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Buhari Fires FRC Boss Over Adeboye, Others’ Tenure

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  • Buhari Fires FRC Boss Over Adeboye, Others’ Tenure

Fresh facts emerged on Monday why President Muhammadu Buhari sacked the Executive Secretary of the Financial Regulatory Council of Nigeria, Mr. Jim Obazee, in connection with the implementation of the controversial corporate Governance Code 2016.

On Monday that Obazee was sacked for disobeying a directive of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechuckwu Enelamah, that the implementation of the regulation should be suspended.

Among others, the code stipulates 20-year tenure for heads of religious groups and civil rights organisations.

Buhari had, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Monday, approved the immediate removal and the replacement of Obazee.

According to the statement, the new Council, as approved by the President, has Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman as chairman.

The President has also approved the appointment of Mr. Daniel Asapokhai as the Executive Secretary of the council to replace Obazee

Sulaiman is a former Managing Partner/Director of Arthur Anderson and later, Accenture.

He is a chartered accountant and a product of the University of Lagos and Harvard Business School.

Asopokhai is a partner and a Financial Reporting Specialist at the PriceWaterHouseCoopers Nigeria.

He is a product of the University of Lagos and the University of Pretoria.

Shehu said Buhari had also instructed the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, to invite the 19 Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government and private sector organisations specified in the FRC Act to nominate members of the board of the council.

Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God had, on Saturday, stepped down as the overseer of the church in Nigeria in accordance with the governance code of the FRC.

Adeboye, who made the announcement during the church’s annual ministers thanksgiving service, at the Redemption Camp in the Mowe area of Ogun State, said the new regulation would affect clergymen, including Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church Worldwide International, aka Winners Chapel; Pastor W. F. Kumuyi of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry and Bishop Mike Okonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission.

On Monday, the minister had, on October 17, 2016, written the FRC boss, directing him to suspend the operation of the controversial regulation, which the Christian Association of Nigeria alleged was targeted at weakening the church.

According to the report, Obazee refused to suspend the regulation because there was no gazette backing the suspension of the regulation.

Enelamah’s recommendation nailed Obazee

Enelamah had earlier recommended to Buhari that the implementation of the regulation be suspended.

A top government official, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said the President approved Enelamah’s recommendation and the minister thereafter conveyed the decision to Obazee.

The source said, “Since the minister had conveyed the President’s approval that the implementation should be suspended, it was taken for granted that it had been suspended.

“Surprisingly, the Presidency received a report that during the Christmas period, Obazee hosted chief executives of some quoted companies to a dinner.

“It was at that dinner that he reportedly told his guests that the law had taken effect and would be implemented.

“The report got to the government and the President was angry about it.”

The President of the National Council of The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, was said to have led the chief executives of companies to the dinner.

Another source, who confirmed the development, said Buhari sacked Obazee and dissolved the board of the FRC on Monday based on the recommendation of Enelamah.

Ministers warn President on implication of code

A top source in the Presidency stated that Obazee was sacked because he defied the directive of the minister.

“The President was irked by the fact that the FRC disobeyed the directive of the minister that the regulation should be suspended,” the source stated.

Another source added that the Presidency found it curious that a regulation, which the Council could not implement during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, was being enforced under Buhari.

“Although the regulation dated back to Jonathan’s administration, why did he fail to implement it and ask the religious leaders to resign? Why did the council wait till the present administration before insisting on its implementation?” the source asked.

It was also gathered that some ministers told Buhari on Monday morning that the gale of resignation that would sweep across the Pentecostal churches in the South would affect his government.

One of the ministers, who spoke on condition of anonymity with one of our correspondents, said the ministers reminded the President that the regime could be tagged anti-Christian if action was not taken.

FG suspends code of corporate governance

Meanwhile, the Federal Government, on Monday, suspended the controversial Corporate Governance Code, which was issued on October 17 by the FRC.

The suspension was disclosed in a statement by Enelamah.

In the five-paragraph statement by the minister’s Strategic Communication Adviser, Constance Ikokwu, he said the code was suspended in order to carry out a detailed review of its application.

The review, according to the statement, would now involve extensive consultations with stakeholders upon the reconstitution of the board of the FRC.

The statement states, “The Corporate Governance Code issued by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria has been suspended, pending a detailed review, extensive consultation with stakeholders and reconstitution of the board of the FRC.

“Government remains committed to restoring and enhancing market confidence and improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.’’

The FRC is one of the parastatals under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and it is responsible for setting and promoting compliance with standards for accounting, financial reporting and auditing in Nigeria.

Shareholders rejoice as FG sacks FRC boss

Shareholders in the country’s capital market, on Monday, expressed joy over the sack of Obazee, saying it was a timely step in the right path.

They said the erstwhile FRC chief executive had overshot his bounds so many times before recent developments.

In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, the President, Renaissance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Olufemi Timothy, said at this particular time, the sack of Obazee was a good thing that had happened to the country as a whole, and not just the capital market.

He recalled that Obazee had earlier maintained that only chartered accountants could be admitted into the audit committee of companies, going against the practice where any elected shareholder could be elected into the position by fellow shareholders.

Timothy added, “He had gone beyond his mandate, and putting the country on a very hot seat. I think President Muhammadu Buhari is no longer comfortable with him. It is the best thing to happen to us to save the nation.”

Also, the President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Shehu Mikail, described Obazee’s sacking as “lovely”, saying the FRC boss had no business regulating bodies that were not under him.

Mikail stated, “This means the government has heard the cries of the people. I really support his sacking.

“People saddled with responsibilities should take into cognisance the interest of the people. The former FRC boss did not properly liaise with the regulators, but rather saw himself as superior.”

Also, the National Director, Legal and Public Affairs in CAN, Kwamkur Samuel, described Obazee’s sacking as a commendable development.

He said, “The Nigeria church and indeed many well meaning Nigerians will want to hear the total disbandment of the obnoxious, archaic and anti-Christian law by the Federal Government or the amendment in respect of the church.’’

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process

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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.

The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.

Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.

Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.

The statement in full:

“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.

The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.

With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;

Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;

  • applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
  • a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
  • upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
  • that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
  • that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
  • applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
  • a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.

The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.

Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″

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INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.

Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).

He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.

He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities

He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.

“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.

“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.

“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.

“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.

He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.

“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”

Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.

According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.

“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.

“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.

“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission

“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.

Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.

Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.

“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.

“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria

“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.

He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.

In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.

Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.

“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.

“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.

“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said

Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.

Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.

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Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum

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The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.

The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.

The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.

The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.

He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”

You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.

Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.

The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.

Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.

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