A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday fixed January 21, 2019 to
hear a suit seeking to disqualify President Muhammadu Buhari from contesting the 2019 general elections.
Three plaintiffs namely, Mr. Kalu Agu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy
El-Kuris, had filed the suit alleging that the president lied in his
form CF 001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in respect of his educational qualifications and certificates.
When the matter came up for mention, counsel to the plaintiffs,
Barrister U. Ndubisi, who was holding brief for Barrister Okpai Ukiro, told the court that the matter was for mention, adding that all the defendants had been served with the processes.
The lawyer informed the court that following the service, the president filed an application seeking an extension of time as well as a preliminary objection to the originating summons.
Ndubuisi prayed the court for some time to enable him respond to the
The suit which was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by Ukiro has the president as the first defendant, APC as second defendant and INEC as the third defendant.
Specifically, the plaintiffs want the court to determine “whether
having regards to the information in the affidavit contained in
Buhari’s INEC form, CF 001 regarding his educational
qualification/certificate, he has submitted false information to INEC.
“Whether from the facts and exhibits contained in the affidavit in support of the originating summons and having regards to Section 31(5)(6) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, Buhari is disqualified from running for the office of president in the 2019 general
“Whether Buhari, having submitted false information to INEC, the APC
can validly present him as its candidate for the office of president
in the 2019 general elections.”
Upon the determination of the aforementioned questions, the plaintiffs
are also seeking a court declaration that the president submitted
false information on his educational qualifications to INEC to contest
elections into the office of President of Nigeria in the 2019 general
In addition, they also want the court to declare that the president is
not qualified from contesting elections into the office of president
in the 2019 elections, having submitted false information regarding
his educational qualification/certificate.
The plaintiffs also want the court to give an order directing INEC to
reject or remove Buhari’s name as the presidential candidate of the
APC for the 2019 general elections.
After listening to the plaintiffs’ counsel, the trial judge, Justice
Ahmed Mohammed, adjourned the matter until January 21, for hearing of the main suit and the preliminary objection.
The judge also ordered that hearing notices be served on the
president’s party, the APC.
The total power generated by the power generation companies in the
country increased by 8,686.6 megawatts (MW) in December 2018, thereby raising the transmitted power during the month to 125,346.4 mw up from the 116,659.8 mw recorded in the preceding month.
According to data provided by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), a total of 125,346.4mw was generated during the month in review.
The data produced by the Nigerian Electricity System Operator (SO), at of the TCN, showed that the Nigerian Independent Power Projects (NIPP) generated 8,686.6 mw into the national grid as against 116, 659.8mw generated between Nov. 2 and Nov. 30, 2018.
A further analysis of the generated power on daily basis indicated
that the total power generated between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15, 2018 stood at 4,124.8mw, 4,176mw, 4,031.3mw, 4,220mw, 4,295.1mw, 4,396.5mw, 4,190.9mw, 4,276.3mw, 4,078.5mw, 4,151.3mw, 4,343mw, 4,344.5mw, 3,948.4mw, 4,060.3mw and 4,197.3mw respectively.
The report showed also that daily power generated from Dec. 16 to Dec.
2018 were 4,034 mw, 3,802.1mw, 4,130mw, 4,126.6mw, 4,331.6mw, 4,971.5mw, 3,950mw, 4,402.2mw 4,214.3mw, 4,162mw, 4,039.9mw,
4,176.5mw, 4,015.5mw 4,092mw and 4,064mw respectively.
According to the report, the power generated during the month in
review was transmitted to 11 distribution companies (Discos).
The TCN stated further that the national power peak demand forecast
stood at 19,100.00mw, the installed available capacity was 11,165.40mw while the transmission capacity and network operational capacity are 7,000 mw and 5,500.00mw respectively.
The company reported also that the peak generation ever attained in the country was 5,222.3mw, while the maximum energy ever attained stood at 109,372.01mwh.
