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Kaduna under 24hrs curfew, government warns residents against disobedience

By NewsDesk,

Kaduna State Government has imposed a 24-hour curfew on Kaduna town and environs with immediate effect.

The Senior Special Assistant to the state governor on Media and Publicity, Mr Samuel Aruwan stated this on Sunday in Kaduna.

“This is a notice of a 24-hour curfew imposed on Kaduna town and environs, with immediate effect.

“Residents are advised to comply by this directive.
The decision has been taken in the best interest of the state,” Governor Nasir El-Rufai tweeted.

The curfew is a fallout of the violence in Kasuwan Magani in Kajuru Local Government area, where a market dispute between porters led to the killing of 55 people and the burning of many homes, between 18 and 19 October.

Aruwan said the 24-hour curfew on Kaduna metropolis and environs was a preemptive measure to avert breakdown of law and order.

He said the decision was based on the advice of security chiefs in the state.

A curfew was already in place in Kasuwan Magani.

Simon said that the church officials reported the matter to the police and the man was arrested and taken away by the police.

“However, around 3 pm we heard gun shots around the market area with people running in all directions, houses were being burnt and everyone was running for his life.

“Although military and police officers are all over the place, we heard gun shots all over the place,” she said.

Another resident, Julius John said: “I don’t know what is happening, I am in my house, but all I can hear is gunshots with people shouting and running.”

At Sheikh Abubakar Gumi Market, a trader, Ibrahim Ya’u said that it was a spontaneous reaction as people “just started running when they heard there is crises in town.

“Most traders quickly closed their shops to prevent hoodlums from taking advantage of the situation to steal our goods.”

Some youths who reportedly blocked the busy Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway and Ahmadu Bello Way burning tires, were later dispersed by security agents.

“In the pandemonium, a car ran over my brother, a fruit seller at Lagos street. We are trying to get the police to help us take him to the hospital,” a resident, Malam Abubakar Abdullahi, told NAN.

In Janruwa community, a resident informed NAN that the youths there had barricaded the road, stopping and searching vehicles coming from both direction.

Stranded commuters from across the city were seen trekking to their destinations as vehicle owners kept off the roads.

Foreign minister on special envoy mission, to discuss political situation in Mali

By NewsDesk,

President Muhammadu Buhari, as Chairman, ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, has sent Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, as a Special Envoy to Bamako Mali to discuss the political situation in the county.

Onyeama was accompanied by President of the ECOWAS Commission Jean -Claude Kassi Brou.

Ms Sarah Sanda, the Special Assistant, Media to Foreign Affairs Minister, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

She said the delegation was in Mali ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections.

The elections had initially been slated for Oct. 28, but they were postponed by the government till Nov. 25, followed by a run-off on Dec. 16 in constituencies where no candidate wins outright.

Last week, Mali’s constitutional court reportedly delayed the country’s parliamentary elections until 2019 by extending the mandate of lawmakers for six months.
According to Sanda, the team on arrival in Bamako met with Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General Mahamat Saleh Annadit.

The delegation, she said, met with the Representatives of the African Union and European Union, as well as Ambassadors of France and The Netherlands.

She said that the delegation also met with the main opposition leader and Presidential Candidate Soumaila Cisse, who lost to incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in a second-round runoff vote held on August 12.

The delegation also met with Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, and President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita with some Cabinet Ministers in attendance.

She said that Onyeama delivered President Buhari’s message to all the stakeholders in all the meetings.

Onyeama said that Buhari as Chairman of ECOWAS called on Malian authorities to ensure “inclusivity in nation building and politics” as the country prepares for parliamentary elections.

”It has to be all about the country, people, development and good governance.

”We begin to have problems when it starts to be about individuals so he wanted us to communicate this message,” he said.

Onyeama said that Buhari’s message was very well received as the Malians have a lot of respect for him and want him to play a role in shepherding the country forward.

Oshiomole raises alarm over vote-of-no confidence gang-up

By NewsDesk,

The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has alleged that conservatives within the party were ganging up to pass a vote of no-confidence on him.

In a long statement by his press secretary, Simon Ebegbulem, Oshiomhole said his sin was his refusal to allow continued impunity and circumvention of due process being perpetuated in some states.

