects: Lagos to Kano rail; Lagos to Ibadan road; Second Niger Bridge and Abuja to Kano road will only collectively cost about $9 billion. Therefore, imagine what $62 billion can do. It can pay down the entire national external debt stock of $31.5 billion and still leave $30.5 billion to spend on other more important public infrastructure.

One usual response from Labour is that if cost of governance is reduced, then perhaps, government can afford subsidy. Yes, if cost of governance means salaries of civil servants, then retrenching some will release funds to enable subsidy to continue. For example, in 2021, the Federal Government is forecast to spend N3.6 trillion on salaries and pensions of civil servants in MDA’s as provided in the 2021 to 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework submitted to the National Assembly in July. However, I suspect this is not what Labour is concerned with. Labour likely considers cost of political office holders as what should be reduced. Contrary to what Nigerians think, the political executive branch of government as represented by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and State House, was allocated N134.41 billion in the revised 2020 budget. This is about 1.3% of the revised 2020 budget (excluding Government – owned enterprises). Salaries and pensions of civil servants, on the other hand, will consume an estimated 33.7% of the 2020 revised budget. Consequently, reducing executive pay and reducing National Assembly budget (N128 billion) by even 50% will not fund 15% of the average annual subsidy incurred between 2006 and 2015.

Choice is a fact of life, as no country on earth has the resources to do all the projects and give its citizens all what they desire. Consequently, one of the key functions of leadership is to make choices on behalf of the citizens and prioritize how resources are allocated. The challenge associated with subsidy on consumption goods, such as petrol, is that because they are not pure public goods, expenditure on them reduces the capacity of the government to provide the pure public goods only it can provide. Importantly, pure public goods have a far greater impact on growth and economic development for a developing country. This is because without adequate provision of pure public goods such as security, macroeconomic stability, good network of roads and rail lines and quality basic education, individuals and companies are far less productive. The cycle of poor provision of pure public goods and economic stagnation is thus perpetuated, as the government simply does not have the funds to provide these vital goods for which it is solely capable of providing because it has decided to subsidise consumption goods.

Unfortunately, from the foregoing, Nigeria is facing difficult choices. Either government uses its resources to pay salaries, pay interest obligations and make required investments in pure pubic goods to get the economy going or it continues to subsidise consumption as demanded by Labour. If government decides to continue to subside consumption, then it will be left with little choice but to borrow to pay interest and perhaps retrench some workers in order to reduce its salary burden. These actions will ultimately lead the country into a debt trap, cause many years of low economic growth and lead to drop in per capita income on account of population growth outpacing economic growth, meaning Nigerians will become poorer and more miserable.

Therefore, I appeal to NLC to engage its own independent economists and accountants to review the Federal and State Governments fiscal situation in order to confirm the fiscal health of the various tiers of government and whether government can afford to continue to subside petrol and electricity. All the information they need is available on the websites of National Bureau of Statistics, Budget Office of the Federation and BudgIT (an independent watchdog). I am confident they will conclude that government can no longer afford to subsidise petrol and electricity and consequently will lend their support to government in this extremely fiscally challenging time.

To conclude, Nigerians deserve to know the facts. Then, they can decide whether the $62 billion government spent between 2006 and 2019 on petrol subsidy is worth the bad roads, poor ports, epileptic electricity supply, non-existent national rail, weak manufacturing sector, weak economic growth and above all high unemployment and low quality of life. And, accordingly, demand that petrol and electricity subsidy should continue and happily enjoy the consequences of their choice.

Ado is the Founder of Sana’a da Ilmi Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of public education.
Politics / Re: State House Press Release by Slayer1914: 5:25pm On Aug 18, 2020
Yeah

Politics / State House Press Release by Slayer1914: 7:44pm On Jul 03, 2020
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

POLIO-FREE STATUS: PRESIDENT BUHARI PRAISES MERKEL, OSINBAJO, SULTAN OF SOKOTO, OTHERS FOR JOB WELL DONE, PLEDGES TO REVITALIZE NIGERIA’S PRIMARY HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

President Muhammadu Buhari has written world leaders and partners to appreciate their support towards helping Nigeria attain a Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free status, pledging that his administration would sustain the momentum and strengthen the primary health care system.

The President also commended Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Chairman Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication, and his team, for making Nigeria proud and saving her children from the scourge of poliomyelitis.

‘‘This is to express our profound appreciation for your leadership of the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization.

‘‘The declaration of Nigeria as a Wild Polio free country is the result of your effective coordination of the Nigerian Polio eradication program through the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization, Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

‘‘Please extend my personal appreciation to all members of the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication for making Nigeria proud and saving her children from the scourge of Poliomyelitis.

‘‘I urge the Taskforce under your leadership to sustain this coordination especially in mobilizing State Governors to provide the needed oversight and resources to sustain the momentum and strengthen the primary health care system by improving routine immunization, maternal, newborn and child health services.

‘‘I urge you to sustain the momentum as I look forward to us leveraging on the polio infrastructure and experience to drive other health interventions,’’ the President wrote in the letter to Prof Osinbajo.

The President also wrote a separate letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, thanking the European country for decades of financial support to Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) programme in Nigeria through KfW.

‘‘Please be assured that my Government will remain committed and focused to ensuring the needed resources will be provided to sustain the momentum and strengthen the primary health care system of our great Country,’’ the President said in his letter to Chancellor Merkel.

President Buhari also thanked traditional and religious leaders, who through their leadership built community trust for the polio programme thereby increasing acceptance and ensuring all eligible children are reached with the polio vaccine.

Specifically, he wrote Alhaji Muhammad Saad III, Sultan of Sokoto, the leadership of Jama’atul-Nasirl Islam (JNI) and the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

The President also wrote separate letters of appreciation to Bill Gates, the European Union, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, Director, U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund, David Malpass, President, World Bank Group and John Barsa, Acting Administrator, United States Agency for International Development.

Others are, Global Affairs Canada, Professor Shinichi Kitaoka, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the International President, Rotary International.

President Buhari also appreciated the support of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman Aliko Dangote Foundation, Sir (Dr) Emeka Offor and Governor Kayode Fayemi, in his capacity as the Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
July 3, 2020
Politics / “thank You Our Dear President.” by Slayer1914: 6:20pm On Jul 03, 2020
“Thank You Our Dear President.”

Since PMB took office, Nigeria’s State Governments have enjoyed:

- N614 billion in Budget Support/Bailout

- $5.4 billion in Paris Club Refunds (owed States for a decade, since the Obasanjo Administration)

- N700 billion in Refunds for Road Projects (that’s what Governor Wike is grateful for in this advertisement)

- Loan Restructuring for N575 billion worth of debt

Politics / Between Buhari, Adesina, And Gambari by Slayer1914: 9:57am On May 20, 2020
Between Buhari, Adesina, and Gambari

By Femi Olufunmilade, Ph.D

"A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing". - William Shakespeare.

This describes a campaign of calumny in the form of an old article in the 12th July, 2008, issue of The Sun newspaper making the rounds on social media to put a wedge between the writer, Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, and Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the new Chief of Staff to President Buhari.

The piece titled, "Gambari: The Slap Next Time" was unsupportive of Gambari's appointment to broker peace between the Federal Government and the Niger Delta militants. He cited the professor's stance on the trial and execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa under the Abacha regime as not too clement to make him a fitting peace envoy to the Niger Delta region. Considering the reactions of the militants themselves to the idea, you cannot but agree with Adesina's position. That was under late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, the author of Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, and the highly successful Presidential Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta.

The issue is, Adesina is simply a professional journalist who owes the reading public his honest views and he remains one till date. And as far as serving President Buhari is concerned, he will work smoothly with anyone, not the least someone he disagreed with on just one issue in a fleeting context.

Adesina is a God-fearing man with strong convictions. He could have criticised anyone on a given issue in a particular context and time. It's his entitlement as a free citizen of Nigeria within his constitutional right. Criticism is not a crime under the Nigerian law. More importantly, I know for a fact that he accepted his position as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President not for love of high office. He wouldn't have accepted it from Abacha had he transmuted to a civilian president before God called him suddenly!

Adesina is working with President Buhari as a matter of conviction in the patriotic mission and integrity of the man. I also know that first hand. In those years everyone knew I was the leading publicist of General Muhammadu Buhari in our quest to get him elected as president, Adesina was unrivalled among the media chiefs that lent us a helping hand in the form of free advertisements. Yes. Or, how do you describe a series of promotional articles on a presidential candidate published with my email and phone numbers at no cost?

Adesina believed in Buhari and he didn't hide it. He not only published my articles at all times, he also used his back page column to write promotional articles on the general. His boss then and proprietor of The Sun newspaper, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, once told me he had been approached by very top leaders of the then ruling party to sack him, which he rebuffed.

There was a day I submitted an article late to Adesina. I called him on phone about the likelihood of publishing it as there was a day between the submission and the deadline of political campaigns. He simply replied "Olorun a fun wa se", meaning God would make a way for us. The next day, he had it in print. That was in 2011. Less than 72 hours or so to the presidential election, the piece titled "The Myth of Buhari's Religious Fanaticism" was out.

Fast forward to late 2014 on the day of APC presidential primaries. We were hopeful and jittery at the same time about the prospects of General Buhari emerging the new party's candidate. We had rooted for CPC's merger with the ACN, ANPP, and a faction of APGA and had succeeded - all for the emergence of Buhari as candidate. But now, there were strong challengers like Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso, among others. We heard of huge money changing hands etc. We were worried. All we had was the good name of our choice for president. That was all we've been marketing and advertising for over a decade at every presidential election. We had no money. The little we had was never to grease anybody's palms. It was from our individual pocket to pay our individual hotel and transport bills etc. Our horde of party agents and campaign ground's surging crowds were freewilling Buhari believers like me and Adesina. They were not paid but were all too prepared to go to any length to promote and defend the Buhari for president project.

With bated breath, I penned a highly persuasive article to sway delegates at the APC presidential primaries in Lagos to our side. I reached out to Adesina to hatch a strategy. My piece originally titled "Buhari is APC's Best Bet" was published to coincide with the day of the presidential primaries on 10th December, 2014. Adesina had removed "Buhari" from the title to keep the reader guessing who the caption "APC's Best Bet" was referring to. A good tactic by a guru. He further vacated his back page column for the piece to make it visible in the hands of vendors who had flooded Lagos and ambience of the venue of the primaries with copies of The Sun newspaper. The rest is history.

In essence, what matters is that Adesina is serving a man he believes in, strongly and unapologetically, and the man, in like measure, reciprocates confidence and trust in him. The day I joined him in Ibadan, three years ago, for the burial of his elder sister, a professor of Theatre Arts, who had died in a road accident, in his grief, he was so overwhelmed by President Buhari's emotional and financial support that he told me to find time to specially thank the president on behalf of his family.

President Buhari and Adesina are great friends who deeply respect each other. For Buhari, Adesina is a bosom friend united in their quest for a new Nigeria. When Adesina's mum passed on in the days of our struggle for his enthronement, General Buhari attended her burial. You can count the times he had honoured anyone in that manner on your fingertips. To underscore their bond, it may interest you to recall that Adesina was the very first person given appointment by President Buhari after he assumed office in 2015. I was notified as soon as Adesina arrived at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. I went there speedily and there locked each other in a warm, emotional embrace. Victory at last!

I am certain Adesina would find it very easy to get along with Prof. Ibrahim Gambari as Chief of Staff because they are united in their resolve to give the president the best of themselves. Adesina, being a cultured Yoruba man and a good Christian will respect and support Prof. Gambari not only as a matter of duty but in conformity with cultural etiquettes of according elders respect due our parents and, Biblically, as though serving God. Nothing will obstruct that. Not any mischievous reference to an old article.

I am quite certain the article would have no impact on Prof. Gambari's attitude to Adesina as a thoroughbred academic for whom criticism is a norm, and as a cosmopolitan world citizen who has waded through many troubled waters, seeking peace across the world during his stint as super-diplomat/ Under-Secretary General with the United Nations.

How many times have we, his younger colleagues, not asked our students to answer a question in this vein: "Do a critique of Gambari's Concentric Circles' Model of Foreign Policy, with emphasis on conformity or otherwise of Nigeria's foreign policymaking to the model".

I wish both Prof. Gambari, our father, our teacher, and my brother, Adesina, a good working relationship in the service of President Buhari and Nigeria.

