Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Labour unions in the nation’s aviation sector will today begin an indefinite industrial action over the new organogram approved by the Federal Government.

The unions issued a Notice of Strike Action against the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Tuesday in Lagos.

The unions are: Air Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE).

Others are the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

Mr Francis Akinjole (Deputy General Secretary, ATSSSAN), Mr Rasaq Saidu (General Secretary, ANAP), Mr Aba Ocheme (General Secretary, NUATE) and Mr Umoh Ofonime ( Deputy General Secretary, NAAPE) jointly signed the strike notice.

The unions said the move was necessitated by the failure of the Federal Ministry of Transportation (Aviation) and the NCAA management to comply with the seven-day ultimatum issued on May 13.

According to the them, the ultimatum to review the newly approved organogram was completely ignored by the ministry, while the NCAA management reacted only with half-hearted measures.

They said: “This means that no single item on the demand list has been ameliorated.

“Having therefore, exhausted all efforts and patience on the issues and left with no other option, our unions hereby direct all staff of NCAA to commence an indefinite industrial action with effect from 5 a.m. on May 22.

“In the above regard, the general public is hereby notified that the situation will remain so until the issues are resolved.”

NAN reports that the unions had on May 13, staged a peaceful protest at the NCAA headquarters in Lagos to express their dissatisfaction with the new organogram and the non-promotion of some staff for over three years.

They said the new organogram recommended the collapse of five key directorates and departments in the NCAA. They are Consumer Protection, Licensing Standards, General Aviation, Aeromedicals and Legal Services.

According to the unions, this will annihilate several existing manned positions of Assistant General Managers, Deputy General Managers, General Managers and Directors in the various Directorates thereby leading to future redundancy.

However, Mr Sam Adurogboye, General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, told NAN that the unions were within their rights to voice their complaints over the new organogram and that the matter would be looked into by the management.

Adurogboye noted that collapsing of the directorates was done by the committee because they were established outside of the NCAA Act.

“On the issue of promotion, what happened is that everybody cannot be promoted when the positions available are few, so management have to use different criteria.

“Management is still looking at the issue and is considering posting some persons outside the headquarters to create more spaces for them,” he said.

Published in Travel & Tourism

United Bank for Africa (UBA) has asked Justice Mohammed Liman, presiding over a Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a motion filed by a Petroleum Resources firm, Sahara Energy Limited, seeking a discharge of an ex-parte order allowing the bank to advertise a petition it filed to wind-up the firm over alleged N15 billion debt.

The bank is currently locked in a legal battle with Sahara Energy over a N15 billion debt owed by KEPCO Energy Resources Limited (KEPCO). Sahara Energy was said to have stood as a guarantor to KEPCO to obtain.

Justice Liman had on 21st April, 2019, granted UBA’s ex-pate application seeking to advertise the petition to wind-up Sahara Energy over the alleged debt.

However, at the resumed hearing of the matter, Sahara Energy’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) drew the court’s attention to a motion he filed on behalf of his client to vacate the order.

He argued that the ex-parte order was expected to have lapsed at the expiration of the period allowed by the court’s rule.

In his reaction, UBA’s lawyer, Temilolu Adamolekun, opposed Olanipekun’s submissions on the ground that the rule of court was not applicable in the instant case.

He argued that the order was just a condition precedent to the hearing of the petition and was not targeted at anyone,

The lawyer further told the court that granting the Sahara Energy’s request would prevent the bank from advertising the petition thereby shutting out other interested parties.

Justice Liman has adjourned till Friday 24th May, 2019 to rule on the contentious issue.

Prior to the court’s hearing of arguments on the ex-parte motion, Olanipekun had withdrew another motion filed by him asking the judge to recuse himself from the case.

Justice Liman in a bench ruling declared that no other motion would be heard until the motion asking him to withdraw from the case is determined.

In an affidavit in support of the petition, UBA disclosed that it granted KEPCO a loan to the tune of $35 million in August 2013, to fund the acquisition of Egbin Power Plant,which Sahara Energy guaranteed.

The bank said KEPCO subsequently failed to meet its obligations even after restructuring the loan on two different occasions.

The interest on the rescheduled debt is said to have increased the facility to $42,282,430.49 or N15,221,674,976.40 as of December 31, 2018.

UBA added that Sahara Energy was notified several times to fulfill its obligation as a guarantor but had not done so, hence the the need to file a winding up suit.

“The company herein is insolvent and unable to pay its debt. In the circumstances, it is just and equitable that the company should be wound up,” the petition read.

