5 Banks, MTN Declare N107.9bn Interim Dividends For H1 2020 [LEADERSHIP]

Shareholders of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and five banks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) will be receiving a total of N101.91 billion as interim dividend payout for the first half of the year.

Dividend has remained one of the key factors that traditionally drive market activities and aid investment decisions towards stocks across the globe, including Nigeria.

Dividend payments allow shareholders to benefit from earnings growth through both interim and final dividends.

Interim dividends can follow the same strategy as final dividends, but since interim dividends are paid out before the end of the fiscal year, the financial statements that accompany interim dividends are unaudited.

The five banks are Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Stanbic IBTC Holdings.

They were able to declare interim dividends in the first half of the year ended June 30, 2020 even as the nation grapples with the economic consequences of COVID-19.

The dividends were paid out of profits earned in the first half of the year.

For the period under review, MTN Nigeria, in line with its dividend policy, approved an interim dividend of N71.67 billion, representing N3.50 per share to be paid out of distributable net income.

Zenith Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank proposed an interim dividend of 30 kobo each, amounting to N9.4 billion and N8.8 billion respectively, while Access Bank, UBA and Stanbic IBTC Holdings offered an interim dividend of 25 kobo, 17 kobo and 40 kobo, amounting to N8.47 billion, N5.8 billion and N4.2 billion, respectively.

The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise and has engulfed nearly the entire world, claiming lives and damaging businesses and at large hitting hard on economies of world.

This has also affected the Nigerian equities market but not as serious as expected with year-to-date loss of 4.66 per cent as at September 11, 2020.

This surprising feat in Nigeria, particularly during the pandemic, was attributed to smart investors’ bargain hunting and the release of good financial results by some of the listed companies along with improved interim dividend declarations in recent time.

Speaking on the banks’ H1 financial results, CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank, Segun Agbaje said, “These are undoubtedly tough and trying times for people, businesses and economies – the world over. Our financial performance in the first half of the year reflects the quality of our past decisions which have broadened our earnings and strategically positioned us to thrive thus far, through the current global health and economic crises.

“Underpinning this financial performance is our commitment to being there for our customers and the communities we serve, and over the past six months we have lent the full weight of our franchise to safeguarding lives and livelihoods of our staff and customers by leading from the front in the fight to curtail the COVID-19 outbreak and offering grace periods on loans to our small business customers.”

On his part, group managing director/CEO of UBA, Mr Kennedy Uzoka, said, “Our H1, 2020 results is yet another demonstration of the resilience of our business model in an extremely uncertain and tough operating environment. We recorded commendable growth in our underlying business in terms of customer acquisition, transaction volumes and balance sheet whilst inflation, depressed yield environment and exchange rate volatilities impacted our net earnings as anticipated.”

Uzoka added that despite the short-term challenges to various economic sectors occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic the bank is focused on the fundamentals of businesses in growth-driving sectors of various economies in which we operate.


Nigeria Most Prosperous Black Nation At 60 – PMB [LEADERSHIP]

President Muhmmadu Buhari declared yesterday that Nigeria was the most prosperous black nation in the world, saying but for the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrating 60 years of the country’s independence really called for pomp and pageantry.

The president who stated this while unveiling the logo and theme for the country’s 60th Independence Anniversary celebration noted that in all places in the world Nigerians are dazzling like diamonds in the pack, including academia, business, innovation, music, movie, entertainment, fashion and culture.

This is just as the federal government hinted that the 60th Independence Anniversary celebration will be observed for a whole year, ending September 30th, 2021, the federal government has declared.

The brief unveiling ceremony was conducted before the commencement of the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa.

Citing the coronavirus pandemic as a reason, President Buhari said the anniversary celebration would be held low-key this year.

The president, who spoke after the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, had given a background to how the logo was adopted and the modalities guiding the anniversary celebration, said his administration would henceforth ensure more inclusiveness.

According to the president, the theme of this year’s anniversary celebration, “Together Shall We Be”, had been chosen to forge a more united and cohesive Nigeria.

He said, “Today we stand on the threshold of history as we formally begin a series of activities commemorating Nigeria’s Diamond Anniversary. The task history has saddled me with today is to proclaim a theme that will keep us united, help us forge ahead and unveil a logo that will form the critical pillars, which are eleven months modest commemoration activities will rest on.

“Celebrating 60 years of independence really calls for pomp and pageantry, but the global COVID-19 Pandemic, which has forced all nations in the world to think and act differently, has also forced on us the imperative of a low-keyed celebration. Operating within the limitations placed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we created an internet challenge for Nigerians to make a choice from a set of four pre-selected logos that will appropriately define the theme.

