Pinnick re-elected as NFF President

Image result for NFF, Mr Amaju PinnicIncumbent President of the Nigerian football Federation, NFF, Mr Amaju Pinnick, was on Thursday re-elected for a second term in office to superintend the Football Federation.

The election which was held at the premises of Katsina State local Government Service Commission in Katsina saw Pinnick polling 34 votes to beat other three contestants to retain his seat.

His closest rival and former NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Magari polled 8 votes, while the former Secretary of the NFF, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi who also contested for the seat, polled 2 votes. Honorable Chinedu Okoye, a new entrant in the contest, did not gather any vote at the election

In all, 44 delegates from states’ football federation and other bodies including coaches, referees associations and players’ unions ,participated in the election, which was largely adjudged transparent and peaceful

The chairman of the Electoral Committee for the election, Muhammed Katu announced the results.

FIFA representatives, Luca Piazza and Solomon Mudege were among football chiefs who witnessed the election.

Elections into the other offices such as first Vice President, Chairman of Chairmen and other members of the NFF board were still in progress as at time of filing this report.

N5.87b fine: CBN reviews new evidence from banks, MTN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is reviewing new evidence from four banks and MTN Nigeria over the sanctions slammed on them by the regulator, it was learnt yesterday.

The banks – Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank and Diamond Bank – were last month fined N5.87 billion by the apex bank for breach of capital importation policy.

The CBN had accused the banks of remitting foreign exchange with irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) issued on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited. The banks and MTN Nigeria have denied any wrongdoing.

According to the CBN, the lenders were asked to refund $8,134,312,397.63 for what it described as ‘flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the country, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006’.

In a statement yesterday, CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said: “In response to the recent regulatory actions, the banks and MTN are engaging the CBN and have provided additional information which is currently being reviewed with a view to arriving at an equitable resolution.

“We assure all investors that the integrity of the CCI regime remains sacrosanct and there shall be no retroactive application of foreign exchange rules and regulations.”

The regulator also defended its N5.87 billion fine on the banks over alleged capital importation breaches on $8.1 billion transactions involving MTN Nigeria. The apex bank has insisted that the sanctions will not deter foreign investors from coming to invest in Nigeria.

Okorafor, said the apex bank acknowledges the public interest over sanctions recently imposed on four deposit money banks (DMBs). The apex bank said it welcomes all legitimate investors to take advantage of the enormous investment opportunities in Nigeria.

“We wish to restate that the CBN will continue to welcome foreign investments and investors. Indeed, some of our recent innovations and reforms of the Foreign Exchange regime such as the introduction of the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange (NAFEX) window are designed to simplify foreign exchange regulations.

“Furthermore, the delegation of the issuance of Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) to commercial and merchant banks some years ago was done to instill confidence in the investor community and encourage the flow of foreign direct and portfolio investments into the Nigerian economy.

The sanctions on the banks arose due to irregularities with respect to repatriations made on behalf of MTN Nigeria Limited and were not in any way designed to restrict access to investor returns.

“In response to the recent regulatory actions, the banks and MTN are engaging the CBN and have provided additional information which is currently being reviewed with a view to arriving at an equitable resolution.

“We assure all investors that the integrity of the CCI regime remains sacrosanct and there shall be no retroactive application of foreign exchange rules and regulations”.

Robbers stab two to death in Edo

Two persons have been stabbed to death by armed robbers who raided Amenze street and environs Off Costain Road, Benin City, Edo state.

The robbers robbed over eight houses in the area and inflicted injuries on anybody that does not have money to give to them.

Wife of one of their victims, Mrs. Erhun Ogiorio, said she begged the robbers not to kill her husband but the robbers refused.

According to her, “When they came in, one of them held a gun and the other one a knife. I told them we don’t have money that my husband is a civil servant. I wanted to give them phones but they stabbed my husband in the stomach and the chest.

Another victim who is currently receiving treatment said he was stabbed twice by the robbers.

