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The Financial Times’ Analysis on Nigeria

In the nearly 15 months since Bola Tinubu became pres­id­ent, he has forced his 220mn fel­low Nigeri­ans to swal­low some bit­ter medi­cine. He removed a gen­er­ous fuel sub­sidy, one of the few bene­fits cit­izens receive from their inef­fi­cient and cor­rupt state. He allowed the coun­try’s cur­rency, the naira, to enter freefall, fuel­ling impor­ted infla­tion and trig­ger­ing the worst cost of liv­ing crisis in a gen­er­a­tion.

These meas­ures have pushed tens of mil­lions of already impov­er­ished people deeper into misery. But they were neces­sary to begin cor­rect­ing the coun­try’s long-term eco­nomic demise. The fuel sub­sidy was ruin­ously expens­ive, guzz­ling nearly a third of the fed­eral budget. It was also dis­tor­tion­ary, chan­nel­ling Nigeri­ans’ ener­gies into rent­seek­ing, smug­gling and graft. The exchange rate regime, which vastly over­val­ued the naira, wiped out exports of everything but oil. While genu­ine indus­tries were starved of hard cur­rency, cronies accessed cheap dol­lars to sell on the black mar­ket. Nigeria’s elite learnt a les­son that was toxic to the nation’s pro­spects: why pro­duce any­thing when you can make a killing through arbit­rage?Mov­ing to more ortho­dox policies is vital to reset an eco­nomy that has not grown in per cap­ita terms for a dec­ade and where one of the most luc­rat­ive indus­tries has been kid­nap­ping. It is neces­sary, but insuf­fi­cient. “Tinubu­n­om­ics” is so dis­join­ted it barely deserves the name.

Shock ther­apy will prob­ably fail if import­ant adjust­ments are not made.First, the pres­id­ent must chart a course ahead and con­vince Nigeri­ans they are in it together. For that to be remotely cred­ible, the polit­ical class must make sac­ri­fices. Out must go lav­ish pay rises for civil ser­vants and flashy cars (not to men­tion jets) for gov­ern­ment offi­cials. Tinubu only has to look at Kenya, where viol­ent street demon­stra­tions have forced the gov­ern­ment to with­draw tax rises, to see what hap­pens when a sense of injustice festers.Like­wise some sav­ings from the fuel sub­sidy should be redeployed to sup­port the most eco­nom­ic­ally vul­ner­able as a pri­or­ity. Hun­ger levels are soar­ing and mil­lions of chil­dren are fore­go­ing meals and school. Nigerian politi­cians love to be seen hand­ing out bags of rice. But what is needed is dir­ect cash pay­ments to people’s phones, the tech­no­logy for which exists, and in the longerterm a proper safety net.As things stand, the state lacks either the capa­city or the prob­ity to admin­is­ter such a scheme. Tinubu needs to fix that urgently. With a few excep­tions, his cab­inet is full of light­weights who owe their jobs to polit­ical pat­ron­age, not to expert­ise. Tech­no­cratic tal­ent exists in abund­ance.

It must be mar­shalled.Cor­rup­tion needs to be tackled. It does not help that Tinubu’s own vast wealth is not easy to decipher, nor that his poverty min­is­ter was sus­pen­ded for alleged diver­sion of funds, something she denies. It does not help either that the state is implic­ated in the whole­sale theft of oil, depriving the nation’s cof­fers of bil­lions of dol­lars. Tinubu should use all his polit­ical guile to staunch the flow.Some will argue that Nigeria’s state is so weak all Tinubu can do is remove its influ­ence and retreat. Nigeria col­lects tax worth about 10 per cent of gross domestic product, one of the low­est rates in the world. That is a sure sign of how little trust exists between the gov­ern­ment and the gov­erned. But if the eco­nomy is to be revived, the state needs to be an ena­bler. It must provide power, roads, secur­ity and justice, not to men­tion schools, hos­pit­als and sup­port for the poorest in soci­ety. Without a joined-up and artic­u­lated plan, Tinubu’s bit­ter medi­cine will not cure Nigeria’s ills. It will just leave a bad taste.

Nigeria continues crude-for-petrol exchange as fuel landing cost hits N1,117/litre

Nigeria remains engaged in exchanging 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil for approximately 1 million metric tons (MT) of petrol, equating to 1.341 billion liters, through its state oil company, according to Mr. Bello Rabiu, former Chief Operating Officer of the now-defunct Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC).Rabiu highlighted that these products are supplied via the Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) arrangement, a form of crude swap between international traders and the NNPC, which currently holds a monopoly on petrol imports into Nigeria.The ex-NNPC official spoke just as petroleum downstream operators under the aegis of Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN) disclosed that the current landing cost of petrol into the country now stands at N1,117 per litreAlso, the Founder and Chief Consultant at B. Adedipe Associates Limited, Abiodun Adedipe, posited that the frustration in the Nigerian petrol supply value chain was caused by the unavailability of feedstock for local refineries, particularly 650,000 bpd Dangote Refinery, which has the capacity to meet domestic petrol demand.