“Of these four options, Nigerians from all walks of life participated in making a choice and I’m happy to let you know that the logo I will be unveiling is a product of choice from the Nigerian people.

“I’m informed that the selected option depicts our togetherness; a country of over 200 million people, whose natural talents, grits and passion glitter like the precious diamond we are. This to me is a sufficient appreciation to our most precious assets; our people. Everywhere you go, Nigerians are sparkling like diamonds in the pack, whether in academia, business, Innovation, music, movie, entertainment and culture.

“Furthermore, I’m also made aware that the neatly encrusted diamond on the Nigerian map symbolises our age of treasure, the worth of the Nigerian people, who are sparkled to the admiration of the world.

Noting that Nigeria was currently the most prosperous black nation in the world, Buhari said, “In the same vein, the fair green and the dark green colours should respectively remind us of our warmth, welcoming spirit and love, as well as abundant wealth inherent in our human capital and the richness of our land.

“All these properties made us, unarguably, the most prosperous black nation in the world and Africa’s largest economy. It is therefore with a deep feeling of national pride and I hereby announce to you that “Together shall we be” shall be the theme of our nation’s 60th anniversary celebration.

“Our founding fathers, in spite of differences in faith, tribe and tongue, came together to fight for Nigeria’s independence. This shall be a befitting tribute to the struggle of our heroes past.

“It is to the glory of God and in celebration of the attainment of the diamond age of 60 by our great nation that I hereby unveil the preferred anniversary logo for this momentous occasion in our national history.

“At this juncture, let me thank members of the inter-ministerial committee on Nigeria’s 60th anniversary celebration for the work they have done so far and remind them that this is just the beginning. As we celebrate this anniversary, this government will work towards greater inclusiveness and look forward to the participation of all Nigerians”, the President said.

Explaining the process that led to the choice of logo and the reason for a year-long celebration, the SGF who is also the chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Nigeria’s 60th Anniversary celebration said the aim is to make the country heal.

He stated: “Your Excellency, Mr President, upon your approval of the inter-ministerial committee on Nigeria’s 60th anniversary and directive for a low-key celebration that will be highly inclusive, the inter-ministerial committee went to work and agreed on the theme to drive the celebrations.

“One major agreement also was the need to deviate from the norm of celebrating our landmark events with a conclusion of the day of such an event. Thus it was agreed that to make the diamond anniversary very inclusive and create opportunities for internalisation and buying by all sectors of Nigerian people, a year-long celebration will be pursued, starting from the date of launching a web portal, to September 30th, 2021.

“Mr President, members of Council, I am happy to inform you today that the unveiling of the logo is the second milestone of the celebration, but it actually marks the official takeoff of Nigeria’s 60th anniversary celebration. Kindly permit me to provide a little background as to the theme, processes for selection of logo, eventual outcome and outstanding elements, as well as rationale for a year-long celebration.

“The inter-ministerial committee had a robust discussion and argument on the theme and finally settled on the one that recognises our sojourn in nationhood, identified challenges faced all through and what is required to move Nigeria to its enviable stage among the comity of nations”.


5 Injured As APC, PDP Supporters Clash In Ondo [LEADERSHIP]

Not less than five persons sustained injuries yesterday following a clash between supporters of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flagbearer, Eyitayo Jegede, in Ondo State ahead of the October 10, 2020 governorship election.

Trouble started when the Akeredolu’s convoy met with that of Jegede at Oba Akoko in Akoko South West local government area of the state.

The fracas which was said to have crippled social and economic activities in the area for several hours resulted in accusations and counter accusations between the campaign organisations of the two candidates accusing each other of instigating the violence.

The PDP governorship candidate, Jegede, accused the APC thugs of causing the violence.

Addressing journalists at his campaign office in Akure, the state capital on the incidence, Jegede said he was attacked while on campaign tour in the Northern Senatorial district of the state.

The PDP standard bearer alleged that he was at the palace of Oloba of Oba-Akoko with members of PDP in his entourage when some armed thugs in the entourage of the governor shot at the vehicles of PDP parked in the town.

Jegede said when he called the governor and informed him about the incident the governor expressed shock.

The PDP candidate however urged the people of the state not to be intimidated, saying PDP was focused and that the will of the people would prevail.

But in a swift reaction to PDP’s statement, spokesman for Akeredolu/Aiyedatiwa Campaign Organisation, Olabode Richard, alleged that it was PDP thugs who attacked and set ablaze one of the vehicles in Akeredolu’s convoy.

