The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said the smart card readers (SCRs) are mandatory in Saturday’s governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
 
Mr. Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner, and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee stated this on Tuesday in Abuja.
 
Okoye said the clarification was important going by allegations since the conduct of the Feb. 23, Presidential and National Assembly elections that INEC was selective in its use of smart card readers in its conduct of the elections.
 
He said that those allegations had led to speculations that INEC may be forced to jettison the use of SCRs in the state and federal capital area council elections.
 
“INEC hereby states categorically that the allegations are absolutely false and the speculations are without any basis whatsoever.
 
“The use of the smart card readers is not only mandatory but its deliberate non use attracts the sanction of possible prosecution of erring officials in accordance with the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections.
 
“This is in addition to the voiding of any result emanating from such units or areas, as was done in the presidential and national assembly elections of February 23.
 
“The general public and all officials engaged for the elections are hereby informed that the commission is not reconsidering the use of these smart card readers which has greatly improved the credibility of our elections and instilled a high level of public trust in them.
 
“To clear any doubt or ambiguity, we wish to state that the deployment and mandatory use of SCRs in next Saturday’s elections will not only be uniformed but also universal, and the provisions of the regulations and guidelines will be strictly and vigorously enforced.
 
“All Stakeholders are to note and be guided accordingly please,” Okoye said.
 
The Federal Government of Nigeria is again offering for subscription savings bonds with a tenor of two and three years, a circular on Monday from the Debt Management Office, DMO, has urevealed.
 
According to the DMO, it was authorised to receive applications for the savings bond on behalf of the Federal Government.
 
The statement also disclosed that the two-year savings bond will be due on March 13, 2021 and has an interest rate of 11.62 per cent per annum, while the three-year savings bond, which has an annual interest rate of 12.62 per cent, will be due on March 13, 2022.
 
The DMO statement also said the offer for subscription opened on Monday and will close on Friday, March 8, adding that the settlement date had been scheduled for March 13, while the coupon would be paid on June 13, September 13, December 13 and March 13, 2019.
 
The statement reads: “The bonds are offered at N1,000 per unit, subject to a minimum subscription of N5,000 and in multiples of N1,000 and a maximum subscription of N50m.
 
“The bonds, which are backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government of Nigeria and charged upon the general assets of the country, qualify as securities in which trustees can invest under the Trustee Investment Act. Interest is payable quarterly and the bullet repayment is on the maturity date.”
 
According to the DMO, the bonds also qualify as government securities within the meaning of Company Income Tax Act and Personal Income Tax Act for tax exemption for pension funds, among other investors, adding that the bonds would also be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and would qualify as a liquid asset for liquidity ratio calculation for banks.
 
“Interested investors should contact the stockbroking firms appointed as distribution agents by the Debt Management Office,” the statement added.
 
Electricity generating companies in Nigeria, GenCos, has identified inaccurate date, government interference and inefficiency as a he major factors responsible for the sorry state of power supply in the country.
 
The power generating companies stated this in a report by them on the power sector, explaining that there is an urgent for the total overhauling of the sector.
It stated: “From research, developed nations differ from underdeveloped (third world) countries of the world majorly on data.
“Investments for the growth of the generation sub-sector did not depend on the returns from the distribution sub-sector. Investments to improve data quality and adequacy in all sub-sectors of the industry, with the priority being the distribution sub-sector for obvious reasons will solve a number of issues inhibiting the growth of the sector, especially the inability of the DISCOs to make capital investments.
“Government’s intervention through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to continue market interventions without seeking first a better understanding of the market through bankable data will be an effort in futility.”
The report also insisted that the sectors’ development was tied to the demand chain.
 
“The determinant of whether power generation should increase or not, is the demand side of it. Electricity supply is closely tied to demand and facilitated through a pool where the output from all generators are aggregated and scheduled to meet demand.
“This is because the storage mechanism for electricity generated is in view. Hence supply must vary dynamically with changing demand. Statistics from the Nigerian system operator on load demand over the last three months average over 22,000MW. 
 
This means that there is a suppressed demand of over 17,000MW compared to what is being generated today. This could potentially escalate when there is stability of supply and high ticket consumers who are self-generating decide to join up. 
 
How do we plug this gap?”
 