The petitioner also sought “an order that the company, Sahara Energy Resources Ltd, be wound up by the court under the provisions of Companies and Allied Matters Act.”

Published in Bank & Finance

After issues on divorce, child custody is the next one to be worried about by most parents. Generally, in most States of America, the standard on custody arrangement always depends on the best interests of the child/children.

Moreover, to give you some heads-up, here are three of the frequently asked questions about child custody, including what should parents know and how they should deal with it.

  1. Without a court order, which parent has the right to sole custody?

Each parent possesses equal rights with regards to the custody of their children. However, it’s a different story when talking about which parent will have the sole custody if there’s no court order indicating the custody of a child or the children. The answer depends on the relationship status of the parents.

If there’s no court order and the parents of the child/children are married, then both parents have equal rights to the child/children unless the court will issue a custody order. Otherwise, if the parents are married to one another and have difficulties on agreeing about the custody of the child, one of them should file a divorce and/or get an order of the custody of the child/children from the court.

If the parents are already divorced, their divorce order should contain the name of the person who has the custody of the child. If one had received many court orders, they should follow the most recent one. One can get a copy of the most recent order from the court where they process their divorce papers.

If the parents are not married and have never been married, the biological mother of the children, regardless born outside of marriage, possesses the sole legal custody of them unless the court says otherwise, issuing an order that someone else has the custody of the child/children.

If the father wants to have the custody of the child/children, but there’s no court order, and he is not married to the mother, the father must build paternity to his child/children and ask the court for a custody order.

If a dangerous situation like the father will take away or not return the child/children from the mother, and they’re not married nor have court order, the mother should immediately call for help to the local police and make sure to mention the law stating that the mother has the custody or file a case in the court requesting for the return of the child.

  1. If the custodial parent died, what will happen?

The surviving parent will be considered the new guardian of the child/children after the death of the custodial parent. If the surviving parent is a father, paternity should be built physically and legally.

If the surviving parent is the father and is unmarried, he needs to sign an AOP or acknowledgment of paternity to have parental rights to a child legally. Otherwise, he’ll never have the right to a child.

 

  1. Can the custodial parent move out with the child/children to another state or out-of-state?

A custodial parent cannot move with the child/children to another state or out of state without acquiring prior permission from the court. Doing so will jeopardize the rights of the custodial parents as well as interfere the rights of the non-custodial parent. If the

If the custodial parent moved the child/children without the court approval and non-custodial parent, the custodial parent would be charged by a judge with a contempt order, which will involve fines, jail time, and even a change to the custody arrangements that will be mostly in favor of the noncustodial parent.

A judge can approve the relocation of the child/children if both the custodial and non-custodial parents agree and as long as this change will meet the child/children’s best interests.

Both parents should sign a written agreement stipulating the consent of an out-of-state move and send it to the court.  This agreement, which is called a stipulation or consent agreement, will become a court order after the judge approves it.

On the other hand, if both cannot agree, the parents should get mediation and look for a custody mediator or co-parenting counselor, who can help the parents to make the most favorable resolution. Otherwise, they should file a petition requesting the court to grant the parent’s wish of a relocation.

Takeaway

Losing parents is a heartbreaking situation. Children are considered the most vulnerable among all involved people at this time. If the loss of their parents is involved in a criminal case, the best decision is to ask experienced lawyers such as Michael Aed, the  Legal AED Criminal Lawyer to avoid further issues that can emotionally and physically affect the children.

 

Written by: Attorney Michael Aed

- Attorney Aed started his career as a public defender, but after only nine months of successfully defending misdemeanor charges, like DUIs, for clients, he was promoted to felony assignments. Mr. Aed practices law in state and federal court. He was also included in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers list by The National Trial Lawyers. 

Published in Opinion & Analysis

The Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, has given MTN Nigeria Communications Limited uptil has May 31 to pay the balance of N55bn out of the N330bn fine imposed on it.

The telecoms giant was fined for infractions on the SIM card registration regulationsby the NCC.

The regulatory agency, in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, also clarified that MTN had paid a total of N275bn, leaving a balance of N55bn that must be paid by the end of May.

The statement said: “Following a negotiated reduction of the N1.04tn fine on MTN Nigeria to N330bn and in line with the staggered payment arrangement, MTN has, so far, paid N275bn to the Federal Government.

“Part of the fallout of the negotiated terms of payment of the fine is the listing of MTN on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and this is being done.

“What this means, according to the staggered arrangement, is that May 31, 2019 would be the deadline for the telecoms company to pay the sixth and final tranche of the balance of N55bn.