The trio spoke at a webinar organised by MEMAN, where the stakeholders called for a truly fair and competitive petroleum downstream market to keep the supply and prices of products at a reasonable level.In his presentation, Rabiu argued that the removal of petrol subsidy as claimed by the federal government was not enough to depict deregulation.He maintained that it also required the creation of competitive market environment that will guarantee the supply of products at commercial prices to customers.Rabiu, who is now an independent consultant, condemned the importation of petrol solely by NNPC, saying, “This is a monopoly, which is against deregulation procedures “He said: “With consumption capacity estimated at about one million MT (1.341 billion litres) of currently being supplied through DSDP importation programme of NNPC, whereby local and international traders are contracted to lift Nigerian crude oil owned by NNPCL and deliver petroleum products in ex-Lagos.“This remains the only supply source of PMS in the Nigerian market due to inability of other players to secure forex for direct importation. Thus, NNPC is effectively the only supplier of PMS in Nigeria today.

“Being the only supplier and importer of PMS in Nigeria, NNPC is currently the determinant of PMS price as other players are only adding their margins to arrive at pump price depending on location.”He therefore called for a review of the current business model and institutional arrangements of the deregulation policy which has resulted in one dominant player’s power to import and fix the prices of petrol across the nation.Rabiu added that this was not consistent with the provisions of Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 which envisages the participation of multiple players operating under open competitive environment, with multiple supply sources from import and domestic refineries under a level playing field, aimed at delivering products at lowest possible prices at the pump.“Under the current model, No one knows the actual cost of importing a litre of PMS into the Nigerian market except NNPC.

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) no longer publish the pricing template to enable the citizens know the official landing cost of any product Ex-Lagos since the announcement of full price deregulation and total removal of PMS subsidies,” he said.According to him, this situation has resulted in total lack of accountability and substantial revenue leakages that cannot be quantified due to lack of transparency in the process.“If we can be told what Customs duty is daily in Nigeria, we should be equally told how much is the fuel being imported.“For example, NNPC insists there is no more subsidy in the pricing of PMS but the difference between the Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and PMS open market prices clearly shows some elements of subsidies or hidden cost recovery in the open market prices of PMS across the nation” he stated.Speaking at the session, Executive Secretary of MEMAN, Mr. Clement Isong, revealed that the current landing cost of petrol into the country now stands at N1,117 per litre.He also disclosed that the landing cost for diesel stands at N1,157 per litre, while that of Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) is N1,217 per litre, explaining that the administrative cost and freight cost were among the cost components.Isong, who informed the association would henceforth publish the landing cost data on a daily basis, encouraged the private sector to invest in benchmarking, adding that there must be free flow of marketing information.

According to him, “henceforth MEMAN will be publishing petroleum products landing cost of PMS, ATK, and AGO on daily basis, newsletter on weekly basis, quarterly industry report and yearly reports.”Om his part, Adedipe called on the federal government and the NNPC to urgently announce the needed policy guidelines on the operation and commercial arrangement of the $20 billion facility as they affect the market.He stated that the entrance of the Ibeju-Lekki-based refinery in the downstream petroleum sector was a game-changer in Nigeria’s journey towards full deregulation, adding that the world’s largest single-train refinery would soon become a major supplier of petroleum products in the Nigerian market with some identified implications.Adedipe expressed concerns on the “complete silence of government policy makers, regulatory authorities and NNPC on the operational readiness of Dangote Refinery and the new business model and commercial arrangement”.Adedipe therefore urged the regulators to act in a way that enables the market to determine the price of petroleum products and services in medium to long term.But in the immediate short term, he said there must be regulatory intervention to ensure smooth entry of Dangote Refinery into the supply chain.This intervention, he canvassed, should guarantee consumer protection and delivery of products to the market at cost reflective prices.“Perhaps, it is appropriate to return to guided deregulation with reintroduction of pricing template at this time to encourage efficiency and competitive market behaviour,” he added.On the way forward for the country and the downstream sector, the economist recommended that the government should strive to collaborate with all stakeholders to effectively implement the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 and achieve lowest cost of refining or importation of products into the Nigerian market.

He urged the regulators to do the needful by engaging all relevant stakeholders and issuing appropriate guidelines that will guarantee cost recovery by all refiners and petrol importers under a level playing field.Furthermore, Adedipe advocated that all anti-competitive practices such as collusion and abuse of market share in establishing prices of petroleum products should be collectively resisted by industry playersHe called for the establishment of transparency in the downstream value chain to enable consumers know and realise value for what they are paying, adding that there should be proper management of the price volatility through announcement of monthly guided price.In addition, the analyst canvassed that the NNPCL Pipelines and Storage Company should be repositioned and adequately funded under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to operate as a neutral transportation and storage entity, serving NNPC and all other oil marketing companies under an open access regime.