He said, “The branded campaign vehicle donated to Akeredolu campaign by Ambassador Sola Iji has been set ablaze by the PDP hoodlums.

“The driver of the vehicle sustained bodily injury and now receiving treatment at a government.”

Stay Away From Polling Units, Police Warns Thugs In Edo

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force has warned would-be miscreants and other political thugs who might be holding clandestine, nocturnal meetings to foment trouble with the motive of disrupting the Edo governorship election to desist from it.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Adeleye Oyegbade, flanked by eight commissioners of Police and heads of other sister security agencies in the state, gave the warning in Benin yesterday during a press briefing in preparation for the governorship election slated for this Saturday.

He said the Force had carried out security threat analysis, stressing that all identified vulnerable points, entry and exit points have been mapped out for special security coverage.

The DIG said, “Adequate police officers comprising conventional, plain-clothed policemen and special forces have been deployed to provide robust security, during and after the election.

“We have carried out security threat analysis hence, all identified vulnerable points, entry and exit points have been mapped out for special security coverage, while the military is expected to perform the required complementary role of outer cordoning”.


You will get justice, Osinbajo assures Nigerian traders in Ghana [THE NATION]

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has assured Nigerian traders in Ghana, who were recently affected by stiff business regulations imposed by Ghanaian authorities that they will get justice.

Osinbajo spoke on Tuesday evening at a meeting with representatives of the Nigerian community in Ghana.

The Vice-President explained that bureaucracy might have delayed the result of the fruitful discussions between both countries on the matter.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the Office of the Vice-President, Mr. Laolu Akande, said the meeting held at the official residence of the Nigerian High Commissioner in Ghana.

He said it focused on the challenges facing Nigerians living in the West African country, such as the locking up of hundreds of shops belonging to Nigerians.

On some issues raised by leaders of the Nigerian community at the meeting, especially the maltreatment of Nigerians by Ghanaian authorities, Osinbajo affirmed the commitment of the Federal Government to ensure justice for Nigerians.

“I will certainly convey the depth of your grievances to the President. I am sure that he will be deeply disturbed to hear that despite the assurances that he had received (from the Ghanaian government), there are still problems and complications,” he said.

To the affected Nigerians in Ghana, the Vice-President said: “I look forward to getting the details and making sure that we are able to begin to resolve some of these issues as quickly as possible. But I think you must also recognise that, generally speaking, governments tend to be very slow, processes are slow, bureaucracies are slow.

“But we will make sure that we do the very best we can to get you your rights so that, at least, you are dealt with justly.”


Buhari not dividing Nigeria, says Presidency [THE NATION]

The Presidency has debunked assertions that the President Muhmmadu Buhari-led administration has divided Nigeria along fault lines of ethnicity and religion.

Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina debunked the claims on Wednesday on a Channels Television political and current affairs programme, “Politics Today”.

The Presidential spokesman was responding to issues surrounding recent comments by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka.

He faulted those blaming President Buhari for the division they had pointed out.

Adesina said: “If some opinions concluded that Nigeria is divided, then it is a phenomenon that had been well pronounced over the years, citing past comments of both Chief Obasanjo and Prof Soyinka, identifying the same faults.

According to him, the unity of the country depends on the resolve of all Nigerians to come together to accept each other as equals, with equal rights and admitting that no group could be wished away.

“So, if they say Nigeria is divided today, it’s because Nigeria has always been divided and all efforts to unite Nigeria and Nigerians have not worked.

“When Nigerians come to a decision point that we must live together, we can’t wish anybody away; we can’t wish any ethnicity away; we can’t wish any religion away, then we will work towards being a nation.

“Prof Soyinka delivered a lecture around 2010/2011, when he said Nigeria was not a nation, that at best Nigeria is a conglomeration of different ethnic nationalities, but in terms of the definition of a nation, he said Nigeria was not a nation.

“Now the question is, was President Buhari in power then in 2010/2011 when he delivered that lecture and said Nigeria was not a nation?

“So, Nigeria has always been divided, the onus is on us all to make our country work and those who continue to harp on division are part of the problem because the harmony that we should arrive at as a country will continue to elude us,” he queried.


Castration for rapists in Kaduna [THE NATION]

With the amended Penal Code 2020 signed into law on Wednesday by Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufa’I, rapists risk surgical castration upon conviction.

Besides, convicts’ names are to be listed on the Sex Offenders Register that will be published by the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.

The amended bill was passed into law last Thursday by the Kaduna State House of Assembly.

The development was disclosed on El-Rufai’s official Twitter handle @GovKaduna Wednesday night.