Olufunmilade teaches at Igbinedion University, Edo State
Email: femiology@gmail.com
Politics / The Facts About The Senate's Approval Of Buhari's N850b Loan Request by Slayer1914: 8:31pm On May 02, 2020
THE FACTS ABOUT THE SENATE'S APPROVAL OF BUHARI'S N850 BILLION LOAN REQUEST

By OLA AWONIYI

My brother, Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, once observed that those who believe do not need further explanation, and neither do those who have made up their minds not to believe. I cannot agree more with Femi. Yet, to carry the people along on policymaking and implementation, government has to speak with them, whether the minds are open, hold strong views or are even prejudiced. That is the reason why communication is a key element in the governance process, more so in a democracy. Understanding the makeup of the polity is important in developing a communication strategy that effectively and regularly delivers the messages to all strata of the polity and minimizes the impact of mischievous cynics.

In line with Femi's observation, getting some people to share a viewpoint with government is like forcing a horse to the river for a drink. Those may even take a further step away by misinforming others, oftentimes deliberately. This is a familiar scenario in our polity of late. It is scary, but one has to expect it from our adversarial politics.

The Senate at a special plenary on Tuesday, 28th April, 2020 gave its approval to a request by the executive to borrow N850 billion from the domestic capital market. The request as well as the legislative approval have since unsurprisingly drawn varied commentaries in the media.

The Senate had to break its suspension of plenary over the COVID-19 pandemic for the special session. This was because of the urgent need to provide legislative support to the Federal Government in tackling the pandemic and its socio-economic fallouts in Nigeria. Since its surreptitious arrival late last year in a corner of the globe, the ruthless virus has indiscriminately spread death and misery across the world, making nonsense of every plan of government and society in general for 2020 and the immediate future. One of the most affected plans here is the 2020 Budget. Ironically, that budget was passed in earnest and with great enthusiasm last year by a National Assembly determined to institutionalize a new January-December fiscal cycle to improve the performance of our annual budgets.

At that special session of the Upper House on Tuesday, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, acknowledged four communications from the Executive. But the one that has quite understandably been of most public interest is the request for approval for the N850 billion borrowing plan from the domestic Capital Market.

The focus of this piece is not to debate the desirability or otherwise of the borrowing plan. Instead, it is to put the record straight and correct the misconception or distortion in the communication that the Senate approved a fresh loan request by the Executive. No, the Senate did no such thing!

The obvious intention of the purveyors of this misinformation is to solidify their mischievous caricature of the ninth Senate as a rubber stamp legislative chamber. Whatever is stated here will not dissuade such people but will at least set the record straight and alert the unwary to their recurrent mischief.

Of course, the ninth National Assembly is unapologetic about its commitment to working in harmony with the other arms of government in the overall best interest of the people they represent. Yes, this is a guiding philosophy of the Federal lawmakers. It is evident that there are people who are not comfortable with cooperation among arms of government, perhaps because of their understanding of the concepts of independence of the institutions and separation of powers. Some see democracy in action only when the arms and officials are fussing and fighting over every issue. They are wrong.

This segment of people has since seized the social and traditional media to portray the Senate as calling the Tuesday's special session to "rubber stamp" a fresh loan request by the Executive. That portrayal takes the executive communication to the Senate and the subsequent approval completely out of context.

The N850 billion loan request was, in fact, approved by the National Assembly long ago as part of the 2020 budget. President Muhammadu Buhari's letter to the Senate President, dated 24th March, 2020, clearly referenced this fact. The president, in his letter, reminded the Upper Chamber that the 2020 Appropriation Act provided for N1.594,986,007,544.00 of New Borrowing, comprising N744,986,007,544.00 New Domestic Borrowing and N850 billion of New External Borrowing. The letter explained that these borrowings were to part-finance the 2020 Budget deficit of N2,175,197,885,232.00.

The letter reads in part: "The Senate may wish to note that External Borrowing from the International Capital Markets increases Nigeria's External Reserves, provides access to lower cost and longer tenured funds, as well as avoids crowding out private sector borrowers who also wish to access the Domestic Capital Market. However, recent developments in the global economic environment, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and decline in international oil prices, have made it less attractive to borrow from the International Capital Markets at this time.

"To ensure that there are adequate funds to finance critical projects and programmes in the 2020 Budget, I hereby seek the Senate's approval, by resolution, to raise the N850 billion of New External Borrowing, in Naira, from the Domestic Capital Market, instead of from the International Capital Markets. However, it remains our intention to access the International Capital Markets when global conditions improve, to refinance the N850 billion of New Borrowing and optimise the benefits inherent in External Borrowing."

The summary, therefore, is that the President only requested the approval of the Senate to vary the source of a loan which the Legislature had previously given him approval to obtain.

From this simple explanation, it becomes difficult to see how the Senate would have voted against a loan already contained in the 2020 Appropriation Act. How could Buhari have made a fresh request for a loan that is already in the 2020 Budget?

Buhari merely asked the lawmakers to allow him source the loan from the Domestic Capital Market, instead of from the International Capital Markets for which he had earlier secured their approval. Nothing more. Nothing less. So why are the critics faulting the wisdom of the Senate and its leadership in approving Buhari's request in this critical period of battling the Coronavirus pandemic? This is certainly not the time or issue for the Legislature to pick a fight with the Executive. There is no basis for any dispute at all on this presidential request, unless we are to glamourise undue rascality. It is no secret that some people are actually waiting for such. In vain they will wait.

The Executive side has explained times without number why they are resorting to borrowing in this period. Revenue is dwindling, yet the infrastructure and other development deficits are widening. The population is expanding, increasing the demand for jobs and social services. These needs would not wait until government can generate the revenue by itself.

The coronavirus pandemic has only complicated the fiscal challenges for us here as for other countries across the world. Which is one of the reasons it made no sense to proceed with the initial plan to borrow offshore. The prediction has been strident that the world, including Nigeria, is yet again on the march to another recession.

Speaking for the Legislature, the Senate President has pledged thorough legislative oversight of the disbursement of all monies borrowed. Following every legislative approval for any borrowing plan, Lawan unfailingly reiterated the Legislature’s demand for accountability in spending. If such a pledge failed in the past, it will not in this dispensation. The lawmakers across the aisles realise that the Executive needs the necessary legislative support for Nigeria to weather the storms buffeting us and the rest of the world and they will continue to give it without compromising the independence of their institution and oversight role.

Mr Awoniyi is the Special Adviser on Media to President of the Senate

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Politics / Speech By President Muhammadu Buhari by Slayer1914: 5:02pm On Dec 17, 2019
Speech by his Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

at the signing into law of

the 2020 Appropriation Bill.

Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

PROTOCOLS

1. It is my pleasant duty, today, on my 77th birthday, to sign the 2020 Appropriation Bill into law. I thank the National Assembly, in particular, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and indeed all the Distinguished and Honourable Leaders, and Members, for passing the 2020 Appropriation Bill, expeditiously.

2. You will recall, that I laid the 2020 Appropriation Bill before the Joint Session of the National Assembly on 8th October, 2019 and forwarded the 2019 Finance Bill shortly thereafter.

3. I am very pleased that the National Assembly worked uncommonly long hours in the interest of our people and the national economy to ensure detailed legislative review and passage of the Budget within two months.

4. This patriotic zeal adopted by the Ninth National Assembly has restored our budget cycle to a predictable January to December fiscal year.

5. Furthermore, in the twenty years since the return to civilian democracy, this will be just the fourth time that the Federal Budget was passed before the end of the previous year, and this is the earliest.

6. The passage of the Finance Bill, which I am told will be done in the coming days, will also be a landmark achievement worthy of recognition, being the first time, this has been done in the last twenty years.

7. We look forward to receiving this Bill, shortly, for Presidential Assent. Once passed into law, the Finance Bill will support the funding and implementation of the 2020 Budget. We shall sustain this tradition by ensuring that subsequent budgets are also accompanied by a Finance Bill.

8. For these achievements, I must therefore congratulate and thank the Distinguished Senate President, the Right Honourable Speaker and indeed, all members of the Federal Legislature for their commitment and support.

9. I equally thank the Ninth National Assembly for supporting important legislations such as the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Amendment Act and the 2019 Finance Bill. These laws are vital to the successful implementation of the 2020 Budget.

10. I am aware of the regular high-level discussions that took place, between senior officials of the Executive and the Legislature during this period. I commend this renewed partnership, the mutual understanding as well as collaboration between these two arms of government.

11. Now, we are well positioned to effectively implement the budget and deliver our promises to Nigerians. Businesses will also benefit as they are now in a position to plan more effectively.

12. We have to sustain this harmonious working relationship. I expect that, going forward, this will be the norm.

13. I have directed that efforts be made to ensure the presentation of the 2021 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly in September 2020. I am confident that all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies will cooperate with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to keep to this timeline.

14. I will work with the Ninth National Assembly to give effect to the constitutional, legislative and other actions that may be necessary to address the various challenges currently associated with our federal budgeting process, including the enactment of an Organic Budget Bill.

15. The 2020 Budget passed by the National Assembly provides for aggregate expenditures of Ten-point-Five-Nine-Four Trillion Naira (N10.594 trillion), an increase of Two Hundred and Sixty-Three-point-Nine-Five Billion Naira (N263.95 billion) over the Executive’s Proposal that was submitted in October 2019. We have examined the adjustments and may revert to the National Assembly with a request for a Virement or other relevant amendments.

16. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will make a public presentation of the details of the approved budget.

17. With today’s global oil market outlook and our strategic approach to revenue growth, we are optimistic that we will be able to finance the 2020 Budget.

18. However, being a deficit budget, an appropriate 2020 – 2022 Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly, in due course.

19. Mr. Senate President, Right Honourable Speaker, for this submission, I will once again count on your usual cooperation and support by ensuring quick consideration and approval of the Plan.

20. To optimize the desired impact, I have directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and all Federal MDAs to ensure effective implementation of the 2020 Budget.

21. I wish to acknowledge the efforts of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Budget Office of the Federation, and all stakeholders, who collaborated and worked painstakingly, to produce the 2020 Appropriation Bill, that I have just signed into law.

22. I thank you most sincerely for your kind attention.

23. May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Politics / PMB At 77: ‘please Tell Baba We Are With Him All The Way’ by Slayer1914: 12:02pm On Dec 17, 2019
PMB at 77: ‘Please tell Baba we are with him all the way’

