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Updated: 3 hours 39 min ago

Amaechi, Abati, Nigeria And Chinese Loans By David Iyofor 


7 hours 22 min ago


David Iyofor

Overwhelmed with disbelief, I chuckled multiple times as I read the ‘monumental’ Reuben Abati’s opinion piece published by Sahara Reporters on August 4, 2020, titled: Nigeria and Chinese Loans. Unfortunately, the piece was a monumental misadventure in dissecting the trending issue of Nigeria and Chinese loans and the terms of the loans. More tragic was Abati’s inglorious, uncalled for, cut and join attempt to portray the minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as the shady villain that has plunged Nigeria into his imaginary intractable apocalyptic debt mess with China. 

Why Abati decides to tow this insidious path in this discourse is indeed befuddling. While I am open to give him the benefit of doubt that he may have been innocently ignorant of the facts of the Chinese loans and the nature and import of the terms of the loans, many I know are ready to swear by Amadioha or Sango that Abati’s piece was a disingenuous attempt to conflate and obfuscate the issues, muddy and distort the discourse and deliberately mislead his readers. With Amaechi as his prime target in his barely concealed hit man piece.

First, lets look at the obvious and known facts of the matter of the Chinese loans, the terms of borrowing and its import; as against the beer parlour gists and pepper soup joint arguments of Rueben Abati. Data from the Debt Management Office(DMO) shows the total borrowing from China of $3.121 billion(USD) as at March 31, 2020, are concessional bilateral loans(not high interest rate commercial loans) with interest rates of 2.50% per annum., tenor of Twenty (20) years and Moratorium(grace period) of Seven (7) years. The China loans represents only 3.94% of Nigeria’s total public debt of $79.303 billion(USD) as at March 31, 2020. 

David Iyofor Vanguard

The Chinese loan terms are compliant with the provisions of Section 41 (1a) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007. In addition, the low interest rate reduces the interest cost to government while the long tenor enables the repayment of the principal sum of the loans over many years. These two benefits make the provisions for debt servicing in our annual budget lower than they would otherwise have been if the loans were on commercial terms. 

The rigorous process of taking any loan at the federal level, inclusive of the Chinese loans involves the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning working with the MDAs under whose portfolio a proposed loan falls and also with the DMO. Thereafter, the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) is sought. It is only after the approval by FEC that Mr. President requests for the approval of the National Assembly (NASS) as required by Section 41 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007. Carefully not that it is only after the approval of the National Assembly that the loans are taken and Nigeria begins to drawdown on the loans. In summary, borrowing seems to be a joint activity between the Executive and the Legislative arms of Government. Additionally, the loan agreements are reviewed by the Ministry of Justice and the legal opinion of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is obtained before any External Loan Agreement is signed. The $3.121 billion(USD) Chinese loans are project-tied borrowing. The projects in the ministry of Transportation, which Amaechi superintends, include the Nigerian Railway Modernization Project (Abuja to Kaduna section and Lagos to Ibadan section), amongst others.

The infrastructural and economic impacts of these projects are evident and visible. The Abuja to Kaduna rail line has become a major source of transportation of commuters and cargo between Abuja and Kaduna, while the Lagos – Ibadan rail line when completed will ease human and cargo traffic on the busy Lagos -Ibadan expressway. The projects also have the added benefits of job creation, not only by themselves but also through direct and indirect service providers, a number of which are Small and Medium Enterprises. It is widely accepted that investment in infrastructure is one of the most effective tools for countries to achieve economic growth and development. Using loans from China to finance infrastructure is thus in alignment with this position. We should also not forget that like all other external borrowing, the loans from China were approved by the National Assembly.

The contentious issue of waiving of Nigeria’s sovereign immunity and providing sovereign guarantee by Nigeria to China for the loans is a standard clause in this type of foreign borrowing. The citizenry should understand that there is a difference between international diplomatic immunity, which has to do with a nation’s sovereignty, independent existence; and commercial immunity, which has to do with a nation’s commitment to ensure repayment of foreign loans taken by that country. The misconception of those arguing against the waiving of sovereignty clause in the loan agreements are looking at the diplomatic immunity as against commercial immunity of a country when it has to do with loans, as there is no concession whatsoever made as it concerns Nigeria's diplomatic immunity. Concessions relating to immunity for the purpose of provision of commercial guarantee are not uncommon in loan agreements between sovereign countries. 

So commercial immunity is in essence a mere guarantee that allows a nation that provides the loan, an opportunity, right and power to claim back the financial advances made to another nation. It does not extend to concession of diplomatic immunity or sovereignty, by which you now surrender the rights, privileges and independence of a nation state. But it is a commercial term that is restrictive, exclusive to an asset, a commercial asset for that matter in the event of default in the loan repayment terms. Nobody had signed out Nigeria’s sovereignty. A sovereign nation is a sovereign nation, no nation can re-colonized Nigeria on the basis of any China loan agreement. As of today, there’s no credible evidence of any danger of Nigeria losing its sovereignty to China because of the loans. Nigeria explicitly provides for debt servicing of foreign loans in its annual budgets. This means payment of loans is planned for.

Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, Professor of Political Science and former External Affairs Minister, explained the waiving of sovereignty clause in loan agreements between sovereign nations in a recent interview. He said, “Let us not be emotional about it, and there’s a standard clause in these agreements. The clause says: ‘Country X cannot plead his sovereignty, to protect it, if there is a need to go to arbitration. You cannot say because I am a sovereign country, you cannot drag me to court for arbitration. That is standard procedure.  Economic relations are different from political relations. In political relations, you can plead your sovereignty to protect you but in economic relations, you cannot plead your sovereignty to stop you from paying back your foreign loans.”