“When they came into my room, they asked me to lie down. The next thing I know was that I was stabbed. They stabbed me twice.”

A victim who pleaded anonymity said they collected N70,000 from him after beating him before they moved to other house.

He said robbers used to terrorize them in the area.

Edo Police spokesman, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, said it was a case of cult clash that was reported.

He said the police was yet to arrest any suspect.

“What we were told was that rival cult were fighting. Two persons stabbed. No arrest has been made.

Nigeria now 48th in FIFA World ranking

Nigeria moved one place from 49th position to 48th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking as Belgium and France share the top spot for the first time in the table’s 25-year history.

According to the rankings posted on the FIFA official website on Thursday, the Super Eagles amassed 1415 points to finish 48th in the month of September.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles who defeated Seychelles 3-0 on Sept. 8 to put themselves back in contention for a place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) improved their position from seventh to the fourth best team in Africa.

Seychelles dropped one spot from 188th to 189th in the rankings, while Libya, whom Nigeria face in their next group game of the AFCON qualifier next month are placed 99th in the rankings.

Senegal still maintains their number one spot in Africa and 25th in the world with 1492 points.

DR Congo and Morocco are second and third in Africa, and 40th and 45th in the world with 1447 and 1425 points respectively.

Russia, 2018 semi-finalists Belgium and reigning World Champions, France are joint leaders in the rankings, the first time the top spot is being shared in the table’s 25-year history.

Brazil, Croatia and Uruguay round up the top five.

While England, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain and Denmark are sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th respectively.

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on Oct. 25

Buhari, Ambode meet in Aso Rock

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday met behind closed doors with the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting started around 2.40 p.m

The governor, after picking his second term nomination form, suddenly realized that other aspirants under the All Progressives Congress (APC) were also interested in the number one Lagos State public office.

The APC governorship primary has now been rescheduled for September 29, 2018.

The meeting was still in progress at the time of filing this report.

Shippers Council To Hold Conference On Port Concession

Udo ONYEKA

Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and the Union of African Shippers’ Councils (UASC) in collaboration with United Nations Conference on trade and Development (UNCTAD) is set to hold a two-day Sub-Regional workshop and joint standing committee meeting of UASC.

The workshop which takes place at Sherathon hotel, Abuja, with the theme; “Port Concession in West and Central Africa; Impact on Economies of member states of the sub-region”, is geared towards proffering solutions to challenges facing maritime transportation in the sub-region.

 Some objectives of the conference include; appraising the state of maritime transportation in West and Central Africa vis-à-vis other regions of the world, assessing the implementation of World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreements (TFA) and issues relating to port operations, advocating for the development and maintenance of critical trade support infrastructure that could promote efficiency, competitiveness and cost reduction in carriage of goods as well as linkages to other markets.

The workshop would also scrutinize the state of Maritime Transport in West and Central Africa: UNCTAD’s viewpoint; Sealink: A Panacea to boosting intra-African Trade; charges, surcharegs and related costs of carriage of goods; Evacuation of IMO Container weighing regime Verified Gross Mass (VAM) and impact on shipping services/businesses.

Recall that UASC as a specialized organ of the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) comprises nineteen Shippers Councils and similar organizations of West and Central African countries.

In the last three years, under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigerian Shippers’ Council has hosted the sub-regional workshop that has gone a long way in the reduction of the incidence of transport cost on the economies of West and Central African nations.

Fayose writes again, accuses EFCC of hatred, persecution

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has again written the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, rejecting the commission’s request that he should report on September 20 for questioning over monies allegedly traced to his account.

The governor said the date suggested by the commission despite his letter indicating readiness to appear on October 16 was smacked of hatred, persecution and partiality.

The governor, however, said the anti-graft agency could send its investigators to meet him in his office on September 20 if it was so much in a hurry that its investigation could not wait till October 16, 2018 – the first day after the expiration of his tenure.