By FEMI ADESINA

I boarded a commercial airliner heading to Lagos from Abuja. I was already seated, and strapping my seat belt, when a young man approached me. He must have been in his late 20s, or at most, early 30s. I shook hands, greeted him warmly, and he slipped something in my palm. He went back to his seat.
It was a piece of paper, and on it was written: “Please, tell Baba we are with him all the way.”
My eyes became misty. I knew who he was talking about. My principal and Baba of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari, who turns 77 today.
“Please, tell Baba we are with him all the way.” What a message! What confidence! What love! And what reassurance.
At times, if you listen to the Babel of voices in the country, particularly on social media and some critical segment of the traditional media, you think everything is all wrong with the land. You think it’s all sorrow tears and blood, the regular trade mark of failed or failing countries.
The biblical prophet, Elijah, felt at a time that he was the only true prophet of God left in Israel. And he complained to God: they have all followed Baal, the strange god. I am the only one left with you.
But God gave him a tutorial: you only think so. I have for me in this land 7,000 other prophets, who have not bowed the knees to Baal.
That was what happened in that aircraft. The young man who slipped the note into my hand is like millions upon millions of quiet Nigerians, “who have not bowed the knees to Baal.” People who love President Muhammadu Buhari, who appreciate that he is here for such a time as this, and who believe that he is leading us to a new Nigeria, a land flowing with milk and honey. I believe. I am in the number of millions of people, who daily wish Buhari well, and pray that he will lead the land to fair havens, halcyon shores, before 2023.
If all the information you consume is from social media, and the critical segment of the traditional media, you will likely miss the correct pulse of the country. Let me share an experience here.
Some months before the 2019 general elections, I ran into Governor Nasir El-Rufai in the Presidential Villa, as he was going in to see the President. We greeted warmly, and I asked if he could please stop by in my office on the way out. He promised to do so.
What was my worry? The trend on social media, as to how the elections would go. I had a broader view of the reality, but I needed some reassurance. And I knew El-Rufai was analytical, and constantly had statistics at his fingertips. He’s not a first class quantity surveyor for nothing.
The governor turned up. I unfolded my worries, and asked for his opinion. He merely opened his laptop computer, and shared the result of a scientific research with me.
What did the research say? With large sample size from across the country, and painstaking state by state analysis, it stated that President Buhari was going to beat his closest opponent by millions of votes. And wait for this: the social media would account for just between nine and 11 percent of the votes. And wait again: that percentage would not go to one party alone. It would be shared between the two leading political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). It turned quite prophetic.
The young man in the plane is among the millions of Nigerians who tilted the scale. They know that Nigeria is not where she should be, not yet, but it is not business as usual. There is one man who is laboring hard to turn the country right side up. He is Muhammadu Buhari, and the journey may be tedious, arduous and slow, but we are headed in the right direction.
Friends, Nigerians, countrymen. Yes, I have come to celebrate Muhammadu Buhari, as he turns 77 today. See the sycophant, the fanatic, some people would say. But do I mind them? I don’t. I have chosen my own hero, let them choose theirs. As we say in local parlance, ‘say your prayers, and let me say amen. No quarrel for church.’
I have said it before, and I say it again. I have followed Buhari since he was a military ruler, when I was an undergraduate, and if that regime had lasted for longer, Nigeria would not be in the doldrums that she found herself. It was a tough administration, but which was leading us on the right path. Till forces of reaction struck, and we were back to worse than square one.
You could imagine my joy when Buhari eventually emerged civilian President after 12 years of struggle. I didn’t think I was going to ever serve in government, but I found myself in it. Just because it was Buhari. More than four years down the line, have I changed my mind? No. Is it a perfect government? There’s none anywhere. But I still remain a Buharist, just like millions of other Nigerians.
I know many people who started with us in the Buhari camp, but who are now on the other side. Some were lured away by the garlic, cucumber, onions and leeks of Egypt, while some others jumped ship because of the color of the currency they saw. Some others, who expected quick fixes, are now singing the Lord’s song in a strange land. Some others are vacillating between many opinions. But for some of us, it is the immortal words of Sir Walter Scott: “Other people’s resolutions may fluctuate on the wild and changeful billows of human opinions. Our’s, now and forever, are anchored on the rock of ages.”
Why are we dyed-in-the-wool Buharists? Is he a perfect, infallible man? Show me who is. So, why do we remain resolute, irrespective of what people on the other side see as foibles and failings of the administration? Many reasons.
Buhari is not a thief. Can you say the same of many past leaders in this country? No, you can’t. I’m not saying they’ve all been light fingered, but we know those who served us honestly, and those who stole the living daylights out of the country. They and their confederates.
When I then see a honest man, the Mai Gaskiya, should I not follow him? Should I not trek from here to China for his sake? I would even trek further from Beijing to Yokohama. Larceny and plunder have been bane of our country. That was why we were consigned in gross backwardness and underdevelopment. Now that I see a man who has come to make a difference, I choose to stand by him all the way.
We know people who were worth only thousands when they got into leadership positions in this country. But they came out in obscene wealth. In other words, they went not to serve the country, but themselves. And here is Muhammadu Buhari, a man who wants nothing from Nigeria, but who has come to empty himself in the service of the country. And some people say we are fanatical supporters? Yes, for the sake of our country. For the future of our children. For the good of ordinary people, we are Buharists.
Simplicity. President Buhari is a Muslim, a good one, and I am a Christian, trying daily to be a good one. I see him at close quarters. At home, in the office, in the country, out of it. What a simple man. He holds power with simplicity. He eats simply. Wears the most modest things. No swashbuckling, no ostentation. And when we talk privately, I love when he indicates that he’s in a temporal position, which he wants to use for the good of the larger majority of Nigerians. That’s why I’m a Buharist, and no apologies.
Abhorrence of corruption. I said it before. President Buhari is not a thief, and he cannot vouch for you if you are tarred with the brush of corruption. You will simply be on your own. There is the jaded talk of the anti-corruption war in the land being selective. Well, those who say that are merely operating from a mindset. No matter who you are, however close you can be to him, when it comes to corruption, this President speaks up for no one. That is why the anti-corruption agencies are making conquests. He tele-guides them in no way.
An eye on history. That’s where the President keenly focuses. He wants to be positively remembered as a man who came, who saw, and made a difference. That’s why the country is one big construction site. Roads, rail, airports, power, water projects, and many others. Nigeria must get a new lease of life, and history must record it that the revolution started under one man: Muhammadu Buhari.
A kind man. Don’t mind the names you hear. Tyrant. Iron fist. Military ruler. Violator of rule of law. Major General (as if he’s not one). And many others. But you know what? This President is a kind man.
In 2015, some months into office, a proposal was thrown up at a meeting. The civil service was unwieldy, the economy was down, and salaries were being paid through the noses. It may well be time to cut the civil service strength by half, since most of them were even idle.
But the idea didn’t sell. The President said if he had his way, not a single civil servant would be sent home due to rationalization. Things were tough enough for them, not to add loss of jobs. And so it happened.
When labor unions came some years later to agitate for higher pay, the President first balked. He said it was not sustainable, which was the truth. But eventually, he buckled, due to a kind heart, and new wages are being paid at serious cost to government.
Let me say this, with the presumed permission of the President. He kept the Service Chiefs he inherited in 2015 for a couple of months. And when it was time to let them go, he sent for me one afternoon. He gave me the names of the new appointees, and told me not to announce till the next day.
“I have informed the outgoing Service Chiefs some minutes ago. But I don’t want their families to hear the news over radio or television. I want them to get home, and break the news themselves,” the President said.
I told him we would not be able to keep the news under wraps till the next day, that it should rather be announced immediately. He looked at me, laughed, and said: “You have not been sacked before. That’s why you are talking that way. Me, I’ve been sacked from office before, and I know how it feels.” We laughed.
When the chief executive of a major corporation was also going to be replaced, he gave me the new name, and said I should not announce for an hour or two, so that the outgoing man would have received his letter, and not hear it from the media.
Many acts of kindness have I seen the President show to many, and also to me, yet some people want to call him strange names. And I should believe it? I hear!
On this auspicious day, I celebrate our President. Cynics and scoffers would say why won’t you applaud him since you are part of the largesse of office. Yes, I hold office under the President, but I am yet to see the largesse. Maybe tomorrow. Or day after. And whether in government or out of it, count me among those who believe.
I am a Buharist. So are also millions of Nigerians. We thank God for bringing him our way. May his strength be renewed daily. He’s our miracle man, whom nobody could have predicted two years ago would still be with us today. We love him because he first loved us, and is serving us with all that is in him. Like that young man in the aircraft, “Please, tell Baba we are with him all the way.”

Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari
Politics / Sowore: Between Facts And Fiction by Slayer1914: 9:56pm On Dec 08, 2019
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

SOWORE: BETWEEN FACTS AND FICTION

The Presidency notes some of the insinuations in the media about the arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS) of the agitator, Omoyele Sowore.

The DSS does not necessarily need the permission of the Presidency in all cases to carry out its essential responsibilities that are laid down in the Nigerian Constitution – which was the foundation for the restoration of democracy in our country in 1999.

However, it should not surprise anyone who has followed his actions and words that Sowore is a person of interest to the DSS.

Sowore called for a revolution to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nigeria.

He did so on television, and from a privileged position as the owner of a widely read digital newspaper run from the United States of America.

He founded an organisation, Revolution Now, to launch, in their own words, “Days of Rage”, with the publicised purpose of fomenting mass civil unrest and the elected administration’s overthrow.

No government will allow anybody to openly call for destabilization in the country and do nothing.

Mr. Sowore is no ordinary citizen expressing his views freely on social media and the internet.

He was a presidential candidate himself, who ran – and lost – as the flag bearer of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the February 23 general elections.

Nigeria's democracy was a long time in the making, and was achieved after decades of often harsh, military-led overthrows of government: the kind of situation Sowore was advocating.

To believe in and desire armed revolution is not normal amongst 'human rights activists', as Sowore has been incorrectly described.

Again, it is no surprise that he should be a person of interest to the DSS.

Nigeria is already dealing with an insurgency that has left millions of people displaced and desperate in the northeastern region of our country.

The Boko Haram militants, who are behind the violence, also fancy themselves to be fighting for some sort of revolution.

Nigerians do not need another spate of lawlessness and loss of lives all in the name of 'revolution', especially not one that is orchestrated by a man who makes his home in far away New York – and who can easily disappear and leave behind whatever instability he intends to cause, to wit, Nnamdi Kanu.

This is a matter for the DSS, acting under its powers.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
December 8, 2019
Politics / Nigeria Named One Of World Bank’s Top-20 Improvers In Doing Business For 2020 by Slayer1914: 7:51pm On Sep 27, 2019
NIGERIA NAMED ONE OF WORLD BANK’S TOP-20 IMPROVERS IN DOING BUSINESS FOR 2020

Friday, 27th September, 2019

The World Bank Doing Business (DB) team has just announced Nigeria as one of the top-20 improvers in doing business out of 190 countries. This announcement comes ahead of the 24th October release of the 2020 World Bank Doing Business rankings.

The World Bank Doing Business Report is an objective assessment of prevailing business environments based on a number of ease of doing business indicators. In Nigeria, the report assesses doing business conditions in the two largest commercial cities of Lagos and Kano.

The World Bank’s announcement acknowledges reforms spearheaded by the PEBEC in the areas of “operationalising a new electronic platform that integrates the tax authority and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)”. It also acknowledges reforms carried out in some of the World Bank Doing Business indicator areas such as starting a business, registering property, getting construction permits, getting electricity, enforcing contracts, and trading across borders.

“The CAC also upgraded its name reservation platform and, in Kano, there is now an electronic platform for registering business premises online, eliminating the need to appear in person. In Lagos, land administration was made more transparent following the digitisation of cadastral plans in a geographic information system; digital copies of cadastral plans are now easily obtainable. Nigeria also made getting electricity easier by allowing certified engineers to conduct inspections for new connections. Initiatives also made commercial litigation of smaller cases more efficient. The Chief Judges in Lagos and Kano issued practice directions for small claims courts introducing pre-trial conferences and limit adjournments. Finally, customs integrated more agencies into its electronic data interchange system, and port authorities launched an e-payment system, speeding up both exports and imports.”

Over the past three years, Nigeria’s score has steadily improved in the World Bank Doing Business Report, after years of decline in both score and ranking in the years preceding 2016. In 2017, Nigeria moved up by an unprecedented 24 places on the Doing Business rankings. For the first ever, Nigeria was also recognised as one of the top 10 reformers in the area of doing business that year.

Welcoming the announcement, the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, said that “the recognition being given to Nigeria as one of the top 20 most improved countries, who have implemented the most reforms this year, is significant because we weren’t even able to achieve some of the key reforms we had pursued, but what we have done so far is being recognised. This validation confirms that our strategy is working and we will continue to push even harder.”

These improvements in the standing of Nigeria trail the reform agenda being implemented at national and sub-national levels across the country since the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) by President Muhammadu Buhari in July, 2016. The PEBEC works towards the fulfilment of the projections of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020), which is striving to deliver sustainable economic growth in Nigeria by restoring growth, investing in our people, and building a competitive economy.

The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council through the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat has carried out over 140 reforms so far in a bid to remove bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria and make the country a progressively easier place to start and grow a business.

With the impending ratification of the Companies and Allied Matters Bill and the introduction of the Business Facilitation (Omnibus) Bill, 2019 in view, along with other pending regulatory, judicial and sub-national reforms, Nigeria is poised to meet its goal of being a top 100 ranked economy by 2020. The announcement is indicates that our goal of moving into the top 70 doing business destinations by 2023 remains achievable.

https://www.doingbusiness.org/en/reforms/top-20-reformers-in-db2020

Signed
Dr Jumoke Oduwole
Special Adviser to the President, Ease of Doing Business
Secretary, PEBEC

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Politics / Presidential Election Tribunal Updates by Slayer1914: 10:10am On Aug 19, 2019
Presidential Election Tribunal Updates

Politics / Remarks By H.e President Muhammadu Buhari by Slayer1914: 6:55pm On Jul 22, 2019
REMARKS BY H.E PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AT THE MEETING WITH MR JOE KAESER, CEO/PRESIDENT SIEMENS AG AT THE STATE HOUSE ON MONDAY 22ND JULY 2019

1. Thank you all for coming today and for the roles you have all played in planning what we hope will be a significant project to dramatically improve the quality of our electricity supply.