Also, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana who is usually a very harsh critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, in a television interview explained that the sovereignty clause is a standard one in every international loan agreement between countries and no one has traded off the sovereign rights of Nigeria. He said:

“In every International commercial agreement, that clause is a standard one. In other words, every nation has the sovereign right, sovereign immunity, not to be dragged to any court of arbitration. But if you are taking a loan, it is a standard agreement that if you default in the payment of the loan, you cannot invoke your sovereignty to prevent you from going to court or arbitration, no more, no less. It has nothing to do with trading off the sovereignty of Nigeria… Again, this is meant to confuse Nigerians and mislead Nigerians. Nobody has traded off the sovereign rights of Nigeria”(in the Chinese loan agreements).

It is undeniably disconcerting that Rueben Abati on a serious national discourse like this, found it more convenient to quote and propagate the propagandist views and comments of his partisan, opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and his fellow party member and 2019 PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar while he completely avoids the unbiased, non-partisan contributions of the likes of Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi(a former External Affairs minister) and bright legal minds like Femi Falana and even Olisa Agbakoba.  

Abati’s ill-fated attempt to make Amaechi the fall guy before Nigerians for the Chinese loans is unacceptably irresponsible. He tried to depict Amaechi as the alpha and omega when it comes to taking the loans related to the rail projects in his ministry when that is not actually the reality. The supervisory minister role in foreign borrowing is limited and only complementary to the ministry of Finance that takes the loan on behalf of the Federal government, and the Ministry of Justice that reviews and vets all foreign loan agreements. Above all, any foreign loan has to be approved by the National Assembly. 

Besides, Abati’s allusion to unethical practices against Amaechi in the borrowing process is indeed a sad commentary of his understanding of the issues. Reducing a serious and rigorous government business of the borrowing process that involves several parties in the executive and legislative arms of government to his pedestrian “my brother, bring money make we do business, chop together”, says a lot about his ignorance or willful mischief on this matter. Perhaps, that’s the way government business was done and conducted in the previous administration Abati was a significant member of. And not unexpected, that is the only way he seems to know and think government business can be conducted. What a sad trajectory.  Is it not curious that some of the loans (about $2.473 billion, in total) from China were signed and taken during the same previous President Goodluck Jonathan government that Reuben Abati was the Spokesman of, with similar borrowing terms? Yet, Abati did not write a long treatise to condemn the loans, its terms and criminalise borrowing from China, then. Maybe he was keeping to the truism of not to talk while ‘chopping’. One can only imagine the mind-blowing hypocrisy. For Abati’s information, as it concerns the loans related to Amaechi’s ministry of Transportation, the agreements do not have or make provisions for ‘bring money, let’s chop together.’ The contract money is paid directly to the contractor by the lender after each specified milestone is certified to have been satisfactorily completed by different organs of the Federal government. 

Disingenuously, Abati tried to draw comparisons between the Chinese loans and the well known pending $9.6 billion Process & Industrial Development (P&ID) matter. That was like comparing apples to oranges. Like most right thinking Nigerians, I see no bases to put these two disparate matters on same pedestal, apart from the purpose of fear mongering and to galvanize unwarranted public animosity against borrowing, whether from China or anywhere else. While one is about bilateral concessional borrowing between two sovereign nations, Nigeria and China, for infrastructural projects(completed and on-going); the other, the P&ID case is a completely different ball game of an alleged contract gone awry that is now being disputed in court. Even more fatuous and ludicrous was Abati’s reason for drawing a similarity between both matters because of the presence of words as “arbitration”, “property”, “enforcement of arbitral award” in both matters. Haba! Even a sophomore law student would tell you for free that those words and phrase are not unusual in most standard contract and/or loan agreements.

To support his arguments, Rueben Abati wrote about his class at the University of Maryland, in an American Foreign Policy Process class taught by Hodding Carter III, where he learnt or read about “The Coming Conflict with China”. In contrast, I want to let Abati know that in my class at Oxford University, Said Business School, in a Globalisation module taught by Marc Szepan, we learnt how the world has evolved over the years into a global village, where sovereign nations are largely inter-dependent on each other and also borrowing from each other and foreign financial institutions. Nigeria borrowing from China or from Western nations or foreign financial institutions for infrastructural development should not be criminalised or reduced to an Amaechi punching event, at least until we change our laws and agree as a country that Nigeria should not borrow anymore. 

Agreed, as a nation we need to have this discourse, a holistic conversation about our foreign loans/debts, but constricting the discourse to be about this present Buhari administration, about one arm of government, about one minister and government official(Amaechi), or only about Chinese loans/debts, is not the right way to go about it. And further reducing the dialogue to “a Chinese getting license to sell roasted corn by the road-side in Nigeria” or “a certain Amaechi has signed off Nigeria’s Presidential Villa to the Chinese to get cheap loans to build a rail line to Port Harcourt”(quoting Abati), only exposes the dubious motives of Abati. These, especially the latter, will provide no value to the conversation but would only deem Abati a wailing child, who is embittered, and fixated on Amaechi for supposedly taking away his lollipop. 

Mr. Iyofor, a close Associate of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi wrote from Abuja

 

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Gunmen Kill Delta Polytechnic Graduate

7 hours 30 min ago


Gunmen suspected to be members of a cult gang have reportedly killed death a Mass Communication graduate of the Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku.

SaharaReporters gathered that the deceased simply identified as Oboh, was killed on Thursday at about 10:00pm while watching a football match at a bar near UBA at Umuagu Quarters in Asaba, the state capital.

"Oboh only came to watch a football match in the bar and he was drinking around 10:00pm when three gunmen came into bar and shot him four times and dragged his lifeless body outside the place.

“The gunmen put off the generator set and told everyone to remain calm that they came for Oboh alone," a source, who witnessed the incident, told our correspondent.