According to the Twitter post, “Malam Nasir @elrufai has signed the Kaduna State Penal Code (Amendment) Law 2020 which provides stiff penalties upon conviction for the rape of a child, including surgical castration for male convicts and bilateral salpingectomy for female convicts”

Similarly, a statement posted on the governor’s Facebook wall said “the amendment updates the penalties for the offence of the rape of a child, which include the punishments of surgical castration and bilateral salpingectomy for male and female convicts of child rape, and death.

According to the statement signed by the Governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, said, the convicts will in addition, be listed in the Sex Offenders Register to be published by the Attorney-General of the state.

He said: “Following Malam El-Rufai’s assent to the amended law on 11th September 2020, the new law has come into effect in Kaduna State. It introduces stricter punishments than the previous law which carried a maximum penalty of 21 years imprisonment for the rape of an adult and life imprisonment for the rape of a child.

“Under the amended law, the punishment for the rape of a person older than 14 years will include surgical castration or removal of fallopian tubes, but the death penalty shall not apply. In cases where the rape convict is also a child, the court shall order an appropriate punishment under the Children and Young Persons Law Cap 26, Laws of Kaduna State 1991.

“While commending the members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly for passing the amendments, the Governor stated that these drastic penalties are required to help further protect children from serious crime.

“The Kaduna State Penal Code (Amendment) Law 2020 amends the Penal Code Law (No.5) of Kaduna State, 2017 by substituting section 258 as follows:

Whoever commits rape of a child below the age of fourteen (14) years shall on conviction, be punished with Surgical Castration and death;

Whoever has sexual intercourse with a male child below the age of fourteen years shall be punished with surgical castration and death;

Where a female adult is convicted for the offence of rape of a child, the Court shall punish the accused with Bilateral Salpingectomy and death;

Where the victim is above fourteen years, the Court shall on conviction sentence the accused with a punishment of surgical castration and life imprisonment;

Where the convict is a child, the Court shall order as appropriate under the Children and Young Person Law Cap 26 Laws of Kaduna State 1991;

Where the victim is a child, the Court shall in addition to the conviction, order that the convict be listed in the Sex Offenders Register to be published by the Attorney General;

Where the Court is trying the offence of rape involving a child below the age of fourteen years, corroboration of a medical report shall be necessary.”


Police disperse petrol price hike protesters in Lagos [THE NATION]

The police in Lagos on Wednesday dispersed protesters against the increase in pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

The protesters under the umbrella of the Joint Action Front (JAF) converged on Ojuelegba, Lagos to demand a reversal of the hike in fuel price and electricity tariff. Armed security operatives dispersed the crowd.

They carried placards with inscriptions such as “Buhari’s regime hiked petrol price in 2016 from N86.50 to N145 now hiked again to N162″; “Reject hike in electricity tariff now”; and “Capitalist policies of privatisation and deregulation create mass suffering”.

They urged other Nigerians to join the struggle to “end puppet regime of IMF and World Bank”.

The police said the protesters were dispersed peacefully. Police spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi  said  none of the protesters was arrested and there was no use of force.

“None was arrested. The protesters were talked to and dispersed peaceably. They were not attacked nor harassed. We always urge protesters to inform the police to provide adequate security for them any time they want to protest. “They have their rights to protest but such must be guided and not be hijacked by hoodlums to foment troubles or extort innocent Lagosians,” he said.

In Osogbo, the Osun State capital, protesters under the aegis of Osun Civil Society Coalition hit the streets demanding the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari for not reducing the hike in electricity tariff and petrol prices.

The protesters converged on the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Old Garage area yesterday morning.

They matched through Oke-Fia Junction, Alekuwodo, Ola-Iya Junction and eventually terminated the protest in front of the NUJ Correspondent Chapel, Fagbewesa.

They were armed with banners and placards chanting anti-government slogans. The inscriptions read: “Nationalise the oil sector under workers democratic control”, “no to fuel, electricity tariff”, “Buhari govt anti-poor” and others.

One of the leaders of the protesters, the convener of Dialogue 360, Comrade Waheed Saka, said:  ”Nigerians have never had it so bad like we are under the current administration. We are here to protest against the hike in price which is not affecting businesses.”

A human right activist and lawyer, Comrade Alfred Adegoke, said: “We are on the streets today to call for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari for his refusal to revert the electricity tariff and petrol price.”

Electricity tariff/fuel price hikes: TUC tackles Ngige, NLC issues two-week ultimatum to FG [PUNCH]

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and the Trade Union Congress  disagreed on Wednesday over  the plan by the TUC to go on strike as from September 23.