An economic analyst and Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives
Ltd, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, is to lead other members of the technical
committee inaugurated today by President Muhammadu Buhari to advise government on ‘the ways and means’ of funding the proposed new minimum wage pegged at N30,000.
The Director General at the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, will serve as the Secretary of the committee which comprised 20 other experts drawn from a broad spectrum of the nation’s public and private sectors.
The inauguration of the committee by the President came barely 14 hours after government representatives and organized labour leaders signed a MoU which required the Federal Government to transmit a bill
on the proposed N30,000 minimum wage to the National Assembly not later than January 23.
It would be recalled that President Buhari had, while presenting the
2019 Budget to the National Assembly on December 19, promised to set up a committee to critically assess the implications of the adoption
of the proposed minimum wage for the country, particularly the effects on sub-national governments’ finances.
He assured then: “I am committed to addressing the issue of a new minimum wage and I will be sending a bill to the National Assembly on this. However, in order to avoid a fiscal crisis for the Federal Government, as well as the States, it is important to devise ways to ensure that its implementation does not lead to an increase in the
level of borrowing.
“I am accordingly setting up a High Powered Technical Committee to advise on ways of funding an increase in the minimum wage, and the attendant wage adjustments, without having to resort to additional borrowings”, President Buhari added.
Over the past few months, the minimum wage issue had pitched the organized labour against the federal and state governments in a battle
of socio-economic wits, with the organized labour groups insisting that unless the governments accede to what they termed ‘concessionary minimum wage’, there can’t be industrial peace in the country.
To drive home their point, the labour groups on Tuesday organized sensitization protests in some states, warning the governors, who have consistently opposed the proposed minimum wage, to abide by the recommendations of the Ama Pepple-led tripartite committee on the minimum wage or face industrial unrest in their domains.
After several weeks of rigorous deliberations on the Tripartite Committee’s report on the proposed N30,000 minimum wage between government representatives and labour leaders, the Federal Government on Tuesday announced its readiness to transmit the New National Minimum Wage Bill to the National Assembly not later than January 23rd.
The decision to transmit the bill to the Legislature was sequel to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Federal Government and the organised labour groups in Abuja.
Corroborating the minister’s stance on the minimum wage issue, the
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, described the planned transmission of the proposed bill to the
National Assembly as a desirable step towards moving the country forward.
Wabba explained the leadership of the labour groups expected that the bill would be considered by the lawmakers expeditiously, signed into law and fully implemented in the interest of workers and the country.
Meanwhile in furtherance of its earlier plan to sensitise workers on
the minimum wage issue through peaceful protests nationwide, the NLC and other trade unions carried out the planned protests in major
cities on Tuesday to pressurize the Federal and State Governments to adopt the proposed new minimum wage of N30,000.
Our correspondent noted that the workers protested in Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Rivers, Kano and Bayelsa states, amongst others to support the unions’ demand for the implementation of the new minimum wage.
The labour groups cautioned state governments on the need for them to comply with the new national minimum wage when passed into law or risk a nationwide workers strike.
The old national minimum wage, which is due for review after over 10
years of implementation, currently stands at N18,000.
If the proposed N30,000 minimum wage bill becomes enacted into law, it will represent a 67 percent increase over the current minimum wage.
The African Development Bank (AfDP) Group through its Trade Finance operations, on Tuesday announced the approval of a US$14.12 million facility to support Nigeria’s membership in the African Trade
Insurance Agency (ATI).
The funding support is critical and mandatory step to enable ATI commence its operations in Nigeria, as the country joins 14 other African countries that had already signed up to ATI membership.
A news report circulated by the Africa Press Organisation (APO) Group on the initiative on behalf of the bank’s management indicated that
once membership formalities in ATI became finalized, Nigeria could benefit from gross political and commercial risk insurance cover on total investments and trade amounting to over US$ 5 billion by 2020.
The report stated further that the approved facility complemented
ongoing and planned interventions geared at building institutional
capacity and improving the resilience of the Nigerian economy.