In a related development, a middle-aged man was said to have been shot dead in what looked like a reprisal on Isieke Quarters in the early hours of Friday in Asaba.

Spokesperson for the police in Delta, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, confirmed the incident, saying the killings were cult-related attacks.

Onovwakpoyeya, disclosed that the command was already investigating both killings and working to bring the perpetrators to book.

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Delta APC, Others Berate Governor Okowa Over Appointment Of Aides After Slash In Workers Salaries

7 hours 33 min ago


Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa

Condemnation has continued to trail Governor Ifeanyi Okowa's appointment of aides even after slashing salaries of civil servants in Delta State.

Okowa had in July invited the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, and Joint Negotiating Council in the state to an emergency meeting where they were asked to choose between retrenchment of workers and a cut in monthly salaries.

Barely two weeks after the commencement of the implementation of the slash in salaries, Governor Okowa swore in immediate-past National Vice Chairman of PDP, South-South, Emmanuel Ogidi, and former House of Representatives member, Sunny Emeyese, as special advisers.

Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa Google

Okowa, despite the cut in civil servants salaries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, made over 50 new appointments of aides already presented letters.

Reacting to the development, the All Progressives Congress, Young Nigerian Rights Organisation and others have all condemned the political appointments by Governor Okowa.

In a statement by the state's APC Publicity Secretary, Sylvester Imonina, the party condemned what it termed anti-people leadership by Okowa especially the reduction of workers salaries.

It said, "The All Progressives Congress in Delta State condemns in totality the pharaonic leadership style of Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa."

On his part, Director-General of Young Nigerian Rights Organisation, Victor Ojei, lamented the action of Governor Okowa, accusing his administration of lacking vision.

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Ireland To Return €5.5m Abacha Loot To Nigerian Government

14 August 2020 - 2:16pm


Ireland has reached a deal to give back to Nigeria €5.5m ($6.5 million) looted by former military dictator, Sani Abacha.

Helen McEntee, Ireland Minister of Justice and Equality, said the memorandum of understanding followed an order recently issued by a court in the European country regarding the funds.

The Ireland Criminal Assets Bureau froze the loot in 2014 under request from the administration of then President, Goodluck Jonathan.

“I am very pleased to sign this Memorandum of Understanding between Ireland and Nigeria. This represents the culmination of a long process which began with an internationally led investigation.

“The Criminal Assets Bureau took part in this international operation which led to the freezing of over $1bn in funds worldwide, of which approximately €5.5m was identified in a Dublin-based bank account.

“The return of these assets will be the first time that Ireland has taken such action and will be a concrete demonstration of Ireland’s commitment to international cooperation in the fight against corruption and to assisting countries which have been adversely affected by corruption in the past, and is in line with our international obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention Against Corruption,” she said.

The money is the latest Abacha-linked cash reclaimed by Nigeria. 

Corruption watchdog, Transparency International, estimates that Abacha, who ruled from 1993 until his death in 1998, stole as much as $5bn of public money during that time.

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Edo Residents Write Inspector-General of Police, Accuse Obaseki, Deputy Of Shooting During PDP Rally

14 August 2020 - 12:18pm


Godwin Obaseki

Residents of Apana Village, Edo State, in a letter to the Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, accused Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, of shooting at residents during a rally of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The residents claimed that Obaseki’s deputy escorted some thugs into the village as they shot sporadically at residents.

Narrating the experience, the residents said a teenager was hit by a bullet in the arm while another person was hit by a bullet in the hip.

Godwin Obaseki

The residents identified some of the thugs, who invaded the community as Umasor Umoru, Itotoi Imonikhe, Momodu Salafa and Emmanuel Irekpita.

“The governor's convoy arrived at the square. At this time we had all ran away and hid in different positions where we could safely observe the happenings. The deputy governor of Edo State,  Hon. Philip Shaibu, came down from his vehicle and escorted by his security aides, he started supervising the destruction of properties in the village square. 

“The gunmen ran towards Oduge Quarters where they identified a Peugeot 505  Station Wagon belonging to a local APC chieftain, Wilson Idaewor. Thankgod Okhumaoya immediately ordered that the vehicle should be destroyed. 

“The hooded men and Thankgod descended on the vehicle breaking the front and back windshields, the side windows, mirrors etc.

“Mr. Thankgod Okhumaoya started identifying shops and properties belonging to APC members that should be destroyed all around the village square.

“Thankgod Okhumaoya ordered that they should go and burn down Chief Lucky James house which was quite a distance from the village square at the end of Oduge quarters. 

“On their way to Chief Lucky James house, they continued to shoot in all directions and in the process hit a teenage boy, Samuel Sabageh who was sleeping inside the house when a pellet hit him in the arm.

“They also hit one Mr. Samuel Anerua who was sitting in a bar near the village square when stray bullets hit him in the arm and in the hips. Ms. Elizabeth Sunday the daughter of an APC leader in the community, was shot on the head while frying garri in front of her father's house, while Evaristus Emuekpere's ear was brushed by a flying pellet,” the residents’ letter to the IG read.

They wrote that after the rally, the hoodlums waited behind and continued threatening the residents of the village.

They also said that in another attack, the thugs reinforced and embarked on another shooting spree.

“At about 1:00am, four Toyota Hilux trucks with one of them painted blue and carrying revolving lights entered the village. 
“They stopped at Victor Oshioke's house where the occupants sprayed his security house with a hail of bullets.
“They went to the neighbouring house where Mr. Imonikhe JB Idaewor, an APC youth leader lives and sprayed it with a hail of bullets. They drove down the street to Mr. Wilson Idaewor's house and sprayed it with bullets.

“Finally, they went to Mr. Udukhokhai Jimoh's house and sprayed it with bullets before driving out of the community,” they added.