NDLEA intercepts N9.8billion worth of fresh codeine shipments from India

We’ve further degraded the cartels’ financial capacity and base, says Marwa

By Ebinum Samuel

Barely three weeks after seizing six thousand, one hundred and twenty-five (6,125) cartons of codeine syrup containing one million and fifty thousand (1,050,000) bottles of the opioid worth over seven billion three hundred and fifty million naira (N7, 350,000,000.00) in street value, at the Port Harcourt Ports complex, Onne, Rivers state, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have again intercepted another batch of seven containers bearing one million two hundred and twenty nine thousand four hundred bottles of the same substance worth over Nine Billion Eight Hundred and Thirty Five Million Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N9,835,200,000.00) at the Onne ports.The latest seizure made on Thursday 18th July 2024 is the fourth and last set of such consignments that have been under the watchlist of the Agency’s Maritime Special Operations Unit Targetting Team, which worked in partnership with the Port Harcourt Ports Command of the Agency and other security agencies including the Customs Service for a 100 percent joint examination of the targeted containers. This followed credible intelligence and months of diligent tracking of the consignments from their port of departure.At the joint examination of the containers with other security agencies on Thursday, all the seven containers were found bearing a total of 8,774 cartons of codeine-based cough syrup with 1, 229, 400 bottles weighing 184,410 kilograms.A breakdown of the shipments that came from India via the Maersk Vigo Vessel shows that the container marked SEKU 6439421 has 875 cartons with 175,000 bottles of codeine weighing 26,250kg. Other items in the container include 70 cartons of chilli cutters and 55 cartons of hyregra tablets weighing 1,100kg. Another container marked CMAU 9410422 contains 875 cartons of codeine with 175,000 bottles weighing 26,250 kg. Other items in the container include 15 cartons of chilli cutters and 60 cartons of hyregra tablets weighing 1,200 kg. Also, the container marked TLLU 7595503 has a total of 1, 754 cartons of codeine syrup containing 179, 400 bottles weighing 26,910kg.Four other containers marked: TRHU 515117; CMAU 7877125; CMAU 8533700; and CMAU 3882205 contain 175,000 bottles of the same substance each in addition to other items such as chilli cutters, cartons of hyregra tablets and diclofenac used to mask the shipments.In his response to the latest seizure, Chairman/ Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd) commended all the officers, men and women of the various formations of the Agency that had been working on the targeted containers for months for their diligence, vigilance and professionalism. He equally praised the support received from other stakeholders at the ports that enabled the seamless and successful operations in the course of targeting the shipments. He said the operation, which had inflicted heavy losses on the cartels behind the shipments has further degraded their capacity and financial base.

LASTMA, Other Security Agencies Avert Disaster In Lagos

By Ebinum Samuel

The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) in collaboration with other emergency responders, successfully averted what would have been a disaster yesterday, following the fall of a truck carrying Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) at the ramp of Ojota interchange linking toll gate .

The incident occurred around 2pm when a truck transporting PMS lost control and fell, spilling its highly flammable content onto the road.

Recognizing the immediate danger posed by the situation, LASTMA officers promptly arrived at the scene to manage traffic and secure the area. Their swift action prevented any ignition sources from coming into contact with the spilled fuel, which could have led to a major explosion.

Emergency responders, including the Lagos State Fire Service, the LASEMA Response Unit (LRU), Police men from Alapere Police Station and Officials of N.N.P.C quickly joined LASTMA at the site.

Their coordinated efforts ensured that the spillage was contained and the risk to lives and property was minimized.

LASTMA personnel efficiently diverted traffic from the danger zone preventing congestion and ensuring that no pedestrians were exposed to the hazardous spill.

The area was immediately cordoned off to prevent any unauthorized access.

The Lagos State Fire Service and other emergency responders teams deployed specialized equipment to contain the spill.

The head of the fallen truck was safely uprighted and towed away and the road was thoroughly cleaned to eliminate any residual risks.

The prompt response and professional handling of the situation by LASTMA and the other emergency agencies were instrumental in preventing what could have been a significant disaster.

According to Adebayo. Taofiq, the spokesman of LASTMA, the General Manager, Olalekan Bakare-Oki who was at the scene of the accident commended the swift and coordinated efforts of all the agencies involved.

“This incident underscores the importance of our emergency response protocols and the dedication of our officers and partners. We are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all Lagosians.”

The General Manager however urges all drivers to exercise caution, especially when transporting hazardous materials, and to adhere strictly to safety regulations to prevent such incidents in the future.

Please call Lastma newly inaugurated toll free hotline 080000527862 in case of any information about traffic management and control across the State.

FG, NLC Agree On N70,000 As New Minimum Wage

The Federal Government of Nigeria and organised labour have agreed on N70,000 as new minimum wage.While approving the N70,000 as the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu promised to review the national minimum wage law every three years.According to reports, the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) are at the Presidential Villa, Abuja for a scheduled meeting with President Bola Tinubu.

A statement by Bayo Onanuga, the Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, said: “President Tinubu also promised to find ways to assist the private sector and the sub-nationals to pay the minimum wage.”

