DMO Sets 2017 Debt Limit For FG

Debt Management Office - DMO Sets 2017 Debt Limit For FGThe Debt Management Office has fixed the maximum limit for the federal government’s domestic and external borrowing at 22.08 billion dollars for the 2017 fiscal year.

This is part of policy recommendations of the Debt Management Office contained in its 2016 report of the annual national debt sustainability analysis.

According to the management office, new domestic borrowing has been pegged at 5.52 billion dollars, while new external borrowing is put at 16.56 billion for 2017.

The report explains that, the present value of ‘total public debt to GDP’ ratio for 2016 for the federal government is projected at 13.5 percent with an available borrowing space of 5.89 percent of the estimated GDP of 374.95 billion dollars for 2017.

The management office also recommends that government should explore other alternative and viable sources of financing for the country’s huge infrastructure requirements.

Judges’ Arrest: Former British Cop Berates Execution Of ‘Sting Operation’

vince-onyekwelu-judges-arrestThe arrest of some court judges by a combined team of Police and DSS officials in the early hours of Saturday, October 8 has continued to generate reactions.

While various judicial stakeholders have criticised the government for the arrest, a former British police officer, Vince Onyekwelu, has picked holes in the level of expertise displayed by the DSS during its execution of the operation.

The security analyst told Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily how the arrest should have been carried out, since it was believed to be a sting operation.

“We have to understand (that) one of the major concepts of a sting operation is deceit.

“When you talk about deceit, sting operations are planned to have this element of propaganda, element of treachery, element of ‘make believe’ (and) element of trying to deceive a potential criminal,” he explained.

Outer Shell

Speaking on Thursday’s edition of the programme, Onyekwelu expressed disappointment that Governor Nyesom Wike was able to interrupt the arrest of one of the judges at his residence in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

He stressed the importance of the strategy that ought to be used and questioned if the security operatives were capable and competent to carry out such operation.

“For example, there is what we call ‘the outer shell’.

“You have to block the entrance (and) position men at critical areas.

“It makes me to ask questions how come the Governor had access to go through this outer shell (and) come to the epicentre that he was able to influence what was going on there.

“You’re supposed to have an outer shell that is well-trained to contain and to stop any kind of politically exposed person that have got so much power.

“He (Wike) can tell you his concerns (while) you record them in your notebook and promise to get back to him in the next 24 hours, but not to give him access to influence what is going on,” he stated.

Although the DSS later justified its action by giving reasons for the arrest, the operation attracted criticisms from several notable Nigerians and professional bodies, including the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which asked the executive to release of the detained court justices.

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Human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana

Human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana, however, blamed legal practitioners for the harassment of judges.

The agency subsequently released all the judges on self-recognition one day after their arrest but they are to report at the agency’s office when requested to, as the investigation and preparation to charge them to court continue.

The judges are accused of misconduct, corruption and had been under investigation by the DSS.

Judges Arrest: I Have No Objection To DSS’ Action – Abu Hamisu

Dr. Abu Hamisu, As reactions continue to trail the arrest of some judges over the weekend, a lecturer at the University of Abuja, Dr. Abu Hamisu, says he has no objection with the involvement of the Department of State Services (DSS) in the arrest.

The lecturer at the Political Science Department is of the opinion that if the government feels the DSS could play a crucial role in its anti-corruption campaign, there is nothing wrong with it.

“We’ve been advocating for collaboration and synergy building in such a way that all the security agencies can tap into the professionalism of one another depending on the case they want to prosecute.

“If (the) EFCC, ICPC and the government of the day feel that the DSS can be really decisive in the fight against corruption in this country, I have nothing against that,” the political scientist said.

Speaking on Tuesday on Sunrise Daily, Dr. Hamisu believes corruption is the cause of Nigeria’s underdeveloped stage, reiterating his stance on the DSS’ involvement.

“The most important thing is to ensure that corruption is really dealt with because the basis of our underdevelopment as a nation up to this very moment is corruption.