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Governor El-Rufai Expresses Optimism On Deployment Of Special Forces To Southern Kaduna

14 August 2020 - 11:56am


Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has expressed optimism on the deployment of Special Forces to Southern Kaduna to contain security challenges in the area. 

The governor also said that the state government will continue to place a premium on security as the backbone of sustainable development. 

El-Rufai made this known while addressing the Special Forces, who arrived the Sector 7 Headquarers of Operation Safe Haven in Kafanchan on Friday. 

The governor was represented by Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, who was received at the base by the Commander Sector 7 Kafanchan, Col David Nwakonobi.

The commissioner in his remarks said,
“We came to formally welcome you to Kaduna State, and Southern Kaduna in particular after your induction. You are courageous and outstanding officers who have done well in Faskari, Batsari and other flash points in the country. 

“The governor is pleased with your deployment and optimistic that you will do well in consolidating the gains already achieved by troops, police and other security agencies in this general area. 

“Beyond the boots on the ground, the Kaduna State Government is conducting series of engagements with traditional rulers, religious leaders, community leaders, civil society and other agencies, and we are making progress. 

“Our consistent appeal, is recourse to the law. No one should take the law on his or her own hands. Failure to recourse to the law only worsens the situation at hand, and as such, citizens must resort to available lawful means for arbitration and amicable resolution of grievances.”

The commissioner had a closed-door session with community leaders before leaving Kafanchan town.

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Prof Soyombo Announces Assumption Of Office As UNILAG Acting VC

14 August 2020 - 11:20am


Prof Theophilus Soyombo has said that he had assumed office as Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Akoka.

He told Tribune on Friday that he assumed duties immediately he was named.

Soyombo, a professor of sociology at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the university, was appointed on Thursday by the Governing Council of the university led by Dr Wale Babalakin during a meeting in Abuja.

See Also Education UNILAG Vice Chancellor, Prof Ogundipe, Removed By Governing Council 0 Comments 2 Days Ago

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PDP Condemns Media Clampdown By Buhari’s Government

14 August 2020 - 11:10am


Kola Olognondiyan

The Peoples Democratic Party has condemned the fine placed on Nigerian Info by the National Broadcasting Commission. 

SaharaReporter had on Thursday reported that the NBC ordered the radio station to pay a N5m fine for airing comments made by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailaifa, on terrorism in the country. 

In its response to the fine, PDP in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Friday condemned the N5m fine imposed on the radio station. 

Kola Olognondiyan

The statement reads, “Without prejudice to the allegations or claims the federal government has against Nigeria Info, a broadcast station, on issues of content, the federal government cannot, on its own, impose sanctions against a media house or individuals for expressing their right to free speech.

“The PDP holds that if any anybody, be he the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a state governor, a Senator of the Federal Republic, a member of the House of Representatives, a public entity, or even the most ordinary Nigerian, have been libelled or infringed upon by any other Nigerian, the process for redress is clearly stated in the 1999 constitution (as amended), and should be followed.

“As a party, the PDP stands against draconian methods or underhand measures which this administration has set out to gag the media and erode the rights of Nigerians as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution (as amended).

“As a party, the PDP stands against draconian methods or underhand measures which this administration has set out to gag the media and erode the rights of Nigerians as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution (as amended).

“Our party holds that due process must be followed for redress in instances where violations are alleged and not by extrajudicial sanctions and clampdown on the media, as being witnessed under the APC administration.

"The PDP, standing in solidarity with Nigerians, therefore condemns any attempt to gag the media and asks the APC Federal Government to rescind its draconian actions and reverse to due process, as provided by the 1999 constitution, in handling issues relating to the freedom of the media.”

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BREAKING: Lagos Government, Bolt And Uber Reach New Agreement

14 August 2020 - 10:04am


The Lagos State Government and ride hailing operators, Uber and Bolt, have reached an agreement on a new guideline for companies operating in the sector. 

This came as a result of public outcry by riders over an earlier announced guidelines for e-hailing companies in Lagos, which was to come into effect on August 20.

The agreement was reached after a three-hour meeting today at Marina. 

Google

The agreed guideline is set to take effect from August 27, 2020.

Highlights of the agreement include that there must be comprehensive insurance cover for drivers and passengers.

A flat fee of N20 to be known as a Road Improvement Fund and to be levied on each ride. 

A reduction of 20 per cent on operational licencing fees.

There must be due diligence and background checks on all drivers. 

Riders and drivers are asked to desist from offline trips and transactions.

The firms are.mandated to make all necessary data available to the government.

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Why I Dumped APC, PDP For ZLP —Ondo Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi

14 August 2020 - 9:58am


Agboola Ajayi, deputy governor of Ondo State, on Friday officially defected to the Zenith Labour Party from the Peoples Democratic Party after weeks of speculation. 

Ajayi was received into ZLP by the party's state Chairman, Mr Joseph Akinlaja, in Akure, the state capital. 

He was welcomed by the immediate-past governor of Ondo, Olusegun Mimiko, during a ceremony to welcome him. 

Speaking at the event, Ajayi said his decision to pitch tenet with the ZLP was as a result of the fallout in the primaries of both the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress. 

He said, "It is obvious that the affirmation of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as candidate of the APC coupled with the seeming failure of the PDP to produce a dependable and formidable alternative has dampened the democratic enthusiasm and morale of the people. 

"The hope and rechannel the energy of the progressive electorates, I am teaming up with members of the ZLP, a chunk of most of the other members and my teeming allies from both the PDP and APC."

He described the ZLP as a dependable platform to rescue the people of the state from the hands of the current government of APC in the state. 

The deputy governor also asked his supporters to join him in the Zenith Labour Party, noting that there was need to change and take it back from the "nepotistic administration" of Governor Akeredolu.

Earlier, Mr Akinlaja said the ZLP was the third force that would win the governorship election but pleaded with supporters of the party especially the youth to shun thuggery and violence.  

