A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on Monday October 21, 2019 ordered the temporary forfeiture of two properties located in Ikoyi area of Lagos State and belonging to the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, to the Federal Government.
The Ilorin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) had in an ex parte application filed by the Commission’s Lawyer Nnaemeka Omewa approached the Court, seeking an order of interim forfeiture of the properties located at No. 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos, alleging that they were acquired through proceeds of unlawful activities.
Part of the reliefs sought by the EFCC included ” An order of this honourable Court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria landed property with appurtenances situate, lying and known as No. 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity”.
The Commission in supporting affidavits, alleged that the former Senate President acquired the two properties with proceeds of unlawful activity; that while serving as governor of Kwara State, he withdrew over twelve billion cash from the account of the Kwara Government and paid same into his accounts domiciled in Access and Zenith Banks through one of his personal assistant, Abdul Adama, at different intervals.
Delivering Ruling on the application, Justice Mohammed Liman ordered the interim forfeiture of the two properties. He also instructed that the EFCC should publish the order in a national newspaper within fourteen days, for anyone with interest in the properties to show cause, why they should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.
- SMS (SHORT MESSAGE SERVICE) FROM MTN NIGERIA TO BANK CUSTOMERS IN NIGERIA ON USE OF USSD CODE
Our attention has been drawn to SMS sent on Saturday 19th October by MTN Nigeria Communications PLC (“MTN”) to customers of banks in Nigeria in respect of the above.
The message states that the banks requested MTN to start charging customers for USSD transactions directly. It also asks customers to contact their banks for more information.
We wish to state as follows:
- That the banks did not ask MTN to start charging customers as contained in the text message. The decision on whether, and what amount, to charge a customer for accessing USSD is entirely that of the telco company, in the same way a customer is billed for calls, SMS and data.
- MTN is the only Telco that is yet to implement end-user billing which is the standard practice for customer-initiated transactions. This is despite the fact that the banks, working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), have engaged MTN over a period of more than one year to try and bring down the cost of USSD to aid financial inclusion.
- That the banks are determined to pursue the National Financial Inclusion Strategy of the Federal Government of Nigeria and will continue to advocate that Telcos identify wholeheartedly with this laudable initiative and implement transparent and low pricing model in the use of USSD access codes.
- We wish to re-iterate that financial transaction charges are regulated by the CBN as stipulated in the Bankers Tariff, and that the charges for financial transactions carried out with banks remain unchanged.
On November 15, 1884, 14 mainly European countries gathered in Berlin for a meeting which lasted to February 26, 1885. The aim of that conference was to split the continent of Africa and share it to the Europeans who were scrambling over it.
The countries represented were; Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands. Others include; Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden-Norway (unified from 1814 to 1905), Turkey, and the United States of America. Of these 14 nations, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Portugal were the major players in the conference, controlling most of Africa at the time.
Russia, though present at the conference, was not interested in the greedy project of acquiring Africa by force of arms. The Russians held firmly to the guiding principle of their policy as advocated by one of their founding fathers, V.I. Lenin who advocated equality and peaceful coexistence amongst all the peoples of the world.
It was this same message of equality of mankind that led Khrushchev (the former Soviet leader) to move a motion to end all forms of colonialism by 1960 at the plenary of the XVth session of the United Nations General assembly. The passage of the motion led to the crumbling of colonialism, and sovereign African states began to emerge one after another. Nigeria took its turn to gain independence in 1960.
The Soviet Union – precursor to Russian Federation – built into its foreign policy architecture a sensitive and positive response to assist Africa in building an egalitarian society for themselves.
In the case of Nigeria, the warm response from Russia was instant. Nigeria became independent on October 1 1960. In less than two months – on November 25, 1960 – the two countries established diplomatic relations.
The founding fathers of Nigeria said the foreign policy of the country was based on Africa as its cornerstone. Ordinarily, this should have drafted Nigeria very close to the Russians who took it on themselves to fight for the decolonization of Africa. Ironically, this was not the case because the first Republic leaders were under the heavy influence of the colonial masters.
The colonial masters induced Nigerian leaders to launch heavy, unfriendly propaganda against Russia in Nigeria during the early and mid-1960s. In contrast to this, nations like the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, Italy, Spain and other countries in Western Europe at large enjoyed positive propaganda which made them seem as ideal and friendly.
The system of governance in most African countries including Nigeria was fashioned after their former colonialists and gave preference to the interests of the colonial masters. With this mindset, the environment was not conducive to friendly Nigeria-Russia relations.
