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Saraki’s ally, Kawu Baraje, Condemn APC’s performance as poor..

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A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, on Sunday described the party’s performance since taking office close to one year ago as unimpressive.

He also warned the party against repeating the mistakes made by the Peoples Democratic Party which led to its electoral defeat in 2015.

Baraje, an ally of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said this during a media briefing in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

He said Nigerians were not happy with the socio-economic and political development in the country, adding that it was imperative for the government to address the sufferings and

expectations of the people in order to make them happy.

He cited the current petrol scarcity, poor electricity supply and hunger as some of the hardships being experienced by Nigerians.

Baraje said, “I belong to the group that is not very satisfied with the performance of the party; not only because the Senate President is having a very serious political issue, but because there are other cases and instances where we are not happy with the performance of our party.

“I am not a prophet of doom, neither am I a political prostitute. Are you happy going to queue up for up to two to three hours? Are you happy that electricity is not functioning well and people sleep in darkness?

“What we are saying is that majority of Nigerians are not happy and we need to make them happy.

“Majority of Nigerians are suffering and we need to make our impact felt by addressing the suffering of the masses.”

In response, the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, described Baraje’s comments as unfortunate.

He said, “We are working on a solution in the medium term; short term, yes we can make the fuel queues disappear but we don’t want the problem to re-occur and to do that, you have to work out a solution that will be long-lasting.

“If people want to play to the gallery they are at liberty to do so, they know why they are doing what they are doing.”

Odigie-Oyegun, however, said the Baraje should have asked for clarifications about what the party was doing instead of denigrating the APC.

He said, “At the moment, we know these problems (power outages and fuel queues) are there because it is a case of corruption fighting back.

“We are not resting on our oars; we are working hard and very soon all these problems will be over. Nigerians will certainly win this battle.”

Baraje also warned that if politicians did not achieve their aspirations in their party, “they may consider other options.”

The party chieftain, however, added that it was too early for him to contemplate leaving the APC.

Baraje said, “The PDP made me. I was the National Secretary and later become the National Chairman of the PDP. I made my mark. If I have to be grateful to any political party, I think, it is the PDP.

“So, if I can leave that party, then you will know that the party had gone contrary seriously against my principles of life.

“If I can leave the PDP because of impunity, lack of respect for the rule of law; then do I want to continue in another party that way? But it has not got to that level. That is why we are sounding a note of warning that gradually some of these problems are creeping into the APC. And we must warn ourselves.”

The party chieftain recalled that there had been 155 rerun elections at the state and federal levels so far, noting that the APC lost majority of the elections.

He cited the Rivers State rerun election as an example.

Baraje said, “If you look at the volatile nature of that rerun, some of us with our humble experience expected the national presence of our party much more during that rerun. We did not see that happen. It is regrettable.

“Today, we have gone in rerun elections both at the state and national levels. We ran over 115 rerun elections, and the APC has lost majority of those elections, not because of lack of popularity of the APC. No! But because of lack of enough presence as at now.”

According to him, the APC should not expect magic from its candidates if it decides to abandon them at the middle of an election.

He identified lack of focus and distractions as barriers to the performance of the party. He said the Buhari led-APC administration had good intentions and ideas.

He also said the alleged past misdeeds of the PDP was another inhibiting factor, saying such was another challenge of the APC to render good governance and dividends of democracy to the people.

The APC chieftain urged President Muhammadu Buhari to avoid confrontation with the National Assembly. He advised him to have a dialogue with the National Assembly to resolve crisis if there was any.

He also warned against any attempt to heat up the polity or stage demonstrations on the ongoing trial of the Senate President, saying there will be a ‘mother of all demonstrations’ should anyone try to disrupt the peace in the nation, especially in Kwara State.

Baraje urged the Federal Government to boost agriculture to ensure national food security, address power challenges and other poor infrastructure.

He however commended the Federal Government’s war against Boko Haram insurgents, urging it to do everything within its power to end the menace.

Also, the Labour Party has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to settle down to governance and address the economic woes facing the country.

In a release signed by the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, the party said Buhari’s style of administration should be blamed for the challenges currently facing the country. He called on him to concentrate on fixing the problems by involving real professionals rather than fighting from all sides.

The party added that with the current economic crisis, kidnapping, terrorism and other social vices would be on the rise.

The LP chairman said, “The President should know by now that with Nigeria in economic crisis and the lacklustre attitude of his government to setting up a powerful economic machine, there are only two courses open to the government. They are monetarist deflationary measure and the protectionist method.

“Unfortunately, an economy under heavy government regulation cannot function properly but rather be exposed to a lot of unpleasant things like killing, kidnapping, warfare, padding, delay, economic downturn and impunity will become the linen and ephod for the mainstream expression of governance.”

The party said that the President should note that in today’s Nigeria, there were no electricity, fuel, gas, food and peace, saying that while the ruling class lived in affluence, the masses lived in poverty.

“The President needs to understand that leadership is a creative enterprise and as such allows same to speak and seen without unnecessarily playing the ‘I am in charge’ mentality. He must accept his weaknesses and allow participatory democracy by enlisting spiritual wisdom, greater understanding and absolute knowledge while seriously looking beyond immediate political horizon to involve men of honour with practice to contribute to the rebuilding of the nation and its economy.”