2. I recall my meeting in late August, last year, with Chancellor Merkel here in Abuja, when both our Governments committed to future cooperation to support economic growth and development in Nigeria. We were clear that fixing the power sector was a key priority for this administration.

3. It was during that event that Mr Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens AG committed to working with Nigeria to develop a feasible roadmap to modernise our electricity grid with support from the German Government.

4. We all know how critical electricity is to the development of any community or indeed any nation. And in Nigeria, whilst we are blessed to have significant natural gas, hydro and solar resources for power generation, we are still on the journey to achieving reliable, affordable and quality electricity supply necessary for economic growth, industrialization and poverty alleviation.

5. Ladies and Gentlemen, there have been many attempts at solving the electricity problem in our country. Previous Governments have explored State funded solutions through the ill prepared National Independent Power Projects. They also explored the installation of large emergency power projects. There was also the partial privatization of the power generation and distribution sectors.

6. These various interventions to solving the electricity problem have yielded an imbalance between the amount of power generated and the amount available for consumers. Despite over 13,000 megawatts of power generation capacity, only an average of 4,000 megawatts reliably reaches consumers.

7. Now, we have an excellent opportunity to address this challenge.

8. This Government’s priority was to stabilise the power generation and gas supply sector through the Payment Assurance Facility, which led to a peak power supply of 5,222 MW. Nonetheless, the constraints remained at the transmission and distribution systems.

9. This is why I directed my team to ask Siemens and our Nigerian stakeholders to first focus on fixing the transmission and distribution infrastructure – especially around economic centres where jobs are created.

10. Whilst it was evident that more needed to be done to upgrade the sub-transmission and distribution system, our Government was initially reluctant to intervene as the distribution sector is already privatised.

11. I am therefore very pleased with the positive feedback from private sector owners of the distribution companies, who have all endorsed Government’s intervention to engage Siemens on this end-to-end plan to modernise the electricity grid.

12. Our goal is simply to deliver electricity to Nigerian businesses and homes. My challenge to Siemens, our partner investors in the Distribution Companies, the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Electricity Regulator is to work hard to achieve 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by 2021 and 11,000 megawatts by 2023 – in phases 1 and 2 respectively.

13. After these transmission and distribution system bottlenecks have been fixed, we will seek – in the third and final phase – to drive generation capacity and overall grid capacity to 25,000 megawatts.

14. With our strong commitment to the development of Mambilla Hydroelectric and the various solar projects under development across the country, the long-term power generation capacity will ensure adequate energy mix and sustainability in the appropriate balance between urban and rural electrification.

15. Our intention is to ensure that our cooperation is structured under a Government-to-Government framework. No middlemen will be involved, so that we can achieve value for money for Nigerians. We also insist that all products be manufactured to high quality German and European standards and competitively priced.

16. This project will not be the solution to ALL our problems in the power sector. However, I am confident that it has the potential to address a significant amount of the challenges we have faced for decades.

17. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is our hope that as the power situation improves, we will improve investor confidence, create jobs, reduce the cost of doing business and encourage more economic growth in Nigeria.

18. I thank you for coming today, particularly those of you who have had to come from outside Nigeria. I wish you all safe stay in Abuja and safe journeys back home.

19. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Politics / SEC Warns Capital Market Operators Against Unethical Practices by Slayer1914: 8:26pm On Jul 21, 2019
SEC Warns Capital Market Operators Against Unethical Practices

Newly qualified authorised dealing clerks of the Nigerian Stock Exchange have been warned that the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, does not tolerate infractions and because of this, steps are taken to ensure that regulatory oversight is more effective; investor protection is advanced, while systemic risk is mitigated.

The Inductees were therefore urged to abide by the highest principled standard expected in their profession.

Speaking at their induction ceremony in Lagos, Acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, also enjoined them to maintain the integrity of their profession and imbibe the culture of compliance to rules and regulations, as well as transparency, as they carry on their activities in the market.

Uduk who was represented by the Zonal Head Lagos Office of the SEC, Mr. Stephen Falomo, described as a welcome development the induction ceremony for the deserving freshly qualified professionals, who have, by their exemplary performance during their Automated Trading System (ATS) training at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, secured their place in the stock broking profession.
 
She said “This ceremony marks the final point at which the inductees become fully fledged dealing members of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, a position of great trust; because now you will be handling investments for individual and corporate investors and this you must do with utmost care and highest standards of integrity and ethical practice to forestall any breach of trust. 
 
“You must also be determined to bring positive changes into the market as you launch your careers and challenge the status quo in the areas of capacity building and innovativeness, while bringing fresh and innovative ideas into product development, as well as efficiency in service delivery to the investors. 
 
Uduk said the use of ICT has been fully integrated into financial services and as such Financial Technology (Fintech) and Regulatory Technology (Regtech) are trending, having been embraced by both the operators and the investors as ways to further enhance the growth and expansion of business in addition to regulatory and compliance issues.
 
She therefore urged the newly inducted members to ensure that they all get a good grounding on the relevant technological advancement necessary to ensure that they can cope with the pace in today’s market, while staying ahead of perpetrators of cyber crimes, who may attempt to compromise the market.
 
“Let me congratulate all inductees here today. Your qualification and admission to practice as members of the Stock Exchange is indeed a great achievement, which will equally be of benefit to the capital market as a whole. I therefore welcome you to the brokerage community on behalf of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
 
 “ I wish to also acknowledge the roles of The Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for their unyielding commitment to ensuring the continued growth of the market by producing young, dynamic and professional stockbrokers, who are admitted as Authorized Dealing Clerks. As you all know, continuous capacity building in our financial market is a very important part of the capital market development”.
 
She expressed the hope that the NSE and the CIS will keep on innovating for the benefit of the market and investors alike, as a means of deepening the capital market and positioning it as a catalyst for economic growth and development of our great nation.
 
According to her, “We at the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, are conscious of our dual mandates of regulating and developing the Nigerian capital market for the continued and consistent growth of the Nigerian economy, which is why we have been pushing the initiatives which include the E-dividend Management Mandate System, Direct Cash Settlement and Multiple Application Regularization Initiatives, so as to properly educate your clients and increase the level of awareness in our market”.
 
Signed
Efe Ebelo
Head, Corporate Communications
Securities and Exchange Commission
Politics / Kudos To NERC Management by Slayer1914: 12:13pm On Jul 19, 2019
Kudos to NERC Management for the prepaid meters initiative it is long overdue. How I wished we had done this 5 or 6yrs ago? We are moving towards the right direction.

Good vision by the power sector regulator, NERC. We need more reforms and collaborative efforts from GenCos and DisCos.

With this well thought out initiative of metering all electricity consumers, GenCos and DisCos will have to generate and supply more electricity for their earnings.

Commendation goes to NERC for some of the profound initiatives in the power sector. More Meter Access Providers (MAPs) should be licensed in order to reach all electricity consumers.

See link below:

https://m.guardian.ng/news/nerc-promises-to-begin-mass-metering-of-electricity-consumers-august-1/

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said that it will begin mass meter deployment, installation and customer registration/network cleanup for the 4.7 million electricity customers that are unmetered in the country beginning from August 1, 2019.

The Commissioner, NERC, Nathan Rogers Shatti, who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos while briefing journalists on the status of meter roll-out exercise under the Meter Asset Providers (MAP), said the commission, having identified the huge gap in electricity in the country, aimed at closing the metering gap in the Nigerian Electricity Service Industry within three years (2021) and ensuring that estimated billing is eliminated completely.
Politics / SEC, NFIU Deepen Collaboration On Fraudulent Transactions by Slayer1914: 4:11pm On Jul 17, 2019
SEC, NFIU Deepen Collaboration on Fraudulent Transactions
……..Sign MoU

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) have agreed to collaborate in combating crime in the Nigerian capital market to ensure that suspicious transactions are eradicated from the capital.

Ag. DG of the SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk who spoke in Abuja during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU with the NFIU, said the collaboration was necessary in order to close ranks in the face of insider dealings, re-awakening of Ponzi schemes, cybercrime and other fraudulent activities that have engulfed the market in the last few years.

Uduk said the Commission is paying close attention to digital transactions and was in the process of amending its rules to capture such transactions.

The Acting DG disclosed that the Commission already has regulations that prohibits shell companies from operating in the capital market and implored the NFIU to assist with solutions to track suspicious transactions as they occur.

“If we have solutions that will help us track transactions, it will reduce incidence of insider dealing greatly. We would be very willing to collaborate with you on that in our determination to ensure that our markets are efficient and transparent and all investors are protected” Uduk said.

According to Uduk some areas where the MoU seeks Cooperation of both Agencies includes training, secondment of middle cadre officers between both organisations, cross boarder monitoring, repatriation of stolen funds from the Capital market and prosecution of offenders amongst others.

On the rising spate of Ponzi schemes in the country, Uduk stressed the need for more collaboration between both organisations and further sensitization to ensure unsuspecting Nigerians do not continue to lose their hard earned money.

In his remarks, Director of NFIU, Mr. Modibbo Tukur, Commended the SEC for the relationship that has existed between both organisations and assured that the NFIU would continue to play its part in ensuring that the financial system is safe for Nigerians to operate.

To this end, Tukur disclosed that the NFIU is making efforts to ensure that the financial system is rid of shell companies adding that for companies to exist, they should have physical addresses.

“If anyone establishes a company, it has to be a company indeed and we have to be firm on this. This has become more important now given the roll out of the ECOWAS single currency, because with that, we know that capital and investments will move across borders and it is a single currency. So we have to step up regulation to avoid fraudulent transactions.

“We will commence by September and some companies would have to be deregistered if they do not meet the criteria. We will publish the parameters and also give them enough time to regularise after which those that do not comply before the deadline will be shut down. If you have an empty company hanging in the system, it is a potential danger and we should not allow it to thrive” Tukur said.

Tukur stated that by the time the NFIU commences the due diligence on the shell companies, the information will be shared with the SEC for their further action and commended the SEC on its regulation that does not presently allow shell companies to operate in the capital market.

“Analysis would now be digital so the organisation would be able to share information on transactions as fast as possible adding that the capital market being a very sensitive one, care has to be taken on information dissemination to avoid disruptions” he added.

Signed
Efe Ebelo
Head Corporate Communication
Securities and Exchange Commission

Politics / SEC Commences Verification Of Dantata Investors by Slayer1914: 2:32pm On Jul 17, 2019
SEC Commences Verification of Dantata Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission has started verifying claims of 4,160 unpaid investors of the illegal investment scheme organised by Dantata Success and Profitable Company.

The verification exercise commenced on Monday July 15th and is expected to last till Saturday July 20th, 2019, with 4,160 investors undergoing verification.

SEC said investors were required to go along with the original receipts evidencing their payments or bank tellers for deposit into the company’s account, valid means of identification and bank account details.

It said the commencement of the verification exercise was sequel to the appointment of joint administrators/trustees for Dantata Success and Profitable Company and in pursuant to section 13 and 173 of the Investment and Securities Act, and consequent to an Ex parte Order granted by the Federal High Court, Kano.

A total of 478 investors were scheduled for Monday, 780 for Tuesday, 1,272 for Wednesday and Thursday, and 1,630 for Friday and Saturday.

SEC said, “The verification exercise will hold in Kano from 9:00am to 4:00pm daily. All unpaid investors are necessarily advised to attend in person as attendance by proxy is not acceptable.”

SEC had in February sealed off the premises of Dantata Success and Profitable Company in Kano for engaging in illegal capital market activities, saying its investment operations fell within fund management without registration with the commission

It said the company was not registered and that it was using a strategy to solicit funds from unsuspecting members of the public by enticing them with returns of monthly interest on investment of between 25 to 50 per cent, depending on the nature and type of the investment.

The company sold forms to prospective investors according to their investment plans ranging from N1,000 to N3,000, with the minimum amount investable being N50,000 and a maximum amount of N5m.

SEC had first indicated its plans to commence a verification exercise for people who invested with the company in May.

Signed
Efe Ebelo,
Head, Corporate Communication
Securities and Exchange Commission
Business / As SEC, Oando Prepare For Legal Cross-fire, Test Investments Laws by Slayer1914: 9:43pm On Jul 11, 2019
As SEC, Oando Prepare For Legal Cross-Fire, Test Investments Laws

Francis Oduwole
 
‪On Monday, July 22, lawyers to the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC and Oando Plc will have their day in the Federal High Court. While Oando Plc will be proving that its regulator overreached itself, and SEC on the other hand will show that investor protection was at the heart of all it did.‬

Besides, the judge will listen to arguments about due process and the lack of it and determine which of the combatants is in the right, subject to the decision being further challenged.