The AfDB Group stated further that joining ATI would enable Nigeria to
leverage its position to mobilize additional resources to finance trade, especially importation of essential goods such as medicines and communications equipment, to rehabilitate basic infrastructure and strengthen the country’s productive sector.
Specifically, ATI’s mandate is to provide medium to long term credit
and political risk insurance, as well as other risk mitigation products to its member countries and related public and private sector actors.
These products directly encourage and facilitate FDIs as well as local private sector investment in regional member-countries and intra- and extra-African trade. ATI catalyzes private sector investments in infrastructure projects, thereby promoting economic integration of participating countries into regional markets.
The report stated that this financing also aligned with four of the bank’s High 5 priorities namely, Light Up and Power Africa, Industrialize Africa, Feed Africa and Integrate Africa.
As a trade finance facilitation initiative, this financing will
support operations that are crosscutting and multi-sectoral in nature
and will have an impact on agribusiness, infrastructure development,
electricity generation, telecommunications and manufacturing.
Commenting on why the continental development finance institution is providing support on the ATI, its Director of the Financial Sector Department, Stefan Nalletamby, explained that “the Bank seeks to achieve its ambitious development mandate by working with and through other strategic partners, and where possible, by supporting the
development of strong and viable African institutions such as ATI.
“This financing scales up the work of ATI by supporting the beneficiary RMCs to become members”, Nalletamby added.
The Federal Government on Tuesday expressed its commitment to ensuring that Kano State Government’s proposal to invest in the 540 megawatt Qua Iboe Power Plant (QIPP) located in Akwa Ibom State will not go down the drain.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, through a statement by her Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Mr Paul Abechi, gave Federal Government’s assurance to ensure the success of the project when the state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, visited her office in Abuja.
“It is for this reason that when we see an opportunity like this, we
have the responsibility to ensure it comes into fruition. We are
looking at this as a pilot project as this will help mitigate Federal
Government’s plan. The ability to provide a counter guarantee will
help a long way to reduce the burden on the Federal Government”, she
Earlier in his remarks, the Kano State governor promised that the
state government would provide cover against the financial risks
associated with the power project by setting up the Kano State Bulk
Electricity Trading Company (KBET).
Ganduje expressed his administration’s commitment to Kano State industrialisation as a key component of its development plans, identifying poor electricity as one of the militating factors on the drive to boost the state’s industrial capacity over the years.
The governor welcomed the opportunity availed by the QIPP to guarantee stable supply of electricity in the state.
He said: “We trust this will support the industrialisation of Kano and
perhaps even neighbouring states like Kaduna, Jigawa and Katsina which have significant and critical unmet requirements for electricity. We request you to kindly approve the request made by QIPP as the FG will not be assuming any risks before financial close.
“On our part we are ready to start the process of setting up KBET through an Act of the State House of Assembly and once this is done, we will be in a position to provide the guarantee backing its obligations.
“We will also set up a steering committee and start engaging investors now that we can give them assurances of available electricity once QIPP comes on stream in three years. We consider this a win-win situation all round”, Ganduje stressed.
According to him, the multi-billion dollar QIPP had secured firm
commitment of equity funding of $350 million from Globeleq and project finance of $850 million from IFC, OPiC and AfDB.
In an earlier letter forwarded by the state government to the minister on the project, the government had stated that the funding of the project was “conditional upon the guarantee of your Ministry for a power purchase agreement (PPA) to be executed between QIPP and the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).”
The letter reads further: “Exxon-Mobil is also prepared to commit about 500 million dollars to build a gas pipeline from its deep off-shore platforms to supply the gas needed for QIPP to operate.
“The total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for this project amount to 1.7 billion dollars. QIPP has also assumed completion risk of a transmission line from Ikot-Abasi to Ikot-Ekpene in order to ensure supply of power to the national grid.