While calling on Buhari to forsake what the party described as his delight in fundamentalism, the LP also urged the President to embrace political and economic liberalism with the countless opportunities it offered.

“We at the party therefore restate our stand on the present state of the nation that all is not well. The President must urgently organise a socio-economic summit that allows the participation of all,” the statement added.

 

 

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Contempt: Again, court commits EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa, to prison

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The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has been committed to prison for allegedly disobeying court order.

The court also directed the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to effect Bawa’s arrest and remand him in Kuje prison for the next 14 days until he purges himself of the contempt.

Justice R.O. Ayoola of the Kogi State High Court, in his judgement on Monday, granted the application for committal to prison of the EFCC chairman for disobeying a court ruling delivered on November 30, 2022, wherein the EFCC chairman was directed to produce the applicant in the case, Ali Bello.

Ali Bello had dragged Bawa to court for arresting and detaining him illegally, with the court ruling in his favour, only for the EFCC to arraign him for alleged money laundering three days after the ruling.

The EFCC’s applications for setting aside and stay of execution of the ruling were refused for want of merit.

The Court had, in Form 49, Order IX, Rule 13, marked, “HCL/697M/2022” and titled, “Notice to Show Cause Why Order of Committal Should not be Made,” asked the EFCC Chairman to appear before it on January 18, 2022 to explain why he should not be jailed for flouting the order given on December 12, 2022 in a case filed by Ali Bello against the EFCC and Bawa, as the 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively.

The court ordered that the EFCC and Bawa be served the motion of notice together with Form 49 by substituted means.

The court had declared the arrest and detention of the applicant in the face of a subsisting court order made by a court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest “or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested” as unlawful, unconstitutional, and in contravention of the personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

The court had also ordered the respondents to tender an apology to the applicant in a national newspaper and awarded N10 million compensation for him.

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Fidelity grows profit to N52 billion for FY 2022 

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Fidelity Bank Plc has announced an impressive growth in Profit Before Tax to N52 bn for the Full Year 2022. This was made known in the Bank’s unaudited statement of account presented to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) on Wednesday, 31 January 2023.

 

According to the regulatory filing, the bank grew Gross Earnings by 33.9% to N335.897 billion (from N250.774 billion in FY 2021) and Net Interest Income by 61.1% to N152.813 billion (from N94.877 billion in FY 2021) leading to a Profit After Tax of N47.163billion for FY 2022 (from N35.579billion in FY 2021).

 

Similarly, Total Assets for the Bank now stand at N3.999trillion (from N3.289trillion in FY 2021) and Deposit from Customers is now at N2.591trillion (from N2.024trillion in FY 2021).

 

Analysts posit that this is yet another strong showing for the tier-one bank having sustained impressive performance year-on-year even in the face of the headwinds in the economy. Despite growing its Gross Earnings at an impressive rate, the bank has managed to record one of the lowest Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratios in the Nigerian banking industry, for instance.

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Petition signatures to Emefiele over new naira hit 1653..

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Petition signatures to Emefiele over new naira hit 1653

 

Following the crisis over the non-availability of the redesigned N100, N200, N500 and N1000, over 1653 Nigerians have petitioned the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to end what they termed ‘hardship’ on the citizens.

 

The petition, hoisted on the global change website, change.org, which was started on Friday, garnered over 1653 signatures on Saturday.

 

As of the time of filing this report, many bank customers have yet to access the new notes as many automated teller machines are either not dispensing cash or completely shut down because of the crowd.

 

Protests have erupted over the situation in some parts of the country and some banks vandalised by hoodlums, demanding access to their money lodged in several accounts.

 

 

 

There have also been controversial videos showing bank officials sabotaging the process by hiding the new notes behind old ones in vaults.

 

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has requested seven days from Nigerians to fix the mess.

 

Part of the petition stated, “The recent shortage of physical cash in Nigeria has caused major untold hardship to Nigerians. People are spending hours in long lines at banks just to withdraw cash, and many are forced to rely more on digital transactions which tend to be unreliable due to poor bank networks.

 

POS operators also charge outrageous amounts; as much as N1000 for a N10,000 withdrawal. The Central Bank of Nigeria has stated that the shortage is temporary, but it is causing serious disruption to the daily lives of many Nigerians.

 

“We call on the government, stakeholders, law enforcement agencies and the CBN to take urgent action to address the cash shortage crisis in Nigeria. We demand that the CBN increase the distribution of physical cash to meet the demand, and also any POS operator found charging outrageous amounts for withdrawal should be arrested.’’

 

Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students has expressed displeasure over the issue, noting that the process was not only ill-timed but also not well thought out.

 

Speaking to Sunday PUNCH during a telephone interview on Friday, National Vice President (External Affairs), Akinteye Afeez-Babatunde, said, “The whole situation is crazy. We are tired. Students are crying and complaining. They can’t get cash. The leaders have confirmed to us that they don’t care for the people. The policy is fine but the process to get it done is to the detriment of our own lives as Nigerians. Our day-to-day activities have been disrupted. Nigerians are suffering.’

 

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