Month: July 2013

INEC registers APC, issues registration certificate

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INEC confirmed the registration on Wednesday.
The Independent National Electoral Commission has registered the All Progressives Congress, APC.
This was stated by the Secretary to INEC, Abdullahi Kaugama, in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement said: “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has approved the application by three political parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) – to merge into one, to be known as the All Progressives Congress.
“On considering the application, the Commission found that the applicant-parties have met all statutory requirements for the merger, and has accordingly granted their request.
“Consequently, the Commission has approved the withdrawal of the individual certificates of the applicant-parties, and the issuance of a single certificate to the All Progressives Congress.”


Erelu Bisi Fayemi Hails Judgement, As An Ado-Ekiti High Court Jails Pedophile Eight Years

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Ekiti State First Lady,Erelu Bisi Fayemi
Ekiti State First Lady,Erelu Bisi Fayemi

He goes by the name Innocent Eze, but he could not prove his innocence before an Ado-Ekiti High Court, which found him guilty of defiling a 12-year-old girl and consequently sentenced him to eight years imprisonment.
The convict was sentenced to one year imprisonment for indecent assault, while he bagged seven years jail term for defilement, under a two count charge. The eight years will run concurrently.
The plea by Eze’s lawyer for the court to temper justice with mercy drew flak from the presiding judge, Justice Adekanye Ogunmoye, who described the crime as barbaric.
His words, “It’s unfortunate that a 12-year-old girl would have been sexually defiled as was done to the victim in this case. It is more unfortunate that the matter came to the public domain.
“The convict by his act had succeeded in placing a stigma on the person of the victim, which may take a long time to erase. Then trauma suffered by the victim is definitely such as would take a longer time to forget.
“The act of the convict is not such as should be encouraged. This is definitely a barbaric act and the sentence must be such as would serve as deterrent to the convict and others who still harbour similar tendencies.”
The judge was not alone in condemning the crime committed by Eze, which the Wife of the Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, described as “abhorrent.”
Until he found another abode behind bars, Eze, an indigene of Nsukka, in Enugu State, resided in Ayegunle Street, Ijan-Ekiti, Ekiti State, where his perverted libido landed him in trouble.
Reacting to the judgment in a statement by her Special Assistant on Media, Akin Oyedele, the governor’s wife said it was a major victory for her crusade against sexual and child abuse.
She expressed the hope that it would serve as deterrent to other pedophiles and perverts on the prowl that Ekiti State would not be a haven for sexual offenders.
The First Lady said, “Although it’s not capable of eliminating the scars, but it will at least heal the wound of the victim with tender heart and others like her that have been sexually violated and traumatised.
“It’s victory for all caring parents, individuals, groups and civil society organisations that have joined me in campaigning against every form of child abuse. I salute the courage of the trial judge for the decision.
“The judgment will further promote the Child Right Act and the Gender-based Violence (Prohibition) Law, which are very dear to this administration. Let me reiterate that we will not allow our children to become preys in the hands of people who don’t have moral scruples.”
The governor’s wife also advised parents to be wary of the kind of errands they send their young girls, stressing that experience had shown that young girls fall prey to predatory people when running errands.
She urged parents to protect their young daughters against abuse by monitoring their relationship with so-called family friends, uncles, neighbours, teachers, school proprietors and guardians.
Women who are separated from their husbands were also advised to think twice before entrusting their young girls in care of their fathers, judging by several reported cases of incest involving unscrupulous fathers and their vulnerable teenage daughters.
She said, “The government has played its part by putting necessary laws in place to enforce the rights of women and children and to protect them from abuse. It is incumbent upon the citizens to rally behind the government to stamp this social malaise out of our land.”
Erelu Bisi Fayemi used the opportunity to encourage children and women to speak out and seek lawful redress anytime their rights were violated, while she admonished perpetrators to turn a new leaf.
According to the court, the convict had on August 31, 2011, in Ijan-Ekiti, pounced on the young girl after assisting him to fetch water from a neighbourhood well and dragged her inside his apartment where he sexually violated her.
The victim was said to have earlier rejected love advances from Eze, while he also turned down his plea to assist him to take his filled bucket inside his room before he seized her.
He had stuffed a handkerchief in the traumatised girl’s private part when blood started oozing out after the act and later gave her N100 to “buy drugs.”
Testifying before the court, a doctor attached to the General Hospital, Ijan Ekiti, confirmed that the otherwise innocent girl’s hymen had been “traumatized, with laceration along the vaginal wall.”


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Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye
Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye

The Lagos State Government on Monday reiterated that the recent ruling of the Supreme Court validating the Hotel Licensing Law of Lagos state as amended and the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law of Lagos state is binding on all other courts in the federation.

The State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaiye who restated the standpoint in an interview at Lagos House, Ikeja said the decision of the Supreme Court in those two cases would supersede any other pending court action wherever they maybe on the matters that were deliberated upon by the Supreme Court.

“It is important to make it clear that if anybody pretends not to know which government should regulate tourism at this stage of not to know whether the hotel licensing law or the hotel occupancy and consumption law was valid, then the person just needs to refer to the decision of the Supreme court in those two cases and that decision is binding on all authorities and persons and Courts in Nigeria”, he added.

He explained that there were two cases determined by the Supreme Court on the 19th of July with one instituted by the Federal Government in the Attorney General of the Federation versus the Attorney General of Lagos State seeking to invalidate the Hotel Licensing Law of Lagos State as amended and the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law of Lagos State

The other case, the Commissioner for Justice added, was filed by the Attorney General of Lagos State against the Attorney General of the Federation and sought to invalidate the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act to the extent that it intruded into the jurisdiction of the States and also sought a declaration from the Supreme Court that it is the State House of Assembly that had the exclusive jurisdiction to legislate on Tourism matters with the singular exception of the regulation of tourism traffic.

Also reacting to a question on whether the State will seek a reimbursement of the revenue it lost to the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) in the past six years, the Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, Mr Disun Holloway said the essence of the ruling was not about the amount to be collected or that was collected.

“It is about how we will regulate and make sure that the Tourism and Hospitality Industry performs, so it is not about the collection of funds. The State Government on its own has spent an awful lot of money in preparation for the industry itself. So without collecting money from the industry, we have already spent a lot to make sure the industry runs well. It is not about reimbursement”.

“As far as we are concerned, it is about how we would take the opportunities that are coming up. In the rest of the world there are some places that have conflicts how can we redirect the tourist traffic to us. That is the essence of what we are doing”, he added.

The Tourism Commissioner also shed light on the specific functions of the two new committees on hotel grading and classification saying the first one is the one that will review the work that the assessors have done and will review the work and now grade and say this hotel is a five star, a one star, a two star hotel.

“The second committee is the appeals committee, if you feel aggrieved or in other words if you believe that you should have been scored and placed as five star and you are placed as a two star, then you have s right to appeal to that committee. That committee would review the case and you could see the composition of that committee, it is not a government committee. It is an external committee and we are really handing off once we have done all the work so that these committee could do their work”, he reiterated.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba said the judgement of the Supreme Court was not about revenue. “Forget that now, let us grow a business that can take Nigeria out of where we are now and place us globally as we are supposed to be. We have a lot of potentials here, let us grow that business and let the hospitality business take its pride of place”, he said.

Delta Spent N40bn On Federal Roads -Funkekeme

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Delta State Governor,  Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan
Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan

Funkekeme, who disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Asaba, said that the state government had yet to receive any refund from the Federal Government for the expenditure.
He, however, pledged that the state government would continue to rehabilitate federal roads in the state, as the roads are used mainly by the people of the state.
His words, “when we work on the roads, whether state or federal, they facilitate our governor’s peace and security agenda because good roads help to check vandalism of equipment and amenities as well as other obnoxious activities by hoodlums.’’ .
Funkekeme did not identify the federal roads that were reconstructed but said that the bills on the projects accumulated from 2007 to date.
The commissioner, however, lamented that the execution of some projects in the state was being unduly delayed because of youth restiveness and other problems in some communities.
He said that community problems had also discouraged reputable companies, especially those in the construction industry, from accepting contracts from the state government.
“Restiveness by youths and unnecessary demands from communities by youths and even elders, create difficult conditions for contractors,’’ he said.
Funkekeme said that “high profile’’ contractors were not interested in contracts in the state, partly attributing this to the low price being paid by the state government on contracts.
“This rate or price problem leads to variations; sometimes, three times higher than the original contract value, in the state, but efforts are underway in the ministry to review our contract rates and prices,’’ he added.
It will be recalled that Delta State government is handling the dualisation of Asaba- Ughelli highway and other federal roads in the state.


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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN)
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN)
“The decision we took as a Government is an economic decision to create jobs”, he says

As a way to kick start the growth of the hospitality industry in lagos State, the Government has commenced a scientific grading of hotel facilities with the inauguration on Monday of two committees to assess the facilities and advise government on how to improve them.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), who inaugurated the committees for the grading and certification of hotels and hospitality facilities as well as for hearing and addressing grievances rising from the exercise saw the constitution of the committees as a positive step in re-energizing the industry.

The main Committee, Hotels Grading and Certification Committee, headed by Larry Segun-lean, is to grade and certify the hotels in terms of their standards as one, two, three, four or five star hotels while the second committee, the Appeal Committee, chaired by Mr. Gbolahan Elias, is to hear appeals and address complaints arising from the exercise.

In his remarks before inaugurating the two Committees, Governor Fashola said the decision of Government was informed by the need to create jobs through the proper grading and classification of hotels in the State pointing out that when properly graded and classified, the hospitality industry would the better for it as more tourists would be attracted to them thereby creating jobs for both practitioners and related industries.

Governor Fashola, who noted that the State has seen very rapid development in hotels and other hospitality facilities in the last six years, said this has happened as a result of deliberate Government policies aimed at expanding the economic frontiers of the State.

According to the Governor, “The rapid development of hotels, restaurants and hospitality facilities in the last six years has happened as a result of very well thought out and conscious Government policies; policies aimed at expanding the economic frontiers of Lagos. They come as a result of investment in security; they have come as a result of investments in promoting night life and night culture through street lighting”.

“They have come as a result of cleaning up the city and the result we have seen are therefore investments in these facilities. In some other instances, they have also come as a result of Governmental policies and regulations prohibiting parties on major highways and that has led to investments in halls and event places”, he said.

Apparently making reference to the recent Supreme Court Judgment which validated the Hotel Licensing Law of Lagos State as Amended and the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law of the State, Governor Fashola declared, “It was clearly unacceptable for another arm of government or another tier of government to seek, as it were, to regulate an industry it did not help to build”.

“And for us, there is a longer story here, there is a bigger journey here, there is a larger dream here; to open up an economy that can create employment. Tourism and Hospitality in many parts of Africa are big sources of employment, job creation and earnings in terms of revenue strings”, the Governor said adding regrettably that “because the administrative regime was, at the best, unclear and at the worst really in disarray and because operators did not know which government it was safe to deal with, the industry has not grown to expectation.

“Unfortunately because the administrative regime was, at the best, unclear and at the worst really in disarray, because operators did not know which government it was safe to deal with, what we found was that the growth we expected to see after all these massive investments was not of the type we expect”, he said.

Acknowledging that tourism traffic in Lagos has increased, Governor Fashola who put the number of visitors to Lagos last year at 2.2 million “by the ranking of a major financial service solution”, said even though that figure made Lagos the second most visited city on the African Continent, it was nothing compared to Dubai which, according to him, “was doing something close to 20, 30 million visitors”.

“Now, this is a larger market than Dubai in terms of population. Now, Egypt and some other parts of Africa, Mali, Timbuktu are in crisis and, as sad as it may be, they provide opportunities for us to take the tourism business. Tourists are not going there but where are they going? Are we responding or are we just twitting our tongues”, the Governor asked.

According to him, “The decision that clearly now demarcates the position that we took as a Government that this was a municipal matter of the State was most welcomed as an economic decision to create jobs. More visitors in our hotels only means many more opportunities for work for people who supply food in the hotels, for our local farmers, and for people who supply the beddings and the linens”.

“So, it is with that in mind that we have been preparing, this is the first of a series of reforms and initiatives in aid of that industry that you will see from our Government”, the Governor said adding that the Committees would be implementing the framework that consultants invited by the Government over the last two years have developed.

Expressing confidence that the Committees would do a good job, the Governor declared, “We can from now begin to properly classify our hotels the way that we have the privilege to choose the hotel we want to go to even before we travel out of the country. We expect that the same thing will happen here once all of the hotels are properly graded and put on the websites of the hotels themselves and with the Ministry and all of that; and that can only embolden tourists to now say, ‘oh they now have properly graded hotels, let’s go there’. They are taking the right steps”.

Governor Fashola urged members of the committees “to act in the best interest of the citizens that we serve, in the best interest of the State and to ensure that whatever personal interest that you acquire does not conflict with your official positions; because you will be assessors and judges more or less and that you discharge this responsibility with the fullest candor and integrity which has informed our choice of you”.

He disclosed that Government has initiated training seminars for all night clubs and restaurant operators, “especially in the advent of the accidents that we are seeing across the world about safety”, adding that he has approved that the Ministry of Special Duties, in conjunction with its parastatal, the Safety Commission, will be organizing that seminar.

“So I urge you night club operators and all of that to sign up and participate in the seminar because night clubs are where we all go to let off steam, let down our hair and really enjoy ourselves. But they can become places of very painful tragedy as we have seen across the world. And the lessons we have learnt across the world are very useful lessons for us here. We do not want to learn the painful lessons on our own”, he said.

Noting that the Federal Government has a very important role to play in the growth and development of the Hospitality Industry in the country, Governor Fashola declared, “They will have a role to play in the way they man our border posts because that is the first contact of tourists with our country. They need the kind of training that will give our immigration officers that the kind of courtesies they show at the border posts will be instructive as to determine whether or not Nigeria can become a tourist player and the way we manage visas which are purely Federal Government responsibilities”.

Responding on behalf of the two Committees, one of the members, Mr. Dele Momodu, thanked the Governor and the State Government for the opportunity to serve the people saying they were pleased to serve “because if a government is doing very well, it is for us all to give our support to it”.

Also present at the occasion were the Deputy Governor, Hon. (Mrs.) Adejoke Orelope Adefulire, Secretary to the State Government, Dr. (Mrs.) Oluranti Adebule, Chief of Staff Mr. Lanre Babalola, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaiye, Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba and Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, Mr.Disu Holloway among other members of the State Executive Council as well as other top government functionaries


War Against Terrorism

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US Department of State Donates Bomb Disposal Equipment to Nigeria Police Force.
• IGP Promises Effective Use and Maintenance.
As part of efforts at strengthening the capacity of the Nigeria Police personnel at tackling terrorism and other contemporary security challenges in Nigeria, the US Department of State, yesterday, 23rd July, 2013 at the FHQ Abuja donated Explosives Ordinance Disposal (EOD) remote control robots to the Nigeria Police Force. The robots are capable of carrying out safe detonation of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and can demobilize explosives-laden vehicles among others.
While demonstrating the capacity of the robots during a formal presentation of the equipment to the IGP, a Nigeria Police EOD robot technician stated that the device can locate and defuse suspicious and hazardous explosive items from remote places and is also capable of firing “disrupters” and delivering counter IED charges that can demobilize and render an IED safe.
The IGP expressed his immense gratitude to the donor and promised to put the robots to effective use across the country. He enjoined other wealthy countries/inpiduals as well as corporate organizations to take a cue from this United States’ gesture and join hands in supporting the Police and other security agencies in the fight against crime, as the task of securing our country is a collective responsibility and not that of the Government alone.
While restating his resolve towards making Nigeria a safe and peaceful country, the IGP charged officers and men of the Force particularly those in EOD unit to take advantage of these equipment just donated and others recently acquired by the Force in delivering on their mandate of making Nigeria a crime and explosives-free nation
Meanwhile, the US Department of State, through the US Anti Terrorism Assistance (ATA) Programme, has successfully trained a number of Nigeria Police personnel attached to the Anti Bomb Unit of the Force in modern Bomb disposal techniques and Explosives investigation courses.

UBA achieves impressive performance in key parameters, posts N33.2b in half year

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GMD/CEO, Mr. Phillips Oduoza
GMD/CEO, Mr. Phillips Oduoza

United Bank for Africa Plc, one of the largest financial institutions in Africa, with presence in 18 African countries and three global financial centers has continued with its impressive results for the financial year with a profit of N33.2bn, for the half year ended June 30, 2013, representing an increase of 9.2%, over the N30.4 billion, recorded in the corresponding period of 2012.
Details of the Bank’s unaudited financial results presented to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Monday show impressive growth in key parameters. Gross earnings increased by 16.7 per cent to N125.98bn, from N107.91 billion achieved in corresponding period of last year. In other details, operating income rose to N88.45bn, up 17.1 per cent over the N78.67bn recorded in the same period of 2012. Other Income earned by the Bank showed an increase of 17.1% from N34.09bn in half year 2012 to N37.357bn in current year.
On the Balance sheet side, deposits rose 13.5 per cent from N1.77 trillion in December 2012 to N2.01trn in June 2013 just as Total Assets recorded a 6.9 percent increase to N2.42trn by the end of June 2013. In a similar vein, Net Loans for the period amounts to N761.18bn, an increase of 10.7 percent over the N687.43bn recorded at the end of last financial year. Shareholders’ funds grew by 7.9 per cent to N207.60 billion from N192.5 billion recorded in December 2012.
In spite of the balance sheet growth recorded, UBA maintained strong risk ratios with a capital adequacy ratio of 22.3%, liquidity ratio of 53.5% and non-performing loans ratio of 2.0%. Loan to deposit ratio remained under 40% due to the stronger growth recorded in deposits
“We are pleased with our first half 2013 financial results; having operated under the revised CBN guideline on bank charges in the second quarter of the year, I am glad to announce that our plans to minimize the effect of the reduced fees and commissions are working. Our business fundamentals are improving with increased revenues from loans creation and improved asset quality. We will focus on driving our business to gain market share and operate profitably to enable us deliver value to our stakeholders.” said Mr. Phillips Oduoza, UBA’s Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
Oduoza maintained that UBA’s half year results represent another bold step by the bank in its pursuit of industry leadership. “The decisions we have taken so far are paying off, having recorded an improvement in revenue, as indicted in our guidance for the year. Our Africa subsidiaries continued to deliver re-assuring results, as most of them recorded profit in the first half of the year.”
According to him, “The results reflect continued improvement in asset quality; disciplined expense management and an articulated execution of our three tier strategic plan. We are well positioned for growth based on our solid balance sheet footing, robust capital and liquidity positions.”
However, Oduoza said, “While economic growth remains modest, there are signs that business returns will be much better. Our customers are the reasons we are in business, and we will not relent on our efforts to seek new and innovative ways of delivering unique and value adding products and services to meet their banking needs.”
UBA is a leading Pan African financial services Group with presence in 19 African countries, New York, London and Paris. Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, the Group provides universal banking services to diverse customer groups across Africa.