“For me, it’s something that has to do with those that are leading us and if they feel that they can give us result and DSS can play a role in this, I have no objection,” he insisted.

The academic warned that the future of the Nigerian child was at risk and called on stakeholders to tackle its menace headlong to ensure a brighter future.

“All we want is to ensure that we have a better future for our children.

“The future that we did not enjoy, the future that corruption denied us because some people were saddled with responsibilities that they abused and perverted,” he lamented.

Face-off With Wike

Dr. Hamisu’s remarks followed a face-off between the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike and some DSS officials who were on an assignment to arrest a Federal High Court judge in Port Harcourt.

Nyesom-Wike-Governor-of-Rivers-State
Governor Nyesom Wike prevented the arrest of a judge in Rivers State

On getting wind of the planned arrest, Governor Wike went to the residence of the judge with the aim of averting the arrest.

He stated that it would not be appropriate to arrest a judge at an odd hour when he has not been declared as a criminal, but invited to have a chat which they said was the motive of the arrest.

The arrest caught the attention of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which asked the executive to release of the judge and some order court justices.

While a human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana, blames legal practitioners for harassment of judges, the DSS gave reasons for the arrest.

The DSS subsequently released all the judges on self-recognition.

However, they are to report at the agency’s office when requested to, as the investigation and preparation to charge them to court continue.

The judges are accused of misconduct corruption and had been under investigation by the DSS.

NBA Demands Immediate Release Of Arrested Judges

Abubakar-Mahmoud-NBA-PresidentThe Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has declared a state of emergency in the judiciary over the midnight arrest of some judges by the Department of State Services (DSS).

The association is also asking the DSS to immediately release the judges without conditions.

It says the arrests are disturbing and unconstitutional, describing it a situation that had never been witnessed.

The DSS had earlier said that the judges were arrested for alleged corruption cases, with a summary of monies recovered from the judges.

The President of the NBA, Mr Abubakar Mahmoud, at a briefing in Lagos, warned the Federal Government of “grave consequences” should the demands not be met.

Mr Mahmoud said two Supreme Court justices, Inyang Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta, were “abducted” with their families.

Not Under Military Rule

He said: “I want to, on behalf of the Bar Association, make the very following clear and unequivocal demands.

“We demand the immediate, unconditional release of all the judges abducted from about 9:00pm yesterday (Friday).

“The release must be done immediately and without any conditions.

“We demand that the Department of State Services (DSS) should limit itself to its statutory and constitutional responsibilities.

“It is not the responsibility of the DSS to perform duties meant for police officers and other agencies of the state.

“I want to emphasise again that we are not under military rule and we cannot accept this ‘unholy events’ and this ‘gestapo style of operations’.

“We therefore call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately call all the state security agencies to order and to respect the rule of law and due process.

“Any issue affecting the judicial officers, there are established processes and to edited for handling them and we demand that these constitutional processes must be obeyed”.

“Given the unfolding nature of the events and the seriousness of the situation, the NBA hereby declares a state of emergency as it affects the affairs of the judiciary”.

Attempt To Intimidate

Mr Mahmoud further stressed that the NBA considered the arrests as unconstitutional, as it was a very blatant attempt to intimidate the judiciary, undermined the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession.

“It is unacceptable to the legal profession and I will meet with the Chief Justice of the Nigeria tonight or tomorrow,” he stated.

The association also set up a Crisis Management Team comprising the association’s past presidents and general secretaries to investigate the situation.

At the briefing were former NBA presidents Mr Wole Olanipekun, Olisa Agbakoba, Joseph Daudu, Augustine Alegeh, bar leaders, Yusuf Ali, Kemi Pinheiro, Koyinsola Ajayi, former NBA General Secretary, Dele Adesina and current NBA second Vice President, Onyekachi Ubani among others.

Court Orders Bank To Appoint Accountant In Case Of AMCON Vs. Jimoh Ibrahim

AMCON, Asset Management, Jimoh Ibrahim, Union BankA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered Union Bank of Nigeria to nominate a chartered accountant within seven days for the purpose of carrying out a forensic audit of statement of accounts on the alleged 50 billion Naira loan allegedly granted to businessman, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim by the bank.