“The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has given firm assurance that, once power is delivered to Ikot Ekpene, TCN will be able to deliver an equivalent amount of power to Kano on a binding contractual basis for a fee,” it added.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed its intention to initiate investigations of bank accounts of companies involved in importation of the 41 banned items for possible violation of the policy on foreign exchange restriction on the affected items.
In a circular titled ‘Foreign Exchange Restriction on the importation of 42 items’ signed by the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Ken Amogu, the apex bank stated that trade information available to it indicated circumvention of the policy as the restricted items were being dumped in the country.
Amogu noted that the implications of the abuses were that the growth and employment benefits arising from the policy may be eroded if not checked.
He stateed: “The CBN views this development with trepidation. The Economic Intelligence Unit of the bank in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would commence immediate investigation of the accounts of the corporate and entities engaged in this unwholesome act with a view to visiting severe sanctions on all culprits.
“Such sanctions would among others include blacklisting the corporate and their directors; closure of their bank accounts; and restricting them from maintaining any bank account in any bank under the CBN remit.
“Banks that provided their platforms for such economic abuses would also be appropriately sanctioned. Banks are by this notice advised on strict compliance with the Know Your Customer Business (KYC) and Know Your Customer Business (KYB) requirements and to be properly guided”, the banker added.
It would be recalled that the CBN had in 2015 issued a directive stopping the use of officially sourced forex for the importation of the 41 listed goods.
The monetary authorities however maintained that the items were not prohibited or banned from being imported into the country but that their importers would no longer qualify to access forex from the official windows to import these items.
Similarly, the CBN on Monday added fertilizer into the list of items banned from accessing forex through official window, thereby increasing the number of the affected items to 42.
The apex bank stated this in a circular titled ‘Re: Inclusion of some imported goods and services on list of items as ‘Not Valid for Foreign Exchange in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market’ issued by its Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Ahmed Umar.
The circular reads inter alia: “In the continued effort to sustain the achievement recorded from the classification of 41 items as ‘Not for valid for foreign exchange’ in the Nigerian foreign exchange market, authorised dealers and the general public are hereby notified of the inclusion of ‘fertiliser’ on the lists effective Friday, December 7, 2018.
“However, CBN will ensure that transactions (Form M) on fertiliser for which payments are outstanding are settled at the appropriate settlement dates”, it added.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on Tuesday engaged its contractors and commercial banks on a collaborative parley with a view to exploring the best financing options, especially for Small and Medium Enterprises, handling its capital projects.
Speaking at the event in Lagos, the authority’s Managing Director, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, was quoted in a statement by the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, as saying that the forum was organized for the purposes of developing a financing mechanism which will optimize the cash flow of FAAN.
In addition, the forum will also enable the Authority to provide the much needed support to contractors, to enable them access opportunities for working capital enhancement.
Noting that investment opportunities abound in the industry, especially FAAN, Dunoma encouraged the banks and contractors to take advantage of these opportunities through constructive partnership in the overall interest of all.
Some of the key participants at the forum include the FAAN’s Director of Finance & Accounts, Mrs. Nike Aboderin,; her Human Resource counterpart, Mr Anozie Honorius; representatives of First Bank Plc, FCMB, Fidelity Bank, Union Bank, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Polaris Bank, Tam Tam Nig Ltd, Inland Chips Nig Ltd, Pencks Ltd, amongst others.
BudgIT, a civic organisation, on Tuesday canvassed the need for transparency and openness in the implementation of local government projects in the country.
The group noted that lots of funds were usually allotted yearly for capital expenditure yet capital projects remained undone or uncompleted, thereby giving room for critical gaps in infrastructural development in the country.
The civil society organization, that applies technology to intersect citizen engagement with institutional improvement, to facilitate societal change, pointed out that the Local Government Areas (LGAs), being the third tier of government were created with the ultimate goal of bringing governance closer to the people at the grassroots.
It lamented that despite their strategic position in national development, the LGAs had not lived up to expectation in their operations due to interference by state governors.
Specifically, it stated that as at today, only nine states had signed the Local Government Autonomy Bill into law while doing so in some states had been hampered as the governors still interfere with their finances.