He called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to be fair, free and transparent in the conduct of the election.

Ex-lawmakers, Kasim Olanrewaju and Olumide Araoyinbo, led some members from the PDP and APC to the ZLP.

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P&ID: How Nigeria's Attorney General's Failure To Negotiate Debt Attracted Compounded Interest

14 August 2020 - 9:38am


Abubakar Malami

The failure of Nigeria's Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to successfully negotiate an arbitral award with Process and Industrial Developments Ltd, has placed Nigeria at the receiving end of losing up to 20 per cent of the country's foreign reserve, a monetary sum of over $9bn.

A 2010 contractual agreement between Nigeria and P&ID to build a natural gas-processing plant in Calabar, Cross River State, broke down irretrievably and the London Commercial Court, converting an arbitration decision to judgment, found Nigeria guilty of breach of contract.

Nigeria, in a frantic move to wriggle out of the judgment debt, filed a successful lawsuit at its own Federal High Court, which set aside the judgment of the UK court.

Abubakar Malami

P&ID did not partake at the proceedings, which happened at the Lagos Federal High Court, alleging that the court lacked jurisdiction on the case. 

The company's argument seems meritorious because as far back as 2016, parties agreed on UK as the venue for the arbitration which eventually took place in 2017, even though Nigerian arbitration laws were to apply.

Nigeria had a 28-day ultimate to separately appeal both decisions of the arbitration venue and the arbitral award but it delayed several months before it appealed the decision on the venue and the appeal was dismissed.

In a letter written to the law firm of Bolaji Ayorinde dated 27 April, 2017 and cited by SaharaReporters, Malami said he received the approval of Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, to negotiate the arbitral award with P&ID. 

The letter reads in part, "Please be informed that the Vice President of Nigeria has approved that the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation, Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources and your humble self should immediately proceed to negotiate with P&ID with respect to how the award can be reviewed in favour of Federal Government."

Malami's negotiation with P&ID did not make any headway and Nigeria now stands the risk of potentially losing a fortune due to the failed negotiation. 

Although a dissenting arbitrator limited damages to $250m, the arbitral panel awarded over $6.597bn damages in favour of P&ID.

But owing to protracted legal tussles spearheaded by the AGF, damages accruable against Nigeria has now risen to over $9bn, representing 20 per cent of Nigeria's foreign reserves.

The AGF has been at the centre of many scandals lately. 

SaharaReporters once published a viral video of how local and hard currencies were doled out at the wedding ceremony of the AGF's son at Kebbi where six private jets were chartered to convey guests to the venue.

Dr Junaid Mohammed, a Nigerian lawmaker of the second republic, has described the AGF as lacking in credibility.

A group of concerned citizens from Kebbi State from where the AGF hails, have also asked Malami to clear himself from allegations of corruption and save Kebbi State from national embarrassment.

Also, the AGF in collaboration with Tukur Burutai, Chief of Army Staff, have flagrantly disobeyed a Federal High Court order mandating that a detained soldier, Lance Corporal Martins Idakpini, be granted access to his lawyer and family.

Malami has also been accused of using his position to frustrate several high-profile corruption cases in Nigeria.

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Concerned Nigerians Group Writes United States, Buhari, Ganduje Over Death Sentence Of Kano-based Musician, Condemns Religious Persecution In Nigeria

14 August 2020 - 9:29am




Pro-democracy and human rights group, Concerned Nigerians, has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, Kano State governor, Umar Ganduje, and the United States Embassy over the sentencing of Kano-based musician, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, to death over blasphemy. 

The group said the judgment was repulsive to natural justice, equity and good conscience. 

It also condemned the attempt to religiously police the country, saying that Nigeria was a secular state. 

The letter reads, “Our constitution forbids religious policing in section 10, which prohibits the practice of state religion in any part of Nigeria and section 38 guarantees the right to freedom of thought, religion and conscience, including freedom to change religion and belief.

“We are appealing to the President and American Embassy to prevail on the Kano State governor to pardon the victim of this great injustice as his life is in serious danger at the Kano Central Prison where he’s being detained. We are currently in touch with the victim and we can confirm that he is kept under the worst possible conditions.”

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World Health Organisation Declaration Of Year 2020: An Opportunity For A Responsive Government By Isaiah Dada Owoeye

14 August 2020 - 8:16am


It is an honour for a professional body to be singled out for celebration by the prestigious health organisation in the world. It is indeed a well-deserved one because this group has been in the system of making the society better as the service orientation of the profession is based on altruism to both the sick and well. It is pertinent to state that this profession may have set a record of unity for other health professional association as they are the first body in the world, dated back to 1899, to form a formidable association with aim of qualitative service delivery to human populace. They set a landmark upon which other health institutions followed in constitution of association to the benefit of mankind.  This profession has constantly being setting a pace in the projection of her pedigree to the public as it is recognised as the most trusted profession in the world. However, little is reported in the media space about this set of people who provide a selfless service to the public.

It is not surprising that the crusader of the modern initiative of the profession, Florence Nightingale, had a track record and made an indelible footprint in the sands of time. As a visionary lady, in the year 1870s, she worked and envisioned that her people would be praised and appreciated all over the world. In fulfilment of the divine mandate, World Health Organisation (WHO) wades into action and the year 2020 is declared ‘International year of the nurse’. This implies that within a space of about ten decades Nightingale’s word became a reality in our own time. The future word of Nightingale and WHO declaration is a perfect correlation. The descendants of Nightingale, nurses all over the world, were marvelled at the 2020 declaration tagged ‘The year of the nurse’. As nurses were looking forward for manifold celebrations, behold a challenging issue erupted and take its tolls on nurses in different part of the world. No thanks to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in all senses of reasoning.

