New Naira Notes Hit Circulation

Nigeria’s newly redesigned naira notes are now in circulation as Deposit Money Banks today began dispensing the bills to their customers through over-the-counter payments.

This is coming three weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the new bills at a weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.

The newly redesigned naira notes are in the N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations.

Among other things, the redesigned notes are expected to help mop up the currency outside the banking sector and curb counterfeit notes.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had in October announced that the apex bank would release re-designed naira notes by December 15, 2022, stating also that the old notes would cease to be regarded as legal tender by January 31, 2023.

Though several criticisms have trailed the announcement and unveiling of the notes as well as the deadlines on the old notes, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele had said there was no backtracking on the withdrawal of the old notes and unveiling of the new notes.

Source: Voice of Nigeria

Food security: Agric ministry restates commitment to partner media

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, said the ministry will continue to partner with the media on the discharge of its activities.

Umakhihe said this at a one -day workshop organised by the Department of Information for the Association of Agriculture Correspondents in Abuja.

The theme of the workshop is “Deepening the Understanding of Activities and Programmes of the Ministry”.

Umakhihe was represented by Mr Daniel Udo, Director, Department of Rural Development, ministry of Agriculture.

He commended the association for its positive reportage of the ministry’s events activities over the years.

“You have publicised the activities and programmes of the Ministry. Indeed you have been a strong partner and good ally of the Ministry.

“The ministry has enjoyed your overwhelming support and at every critical moment. The ministry will continue to partner with you in the discharge of its mandate,” he said.

Umakhihe said it was in the spirit of the partnership and the need to take the cordial relationship to a higher level that the ministry organised the workshop.

The permanent secretary said the workshop was aimed at widening the scope of the correspondents` knowledge of activities and operations of the ministry.

He said that policies and programmes have been articulated on agriculture for the country to drive some of the agricultural value chains.

Umakhihe expressed optimism that at the end of the workshop, quality and more positive reports would take media space in coming days and weeks with in-depth analysis.

Earlier, the Director of Information in the ministry, Dr Joel Oruche, said the workshop was timely because emphasis was on the diversification of the country’s economy.

“As patriotic members of the fourth estate of the realm, we should be at the vanguard of the current crusade that “we produce what we eat and eat what we produce”.

“In other words, we should encourage Nigerians through positive highlights of the activities of Federal Ministry of Agriculture And Rural Development to take to farming,” he said.

Oruche said that the media had contributed immensely to the development of the country.

“As a body (Agric Correspondents) you have done so much to publicise activities of the ministry and continues to do so,” he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

President Buhari Mourns Nigeria’s Ambassador To Spain, Seriki

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent condolences to the family of Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain, Demola Seriki, Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) whose passing has left the government in shock.

He also had a concurrent accreditation as a Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations World Tourism Organization-UNWTO.

In a message, President Buhari sympathised with friends and professional colleagues of the nationalist, who distinguished himself in public service, working variously as Minister of State, Interior, Minister of State, Defence, Minister of State, Agriculture and Water Resources, and supervising Minister of Mines and Steel Development.

President Buhari recalled his meeting with the late Ambassador Seriki exuding his enterprising nature and patriotic zeal during his Official Visit to Madrid, Spain in June this year, a tour of duty where he succumbed to the fate of all mortals.

At this trying period of loss, pain and reflection, the President urges family members, the diplomatic corps, friends and relatives to approximate the legacies of the diplomat, especially in nation building.

President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will receive the soul of the departed.

Source: Voice of Nigeria

Yuletide: DEPOWA donates food, other items to widows, orphanage home

The Defence and Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA) has donated food and other items to some widows of fallen heroes and children in an orphanage, Nana Berry Foundation.

Mrs Victoria Irabor, the wife of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and President of DEPOWA, presented the items to the beneficiaries on Wednesday in Abuja and New Karu, Nasarawa State.

She said the donation was in line with the commitment of the CDS, Gen. Lucky Irabor, to ensure that the widows and orphans were not left out during the Yuletide.

“This is Christmas season and we don’t want to eat without remembering the widows and orphans, especially at a trying time like this.

“It is our little way to say thank you for taking care of your children alone in spite of the challenges and to let you know that we are with you,” Irabor said.

She said that the visit to the orphanage was a demonstration of the position of children in the hearts of mothers, who are members of the association.

“I must say that the children of this home are blessed. I don’t have any reason to feel sad for you, but I have every reason to thank God for the lives of the children.