The accountant will work with two other accounting firms nominated by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and Mr Jimoh Ibrahim.

At the resumed hearing of the suit on Monday, lawyer to AMCON, Yusuf Ali (SAN), informed the court that AMCON has already nominated KPMG.

Counsel to the defendants, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN) also stated that in compliance with the directive of the court, the defendants appointed the accounting firm of Adewale Folowosele & Associates.

The court has also ordered that the joint forensic audit is to be conducted by the three chartered accountant firms within a month at the Union Bank headquarters.

The matter has been adjourned till September 28 for a report of progress or settlement.

Justice Abdulazeez Anka had on July 11 discharged an interim order granted to AMCON to take over some assets belonging to Mr Jimoh Ibrahim.

This was after the business man had submitted that the exparte order was obtained via suppression and misrepresentation of material facts by the plaintiff (AMCON) and the order was obtained in bad faith against persons who are not parties to the suit.

The applicants had in a 24-paragraph affidavit in support of their application, deposed to by one Gbenga Onilude, a litigation officer, stated that none of the properties attached in the exparte order belong to any of the defendants; NICON Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited and Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim.

Alleged Debt: Court Discharges Order Freezing NICON, Global Fleet Accounts

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Mr Jimoh Ibrahim

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has discharged an interim order granted to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON to take over some assets belonging to businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim, over an alleged indebtedness.

Justice Abdulazeez Anka set aside the exparte order following an application by the lawyer to AMCON, Yusuf Ali, that parties have decided to explore amicable settlement of the dispute.

A sister court, presided over by Justice Saliu Saidu, had on June 14, 2016, granted to AMCON an interim injunction against NICON Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim.

But, NICON Insurance Limited, Nigeria Re-Insurance Hotels Limited, Abuja International Hotels Limited and NICON Hotels Limited had in a Motion on Notice, filed by their lawyers led by Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN) and Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) asked the court to set aside and discharge the exparte order on the grounds that AMCON deliberately failed to make full disclosure of all material facts before the court.

At the resumed hearing of the applications to discharge the exparte order today, AMCON’s lawyer told the court that since the provision of the Federal High Court rules encourages amicable settlement of dispute, parties have decided to meet and report back to court within two weeks.

“In the spirit of good faith to show that we are doing this to promote equity and justice we agree that the exparte order should be suspended so that parties can explore the issue of settlement.

“We have an agreement that each of the parties will nominate one chartered accountant each that will carry out forensic audit of the account.

“Since, Union bank is the principal bank that gave out the loan, the accountants will meet at Union Banks headquarters and they are to report back within two weeks,” Yusuf Ali said.

Confirming the agreement, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim’s lawyers also urged the court to set aside the exparte order so as to give parties unfettered access to meet and report back to the court.

“We have appointed Adewale Folowosele & Associates and await that of AMCON and Union bank respectively. Consequently, I apply that the exparte order of June 14, 2016 should be discharged and parties will return back to court within two weeks,” Niyi Akintola (SAN) told the court.

In a short ruling, Justice Anka discharged the order and adjourned the matter till August 1, 2016.

Before this ruling, lawyers to Jimoh Ibrahim in their applications had told the court that the properties attached by the interim order belongs to certain persons who were not parties to the suit filed by AMCON thereby making it illegal, unlawful and contrary to the provisions of Section 28 of the NICON Insurance Corporation of Nigeria Act, Cap N54 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

‘’We also submit that the only condition under which the hounourable court can entertain the application of a person who is not a party to the suit is when the party has first sought for and obtained the leave of the court before bringing the action,” Ayorinde (SAN) argued.

The applicants had in a 24-pragraph affidavit in support of the Motion on Notice deposed to by one Gbenga Onilude, stated that none of the properties attached in the exparte order belong to any of the defendants; NICON Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited and Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim.

