Ahead of Saturday’s (tomorrow’s) presidential and National Assembly elections, President Muhammadu Buhari has said, he would remain in power and take Nigeria forward for the next four years.
 
He told CNN Africa that nobody will unseat him in an interview aired this Friday on the verified Instagram page of the international media platform.
 
Answering question on fears about his ability to run the country for a second term, Buhari said he was ready to continue as Nigeria’s leader and take the country forward for the next four years.
 
“This is a vibrant democracy. You came in, unseating the incumbent. Are you worried the same could happen to you?” his interviewer asked.
 
Responding, Buhari answered, “No. Nobody would unseat me. I am ready to take this country forward for the next four years.”
 
On the issue of Boko Haram Buhari said, “We have 774 local governments in this country. They (Boko Haram) used to hold 17. They are not technically holding any local government now.
 
“But they are indoctrinating young men and women, especially girls, wrap them up with explosives and let them explode them in soft targets like churches, mosques, marketplaces, motor parks and other places.
 
“Of course, we are doing our best (to contain the terror) and we thank some foreign countries in Europe and the United States for training our armed forces and going to the battlefront to see how they have performed.”
 
The race for the presidency seat is considered to be between incumbent President Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
 
The two are Fulanis and from the northern part of Nigeria while their running mates are from the Southern part of Nigeria.
 
 
Nigeria’s inflation dropped by 0.07 percent in January 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics reports.
 
According to the NBS, the consumer price index, (CPI) which measured inflation increased by 11.37 percent (year-on-year) in January 2019.
 
“This is 0.07 percent points lower than the rate recorded in December 2018 (11.44) percent. Increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yielded the Headline index,” it said.
 
On month-on-month basis, the NBS said the Headline index increased by 0.74 percent in January 2019, same rate as was recorded in December 2018 (0.74) percent.
 
“The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the twelve months period ending January 2019 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve months period was 11.80 percent, showing 0.3 percent point from 12.10 percent recorded in December 2018.
 
“The urban inflation rate increased by 11.66 percent (year-on-year) in January 2019 from 11.73 percent recorded in December 2018, while the rural inflation rate increased by 11.11 percent in January 2019 from 11.18 percent in December 2018,” it added.
Twenty two stocks witnessed an increase in their prices on Thursday on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, leading to a rebound in the market, with investors gaining N14.83 billion.
 
Prices of 13 stocks however witnessed a decline at the end of trading.
 
The rebound is coming after the market witnessed a decline on Wednesday, with market capitalisation shedding a total of N18 billion.
 
At the end of trading on Thursday, market capitalisation rose from N12.087tn to N12.102tn, with the All Share Index increasing by 0.12 per cent from 32,413.92 basis points on Wednesday to 32,453.69bps on Thursday. Thereby improving the year-to-date return to 3.4 per cent.
 
Activity level however weakened as 423.379 million shares worth N3.729bn exchanged hands in 4,417 deals, representing a 10.1 per cent and 12.1 per cent decline in volume and value traded, respectively.
 
The top traded stocks by volume were Diamond Bank Plc (97.6 million units), Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (41.1 million units) and Zenith Bank Plc (40.3 million units), while the top traded stocks by value were Zenith Bank (N997.1m), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (N992.6m) and Access Bank Plc (N263.7m).
 
Performance across sectors was largely bullish as three of five indices closed in the positive territory.
 
The insurance index was the biggest gainer, recording a 1.2 per cent increase, while the industrial and consumer goods indices gained 0.7 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively due to buying interest in Dangote Cement Plc, Lafarge Africa Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc and P Z Cussons Nigeria Plc.
 
The oil and gas and banking indices however declined by 0.8 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively on the back of profit-taking in Oando Plc, Eterna Plc, Zenith Bank and Access Bank.
 
Investors’ sentiment strengthened to 1.7x from the 0.7x recorded on Wednesday.
 
Associated Bus Company Plc, Livestock Feeds Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Unilever and Wema Bank Plc, topped the price gainers, as their share prices gain 10 per cent, 10 per cent, 9.62 per cent, 6.82 per cent and 6.74 per cent, respectively.
 
On the other side, Union Bank Nigeria Plc, Oando, Dangote Flour Mills Plc, Union Diagnostic and Clinical Services Plc and Eterna topped the losers table as their share prices declined by 8.03 per cent, 5.17 per cent, 4.57 per cent, 3.23 per cent and 3.09 per cent.
 

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday reinstated that he will conduct a free, fair and peaceful presidential election on Saturday and charged Nigerians to turn out massively to cast their votes.

The president, in a nationwide broadcast, assured Nigerians that the government would do its very best to ensure that the 2019 elections take place in a secure and peaceful atmosphere.

“It was indeed such free, fair and peaceful elections that made it possible for our Government to emerge, despite the fact that we were contesting against a long-standing incumbent party.

“And as your president and a fellow Nigerian, I ask that you come out and queue to fulfill this important obligation you have to yourselves and your fellow citizens – and to our common future.

“Let me at this point, reaffirm the commitment of the Federal Government to the conduct of free and fair elections in a safe and peaceful atmosphere. Just yesterday, I signed the Peace Accord alongside 72 other presidential candidates,” he said.