The minister  while answering questions from State House correspondents at the end of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, dismissed the seven-day ultimatum the TUC gave the Federal Government to reverse  the price of petrol.

According to him, the letter written by the TUC should have been addressed to him, instead of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

But the TUC President,  President, Quadri Olaleye, said the issue of petrol price was beyond  the minister, adding that Ngige should wait till September 23 to see what would happen.

Also on Wednesday, the Nigeria Labour Congress issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse its decision on the hikes in electricity tariff and the fuel pump price or face civil unrest nationwide.

The congress handed down the warning at its Central Working Committee meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.

In a communiqué read by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, the union said the ultimatum  would take immediate effect, warning that it would mobilise its members nationwide for protests as from September 28.

In an interview,  the NLC President said the national executive committee members and the state chapters as well as affiliates would meet on September 22 to decide on the strike action if the government failed to revert to the old prices by then.

“Today’s (Wednesday) decision on the ultimatum was taken by the Central Working Committee of the NLC. But by the expiration of the ultimatum,  if the government fails to reverse   the increase in electricity tariffs and fuel pump price, we would hold a meeting on September 28 and take a decision on a strike action,” he disclosed.

Government had two weeks ago increased the ex-depot price of petrol from N 138.62 to N147.67,  prompting  marketers  to adjust their petrol  prices to between N158 and N162 from N148 to N150 in August. The  ex-depot price is the price at which government sells petrol to marketers.

Besides the fuel hike being the third within three months, it came at  a time electricity distribution companies increased their tariffs.

The TUC gave its seven-day ultimatum  in a letter addressed to the President and dated September 4, 2020.

The letter titled, “We cannot bear the burden any longer, issuance of seven days ultimatum,” was signed by Olaleye; and the Secretary-General, Musa Lawal.

TUC’s ultimatum letter to Buhari misplaced – FG

But Ngige, in the interview with the State House correspondents said the TUC’s letter was misplaced because it was addressed to the President, whom he claimed, is not recognised by the International Labour Organisation.

He gave an indication that the letter should have been addressed to him, and not Buhari.


Sagay panel accuses Malami of aborting high-profile criminal cases [PUNCH]

The Prof. Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, on Wednesday, accused the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), of having well-known proclivity for aborting high-profile criminal cases in favour of major political and governmental figures.

The PACAC, in a statement signed by Sagay, and released by the Communications Unit of the committee, said this while reacting to the proposed bill for the amendment of the establishment Act of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

While arguing that the proposed amendment of the Act was part of “an ongoing very sinister and dangerous attempt to demolish the anti-corruption infrastructure of Nigeria and return it to the situation it was in during the dark days before 2015,” the panel urged Nigerians and the National Assembly to reject it.

Sagay added that those behind it “are the representatives of the corrupt establishment that brought this country to its knees and subjected us to humiliation as a result of an extremely negative reputation internationally.”

The controversial bill seeks to weaken the EFCC and its officials, and confer an enormous power of control of the anti-graft agency on the office of the AGF.

Although Sagay did not mention Malami as the sponsor of the controversial bill, he tackled the minister for what he described as his proclivity for aborting criminal cases in favour of major political and governmental figures.

He noted that the draft bill, which intended to repeal the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004, was being sponsored by those who were “too ashamed to put their names to the draft bill being circulated.”

Malami, whose memo to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), triggered the ongoing probe of the suspended acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, by the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel over various allegations of corruption, abuse of office, and insubordination, has been linked to the controversial bill in the media.

The minister has neither denied nor confirmed the rumours.

Citing various provisions of the bill, Sagay said it would eliminate the anti-graft agency’s “freedom and autonomy” and replace it with “an entity under the complete control of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General.”

He added that the proposed bill would effectively turn the commission into a department in the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The statement read in part, “With all the above established facts, the gravity of the proposed change becomes overwhelming.

CBN demands details of 12 top Nigerian businessmen, others’ domiciliary accounts [PUNCH]

The Central Bank of Nigeria has ordered banks to provide the domiciliary account statements of some high profile customers and other accounts linked to the customers through the Bank Verification Number.

It disclosed this in a letter to all the banks with the number, ‘BSD/DIR/GEN/LAB/13/063, dated September 15, titled ‘Request for statement of accounts’, signed by the Director of Banking Supervision, CBN, Z. Marcus.

The Deposit Money Banks were ordered to send the details to five listed email addresses by the CBN after listing the names of 16 individuals on the letter.

Some of the individuals recently had their company’s bank accounts frozen over forex infractions.