He said he was not surprised by the gang up, as he never had the illusion that the process of reforming the party was going to be an easy on one.

The full statement:

“The All Progressives Congress, APC, under the national chairmanship of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is in safe hands as the party marches, sure-footedly, to victory in the 2019 general election. This is the overarching mission of the national working committee, NWC, of the party under his leadership.

“To be clear, Comrade Oshiomhole did not become national chairman of the governing party to bring it down a notch from the pedestal of its 2015 electoral victory let alone to preside over its liquidation.

“Rather, his single-minded goal, from the outset of his declaration of interest in the position, was to deploy his capacity in helping to strengthen and reposition the party as a truly supreme and disciplined political entity.

“Although, it might appear fortuitous to some persons that he became national chairman at the threshold of the 2019 general election; the truth is that there is no accident in predestination. We must appreciate the fact that it has pleased the Almighty God to place him in the saddle of APC leadership at this time for a purpose.

“The purpose has begun to manifest in its vast flourish and ramifications: instilling discipline, ensuring party supremacy, promoting due process, dealing with impunity and executive arrogance wherever they manifest to undermine intra-party electoral processes in the states.

“From the outset, we never expected that those who cherished and supported the status quo, which Comrade Oshiomhole supplanted, would cave in easily under the magnitude of the current political revival that he spearheads. Indeed, while the progressives are enamoured of change, the conservatives find it difficult to embrace it. That is the current reality in the deliberate effort to rebrand the APC.

“Again, we were not, in the least, deluded that the process of rebranding or rewriting the narrative of the four-year old party would be easy. What we are witnessing in the APC today is Comrade Oshiomhole’s adroit management of the strains and pains that accompany the birth of a resuscitated governing party.

“The leadership provided in the recently-held primary elections and the large-scale integrity of the processes are developments that should hence serve as exemplars in the administration of governing parties.

“Indeed, the message therein is very clear that the party, and not pseudo political empires in the states, has the power to superintend the primary elections for the nomination of the party’s candidates in the general election.

While the party will not surrender its functions, which are constitutionally circumscribed, to any other entities, it will always be ready to moderate the divergent tendencies and mediate the disparate political camps in the interest of party cohesion.

“This is one of the hard-nosed truths that the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC preaches and practises with an apostolic zeal to the chagrin of some influential stakeholders in the states.

“Comrade Oshiomhole envisions an APC that is capacitated to pragmatically build a corpus of leadership and membership that do not only submit to the high ideal of party supremacy, but also the credo of party discipline.

“These-party supremacy and discipline- are two fundamentals that had been eroded even before the emergence of the Oshiomhole leadership. It is sad that while the national chairman is working round the clock, some stakeholders have thrown selfish political agendas into the mix to threaten the building of institutional capacity for the APC.”

“The suggestion in some quarters, especially by one of the presidential aspirants on the platform of the party, Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, that the APC cannot win with Oshiomhole is therefore unfair, denigrating and baleful of Comrade Oshiomhole’s personal commitment to a rejuvenated winning machine that the APC typifies.

“The totality of Unagha’s claims, without necessarily addressing them one after the other, tallies with cooked-up narratives being sponsored by some influential stakeholders in their respective states that Comrade Oshiomhole is responsible for all the problems in the APC at the moment.

“These influential stakeholders, according to grapevine, have begun to mobilise to pass a no-confidence vote in the leadership of Oshiomhole, having failed to impose their preferred candidates on the party in the nomination process.

“Rather than resort to needless perfidy at the threshold of a general election, we call on them to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship, bolstered by the fact that the Oshiomhole leadership is propelled more by its interest in propriety in which victory for the party could be grounded.

“The crime committed by Comrade Oshhiomhole’s leadership is its disdain for impunity and circumvention of due process perpetrated in some of the states at the pleasure of some influential stakeholders.

“Overall, Comrade Oshiomhole has not, since stepping in the saddle, taken any unilateral decision in the running of the party affairs. All decisions, so far taken, passed through the mills of NWC deliberative sessions and enjoyed unanimous resolutions. The records are there. History will justify Comrade Oshiomhole and posterity will vindicate him.