Buhari assured all Nigerians, the diplomatic community and all foreign election observers of their safety and full protection, saying that any comments or threats of intimidation from any source did not represent the position of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“As Government has a critical role in maintaining the democratic traditions, so do citizens. I therefore urge you all, as good Nigerians, to take a personal interest in promoting and maintaining peace in your respective neighbourhoods during the elections. This is certainly not a time to allow personal, religious, sectional or party interests to drive us to desperation,” he said.

The president appealed to the youth not allow themselves to be used to cause violence and destruction., saying that “the people who want to incite you are those preparing the ground for discrediting the elections. Having lost the argument, they fear losing the elections.”

He said when Nigerians elected him in 2015, it was essentially in consequence of his promise of CHANGE, stressing that “we committed ourselves to improving security across the country, putting the economy on a sound footing and tackling rampant corruption, which had in many ways become a serious drawback to national development.

“Our Government spent the last 3 years and 9 months striving faithfully to keep this promise, in spite of very serious revenue shortages caused mainly by a sharp drop in international oil prices and an unexpected rise in the vandalisation of oil installations, which, mercifully have now been curtailed.”

According to Buhari, “our choices have had consequences about employment and cost of living. In making your choice this time, please ask yourself whether, and in what ways, others will do anything different to address the issues of Agriculture, Infrastructure, Security, Good Governance and Fighting Corruption.

“If they are only hoping to do what we are already doing successfully, we are clearly your preferred choice. Think carefully and choose wisely. This time, it is a choice about consolidating on growth for Jobs and Prosperity. February 16th is all about a choice. But it is more than a choice between APC and the opposition. It is a choice about you, it is a choice between going back or keeping the momentum of CHANGE.

“The road to greater prosperity for Nigeria may be long, but what you can be assured of is a Leadership that is not prepared to sacrifice the future well-being of Nigerians for our own personal or material needs. You can be assured of my commitment to remain focused on working to improve the lives of all Nigerians.”

Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Onnoghen has pleaded not guilty to charges of non-declaration of assets levelled against him.

Onnoghen arrived the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT on Friday morning after he was threatened with arrest.

The suspended CJN entered the dock to answer charges levelled against him.

Upon the request by the prosecution, the tribunal Chairman ordered that the charge be read to the defendant.

An official of the tribunal read the charge to him, to which he pleaded not guilty.

 

 

Source: PmNews

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria has adjourned for further hearing of the N6,441,369,617.73 suit instituted against Zenith Bank Plc, by a Lagos businessman, Olusola Adejugbe and his company Tonique Oil Services limited over alleged excess and illegal charges.
 
By a further amended statement of claim accompanied by written statement on Oath sworn to by Adejugbe and filed before the court by Lanre Ogunlesi SAN, the businessman averred that in the course of his business engagements, his company Tonique Oil Services Limited obtained several credit facilities from Zenith Bank PLC while he pledged three of his properties as securities for the loan facilities.
 
The plaintiffs averred that three different transactions leading to this litigation occurred in the company’s current account whereby excess interest and charges were discovered. The company demanded for a reversal but the bank refused.
 
A forensic accounting firm was commissioned to scrutinize and analyse the Company’s account. It was then discovered that between August 2006 and December 2013, excess interest and charges on the Company’s account by Zenith Bank Plc amounted to N1,842,471,801.99.
 
By a letter dated 19th February 2008, the bank granted Tonique Oil Services Company commercial paper facility of N2,568,644,276.09 to finance the purchase of 30,000MT of Petroleum products, but N2,501,270,000 was credited into the account of the company.
 
However, it was alleged further that instead of Zenith Bank financing the purchase of 30,000 metric tons of Petroleum products for the company as per letter of offer, the entire sum of N2,501,270,000 was diverted by the bank for the purchase of its own shares during the bank’s initial public offer, a conduct that is unethical, unprofessional and reprehensive.
 
In addition, out of the sum of N104,363,212.03 assessed as dividends payable on the bank’s shares only N42,173,498.43 was credited into the company’s account leaving outstanding balance of N62,169,713.60.
 
The bank’s shares purportedly bought by the Tonique Oil Company with the facilities granted by Zenith bank were managed by the bank so much that the bank eventually liquidated the shares after the value has nose-dived and depreciated.
 
Another activity on the Tonique Oil Company current account with the bank was the sale and purchase of a property in Port Harcourt that belonged to one of the shareholders /customers of the bank who needed to clean up some of his obligations to the bank. It was the bank who introduce Tonique Oil company to the shareholders 50,000 square meters of land out of which the company bought 20,000 square metres for the purpose of expanding its business earnings.
 
To facilitate the purchase of the land, the bank offered the company a term loan of N500,000 and it was part of understanding of the company and the bank that after the purchase of the land, the bank will finance the company’s Tank forms to be built thereon.
 
After the purchase of the land, the bank took possession of the title documents of the land as collateral but reneged on the promise and understanding to finance the Company’s tank farm on the land and since 2008 the land had been under the management of the bank and the same had been lying fallow.
 