BudgIT observed further that the local government chairmen were usually handpicked by state governors who in turn dictate their operations and also prevent them from getting their allocations directly from the Federal Government and this has resulted to a total collapse of local government administration in Nigeria.
However, the civil society group pointed out that that the narrative was slightly different in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with the Abuja Municipal Area Council raised the bar of transparency and accountability in local government administration in the country.
According to the group, the Council is the first to release the council’s 2018 budget in the Federal Capital Territory while Kwali and Abaji Area Councils have since followed suit by releasing their 2018 budget to the public.
BudgIT noted further that the DEAN initiative, which is dedicated to transparency and accountability in local government administration in Nigeria, also deserved some credit for ensuring these area councils release their budget to the public.
This is even as it reported that Tracka extended its tracking activities to Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) with the aim of making the budget available to the citizens at the grassroots, track the implementation of the council’s 2018 budget, and also build the capacity of the citizens on public finance, especially budget matters, thus enabling them own the projects and actively track implementation of capital projects in their community.
BudgIT reported further: “Tracka is also working with community-based organisations and religious and traditional leaders in various communities in Abuja Municipal Area Council.
“Furthermore, Tracka has also identified and built the capacity of our community champions to make citizens continuously demand for service delivery from their representatives.
“The Tracka team has visited 35 communities to track the implementation of a total of 42 capital projects captured in the council’s 2018 budget.
“Out of the 42 capital projects tracked, 22 projects have been completed, 14 projects are ongoing, and the implementation of 6 projects are yet to commence as at the time of this report”, it added.
The civil group noted that the commitment of the Abuja Municipal Area Council budget implementation feat was commendable when compared with other local government councils across the country.
The Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Li Yong, arrived Nigeria today on a two-day official visit.
Li Yong, who is visiting the country for the second time since his assumption of office in year 2013, will use the occasion of the visit to sign the $60 million UNIDO Nigeria new Country Programme (CP) for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (2018 – 2022) with the Federal Government of Nigeria.
During his two-day working visit to Nigeria, LI Yong will also hold bilateral meetings with high level government officials and UNIDO’s bilateral partners to expand and strengthening the Organisation’s capacity for promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development in Nigeria, Africa and globally.
The new Country Programme, the second in the series of UNIDO’s support to the Government of Nigeria, is aimed at enhancing Nigeria’s drive towards Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, ISID, and is aligned to the priorities of the Federal Government as outlined in the Nigeria Vision 20:2020 (NV 20:2020),Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, and the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, NIRP.
According to available documents on the CP, it is specifically designed to build on the cumulative achievements of past Country Service Frameworks and Country Programme implemented by UNIDO.
It comprises nine programmatic components, namely industrial governance, research and statistics programme; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises development programme; Special Economic Zones, SEZs, industrial parks and private sector development programme.
Other are, innovation, science and technology management programme ; agro-industry and agribusiness development programme; minerals and metals development programme; trade capacity building programme; renewable energy development programme and environmental management programme.
The UNIDO leader’s visit will also take place in the context of the 2018 Africa Industrialisation Day (AID) commemoration holding at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on November 20, 2018.
This year’s AID has the theme “Promoting Regional Value Chains in Africa: A Pathway For Accelerating Africa’s Structural Transformation, Industrialization and Pharmaceutical Production.”
The AID 2018 offers an important opportunity to identify innovative, solution-driven actions and policies to advance pharmaceutical production on the continent, in the context of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, and the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III).
The AID, which is celebrated on 20 November every year globally, offers also a unique platform for UNIDO to enhance international cooperation and dialogue on the pan-African industrialisation agenda, and to raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges associated with this innovation drive.
Every year, it gathers African leaders, policy makers, representatives of the private sector, academia, international financial institutions (IFIs) and development partners to showcase the continued relevance of industry, including manufacturing production, as a powerful engine for sustainable development and poverty eradication.