The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the transmission of a Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill to the National Assembly to facilitate the establishment of an Agency for recovered assets.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the 15th virtual meeting of the Council, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said the bill when approved by NASS, would ensure the establishment of the agency which would be saddled with the responsibility of managing all recovered assets across the country.
He said: “The Office of the Attorney General and the Federal of Ministry of Justice presented a Council memo today.
“The Council memo is about a bill which will seek the approval of the Council to transmit to the National Assembly for passage
“It is a Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill. It is in essence a bill that is targeted at intended to have in place a legal and institutional framework.
“The legal component of it is having a law and the institutional component of it is to have an agency that will be saddled with the responsibility of managing the assets that constitute the proceeds of crime in Nigeria.
“So, with that kind of arrangements, which is adhoc, there is no agency of government that is saddled with the responsibility of data generation, an agency that can give you off head the number of landed assets, number of immovable assets, the amount in cash that are recovered by the Federal Government by way of interim forfeiture over weigh of a final forfeiture.
“So it is indeed over time a kind of arrangement that is not uniform and consistent.
“So, what this law seeks to do is to move the fight against corruption to the next level; next level of transparency; next level of accountability and in essence have in place an agency of government that is exclusively responsible for anything proceeds of crime.
“So, a one-stop-shop arrangement by which all assets that are recovered arising from crimes that are indeed vested in the federal government – you have a one-stop-shop arrangement where you can have an information.’’
Malami dismissed the assertion that the proposed agency was informed by the fallout of the ongoing investigation of the activities of the suspended acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, who also spoke on the outcome of the meeting, said she presented a memo to council in respect of the second quarter GDP report.
The report was earlier released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Aug. 24.
She said: “The GDP report shows that the economy went into negative growth of -6.10 per cent in the second quarter but that the aggregate performance for half year 2020 is -2.1per cent.
“This performance of -6.10per cent is a good performance in the sense that it is better than what we have projected second quarter performance to be at -7.2per cent.
“This performance also is a good performance because it outperformed the projections that had been done by the Brentwood institutions but it also outperformed very developed economies of the world and also economies that are comparable to us.
“The US for example went into negative growth of 33per cent for the second quarter 2020 and 19per cent half year 2020.
“Similarly, the UK, Canada, Italy and several countries of the world all went into very significant negative growth.’’
The minister, therefore, noted that Nigeria’s economy had shown some level of resilience in this level of performance.
She disclosed that the ministry also reported to Council that even though out of the 46 sectors of the economy, 30 of these sectors showed negative growth but there were still some sectors that were growing on the positive territory.
According to the minister, these sectors include agriculture as well as financial services and the ICT services.
“This is actually showing that even during the COVID-19 era, there were still some sectors that stood firm and indeed were growing.
“The inflation was also reported to be moving up gradually, capital Information did not dry up despite the lockdown and the difficulties all countries experienced.
“But this is reflected by the significant decline in capital importation into the country.’’
She also noted that the exchange rate had moved up from 326 dollars at the beginning of the quarter to 367dollars.
Other interventions meant to stabilize the economy, according to her, include intervention funds for small, medium enterprises to be able to borrow; intervention funds for health sector as well as intervention funds for infrastructure.
“All of these are designed to ensure continuous economic activities help to stabilize the economy.
“We are lucky that these things were rolled out early reducing the impact of the negative growth,’’ she added.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Gov. Zulum mourns Col. Dahiru Bako killed by insurgents in Borno
Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno has condoled with the Nigerian Army over the demise of Col. Dahiru Bako, killed in an ambush by Boko Haram insurgents.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Bako was ambushed on Sept. 20 while leading his troops on a clearance at Sabon Gari-Wajiroko axis in Damboa Local Government Area of the state.
Zulum, whose condolence message was in a statement released by his Special Adviser Media and Strategies, Malam Isa Gusau in Maiduguri on Monday, said the sacrifices of the senior and other slain soldiers would not be in vain.
He said: “It was public knowledge that I liked late Col. Bako and so did many people.
“Bako was a true soldier who inspired his troops and led them to frontlines with exceptional courage that was clearly out of pure patriotism.
“He fought very hard and very well. He defeated many enemies of peace and protected many sons and daughters of Borno State to the extent that he gave his life defending the people.
“By the grace of God, the supreme sacrifices made by Col. Bako and many other heroes like him in the armed forces and volunteers shall not be in vain.
“The deaths of our heroes, sad as they are, only reinforce our confidence in the strong will exhibited by our gallant troops and volunteers, that defending our country comes ahead of everything.
“The people of Borno will forever be grateful to late Col. Bako and everyone like him. We pray that Allah forgives his shortcomings and those of all our fallen heroes.”
The governor pledged his administration’s continued support to the Nigerian army to enable its personnel to execute the counter terrorism campaign and restore total normalcy in the state.
Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Ejike Obeta
NCDC announces 195 new COVID-19 cases, death toll hits 1,100
The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Monday.
According to the agency, the new infection takes the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 57,437.
The health agency sadly reported two new deaths raising the death toll in the country to 1,100.
It also reported that 105 patients who had been treated and had also recovered from the infection were discharged across the country.
Among other states that recorded new cases were Rivers (12), Kaduna (8), Ondo (3), Bauchi (2), Edo (1), and Ogun (1).
According to the agency, till date, 57,437 cases have been confirmed, 48,674 cases have been discharged and 1100 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the FCT.
The health agency said a multi-sectoral national emergency operation centre (EOC) activated at Level three, had continued to coordinate the national response activities across the country.
Meanwhile, the agency has warned that majority of Nigerian states were not testing enough.
It said, “We do not have enough data coming out of these states to ascertain if we are improving or not or where exactly we are.
“So we have to work together; in summary, it is way too early to make any interpretation whether we are flattening the curve or not.”
The NCDC appealed to more states to test consistently so that progress could be monitored on a national level.
Edited By: Ejike Obeta
NSE, others commit to expanding retail investment opportunities in capital market
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the webinar was on “Capital Market Investing in a Digital Age”.
Mr Oscar Onyema, Chief Executive Officer, NSE, in his address, said that investor participation was crucial to sustainable economic growth.
Onyema said that the Exchange was committed to playing its role in advancing the Federal Government’s financial inclusion goals.
“Investor participation is central to the growth of sustainable development of any economy.
“NSE is committed to playing a critical role in the advancement of the FG’s financial inclusion goals.
“As part of our efforts to realise the objectives of the financial inclusion, we intend to facilitate conversations which will serve to equip existing and potential investors with the necessary skill to effectively manage and grow financial resources at their disposal.
“In these engagements, we will also expand the retail investment opportunities available in the capital market and the channels through which they can be accessed,” Onyema said.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 adversely affected the global economy in many ways and at different magnitude.
“The Nigerian capital market was also negatively affected, with the market witnessing a downturn in Q1 of this year.
“However, the market rebounded in Q2 and as a result the NSE all share index has recorded a 18.9 per cent increase from its position at the end of March.
“The market also witnessed the growth in the percentage value of equity transactions contributed by retail investors, currently at 29 per cent from 21.8 per cent in 2018 and 24.72 per cent in 2019,” he said.
According to him, these highlight the market’s resilience in time of adversity and is a testament of market stakeholders’ ability to adapt.
Onyema said that digital technology played a significant role in achieving the positive results recorded in the NSE so far.
He said that technology had helped to make significant services more easily accessible.
Mr Laolu Martins, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NISL, said that it had become imperative to ensure that retail investors were made aware of the opportunities inherent in the capital market.
Martins said that for retail investors, navigating through the web of processes in the capital market was usually difficult, thereby discouraging them from investing.
He said: “The general belief is that retail investors are often left behind and do not have enough knowledge on the workings of the capital market.
“NISL is a securities trading company, financial advisory service, offering consulting solutions to corporate bodies across the value of activities on the stock exchange.
“In order to invest properly, all investors need to carry out some sort of financial planning, no matter how small or big.
“We realised that for retail investors, it is usually difficult for them to navigate through these web of processes and other issues that create a bottleneck or discourage investors.”
Martins said that some processes that create difficulties for investors include budgeting, investment, savings, risk management and liquidity management.
“At NISL, we have enough expertise to ensure that we help our investors navigate through this web of terms and processes to ensure that their investment is rewarding,” he said.
Martins said the reason for the webinar was to expose some of the investment opportunities for retail investors.
“This webinar is to enlighten the investing public, retail investors, that they can buy bonds in the NSE and it is like lending your money to a company or a government entity.
“It is advisable that retail investors should approach their stockbrokers to guide them in which bond they should invest in,” he said.
Mr Femi Balogun, Head, Market services Department, NSE, spoke on the importance of market data in guiding investors’ decision.
“Market data is important to the investment of an intending investor.
“Some people are good at picking stocks, but If you use data to drive your decision in conjunction with your expertise, you make a better informed decision on your investment,” he said.
Amolegbe said that the Exchange had always provided avenues that would support and ensure a seamless investing process for retail and other investors.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Oluwole Sogunle
Imo Govt. moves to restore Owerri masterplan to check flooding
Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo, has said his administration is desirous to restore the original masterplan of Owerri, the capital city, as part of the efforts to tackle flood-related issues in the state.
Uzodinma said this on Monday, when a delegation of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) came on an advocacy to the state.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Mr Cosmos Iwu, said that plans were underway to demolish all the houses built on the waterways in the city “in order to give the water access to flow into Otamiri River.”
He also said that government had carried out series of sensitisation programmes in the state aimed at preparing the people for emergencies and called for the agency’s support.
“We are appealing to NEMA to assist us because the environmental impact of the flood in Imo is bigger than us.
“We have been doing our best and we will continue to do our best. We have received some relief items from NEMA but we are asking for more.
“We also commend your visit to Imo, it shows serious commitment on the side of NEMA,” the governor said.
In a speech, the Director-General of the agency, AVM Mohammed Mohammed (rtd.), appealed to the state government and major disaster stakeholders to demonstrate greater commitment to disaster management.
Mohammed, who was represented by Deputy Director (Accounts) in the agency, Mr Abdul-Aziz Jibrin, said that the visit was to ascertain the level of preparedness by Imo government in case of any disaster.
He said that the state was among the states in Nigeria likely to witness flooding this year as predicted by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency.
The NEMA boss said that Imo had shown capacity in disaster management in the past and urged Gov. Hope Uzodimma to show more commitment in mitigating flood and other disasters in the state.
“We are here on advocacy visit and awareness campaign to sensitise the people on the need to be prepared at all times.
“I am assuring Imo of NEMA’s full commitment to partner with the government and dissaster stakeholders in the area of disaster management,” he said.
Mohammed listed Ohaji-Egbema, Ogutta, Oru-East and Owerri North as highly probable flood risk local government areas in the state.
He warned that other council areas, “which does not fall under high probability may also be affected.”
He said that although the state seemed prepared for any disaster, there was need for the government to ensure regular sensitisation of the people to be vigilant.
“We have interacted with all the disaster stakeholders and government and I can assure you that we are satisfied with their level of preparedness.
“But they must not relent in showing commitment at all times,” Mohammed said.
He said the agency was also in Imo to interact with other disaster stakeholders to know their challenges and the way forward.
The Commander, 211 Quick Response Group Nigerian Air Force, Group Capt. Elisha Bindul, assured the NEMA delegation in his office of the command’s commitment to disaster management.
Bindul said the command had also embarked on advocacy visits to various community leaders in Imo to sensitise them on disaster management.
He said the command also carried out rescue operations in various communities and also provided security to NEMA officials during emergencies.
“It is our legal responsibility to carry out rescue operations during emergency and to also collaborate with other stakeholders in mitigating disaster,” Bindul said.
He listed limited speed boats and life jackets, ambualances and mattresses as some of the challenges facing the command during interventions in disaster management.
He solicited the assistance of the agency in providing the necessary logistics to the command for a better proactive approach to disaster management.
He promised the command’s readiness to continue to partner with the agency in disaster management in the state.
Edited By: Sam Oditah