“I am thanking God because there is hope for the children; you are the future of Nigeria. In your midst, we will have doctors, lawyers, engineers and politicians that will become presidents and governors.

“You are great children because from birth the devil has fought your future, but failed from the day you were born, and God found you a shelter in Nana Berry Foundation.

“The greatest man on earth, Jesus Christ, was born in a manger, in a very poor situation where they keep animals, but came out to become the King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” Irabor said.

The DEPOWA president called on the children to ensure that they respect and obey the managers of the orphanage home.

In her remark, the founder of Nana Berry Foundation, Dr Aisha Kwalmi commended DEPOWA for the visit to the orphanage, which has 152 children.

She called for support from philanthropists in the provision water, power, buses to transport the children to school and other items for learning in the home.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Nigeria To Build 30MW Hybrid Pilot Wind Farm In Sokoto

The Nigerian Government will build a 30 megawatts (hybrid) pilot wind farm at Jaredi in Shagari local government area of Sokoto State.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations, Senator Adeleke Mamora, stated this during the opening ceremony of the 3-day expanded stakeholders’ engagement and interactive consultation on the proposed project at Usmanu Danfodiyo University in Sokoto.

According to the Minister, the choice of Sokoto State could not be over emphasised as all available data and reports suggest it has favourable renewable energy potentials.

“It is imperative to say that Nigeria will continue to explore new ways to increase her renewable energy deployment in the quest to overcome the energy crises bedeviling the country.

“You may recall that the recently concluded COP 27 in Egypt came at a critical moment in the fight against climate change, and has emphasised on the need to expand our energy access, decarbonize the global energy system and transform our approach to powering the global economy,” the Minister noted.

He stated that government under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, since 2015 has been working tiresless to provide enabling environment for private investments in to the energy sector.

Mamora praised Governor Tambuwal for his support to the ministry toward actualising the stakeholders engagement in the state.

The Minister further expressed his appreciation to Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad, members of National and State assemblies, commissioners and other relevant stakeholders for gracing the ceremony.

Declaring the stakeholders engagement open, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, expressed confidence that, if the project was successfully implemented, it would go a very long way in addressing the power needs of the underserved and unserved segments of the society.

Independent Power Plant

The Governor however, requested the Nigerian government to compensate for and take over the 13-year old Uncompleted state Independent Power Plant.

The plant which was awarded in 2008 by Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko’s government had so far consumed N5.5 billion.

Tambuwal who was represented by Secretary to the State Government, Muhammad Mainasara, said that the project had consumed so much of the state’s lean financial resources and constitutes a burden that was too heavy for the state to shoulder alone.

“We are indeed, open to discussions on the matter with the federal authorities beyond this forum,” he noted.

Also speaking, the Director General, Energy Commission of Nigeria, Professor Eli Bala, said the country was endowed with technical potentials estimated at about 210GW of Solar PV and 3.2GW of wind using 1% of suitable land, while hydropower stands at about 34GW.

He noted that, Nigeria has very good energy policy and plan approved by the government.

“However, it’s challenges have been in implementation due to lack of fund, poor articulation of project proposals and use of unbankable data,” he added.

Source: Voice of Nigeria

Claim of non-service by NNPC stalls Araraume’s suit against FG

The claim by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd., (NNPCL) that it has yet to receive processes filed by counsel to Sen. Ifeanyi Araraume, stalled proceedings in the former senator’s N100 billion suit against the Federal Government.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Ararume’s lead counsel, Mr Chris Uche, (SAN), informed the court that in line with the court’s directive at the last sitting, he had filed and served all processes on the three defendants in the suit.

Counsel to NNPCL, Mr Oluseye Opasanya, (SAN), however, told the court that his client has yet to be served with the amended originating summons which included the Corporate Affairs Commission, (CAC) as a party in the suit.

Opasanya also informed the court of his client’s notice of preliminary objection to Ararume’s suit.

The Federal Government, represented by a lawyer from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr A. H. Shuaibu, told the court that he was in the process of filing his defence but that he had filed a notice of preliminary objection to the suit.

The third defendant, CAC, represented by Mr S. S. Umoru told the court that he had been served with the amended originating summons.

In its notice of preliminary objection, the federal government is challenging the suit by Araraume on his alleged illegal removal as non-executive chairman of the Board of the NNPCL.