Ahead of the court hearing, there have been varied media fisticuffs on the same issue, especially some that overtly accused the commission of regulatory exuberance, rascality and even seemingly overstepping the limits of its powers.

Management of the commission in previous statements insists its actions were based on various relevant portions of the Investment & Securities Act (ISA 2007), from which it derives powers to function as apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market.

The commission will also prove to the honourable judge of the Federal High Court in Lagos that investigating the activities of Oando Plc and appointing a firm of forensic auditors into the affairs of Oando Plc is part of that “day-to-day business in Sections 7 and 13 of the ISA.

The Act, in Section 13, for example, says “the Commission shall be the apex regulatory organisation for the Nigerian capital market and shall carry out the functions and exercise all the powers prescribed in this Act and, in particular, shall- (a) regulate investments and securities business in Nigeria as defined in this Act; (b) register and regulate securities exchanges, capital trade points , futures, options and derivatives exchanges, commodity exchanges and any other recognized investment exchange; (c) regulate all offers of securities by public companies and entities; (d) register securities of public companies…
In 13 (u) and (v), the Act empowers the commission to “levy fees, penalties and administrative costs of proceedings or other charges on any person in relation to investments and securities business in Nigeria in accordance with the provisions of this Act; intervene in the management and control of the capital market operators which it considers have failed, are failing or in crisis, including entering into the premises and doing whatsoever the Commission deems necessary for the protection of investors…”
Also Section 13(bb) empowers the SEC to “disqualify persons considered unfit from being employed in any arm of the securities industry,” a power also being challenged in court and which the judge would determine was properly exercise or not.

This power of the commission was affirmed in a decision of the Court of Appeal in SEC v. Big Treat & 5 Ors Suit No - CA/L/88/2011.
Further to the Act, the SEC also relied on its Rules and Regulations 598 and 601, made pursuant to the ISA 2007, which empowers its management to summarily sanction an erring regulated entity. The courts will, therefore, determine whether the Rule should be nullified, or modified.

Before the judge also is the argument for and against the submission that only the SEC’s Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC) can recommend or sanction erring individuals.

However, Sections 310(1) of the ISA 2007 empowers “the Commission may appoint one or more committees to carry out, on its behalf such of its functions as the commission may determine.”
The word “may,” it has always been argued, is permissive and discretionary in nature, suggesting that the decision of whether to constitute a committee by the Commission is discretionary and not mandatory.
Moreover, Section 310(3) of the Act states that decisions of such a committee “shall be of no effect until it is confirmed by the Commission.”

The forensic audit, according to the SEC, also confirmed the disposal of Oando Exploration and Production Limited (OEPL) to Green Park Management Limited without obtaining prior regulatory approvals. This, it said, is contrary to Section 118 (1) of the ISA, 2007, and the Petroleum Act 1969.
Section 118 (1) of the ISA 2007, requires that “notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other enactment, every merger, acquisition or business combination between or among companies shall be subject to the prior review and approval of the Commission.
 
Corporate Governance Code
 
Part of the issues before the learned judge is the breach of the Code of Corporate Governance for public companies, which lawyers of Oando Plc must prove is advisory, rather than mandatory.
Among issues investigated in Oando Plc was the incidence of several corporate governance failures and internal control breaches, which questioned the ability of its directors to remain in office.
 
Fit And Proper
One of the contentious decisions, the judge will seek to untangle is the sacking of Adewale Jubril Tinubu and Omamofe Boyo as Group Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive respectively of Oando Plc, based on what the commission says is the imminent collapse of the company and potential systemic financial loss to the Nigerian banking system.
Oando Plc has admitted being in a precarious financial condition owing financial institutions an estimated ₦201bn, in addition to having working capital liabilities amounting to ₦306.2bn under the watch of the current board and management.

In a previous statement, the commission maintains that it acted to prevent Oando Plc from an imminent collapse.
Another major issue that has dominated public discourse in the Oando Plc saga is the claim by the company that it was not afforded fair hearing in the course of the investigation and audit, leading to the regulatory hammer that eventually fell.
It is on this count that Deloitte & Touche has threatened to come out open on its role in the entire drama. The forensic auditors, it was learnt, held regular sessions with members of the Oando Plc Board and senior management while conducting the exercise. This, it was noted, afforded them the opportunity to make explanations on issues relating to the investigation, as a result of which Oando Plc by its October 10, 2018 letter, alleged that Deloitte & Touche was going outside the scope of the audit.
After a review of the complaint, the commission is said to have replied that it did not see how Deloitte went outside the scope of its assignment, especially given the broad scope of the audit.

The SEC has maintained that during its investigation, Oando Plc was offered an opportunity to state its own side of the story, rebut issues revealed by the investigations and respond to inquiries mostly in writing in some instances.

The company was however said to have declined most of the opportunity, citing various reasons for not honouring the requests. 
Responses given by the company were however considered unsatisfactory hence the commission’s decision to indict the company and some of the individuals related to it for violations of securities laws.
Perhaps, this is what Deloitte & Touche had threatened it would prove eventually, should it be drawn into the fray, given that its personnel constantly held talks with directors and senior management of Oando Plc.

Since the issues are before a competent court, it is only reasonable for all commentators to wait for the court to make its pronouncement on the matters before it.

It is certain that no matter how long it may appear, justice will be done in the interest of all parties, especially the Nigerian retail investors whose investments are at stake.

Oduwole,a Public Affairs Analyst, wrote from Lagos
Politics / FG Urges Vibrant Capital Market by Slayer1914: 10:51am On Jul 10, 2019
FG Urges Vibrant Capital Market

The Federal Government has again reiterated its commitment towards building a vibrant capital market that would contribute to the growth and development of the country and can compare with similar markets anywhere in the world.

This was disclosed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo when the members of the Capital Market Master Plan Implementation Council, CAMMIC led by its Chairman, Mr. Olutola Mobolurin visited him in Abuja, Tuesday.

Prof. Osinbajo said that capital markets play a central role in the development of the economy through mobilisation of long term savings for investment, adding that the present administration is interested in deepening the capital market which would in turn lead to a deepening of the financial market.

The Vice President said the government is concerned about the volatility of the capital market and is ready to work with CAMMIC to ensure that the market is stable.

According to him, “There is no way we can deepen our financial system without a vibrant capital market. We know we need foreign investors in our market, but most importantly we need to grow our domestic investors that are here to stay. I think we can do a lot to ensure that our capital market is better than what it is now”.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of CAMMIC, Mr. Olutola Mobolurin expressed the need for Government to pay more attention to the capital market being the Centre of the economy as regulation of the market is paramount because the industry relies on confidence of investors

Mobolurin therefore canvassed for the setting up of a National Savings Committee to drive the process of fund mobilization among Nigerians and work on a robust savings initiative that can drive the growth of the economy.

The CAMMIC Chairman requested for a holistic financial system review to enable the system evolve together so that the entire system can drive the economic objectives of the present administration.

“We must find a way of growing the economy at a rate much higher than the population rate. One of the things we can do is to develop our own savings strategy and increase the savings level in the system so that we are not solely dependent on foreign investors” he said.

He listed some of the achievements of the council to include dematerialization, recapitalization, e-dividend mandate, financial literacy, National Savings Strategy, Streamlined Bond Issuance Progress, Access to alternative investments and Tax incentive programmes.

Other achievements are enhancing commodities trading ecosystem, enhancing market liquidity and facilitate the establishment of a credit enhancement facility.

For the year 2019, Mobolurin disclosed that CAMMIC will embark on a review of the Master Plan, conduct an impact assessment of programmes and initiatives like e-dividend, dematerialization, Direct Cash Settlement among others, expansion of commodities through registered exchanges as well as the introduction of derivatives and related instruments.

In her remarks, Acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk said the Commission and the market are working to make the capital market one of the drivers of economic growth and development.

Recall that the Securities and Exchange Commission launched a 10 year Capital Market Masterplan in November 2014. The Commission at that time believed that having just emerged from a bubble that negatively impacted the performance and confidence in the Nigerian capital market, it was expedient to come up with a market wide strategic blueprint that would among other things restore investor confidence, deepen the market, accelerate the growth of the capital market and help catalyse the emergence of Nigeria as a top 20 global economy.

This led to the setting up of CAMMIC is an advocacy group, meant to kick start the buying in of all the key stakeholders in the market, particularly at the executive, legislative and judicial level to mainstream the capital market plan, so that government will appreciate the whole essence of the capital market.

Signed
Efe Ebelo
Head, Corporate Communications
Securities and Exchange Commision
July 09,2019

Business / SEC Tasks Stockbrokers On Professionalism, Capital Market Growth by Slayer1914: 5:04pm On Jul 08, 2019
SEC Tasks Stockbrokers on Professionalism, Capital Market Growth

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has urged members of the chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, CIS to continue to uphold the tenets of the noble profession and strive to contribute to the growth of their respective organizations, and the capital market at large.

Acting Director General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk who stated this during her induction ceremony as an Associate Member of the CIS in Lagos Monday, said by promoting and protecting the interests of the profession through prescribing and upholding the highest standard of service and integrity, the institute contributes highly to the attainment of a capital market of our dreams.

She said the strong collaboration between the CIS and the SEC has led to the achievement of tremendous results over the years, especially in deepening the capital market.

One of such collaborative initiatives she said, led to the development of a stand-alone capital market studies curriculum to be introduced at the Basic and Secondary Schools levels of education in Nigeria.

“The initiative, which is in partnership with other stakeholders, is one of the cardinal objectives of the Capital Market Master Plan, aimed at inculcating a culture of financial literacy and boosting investment education in Nigeria” she said.

According to Uduk, “ The strength of character and service innovation of our professionals is one of the yardsticks with which the Nigerian capital market is benchmarked by the investing community. The way and manner capital market professionals conduct businesses with clients will affect how our market is perceived.

“At the Commission, we recognize that the Institute is a critical stakeholder in the capital market, and therefore, should strive to continue to maintain the highest level of professional standard towards ensuring that our market remains manned by the most competitive professionals in the world”.

She expressed delight at becoming a member of CIS, a highly revered body of securities & investment experts, whose pivotal role it is to maintain high standards in the stockbroking profession in Nigeria.

“I am also honoured to be inducted into this great institute and hereby pledge to abide by the ethics of this noble profession to further the development of the capital market.

With the support of the Institute and other market stakeholders, I look forward to working with the Institute to move the Nigerian capital market to the next level where it would contribute positively to the growth of the economy.

“CIS is a provider of knowledge, skill and capacity development to professionals in the field of securities and investment. As the only professional body in Nigeria empowered to conduct qualifying examinations and provide professional qualifications for stockbrokers, the Institute ensures the creation and maintenance of high standards in the stockbroking profession in Nigeria” she stated.

In his remarks, President of CIS, Mr. Dapo Adekoje said the institute takes the issue of professional standards and ethical behaviour of its members seriously as erring members are investigated and disciplined as necessary.

Adekoje said the principal activities of the Institute are the provision of examinations leading to qualifications as Securities and Investments Professionals, organising seminars and continuing professional education courses for members and practitioners to improve standards of professional competence.

Efe Ebelo
Head, Corporate Communications Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC
July 8,2019
Politics / 10 Reasons Why Atiku Is Not Coming by Slayer1914: 1:10pm On Jul 06, 2019
10 REASONS WHY ATIKU IS NOT COMING

1. Atiku’s Server Argument is a SCAM. An Expensive one. The Electoral Act as it exists in Nigeria today does not recognize the transmission of results to any Server or Servers anywhere.

2. So, it does not matter whether INEC has a Server or does not have one, or whether there is any information or data on the INEC Servers or not; the law does not recognize it, simple. This means that regardless of what party clowns and petty criminals like Reno Omokri are saying on social media, claiming they have ‘incontrovertible’ proof that INEC has a Server, all of this means nothing before the Law. Whether or not INEC has a Server, whether or not it transmitted any results to this Server, is immaterial before the current Electoral Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Even a 100L Law Student understands this, how come Atiku’s SANs don’t?

3. What Nigerian electoral law as it currently exists recognises is the Form EC8 Series, especially Form EC8A, signed by agents, collation officers, etc, at the Polling Units. The only way to prove election results in Nigeria today is by the approved forms: the EC8 series. Not by any Server or Servers.