The customers listed included Chief Kesington A. Adebutu; Adebisi A. Adebutu; Ajibola Bankole Adebutu; Olanipekun Orekoya Adebutu; and Olasegun Oladiran Adebutu. The Adebutus are directors of Premier Lotto.

They list also includes Adekunle O. Soname and Ayodeji Ojuroye, owners of owner of Bet9ja.

Others names are Akinola Adekunle Alabi, founder of NairaBet and member of the House of Representatives; Oluwadamilare Olubukola Alabi; Oluwafemi Babalola; and Adetayo Cosmas Adesanwo.

Some foreigners that do business in the country on the list are David Patrick Grogan; Domenico Giovando; Mauro Ripamonti; Charbel Jabbour Chidiac; and Byron Powell.

A number of the persons on the list are linked to the betting industry.

Attempts to speak with Akinola Alabi proved abortive as he neither responded to calls nor a text message on Wednesday.

A source expressed worry on the light that had been beamed on the members of Adebutu’s family.

The source said, “Apart from being directors of their father’s betting business, these men (the Adebutus) have their own businesses. I know one of them that is into oil business.

“Their businesses have to do with forex; so, they cannot do without using forex.”

Part of the letter to the bank read, “You are required to furnish us with the domiciliary account statements (Excel and PDF format of the under-listed individuals including the domiciliary accounts linked to them by the Bank Verification Number.

“The statement should cover the period January 1, 2013 to July 31, 2020.”


Police arrest six Ogun herdsmen for abducting policewoman, NSCDC official [PUNCH]

The Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2 Command, Ahmed Iliyasu, on Wednesday, paraded six suspected herdsmen allegedly responsible for multiple kidnapping and killing of a yet-to-be-identified driver during an attempt to abduct a police inspector on the Ayetoro-Abeokuta Expressway in the Yewa area of Ogun State.

Iliyasu said during a press briefing at the command headquarters, Onikan, Lagos, that the driver was conveying a woman when he suddenly realised that an ambush had been laid by the herdsmen, but while attempting to escape, one of the suspects shot him dead.

He said, “These criminals mounted a roadblock on the Ayetoro-Abeokuta Road in Yewa, during which a police inspector ran into them. While they were manhandling her, the driver of a car coming behind attempted to escape their onslaught, but they opened fire on him and he died.

“Thereafter, the other female occupant of the vehicle was kidnapped alongside the female inspector, taken into a forest for three days before they were released after the payment of ransom by their relatives.”

Iliyasu, who identified the suspects as Adamu Saliu, 25; Ibrahim Mohammed, 33; Abubakar Sadiq, 24; Tambaye Mohammed, 25; Adamu Sulaiman; and Akanni Musa, 38, said they would be charged.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the same syndicate was responsible for the abduction of an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and a businessman, identified simply as Alhaji Umar, and the killing of a cattle herder, simply known as Alhaji Oro.

While the family of the NSCDC official was said to have parted with N3m to secure his release, Oro was unlucky as the AIG said, “Despite the payment of the N4m demanded as ransom, these men shot and killed him.

“These men traced another target, identified as Umaru, to Awaiye in Oyo State, ambushed him on his way to the farm and held him captive for two days until he was able to meet the kidnappers’ demand of N1m.”

One of the suspects, Saliu, said, “I was arrested because we went to kidnap one Alhaji Umar. We went to abduct him because we knew that he had money and we collected N1m ransom from him. We also planned the kidnap of one Alhaji Oro, while we were in prison, and shot him dead after his family had paid N4m ransom.”


Court orders striking doctors to resume work [SUN]

The National Industrial Court (NIC) in Abuja,yesterday, granted an order of interim injunction directing the National Association of Resident Doctors to immediately resume work pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit against them.

The suit has already been slated for hearing on October 8, before a substantive judge.

Justice Ibrahim Galadima made the order sequel to an ex parte application filed by Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights and Association of Women in Trade & Agriculture, through their counsel, Frank Tietie.

Tietie in an exparte motion filed in a matter against National Association of Resident Doctors,  Minister of Health, Minister of Labour & Productivity and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice had prayed for an interim order of the court directing the National Association of Resident Doctors, being a provider of essential services of health necessary to the fundamental right to life, to immediately cease its strike and resume duties pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.


CBN takes delivery of INEC sensitive materials for Edo election [SUN]

Sensitive materials for the conduct of Saturday’s governorship election in Edo, yesterday, arrived Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Mr Timidi Wariowei, the Head of Voter Education and Publicity in Edo INEC confirmed the arrival of the materials to newsmen

“The materials for the conduct of Saturday’s governorship election have arrived the CBN.