“Therefore, with eyes firmly fixed on the general election, especially the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the scheduled February 16 poll, Comrade Oshiomhole assures all stakeholders in the APC of his respect for them. He assures them of his readiness to work with them for the good of the party.

“The comrade chairman also proposes a common front in the general election and believes that the APC, as a governing party, will do a commemorative post mortem next year to appraise and reappraise the political developments and decisions that presaged the election, which it would win emphatically.”

Sanwo-Olu assures religious, ethnic groups, others good government, participatory administration

By NewsDesk, 

The All Progressive Congress (APC) Lagos State chapter governorship candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has assured leaders of various Islamic and christian bodies that he would not leave any stone untouched, should he get elected as governor of the state during forthcoming governorship election.

Besides, Sanwo-Olu also promised non-indigenous groups, including Hausa community, Ijaw group, Igbo, Nupe, Ibera among others who reside in Lagos, that his government would ensure that a participatory administration is put in place, such that would carry all groups along, in policy and program wise,

The Director General, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu Campaign Organisation (BOSCO), Tayo Ayinde, said that the need to recognize contributions of religious bodies, as well as that of other groups, must not be denied and that the governorship candidate has demonstrated strength for participatory government that would have all communities as entity of his administration.

Speaking during a meeting with Islamic and christian leaders of various groups in Lagos, yesterday, Ayinde explained that Sanwo-Olu’s administration, should he get elected, would recognize and give all bodies sense of belonging, and as well pay adequate attentions to needs of every members of non-indigenous groups who reside in Lagos.

He disclosed that the governorship candidate and BOSCO, under his leadership, had met with various groups including those considered as grassroot managers and that the motive behind the move was to ensure that all stakeholders were carried along on policy and program of Sanwo-Olu.

According to him, the governorship candidate’s priority has remain on how Lagos residents, religious bodies, other various groups will be well informed and carried along on policy of incoming administration and BOSCO has continued spreading the gospel.

“Sanwo-Olu’s aim is to inculcate needs of every communities into his policy and programs and that is why he has been meeting with groups since after he was announced winner of Lagos chapter of APC recently conducted governorship primary election”.

“The incoming governor has been communicating his readiness to run a participatory government because he has understanding on needs of people particularly that of religious bodies and indigene of other states who are residing in Lagos”.

The campaign group’s head stated that BOSCO would continue its recognition of groups and individuals who have been exhibiting interests and pledging supports for Sanwo-Olu’ candidacy, and that the office was opened to others communities who were yet to show up.

However, in a separate development, Ayinde informed leaders of students’ unions of various tertiary institutions in Lagos, who had also pledged support for Sanwo-Olu, that the campaign office would not hesitate to work with unions, should they extend supportive hands to the organization.

At an interactive session, the DG assured the leaders that the governorship candidate would recognize all Lagos tertiary institutions’ student unions and ensure they participate in his administration’s police and programs after 2019 governorship election.

Obi as Atiku’s gambit for unity

By Daniel Moses Achimugu

The choice of a former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi is the wisest political move by the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.  It is particularly and symbolically significant because it comes at a time Nigeria is ever divided over the issue of power rotation, justice and equity. Given the increasing agitations across the country arising from complaints of political marginalization and exclusion, the selection of Mr. Peter Obi as running mate to Atiku would go a long way to reassure the people of the southeast that no section of Nigeria is too small or too insignificant to be ignored in the affairs of the country.

Frustrations feed agitations and these separatist tendencies in the southeast can only be addressed by elected leaders who are just and broadminded enough to understand and respect our diversity. Atiku Abubakar has demonstrated enough courage and sincerity by acknowledging the fact that justice and equity is the foundation of building and sustaining a strong political union or federation.

By appointing a broadminded Igbo politician like Peter Obi as his running mate, Atiku leaves no one in doubt that he means business in his commitment to restructuring. The Waziri Adamawa believes in creating a better and fairer society. He believes justice is the foundation for achieving sustainable peace, he believes in respecting our diversity and the importance of restoring trust and reducing tensions across the country. Therefore, the choice of Peter Obi is welcome because the two of them share the same vision for a better and prosperous Nigeria.

