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Re: ‘The ABC of a Recalcitrant Debtor’: Shaka and Yellow Journalism

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Few things rival honesty as the primary characteristic of a reputable journalist. Fairness, objectivity and honesty are three key factors that every good journalist must not jettison in his/her stories. While every journalist works hard to ensure he earns the trust of his audience, it is worth knowing that dishonesty is the surest way to violate that trust, Danjuma Gogo writes.

I read on Friday, February 5, 2021 the story in ThisDay Newspapers written by my brother Shaka Momodu which he titled “The ABC of a Recalcitrant Debtor”. Only that headline caught my attention far away here, making me to go deeper into the article. No doubt I am not the only one who read it.

Just like every other reader, I have followed till date Shaka’s style of writing and will still be reading him even when he often writes what seems to please his personal interest and his paymasters than the desires of his audience he often claims to be writing for.

After reading Shaka’s ‘The ABC of a Recalcitrant Debtor’, what first came into my mind was how a renowned journalist Femi Adesina who is the spokesman of Nigeria’s President had described him in his article on January 13, 2020. Adesina had titled that piece “Shaka Momodu: A Columnist as Hater-in-Chief” … Sorry I wouldn’t like to deviate here.

I recall that my brother Shaka Momodu said in his February 5 write up that “The latest in the pantheon of bad debtors, who are either refusing or unwilling to pay back their loans, is the Chairman of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, ABC Orjiako.”

Dear Shaka, I would have loved to read from your piece all the bad debtors you know and those who are either refusing or unwilling to pay back their loans because you wrote as if you have their list. So why single out one man? At that point, I didn’t need a soothsayer to tell me how Shaka will proceed and end the article knowing fully well that Access Bank Plc and Seplat Petroleum Company Plc have been entangled in legal tussle in the former’s misdirected efforts to recover an outstanding $85.8 million loan given in 2012 to Cardinal Drilling Services Limited by Diamond Bank (now Access Bank) which Cardinal was yet to offset.

Like every other public commentator, I have followed developments around the botched crusade on December 2, 2020 when the bank tried so hard to take aback the Nigerian corporate world using a team of fully armed policemen and lawyers, who in a commando approach took over and disrupted businesses and activities at the No. 16 Temple Road, Ikoyi Lagos corporate office of the Nigerian oil and gas giant, Seplat Petroleum Company Plc. Thanks to the Court as the last hope of a common man…

Like every other person interfacing with global investors, I became worried when Seplat’s application for the vacation of the orders was not ruled on by Justice Rilwanu Aikawa on December 24, even though it had been argued by both parties, thus halting corporate activities of the global brand.

My dear brother Shaka, you know how economical you were with the truth in that piece by describing ABC Orjiako as the sole owner of Seplat knowing fully well that the company listed on both Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges is a public company whose ownership is distributed amongst general public shareholders.

Shaka, as it has been reemphasized severally, aren’t you aware that as chairman of Seplat, Orjiako was not a party to the loan agreements or Deeds of Debenture, and did not stand as a guarantor or make any commitment whatsoever in respect of the loan at any point? Rather, Access Bank had filed action against him as the Third Respondent, which you know is in flagrant violation of well-established and universal principles of law.

The Appeal Court had on January 22, 2021 intervened in the miscarriage of justice, by suspending the interlocutory orders pending the determination of the substantive appeal brought by the oil firm. Expectedly, the Appeal Court’s ruling was predicated on public good and economic consequences of the lower court’s orders.

Shaka, please be fair to readers and ensure your personal feelings most time on any critical issue is put aside in order to unleash the truth –that is good journalism.

Danjuma Gogo, an economist and a public affairs analyst is based in Houston Texas (+1 832-774-2176)

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Education

Federal Government Shortlists 5,000 for Oil and Gas Sector Overseas Scholarships

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The Federal Government has shortlisted 5,000 candidates for its prestigious overseas scholarships.

The announcement was made through the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) in Abuja.

Bolanle Agboola, the Head of the Overseas Scholarship Scheme at PTDF, disclosed that the selection process for the 2024 scholarships had reached its final stage.

She revealed that the shortlisted candidates had participated in rigorous examinations across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

“The purpose of this initiative is to empower Nigerians with high-tech skills required in the oil and gas industry,” Agboola stated. “The selection process was conducted simultaneously in various universities across the country.”

Highlighting the importance of the scholarships, Agboola emphasized the need for Nigeria to indigenize its oil and gas sector.

“Our target is to select the best candidates for the overseas scholarships,” she said. “This initiative aligns with the government’s goal of building local capacity in the oil and gas industry.”

When asked about the number of participants to be selected, Agboola explained that each state of the federation would receive an equal allocation of successful candidates based on the budget for the year.