4. INEC could not have transmitted any results to any Server (even if the Server existed) because of network connectivity issues around the country. Several parts of Nigeria are not covered by mobile network which is necessary to guarantee successful transmission. Even INEC has explained that this was one of the reasons why it jettisoned the idea of electronic transmission, in addition to the fact that it is not currently supported by law. INEC has repeatedly explained that it used manual collation for the 2019 elections, as stipulated by the existing Electoral Laws of Nigeria.

5. No lawyer worth his salt, arguing an election petition case in Nigeria in 2019, will make an argument based on Servers, phantom or real. This suggests that Atiku’s lawyers are either clowns, or greedy, or both. This is all about milking him as much as possible. After the campaign-milking comes the election-petition-milking. After the election-petition-milking, probably the spiritual-assistance-milking will be the next level.

6. Please help ask: Which of the party agents – of any of the Parties – authenticated any results on a Server post-voting and the counting of votes? If there’s any agent who authenticated any results please let him or her come forward. Truth is that it didn’t happen! The only results party agents authenticated are the ones on Form EC8A, and this is the only evidence that will stand up in court.

7. Atiku and PDP say they got access to INEC Servers from where they retrieved the results they’re bandying about. Let’s even assume that those so-called Servers exist and that there are any results on them (there aren’t!) – do Atiku and PDP realise that illegal and unauthorised access to a Server is a crime under the Cybercrime Act? If you had (illegal) access as you claim to the Server, how do we know you did not manipulate whatever was present on that server, by adding or subtracting numbers, or smuggling extraneous data in? What Atiku and the PDP do not realise is that admitting in a Court of Law that they hacked into the database of a Government agency is itself proof of malicious and criminal conduct. Talk about self-incrimination. Atiku will not only lose the Election Petition case, he will go down in history as a Cyber Hacker and Manipulator.

8.

a. Take a look at the results presented by Atiku and the PDP, as their own genuine version of the results obtained from the INEC Server. It is extremely ridiculous, and can only support the theory that Atiku’s lawyers are both clownish and greedy.

b. See Lagos State, where 580,825 people validly voted for Buhari versus 448,015 for Atiku, making a total of 1,028,840. On the other hand, however, Atiku’s fabricated Server results allege that 1,103,297 people voted for him versus 1,422,906 for Buhari, making a total of 2,526,203. In other words, PDP and Atiku are alleging that 1.5 million votes somehow vanished into thin air in the cosmopolitan metropolis that is Lagos State.

c. Meanwhile, two weeks later, in the Governorship election, the total valid votes cast came to about 945,000, which is in consonance with the number that voted in the Presidential election, but nowhere near Atiku’s fabricated claims. How will Atiku explain this 1.5m difference between his fabricated Server result and the INEC Presidential result on the one hand, and his fabricated Server result and the INEC Governorship result on the other hand?

d. This is the pattern in all of Atiku’s fabricated Server results – his figures make no sense whatsoever. They didn’t employ common sense in their fabrications. According to Premium Times, “Mr Abubakar’s purported result implies that no invalid votes were recorded in the 33 states, and none of the 71 other presidential candidates obtained any score. In three states; Abia, Bauchi and Cross River, the documents show that the two candidates collectively got votes higher than the number of accredited voters.” Ridiculous!

9. Atiku’s so-called 400 witnesses which he is presenting in court are far too few to prove or disprove anything, especially in a Presidential Election. His lawyers know this, why are they not telling him the truth? The law says you have to prove your election petition case PU by PU. In the 2014 Osun Election Petition Tribunal alone, PDP originally sought to present 1,000 witnesses. 1,000. Just for Osun State alone. In Ekiti in 2014 APC sought to present 1,009 witnesses in the Governorship Election Petition. Now PDP wants to argue a PRESIDENTIAL election petition – with nationwide coverage – with only 400 witnesses. Joke!

10. Atiku and PDP question the INEC declared result in Borno State claiming that turnout could not have been that high because of the insurgency (Buhari 836,496 vs Atiku 71,788, making a total of 908,284). Guess what Atiku’s fabricated Server results claim: Buhari 849,599 vs Atiku 281,897, making a total of 1,131,496 – more than 200,000 votes higher than the declared INEC results. How does this make sense? How can you question the turnout in Borno on the basis of insurgency, and then go ahead to fabricate numbers that are even higher than what you’re querying?

ATIKU IS NOT COMING!

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Business / Revisiting The Sec-oando Plc Raging Controversies by Slayer1914: 9:41am On Jul 03, 2019
Revisiting the SEC-Oando Plc raging controversies

By Joshua Afolabi

People who are dishonest, or rash, or stupid will inevitably suffer the penalties of dishonesty, or rashness, or stupidity -- Herbert Spencer

Quite amusingly but with great lessons to learn from, the recent decisions taken by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the report of a legally constituted Investigation Panel on the alleged corporate governance abuses in Oando Plc have continued to attract raging controversies with vociferous intensity in the public discourse space over the weeks such that with the twisting of the real issues, the SEC appeared to have erred in law and therefore should be ‘crucified’ for a regulatory blunder.
As it were, some analysts and commentators, possibly guided by some extraneous understanding of the real issues, have described the action taken by the capital market regulator on the key players in the Oando Plc’s ‘financial mess’ after close to three years of thoroughly going through the oil marketing company’s financial and other operational records, as totally harsh and uncalled for.

Curiously, some industry experts, who ordinarily should appraise the issues beyond the façade of frivolous and seemingly sponsored write ups in newspapers, magazines and the emerging social media platforms, seem to have been caught in the current wave of emotional and sentimental ‘fever’ that has characterized the debates and are now seeing the issues from what could be likened to an ill-conceived and jaundiced intellectual perspective.

Beyond the frivolous commentaries and opinions characterizing the SEC-Oando Plc’s matter in the public discourse space are some fundamental questions requiring dispassionate answers from all those who feel the matter deserves critical interrogation in order to appreciate the enormity of the issues and the implications for investor’s interest in the capital market.

The first is: Was there any abuse of due process in Oando’s financial system before the regulator’s intervention? Secondly, were all the officials involved in the alleged abuses of corporate governance principles in the oil marketing company’s finance given the opportunity to defend themselves on issues raised by both the external auditors and the Investigation Panel? Thirdly, did SEC err in law on the various steps it took to look into the allegations of financial abuses in Oando Plc? Finally, was there any legal basis for the SEC’s actions and in whose interests would the actions be in the long run?

For those who care to know, the investigations that culminated in the suspension of the two principal actors in the Oando Plc’s debacle started over two years ago and the management of the SEC, led by the Acting Director General, Ms. Mary Uduk, appeared to have, in furtherance of its commitment to its zero-tolerance for infractions in the nation’s capital market, given more than enough time for the investigators and those accused of any wrongdoing to say what they knew about the ‘facts in issue’, to ensure fairness in the whole process.

Even when a few months ago some newspapers, which are reputed for blackmailing journalism, started  to insinuate that the SEC had ‘swept the panel’s report under the carpet’, the Mary Uduk-led management never reacted negatively to such journalistic adventurism of the absurd but allowed due process to take its full course on the matter.
Now before delving into the second question of whether the ‘dramatis personae’ accused of abuses in the management of the oil marketing company’s finance is answered, there is the need to revisit the issues that necessitated the setting up of an Investigation Panel to look into the financial books of the company.

According to the report by Ernst & Young, the company’s auditors for the year ended December 31, 2016, Oando Plc’s financial position was not healthy in real terms. For instance, apart from a huge loss of N33.9 billion in the year as against N56.6 billion in 2015, the company’s current asset exceeded current liabilities by about N14.6 billion (N32.8 billion net current liability in 2015).

The auditors also reported that on the group’s performance, Oando had a comprehensive income of N112.4 billion for the year, against net loss of N37.8 billion in 2015, with its assets in the year under review standing at N263.8 billion as against N260.4 billion in the preceding year.

A top shot in the professional services firm, Yemi Odutola, in a statement relating to the company’s findings, maintained that “these conditions, along with other matters, indicate that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the company (and Group’s) ability to continue as a going concern. Our opinion is not modified in respect of this matter.”
Apart from the auditor’s report, the Commission also engaged Deloitte & Touche to conduct a forensic audit of the activities of Oando Plc during which Oando Plc’s board members and top management were given the opportunity to make clarifications on issues relating to the auditor’s findings.
 
Following the startling revelations about the company’s worrisome financial situation, the commission communicated its findings to the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Oando Plc by a letter dated July 10, 2017.
 
According to the SEC management, the sanctions imposed on the company and its top management officials, namely the Group CEO, Mr. Wale Tinubu, and his deputy, Omamofe Boyo, were informed by their unsatisfactory responses to  the issues  raised in both auditors’ reports and  based on their blatant violations of securities laws.
 
But for the worrisome revelations by the auditors, the SEC would not have had any ‘locus standi’ to initiate any probe of the financial position of the oil marketing company, in the first instance. After all, Oando Plc is not the only downstream operating company listed on the NSE. As a common saying goes, ‘it is only the finger that errs that the king cuts’.
From the foregoing, it can be safely assumed that the capital market regulator has not breached provisions of any extant law by taking steps it took by acting on the issues raised in the auditors’ reports on the financial position of a publicly quoted company under its supervisory mandate. That seems to be the answer to the third question raised earlier.
Now, coming to the most legal aspect of the SEC-Oando Plc’s brouhaha, the truth is that the law is on the side of the commission for probing the oil marketing company and its top officials, at least for the purposes of ‘hearing the other side’ or what  the principle of fair hearing calls in Latin ‘audiatur et altera pars’. If the commission had suspended the company’s ‘chieftains’ before commencing the investigations, it would have been a regulatory blunder and its actions would have been declared by the courts as ‘ulra vires’ or ‘null and void’ simplicita!

A cursory interpretation of Sections 13(n), 45, 303 of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) 2007 and Rule 598 of the SEC’s Rules and Regulations empower the commission to protect the integrity of the nation’s bourse against all forms of abuses by investigating and sanctioning persons who violate the provisions of the Act and the Rules and Regulations made pursuant thereto.

Also, Section 310(1) of the same Act referred to in the above paragraph and Rule 599(1) of the commission’s Rules and Regulations both empower the Commission to set up the SEC Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC) to hear complaints on alleged violations of securities laws governing the market.

What all these provisions clearly showed in the SEC-Oando Plc’s raging debates is that the commission did what was right from all legal assessment parameters and did not in any way breach the law. Interestingly, as the management has clarified, there was no basis for ‘witch-hunting’ any official of Oando Plc or prying into its financial records as being insinuated by some commentators as all the sides and all the facts seemed to have been carefully studied by the management before its decisions on the erring oil marketing company and its officials were arrived at.

Now, what is the way forward and what are the options open to the parties on this lingering saga? It is salutary to note that while the enforcement of the SEC decisions was being carried out, the aggrieved parties had decided to approach the courts for justice against what they perceived as unfair treatment by the SEC. As expected, the latter had promptly responded to the suit now before court, with a view to justifying its actions on legal grounds.

To me, this is a healthy development as sooner than later, the court would make its pronouncement on the points of law raised by the Plaintiffs on the regulatory sanctions as well as the arguments of the defendants. It is quite interesting that the findings of the auditors as well as the subsequent decisions taken by SEC on the Oando Plc’s saga are not final and subject to appellate consideration by the courts.
In the final analysis, it is certain that justice would be done and the investing public’s interest would be protected.

It is against this backdrop that this writer is of the strong view that further heating the discourse space with rancorous comments by ill-informed analysts on the ‘facts of the case’ may not be in the interest of the parties, including Oando Plc’s investors. What seems to be reasonable, at least in the interim, is for all commentators to wait for the court to make its pronouncement on the matters before it. It is certain that no matter how long it may appear, justice will be done in the interest of all parties, especially the Nigerian retail investors whose investments are at stake on this pesky matter!  