“After six months of negotiation and re-negotiation over the fine which led to the reduction to N330bn, it was agreed that MTN would pay a balance of N280bn in six tranches. This was in addition to the “goodwill” payment of N50bn earlier made by MTN to the government.

“Specifically, MTN began the payment structure with the payment of N30bn into NCC’s Treasury Single Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, 30 days from the date of the agreement dated June 10 2016.

“Subsequently, MTN paid N30bn on March 31, 2017; N55bn on March 31, 2018; N55bn on December 31, 2018, and on March 31, it paid N55bn.

“The balance and final tranche of the payment will be paid by May 31 in line with the structure of the staggered payments agreed by MTN and the Nigerian government.”

It would be recalled that the NCC had on October 20, 2015, imposed a fine of N1.04tn on MTN for infraction of the provision of the NCC Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulations 2011; for failure to disconnect 5.2 million improperly-registered Subscriber Identification Modules lines within the prescribed deadline, because the lines had economic activities on them without proper registration.

Published in Telecoms
Wednesday, 22 May 2019 12:53

Nigeria is a strange country —US envoy

The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stuart Symington, has described Nigeria as a strange country with opportunities to make the world better.

The envoy stated this on Tuesday at a two-day 2019 USA Fair in Lagos.

He said Nigeria stands as the focal point that would drive development in Africa and the rest of the world.

“No doubt that there is a need in Nigeria, but never think of Nigeria alone. Think of West Africa, think of America, think of Africa, and think of the world.

“See every opportunity as one for Nigeria, one for America and one for the world. It should all be how to make the world a better place,” Symington said.

Also speaking at the event, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who was represented by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, said the country longs to do build relationship with America and Europe as well as Asia.

Osinbajo added that the government was committed to nurturing and building this relationship to its utmost for the benefits of both countries and the wider world.

“As great as America is, we want to partner with America. We want to also partner with Europe, Asia, the Middle East and other countries of the world,’’ he said.

“The many sectors that are represented here from America represent areas where Nigeria will be partnering with America for the greater good,’’ he said.

Published in World

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has hosted Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and UN Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate, in a session dubbed “A Conversation on Climate Justice.”

Chaired by ECA’s Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, the discussion revolved around Ms. Robinson’s recent book – Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future.

The Special Envoy deplored the fact that “those who suffer the worst effects of climate change are often the least responsible for it,” thus the need for climate justice.

She described climate change as a “man-made problem that requires a feminist solution,” noting that some of her most cherished forces in the battle for climate justice are women, mothers and grandmothers at grassroots level.

“Those are my heroes,” she said, “and that’s why nine of the 11 stories in this book are about women.”

She said it was crucial and urgent that everyone in the world takes personal responsibility for our families, our communities, and our ecosystems. That way, we would all be helping to create a “much fairer world that talks of leaving no one behind.”

She expressed optimism that “the developed world has woken up” and something is being done.

Such level of optimism may differ in Africa where Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director of the Pan African Justice Alliance, argued that climate justice isn’t getting the priority it deserves from governments.

“Africa is most affected and impacted by climate change but we don’t do much about it. Climate justice is becoming a mainstream issue in the global north than here in Africa,” said Mr. Mwenda.

We need strong governance systems to move the climate discourse and actions forward, he argued, urging the ECA to fortify collaboration with AUC and AfDB in line with the ClimDev-Africa programme, which was mandated by African leaders and established to create a solid foundation for Africa’s response to climate change.

He highlighted that Africa did not cause the enormous environmental degradation the world is suffering from – a thing Ms. Songwe said the continent can leverage to its advantage.

“We didn’t create it but we can profit the most from it. A climate smart economy is an extremely profitable economy. It’s an economy that will create more jobs and leave us cleaner and better,” said Ms. Songwe.

She encouraged the youth to “go out there and innovate,” and urged sister UN agencies to “create an alliance” to spur us all to go out there and do something – tree planning, for example.

Ms. Robinson was appointed UN Special Envoy along with Macharia Kamau of Kenya in 2016 to provide the leadership required to tackle climate related challenges in the world.

Published in World

Trump’s long-threatened trade war with China is now a reality. Beijing has met Washington’s sanctions with retaliatory measures as the world’s two most important economies square off.

Since Vice President Mike Pence’s speech to the Hudson Institute in October 2018, American policymakers have increasingly used hardline rhetoric toward China. FBI director Christopher Wray described China as a “whole of society threat” in testimony to Congress.

The view that China’s rise has come at the expense of the US is now seen as conventional wisdom. The evidently warm relationship established by leaders Donald Trump and Xi Jinping over chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago in 2017 seems a world away.