“We just went and inspected the sensitive materials in cartons, the ballot papers and the results sheets. And just now, the braille ballot guide for persons with disabilities especially the Visually impaired just arrived,” he said.

Wariowei affirmed that INEC is set for the election. “From tomorrow(Sept. 16) morning as early as 7.30am, we will start the distribution to various local government areas”.

On his part, the state chairman of the State Inter Party Advisory Council, Kelly Ogbaloi, said  party agents were invited by INEC to inspect the materials at the CBN.

“Everything is intact, we just inspected the materials and we are satisfied,” he said.

Mr Paul James, the Programme manager, Yiaga Africa, an election monitoring group, said the group was invited by INEC to inspect the sensitive materials at the CBN office.

“We came here on invitation by INEC to inspect the materials that just arrived.

“Tomorrow, (Sept.16),we will have a more detailed observation of the movement of the materials to local government areas.

“Today we are here to confirm if the materials have arrived and yes we have seen that the materials have actually arrived,” he said.

He said as a group, they were happy with what they saw and with the preparation and the progress so far for the election.


NNPC takes major steps to revamp ailing refineries [SUN]

In a strategic effort to crash fuel prices and guarantee energy security, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has carried out a detailed audit of the government’s ailing refineries and mobilised funds and technical resources to restore them to full operating capacity within the shortest possible time.

The move has been applauded by industry experts and consumers, especially now that government has discarded the contentious subsidy regime and embraced full deregulation, where market forces determine the price of petroleum products.

While energy challenge has remained the blight of the nation’s economy for decades, global records show that Nigeria is about the only major oil-reliant country without local refining capabilities.

This scathing development has consistently drained its lean foreign reserves through scandalous deals that entail exporting premium crude oil and importing low-grade refined products in return.

To change the ugly narrative, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari, at a recent interview disclosed that all the nation’s four refineries (Kaduna, Warri, Port Harcourt and Indorama Petrochemical, Eleme), are set for major rehabilitation. The four refineries have a combined capacity of 444,000 barrels per day.

The NNPC boss explained that they were deliberately shut down, having been starved of the mandatory routine turnaround maintenance and major rehabilitation, despite the huge chunk of money voted for them over the years.

Kyari said: “What you call rehabilitation is different from turnaround maintenance (TAM). TAM is a routine endeavour. When you talk about rehabilitation, that means you have colossal loss of capacity in the refineries. It means you’ve not done TAM properly, you’ve not replaced parts as and when due and it has gotten to a point where you’re not able to operate the refineries in the full installed capacities.

“Every refinery is expected to operate at least 90% of installed capacity.

“With all the TAM down, it was impossible to run any of these refineries at 90 per cent capacity. Our estimate was that we could run at 60 per cent capacity but if we do that, it’s simply value destruction. You take a $100 crude and bring out $70 product, it doesn’t make sense.

“We want to make them work and that’s why we’re doing full rehabilitation. Refineries are like aircraft. I’ve visited refineries that are over 100 years old that are still still functioning. Refineries don’t die like cars or other assets”, he explained.

To save cost and hefty consultancy fees, in the programme to rehabilitate refineries,  the NNPC has looked inwards and leveraged on local competence by appointing its engineering subsidiary, National Engineering and Technical Company, NETCO/KBR as Owners Engineer (OE) for the Port Harcourt and Warri refineries in May.

The NNPC management has also issued invitation to tender for the repair of Port Harcourt refinery and signed a $1.5 billion prepayment deal that will see it selling crude to some oil trading companies in exchange for the prepaid money. The financing package, called Project Eagle, was backed by the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank).

Another major effort to revamp the refineries was the signing the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to boost the country’s liquefied natural gas output by more than 30 per cent.

Construction activities will begin in the first quarter of 2021 and financial close will be achieved for the Port Harcourt by November 2020.

For the Warri and Kaduna refinerie, following the conclusion of stopping,  Owners Engineers have been selected for KDR and NETCO. The financing of Warri and Kaduna has advanced to term sheet level with Luke Oil and other commercial banks. This process will lead to issuing of tenders for EPC contract to list EPC contractors that have been cleared by BPP. These are for the refineries.

For the associated pipelines for crude and produce transportation, public tenders have been done to partners on build, operate and transfer. The completion target is before 2023.


Ohanaeze warns Buratai on threat of state of emergency in South East [SUN]

Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, berated the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, over his alleged threat to impose a state of emergency in the South East.

The CAS was alleged to have threatened to impose a state of emergency if governors of the states allowed any further attack on security forces.

But Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in a statement, yesterday by the acting Secretary General and National Publicity Secretary, Uche Achi-Okpaga, said though it abhorred violence, it took exception to such open threat to governors of the region by the CAS who has no constitutional right to do so.