During the early 60’s, the main interest of the Soviet Union was to expand its political influence among the countries of Africa and have more states converted into socialist-oriented nations in the then ideologically polarized world that was popularly referred to as the cold war. Nigeria being a capitalist state was not inclined to change its orientation. Its colonial master and allies were opposed to Nigeria and any of its former colonies having cordial relationship with Russia which they came to identify as a strong iron curtain – not be allowed a space of further expansion in Africa. Any manifestation of or link to the communist ideology was met with censorship and repression.
But there was no let-up on the part of Russia. They seized every opportunity to advertise their goodwill to Nigeria. When the civil war broke out in Nigeria with the Eastern Region declaring itself an independent state of Biafra, it was Russia that came to bail out Nigeria with arms to put down the insurrection. At the time, both the United States and the United Kingdom refused to sale arms to Nigeria. In fact France went a step further by recognizing Biafra as a sovereign state.
The Nigerian Civil War opened the eyes of Nigerian leaders to the reality of world politics. Nigerian youths became eager recipients of Soviet scholarships for higher education in the Soviet Union. This was a major opportunity for the Soviet Union to establish itself in sub-Saharan Africa’s major country.
Immediately after the war, General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s Head of State, paid a State Visit to Moscow in 1971. President Olusegun Obasanjo also visited Russia in 2001 and on June 24 2009, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev became the first Russian President to visit Nigeria.
These top level visits are too far in between and do not reflect the several challenges confronting Nigeria-Russia relations.
For instance, in order for agreements among nations to become operational, they are to be passed by the National parliament and that forms their legal framework. The agreements signed with Russia during these visits are yet to be ratified by the parliament with particular reference to the Abuja agreement of 2009 which covered six critical areas: Viz- Investment, cooperation in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy, understanding in the field of exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes, transfer of persons sentenced to imprisonment, declaration on principles of friendly relations and partnership between Nigeria and the Russian Federation and several other agreements on the eventual establishment of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation (ICESTC) between the two countries.
Adequate knowledge and clear understanding of culture, history, language, mentality, world-view, capabilities and potentials of other nations are crucial to foreign policy making. There is weak indication that the two countries have sufficient and adequate perception of each other. This in part is responsible for the lack of the political will to fully implement their existing bilateral agreements.
We have had serial disappointments with the western world from their refusal to help in the fight to keep Nigeria one and their current refusal to help with weapons to put down the Boko Haram insurgency under the spurious claims that the Nigerian military is abusing human rights. The supply of military equipment and materiel notably the MI-35 attack helicopters by Russia have played a high value addition in our fight against Boko Haram. Unfortunately majority among the Nigeria political elites are under strong influence of London and Washington whose interest is to distance Moscow from the affairs of African countries.
Still, there has been increased trade between Nigeria and Russia since the civil war experience. Dramatically, the Soviet Union became Nigeria’s best friend and ally such that by the time the civil war ended in 1970 Nigeria had opened its doors to other Soviet imports such as consumer goods and industrial manufacture.
The most significant highlight of the growing economic cooperation between the two countries was the award of contracts to Soviet companies for the establishment of the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex and for the laying of oil pipelines across the country in line with the articles form economic and technical cooperation agreed upon by the two countries.
The project was however not completed as scheduled, and has continued to suffer several setbacks over the decades due to what should be seen as a lack of political will and adequate appreciation of the potential of the steel project to radically transform the economy of Nigeria and its capacity to be the foundation for the industrialization of the nation.
Similarly, ALSCON, Nigeria’s only aluminum smelting plant, handed over to Russian aluminum giant, United Company RUSAL PLC was closed down in 2014. Again, nothing much is heard of Gazprom, the Russian national energy giant, the biggest in the world, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the exploration and exploitation of the nation’s huge gas reserves with a new joint venture company to be known as NiGaz Energy Company, which will also take part in several other critical infrastructural development projects, including the training of Nigerians among others. Both companies were expected to invest up to 2.5 billion dollars in the joint venture.
These are very good signs for Nigeria-Russia relations and should be pursued with vigor because they can lead to slow but steady growth of bilateral trade and the promotion of direct contacts between Nigerian and Russian officials and institutions, agencies and companies, opening up of opportunities for further cooperation in the area of energy, metallurgy, oil and gas and promotion of bilateral cooperation in the cultural sphere.
Nigeria needs Russian technology to boost industrialization just as Russia needs Nigeria as a market for its industrial products and military equipment. All issues on the privatization of ALSCON to Russian RUSAL including the legal tussles require diplomatic solutions in a manner that will bring the company to function at its maximum capacity.