The timing of the choice and the quality of Mr. Obi cannot be faulted by any sincere Nigerian. At a time the Nigerian economy is gasping for breath, thanks to poor management, Atiku needs a running mate with a sound understanding of the economy and management of resources.

Mr. Peter Obi is not only a politician but also a technocrat and a businessman with sound experience. His intellect is unassailable, and his business and management experiences are important assets that can add value to the Atiku Presidency.

Atiku’s choice of Mr. Obi shows clearly that the PDP presidential candidate understands the challenges facing Nigeria. The success or failure of any leader depends on the quality of the team he puts together. As former President Obasanjo noted, “the economy doesn’t obey orders.” In other words, fixing the economy requires competence, imagination, vision and resourcefulness.

One of the greatest virtues of Atiku Abubakar is his passion for excellence. In this regard, the choice of Peter Obi as his running mate is a reflection of this passion. Fixing the economy is brain work. An economy is like a patient, if you left the patient at the mercy of incompetent doctors, he might ultimately die.

There is, therefore, a valid reason why Atiku always goes for the best and brightest. He always surrounds himself with men and women of excellence. He doesn’t have stomach for mediocrity. It is not by accident that he always assembles a good team in order to achieve optimum results. He has an eye for quality, hence his choice of Mr. Peter Obi.

With a combination of Atiku/Peter Obi ticket, the country can achieve a favourable business and investment environment that could boost the enthusiasm of foreign investors. No leader takes chances with the economy.

Like Atiku, Mr. Obi has a rich business background, which gives him a good advantage in the management of the economy. Modern governments are run like a business because of the sound emphasis on reducing waste in government and promoting efficient and prudent management of resources. A successful economy is the foundation of successful job creation initiatives.

It is against this background that we can understand the wisdom behind the choice of Peter Obi as running mate by Atiku Abubakar. No President can achieve much without a competent team. Obi’s choice is the early first signs that Atiku is truly commuted to giving Nigerian economy a shot in the arm.

Neither Atiku nor Obi wants to be in government to make money. Both of them are successful businessmen and therefore, the passion for service is their primary motivation for seeking public office at this time. You cannot fight corruption without adequately addressing the issue poverty and job creation. And you cannot achieve the goal of job creation when the economy is poorly managed.

With a combination of Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, the Nigerian economy can be reinvigorated and put on a sound footing of sustainable growth. The economy is central to the success of democratic rule. A badly managed economy may leave the people ever poorer and make life more hopeless. No wise voter should vote themselves into misery.

A president’s success also depends on the quality of those he appoints to help him run the government. He needs a strong vice president with intellect, experience, vision and knowledge about the efficient management of resource. The choice of Peter Obi falls clearly in line with Atiku’s desire to build a robust economy and get Nigeria working again.

Daniel Moses Achimugu, a commentator on public affairs wrote from Lokoja

Beyond Fayose: The future of Ekiti

By Reuben Abati

I spent the better part of last Tuesday, October 16, focusing on developments in Ekiti State. It was the day of John Kayode Fayemi’s return to office as Governor of Ekiti State and his inauguration for a second-term, after an interregnum of four years, 2014-2018 during which former Governor Ayo Fayose reigned.

It was also on that day that Fayemi’s immediate predecessor reported to the Headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to submit himself for interrogation and investigation. For the people of Ekiti state, no other day could have been more melodramatic. I watched the Ekiti inauguration on television, beginning from the point where the new Governor, Kayode Fayemi arrived and he was taken round the stadium in an open van to acknowledge cheers from the people.

Fayemi had a unique style of greeting the people, throwing his hands in the air with some kind of bird-like movement. I really couldn’t figure out if he was waving or dancing. I was amused. I thought if his plan was to dance, he could have taken some lessons from you know who – the two Dancing Senators of the National Assembly!

Although the duo belongs to the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), they would have obliged him. In any case, Governor Fayemi pulled it off nicely, considering the excitement from the crowd. He is obviously not planning to spend his time in Government House, dancing. The ceremonies soon got underway with a colourful police parade, with Governor Fayemi taking the stand. It was a beautiful parade, and quite refreshing seeing the mobile police, the anti-terrorism unit of the police and others marching with so much discipline and confidence, in very neat uniforms, with symphonic unity – and two officers running a commentary to guide us. If the Nigeria police were to display that same level of dedication, discipline and preparedness in the course of their daily work and engagements with the public, no one would have any reason to complain about the many failings of the institution.