According to the deponent, the exparte order was obtained via suppression and misrepresentation of material facts by the plaintiff (AMCON) and it was obtained in bad faith against persons who are not parties to the suit.

Shiite Members Shun Judicial Commission Of Inquiry’s Sitting

kaduna-ShiiteMembers of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria on Monday shunned the inaugural sitting of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the December 12, 2015, violent clash between the group and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State.

At the commencement of the public sitting at the General Hassan Usman Katsina House in the State capital, venue of the public hearing, as early as 9 O’clock in the morning and waited for about an hour without seeing members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria. They did not send any representative or apology.

Members of the commission arrived at the General Hassan Usman Katsina House, venue of the public hearing as early as 9 O’clock in the morning and waited for about an hour without seeing members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria or their lawyers.

Their absence may be unconnected with their demand for the release of their leader, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and over 700 of their members, who were taken into custody by security operatives days after the incident.

But the Nigerian Army was represented at the sitting by the General Officer Commanding One division, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade.

The absence of the Shiite members compelled the commission to adjourn till Wednesday, February 4 in expectation that counsel to the commission, Yusuf Ali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, would ascertain the whereabouts of Sheik El-Zakzaky and report back to the commission by the next sitting.

Some lawyers representing various interests at the panel asked the commission to ensure that all parties involved in the matter were adequately represented in order to give each of them a fair hearing, but the commission’s chairman, Justice Mohammed Garba, insisted that they had notified all parties involved about the sitting and therefore, does not have the powers to give an open invitation to any individual or group.

The commission’s chairman also announced that a total of 105 memoranda had been received from members of the public.

He reassured the sitting that the commission would conduct an unbiased investigation and recommend necessary action that would be fair to all parties involved.

Mr Garba also asked the Nigerian Army to ensure it was represented during all the sittings of the commission.

The commission, which has 13 terms of reference, will inquire into the immediate and remote causes of the clashes, and thereafter make recommendations to the state government.

Jonathan receives Ribadu’s report amidst controversy as committee members flaw the report

President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that anyone accused of corruption in the report submitted by the Special Task Force on the petroleum sector will be handed over to the Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.

President Jonathan, Minister of Petroleum Deziani Allison-Maduake, Mr. Dotun Suleiman, Chairman, Special Task Forces on Governance and Control; Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Chairman Petroleum Revenue Special Tsks Force and Alternate Chairman, Refineries Special Task Force, Alhaji Yusuf Alli during the presentation of reports of the Petroleum Special Tasks Forces at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

But the presentation of the report was marred by controversy as some members of the committee urged the President to reject the report, claiming it is flawed.

The Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, headed by former EFCC chairman, Mr Nuhu Ribadu submitted its report to the president condemning the use of what he called “traders in the sale of oil, oil theft and corruption” and he was yet to conclude his presentation when a member of his committee interrupted his presentation and asked the president to reject the report .

A member of the committee and former Head of Service, Mr Steve Oransanye described the report, which was earlier in the week leaked to the media, as flawed and he urged the president to reject the report.

Other members of the Ribadu led Petroleum Revenue Task Force that joined the controversy were Mr Benard Oti and Ismaila Zubeiru.

The claim was however immediately opposed by Mr Ribadu, affirming that the report he submitted cannot be faulted by anyone and that he stands by the truth at all times.

The president nonetheless received the report with a promise to take a critical look at the document and maintained that the disagreement amongst members of the committee would not deter him from doing the right thing.

The President told them not to quarrel about it, adding that “no one found guilty will be spared.”

The Ribadu committee was among three other committees set up following the week long nationwide strike and protest against the removal of fuel subsidy in January.

Other committees that presented their reports, during the presentation that lasted two hours, were the committees on Governance and Control Task Force and National Refineries Task Force.

The chairman of National Refineries Task Force, Yusuf Ali in his presentation decried the current state of the nation’s refineries and urged the federal government to build three new refineries as soon as possible.

The president however promised that he will do all in his powers to ensure that the submitted reports are fully implemented.