Afolabi a Public Affairs Analyst, wrote from Lagos
Business / Sec, Oando And The Overall Public/capital Market Interest by Slayer1914: 9:03am On Jul 01, 2019
SEC, OANDO AND THE OVERALL PUBLIC/CAPITAL MARKET INTEREST

BY KAYODE KOLADE

Unarguably, the decision, penultimate week to sanction the management of Oando Plc and the ensuing removal of its key directors by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), continues to generate a lot of commentaries and analyses on the issue now before a court of competent jurisdiction. Away from philistinian sentimentalism and prejudice to the ruling of the court,and being the regulatory body saddled with the arduous task of protecting the investors’ interest as
well as ensuring that market operators/players ply their trade in consonance with the best global practices, and ensuring the nation’s market reliability,  it is important to position the argument within the context of justice, equity, fairness and in particular, the protection of the public and shareholders interest.

Without a doubt, Oando plc is a publicly quoted company, oiled by shareholders’ monies and held in utmost trust for the investing public, which translates to it not being a one-man or worse still a family company. Thus, for that reason, each pronouncement and action or inaction of Oando plc and that of the regulator, SEC ought to, and must be seen to serve  the overall interest of the investing public and its shareholders, and not that of an advantaged few.
It is therefore against this backdrop that this seeming embarrassing situation between the regulator, SEC, and Oando be viewed as it threw up such questions as: Did SEC act within or outside the powers conferred on it by the Investment and Securities Act (ISA)? , Did SEC
act in the overall public and shareholders’ interest? And above all, could SEC’s actions be principally to protect both investors’ interest and that of the market operators as well as ensuring market integrity?

These are the cogent issues that ought to be x-rayed by all and sundry before arriving at some conclusions. But sadly, many commentators and other arm- chair analysts are quick to vilify SEC for undertaking to do the needful not minding whose ox is gored. It will be recalled that when the SEC noticed some gross financial anomalies in the books of Oando plc, it notified the company and subsequently set up a forensic audit of Oando, and the follow-up report of the forensic audit performed by the firm of Deloitte and
Touche revealed serious infractions. These include: “false disclosures, market abuses, misstatements in financial statements, internal control failures, and corporate governance lapses stemming from poor board oversight, irregular approval of directors’
remuneration, unjustified disbursements to directors and management of the company, related party transactions not conducted at arm’s length, amongst others”.

The Commission therefore, ordered the resignation of some board members, while barring Tinubu and Boyo, from being directors of public companies for a period of five years, based on the allegation which the company’s management described as “unsubstantiated, ultra vires, invalid and calculated to prejudice the business of the company.”

Oando plc in a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), further accused the commission of not giving it fair hearing as in previous cases where it similarly intervened in the management of public companies, contrary to the SEC’s claim. Despite the alleged lack of fair hearing, Oando said its management “simply co-operated with the process and responded to questions posed by the auditors in
the course of their fieldwork for findings in a report that the company has still not seen.”

Oando, in addition argued that before the forensic audit  “its management was not afforded the opportunity to see, review and respond to the forensic audit report and so is unable to ascertain what findings (if any) were made in relation to the alleged infractions and
defend itself accordingly before the SEC.”
But throughout the 18-month long forensic audit exercise, the company insisted that it was never given an opportunity to present its case based on the concerns or findings of the Forensic auditor to the SEC. They claimed that in the kick off meeting with Deloitte and Touche, they assured the Company that they would be allowed to read their report on the forensic
audit and give further clarification or comments on matters raised in their report.

However the commission has since argued to the contrary, affirming that Oando Plc was given sufficient opportunity of being heard before they were penalised. In a statement, the SEC said that, there were various opportunities to defend themselves(Oando plc) during the investigation by SEC and during the forensic Audit and various reports questioning the regulatory authority of the SEC, and insinuating lack of due process in the investigations of Oando Plc are harshly
unfounded and baseless, and said interalia “To put the records straight, the SEC hereby states that fair hearing is a paramount and fundamental principle, which the Commission as a law abiding agency adheres to in all its investigative processes.

“In the course of the investigations, communications e.g. letters and phone calls were exchanged and meetings held between the Commission and Oando Plc, requesting for its comments and explanations on issues relating to the investigations. The findings of the Commission were communicated to the Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc by a
letter dated July 10, 2017. SEC said in the course of conducting the forensic audit, Deloitte & Touche held regular sessions with members of the Board and senior management of Oando Plc, and afforded them the opportunity to provide explanations on issues relating to the audit.

“The Commission confirms that Oando Plc was given sufficient opportunity of being heard and accorded several opportunities to rebut the issues revealed by the investigation. The responses given by Oando
Plc, were however considered unsatisfactory; prompting, the decision by the Commission to penalize the company and some of the individuals related to it for violations of securities laws. “The actions of the Commission were properly effected pursuant to the
provisions of the Investments & Securities Act (ISA) 2007 and the SEC Rules and Regulations made pursuant to the ISA 2007” the SEC said.

“As the Apex Regulator of the Nigerian capital market, the Commission has a mandate to protect investors.The Commission’s recent action on Oando Plc aligns with the above cardinal mandate, as the directive for the removal of persons from the board of Oando Plc and the appointment of an interim management team to temporarily steer the affairs of the company is to protect investors and preserve stakeholder value. “Failure or refusal of the Commission to act in the face of the serious issues thrown up by the investigations or to reverse its directives, would undermine the federal government’s agenda to build strong institutions and promote the transparency and integrity of the Nigerian capital market, especially given that, these are
preconditions for attracting foreign investors to the Nigerian capital market,” the apex capital market regulator added.

Since SEC is following its mandate, which is to intervene in the management and control of public companies, under its power of investor protection, while maintaining a free, fair, efficient and
transparent capital market, it must strive to draw the courts attention to the provisions of Section 13 which empowers its management to perform all that it has done in the Oando Plc matter. They must also
convince the court of its powers under Section 13 (bb) of the Investment and Securities Act (ISA 2007) that Tinubu and Boyo are persons unfit to be employed in any arm of the securities industry, as affirmed by a
most recent decision of the Court of Appeal in SEC v. Big Treat & 5 Ors Suit No – CA/L/88/2011.
Consequent upon Section 13 of the ISA 2007, the commission as the apex regulatory organisation for the Nigerian capital market is empowered
to undertake the functions prescribed in this Act, including regulating investments and securities business in the country as defined in the Act, and  the action so far taken with regards to the case of Oando Plc are in the public interest, especially as it
concerns investor protection; and in further bid to prevent “fraudulent and unfair trade practices relating to the securities industry;” among others.

Aside this, SEC’s implementation of Section 13 of the ISA 2007 is the responsibility of its management, just as the power to sanction erring individuals under Section 13 (u) and to levy fees, penalties and
administrative costs of proceedings or other charges on any person in relation to investments and securities business in Nigeria, in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The injunction therefore, restraining SEC from implementing the recommendations in the forensic audit report could lead to protracted legal battles that could impact the company’s share prices on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Let whoever is affected by the recommendations in the report obey the directives from SEC for the sake of our investments in the capital market.

However, SEC must therefore be firm and holistic in handling all conflicts within the ambit of its regulatory powers towards protecting investors’ interest in the Nigerian capital market and should not allow its authority to be undermined if the outcome of the forensic audit was true.

The Oando saga is a big issue in the Nigerian capital market that needs a firm and holistic approach to restore confidence in the capital market and adhere to the truth of corporate governance. If the unfolding events between Oando and SEC are allowed to fester longer than necessary, it could dampen investors’ confidence and tamper with Nigeria’s integrity. As the international investment community/foreign
investors are watching to see the manner the Oando issue would be handled, as well as local shareholders and most especially retail investors, and the way it is handled will go a long way to determine the success of the nation’s drive for financial inclusion and
attraction of new retail and foreign investors returning to the market, as well as safeguard investors’ confidence.

The Ag. DG of SEC, Ms Mary Uduk ought to be applauded for the courage in releasing the outcome of the forensic audit.
Politics / Public Notice by Slayer1914: 2:55pm On Jun 27, 2019
PUBLIC NOTICE

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, wishes to inform shareholders of the defunct Skye Bank that unclaimed dividends declared by the bank are being held in trust on their behalf.

Investors that have unclaimed dividends are therefore advised to contact Cardinalstone Registrars to process their dividend payments.

The Commission has also directed Cardinalstone Registrars and STL Trustees to ensure that all genuine claims of beneficiary shareholders be addressed forthwith.

Signed

SEC Management
Business / Oando: SEC Followed Due Process - Stakeholders by Slayer1914: 9:03pm On Jun 23, 2019
Oando: SEC Followed Due Process
- Stakeholders

A group of stakeholders in the capital market, Consolidated Capital Market Stakeholders Forum (CCMSF), has stated that the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC followed due process in the suspension of the Directors Of Oando Plc.

The Group in a statement signed by Umar Usman, urged the Oando directors to provide credible evidence refuting the findings of the forensic audit instead of whipping up sentiments.

According to Usman, There were several corporate governance lapses stemming from poor Board oversight. These include irregular approval of Director’s remuneration, Director’s participation in matters in which they had declared interest, unjustified disbursements to Directors and management of the company, failure of the Audit committed to hold meetings with management, internal auditors and external auditors.

Usman said Oando Plc also failed to establish an effective system of internal controls as required under section 61 of the ISA 2007, over its financial reporting thereby compromising the integrity of the company’s financial controls and reporting as revealed by the misstatements In the financial statements, high number of related party transactions and unjustified disbursements to directors.

He stated that Oando Plc reported the sale of its subsidiary, Oando Exploration and Production Limited (OEPL) to Green Park Management Limited without obtaining the approval of the commission, (In violation of the provisions of the Investment and Securities Act (ISA 2007) and the consent of the minister of petroleum (as required under the Petroleum Act, 1969).

“The purported sale of OEPL enabled Oando Plc to report a profit instead of a loss, thereby misstating its financial statement in 2013 and 2014 and consequently misleading investors. This “Fictitious” profit reported in 2013 enabled “Oando Plc to declare dividends.

“The 2013 misstated accounts and quarterly reports of Oando Plc were included in the 2014 rights circular, thereby misrepresenting the financial status of the company to the public in violation of section 64 of the provisions of the ISA 2007.
SUSPECTED MARKET ABUSE:
In 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, certain insiders of Oando Plc sold shares of the Company during “ Closed periods” despite having knowledge of active closed periods by the company and contrary to the Rules of the NSE. The insiders include Ocean and Oil Investment Limited (OOIL-represented by Jubril Adewale Tinubu and Godwin Omamafe Boyo, Ocean and Oil Development Partners OODP represented by Jubril Adewale Tinubu, Godwin Omamofe Boyo, Francesco Cuzzocrea, and ECP African Fund II. PC ( a company in which Nana Appiah- Korang was director)

According to Usman, “They have not yet refuted the facts in the report of the forensic audit. Publishing untrue financial statements, paying themselves remuneration above the board charter , market abuse, related party transactions not conducted at arm’s length, misstatements in financial statement and inaccurate disclosures in the financial statements of Oando Plc are grievous issues that they ought to respond to”

“Those are very serious issues that no regulator would gloss over. Are they saying the SEC should wait till the company collapses before its does the needful?

“SEC is the statutory regulatory body for the capital market in Nigeria and a body charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the interest of the shareholders, investors, creditors and the public in order to maintain the stability of the capital market and by extension the economy of the Country as a whole”. He added

Usman said it was only
Proper for the SEC to
Commence investigations After it received a petition dated 4th day of May 2017 from Alhaji Dahiru Bara’u Mangal, a shareholder of Oando complaining about Oando Plc management.

“Every action the Regulator has taken is to protect the stakeholders of the company. If the Directors feel the Regulator is wrong, then the onus is on them to provide evidence that they did not commit the above infractions.

According to him, “The actions of the Commission were properly effected pursuant to the provisions of the Investments & Securities Act (ISA) 2007 and the SEC Rules and Regulations made pursuant to the ISA 2007”.

“As the Apex Regulator of the Nigerian capital market, the Commission has a mandate to protect investors and the Commission’s recent action on Oando Plc aligns with the above cardinal mandate, as the directive for the removal of persons from the board of Oando Plc and the appointment of an interim management team to temporarily steer the affairs of the company is to protect investors and preserve stakeholder value.

“This is in line with the Federal Government’s agenda to build strong institutions and promote the transparency and integrity of the Nigerian capital market, especially given that, these are preconditions for attracting foreign investors to the Nigerian capital market” he added.
Business / Press Release On Suspension Of The Annual General Meeting Of Oando Plc by Slayer1914: 10:58am On Jun 10, 2019
PRESS RELEASE ON SUSPENSION OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF OANDO PLC
The Securities & Exchange Commission (‘the Commission’) hereby notifies the public that further to the Ex-parte Order of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos in Suit No: FHC/L/Cs/910/19 In Mr. Jubril Adewale Tinubu & Anor V Securities & Exchange Commission & Anor, the Annual General Meeting of Oando Plc (a company listed on the Nigerian and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges) scheduled to hold on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 10: 00am has been suspended till further notice.