“Without prejudice to Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, I will be willing to answer questions from your team of investigators should they be willing to meet me in my office in Ado Ekiti on the 20th of September, 2018 indicated in the EFCC’s letter dated September 13, 2018,” he said.

Fayose, according to a press release issued on Tuesday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said the letter written by the EFCC to the Customs and other agencies, directing them to put him on their watch list and arrest him if he attempted to leave Nigeria before the expiration of his tenure raised serious question about the impartiality, independence or neutrality of the commission.

Reminding the EFCC that he had on December 19, 2007, willingly presented himself for investigation at its Lagos office after his first tenure, Fayose added that there was nothing new or strange in his September 10 letter, which he said, had been received and treated in a bad taste.

The September 14 letter read, “As a responsible citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who currently enjoys immunity under Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, it would amount to a breach of the constitution which I swore to uphold if I appear in your office on any date earlier than 16th October, 2018. If done otherwise, it will set a wrong precedent for the constitutional institution that I represent.

“I carefully chose that date (October 16, 2018) being the next day after the expiration of my tenure upon which the immunity I enjoy will lapse to avoid any form of insinuation and was in good faith.

“While drafting my response to your letter of 14th September, 2018 my attention was drawn to your widely publicised letter of 12th September, 2018 to the Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service and similar agencies, directing them to put me on the watch list and arrest me on an imagination that I might leave Nigeria to escape investigation. It has finally put in context, your commission’s hurriedly deleted online statement vide EFCC Nigeria @OfficialEFCC a day after the Ekiti governorship election that, ‘The parri is over; the clock of immunity turn apart, and the staff broken. Ekiti Integrated Poultry Project/Biological Concepts Limited N1.3bn fraud case file dusted off the shelves. See you soon.’

“Your commission by its actions, no doubt, has presumed my ‘guilt’ even prior to the commencement of “investigation.” This raises a serious question about the impartiality, independence or neutrality of the commission in the matter. I feel harassed, intimidated and embarrassed by the imputation of crime and the innuendos of criminality underlining your correspondence which has been maliciously circulated widely. This in all implies a case of persecution rather than prosecution.

“While I have handed a copy of your letter to my solicitors for a careful study and advice, let me state here for the records, that there is nothing about me or my antecedents, as a long-standing public figure to justify the commission’s action. I have never been a coward or a criminal.

“You may wish to recall that in 2007, precisely on the 19th day of December, I willingly presented myself for EFCC investigation at your Lagos office. There is therefore nothing new or strange in my letter of 10th September, 2018 which has been received and treated in bad faith and taste. I thought I was assisting due and fair process of law.

“Notwithstanding the demonstrated hate and prejudice, I reaffirm my willingness to make myself available to answer questions within my knowledge on the day you may indicate after the expiration of my term of office on the 15th October, 2018. If for any good reasons, your investigation cannot await the date suggested in my earlier letter, without prejudice to Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, I will be willing to answer questions from your team of investigators should they be willing to meet me in my office in Ado Ekiti on the 20th day of September, 2018 indicated in yours.

“Save as above, I will appreciate any date convenient to you after 15th October 2018, otherwise, expect me on the 16th October 2018 at 1 pm as earlier stated.”

APC, PDP taken over by impunity – Gemade

Image result for Senator Barnabas GemadeA former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Barnabas Gemade, lambasted the PDP and the All Progressives Congress, noting that both parties had been taken over by impunity and it was necessary for him to leave.

Gemade, who stated this on Tuesday, said that the same reasons that made him leave the PDP for the APC had made him to also leave the APC for the Social Democratic Party.

The senator representing Benue State North-East Senatorial District had earlier on Monday defected to the SDP, and collected an expression of interest and nomination forms from the party.

Gemade returned the form at the SDP National Secretariat on Tuesday, saying that “the issues that drove him from the PDP were the same he met in the APC.”