The federal government contended that the removal of Araraume was done by the first defendant in his capacity as a public officer by virtue of Section 25 (a) of the 1999 Constitution.

The government also argued that it was a statute-barred action which offends provisions of Section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Act, 2004.

The NNPCL also filed its notice of preliminary objection challenging the competence of the suit and praying the court to make an order dismissing it; or, in the alternative, make an order striking it out.

NNPCL averred that the suit was wrongly commenced by originating summons as the 75-paragraph affidavit in support thereof, raised inherently contentious facts; and the originating summons required proof by oral evidence.

It held that the plaintiff’s suit, as constituted, was incompetent, lacking in any cause of action or carrying any right of action, having regard to the statutory powers of the 1st defendant implicated in the action.

The judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, at the last sitting, held that the CAC was a necessary party and as such ought to be joined in the suit.

Justice Ekwo, therefore, evoked Order 9 Rule 14 (2b) of the Rules of the Federal High Court that allowed a judge to order a party whose presence in a matter was pertinent to join the matter.

The judge ordered that the CAC be joined as a party since the case had to do with interpretation of the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).

He subsequently ordered Ararume’s lawyer to amend the originating summons and serve same on all the parties before the next adjourned date.

In a short ruling, Justice Ekwo directs the NNPCL to do proper housekeeping and ordered all parties to file and exchange all relevant processes.

He said that any counsel who filed their process in the morning of the next adjourned date would be penalized.

He adjourned the matter till Jan. 11, 2023 to enable all parties file and exchange necessary processes in the suit.

The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) recalls that Araraume had initially sued the federal government and the NNPCL but had to include the CAC, following the court’s directive.

Araraume filed a N100 billion suit against the federal government over his alleged unlawful removal as a non-Executive Chairman of the newly-incorporated NNPCL

Araraume had asked for N100 billion as damages caused him in the alleged unlawful and unconstitutional way and manner he was removed from the NNPCL board after using his name to incorporate the entity.

In the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/691/2022, the senator formulated four issues for determination by the court.

One of the issues was whether in view of the provisions of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the NNPCL, Companies and Allied Matters Act 2010 and the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, the office of the non-executive chairman was not governed and regulated by the stated provisions of the law.

Araraume had also asked the court to determine whether by the interpretation of Section 63 (3) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, the president could lawfully remove him as non-executive chairman of the NNPCL for any reason outside the provisions of the law.

He further asked the court to determine whether the president could sack him without compliance with expressly stated provisions of the Articles of Memorandum of Association of the Company, Section 63 (3) of the PI Act 2021 and Section 288 of the CAMA Act 2020.

The former lawmaker asked the court for an order setting aside his removal via a letter of Jan. 17, 2022 with reference number SGF.3V111/86.

He also asked the court for an order reinstating him and restoring him to office with all the rights and privileges of the office of the NNPCL non-executive chairman.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FCTA Assures Retirees Of Prompt Pension Service Delivery

Authority of the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, has reiterated its commitment to ensuing prompt pension service delivery to retired and retiring officers, as it prioritises their welfare.

To this end, the commitment is being strengthened by the development of the Operational Manual by the Federal Area Council Service Pension Board (FCT- ACSPB).

The administration revealed during the official launch of the manual, at the ongoing 5th ACSPB Pension management system retreat, with the Theme: Operational Manual: An Administrative tool for efficient pension delivery, organised by FCT ACSPB and partners (PENCOM), Pension fund administrators (PFAs), underwriters and brokers.

Speaking at the event, the FCT Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, said FCT Administration places high premium on welfare of retiring officers, and will continue to emphasize the importance of prompt pension service delivery.

Adesola, who represented the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, said the launch of the Operational Manual will enable the FCT Administration galvanize staff of all Agencies under the FCTA, and in particular the Pension Board towards delivering efficient pension service to residents of the Federal Capital Territory.

He added that in its pursuit of efficient pension service delivery, the FCT Administration has been consistent in remitting the 2.5% FCTA contribution to the Board to sustain payments to our revered Senior Citizen.

According to him, “FCT Administration is among the very few states where payments to pensioners have been prioritized.

“Payment of pensioners allowances for the month of December 2022 is awaiting approval now, and for you to appreciate this, staff salary for December 2022 has not even gotten to my office, but pensioners allowances has already gone for approval.

“That shows the priority that FCTA attaches to the welfare of the senior citizens. So, we have shared committment to improve our service delivery to our pensioners”.