CHANGING ORIENTATION OF OUR FORMER STARS

By Tunde Olusunle

Several years after he retired from his illustrious career as a professional footballer, Peter Osaze Odemwingie was in the news a few weeks back. Very thankfully, his rebound was not a worrying piece of news. It has become customary for the medical plight of many of our former sportsmen to jump into our faces from the pages of tabloids. Often times, such unsavoury appearances, come with alms-solicitation bowls, foregrounding the dire situations of the subjects at those points in time. Odemwingie’s narrative, however, is a very heartening piece of news. He belongs to a new breed of our sports greats who are able to reinvent themselves after they cease to feature in big leagues across the world, even as we view them regularly on our television screens. Odemwingie’s example is one which should inspire our sports professionals, serving and upcoming.

Osaze Odemwingie by the way, played professional football for nearly two decades, specifically between year 2000 and 2018. A broad-based study of the careers of most footballers across the world is that their years of top, on-field performance averages 15 to 20 years. They sign their first professional contracts when they are about 18 years of age and will be fortunate to keep playing at optimum levels two decades after. Not every football player can be Roger Miller of Cameroon; Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe of Portugal; Sergio Ramos of Spain, James Milner of England, or our own Kanu Nwankwo and John Utaka. These outfield players grossed or overshot two full decades on the turf for their respective clubs and countries in many instances. Goalkeepers in football have been known to enjoy careers well beyond two decades. They burn less calories within the space of their goal area, than defenders, midfielders, wingers and strikers. The latter are almost ever in motion snuffing out potential encroachments in their space and also shopping upfront for opportunities to unsettle their opponents.

Odemwingie was born in Tashkent, in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, (USSR), which is now in the country Uzbekistan. He began a professional career in football, however, with Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin City, Edo State, home state of his father, in year 2000. He went on to play for nearly 10 other clubs in Belgium, France, England, Russia and Indonesia before retiring in 2018. He played over 400 games and scored 125 goals for his various employers. He also played for Nigeria’s senior men’s soccer team, the Super Eagles, 65 times over a 12-year period, between 2002 and 2014. Odemwingie scored 11 goals, earning personal and group laurels. He played in four African Cup of Nations, (AFCON) tournaments; two World Cups and earned an Olympic medal in 2018, playing for Nigeria. Odemwingie was not reputed for the kind of tantrums typical of some of his teammates who had spats with the nation’s sports governing body, the Nigeria Football Federation, (NFF) or his managers. He was a remarkably temperate professional.

Much as he took a backstage from club and national footballing, however, he decided to explore other career options. He was just about 37 years old at the time and considered himself still productive. He thus conscientiously pursued a new vocation in the game of golf. He subjected himself to a three-year programme culminating in the receipt of a bachelors degree certificate in one of the courses within the gamut of golf education. June 25, 2024, Odemwingie graduated from the Professional Golfers Association, (PGA) academy. He spoke of the pain of adjustment from the group sports of his footballing career, as against the individuality of golf where one’s only company could be his caddie, for those who could afford one that is. Nonetheless, he is excitedly looking forward to his first PGA tour as a professional as he looks to leave his imprimatur on his new vocation.

Odemwingie is not the only Nigerian, nay African player to have sought new vocational vistas in sports-related concerns after retirement. Some ex-internationals have explored coaching, player management, scouting, punditry and similar possibilities. Super Eagles supremo in the years the team was known as Green Eagles, Segun Odegbami, multi-tasks as broadcast media proprietor, brand ambassador and newspaper columnist among others. Moses Kpakor a very uncompromising defensive midfielder who was particularly outstanding in the 1990 AFCON in Algeria, returned to the classroom, earned a masters degree in sports administration and is Director of Sports at the Benue State University, (BSU), Makurdi.

Retiring after a professional career of over 15 years, Augustine Cerezo Eguavoen, arguably one of Nigeria’s most rugged defenders in his time, managed clubsides in South Africa, Malta, Mali and Greece. He has been the Technical Director of the NFF since 2020. His teammate at Nigeria’s first participation in the FIFA Senior World Cup, “USA ’94,” Michael Emenalo a very effective left back, blossomed beyond his teething years in “Enugu Rangers Football Club,” to global football management. He has been Director of Player Development; Chief Scout; Technical Director and Sporting Director across clubsides in the US, England and France. More currently, Emenalo is Director of Football in the growing Saudi Arabia Professional Football League.

After what may pass as perhaps the briefest stint ever by any coach of the Super Eagles, Finidi George has taken up an appointment as Technical Adviser of Sharks of Port Harcourt Football Club. Sunday Oliseh has been manager of a number of clubs in Belgium and Germany. He also managed Nigeria for a few months. He has been severally appointed by the Federation of International Football Associations, (FIFA) as a technical expert for many FIFA-organised competitions. Emmanuel Amunike who is also a member of that generation of Nigerian players has had coaching spells in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia. He was an assistant coach under Eguavoen and presently serves in the same capacity with the national team. Austin Jay-Jay Okocha the skillfully admirable baller is involved in production and the entertainment industry. Nwankwo Kanu famously known as Papillo is the Chairman of Enyimba Football Club and is said to be involved with real estate, hospitality as well as oil and gas.