The volume of on-going trade between the two countries still remains very low – a paltry $350 million. This is ridiculous given the rich economic and trade endowments of both Nigeria and Russia. Worse still, there is a consistent huge imbalance in favor of Russia.
Inadequate information on business opportunities in Nigeria poses one of the major problems. Foreign investors including Russians have no access to update and reliable information on business prospects in Nigeria. If and when Russian businesses discover, for example, the rich agricultural products that are available in Nigeria, they’d wonder why they had not known about these all along.
In Nigeria, there are exceptional high-quality agricultural products such as oranges, mangoes, citrus, sweet honey that could easily rise to the top of the market demand in Russia.
There are many options available for the two countries to expand and deepen mutual trade and diplomatic ties in the interest of the two countries, world peace and prosperity. These options must be speedily pursued.
– Monguno is member, Board of Directors, FCDA-Abuja-Nigeria.
- Rotimi Salami wins BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR at the City People Movie Award 2019.
Rotimi Salami, the cute Nollywood star popularly known for earning his breakthrough after winning Best Supporting Actor (AMVCA2017) and several other awards recently won the best supporting actor (Yoruba) at the just concluded city people movie award 2019.
Rotimi already has well over 10 nominations from 6 different award organizers both within and outside the shores of Nigeria just in 2019.
The soft-spoken actor announced embarking on his new television sitcom project titled JACK OF ALL TRADE in conjunction with Alliance Law Firm soonest against 2020.
He also mentioned the probability of premiering his new movie ONCE UPON A TOMORROW in the United Kingdom sometime in November 2019.
It’s an HIV/AIDS awareness story like never told before.
President of the West African Boxing Union (WABU), Mr. Remi Aboderin, has commended GOtv for introducing GOtv Boxing Night Mini, a smaller version of the popular GOtv Boxing Night. Speaking in Lagos on Sunday, Aboderin, who is also the Secretary-General of the Nigerian Boxing Board of Control (NBB of C), said GOtv Boxing Night Mini has the potential to take the sport to the next level.
The WABU President stated that GOtv Boxing Night Mini, which is conceived to hold more regularly, will offer many more Nigerian boxers the opportunity for fights that will help boost their fight records that will enhance their chances of being ranked for titles by international boxing bodies. He explained that the infrequency of boxing promotions locally has reduced the chances of boxers getting fights, thereby robbing them of the opportunity to have the number of fights required to take shots at continental, Commonwealth and world titles.
“It is undisputable that GOtv Boxing Night is the most regular platform on which our professional boxers get to fight because it holds every three months or thereabouts. There are other promotions, but they’re not of the same regularity, meaning that it is one for which most boxers aim. But with GOtv Boxing Night Mini, additional fight opportunities have been presented and many more boxers can benefit,” he said.
The inaugural edition of GOtv Boxing Night Mini will hold on 16 November at the Rowe Park Sports Complex in Lagos. It will feature big-name boxers such as Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu, WABU lightweight champion; Rilwan “Baby Face” Babatunde, WABU welterweight champion; Waidi “Skoro” Usman, former African Boxing Union featherweight champion and Kabiru “KB Godson Towolawi.
The WABU boss noted that Ghanaian boxers, who usually have higher number of fights than their Nigerian counterparts of the same age and profile, have been benefiting from the regularity of promotions in their country.
He noted that the sponsors deserve commendation for introducing GOtv Boxing Night Mini, which increases their support for boxing in Nigeria.
“They have been spending a lot of money on GOtv Boxing Night and GOtv Boxing NextGen Search and have added GOtv Boxing Night Mini. They are probably the biggest supporters of the sport in Africa. I want to use this opportunity to call on other corporate bodies to join GOtv in their bid to move Nigerian boxing to higher heights,” he said.
The Federal Government has asked MTN Nigeria and other mobile operators to suspend the four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services.
MTN had sent a message to its mobile customers that with effect from October 21, 2019, N4 will be charged on every 20 seconds spent while using USSD access to banking services.
“Yello, Please note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you.”
But in a swift reaction, the federal government through the Honourable Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Mrs. Uwa Suleiman, asked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure that the operator suspends such plans until he is fully briefed.
Read the full statement below:
The attention of the Federal Ministry of Communications has been drawn to the viral text message allegedly sent by the Mobile Network Operator MTN Nigeria and other Mobile Operators notifying subscribers of a four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services from the 21st of October 2019.
The office of the Honourable Minister of Communications Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM is unaware of this development and has hereby directed the sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ensures the operator suspends such plans until the Honourable Minister is fully and properly briefed.