Revealing what seems to be an unfortunate power situation in the country, the report stated: “Currently Nigeria has installed capacity that is over 13,000MW, available generation that is over 7,500MW and average generation that is about 4,000MW.    On October 22nd 2018, average energy sent out was 3,854MWh/hour peak Generation attained on October 22nd, 2018 – 4,729MW.
 
“This shows low/minimal optimization of generation capacity due to constraints on the transmission and distribution networks. Without these constraints, additional 3,000MW could be made available to customers, and also serve as an incentive for GENCOs to recover the unavailable capacity of over 5,000MW.”
 
The report however stated that the electricity market has the potential to absorb significant investments and provide rewarding returns on those investments provided government interference is stopped and the market is allowed to run competitively.
 
“The lack of sanctity of contracts has resulted in huge debt burden on the GENCOs who are never fully paid for power generated and supplied to the market. In addition to the points above, it is imperative to note, that: “Successor/Legacy GENCOs, signed a performance agreement with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) with performance targets in recovering capacity.
 
“All Generation companies signed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc or Bulk Traders (NBET) with associated obligations on contracted quantities. Hence, the market should be very much aware of these obligations so as to enable performance of all parties.”
 
On the transmission aspect of the power situation, the report stated: “To optimize the current generation capacity, planning becomes pivotal, taking into cognizance the gestation period for power development.
“There is a need for massive investment in transmission and distribution networks in the country. Power GENCOs have the capacity to increase their output in the near term.
 
“However, an increase in power generation without a resultant increase in TCN’s wheeling capacity and improved distribution infrastructures will continue to lead to stranded power generation. Nigeria has about 13,000, MW, of installed capacity, a transmission capacity of about 5,000MW and distribution that hovers between 3,500 and 4,200MW.
 
“A further challenge is the constant request from the System Operator to make the GENCO power plants operate at base load contrary to their design to operate optimally and efficiently at base load. Operations of these turbines far away from their base loads imply a reduction in efficiency or in other words an increase in consumption of gas (for the thermal) by as much as 15-20percent!, a cost not captured or contemplated by MYTO.
“Electricity generating companies are faced with: financial, operational, construction, market, macroeconomic, contract and regulatory risks in the NESI today.
 
“GENCOs are caught in the middle of a weak transmission network and a poor commercial market structure. If answers can be given to GENCOs most pressing/pertinent questions such as; can we be fully dispatched? Can we get gas? Who is paying for the power?  What is the clear line of sight for collection and remittance? Then, power supply issues of the nation will be a thing of the past.”
 
The Nigerias capital market on Monday closed in the positive as Bank stocks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, rallied to reverse some of the losses recorded in the last trading day in February.
 
Though it emerged the biggest loser on Thursday, after declining 4.56 percent, the banking sector came tops on Monday, rising by 2.66 percent.
 
This performance of the sector is attributable to the major gains recorded by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.
 
The All Share Index gained 0.95 per cent, increasing from 31,827.24 basis points on Friday to 32,129.94bps on Monday, while the year-to-date return improved to 2.2 per cent.
 
Market capitalization of stocks listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange increased from N11.869 trillion on Friday to N11.982 trillion on Monday, as investors gained N112.9 billion.
 
Activity level, however, weakened as 228.484 million shares valued at N2.615bn exchanged hands in 3,544 deals, compared to the 341.954 million shares valued at N3.752bn that exchanged hands in 4,513 deals on Friday.
 
Top traded stocks by volume were Diamond Bank Plc (33 million units), United Bank for Africa Plc (31.1 million units) and Zenith Bank Plc (28.9 million units) while the top traded stocks by value were Zenith Bank (N703.1m), Dangote Cement Plc (N510.8m) and GTB (N391.0m).
 
Performance across sectors was majorly positive as three sectors closed on a positive note.
The banking sector saw buying interest in GTB and Zenith Bank stocks, while consumer goods sector was the second highest gainer, up by 0.43 per cent on the back of major gains recorded in International Breweries Plc.
 
Also, the industrial goods sector increased by 0.31 per cent, prodded by gains in Dangote Flour Mills Plc, Dangote Cement, Lafarge Africa Plc and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc.
However, the insurance sector emerged the biggest loser for the day as a result of losses recorded in NEM Insurance Plc and Law Union and Rock Insurance Plc, while the oil and gas sector remain unchanged.
 
Investor sentiment, as measured by the market breadth (advance/decline ratio), stood at 0.3x as 25 firms gained against the 10 losers that emerged.
 