Victor Ikpeba who was nicknamed the “Prince of Monaco” in his active playing years as a forward in the French club by the same name, is a familiar face on satellite television football discussion programmes. Yakubu Aiyegbeni is reported to be active in the property market in England and owns a number of gas stations in Nigeria. Emmanuel Emenike is said to own one of the most modern hospitals named Emenike Hospital in Owerri, Imo State. The ex-international reportedly conceived of it to be the “go to” medical facility in Nigeria’s South East. Erstwhile defensive midfielder, Seyi Olofinjana, 36, was recently appointed Director of Talent Management for Africa at Chelsea Football Club. His compatriot Sone Aluko, 35, has been appointed First Team Coach at Ipswich Town Football Club, which has been newly promoted to the English Premier League, (EPL), while little-known Lukas Babalola, 27, is the new Assistant Manager at Feyenord Football Club in the Dutch first division.

This preceding narrative is an improvement over what has become the norm, rather than the exception with regards to our ex-internationals. Hitherto, it had almost, always been unsavoury news filtering from the homesteads of many of our former stars. The septuagenarian Christian Chukwu who led Nigeria to her first AFCON success in 1980, had to be rescued by billionaire Femi Otedola who paid for his medical evacuation and treatment abroad 2019. Charles Bassey, a marginal former player also has Otedola to thank for showing up for him when he was all but grounded with a protracted ailment in 2021. Henry Nwosu the youngest member of the 1980 AFCON team came down with a stroke two years ago, is a beneficiary of the kindness of the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Nigeria’s mobile telecommunications giant, Globacom on the directives of its billionaire owner, Mike Adenuga, intervened last year to keep the folkloric national team goalkeeper, Peter Fregene, on this side of the divide.

Newer ex-internationals it would seem, have learnt from the experiences of their predecessors and have largely become more cautious in the management of their resources. Who would have imagined that a successful former player like Wilson Oruma would become a virtual tramp on the streets? He reportedly lost his life savings in excess of one billion naira to a self-styled fraud posturing as a clergyman who designed all manner fake investment prototypes for him. Another player, Femi Opabunmi also reportedly fell to the designs of a false prophet who fleeced him massively, under the pretext of helping to cure him of glaucoma-induced blindness. Misled by youthful exuberance, some Emeritus players have also frittered their savings on ostentatious and glamorous living. Wasn’t Dan Amokachi reported to own a jet which serviced his frolics in his heydays? Celestine Babayaro, Etim Esin and Ifeanyi Udeze, have been grouped in this category of sportsmen who “ate with all their fingers” to borrow from a Yoruba wise saying. Babayaro and Udeze are said to be gradually finding their feet.

Kanu and John Utaka are examples of ex-players who are giving back to society. Kanu, generally regarded as the most decorated African footballer, established the Kanu Heart Foundation to provide relief for indigent Africans and support people born with congenital heart defects, a health condition he once managed. He overcame this impairment to become one of Africa’s greatest of all time. Utaka established a football academy in Minna, Niger State, far away from his home community in Enugu State. Let’s hope that our former stars will ruminate deeply about the infinite possibilities available to them as they prepare for certain retirement. Let’s hope our erstwhile idols put a stop to hanging around the secretariat of the NFF and the Sports Ministry, desperately craving coaching engagements as sole panacea for their obvious apparent lack of planning.

Tunde Olusunle, PhD, is a Fellow of the Association of Nigerian Authors, (FANA)

Implications Of Leaking Classified Government Information — PSC

By Ebinum Samuel

The second edition of the weekly ‘Arena of Knowledge ‘ lecture series of the Police Service Commission was held yesterday, Wednesday, July 17th, 2024 with an x-ray of the implications of leaking classified information in Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

The Arena of Knowledge lecture series is the brainchild of the Chairman of the Commission, DIG Hashimu Argungu rtd, and will be held weekly on Wednesdays. It is intended to promote learning and improve Knowledge of Government rules, regulations and day to day operations by Staff of the Commission.

The Director, Human Resource management in the Commission, Aminu Malumfashi and Personal Assistant to the Chairman and former Commissioner of Police, Legal Services, CP Suleiman Balarabe Nayaya rtd, presented stimulating lectures on the topic.

Mr. Malumfashi in his paper, traced the Freedom of Information Act of 2011 which granted Public access to government records and information but warned that while this Act promotes transparency “it does not override the government’s authority to protect classified information essential to national security” He noted that leaking classified information “is a separate matter governed by strict laws and regulations outside of the Act.”

Mr. Malumfashi said unauthorised leakage of sensitive official documents constitutes a felony with no defence available under either the Nigerian Constitution or the Act.

He observed that leaking classified information “carries far-reaching implications that span legal, ethical, political, security and Public dimensions” adding that while some view leaks as whistle blowing that exposes wrongdoing and promotes accountability; others argue that they pose serious threats.