The vulnerability of nurses to COVID-19 pandemic is known to all and sundry. Government imposed a lockdown and people were mandated to work from home, but nurses cannot. Nurses are the majority of the work force in the health institution and the foremost frontline officers who are more to the patients than any other health professionals.  They are the soldiers fighting the invisible war being waged on the humans by the virus. In regards to the risk on the frontline health workers, standing ovation and rounds of applause were given as rewards to boost the psyche of the health workers. Nevertheless, nurses need more than that in celebration of the years of excellence in service delivery. It is therefore expected that governments respond accordingly.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has the capacity to key into this worldwide initiative of celebrating the year of the nurse. Nurses were available but there was no response from the government part. A laudable initiative of ‘Nursing Now’ is gaining ground in other countries of the world. Scholarships are specially announced for the benefit of nurses in part of the world but where is the place of nurses in the heart of Nigerian Government. Nigeria seems to be the first from behind in echoing the voice of encouragement to nurses.

Nigerian nurses have paid and still paying the ultimate prize. Some have laid their lives down in the course of service to the country. Some died of Ebola virus diseases, Lassa fever and in the present have died of the novel COVID-19 epidemics. It is therefore imperative that effort of our nurse heroes and heroines should not be taking with levity. For the souls of our departed nurses to rest in peace, there would be a need to specially celebrate the profession that was dear to their hearts while alive. Let the message be echoed and re-echoed to the government that year 2020 is the year of the nurse. The year will pass and would not be witnessed in the world history again, but it can only be remembered. This is an ample opportunity for the government to exploit this time in history. The time to act and celebrate nurses is now as posterity rewards in due time.

Isaiah Dada Owoeye, Department of Nursing science, College of Medicine & Health sciences, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.

e-mail: owoeyeid@abuad.edu.ng

 

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Impact Of Financial Literacy For Entrepreneurs By Abraham John Onoja

14 August 2020 - 8:09am


Economic growth is one of the main indicators in creating the welfare of a country's society. We are in the age of start-ups and new ventures are opening every day. The key to national economic development is Economic independence. Entrepreneurs ought to be encouraged in every possible way as this will result in encouraging employment, productivity and economic growth. However, low numbers of entrepreneurs will only result in economic problems such as poverty, unemployment that could lead to inflation. In general, the quality of a country's human resources will be analysed from the number of entrepreneurs who can develop and grow.

One of the main entrepreneurial challenges in business is lack of managerial skills. The ability to manage a business properly using effective strategies.  This is more of the reason why entrepreneurs need to pass through a form of entrepreneurship education in order to enlighten them more on all of these areas. Therefore, financial literacy is a very important factor for entrepreneurs, thereby curbing the risk of entrepreneurial failures.

Why entrepreneurial skills?

Skills refer to the abilities and capacities of people who perform tasks demanded of them in a work environment. Skills can be generic, that is general transferable skills, computing, dealing with risk and uncertainty, or developing a new product or service. In order to increase or expand business profits, an entrepreneur needs to know the importance of skills and innovation. These skills vary from financial skills, management skills, marketing skills, communication and information skills, operational skills end the rest.

Entrepreneurial skills are fundamental and essential in order to build entrepreneurs on the courage to take risks, improve their business profits through creativity and innovation.

Why entrepreneurial education?

It takes a strong-willed desire, knowledge and skills to encourage someone who wants to become an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial education therefore forms this entrepreneurship skills and helps in building new entrepreneurs. The primary aim of most entrepreneurial education is to develop some level of entrepreneurial competencies.   Entrepreneurial competencies simply means a set of skills and ability that individuals possess and/or can acquire and improve to become proactive and to show the initiative spirit. It can also be defined as the ability to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks. It includes key characteristics that should be possessed by a person in order to successfully run a new venture. These characteristics include social, managerial and networking competences.

In general, what is the importance of entrepreneurial education?  It helps in creating awareness of existing business opportunities to the student, it encourages and builds entrepreneurial desires and it also adds knowledge and insight in the field of entrepreneurship.

Why financial literacy?

What is financial literacy? Financial literacy is the ability to understand and effectively apply various financial skills, including personal financial management, budgeting, and investing. It helps individuals become self-sufficient so that they can achieve financial stability.  Financial literacy is very important for entrepreneurs because of the knowledge of budget management, procedures, credit management, and even the financial risks of business operations. Financial literacy can be obtained through educational institutions, with the aid of this financial literacy one can manage personal budget most especially in entrepreneurship. Therefore, Entrepreneurship education can teach financial literacy in managing the business to grow and develop.

Financial literacy even needs to be taught from primary school to higher institutions because it has to do with an entrepreneur making financial decisions. Managing and managing revenues and expenditures, making future financial planning, thereby making one wise and financially responsible.

Most entrepreneurs in Nigeria start business because they are technically good at something and crave the desire to make a lot of profit. They want to experience the freedom that comes with working for themselves. However, they often get carried away or occupied in everyday busy-ness rather than trying to educate themselves and become financially literate. As an entrepreneur, you need to put into consideration the following;

- Imagine if you understand what your financial reports actually mean.

-  Imagine having knowledge on accurate bookkeeping which is necessary to produce financial reports.

-- Imagine being able to focus on effective strategies to help your business grow.

With all of these considerations put into place, you will discover that attaining a level of financial literacy as a business owner or entrepreneur puts you in a better place, and would make a big difference to the success and growth of your business.