Governor Fayemi enjoyed himself so much that even when the police commentator asked him to take his seat while the rest of the parade continued, he still spent a few minutes appreciating the men and women on parade.

The Governor eventually went up to the VIP stand, he took a cup of water, and APC dignitaries from around the country took turns to have photographs with him and his wife. I didn’t see members of the opposition party. Could it be that they were not invited? Or they were invited and they chose to ignore the ceremony? Or the planning committee chose to make the inauguration ceremony a strictly family affair? Or may be the cameramen chose to ignore the faces of opposition politicians at the ceremony.

The high point, however, was the taking of the oath of office, and then the speech by the newly-sworn-in Governor. It was a brilliant, thoughtful speech but it fell short in one major regard. It began on an evocative note with a prefatory poem written by Erelu Bisi Fayemi, the Governor’s wife and Chair of the Ekiti Transition Committee (some people are of the view that the people of Ekiti are likely to be getting two Governors for the price of one!- but that is just by the way, afterall, there is something called the doctrine of the unity of spouse.).

In clear, rhythmic and seductive prose, Fayemi set out the agenda for governing Ekiti state in the next four years, to wit: the restoration of values, people-centred social investments, promotion of a knowledge economy, infrastructure and industrial development, and agriculture and rural development. He paid homage to Ekiti ancestors, and called on the people to look toward the future with hope and confidence because the state under his watch, will be different.

Whereas the Governor made it clear that he is not on a “revenge mission” , his entire speech however was packed full of bitterness –clearly evident in the choice of words and imagery. Even the poem by Mrs Bisi Fayemi is suffused with telling metaphors. October 16 was meant to be a day of joy for the Fayemis but both husband and wife could not hide the pain and the feeling of hurt that they nurse. Their words gave them away. “This land is ours…” writes Bisi Fayemi, but the land has been overtaken, and “we see the blood on the lips of vultures who prod and peck at our throats/so they can suck even more blood.”

Apparently, the Fayemis are convinced that there are political vampires in Ekiti state but Fayemi has returned to “reclaim what is ours with our voices/with our blood and with our souls/This land is ours, and it shall be free.” This theme of freedom from despair and destruction and restoration of hope is sustained in the main speech. In six paragraphs sub-titled “NEVER AGAIN”, the newly sworn in Governor wrote off the last four years of Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose in Ekiti state, in words delivered with stinging brutality. And not once did he mention Fayose by name. He tells the people of Ekiti: “Our reputation as a people has been sullied and we have become the butt of jokes due to the crass ineptitude, loquacious ignorance, and ravenous corruption masquerading as governance in our state during this past administration”. This bitterness is further reflected in such phrases as “Ekiti has been through a horrible wilderness”; “innumerable white elephant projects”, “state assets unaccounted for”; “those who do not understand what governance or development is all about”; “painful wound.” Wound? The nature of that “wound”, at a personal level, has been famously addressed in an op-ed by Bisi Fayemi when she wrote previously, about how her family was deserted by those who had wined and dined with them as soon as JKF, as her husband is called, lost his bid for a second term on June 21, 2014. She wrote that“it was a very bad day, one of those days that I referred to recently as Ojo buruku esu bu omi mu – the day the devil came to drink water”. Those who came to visit, came to “mourn”, she told us, as if the loss of an election was the end of the world.

Fayemi is now back to Government House, and on October 16, I didn’t see anybody mourning. The guests at the inauguration – associates, friends, party chieftains, traditional rulers and the ordinary people in the stands, did not come to “mourn”, they came to celebrate with Fayemi and his wife. Life is like that. At the risk of sounding trite, in life, there is a season for everything: a time to laugh and a time to mourn. Fayemi has had his own share but as he returns, he should place greater emphasis on healing, reconciliation, forgiveness and the agenda that he has eloquently set out. He should be magnanimous and extend his call for support and collaboration, not just to the ordinary people of Ekiti, but everyone, including those he may consider his arch-enemies. To dismiss Fayose so brutally is uncharitable. Fayemi has stayed long enough in politics to know that the enemy today may be a friend tomorrow. Bitter words are like bitter kola, they leave a stinging and prolonged taste in the mouth even when you choose to drink water.

