Agenda for next CBN chief Emefiele

The exit of Central Bank (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to analysts, means more work for the incoming CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele. They say he should consolidate on his predecessor’s policies, writes COLLINS NWEZE

Six days before his suspension as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi inaugurated the $50 million Biometric Solution project. It is aimed at providing a central database for the country’s bank customers.

The innovation means Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point of Sale (PoS) machines will be biometric-based. This means the project will help fix identity challenges facing the banking system. The project will be driven by satellite technology being worked on by the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NICOMSAT) and MainOne .

The CBN governor-designate, Godwin Emefiele, who is also Chairman, Bankers’ Committee Sub-Committee on Biometrics, believes the project is ambitious and will revolutionalise banking.

Analysts say it is good Sanusi and Emefiele, who is the Group Managing Director, Zenith Bank, are on the same page as far as this project is concerned. They also believe their thinking should be the same on other reforms carried out by Sanusi.

A Currencies Analyst at the Ecobank Nigeria, Olakunle Ezun, said the incoming governor must consolidate on the successes recorded by his predecessor in both the payment system and banking reforms.

He said: “ The foreign investors will look out for some qualities in the new Governor, especially independence of the CBN.”

Mortgage Refinance Company

Emefiele is also expected to sustain Sanusi’s drive for cheap and affordable housing for the population. He had during his tenure, instituted the operating guidelines for the MRC. About N25 trillion is needed to fix Nigeria’s housing deficit in the country. A report on the mortgage industry titled: ‘Retrogressive view on the Mortgage Refinance Company (MRC)’ said Nigeria has an estimated 18 million housing deficits, which grows by two million units annually.

Already, some banks are promoting serious investment in the mortgage industry. An expert in the property market described the real estate market as investors’ haven as the industry holds great potentials for operators. Speaking on “Growing a diversified group of businesses” at an SME Forum, organised by Fidelity Bank, Chairman/CEO, Genesis Group of Companies, Ichie Nnaeto Orazulike said investors could make quick returns on their investments in the property business.

Agric credit/NIRSAL

The Federal Government’s plans to double agriculture’s share of banks’ credit to 10 per cent in two years also means that the new CBN boss will need to consolidate on the successes recorded by his predecessor.

Sanusi moved loans to agriculture as a share of total credit rose N320 billion, or five per cent, at the end of last year from less than one per cent in 2011.

Agriculture Minister Akinwunmi Adesina said the Federal Government has made a fundamental shift that agriculture is not a developmental activity, but a business. “The CBN has shifted the mind-set of the banks. It’s a new agriculture sector in which they can actually invest money and make money,” Adesina said. He said the Agriculture Ministry is partnering with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), a unit of the CBN, to provide credit guarantees to enable banks lend to farmers.

CRR: Hard times ahead

Equities Analyst at Renaissance Capital (RenCap) Adesoji Solanke said the bigger banks, also called tier-one banks, will this year face some daunting challenges, chief of which are the impacts of higher Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and cuts in commission-on-turnover (CoT). The tier-one banks include FirstBank of Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa and Access Bank.

The analyst, in a report titled: “Nigerian banks: Tier one – growth precariously balanced”, said with an average CRR of 20 per cent, the banking environment does not allow for significant earnings growth, a trend that would be felt by the banks.

Solanke advised that the lenders must be disciplined on the cost line and properly manage their impairment charges before they could deliver earnings growth.

“We think there is a precarious balance between these headwinds and a number of tailwinds, and think it remains challenging for banks to deliver attractive earnings growth; the risk of another year of flat-to-negative earnings growth cannot be ruled out,” he said.

He said strong loan growth is expected from the banks this year, as well as further upward adjustments to lending rates, as banks try to offset the lost income from the higher CRR.

Naira Vs Reserves

The Bankers Committee rose at its 315th meeting in Lagos and agreed that a robust defence of the naira and the foreign reserves should top the economic policy. Both the naira and reserves have been battered in recent months and it is expected that Emefiele focuses on getting them back on track. The naira exchanges at N155.75 to the dollar . Foreign reserves stand at $41.17 billion.

The Group CEO of First Bank, Mr. Bisi Onasanya, who spoke to reporters after the meeting, said rising capital outflow and dwindling oil revenue are taking a toll on the naira and the reserves. This trend, he said, must be reversed.