However, she refrained from disclosing the exact budget allocated for the scholarship scheme.

Agboola defended the decision to send scholars abroad, citing the high-tech nature of the oil and gas industry and the need for hands-on experience with cutting-edge equipment and technology.

She also mentioned PTDF’s in-country scholarship program, where participants are trained in Nigeria.

The overseas scholarships will be offered in various universities in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Malaysia, providing Nigerian scholars with access to world-class education and training in the oil and gas sector.

With this initiative, the Federal Government aims to equip Nigerian professionals with the expertise needed to drive innovation and development in the nation’s vital oil and gas industry, ensuring its sustainability and competitiveness on the global stage.

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Travel

Safety Concerns: UK CAA Reports Air Peace to Nigerian Aviation Authority

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The United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA) has raised concerns over alleged safety violations by Nigerian carrier Air Peace.

This revelation comes merely three months after Air Peace commenced its Lagos-London route.

According to reports, the UK CAA forwarded two mandatory occurrence reports to Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), highlighting alleged breaches of aviation safety regulations by Air Peace.

These reports, titled ‘United Kingdom SAFA Ramp Inspection Report’ and ‘NATS Management System Safety Report,’ highlighted specific operational irregularities observed by UK aviation inspectors.

The crux of the issue revolves around the operational approval of Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) functions and it is critical for ensuring the safe operation of aircraft.

The UK CAA purportedly flagged the absence of a mounting device for EFB, charging points, or backup battery, raising concerns about navigational practices onboard Air Peace flights.

In response to the UK CAA’s communication, the NCAA swiftly initiated correspondence with Air Peace, seeking clarification on the reported safety lapses.

The letter, signed by the NCAA General Manager of Operations, Capt. O.O. Lawani, underscored the urgency of addressing the alleged infractions to uphold aviation safety standards.

Air Peace, which recently expanded its operations to London Gatwick from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, operates under the Bilateral Air Services Agreement between Nigeria and the UK.

The airline’s foray into international routes had been hailed as a significant milestone in Nigeria’s aviation industry, promising enhanced connectivity and convenience for travelers.

However, the safety concerns raised by the UK CAA cast a shadow over Air Peace’s international operations, prompting calls for swift remedial action and heightened regulatory oversight.

As stakeholders await Air Peace’s response to the allegations, questions loom over the potential impact on the airline’s reputation and operational integrity.

Efforts to reach Air Peace’s spokesperson, Stanley Olisa, for comment were unsuccessful at the time of reporting.

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Aliko Dangote Calls for Visa Reforms Across Africa to Boost Investment

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international-passport

Aliko Dangote, the President of Dangote Group and Africa’s wealthiest individual, has embarked on a campaign for reforms in visa policies across the continent.

His impassioned plea comes as he addresses the pressing obstacles these policies pose to investors and business leaders looking to navigate the African landscape.

Speaking at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, Dangote shared his personal frustrations while expressing unwavering optimism for Africa’s future.

He took the opportunity to shed light on the challenges he has encountered due to restrictive and inconsistent visa policies that hinder intra-African travel and investment.

“As an investor, as somebody who already wants to make Africa great, I have to now apply for 35 different visas on my passport and I really don’t have time to go and drop my passport in embassies to get a visa. But you see, the most annoying thing is that if you are treating everybody the same, then I can understand but I can assure you, some people don’t need 35 visas,” lamented Dangote.

Highlighting the urgency of the matter, Dangote revealed that even Nigeria’s influential political figures are voicing their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.

He disclosed that President Bola Tinubu has expressed similar concerns and is committed to initiating reforms to streamline visa processes into Nigeria.

“On Monday, there was a cabinet meeting, President Tinubu was not happy about this same visa issue and I can assure you that in the next couple of weeks, you will see a massive reform in terms of visas going into Nigeria,” assured Dangote.

Dangote’s clarion call for visa reforms resonates with growing sentiments across the continent as African countries recognize the imperative of fostering a conducive environment for investment and economic growth.

Restrictive visa policies not only deter potential investors but also impede the free movement of talent and resources vital for Africa’s development agenda.

Expressing his unwavering commitment to Africa’s potential, Dangote said, “I am very excited because the growth going forward in the future is Africa. We have whatever it takes to make Africa great and that is why I am not only putting in my own money, I am putting my soul and life in Africa to make it great.”

Dangote likened Africa to a scratch card, symbolizing its untapped potential. “Nothing is impossible in Africa, it is like a scratch card. Unless you scratch it, you won’t know what number it is or be able to use it,” he remarked, underscoring the need for concerted efforts to unlock Africa’s vast opportunities.

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