He said he left the PDP and also dumped the ruling APC because both parties were not practising internal democracy.

Gemade said both parties lacked respect for the rule of law as enshrined in the nation’s constitution, a reason, he explained, necessitated his exit from the parties.

He said, “When I ran the PDP, it was an excellent party. Thereafter, impunity took over and that is why so many of us left and went to other parties. I also went to the APC. Those problems cropped up again and it was necessary to move. I have removed myself.

“If you don’t condone something, and it is something you cannot remove from where you are; you remove yourself. Politics is all about times and seasons. The reason is that so many issues had bedevilled a lot of parties.”

The Benue State senator said poor governance had led to insurgency and lack of insecurity in his state and other parts of the country, coupled with lack of internal democracy in the APC and the PDP.

The SDP National Publicity Secretary, Alfa Mohammed, said that with Gemade joining the party, the senator now became the New Minority Leader in the Senate.

I’ll turn around Nigeria’s economy in two years –David Mark

Image result for Senator David MarkA presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator David Mark,  has promised to turn around the economy of the country within two years if elected President of Nigeria in the 2019 general elections.

Mark, a former Senate President, made the promise on Tuesday at the PDP secretariat in Lokoja while on a campaign visit to solicit votes of the state delegates to the presidential primaries in October.

He pledged to do many things differently to revamp the economy saying, “a lot of research had been done on the economy and if given the chance, he would bring them to bear and turn around things.’’

Economic growth under his watch, he said, would experience tremendous change within 700 days, which would be physical rather than based on paper statistics.

He said, “I will do so many things differently. When we put our processes in, the woman who is selling groundnuts by the roadside will feel the impact.

“It is not by mere statistics or indices that we churn out. We want the ordinary people on the streets to feel the impact of the economy on their lives.

“We have young men and women who are neck dip into research and understand the economy of this country.”

On his acceptance by the electorate in the core northern part of the country, Mark said he had equally worked for candidates from the core north and that now it was their turn to support him.

“I think the core north should support us because we also have supported the core north. It is a give and take thing and we are talking about Nigeria.

“We are not talking about a section of this country. If I don’t have a national support, to be honest with you, I would not want to be a President of this country.

“I want to be President of a united and indivisible country called Nigeria. Call it core north, core south or core whatever, wherever they are, let them support me because we too have supported them,” he said.

On consensus candidate, the former Senate President said that would be left for the aspirants and the party to decide.

“Whatever we do, the most important thing is that whoever emerges should emerge through a process that is fair, transparent and credible; whether it is by consensus or by primaries,” he said.

Buhari to Osun: vote APC to shut out corrupt leaders

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged Osun State residents to save the state from returning to the “dark days”.

Leading top members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to a mega rally for the party’s candidate in Saturday’s governorship election, Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola, the President urged the residents to renew the party’s mandate in the state.

He told the crowd that the APC leaders were in the state to celebrate the eventful eight years of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

He said: “We are here to thank Almighty God for the successful 8 years tenure of the APC Government in this state under the leadership of His Excellency, Rauf Aregbesola, the Omoluabi of Yorubaland.

“We are also here to pray to Almighty God to safeguard and consolidate on this through Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola.

“You are fully aware of this great partnership story. Oyetola is a partner, a trusted advisor, a brother and a friend to Governor Aregbesola. They have seamlessly worked together for many years serving you.

“By electing Oyetola as your Governor, you are guaranteeing the consolidation of these successes.

Eight years after Governor Aregbesola took the mantle of leading the business of government in Osun, the state now has excellent infrastructure for primary and secondary schools. The school that I commissioned in 2016 is one of the best schools in Nigeria. But more work remains to be done. Oyetola is ready for work.

“Osun State has empowerment programmes to support entrepreneurs. You had school construction and rehabilitation programmess to improve the quality of education. You had hygiene, sanitation and health care programs to improve the quality of life. You had security and outreach programs that enhanced peace and stability in your communities.”