He said Quantitative Easing taking place in most advanced economies have raised incentives of investing in those countries, stalling capital inflows into emerging markets like Nigeria. He said this is adversely affecting the naira and the reserves.

Among the measures being taken, according to Onasanya, is the raise in CRR. He said the target of the CRR hike was to address the exchange rate problem and to defend the naira. The Committee also agreed that the CBN needed to take proactive measures that would lead to improved deposit into the foreign exchange reserves. ‘Given the dwindling revenues from oil and the impact on foreign reserves, it became apparent that the options open to the CBN and the MPC were reduced and that was why they further agreed to increase CRR to75 per cent. These were measures taken in order to ensure that we continue to address the exchange rate problem in Nigeria,’ he said.

Continuing, he said: ‘There is no country that will just allow its exchange rate to be left and not managed. The mere fact that those actions have been taken also indicates the fact that the central bank is willing to do everything within its power to ensure that the currency is not devalued. We have seen statistics from the CBN in terms of the continual reduction in the balance of foreign exchange reserves and when you are confronted with that, the only option is to continue to tighten until you see the reverse”.

Onasanya added: ‘The CBN has also made it very clear that there is a limit to which it can continue to defend the naira. But when you have depletion in external reserves and external factors, it simply means you can’t control the outflow from the country. So it is not unlikely that you will see some portfolio investors moving their funds out of Nigeria into where they consider being more attractive,” he said.

With the above picture in mind, analysts see likelihood of further CRR tightening.

A sub-Saharan Africa economist at RenCap, Yvonne Mhango said the Acting Governor Alade will remain committed to price stability. “Given that she is in essence a caretaker governor until June, we do not expect her to make any major policy moves at the next monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting on 24 to 25 March. We think the MPC will hike the policy rate by at least one percentage point and the public sector cash reserve requirement (CRR) to 100 per cent, which the banks expect,” she said in an emailed report titled: ‘Sanusi exits, Emefiele is nominated’ obtained by The Nation.

She said such step would help stabilise the market, assuming the exchange rate target band adjustment met the market’s expectation and estimated that leadership change at the CBN will take the foreign exchange reserves down to $35 billion by year-end.

Naira Devaluation

Mhango said should Alade fail to devalue the naira before June, Emefiele may be compelled to devalue the mid-point of the exchange rate band to N170 to dollar at his first MPC meeting in July.

“We estimate this will lead to inflation of around 11 to 12 per cent at year-end, which implies rate hikes to help preserve real rates of at least five per cent that make the carry trade attractive. Higher inflation is likely to be negative for consumers, but we expect the effect of this on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to be mitigated by the positive impact of higher liquidity on the back of an increase in election-related government spending,” she said.

The analyst insisted that devaluation is negative for the consumer stocks as it implies higher inflation, which companies will find hard to pass on to consumers.

She described Emefiele as a very conservative banker.” Under his stewardship, Zenith Bank has established itself as a leading, well-capitalised and stable bank with a high portion of assets sitting in T-bills and bonds. We believe he is likely to maintain a firm policy environment and would be inclined to tighten policy in the current environment of naira weakness,” she said.

Cash-less policy

That the Sanusi era witnessed the most outstanding improvement in the transaformation of the payment system is not in doubt. The CBN under his watch had on January 2012, started the cash-less Lagos Initiative.

The policy is aimed at reducing the dominance of cash in the system. It specifies penal charges for individuals and corporate organisations that want to withdraw or lodge cash above prescribed limits. Under the policy, the CBN pegged the daily cumulative cash withdrawal or deposit limit for individual accounts at N500, 000 per day and N3 million per day for corporate accounts.

At the initial stage of the policy, there were less than 10,000 Points of Sale (PoS) in Lagos, but there are over 150,000 PoS machines in the state alone. CBN Head Shared Services, Chidi Umeano said the policy, which currently running six states plus Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja will be implemented nationwide come July 1, this year.

He said: “A decision was reached today that the cashless initiative would now be deployed nationwide. As you are all aware, the pilot phase was done in Lagos about two years ago and last year we implemented in six other states namely Abia, Anambra, Ogun, Kano, Rivers and Federal Capital Territory,”.

Continuing, he said from the success recorded in those states, the CBN decided to move to other states in the country.

“By July 1, we are going live in all the states of the federation. As you well know, this is a critical part of the payment system modernisation and the success registered so far has been very impressive,” he said.