Uwa Suleiman (Mrs)
Spokesperson to the Honourable Minister of Communications
20th October 2019
Simon Achuba, impeached deputy governor of Kogi state, says his removal by the state house of assembly is unconstitutional.
He said this during a press conference in Lokoja, the state capital, after vacating his official residence on Sunday.
Achuba was removed on Friday after the committee set up to investigate the allegations of misconduct levelled against him submitted its report.
He described his impeachment as “act of extreme lawlessness,” adding that his lawyers have commenced judicial actions on the matter.
“My purported impeachment last Friday by the state House of Assembly was unconstitutional and an illegality that will not stand the test of judiciary,” he said.
He said swearing in a new deputy governor will be a breach of the constitution.
Achuba called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the political crisis rocking the state.
Meanwhile, John Baiyeshea, chairman of the panel set up to investigate allegations against Achuba, said his committee could not prove the allegations levelled against Achuba.
Describing the announcement that Achuba had been removed as “the most bizarre thing that I have ever heard in my life”, Baiyeshea said the report of the panel was submitted when the house was not in session.
In the panel report, Achuba was accused of financial misappropriation, “deliberate disdain” for decisions of Kogi executive council and absconding from official duties among others.
This is contained in a Public Notice signed by the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Tunde Fowler.
Designated Non-Resident Persons Tax Office (NRPTO), the notice clarified that a non-resident person refers to a foreign company as defined in the Companies Income Tax Act (Cap C2, LFN 2004 as amended) or an individual (who is resident outside Nigeria and derives income or profit from Nigeria) as defined in the Personal Income Tax Act (Cap P8, LFN 2004 as amended).
The notice said that FIRS has identified Non-resident taxpayers as very important segment of the tax-paying public for the purposes of devoting to them specialised attention.
“The devotion of attention to this segment of taxpayers, Fowler said “is to enhance tax certainty, promote voluntary compliance, reduce tax disputes and avoid incidence of double taxation.”
“In view of the foregoing, the FIRS hereby notify all non-resident persons operating in Nigeria and the general public that: Non-Resident Persons’ Tax Office (NRPTO) which will handle all tax affairs of non-resident persons (individuals or corporate) has been established; The NRPTO is located within the International Tax Department at FIRS Building, Ikoyi, Lagos.
“As from 1st January 2020, all non-resident persons liable to tax in Nigeria shall submit every return, correspondence or enquiry relating to all the taxes administered by the Service to the Non-Resident Persons’ Tax Office; and Tax files of non-resident persons shall thenceforth be domiciled at the NRPTO,” the notice said.
NRPTO will be devoted solely to international taxation to serve non-resident persons, including all tax treaty operational issues, cross-border transactions, inter-company transactions and income derived by non-resident individuals in Nigeria.
Fowler noted that the “devotion of attention to this segment of taxpayers is to enhance tax certainty, promote voluntary compliance, reduce tax disputes and avoid incidence of double taxation”
Mr Onyema Ugochukwu CEO of Peace Airline has emerged the dominant, most respected and most loved personality of 2019 in Nigeria!! We shall be affirming these collective societal endorsement with a great recognition at the 14th edition of the Ikeja City Awards come December 8, 2019.
The secret of these overwhelming outpouring of public goodwill is obviously his undeniable heart of gold!! Which is sign posted by his Practical nationalism, uncommon humanity, kindness and humility.
They are desirable virtues which his exploit in evacuating distressed Nigerians from the xenophobic hellhole of south Africa. This is an unvarnished testimony.
For this reason a special recognition category has been created to recognise him: MAN OF PEACE, LOVER OF HUMANITY AWARD!! With a unique Plaque and ample attestation. We can never over celebrate such rear national ICONS.
Nigerian singer Davido is probably the happiest man in the world right now, following the first of his first son with wife-to-be Chioa Rowland.
We previously learnt that the father of two daughters left people gushing on social media after he made the beautiful announcement of the birth of his son.
The doting dad also shared a lovely photo in which the new born was spotted carefully cuddled up in his warm embrace. Well, it appears celebration have kicked off in full throttle for the Adeleke family.
In a video shared on his Instastory channel, Davido was in the company of close family members and his crew mate, was seen popping a bottle of champagne to celebrate his bundle of joy.
A different video shows the excited dad already getting familiar with his son, as he could be heard talking to the little one who has only just arrived to the world.
Meanwhile, we gathered that Davido spent time with his two daughters Imade and Hailey, as he anticipated the birth of his first son. The musician shared a video on his Instagram page that show him, his children and his dad, having a nice family time.