While commending FCT Area Councils for their efforts in sustaining their payment of the 15% pension funds to the Board, the Permanent Secretary, expressed hope that the management of the Board will in reciprocal, sustain the trajectory of prompt payment of benefits to retirees and beneficiaries of the deceased officers.

“It is a very great legacy that the Director is leaving behind, to sustain the good work he has done over the years, and to all the officers, I wish they will sustain the legacy already established to ensure efficient service delivery”, he stressed.

On his part, Chairman, FCT Chapter of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Danladi Chiya, said the launch of the operational manual will ginger the Area Councils to do more in areas of remittance of pension contributions and the 15%

Area Council contribution to pension fund.

He therefore assured the Board that they have resolved to be proactive towards efficient pension delivery hence forth and will pursue vigorously remittances of Pension deduction and employer

contribution.

The ACSPB Director, Dr. Danzing Nden said the manual speaks for itself, as it is supposed to be a document for stakeholders, staff and those, who deal with the Board to understand the operations of the Board and how to carryout efficient tasks.

He said: “Our expectation is that we would deliver pension services in timely manner, and ensure that our clients are satisfied. Even though that we are not lagging behind, but we want to be on the top of our affairs.

“We want to maintain what we are doing in the FCT to see how senior citizens will enjoy pension services through offering world class service that everyone will be proud of.

Source: Voice of Nigeria

FG to develop standard operating procedures for SGBV legal prosecutions

The Federal government says its currently working to develop standard operating procedures to create a legal pathway for the prosecution of school-related Gender-based violence.

The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Beatrice Jedy-Agba

gave the assurance at a three-day capacity building workshop in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Workshop for Investigators and Prosecutors on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence was organised by the ministry of justice with the support of the British Council Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme(RoLAC).

Jedy-Agba noted that President Mohammed Buhari’s administration has provided all enabling support structures, legal, and the financial requirement to eliminate the social ill of sexual violence against women.

She reassured development partners of the unwavering commitment of the government to eliminate SGBV.

On its part, the Nigeria police, Usman Baba said all cases of SGBV would henceforth be handled to its conclusion.

He gave a note of warning to perpetrators of sexual bases violence that there would be a different and effective approach to treatment of sexual bases violence.

Baba was represented by Rita Oki, Deputy commissioner of police, in charge of the Gender unit.

“There would no longer be instances of any cases of police refusal to release relevant data for prosecution of violators of SGBV.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, regretted that in spite of government’s efforts to combat SGBV not much is done in the area prosecution.

She noted that from the available statistics from the national situation room and dashboard, not much has been achieved.

“As of November 2022, the total number of cases reported was 11,053, fatal cases were 401, close cases 592, while open case pending stood at 3, 507 while only 33 have been convicted. “Tallen said.

She added that there are directives by the Inspector-General of Police to deal with all perpetrators in furtherance of the declaration of zero tolerance to rape and other Gender -Based Violence as well as constant engagement with the Police on the need to promptly address issues of Gender Based-Violence.

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Right Commission, NHRC, Tony Ojukwu encouraged victims of SGBV to always speak up to discourage violators from from getting away with their crime.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Jumia Foods, Domino’s Pizza partner to enhance customer experience

Jumia Food Nigeria, leading online food delivery, has brokered a partnership hinged on technology with Domino’s Pizza to bring meals closer to Nigerians and better their customers’ experiences.

Mr Massimiliano Spalazzi, Chief Executive Officer, Jumia Nigeria, made the disclosure during a news conference at Domino’s Pizza, Ikoyi, on Wednesday in Lagos.

Spalazzi said the partnership aimed at topmost customer satisfaction would provide a steady supply of Domino’s portfolio to consumers through the Jumia Food platform within the shortest time possible.

He added that Jumia was very ambitious and big on Nigerians having a wide variety of their meals fast and available at their doorsteps.

He said that Jumia Food data 2021 placed pizza first as the most promising cuisine ordered in the country followed by Chinese and shawarma, respectively.

According to him, foreign cuisines are growing fast as Nigerians explore various meals available to them.

Spalazzi said that the partnership with Dominos would help the pizza company reach a more larger customer base, grow the company and boost employment and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.

“We are delighted to provide our online platform where consumers in Nigeria can order their favourite pizza delight from Domino’s Pizza outlets available at the click of a button on Jumia Food.

“We have spent a decade in Nigeria, and since our inception, we have continuously strived to impact the lives of millions of consumers through innovation and technology.