The Director explained that balancing transparency with the protection of sensitive information remains a complex challenge adding that “understanding this is crucial to achieve a harmonious balance in every organisation”.

CP Nayaya rtd in his own paper titled “Emergence Of Special Substantive Laws in the 21st Century on Safeguarding of Classified Information and Documents: Implications and Consequences of leakage” traced the possible ways to prevent leakage/divulge of classified information and documents and some of the likely consequences that may affect the defaulters. He also looked into exceptions to the Rights of Acess to Information in International Human Rights Treaties and Conventions.

CP Nayaya rtd, identified proper recruitment of employees (vetting and background checks), adequate training and development systems, observation of process and procedures of principles of classification of classified information and documents and proper custody and care of classified information and documents amongst others.

He mentioned interdiction, suspension, dismissal or jail term as some of the likely consequences that may affect defaulters.

The retired CP legal Services noted that there are exceptions to the Right of Access to Information in the International Human Rights Treates and Conventions. These he said include respect of the rights or reputation of others; protection of national security of public order, public safety, public health and public morality. Others he noted, are preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the Judiciary; prevention, investigation and presentation of criminal activities; disciplinary investigation etc.
Ikechukwu Ani, the Head, Press and Public Relations of the Commission said the lecture continues next week Wednesday.

Yahaya Bello: Appeal Court asked to vacate arrest warrant, trial court to adjourn case Indefinitely

The arraignment of the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, for alleged N80 billion money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission scheduled for Wednesday may be stalled again.This is because Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has been asked to adjourn proceedings indefinitely, pending the determination of an appeal filed by the former governor, which is pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.In the Appeal with no CA/ABJ/CR/535/2024, in which the trial Judge, Justice Emeka Nwite is being accused of miscarriage of justice, Bello is, through his Counsels, Musa Yakubu (SAN) & Co, seeking the setting aside of the Warrant of Arrest believed to have been illegally issued against him on April 17, 2024, as well as return of the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, for re-assignment to another Judge.According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the Appeal was filed against the decisions of the trial Federal High Court, Abuja, in Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024.The former governor is also seeking an order of the Appeal Court, setting aside service of the EFCC Charge on him by substituted means, including the entire proceedings already conducted in the case.In a letter to Justice Emeka Nwite, dated July 12, 2024, counsel for Bello, Musa Yakubu (SAN) requested that further proceedings in the charge be adjourned sine die, pending the determination of the appeal filed by the former governor, which is pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.The letter obtained by NAN and a copy of which was sent to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, was in response to a letter to Justice Nwite, by the EFCC, dated July 8, 2024 and filed on the July 10, 2024, according to information from the court registry.In the letter, the EFCC requested for a variation of the earlier warrant of arrest issued against Bello, additionally requesting that the various security agencies be specifically directed to carry out the earlier arrest.Responding to the EFCC’s application, Bello’s counsel urged the court to decline the request and await the outcome of the appeal pending at the Court of Appeal over the controversial warrant of arrest and other related pronouncements of the trial Court.Counsel for Bello said, “Drawing from the position of the law as contained in Order 4 Rule 11(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2021 and the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in the case of Vab Petroleum INC V. Momah [Supra] and a litany of other cases too numerous to mention here, we respectfully urge this Honourable Court ex debito justitiae to; set aside and expunge from its records the proceedings of the 27th June, 2024, including any ruling, order or directive, same having been conducted in the face of the Defendant’s appeal entered on the 24th of May, 2024 and therefore reached per incuriam;“Refuse to countenance the application of the Complainant made vide the letter filed on the 10th of July, 2024 and or in the alternative refer same to the Court of Appeal for determination.“Adjourn further proceedings in this charge sine die pending the determination of Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/536/2024 entered by the Defendant and pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.”The letter read in part, “The Defendant to the Charge had on the 17th of May, 2024 filed a notice of appeal against the ruling of this Honourable Court made on the 10th of May, 2024 refusing to discharge brevi manu the warrant of arrest issued against the Defendant.“The Defendant pursuant to the said notice of appeal, compiled and transmitted record of appeal to the Court of Appeal and entered on the 24th of May, 2024, Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/536/2024.“Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Complainant has now filed the above referenced application seeking for the amendment of the warrant of arrest which was hitherto directed to the complainant only, to have it extended to the heads of other security and law enforcement agencies listed in the prosecuting Counsel’s letter.“My Lord, this Honourable Court cannot countenance the application or do anything with respect to the aforesaid warrant of arrest or conduct further proceedings in this charge in view of the provisions of Order 4 Rule 11(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2021 which is to the effect that:“After an appeal has been entered and until it has been finally disposed of, the Court shall be seized of the whole of the proceedings as between the parties thereto.’

Except as may be otherwise provided in these Rules, every application therein shall be made to the Court and not to the lower Court.“The warrant of arrest upon which the Complainant’s application is predicated, is subject of appeal in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/536/2024 and by the above reproduced provision of the Court of Appeal rules, this Honourable Court has become functus officio and no longer has the jurisdiction to entertain any application or do anything touching on the warrant of arrest issued on the 17th of April, 2024 as the Court of Appeal is now seized of the matter. By virtue of the appeal entered by the Defendant, the warrant of arrest subject of the Complainant’s application is now in total abeyance pending the determination of the Defendant’s appeal one way or another.“To take any contrary step to the provisions of Order 4 Rule 11(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2021, would be tantamount to undermining the Constitutional guaranteed Appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal under Section 240 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and against the grain of settled position of the law established by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the effect that, when an appeal has been entered, the lower Court no longer has the jurisdiction to do anything in the matter and ought to abide by the decision of the Appellate Court as any step taken by the trial Court in the face of such appeal is a nullity. see the case ofVab Petroleum INC V. Momah [20131 14 NWLR Part 1374 P. 284.”Furthermore, the attention of Justice Emeka Nwite was drawn to a similar case, also a criminal appeal,’ in which Justice Ismail Ijelu of the High Court of Lagos State stayed further proceedings, the Appellant having entered an appeal in Appeal No: CAIL/1159/2023 Between Chief Cletus Ibeto V. Federal Republic of Nigeria, challenging the warrant of arrest earlier issued against him, in the face of his preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the lower Court to entertain the charge filed by the Complainant against him.“The trial High Court, a Court of co-ordinate jurisdiction with Your Lordship’s Court has stayed further proceedings in the charge pending the determination of the appeal entered by the Appellant therein.“The Complainant’s application to you therefore, ought not to have been filed at all or if need be, ought to be brought before the Court of Appeal, Abuja which is now seized of the matter.

The Complainant’s Counsel as a senior member of the Bar is under a duty to have brought the appeal entered by the Defendant to the attention of this Honourable Court even during the proceedings of 27th of June, 2024, is rather proceeding egregiously as if he is oblivious of and impervious to the appeal entered by the Defendant to the Charge before your Lordship’s Court.“We therefore respectfully urge your Lordship not to be misled sir or hoodwinked by the Complainant into a head on collision with the Court of Appeal, but rather tow the above stated and well-established course of action.“To do otherwise, would be an affront on the hallowed principle of judicial hierarchy and stare decisis which is the very foundation of our legal system,” the letter added.The arraignment of the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, for alleged N80 billion money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission scheduled for Wednesday may be stalled again.This is because Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has been asked to adjourn proceedings indefinitely, pending the determination of an appeal filed by the former governor, which is pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.In the Appeal with no CA/ABJ/CR/535/2024, in which the trial Judge, Justice Emeka Nwite is being accused of miscarriage of justice, Bello is, through his Counsels, Musa Yakubu (SAN) & Co, seeking the setting aside of the Warrant of Arrest believed to have been illegally issued against him on April 17, 2024, as well as return of the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, for re-assignment to another Judge.According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the Appeal was filed against the decisions of the trial Federal High Court, Abuja, in Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024.The former governor is also seeking an order of the Appeal Court, setting aside service of the EFCC Charge on him by substituted means, including the entire proceedings already conducted in the case.In a letter to Justice Emeka Nwite, dated July 12, 2024, counsel for Bello, Musa Yakubu (SAN) requested that further proceedings in the charge be adjourned sine die, pending the determination of the appeal filed by the former governor, which is pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.The letter obtained by NAN and a copy of which was sent to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, was in response to a letter to Justice Nwite, by the EFCC, dated July 8, 2024 and filed on the July 10, 2024, according to information from the court registry.In the letter, the EFCC requested for a variation of the earlier warrant of arrest issued against Bello, additionally requesting that the various security agencies be specifically directed to carry out the earlier arrest.Responding to the EFCC’s application, Bello’s counsel urged the court to decline the request and await the outcome of the appeal pending at the Court of Appeal over the controversial warrant of arrest and other related pronouncements of the trial Court.Counsel for Bello said, “Drawing from the position of the law as contained in Order 4 Rule 11(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2021 and the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in the case of Vab Petroleum INC V. Momah [Supra] and a litany of other cases too numerous to mention here, we respectfully urge this Honourable Court ex debito justitiae to; set aside and expunge from its records the proceedings of the 27th June, 2024, including any ruling, order or directive, same having been conducted in the face of the Defendant’s appeal entered on the 24th of May, 2024 and therefore reached per incuriam;“Refuse to countenance the application of the Complainant made vide the letter filed on the 10th of July, 2024 and or in the alternative refer same to the Court of Appeal for determination.“

Adjourn further proceedings in this charge sine die pending the determination of Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/536/2024 entered by the Defendant and pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.”The letter read in part, “The Defendant to the Charge had on the 17th of May, 2024 filed a notice of appeal against the ruling of this Honourable Court made on the 10th of May, 2024 refusing to discharge brevi manu the warrant of arrest issued against the Defendant.“The Defendant pursuant to the said notice of appeal, compiled and transmitted record of appeal to the Court of Appeal and entered on the 24th of May, 2024, Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/536/2024.“Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Complainant has now filed the above referenced application seeking for the amendment of the warrant of arrest which was hitherto directed to the complainant only, to have it extended to the heads of other security and law enforcement agencies listed in the prosecuting Counsel’s letter.“My Lord, this Honourable Court cannot countenance the application or do anything with respect to the aforesaid warrant of arrest or conduct further proceedings in this charge in view of the provisions of Order 4 Rule 11(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2021 which is to the effect that:“After an appeal has been entered and until it has been finally disposed of, the Court shall be seized of the whole of the proceedings as between the parties thereto.’ Except as may be otherwise provided in these Rules, every application therein shall be made to the Court and not to the lower Court.“The warrant of arrest upon which the Complainant’s application is predicated, is subject of appeal in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/536/2024 and by the above reproduced provision of the Court of Appeal rules, this Honourable Court has become functus officio and no longer has the jurisdiction to entertain any application or do anything touching on the warrant of arrest issued on the 17th of April, 2024 as the Court of Appeal is now seized of the matter. By virtue of the appeal entered by the Defendant, the warrant of arrest subject of the Complainant’s application is now in total abeyance pending the determination of the Defendant’s appeal one way or another.“

To take any contrary step to the provisions of Order 4 Rule 11(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2021, would be tantamount to undermining the Constitutional guaranteed Appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal under Section 240 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and against the grain of settled position of the law established by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the effect that, when an appeal has been entered, the lower Court no longer has the jurisdiction to do anything in the matter and ought to abide by the decision of the Appellate Court as any step taken by the trial Court in the face of such appeal is a nullity. see the case ofVab Petroleum INC V. Momah [20131 14 NWLR Part 1374 P. 284.”Furthermore, the attention of Justice Emeka Nwite was drawn to a similar case, also a criminal appeal,’ in which Justice Ismail Ijelu of the High Court of Lagos State stayed further proceedings, the Appellant having entered an appeal in Appeal No: CAIL/1159/2023 Between Chief Cletus Ibeto V. Federal Republic of Nigeria, challenging the warrant of arrest earlier issued against him, in the face of his preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the lower Court to entertain the charge filed by the Complainant against him.“The trial High Court, a Court of co-ordinate jurisdiction with Your Lordship’s Court has stayed further proceedings in the charge pending the determination of the appeal entered by the Appellant therein.“The Complainant’s application to you therefore, ought not to have been filed at all or if need be, ought to be brought before the Court of Appeal, Abuja which is now seized of the matter. The Complainant’s Counsel as a senior member of the Bar is under a duty to have brought the appeal entered by the Defendant to the attention of this Honourable Court even during the proceedings of 27th of June, 2024, is rather proceeding egregiously as if he is oblivious of and impervious to the appeal entered by the Defendant to the Charge before your Lordship’s Court.“We therefore respectfully urge your Lordship not to be misled sir or hoodwinked by the Complainant into a head on collision with the Court of Appeal, but rather tow the above stated and well-established course of action.“To do otherwise, would be an affront on the hallowed principle of judicial hierarchy and stare decisis which is the very foundation of our legal system,” the letter added.

Salute to Soyinka, Osoba, Obaigbena, by Reuben Abati

“Within the week, there have been Nigerians born under this Zodiac sign whose celebration on their birthdays has proven to be impressive moments on this year’s cultural calendar: Professor Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka (July 13), Prince Nduka Obaigbena (July 14), Aremo Olusegun Osoba (July 15). They are on every count, persons worthy of celebration given their monumental achievements in their fields of engagement and the impact they have made on society and the enormous influence that they continue to wield. Soyinka, also known as W.S., Prof., Kongi, Eni Ogun, was 90.

Obaigbena, known as the Duke or Prince, Chairman turned 65 on July 14. Osoba, also known as Akinrogun, Aremo, Oluwo Oba is 85: each in his own way, a major national figure, meaning different things to many people, but altogether distinguished by their individual differentness and originality.”

Ex-VP Osinbajo Celebrates Wife’s Birthday With Heartfelt Message

Former Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has taken to social media to gush over his wife, Dolapo, as she marks her birthday anniversary on Monday.

Osinbajo took to his X handle (formerly Twitter) on Monday to pen down emotional messages with pictures of Dolapo appreciating arts and plants, to wish his wife well.

Osinbajo wrote: “Happy birthday my love @dolapoosinbajo.

“Your love, kindness, and generosity make all our lives so much happier.

“Love you always, Yemi xxx.”

He continued, saying, “This year I decided to share my favorite photos of Dolly @dolapoosinbajo doing her favorite things.”

Taking to the comment section, veteran Nollywood actress Joke Silva said, “Happy birthday to the Jewel in the Crown. Have an incredible day.”

Also, a former Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., Ibukun Awosika, reacted: “Happy birthday to a most beautiful person, both inside and outside. You are a true treasure and a worthy example of Christ in us. God bless you richly. Love you lots.”