Mcnichols Plc, Cutix Plc, NPF Microfinance Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc and Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc, were the top five gainers as their respective share prices gained 9.80 per cent, 9.76 per cent, 9.72 per cent, 9.09 per cent and 8.70 per cent.
 
The losers were led by PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc, Livestock Feeds Plc, Chi Plc, Law Union and Rock and United Capital Plc, with their share prices declining by 9.67 per cent, 8.96 per cent, 7.14 per cent, 5.45 per cent and 2.99 per cent, respectively.
 
President Muhammadu Buhari has said only those with integrity and interest of Nigeria will be considered in the next cabinet.
 
He also promised to appoint more women and youth during his second tenure, acknowledging the “significant role” they played toward his re-election.
 
While the leading opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, is challenging the outcome of the 2019 presidential polls, Buhari has since been announcing his plans for the second tenure.
 
The president had earlier said that his next four years in office as Nigeria’s leader will be tough.
 
Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President, had also revealed that Buhari will likely dissolve his cabinet before his May 29 swearing-in.
 
While speaking at a dinner organized by All Progressives Congress (APC) women and youth organised to celebrate his re-election, on Saturday, Buhari assured that his administration would not disappoint them.
 
He explained that more fertilizers were being made available to Nigerian farmers at a lower rate, adding that this has resulted in an increase in agricultural production and reduction in food importation.
 
Buhari also called on Nigerian youth to embrace agriculture to ensure more food sufficiency and food export.
 
He again faulted the 16-year rule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which he said, “wasted the nation’s resources”.
 
According to him, the country witnessed “rampant infrastructure decay” in spite of the huge resources earned during the period.
 
The U. S. has congratulated Nigeria on its successful presidential election and President Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election.
 
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, in a statement, noted the assessments of international and domestic observer missions affirming the overall credibility of the election.
 
Pompeo said the United States’ assessment was “in spite of localised violence and irregularities”.
 
He called on all Nigerians to ensure successful Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections on March 9.
 
Pompeo said: “The United States congratulates the people of Nigeria on a successful presidential election, and President Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election.
 
“We commend all those Nigerians who participated peacefully in the election and condemn those whose acts of violence harmed Nigerians and the electoral process.
 
“We note the assessments of international and domestic observer missions affirming the overall credibility of the election, despite localised violence and irregularities.
 
“We also congratulate all the other candidates for their peaceful participation in the electoral process.
 
“We call on all Nigerians to ensure successful state elections next week.
 
“Going forward, the United States remains committed to working together with Nigeria to achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations”.
 
In the presidential election, held on February 23, Buhari polled 15,191,847 votes and his closest challenger, People’s Democratic Party’s candidate and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar polled 11,255,978 votes to emerge a runner-up.
 
Buhari, who was declared re-elected by the Independent National Electoral Commission, also won in 19 states, to defeat other 72 candidates including Atiku, who won 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory, to occupy the second position.
The Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria (CIFIAN) has said that the volume of fraud in Nigerian banks increased to N25 billion in the last five years.
 
This was disclosed by the Protem President of the institute, Dr. Victoria Enape in Abuja on Friday at the opening of intensive training for forensic and investigative auditors.
 
She noted that the training had become necessary going by the global acknowledgment of corruption in most government and financial institution and its (corruption) rejection by the United Nation, World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
 
“Government at all levels are losing billions of Naira every day and most of these criminal cases bordering on fraud, corruption and cyber-crimes are partly because there are no forensic and investigative auditors in Nigeria to prevent fraud from taking place.
 
“The place of training of forensic and investigative auditors cannot be overemphasised because the whole world has embraced this current trend years ago which has assisted them in the fight against fraud.
 
“Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors is an anti-fraud organisation, saddled with the responsibility of providing skills to relevant professionals on the use of science and technology to prevent, detect and investigate fraud of all kinds.
 
“The Institute also has mechanism to block illicit financial flows in the country; it therefore becomes indispensable in Nigeria if Nigerians and the future generation must experience peace and economic development,” Enape said.
 
Enape noted that scandalous collapses, financial loses, loss of employment, investment and investors, loss of earnings and means of livelihood are some of the consequential social dislocations and risks of corruption and fraud.
 
According to her, fraud and corruption weakened the institutional capacity of governments and organisations as well as impedes trade and investment.
 
Figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has shown that Nigeria earned a total of N5.54 trillion from oil and gas revenue in 2018.
 
According to the figures, the N5.54 trillion revenue was earned through crude oil/gas sales, petroleum profit tax/royalties and others.
 
A breakdown of the figure revealed that the sum of N1.28 trillion was earned in the first quarter, N1.38 trillion in the second, while N1.39 trillion and N1.46 trillion were in the third and fourth quarter respectively.
 
A further breakdown of the oil receipt showed that the first quarter N1.28 trillion revenue was earned through crude oil sales of N98.21 billion; PPT/royalties, N926.33 billion; and others, N263.51 billion, while for the second quarter, the N1.38 trillion revenue was earned through crude oil sale to the tune of N109.32 billion; PPT/royalties, N841.03 billion; and others, N447.7 billion.
 
In the third quarter, N104.49 billion was earned from crude oil sales, N914.56 billion from PPT/royalties and N375.14 billion from others.
 
In the fourth quarter, Nigeria earned the sum of N103.6 billion from crude oil sales, N1.04 trillion from PPT/royalties while N317.5 billion came in from other oil revenue sources.
 

The Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) , Atiku Abubakar, has rejected the announced result of the election, saying he will be challenging it in court.

Abubakar in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja , said that it was clear that there were manifest and premeditated malpractices in many states which negate the results announced.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the Saturday Presidential election.

Buhari was declared re-elected having polled 15,191,847 votes, winning in 19 states, to defeat other 72 candidates including Abubakar, who scored 11, 255,978 votes and won 17 states and the FCT, to occupied the second position.

The PDP had also refused to sign the election result.

Abubakar said one obvious red flag in the election was the statistical impossibility of states ravaged by the war on terror generating much higher voter turnouts than peaceful states.

“The suppressed votes in my strongholds are so apparent and amateurish, that I am ashamed as a Nigerian that such could be allowed to happen. How can total votes in Akwa-Ibom, for instance, be 50 per cent less than what they were in 2015?

“Another glaring anomaly is the disruption of voting in strongholds of the PDP in Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers and diverse other states, with the authorities doing little or nothing and in some cases facilitating these unfortunate situations.”

Abubakar said that the militarsation of the electoral process was a disservice to Nigeria’s democracy and a throwback to the jackboot era of military dictatorship.

He said that in some areas of the country, such as, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Imo states, troops deployed for the elections turned their guns on the citizens they were meant to protect, saying this is condemnable and should not be associated with our electoral process in the future.

“I am a democrat and there are democratic avenues available to present the truth to the nation and the watching world. Already, many international observers have given their verdicts, which corroborate our observations.

“I am sure more will come in the coming hours and days.

“If I had lost in a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory to offer not just my congratulations, but my services to help unite Nigeria by being a bridge between the North and the South.

“However, in my democratic struggles for the past three decades, I have never seen our democracy so debased as it was on Saturday, Feb. 23.

“Year 2007 was a challenge, but President Yar’Adua was remorseful. In 2019, it is sad to see those who trampled on democracy thumping their noses down on the Nigerian people.

“Consequently, I hereby reject the result of the Feb. 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court.”

He appreciated the Nigerian people who trooped out in their millions to perform their civic duty the election.

Abubakar said that the patriotism of Nigerians was heartwarming and affirms his “oft-repeated statement that we are brothers and sisters born from the womb of one mother Nigeria.”

The former Vice President assured his supporters and the entire Nigerian people that together, “we will not allow democracy to be emasculated.

“I hope and pray Nigerians will someday summon the courage to defend democracy. That is the only way we can move away from being the world headquarters for extreme poverty.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been re-elected for a second four-year term, results from Saturday's general election show.
 
The 76-year-old defeated his main rival, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, with a margin of just under four million votes.
 
Mr Abubakar's People's Democratic Party has rejected the result.
 
Delays and violence marred the run-up to the poll but no independent observer has cited electoral fraud.
 
Final results released by the Nigerian electoral commission (Inec) show Mr Buhari was re-elected with a margin of just under four million votes.
 
Turnout was just below 35% of registered voters.
 
A former soldier, Mr Buhari led a military regime in the 1980s, and was first elected president in 2015. He will face a range of problems including power shortages, corruption, security threats, and an economic slowdown.
 
The president has quelled a militant Islamist rebellion in Nigeria's north-east, but Boko Haram remains active. There has also been an upsurge in violence in the Middle Belt as traditional herders and more settled farmers have clashed.
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