In general, entrepreneurship education has a greater influence on financial literacy in the grow aspect, awareness of business opportunities and can improve entrepreneurship skills.  Simultaneously entrepreneurship education and financial literacy have a big influence on forming entrepreneurship skills that indicate an increase in entrepreneurial skills through understanding the balance sheet aspects, profit and loss statements, and cash flow and growing awareness of business opportunities. Here's why;

The impact of financial literacy on entrepreneurs includes;

- A solid understanding of key financial reports

- A broad Knowledge of key accounting concepts

- A better understanding of the difference between cash flow and profit and how to review both

- An understanding of how to better manage both your debtors and creditors

- Technical know-how on monitoring income and expenses throughout the year

- Methods for saving time on administrative tasks that could be automated

- An understanding of the other information you need to know (e.g. stock, sales conversion, open to buy etc.)

In conclusion, financial literacy plays a significant role in improving business performance. Therefore, it is important that entrepreneurs need to improve their financial literacy skill in order to enhance and grow their business performance.

 

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Kano Police Rescue 32-year-old Man Locked Up For Seven Years By Father, Stepmother

14 August 2020 - 7:40am



A 32-year-old man, Ahmad Aliyu, who had been locked inside a room by his father and stepmother for over seven years, has been rescued by the police in Kano.

He was rescued on Thursday evening by police and some human rights groups at Farawa Babban Layi in Mariri quarters of Kumbotso Local Government Area in Kano metropolis.

The victim was chained and caged after he was accused of drug abuse by his parents.

It was gathered that he went days without food and water and had to feed on his faeces and urine to stay alive. 

Some of the neighbours in the area were to have informed the police and human rights activists about Aliyu’s situation.

The video of the rescued man went viral on Friday morning in Kano, showing how the police rescued him from the cage in which he was locked for seven years.

Residents and neighbours were shocked when they heard the news of the man.

Spokesman for the police in Kano, Mr Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, confirmed the incident.

Haruna, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said they were still gathering information on the issue.

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Man Accuses ExxonMobil Of Illegal Termination Of Appointment, Seeks Justice

14 August 2020 - 7:30am


Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, has allegedly illegally disengaged one Ernest Omo-Ojo without following the rules set by the Department of Petroleum Resources.

Termination of employment in the Nigerian oil sector is regulated and going by the provisions of the guidelines for the release of staff in the oil and gas industry, an employer that wishes to terminate the contract of an employee is required to obtain the approval of the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

SaharaReporters gathered that none of this was followed when Omo-Ojo was sacked on June 24, 2019. 

The young man said that prior to his sack, he received a suspension letter from MPNU on April 12, 2019, and on April 16, 2019, he submitted a petition to the DPR.

Subsequently, he had follow-up meetings with the DPR representatives and was told that a formal letter would be dispatched to ExxonMobil referencing his petition.

In May 2019, he was invited by DPR and was told that the letter had been written to ExxonMobil intimating the company of his petition and that the company provided feedback, stating that his “suspension was with pay and that there was an ongoing investigation”. 

Omo-Ojo said he was consequently assured by the DPR that everything was under control and that no further action would be taken by MPNU.

But in June 2019 his appointment was terminated without recourse to the DPR with any findings or why the action was taken. 

He said for over 15 months, there had been a back and forth engagement with MPNU and it appears the company had not been forthcoming to resolve the matter. 

On October 15, 2019, the DPR invited ExxonMobil to provide explanations for its actions and explain the circumstances of steps taken over the termination of Omo-Ojo’s employment without any recourse to the DPR.

As part of the resolution of the October 15, 2019 meeting with the management of ExxonMobil, DPR insisted on his recall unless the company can demonstrate that due process was followed under the DPR guidelines.

The DPR then issued ExxonMobil a 14-day deadline to comply with the laid down guideline.

Following ExxonMobil’s refusal to comply with the DPR’s December 5, 2019 resolution, Omo-Ojo was invited to a tripartite meeting with the DPR and the management of ExxonMobil convened on January 14, 2020.

Rather than produce any tangible result, the meeting ended in frustration for the young man, who was subsequently advised to take the matter to court.

Contacts made to ExxonMobil over the issue did not yield any result as officials refused to speak on the matter.


 

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NANS Asks Buhari, Akuffo-Addo To Resolve Plight Of Nigerian Traders In Ghana

14 August 2020 - 7:04am


The National Association of Nigerian Students (Ghana chapter), has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and his Ghanaian counterpart, Nana Akufo-Addo, to resolve the challenges facing Nigerian traders in the country to stimulate economic diplomacy.

NANS Ghana in a statement by its Transition Chairman, Samuel Okechukwu Chinweze, expressed concern about the lingering crisis between Nigerian traders and their Ghanaian counterparts in Accra.

SaharaReporters gathered that Nigerian traders transacting businesses in Ghana have been allegedly molested, intimidated and had their businesses locked or goods confiscated by Ghanaian authorities.

“NANS Ghana chapter calls on President Buhari to as a matter of urgency and utmost national importance interface with his Ghanaian counterpart President Akuffo-Addo on finding a lasting solution once and for all to this dispute. This feud has a decade long history and must not be allowed to linger on like this. This isn't good for the brotherly relationship between Nigeria and Ghana especially considering the position and contributions of these two great nations to the ECOWAS regional integration efforts.

“Our major concern is to draw attention at the Presidency level of both countries and take the matter beyond ministerial engagement so as to avoid the negative effect of these too many disputes between these two brother nations. We have strong belief in the leadership of President Nana Akuffo-Addo and President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve this issue once and for all.

“NANS Ghana also wishes to appeal to both sides of the traders divide to tow the path of peace, reconciliation to enable constructive engagement towards finding a resolution to these issues.  We implore all not to take law into their hands and allow the responsible government agencies to handle this matter. We are better together. 

“As we battle this COVID-19 pandemic and its negative effect on our economies and way of life, all we need at this critical point is cooperation, collaborations, mutually beneficial engagements and not feuds and disputes. Together, we shall defeat Corona Virus and the relationship between Ghana and Nigeria will continue to blossom and our region shall be truly integrated for the good of all,” the statement read.