Fayose may have supported his protégé – Kolapo Olusola in the last Gubernatorial election in the state – I still insist that Olusola acted like a spectator at his own wedding and he did not deserve to win – but Fayemi himself must learn not to be over-triumphant. There was a hint of a threat that he will probe Peter Fayose. He doesn’t need that “revenge mission”. The new Governor of Ekiti State must eschew the APC mindset: the thinking that once you are given power, you must intimidate and humiliate people, or climb a holier-than-thou pedestal – as we have seen, constructed with ego, spittle and bitterness. The key take-away in Fayemi’s speech is that he is ready to work and he intends to move Ekiti state forward. He should focus on that.

While Fayemi was savouring that new moment in his life, at the Ekiti Kete Pavillion (which he also used to settle scores, reminding everyone that he built the Pavillion!), Fayose was busy on twitter announcing to the whole world that he was on his way to the EFCC headquarters to turn himself in. At a point, he informed us that he would be at the EFCC headquarters within an hour. Notably, on October 16, Fayose refused to attend the inauguration of Fayemi as Governor. Fayemi may claim that the snobbery was mutual but he should see himself in his new role within the context of leadership, and not partisan politics or personal grievances.

He should look at it this way: the day he returned as Governor, Fayose was on his way to a police station! He even went along with his clothes, knowing that he could be detained. It is now a matter of record that Ayo Fayose is the first Yoruba man to go to a police station decked out in “Aso ebi.” His supporters wore white T-shirts – “aso ebi” of sorts, even if they proclaimed that Fayose is “the conscience of the nation.” I was surprised that they didn’t have a musical band in tow! The unnecessary drama that Fayose has constructed around his invitation and detention by the EFCC is typical of him, but by the time he spends a few days in the EFCC underground cell, he will surely realize that he is not in a five-star hotel and that the EFCC has well-trained interrogators who do not look at people’s faces. They will try to break his will, wear him out, test him, humiliate him. Fayemi should not do the work of the EFCC.

And of course, Fayose is not useless as Fayemi tries to make him appear. He is a gifted, street-wise politician. He ran a folksy, populist government. He had the common touch. The people hailed him: “Oshokomole, Ekun oko Oke, afinju Irunmole to n je salad!” The EFCC will not offer him salad. I know that for sure. But the people of Ekiti will always remember him for the courage, the sass, the colour that he brought to governance, and the “stomach infrastructure” that he offered. The people may also not agree that his exit is “the end of error”. The difference between Fayemi and Fayose is in terms of substance, style and exposure and the people’s expectations. In terms of political destiny, both men also probably have something in common. In moving Ekiti forward, as he has promised, Fayemi should attempt a more dispassionate assessment of the past, the present and the future. He should not set an example that will come back to haunt him. Four years is a very short time. Ekiti kete, “the land is yours…”

South Africa planning incentives to revive ailing economy

By News Desk,

Embattled South Africa is planning to introduce new incentives in key industrial sectors and reduced red-tape in order to revive the country’s moribund economy.

The economy which got into technical recession recently, is getting messier because of the increasingly hostile international trade environment.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the government would target industries such as auto and agro-processing and continental trade relations as part of a package to draw investors back to South Africa.

He said the state had also reviewed its bureaucratic red tape to make it easier for investors to start new businesses in the country.

“Some of them (incentives) are sectoral, we have the motor programme, the clothing and textile programme, we also have a business processing services programme as well as the agro-processing programme,” Davies said.

“There are also tax incentives. There are specific incentives that apply to the special economic zones (SEZ).

“In addition the Department of Trade and Industry provides infrastructure and support for the institution of the SEZ.

“In addition to that, there is a tax incentive for companies that invest in the SEZ. There is a suite of incentives which we communicate to investors domestic and foreign which are crucial for making investment decisions.”

In a frank and wide-ranging interview ahead of the Investment Summit next week, Davies painted a bleak future for the South African economy, saying yesterday that next week’s presidential summit and the medium-term Budget policy statement would help kick-start the economy.

Davies conceded that some of South Africa’s economic problems were self-inflicted, pointing to rampant corruption and state capture that had turned investors away.

He said key government institutions were also performing below their capacity and that this had undermined investor confidence in the country.

“Our abilities to influence the economy have been weakened,” he said. “Some of those include, for example, tenders that have been problematic and were given to consortiums involved in imports rather than manufacturing locally.”

Davies said the government was worried about the continuing trade spat between the US and China and its impact on South Africa’s exports to the US.

He said there were plans to increase the local content of assembled cars to 60 percent by 2035 from the current 38 percent.

South Africa fell into a technical recession after recording negative growth in the second quarter, and unemployment rising above 27 percent as output in the manufacturing and mining sectors stagnated.

The country also had to grapple with policy uncertainties and inconsistencies, onerous regulations which curtailed growth.

Davies said – without mentioning the SA Revenue Service by name – that the outlook in the immediate and medium term would remain bleak as revenue collection was expected to come under pressure.

He said the government was moving with speed to address investor concerns and had already taken steps to return create certainty in renewable energy and gazetting the revised mining charter.

“All of these have resulted in an improvement in the investment pipeline,” Davies said.

“The (investment) summit will showcase important investment announcements, and it will also be an opportunity to engage investors.

There is an appreciation for a new dawn and a willingness to realise opportunities that were put on hold in the recent past rather than being pushed forward.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a bold plan to attract $100 billion (R1.42 trillion) of investment for the country in the next five years in April.

Ramaphosa also appointed envoys including Afropulse chairperson Phumzile Langeni, Standard Bank group chief executive Jaco Maree, former finance minister Trevor Manuel and former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas to champion the investments drive.

Davies said the government had targeted industries such as mining, agriculture and mining to kick-start the economy.

He said the government also planned to seize the opportunities presented by regional integration and the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area to produce more goods for other African markets.

Former Chief Justice Idris Kutigi dies

By News Desk,

Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Idris Kutigi is dead. He was 78 years old.

Niger state commissioner for Information, Danjuma Sallau said Kutigi died in a London Hospital.

Idris Legho Kutigi was the chief justice of Nigeria between 2007 and 2009 and after retirement, he was made the chairman of the Constitutional Conference set up by the Jonathan administration in 2014.

Kutigi was born on 31 December 1939 in Kutigi, Lavun local government of Niger State.

He began his early education in the town and later had his secondary education in Bida and Barewa College in Zaria.

He also graduated from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, after which he left for England, where he studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and Gibson and Weldon, before returning to attend the Nigerian Law School in Lagos.

Justice Kutigi served as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Niger State until 1976, when he was appointed high court judge.

He was on the bench in Niger for more than 10 years before his appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court in 1992.

He became the chief justice in 2007, succeeding Justice Alfa Belgore.

He retired on 30 December 2009 and did the unusual by swearing in his successor, Justice Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina-Alu, who died in July. He did so because President Umaru Yar’Adua was not in the country at the time, due to ill-health.

AfDB gives $50m to Fidelity bank for SMEs

By News Desk,

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $50 million line of credit to Nigeria’s Fidelity Bank Plc to support small and medium sized.

The money is also meant to support women-owned enterprises in selected transformative sectors, including close to a hundred SMEs in manufacturing, health and education.

Approved by the Bank’s Board on 10 October 2018, the facility is fully dedicated to financing micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs), with a minimum of 30 percent going to women-owned enterprises.

The loan will enhance Fidelity Bank’s liquidity and help meet the demand for medium-term funding to players in the target sectors, contributing to improved quality of lives, job and wealth creation and tax-revenue generation.

The facility complements the Government of Nigeria’s long-term development strategy, as espoused in its Vision 20:2020 agenda.

Aligned with Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020 (ERPG), the funding will ultimately boost enterprise competitiveness and expand Nigeria’s economic base.

The ERPG seeks to stimulate Nigeria’s economic growth, catalyse macroeconomic stability, foster diversification of the economy, and enhance social inclusion as well as governance.

According to AfDB, SMEs account for 30 per cent of Fidelity Bank’s loan portfolio.

The selection of the tier 2 Nigerian bank for this seven-year credit facility (with a grace period of two years) is based on its strong niche presence in the SME and mid-sized corporate space.

It is also in recognition of the bank’s credit management and strong track record with the African Development Bank. The Nigerian lender has previously received US$18 million and US$75 million lines of credit from the development finance institution in 2001 and 2013, respectively.

“Fidelity Bank is a niche player, focused on the SME space and this US$50 million credit line will contribute to strengthening its presence in its key market segments,” said Ebrima Faal, Senior Director, Nigeria Country Office at the African Development Bank.

“The Nigerian financial institution also continues to meet its ongoing credit obligations under the terms of previous support received from the African Development Bank.”

The line of credit to the Nigerian financial institution is consistent with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy (2013–2022). It also aligns with two of its High 5 priorities – Industrialize Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Founded in 1987, Fidelity Bank Plc has grown from its marginal position into a stable banking institution.

Currently the 10th largest commercial bank in Nigeria by asset size, it was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in May 2005.

It has a broad client base of about four million customers nationwide, served from a network of over 240 branches and business offices, supported by alternative service delivery channels like ATMs, mobile and electronic banking, and agency banking channels.

Following its renewed digital banking and retail drive, Fidelity Bank was ranked 4th best bank in Nigeria in the retail market segment in the KPMG Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (BICSS) in 2017.

Labor unions may shutdown economy over minimum wage

By NewsDesk,

Three major unions in Nigeria said they will call out workers on nationwide strike on November 6, if the Federal Government fails to meet its demand on the new National Minimum Wage of N30,000 agreed upon.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) made this known on Sunday in a statement jointly signed with Mr Bobbio Kaigama, President, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Mr Joe Ajaero, President, United Labour Congress (ULC).

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) recalls that the unions had said that the Tripartite Committee on the New National Minimum Wage had concluded its negotiations and agreed on N30, 000 following an appeal made by Organised Private Sector (OPS).

Wabba said since the government appears unwilling to cave in to their demands, the unions have resolved to organise a one-day of National outrage and mourning, which would be used to sensitise Nigerians on the workers’ plight and on the issues at stake.

“This shall take place in all states of the federation including Abuja on Tuesday, the 30th day of October, 2018 and a meeting of various organs of the Unions will hold as appropriate.

“On Friday, Nov. 2, a Joint Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting of all the Labour Centres in Nigeria shall hold to receive reports and make final preparations for our ultimate engagement with the Federal Government on this matter.

“ This is the first time in the history of this nation in recent times that such meeting will take place and this goes a long way to show the seriousness with which Nigerian workers and its leadership hold this matter.

“If nothing is responsibly done by the Federal Government to meet our demands, on Monday, Nov.6 we shall embark on a nationwide strike,’’ he said.

He added that this would compel government to show more sensitivity to the plight of Nigerians and the suffering that is decimating our people on daily basis.

Wabba also called on Nigerians and workers not to be discouraged in the struggle for the new National Minimum Wage.

He explained that it was not true that organised labour had proposed N30,000 as the new national minimum wage.

“It is also not true that the committee did not agree on a figure during its last sitting. We accepted N30,000 as a compromise to demonstrate the willingness of Nigerian workers to make sacrifices towards nation building.

“ Anything to the contrary no matter the quantum and character of the din or how well couched it may appear cannot be true.

“ Resorting to Goebbelsianism at this time of national emergency, which requires men and women of integrity is rather unfortunate and cannot suddenly make the brazen falsehoods truths.

“’We believe that it has become necessary for the Organised Private Sector (OPS) as represented in the Tripartite Committee to speak up on this matter.

“ Keeping silent in the face of this apparent mischief does our nation no good. It can only help mischief, dishonesty and impunity to grow,” Wabba said.

The NLC president, however, said it was time for the OPS to rise to the occasion by telling Nigerians what transpired in that meeting.

Wabba added that they should tell Nigerians whether there was a consensus on a final figure.

“ If there was a document signalling this agreement that had already been signed by some parties?

“ If also the N30,000 figure was ours or a compromised figure based on proposed scenarios,”’ he said.