Ohanaeze said it saw the army chief’s threat as provocative coming to a region that has relative peace when he had not done anything close to that to governors of the states in North Central, North West and North East that have become theatres of war.

“While Ohanaeze Ndigbo decries violence in any form in the states, it takes particular exception to an open threat and warning to South East governors who, by the country’s constitution, are chief security officers of their states but are lame ducks in practice as all security commands come from Abuja.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo finds it particularly provocative for General Buratai to issue such a warning to governors of the South East where relative peace prevails while he has not done the same in the North Central, North West and North East which have become theatres of war, and where army posts and bases have been subjected to incessant attacks by the Boko Haram, ISWA/ISIS, bandits and Fulani herdsmen, killing and maiming Nigerian soldiers.

“We also wonders where the army chief derives the power to issue such a threat which, under the country’s constitution, can only be carried out by the National Assembly on demand by the president.

“It is surprising that an army chief, who was watching as the governor of Katsina State was negotiating and taking pictures with armed bandits, would turn round to threaten to impose a state of emergency in states where unarmed citizens are agitating against the harsh and inhuman conditions they have been subjected to by their country,” the organisation said in the statement.

Describing the threat as a glaring example of a “reckless impunity of public officers and a tacit manifestation of the vacuum in governance at the federal level,” Ohanaeze believes it was a confirmation of the authorities regard of the zone as conquered territory.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo believes the threat by Buratai is a vindication of the belief that the South East is being regarded as a conquered territory, exemplified in the army of occupation stationed in the area.”


MASSOB renews vow for Biafra struggle [SUN]

The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has vowed not to relent in its struggle for the actualisation and restoration of the Independent State of Biafra.

The organisation was founded on September 13, 1999.

Leader of MASSOB, Uchenna Madu, who said the group was using its 21st anniversary to reflect on the plight of  Biafrans  vowed that members would “never retreat nor surrender” in their quest for an independent Biafran state.

He described the last 21 years as a long walk to freedom  for self-determination  from the “oppressive Nigerian government.”

“We have been persecuted, arrested, killed, imprisoned and traumatised by aggressive agents of federal government of Nigeria, we shall never retreat nor surrender.  MASSOB will continue to remember and honour our fallen heroes who willingly laid down their precious lives for the love of Biafra. Our members are still languishing in Nigeria prisons at Awka and Onitsha; some are still in the mortuary in Onitsha hospital.

“Our lives are dedicated to the cause of Biafra actualisation. We have no future in Nigeria because this geographical expression called Nigeria was designed by the Christian British colonial masters to enslave the people of Christian Biafra forever and favour the Moslem Arewa people.”

The group said it supported the proposed Waterways Bill sponsored by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, and  “encourages that the National Assembly should pass it into law without much deliberation. MASSOB supports every government policy, action and moves that will eventually break Nigeria and her forced marriage with unknown partners.”

“MASSOB advised President Muhammadu Buhari and his Fulani ethnic cabals not to chicken out of cowardice; they should never relent in securing all the waterways in Nigeria for the establishment and resettling of wandering Fulani ethnic tribe from other West African countries.”

Meanwhile, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has warned that the continuous killing and arrest of its members by security agencies could lead to the disintegration of the country.

Spokesperson for the group, Emma Powerful, in a statement in Owerri, Imo State, yesterday, called on Russia, Germany, Australia, Israel, France and Canada to prevail on the Federal Government to stop the onslaught on perceived Biafrans, warning the trend if not brought to an end could breakup the nation.

“They must prevail on  Nigeria government to release our people abducted illegally, and also release those bodies they took away during the barbaric  attack on peaceful and unarmed citizens of Biafra in Emene, Enugu State. Nigeria government and her partners in crime must understand that the incessant killings of Biafrans and their murderous tendencies against the peaceful and innocent citizens of Biafra will soon break Nigeria into pieces without remedy.”

Powerful, however, boasted that the group can never be decimated despite its various travails in the hands of their transgressors.

“In case they have forgotten, IPOB is a global movement divinely ordained to liberate Biafra and other tribes caged in this British contraption called Nigeria. Our resolve to restore Biafra freedom and independence is of God Almighty (Chukwu Okike Abiama)  in Heaven, a task that must be accomplished very soon.

“Just last week at Ohafia in Abia State,  they abducted Mazi Okewu Agwu from his home and many others including  Samuel Arua Eme, Kalu Iroha Amogu, David Agwu and 12 others whose names are yet to be established as  at the time of this press statement.”


















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