In this circumstance, the plaintiffs contended that Tonique Oil Company was not indebted to the bank and any alleged indebtedness could only have been arisen as a result of the unconscionable and illegal acts of the bank’s officials in debiting the company’s account with astronomical spurious interest charged, consequently the plaintiffs also contended that such interest charges are illegal in that they contravene the Central Bank of Nigeria Monetary Credit and Foreign Exchange/Trade guidelines.
 
The plaintiffs financial consultant computed other charges that were passed into the account of the company, base on relevant policy circulars, guide to bank charges of Central bank of Nigeria and discovered that the bank excessively overcharged the company on interest on overdraft, COT, and VAT on COT, Management Fees, upcountry transfer fees, interest on commercial paper, foreign exchange purchases and letter of credits.
 
Consequently, the plaintiffs are contending that they are not indebted to the bank rather the bank has overcharged the plaintiffs to several billions of Naira.
 
The plaintiffs are urging the court to declare that Zenith Bank being a bank within the supervisions and control of CBN cannot charge interest on any facilities granted to them beyond the official approved policy rate of the Central bank of Nigeria.
 
The plaintiffs are also urging the court not only to restrain the bank from selling their property pledged as securities for the loan but to also compel Zenith Bank to pay Tonique Oil services company the sum of ₦6,441,369,617.73 being the total excess charges debited into the company’s account by the bank and interest on the same amount at the rate of 21% per annum from the date of judgement of the court until final liquidation.
 
However, by its further statement of defence accompanied with statement on oath sworn to by Senior Assistant Manager, Internal Control and Audit Department of Zenith bank, Vincent Ohanugo and filed before the court, the bank denied almost all the company’s claim and stated that the company was granted the following loans: ₦2.5 billion regular commercial paper , $36 million united state Dollars import finance facility, $6,648,000 commercial paper /usance facility $9 million Dollars import finance facility via usance facility $11 million Dollars short term import facility of ₦500 million.
 
 
Source: PmNews
Nigeria’s crude oil production including condensate has taken a dip, falling to 1.999 million barrels per day in January from 2.081 million bpd in December, figures from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has revealed.
 
This is contrary to a production benchmark of 2.3m bpd used for the 2019 budget estimates by the Federal Government.
 
However, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, in its latest monthly oil report released on Tuesday, said Nigeria’s oil production dropped to 1.687 million bpd in January from 1.797 million bpd.
 
It would be recalled that OPEC and 10 non-OPEC countries agreed in December to cut oil production by 1.2 million bpd effective from January for an initial period of six months to shore up what many expected to be weakening market fundamentals ahead.
 
Nigeria’s oil production was to be cut by 53,000 barrels to arrive at a new quota of 1.685 million bpd down from Nigeria reference production figure of 1.797m bpd.
 
The OPEC’s 14 members pumped 30.81 million bpd in January, down from 31.60 million bpd in December, according to its Monthly Oil Market Report.
 
Oil prices have recovered since December, when they fell to a 15-month low, with ICE Brent trading above $62 per barrel this week.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
Former U.S President Bill Clinton has cancelled his scheduled visit to Nigeria, but would speak with the contenders in the Feb. 16 presidential election.
 
Angel Ureña, spokesperson to Clinton, said that the former president would, however, speak with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Presidential candidate of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), later in the week.
 
He would also speak with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
 
Ureña said the trip was called off because it could be “politicized.”
 
Clinton was scheduled to visit Abuja this week alongside Baroness Patricia Scotland, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
 
The planned trip was facilitated by the Kofi Annan Foundation and the National Peace Committee (NPC).
 
“Over the course of the last several days, and after various conversations with the different stakeholders, it’s become apparent that President Clinton’s visit to Nigeria has the potential to be politicized in a way that is not in line with the goals of the Committee.
 
Therefore, he will not be travelling to Abuja,” Clinton’s spokesman Angel Ureña said in a statement.
 
Clinton would continue to support the NPC‘s work toward peaceful and fair elections in Nigeria, Ureha said.
 
He was billed to deliver a keynote at a ceremony for the signing of a peace accord by presidential candidates.
 
The CNN confirmed the cancellation of the trip on its twitter handle.
 
 
Source: NAN
Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP grew by 2.38 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018.
 
However, the Real GDP growth posted 5.31 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter basis, with an annual growth rate of 1.93 per cent printed for the fiscal year of 2018.
 
According to the report, the fourth quarter GDP grew by 2.38% as against the 1.81% recorded in the third quarter.
 
Gross domestic product is the total value of everything produced in the country.
 
It is the fourth consecutive quarter of expansion, as the oil sector continued to rise while the non-oil output growth slowed.
 
The fourth quarter GDP growth is 0.27 percent higher than the corresponding period of 2017.
 
Also, the aggregate nominal GDP was at N35.230bn; which is 12.65 per cent higher than N31.275bn recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017.
 
Nigeria’s nominal GDP for the fiscal year of 2018 was at N127.76bn, posting a nominal growth rate of 12.36 per cent above the fiscal year of 2017 level of N113.71bn.
 
 
Source: PmNews

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