Accordingly, the Commission has directed the suspension of the Annual General Meeting of Oando Plc to allow the parties maintain status quo.
The Commission will update the public on the outcome of the ongoing litigation.

Signed
Management
Business / Oando: Our Action Aimed At Protecting Investors – SEC by Slayer1914: 6:56pm On Jun 09, 2019
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Sunday said that Oando Plc was given sufficient opportunity of being heard before they were penalised.

The commission said in Lagos that there were various opportunities by the company to defend themselves during the investigation by SEC and during the forensic audit.

“The attention of SEC has been drawn to various reports questioning the regulatory authority of the SEC, and insinuating lack of due process in the investigations of Oando Plc.

“To put the records straight, SEC hereby states that fair hearing is a paramount and fundamental principle which the Commission as a law abiding agency adheres to in all its investigative processes.

“In the course of the investigations, communications e.g. letters and phone calls were exchanged and meetings held between the commission and Oando Plc, requesting for its comments and explanations on issues relating to the investigations.

“The findings of the commission was communicated to the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Oando Plc by a letter dated July 10, 2017,” SEC said in a statement by Mrs Efe Ebelo, its Head, Corporate Communications and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

The commission said it subsequently engaged Deloitte & Touche to conduct a Forensic Audit of the activities of Oando Plc.

“In the course of conducting the forensic audit, Deloitte & Touche held regular sessions with members of the board and senior management of Oando Plc, and afforded them the opportunity to provide explanations on issues relating to the audit.

“The commission confirms that Oando Plc was given sufficient opportunity of being heard and accorded several opportunities to rebut the issues revealed by the investigation.

“The responses given by Oando Plc, were, however, considered unsatisfactory; prompting, the decision by the Commission to penalise the company and some of the individuals related to it for violations of securities laws.

“The actions of the commission were properly effected pursuant to the provisions of the Investments & Securities Act (ISA) 2007 and the SEC Rules and Regulations made pursuant to the ISA 2007,” SEC said.

It added that these facts had been properly articulated in the court process it filed at the Federal High Court in response to the suit instituted by the Group Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc.

“As the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market, the commission has a mandate to protect investors,” it said.

SEC noted that its recent action on Oando Plc aligned with the above cardinal mandate.

It said that the directive for the removal of persons from the board of Oando Plc and the appointment of an interim management team to temporarily steer the affairs of the company was to protect investors and preserve stakeholder value.

SEC said that failure or refusal of the commission to act in the face of the serious issues thrown up by the investigations or to reverse its directive would undermine the Federal Government’s agenda to build strong institutions.

NAN reports that SEC on June 2, following the outcome of its forensic audit constituted an Interim Management team to be headed by Sunmonu for embattled Oando Plc.

It noted that Sunmonu would oversee the affairs the company and conduct an Extra Ordinary General Meeting on or before July 1, to appoint new board of directors.

The regulatory body also said that appointed new board of directors at the meeting would subsequently select a management team for Oando Plc.

The commission, however, reiterated its commitment to maintaining the integrity of the market.

But the Federal High Court Lagos on June 3 granted an interim injunction to the embattled management of Oando restraining SEC from executing an interim management in the company.

The interim injunction followed an application filed by Messrs Jubril Adewale Tinubu, embattled GCEO and Omamofe Boyo, for the enforcement of their fundamental human rights.

It also restrained the commission from imposing a fine of N91.13 million on Tinubu and barring him and Boyo from being directors of public companies for five years.

(NAN)

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/punchng.com/oando-our-action-aimed-at-protecting-investors-sec/amp/
Politics / Democracy by Slayer1914: 5:46pm On Jun 09, 2019
What do you think about Nigeria's Democracy?
Politics / Economics, Economist, Financial Times And Nigeria by Slayer1914: 2:37pm On Jun 07, 2019
ECONOMICS, ECONOMIST, FINANCIAL TIMES AND NIGERIA

By Garba Shehu

One would imagine that business papers like economic success stories; apparently not. Instead, they feast and thrive on negatives. Financial Times, for instance, is worried about a government policy that is enabling boom in rice production in Nigeria. And the Economist is panicky about toothpick manufacturers springing up following tariffs that protect local manufacturers to get off the ground and compete globally.

Both papers only see negatives. Specifically, Economist dwells on out-of-date statistics. Deliberately it turns away from the positives as it will complicate already tailored narratives. Some foreign correspondents keep the storyline simple: Africa is home for all bad things: poverty, disease and crime. And unremitting bleakness lives on the continent, and success is the aberration.

Since only negative reports on Africa make it to the international media, a backward picture of a nation is painted succinctly and efforts at growth in different ramifications, both investment and diplomacy are ignored. From the content of these stories, readers must be baffled that Nigerians know toothpicks, let alone be able to manufacture them.

The fact remains that with squeeze in media budgets there are not enough knowledgeable foreign correspondents based on the continent to report accurate news and uphold journalistic standards. And the parachuting style clearly defies ethics and quality. To cut cost, many media houses rely on the expedience of technology. The highly revered and sacrosanct fact-checking skill of journalism slips as a result. Anyone with a laptop is trusted as credible source. Cogent arguments no longer have a place, instead we have jumbled and emotive criticisms.

For instance, the Financial Times declares proudly that President Buhari failed to spur rice growing, whilst stating that production was at record levels up 60 per cent in 2018 from what we had in 2013. The Economist talks about overdependence on oil, yet criticises policies such as subsidies or financial incentives that allow local businesses to compete and diversify the economy. It frowns at power shortfalls, but turns around to attack Alhaji Aliko Dangote – the man building the world’s largest oil refinery and improving power infrastructure in Nigeria.

Fundamentally, the foreign correspondents fail to appreciate context – understandably if they have to cover a large “patch’’ with shoe-string budgets, but never-the-less it is impermissible as facts must remain sacred. The Economist states that the economy was “sputtering’’ when President Buhari’s first term began in 2015, and still concluded he made a “bad situation worse”. “Sputtering’’ sounds euphemistic. The reality is that the economy was on its knees. The overdependence on oil, paired with impending global commodity crash, made the entry into recession at the beginning of the term inevitable. Now, however, the first quarter growth of 2019 has been the strongest.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently said analysts and onlookers must recognise “how deep the shock” was to the economy. As a famous American business magnate observed: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked.” Indeed, Nigeria had been awash in oil dollars (over $100 a barrel), yet previous governments failed to add muscle to the economy.

Since the recession struck (crude oil went below $40 per barrel), the government has taken measures to redress weaknesses in our economy. The IMF goes on to praise the strong diversification in the economy and welcome the focus on public investment. For instance, the government has spent record figures on infrastructure in the past two years and capital expenditure is now around 30 per cent of the budget, rather than inadequate 10 per cent in 2015.

There has also been a drive to self-sufficiency where possible. It makes no sense for Nigeria to import rice, yet foreign shipments were dumped to maintain dependency. Farmers needed help: strategic tariffs were applied to allow for initial competition, whilst the Central Bank of Nigeria financial initiatives allowed growers to access capital for fertilizer and equipment. Over the past three years, production has risen year-on-year. Nigeria, as of 2018, is Africa’s largest producer of rice. Self-sufficiency has almost been attained.

From reading some foreign articles, you would be surprised to find these success stories mentioned; amazed that anyone would cheer the decision on tariffs to ward off desolation. And the failure to see or present any achievement perpetuates stereotypes that serve as disincentives to Foreign Direct Investment and partnership.

Granted, there are challenges in Nigeria. The country is a large and diverse nation with structural challenges that have been passed down through decades. But foreign reports ignore the complexity, and instead offer platitudes as solutions. This diminishes the difficulties facing those in governance: they must merely “stamp out corruption” or “improve governance” – common advice amongst those quick to criticise, but barren in tangible and measurable solutions.

Similarly, we are told to “harness the vim of Nigerians’’ – which is true. But this seems obvious as to even need mentioning. It is – to be sure – how you do that. We in governance have no illusion about this. Vim is harnessed when a nation has decent infrastructure that connects the economy, and thousands of miles of road have been constructed, as well as the expansion and upgrading of colonial-era railway network. When children have good education; we are currently ensuring 9 million free school meals daily across the nation and it has boosted enrolment and attendance. And when business reforms create enabling environment; already Nigeria has gone up 24 places in Ease of Doing Business ranking since 2018, and the country is currently one of the top 10 global reformers, which is good news!

Garba Shehu is Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity.
Politics / Nwogwuwu, Arise TV MD, Takes On Peterside Over Oando Forensic Report by Slayer1914: 11:44am On Jun 07, 2019
Nwogwuwu, Arise TV MD, takes on Peterside over Oando forensic report

Ijeoma Nwogwuwu, the managing director of Arise TV, says it is disingenuous for Oando Plc. to say it was not aware of the forensic audit by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Speaking on the issue via Twitter, the former editor of THISDAY newspapers, said: “All this hue and cry about Oando not being privy to the forensic audit is disingenuous”.

“It is not possible for an auditor to undertake an audit, be it forensic or otherwise, without engaging the management of a company.”

Nwogwuwu, who was taking on Atedo Peterside, a shareholder in Oando Plc., said “even in situations where an auditor is appointed by a regulator, the auditor first informs the management of the company under investigation of its scope of work and requests for supporting documents and or information to make its findings”.
Politics / Eid El-fitr Edition Of The Pendulum 04/06/2019 by Slayer1914: 10:12am On Jun 05, 2019
EID El-FITR EDITION OF THE PENDULUM
04/06/2019

Happy Eld El-Fitr to our moslem brothers and sisters,we thank Almighty Allah for the grace and opportunity witness the 2019 Ramadan fast,this is one of the command of Prophet Mohammed Peace Be Upon Him.

It is also one of the five pillars of is Islam that must be observed by every moslem.May Allah accept our ibada,Amen.

Yesterday Monday 3,2019 the SEC staff union did a lock down of its premisses on a perceived come back of Mounir Gwarzo the Suspended SEC DG.Recall that an Abuja High court passed a verdict in favour of the suspended DG and this judgment was affirmed by the Industrial court. The court "according to media, he should be reinstated and his entitlements paid to him.

When the case of the Industrial court was decided, the suspended DG was quick to write to the Minister of finance for reinstatement.By the time the Industrial court decided on the matter he then planned to stage a come back and assume office without a formal letter from the Ministry of Finance.

The action of the union on Monday 3, June 2019 was to stop the suspended DG who was planning a come back,from the feeders he was trying to come back and assume office after obtaining two separate court judgments in his favour.

The action of the union was to stop him from assuming duties without a formal letter from the Ministry.The case of Oteh was clear, she was suspended and an Ag. DG was appointed and when she was cleared by the Ministry a formal letter was written for her reinstatement. We expect same in the case of Gwarzo.

ACTION OF THE UNION

The union in ensuring that due process be followed,did a lock down of the entire premisses of SEC head quarters,all gates were under lock and key waiting for the arrival of the suspended DG who was planning a come back.

Even if the Gwarzo intended to resume and was informed of the lockdown the massage and signal has being sent. He should get a proper clearance for the Ministry and the gate will be open wide for him.

It was also unfortunate that the purported come of Gwarzo coincided with the decision of SEC management of Oando, the union made it categorically clear that there is no noxious between the union's action and Management decision on Oando.

By this, staff are to did abuse their mind of the news on social media that the SEC Management team sponsored the lockdown. This is purely a handy work of few individuals who are sympathisers and pro Gwarzo.The are those who are his close allies and members of his kitchen cabinet.The are sole beneficiaries of his foreign trips and contract award.We distance ourselves and call on staff to ignore them.The are sponsored and we have since identified them and we are watching them with kid gloves.

OUR DEMAND

Since the lock down was successful and the signal sent to the appropriate quarters,the union demand the following:

1. The judgments of the Appeal and Industrial court should be appealed by SEC and ICPC.

2. The report of the special Investigating Panel that indicted Gwarzo should be enforced.

3.In appealing the judgment,Medusa and Outbond should be the focus.

Comrade Nelson Olegeh ,Chairman Association Of Senior Civil Servant of Nigerian,SEC Branch

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