Finance Houses reforms

Operators believe Emefiele should speed up the ongoing reforms in the Finance Houses subsector. Finance Houses operators earlier rejected N200 million minimum capital base being proposed by the CBN for the subsector.

An insider in the Finance Houses Association of Nigeria (FHAN) who spoke anonymously said the operators are bent on getting the minimum capital base raised to N100 million instead of the N200 million. The source said the subsector expects the incoming CBN boss to conclude the ongoing reforms to allow investors pump money into the sector to revatilise it. The source said both local and foreign investors are willing to recapitalise and invest in some of the ailing finance houses but have to await the CBN to specify the guideline. The reform is expected to look at regulatory framework that will govern finance lease practice; institutionalise a funding pool to stimulate lending activities; structured programme to address the reputation and poor visibility challenges of the sub-sector among other issues.

Bank Directors’ voice

Some of these policies have been out rightly opposed by banks and stakeholders. The Bank Directors of Nigeria (BDAN) strongly feels Emefiele should not continue with the CRR tightening policy. It expressed concern at the decision of the CBN to raise the CRR on public sector deposit from 50 to 75 per cent. The CRR is a portion of banks’ deposits kept with the CBN.

BDAN President, O’lorogun Sunny Kuku said the group observed that raising the ratio by 25 per cent within six months after it was jerked from 12 to 50 per cent would adversely affect the banking sub-sector and the economy. He said the increase would weaken the ability of banks to lend to economic agents and slow down the improved growth rate the country has enjoyed in the past few years.

The BDAN boss noted that as the economy slows down, the poverty rate and incidents of social upheavals, which have constituted serious hindrance to national development, worsen.

“Since banks do not have much liquidity to lend, they will increase interest rates. Two consequences could naturally evolve from this. The first possibility is that many people will shun bank loans because they cannot afford it, while those who bear the excessive cost of funds will pass it to consumers of their products and services. These will reduce the productive capacity of the economy in favour of short term high margin trading, which is not in the interest of the country,” it he said.

The BDAN also lamented that the policy will reduce returns on capital investment in banks adding that the weak lending would translate to lower incomes, noting that some banks could consider staff downsizing to mitigate the impacts. “Unfortunately, the squeezing comes when the economy is crying for interventionist programmes that could make funds available for the real sector. With the mop up, the already credit-dried economy faces harsher funding environment,” he said.

But former Executive Director, Keystone Bank Richard Obire said the new CBN boss needed to take steps that ensure that lenders are not exposed to cheap public sector funds. He said there is no need allowing banks to source cheap funds from government, only to turn round and lend same funds to government at exorbitant rates. “I am in support of the CBN policy on CRR. I want the new CBN boss to continue in that direction,” he said in an interview at the weekend.

Assurances from govt

The Acting CBN Governor, Dr. Sarah Alade, assured stakeholders that the recent changes in the bank’s leadership will not affect monetary policies. Alade assured that the bank would continue to intervene in the interbank foreign exchange market to ensure stability of exchange rate of naira and preserve the value of the domestic currency.

“I wish to use this opportunity to reassure all our stakeholders, including the international community, that the recent changes at the CBN will not in any way affect the country’s monetary policy direction. It will not also affect the pursuit of the bank’s primary mandate of maintaining price and financial system stability,’’ she told reporters in Abuja, at the weekend.

Alade said the Nigerian economy had remained strong, sound and resilient over time, adding that available statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that inflation rate was eight per cent in January.

Also, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, assured that the Federal Government would remain resolute in the management of the nation’s economy in spite of Sanusi’s suspension.

She said the pursuit of macro-economic stability, which has become the hallmark of the Goodluck Jonathan administration would continue. She expressed optimism that the tight monetary policy at the CBN would be sustained.

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AGF: Oil mining licence transferable

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), has said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) can transfer its interest in Oil Mining Leases to its subsidiary.

He also said a holder of an Oil Mining Lease (OML) or Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) can assign its interest, provided the consent of the Minister of Petroleum Resources is obtained.

He said when Total, Agip and Shell decided to sell off their entire 45 per cent participating interests in some OMLs in the Shell/NNPC JV arrangement (with Shell as the operator of the OMLs) to some indigenous oil companies, NNPC exercised its right to become an operator in the OMLs.

Adoke has written the Minister of Petroleum Resources to determine whether due process was followed by NNPC/ NPDC in engaging the Strategic Partners

Adoke made the clarifications in a letter to the Senate Committee on Finance probing the alleged unremitted $49.8billion oil revenue and status of $6billion paid to NPDC by NNPC instead of the Federation Account.

The minister’s report is against the backdrop of issues surrounding the engagement of some indigenous oil firms (as Strategic Partners) in OMLs 30, 34, 26, and 42.

The strategic partners were engaged following the disposal of 45 per cent participating interests in the affected OMLs by Total, Agip and Shell

The letter reads: “I am of the considered view that the NNPC can legitimately transfer its participating interest in the Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) to its wholly owned subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) as no law, to the best of my knowledge and information, precludes such a transfer.

“It is instructive to note that by virtue of paragraphs 14-16 of the First Schedule to the Petroleum Act, CAP. P.10 LFN 2004(NNPC Act) and Regulation 4 of the Petroleum (Drilling and Productions) Regulations 1969 as amended, a holder of an Oil Mining Lease(OML) or Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) can assign its interest, provided the consent of the Minister of Petroleum Resources is obtained.

“Furthermore, Section 6(1) (c) of the NNPC Act empowers the NNPC to establish and maintain subsidiaries for the discharge of its functions. The NPDC was thus incorporated as a limited liability upstream subsidiary company of NNPC to carry out its upstream operations as envisaged by the law.

It is pertinent to note that the transfer of the participating interests in the OMLS in question, relates to a joint venture arrangement between NNPC on the one hand and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited(Agip) and Total E& P(Nigeria) Limited(formerly Elf Petroleum (Nigeria) Limited), Total on the other.

“This relationship is governed by a Joint Operating Agreement (Shell/NNPC JOA) and Article 19.2 of the Shell/ NNPC JOA empowers any party to the agreement to transfer all or part of the participating to its affiliate at any time, upon notice to other parties and subject to any necessary government consent. I have been made to understand that all the requisite consents were obtained.

“It is apposite to note that in all the JV agreements, the NNPC has been a non-operator. However, Article 2.6.1 of the JOA provides that in the event that the operator resigns, a successor operator shall be appointed among the non-operators except they agree to appoint a third party as the operator.

“It further provides that in the event that one of the non-operators is to become the successor operator, it shall be entitled to nominate one of its affiliates as the operator.

“I have been made to understand that at different times between 2010 and 2011, when Total, Agip and Shell decided to sell off their entire 45 per cent participating interests in some OMLs in the Shell/NNPC JV arrangement (with Shell as the operator of the OMLs) to some indigenous oil companies, NNPC exercised its right to become an operator in the OMLs.

“Since NNPC was the only remaining non-operator and pursuant to the provision of Article 2.6.1 of the JOA, it transferred the operatorship of the OMLs to NPDC, its upstream petroleum subsidiary company. It follows therefore that the transfer was within NNPC’s authority.

On whether due process was followed by NPDC in engaging Strategic Partners, the AGF said: “This issue relates to the factual circumstances and internal workings of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), NNPC and NPDC.

“To enable me respond to the issue in question, I have written to the Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources to request for relevant information. I am yet to be availed the relevant information and therefore plead with the committee to suspend consideration of this issue pending when the information is received.”

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‘Military option can’t win Boko Haram insurgency’

Military approach cannot curb Boko Haram attacks, the Editor-in-Chief of Turkish Review, Mr Kerim Balci, has said.

He urged the Federal Government to stop the use of violence to curtail the escalating violence, adding that the military option would only breed more terrorists.

Balci spoke at an interactive session with reporters in Lagos. In his presentation titled , “Current Developments in Turkey and Middle East: Implication for Sub-Saharan Africa,” at the weekend, he explained how Turkish government reduced terrorism to a bearable minimum, adding that the military option has never helped to reduce terrorism but rather helpedto fuel insurgence.

“I don’t know what can be done to stop Boko Haram, but I know what must not be done. Military forces cannot win insurgencies. I will advise the government of Nigeria not to go to Boko Haram with violence. Violence has never solved any insurgency or terrorism. The military option will not end terrorism in Nigeria. You kill one terrorist; there will be two others more. Fighting terrorism needs holistic approach. No study has clearly linked poverty with terrorism or unemployment with terrorism,” Balci said.

Drawing from his deep understanding of peace and security issues in the Middle East and what all this portends for Sub-Saharan Africa, the editor-in-chief, who works with one of the most successful print media in Turkey, revealed that if the violence approach continues, sponsors and leadership of terrorist organisations would continue to provide leaning to new recruits on the basis of selective teaching of the Quran.

He said while the killings and executions of terrorists continue, terrorists would continue to portray the world and countries as nations of infidels who do not deserve to live and anyone who kills them will have a good reward from God.

Balci said: “In the Nigerian case, they can say because you are not ruling with laws of Islam, so kill anyone who has subjected himself to the laws. They promote this ignorance about Quran to the uneducated, the unemployed and the poor people. The reading of the Holy Quran is selective among them. They only read two verses. One, kill the infidels where you find them, even if it’s in Khaba. Secondly, they say whoever rules with laws other than the laws of God are infidels.

“So, for the fact that Nigerian government is not ruling with their laws, the country is believed to be country of the infidels, hence, the continued resurgence.”

Balci advised the government to invest in education in insurgency-prone areas in order to their recruits who do not have education, and who are not employed.

“I’m not saying education will totally solve the whole problem but it will prevent the terrorists from getting more people to recruit from the streets,” he affirmed. The erudite journalist noted further that though he understands that the Federal Government is investing in education in the North but he condemned the part-time education schedule being adopted.

According to him, when people are on part-time education, especially the Islamic school mode, they would have more free time on streets where terrorists can easily recruit them.

“The part-time schooling option cannot help. In a situation where people go to school in the morning and close early, they will have more time roaming the streets where terrorists can recruit them. However, in addition to having part-time, government can also include vocational training after school to keep people busy, to make them see life from another dimension. These are things that helped Turkey reduce terrorism” he said.

Balci also advised the government to engage civil society groups to speak up on terrorism issues in the Middle East and join the global debate at international summits, form relationship with countries where terrorists get sponsors and forget the propositions that Nigeria’s heterogeneous culture is the reason why there is terrorism. According to him, the country’s multi-ethnic diversity should be the country’s source of strength, urging the government to change a violence tactic approach to fight Boko Haram.

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Boko Haram: Shake-up of military commands, troops looms in Borno

To end Boko Haram insurgency, and ethnic killings, North’s governors yesterday advised the Federal Government to implement their recommendations.

The governors under the aegis of Northern Governors Forum, were livid over the continuous killings in Plateau State.

On Saturday, 29 people were killed in Barkin Ladi local government area of the state by suspected herdsmen.

A major shake up of troops is expected in the military this week in a new approach to the Boko Haram battle.

North’s Governors’ Forum, Niger State Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu said:

“We (Northern Governors) agreed in our last meeting in Kaduna to deal decisively with the fast growing security challenges being posed by the activities of cattle rearers, we call on the Federal Government to consider a national policy to settle nomads and provide adequate grazing reserves and cattle routes.”

It added: boost the morale of the military to enable them effectively fight the insurgents and other threats to security in the region, “adequate funds should be provided to Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states afflicted with the problem of insurgency in order to address attendant issues.”

Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima was yesterday in Bama where the insurgents killed people last Monday to commiserate wit the bereaved families.

The Governor announced a donation of N250,000 to each of the families that lost loved ones.

There were strong indications yesterday that the Service Chiefs have decided to reorganise military commands and redeploy a few troops in Borno State.

The shake-up may involve the swapping of General Officers Commanding (GOCs), officers and reposting of senior officers to the state.

Also, the military high command has opted to freeze movement in all borders between Nigeria and the Republic of Cameroon.

It was gathered that it was learnt that some members of Boko Haram, who were involved in Bama invasion last week, had been arrested and undergoing interrogation.

It was gathered that the overhauling of the military structures in Borno State was one of the conclusions arrived at by Service Chiefs after on-the-spot assessment of the situation on Wednesday and Thursday.

It was gathered that the preliminary investigation by the Service Chiefs confirmed the need to “invigorate the military mission in Borno.”

A source said: “You should expect a shake-up of the military mission in Borno State; we are going to bring in fresh hands to realize our operation total war against the insurgents.

“By the assessment of the Service Chiefs, there are some people who can do better in Borno; they will be redeployed to the place. It was obvious to the Service Chiefs to invigorate the mission in Borno State.

“The reorganisation will involve swapping of positions by GOCs and top military officers. The commanders might be mostly affected with a few adjustments of troops too.

“The shake-up will be announced early in the week because the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has insisted on measurable results.”

Another source said: “Yes, some suicide bombers were involved in Bama raid but they died. Some of them tried to blow up military tanks but they failed.

“They succeeded in incapacitating some tanks but they have been fixed and the tanks have resumed normal operations.”

The source added: “We were able to arrest some operatives of Boko Haram but not anyone that can be placed as very, very prominent.

“But many vehicles in the convoy of the insurgents were destroyed during air raid. It is difficult to ascertain casualty figures on the part of the insurgents because they were always do everything to evacuate their bodies.

“As I am talking to you, the patrols are on in Bama; we are still cordoning the environment.”

A military source said: “We have chosen to restrain movement. I can actually say that we have frozen movement in all the borders between the two countries because the insurgents used to take advantage of such to enter Nigeria.

“There is no clear cut border demarcation per se but we have enlarged the scope of patrols and we have frozen movement in spite of the fact that it will affect commerce and trade.

“The latest joint patrols also involve officers and men of the Nigerian Customs Service and Nigerian Immigration Service.”

Contacted, the spokesman for the Defence Headquarters, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, confirmed tight security along Nigeria-Cameroon border.

He said: “The security action in the area will be progressive to fortify the protection of our territory and forbid any threat to our territorial integrity.”

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Court dismisses N7b suit against Mobil

A Federal High Court in Rivers State has struck out a N7billion suit filed against Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN) by Alabo Tolofari and others.

The claimants sued the firm, seeking compensation for pipeline leakages and spills from Mobil’s oil pipelines, which allegedly polluted and devastated the plaintiffs’ land.

But in a preliminary objection by Mobil’s counsel, Dr. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), the firm prayed the court to strike out the suit for incompetence.

Ajogwu argued that the plaintiffs’ action was not in compliance with the provisions of the Rules of Court and that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Justice Lambo Akanbi agreed with Mobil’s arguments and struck out the suit for incompetence and lack of jurisdiction.

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Falana seeks review of LASU fees

Lagos lawyer Femi Falana yesterday asked Governor Babatunde Fashola to review the tuition fees of the Lagos State University, saying majority of the students are from poor homes.

In a statement, Falana said: “On January 23, 2014, the generality of the students of the Lagos State University embarked on public rallies to protest the skyrocketing tuition fees and the inability to access the registration portal for the second semester examination. Owing to the violence that accompanied the protests the university was shut down sine die.

“However, the LASU management and the Lagos State government have directed that the university be re-opened on Monday, February 24, 2014 for the resumption of normal academic activities. Unlike the past when students were compelled to pay reparation for damaged property the Visitor to the University, Governor Babatunde Fashola SAN has approved the sum of N51 million for the repairs of the public property and facilities damaged during the crisis.

“While the Governor’s gesture is commendable the Lagos State government ought to review the hike in tuition fees paid by the undergraduates having regard to the fact that the majority of them are from poor homes whose parents and guardians have been economically disabled by the kalokalo economic system operated by the ruling class in Nigeria.

“A situation whereby civil servants in the employment of the Lagos state government cannot sponsor their children and wards from their hard earned salaries calls for a downward review of the tuition fees charged by the LASU. More so, that the fees expected to be paid by the students are insufficient for the running of the university which is substantially funded by the government. Apart from feeding themselves the students are made to pay exorbitant rents by landlords since the university has no accommodation for them.

“In view of Article 17 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 which provides that “every individual shall have the right to education” we call on the Lagos State government to ensure that the education of the students of LASU is not truncated on account of indigency.

“Therefore, the demand for the review of the tuition fees cannot be faulted in the light of the phenomenal increase in the internally generated revenue by the Lagos state Government”.

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ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda suffers serious jolt in Kenyan Prosecutions

Vice President RutoKenya: Nearly a half of the witnesses the prosecution lined up in the two Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court have withdrawn, puncturing Ms Fatou Bensouda’s case.

The ICC prosecutor had lined up 77 prosecution witnesses to testify against President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and Kass FM journalist Joshua Arap Sang. But of these, at least 30 have so far left the cases, according to an analysis by The Standard of official ICC records and reports about individuals who have sworn affidavits withdrawing as witnesses.

 

On January 9, last year, Ms Bensouda had told trial judges the prosecution intended to call 43 witnesses in the Ruto-Sang trial. In Uhuru’s trial, the prosecution had hoped to call 34 witnesses— 31 testifying on the facts of the post-election violence and three expert witnesses. 

The exodus has jolted the prosecution’s cases because among those who have withdrawn are what prosecution labels “insider witnesses” because their testimonies directly implicated the accused. 

Among those remaining are expert witnesses whose testimony is largely academic. Documents filed by the prosecutor show at least 10 witnesses, including those the prosecution says are at the heart of the case against the President, will no longer testify. 

Prosecutors have since admitted the case against President Kenyatta is on the brink of collapsing, with the stones left unturned having become pebbles, after testimony by three witnesses on an alleged State House meeting, which was instrumental in confirming the charges, was found to be false. 

 Prosecutors admitted witnesses 4 and 12 gave false evidence about the alleged December 30, 2007 meeting at State House, Nairobi where retaliatory attacks on opposition supporters were allegedly planned.  “P-0012 recently admitted that he provided false evidence regarding the event at the heart of the prosecution’s case against the accused,” Bensouda told the court. “P-0012’s account lay at the heart of the prosecution’s evidence, providing a critical link between the accused and the crimes in Nakuru and Naivasha.” 

Witness Number 4 was a Mungiki insider who lied he attended the State House meeting and the revelation prompted Bensouda to withdraw the charges against Uhuru’s co-accused, former Civil Service chief Francis Muthaura.

Source: Standard Digital News

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Reports of attack on home of Ansar Al-Sharia leader in Derna denied

Tripoli, 23 February 2014:

Local residents in Derna have denied reports of an RPG attack on the home of former Guantanamo Bay detainee and alleged leader of Ansar Al-Sharia Sufian Bin Qumu.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a local source told the Libya Herald that, while there had been sporadic fighting last night near the western entrance to Derna where Bin Qumu lives, there had been no direct attack on his home.

He added that there had been no reported casualties in the fighting.

Derna-born Bin Qumu was held in Guantanamo Bay for six years. In his secret Guantanamo file, which surfaced via Wikileaks in 2011, Bin Qumu was assessed as: “A former member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a probable member of Al-Qaida, and a member of the North African Extremist Network (NAEN).” The report also stated that the Libyan Government itself considered him to be a “dangerous man with no qualms about committing terrorist acts.”

Bin Qumu was released from Guantanamo in 2007, on condition that he continued to be detained by the Libyan authorities. In 2010, however, he was released from Abu Salim prison as part of an amnesty for anti-regime prisoners. During the revolution he was a prominent figure within Ansar Al-Sharia in Derna.

More from Libya Herald..

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  • RPG attack on Tunisian Consulate in BenghaziRPG attack on Tunisian Consulate in Benghazi By Noora Ibrahim. Benghazi, 22 February 2014: Unknown assailants fired an RPG at the Tunisian Consulate in Benghazi this evening causing some limited, superficial damage to its outer wall. …
  • Assassination bid against Derna Ansar Al-Sharia leader Assassination bid against Derna Ansar Al-Sharia leader Tripoli, 14 April 2013: Former Guantanamo inmate Sufian Ben Qumu, labeled by media in the US as a suspect in the killing in Benghazi last September of American Ambassador Chris Stevens, escaped …
  • Cleaners commended for honourable behaviourCleaners commended for honourable behaviour Tripoli, 10 July 2013: The Ministry of Local Government and the local council of Zliten, have honoured three garbage collectors for handing over a bag of gold and silver, which they found in…
  • Navy “shows” how it warned off suspect supertankerNavy “shows” how it warned off suspect supertanker By Libya Herald reporters. Tripoli, 23 August 2013: Dramatic footage has emerged of a 20-metre Libyan navy patrol boat apparently forcing a 340-metre supertanker to change course away fro…

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Australian TV star commits suicide after receiving abuse on Twitter

Australian TV star and former model Charlotte Dawson killed herself after receiving abuse from vicious trolls on Twitter just hours before she died. (left is the last pic of her which she posted on her Instagram page on Friday, a day before she killed herself)

Famed for TV shows such as ‘Australia’s Next Top Model, the New Zealand-born star, 47, had a history of depression.

She was found dead in her Sydney apartment yesterday morning February 22nd. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances. She had taken prescription tablets with wine and tweeted: ‘you win’ in a suicide note to her cyber tormentors. Continue…


                                     Charlotte pictured looking happy on Thursday, two days before she killed herself

In 2012, she was admitted to a Sydney hospital after a suicide attempt following an ongoing tirade of abuse on Twitter.
 She later made fighting bullying her personal mission, waging an anti-bullying media campaign on television and radio and in newspapers and magazines as well as her beloved Twitter.

Her efforts and high public profile on the issue were recognised by the National Rugby League, a major Australian football association, which last year made her an anti-bullying ambassador.

 Dawson revealed in her 2012 autobiography ‘Air Kiss & Tell’ that she was frequently visited by the ‘depression bogeyman’.

She had long graced the pages of women’s gossip magazines and scenes in reality TV shows. Her modeling career had taken her to Italy, Britain and Germany during the 1980s.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key tweeted he was ‘shocked and saddened’ by the news of her death.

The Sun-Herald newspaper in Sydney reported Sunday that her body was found only minutes before her luxury waterside apartment was due to be sold at auction.

Culled UK Daily Mail

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Nadal subdues Dolgopolov to win Rio title

Published on February 23, 2014 by   ·   No Comments

Nadal celebrates winning Rio title

Kurumi Nara of Japan

World number one Rafael Nadal shrugged off the injury concerns that wrecked his Australian Open bid as he dismantled Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 7-6 to win the Rio Open on Sunday.

The 13-time Grand Slam winner showed no evidence of the back injury that hampered him in Melbourne as he wrapped up his 48th ATP title against an opponent with no answer to the relentless pressure exerted by the Spanish clay-court legend.

And by winning a 43rd career clay court title, the 27-year-old threw down a gauntlet to pretenders to his French Open crown which he defends in Paris in May.

Nadal went into the match with a 4-0 winning record against Dolgopolov with the Ukrainian never having even broken the world number one’s service.

Nadal celebrates winning Rio title

Nadal celebrates winning Rio title

And the Spaniard was on top quickly in the first set, breaking Dolgopolov’s second service game to love as the Ukrainian made a succession of unforced errors.

Dolgopolov could find no rhythm against Nadal’s trademark topspins on the Rio clay and made little inroads into the world number one’s service games as he raced into a 4-1 lead in less than 20 minutes.

Dolgopolov held his next service game with three aces and earned a break point in the crucial seventh — the best of the match — which Nadal saved with incredible retrieving and a sublime drop shot.

Nadal snuffed out two further break point opportunities and finally took the game himself as Dolgopolov, seeking to shorten the points in intense humidity, shelled a forehand long.

The disappointment of squandering three break points appeared to deflate the Ukrainian and Nadal took the first set 6-3 with a love service game in 39 minutes.

The second set followed a similar pattern, as Nadal broke the mercurial Ukrainian in his second service game, taking it with a drilled backhand that Dolgopolov was unable to dig out at his feet.

Dolgopolov hit several exquisite winners, especially from the backhand wing but struggled to find a consistent enough game to trouble Nadal, who hit only a handful of unforced errors in the whole match.

To his credit, the Ukrainian refused to buckle and broke Nadal’s serve for the first time ever as the world number one attempted to serve out the match.

The success appeared to galvanise Dolgopolov who held his serve to take a 6-5 lead, forcing Nadal to hold for a tie-break, which he did.

In the tie-break, Dolgopolov hit a crucial double-fault followed by an unforced error on his backhand to give Nadal an early lead and the world number one needed no second invitation, taking the set 7-6 and the match in one hour and 41 minutes.

Nadal had a less-than-smooth run-in to the final, surviving two match points to edge compatriot Pablo Andujar in the semi-final 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (12/10).

In contrast, Dolgopolov pulled off a shock against second seed David Ferrer in the other semi-final, beating the Spaniard 6-4, 6-4.

Kurumi Nara of Japan

Kurumi Nara of Japan

Earlier in the day, Japanese player Kurumi Nara won her first WTA crown, beating Klara Zakopalova from the Czech Republic 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.

Nara, ranked 62nd in the world before the tournament started, will climb into the top 50 when the new rankings are published on Monday.

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Posted by on February 23, 2014, 11:33 pm. Filed under Sports, Tennis. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.