Read more: After APEC, US-China tensions leave 'cooperation' in the cold


Given this, it is unsurprising that many scholars and analysts have described the emergence of a new Cold War between China and the US (including myself in an essay last year).

The Cold War seems an obvious historical parallel. Like the former Soviet Union, China is also a communist country. And the US and China both have genuinely global interests and the capacity to act on those interests around the world.

But is the deteriorating state of US-China relations likely to tip the world back into the kind of ideological and geopolitical competition that dominated international politics for four decades after the second world war?

The Cold War’s unique dynamics

The Cold War was unlike any great power rivalry that has come before. Most obviously, it was the first geopolitical contest of the nuclear age. Both the US and Soviet Union rapidly developed vast arsenals of the most devastating weapons yet conceived. And their jockeying for power and influence meant that the threat of global annihilation was an ever-present risk.

But it was not just a contest for power – the Cold War was also fight between two evangelical ideologies. Each side believed their respective ideologies – liberal capitalism and Soviet communism – represented universal and fundamentally superior ways of organising society. The mobilisation of resources on a global scale, the nature of these commitments, and the risks they were willing to take was underpinned by the ideological dimensions of the contest.

The Cold War was principally focused on Europe and East Asia, yet it had a global reach. As colonial empires crumbled after 1945, the Soviets and Americans competed for influence among those fighting for their independence and the newly free. This indirect competition, which led at times to proxy wars, and its consequence of dividing the world into duelling blocs was the Cold War’s third main component.

…And a very different current world order

Sino-American relations are at their lowest point since at least 1989 and appear to be entering a level of mutual mistrust and suspicion not seen since the 1970s. Yet in spite of the trade war, explicit calls from US officials to treat China as a full-spectrum threat, and a growing militarisation of their interactions in the western Pacific, this is no Cold War.

More importantly, Sino-American relations are not even on that trajectory. And shrewd statecraft could easily avoid a repeat of the four decades when the world sat on the edge of nuclear apocalypse.

Presently, there is no meaningful ideological dimension to the competition between the two. While China is formally a communist state, its economy is an unusual mix of command, market and statist forms.


Read more: Are China and the US destined for war?


The country also shows little interest in spreading its particular mix of ideas and values globally, although, like all great powers, it is interested in increasing its global influence. China adheres to an orthodox view of sovereignty and evinces no meaningful desire to reshape the political and economic structures of states in its own image.

Equally, the contest between the world’s top two economies has not moved beyond the Asian theatre, geo-politically. Clearly, the US is concerned that Chinese technology may be used on a global scale to advance the country’s interests, hence its very visible campaign to try to contain Huawei’s global reach, but this is a long way from using conscripts to intervene in conflicts in Vietnam and Korea.

And most obviously, the economies of the USSR and US were hermetically sealed from one another. They may as well have been on different planets, such was the sparse nature of their interactions. The US and China could not be more different.

A rivalry for a new age

Today, China presents an increasingly confident face on the global stage. It is increasingly assertive and at times even abrasive in the way it tries to advance its interests.

But it is not yet explicitly contesting the US role in Asia or indeed the world. Rather, it is testing the US-led order to probe for vulnerability and creating new institutions to try to shape the world around it, like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Belt and Road Initiative.


Read more: In the economic power struggle for Asia, Trump and Xi Jinping are switching policies


But it is a long way from a direct confrontation. In part, this is because China’s risk appetite is not that great. But it’s also because Beijing believes it does not need to take such steps to increase its influence in the world.

For its part, the US has moved from its cautious engagement of China to a position in which it is trying to counter Chinese advances and contain its influence. Even with the tariff wars, the two remain profoundly economically interdependent and it will take many years for any real de-coupling of their relationship to occur.

The first great power rivalry of the 21st century has begun. It is not a re-run of the Cold War, however. Instead, this rivalry will look unlike any that has come before it. How acute the competition will be and the consequences for the world order will depend on the price China and the US are willing to pay to undermine and limit the other’s ambition.The Conversation

 

Nick Bisley, Head of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University, La Trobe University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in World

Zimbabwe hiked fuel prices by around half on Tuesday, the second sharp rise in four months, a day after the central bank effectively removed a subsidy by ending oil importers’ access to U.S. dollars at a favourable rate.

The fuel price rise, likely to push up the country’s soaring inflation rate, was accompanied by a plunge in the country’s RTGS dollar - which posted its biggest one-day fall against the U.S. dollar on the interbank market.

Oil firms started buying dollars on the interbank to import fuel on Tuesday, having previously been allowed to use a 1:1 dollar to RTGS$ rate.

The latest price increase had been expected. It followed a 150% fuel price hike in January, which sparked violent street protests and led to the death of a dozen people after a harsh security crackdown.[nL8N1ZE26M]

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) said in a circular that diesel would now cost RTGS$4.89, up from RTGS$3.26, and petrol RTGS$4.97, compared with RTGS$3.38. It had earlier on Tuesday denied plans to increase the price of fuel.

The Reserve Bank had been under pressure to remove the fuel subsidy, with economists saying some fuel companies were accessing cheap foreign currency and selling it on the black market instead of importing fuel.

Traders at three commercial banks said the RTGS$ had weakened to a low of 4.6 against the greenback compared to 3.5 at the opening of trading on Tuesday, its biggest drop in a day since the interbank was launched on Feb. 22.

“We are still in a period of price discovery since the central bank said the exchange rate should reflect the market. It is still a buyers’ market and no sellers are coming in at this rate,” said a trader at a commercial bank in Harare.

On the black market, the RTGS$ was trading at 6 to the dollar, having come off highs of 6.3 last week Friday.

The fuel price hike will likely trigger another round of price increases in a country where the inflation rate reached 75.86% in April, the highest in a decade.

“On one end it is good that the fuel price now reflects the official exchange rate but the downside is that it will impact every cost in the country and put pressure on wages,” Harare-based economist John Robertson said.

The interbank market was meant to encourage businesses and individuals to trade foreign exchange using official channels and improve the flow of dollars.

But this did not happen, with traders accusing the central bank of manipulating the exchange rate, which forced many Zimbabweans to trade for dollars on a thriving black market.

The dollar crunch has led to prices of basic goods soaring. Some businesses charge for their goods in U.S. dollars to cushion themselves against the weakening local currency.

Treasury’s permanent secretary, George Guvamatanga, said the government would subsidize public transport and that the state bus company would charge a maximum of RTGS$1 for local trips to cushion commuters from the effects of the fuel price hikes.

 

- Reuters

Published in Economy

A Kenyan judge suspended a ban on gambling ads after a musician complained it robbed him of his right to make celebrity endorsements, court papers showed.

The government brought in a raft of new regulations this month - including bans on such endorsements and advertising on social media - saying the rapidly growing industry was harming the young and the poor.

But musician, Muriji Kamau Wanjohi launched a legal challenge days after the restrictions were imposed, calling them “irrational and unreasonable”, court papers showed.

He argued that the ban deprived him of income since he “earns a living thorough endorsement of products and services due to his influence and celebrity status”.

“My client’s economic rights and those of other celebrities’ were in danger,” Wanjohi’s lawyer Dennis Murithi told Reuters.

Nairobi high court judge James Makau ruled on Monday that the new regulations should be halted until the musician’s petition had been considered, according to the court documents. The gaming industry in Kenya has grown substantially over the last five years, to 200 billion shillings ($1.98 billion) from 2 billion, the interior ministry says.

 

- Reuters

Published in Business

Mr Moses Garuba, Commandant General, Federal Task Force (FTF) has reiterated the commitment of the unit to boost revenue for the Federal Government.

Garuba stated this during a Public Hearing on Revenue Defaulters, Piracy and National Heritage Protection Bill, 2017 before a joint sitting of the senate committees on Finance, Culture and Tourism.

The bill, which scaled first and second readings on March 22, 2017 and Dec. 20, 2017 was sponsored Sen. Sam Anyanwu (PDP-Imo).

The bill seeks to generate funds from revenue defaulters, piracy as well protect national heritage among others.

“We are happy that the bill has scaled first and second reading and today we had a public hearing,” he said.

Garuba dismissed fears that the task force would only end up replicating functions of other government agencies, saying, “our mandate is clear, and never a duplication of function”

He said that besides revenue generation, the force would create employment for the teeming youth across the country.

“Our mandate covers recovering federal monuments that are wasting across thecountry, the fear that this will be a burden on the government is seriously misplaced.

“For instance, one of our mandates is to task motorists whose cars emit carbon monoxide beyond acceptable level, we get offenders to pay fines in areas that other agencies cannot,” he said.

Speaking during the hearing, Senate Co-Chairman of the joint committee, Sen. John Enoh, urged agencies that made presentations at the hearing to submit their papers to the committee secretariat.

He assured that the committee would analyse the presentations with a view to forwarding a report to the senate as soon as possible.

Published in Bank & Finance
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