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Mailafia Desperate To Breach Peace Of Nigeria, Says DSS

14 August 2020 - 7:01am


The Department of State Services has said that the recent comments made by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, was aimed at breaching the peace of the country.

Recall that Mailafia during an interview on Nigeria Info had claimed that repentant Boko Haram members revealed to him that a serving Northern governor was a commander of the terrorist group.

He was subsequently invited for questioning by the DSS on Wednesday but was released after six hours.

The National Broadcasting Commission had also fined Nigeria Info N5m, a move that has drawn condemnation from media groups and rights organisations.

VIDEO: Repentant Bandits Named One Northern Governor As Boko Haram Commander In Nigeria —Former CBN Deputy Governor, Mailafia #BokoHaram
WATCH FULL VIDEO: https://t.co/IIG2CoasrT pic.twitter.com/MQK19jnG3u

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) August 11, 2020

Commenting on the claim by Mailafia, Peter Afunanya, Public Relations Officer of DSS, said the ex-CBN official chose the wrong line of communication in speaking, adding that the information was fake news.

He said, “With the latest occurrences in the country, Nigerians may have no reason to doubt the Service’s earlier pronouncement. Dr Obadiah Mailafia’s recent outburst aimed at playing to the gallery and creating unnecessary tension is a confirmation of his group’s desperation to breach the peace.

“Mailafia, as a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and currently a Directing Staff at Nigeria’s foremost Policy Research Institute, the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, has unhindered access to government platforms. It is expected that he should be conversant with official information management protocols.

“But regrettably, he chose to cross the lines of decorum and conduct expected of a personality of his status. It is disappointing that he never took advantage of these to reach any of the security or related agencies to share the so-called information at his disposal. This, he has agreed to be a grievous error on his part. It, however, suggests his mischief and determination to use the fake news he spewed to incite the people under his control.”

He also berated Mailafia, who apologized during interrogation, for announcing to the world that he stood by his comments.

The DSS stated that it would no longer watch nor “condone unruly conducts of persons and groups that ought to know better”.

“Similarly, the Service also wishes to warn others, who in the guise of political mobilisation and supposed pursuit of group interests, engage in hostile and subversive activities, to desist forthwith from advancing their inimical and parochial causes.

“The Service will not stand idly and watch disgruntled and aggrieved elements take laws into their hands and cause mayhem in the polity.

“In line with its mandate of detecting and preventing threats and crimes against the internal security of Nigeria, the Service hereby reiterates its previous warning that it will henceforth not condone unruly conducts of persons and groups that ought to know better,” Afunanya added.

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EXPOSED: Real Reason Buhari Suspended 12 EFCC Officials, Delayed Appointment Of Southerners As Supreme Court Judges

14 August 2020 - 6:54am


President Buhari

Fresh facts at the disposal of SaharaReporters have revealed why President Muhammadu Buhari suspended 12 senior officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The officials including the EFCC Executive Secretary, Olanipekun Olukoyede, were in July suspended by Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, on the orders of President Buhari.

Though Malami claimed that the suspension was in respect of the ongoing probe of the activities of the commission under the administration of the suspended Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, but SaharaReporters have now gathered that President Buhari had other motives for his action.

President Buhari

According to a Presidency source, neither Olukoyede nor any of the 11 suspended officials were being investigated for misconduct.

“The action was to prevent a Southerner from heading the EFCC. Neither Mr Olukoyede nor others suspended were being investigated for misconduct. They were not even issued with any query. Yet they have been placed on indefinite suspension.

“Since the EFCC was established in 2003, it has always been headed by Northerners, Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri, Ibrahim Lamorde and Ibrahim Magu. The target of the suspension of Olukoyede, who is the Secretary of the EFCC was because President Buhari did not want to suspend him alone so as not to expose the hidden agenda of reserving the position for another Northerner.

“As the most senior staff in the EFCC, Olakoyede has to be suspended to pave way for the Director of Operations, Mr Umar Mohammed. Funnily enough, this same Mohammed was made the Director of Operations by Magu while the appointment of Oloyede as Secretary of the EFCC was made by President Buhari and confirmed by the Senate in line with the EFCC Act,” the source said.

See Also Corruption 12 EFCC Directors Suspended 0 Comments 1 Month Ago

Known for his nepotism, the President despite recommendation from the National Judicial Council in October 2019 for the appointment of four new Supreme Court judges refused to forward the names of the justices to the Senate for confirmation.

Those recommended include Adamu Jauro (North-East), Emmanuel Agim (South-South), C. Oseji (South-South); and Helen Ogunwumiju (South-West).

SaharaReporters gathered that Buhari refused to send the names to the Senate for confirmation because the North-West geopolitical zone did not have a candidate on the list.

“The President swore not to confirm the list until the candidate from the North-West was recommended by the National Judicial Council for appointment to the Supreme Court.

“The NJC just recommended the appointment of four other justices including Justice Mohammed Garba, who headed last year’s Presidential Election Petition Tribunal as Supreme Court judges. With this new development, President Buhari has decided to send the names of the eight Justices to the Senate for confirmation.

“Since the eight Justices will now be appointed at the same time, the Southerners among them who ought to have been appointed since last year will be on the same level with the Northerners recently appointed.”

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Lawmaker Killed By Gunmen In Bauchi Buried

14 August 2020 - 5:12am


A lawmaker, Mante Baraza, killed by some gunmen in Baraza Village on Thursday evening, has been buried according to Islamic rites.

The victim represented Baraza Dass Constituency in the Bauchi State House of Assembly.

His wife was reportedly abducted by the gunmen during the attack.

Musa had tested positive for COVID-19 some weeks ago and was recuperating at home when the incident occured.

See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Gunmen Kill Bauchi Lawmaker 0 Comments 22 Hours Ago

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