“Our partnership with Domino’s Pizza is another step to making meals more accessible to consumers across the country through our platform,” he said.

Spalazzi reiterated Jumia Food’s commitment to ensuring that customers continue to benefit across the various e-commerce options that Jumia Nigeria provides.

Head, Commercial, Jumia Foods, Mr Oluwafemi Ajulo, noted that the partnership was in tandem with the company’s mission to transform life in Africa as the world gravitate toward digital platforms for their everyday needs.

“At Jumia, we would continue to transform everyday life in Africa by providing convenience, comfortability and affordability of goods and services to numerous consumers across Africa.

“We would also keep creating an avenue for sellers to access new customers as we generate revenue and create jobs,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer, Eat’N’Go Africa, Mr Patrick McMichael, expressed his delight at the projected expansion of the company’s pizza offerings to Nigerians through listing on Jumia.

McMichael noted that the partnership with Jumia meant Domino’s became the first pizza manufacturing business to focus on providing customers with opportunity to order from any platform they want.

“We care deeply about the convenience of our customers and hence the reason why we continuously aim to provide unequalled services throughout our value chain hence our partnership with Jumia Food as we partner both technologies to bring customer satisfaction.

“Customer satisfaction is key for us at Domino’s Pizza, and giving our customers multiple ordering channels from which to choose is critical in ensuring we achieve our goal.

“Jumia provides us with the technology to reach more customers, while Dominos would deliver the product and always handle the last mile and our 20 minutes guarantee would always stay,” he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

No tax clearance, no transaction – FCT-IRS

The Acting Chairman, Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS), Mr Haruna Abdullahi, says FCT residents will henceforth present Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) to carry out certain transactions.

Abdullahi said this at a Town Hall Meeting organised by the service in Abuja.

The theme of the meeting is, “Demand and Verification of TCC by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Secretariat, Department and Agencies (SDAs), commercial banks and corporate bodies.

The acting chairman said it would no longer be business as usual for residents, adding that transactions such as obtaining of car registration and building approval would no longer be possible without TCC.

Other transactions that require TCC according to him include appointment or election into office and stamping of guarantors form for a Nigerian passport among others.

“This gathering is timely and relevant as we aim to provide guidance and insight on the need to demand and verify a TCC.

“This is as stated in the information circular issued by the service on Nov. 4 and Nov. 7 in newspapers within

the FCT and national dailies across the country,” he said.

The acting chairman urged FCT residents and relevant stakeholders to choose voluntary compliance over compulsion.

“It is imperative that a TCC is demanded as a pre-condition for various transactions in the FCT.

“It is also instructive to note that the law requires such from MDAs and commercial banks.

“Individuals and business owners residing in FCT can easily access a Tax Clearance through our effective and efficient channels,” he said.

He said failure of relevant agencies to demand and verify TCC presented by an individual could amount to sanctions.

Abdullahi said the sanctions could include conviction with a fine of five million Naira or three years imprisonment or both as stipulated by relevant tax laws.

The FCT-IRS boss said as the relevant tax authority for Personal Income Tax (PIT) administrations, the service had

vital role in ensuring strict adherence.

Abdullahi urged FCT residents to choose voluntary compliance over compulsion, adding that compulsion would only be its last resort.

He said the service had trained its staff on effective monitoring and enforcement procedures.

Abdullahi also said that the members of staff had been trained to investigate violations of any aspect of the tax laws.

According to Abdullahi, while the service is working toward providing taxpayer-centred services, it will not hesitate to take punitive measures on defaulters.

On the process of verification, the acting chairman said the process was easy.

He said “an authenticator can easily scan the quick response (QR) code on the TCC using any android or IOS device to

check the genuineness of the TCC.

“However, substantiating genuineness is not enough for

revenue mobilisation.

“The relationship between the taxes paid as displayed on the TCC and the total and global income of individuals holding the TCC must align.

“For example, an application for estate development or building approval that presents a TCC with tax paid as low as N50,000 can never be justified.”

The FCT-IRS acting chairman said the service had deployed a variety of measures to ease taxpayer services, while leveraging on technology.

He said the filing of tax returns and making of payments had been fully automated.

He also said that the service had fully integrated with the Joint Tax Board (JTB) nationwide platform for uniformity

of standards in application of PIT.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the town hall meeting had in attendance representatives of MDAs, SDAS, concil chairmen and other relevant stakeholders.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria