Category Archives: News

Breaking: Shoprite says its done with Nigeria, announces plans to leave

South African retail giant Shoprite has announced it is leaving Nigeria 15 years after it began operation in Africa’s most populous country.

In a statement on Monday, the Cape Town-based retailer said it has commenced a formal process to consider the potential sale of all or a majority stake in its supermarkets in Nigeria.

The company said the results for the year do not reflect any of their operations in Nigeria as it will be classified as discontinued operation.

“Following approaches from various potential investors, and in line with our re-evaluation of the group’s operating model in Nigeria, the board has decided to initiate a formal process to consider the potential sale of all, or a majority stake, in Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Shoprite International Limited. As such, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited may be classified a discontinued operation when Shoprite reports its result for the year,” the statement read.

International supermarkets (excluding Nigeria) contributed 11.6 per cent to group sales, and reported 1.4 per cent decline in sales from 2018.

South African operations contributed 78 per cent of overall sales and saw 8.7 per cent rise for the year.

Due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, customer visits declined 7.4 per cent but the average basket spend increased by 18.4 per cent.

South African retailers have struggled in the Nigerian market and most recently Mr Price exited the market after Woolworths did the same six years ago.

US – based philanthropist inaugurates Foundation for the indigent in Enugu

A US based philanthropist, Mr Afamefuna Atu on Sunday launched an empowerment foundation to cater for the needs of the indigent in Enugu State.

Atu, who is the president of the organisation called Kings Care Empowerment Foundation, said that he was motivated to launch the foundation due to unpleasant personal experiences he had while growing up.

The president while speaking during the formal inauguration of the Nigeria office, said that the foundation was aimed at addressing the health, education and material needs of the people.
He said that three events in the history of his family shaped his passion for humanitarian works leading to the present intervention.

“Three events in my family history shaped my passion for humanitarian works. First is the death of my grandmother, who died during childbirth because of malnutrition and lack of food.

“The baby boy she was delivered of also died too. She left my mother aged two and her four years old sister behind.

“Shortly after my grandmother’s death, an eye disease which we know as ‘apollo’ broke out in our community and my grandfather was one of those that were affected,” he said.

According to Atu, his grandfather did not have money for medical treatment due to poverty and went for a local remedy.

“He squeezed a local herb into his eyes to clear the infection but he lost his eyes leaving my two-years old mother and her four years old sister motherless and with a blind father,” he said.

Atu said his father also lost his younger sister to liver cancer “and the tragedy affected all of us. After hearing the story of my grandparents, I vowed to make sure that no other parent will experience such suffering.

“Realising that when we leave this world we will not be remembered by the volume of our wealth but by our good deeds.

“Standing on those ideals, I established the Kings Care Empowerment Foundation whose primary aim is focused on our people to avoid another parent losing their eyesight as a result of poverty.

“I will not also like to see another woman dying at her birth stool like my grandmother,” he said.

Atu said that the foundation would focus on rural communities in order to create a future the people could touch and feel; a future where everyone is valued, every voice is heard and every life counts.

“As we formally open our headquarters in Nigeria, we look forward to engaging communities on challenges of health and community development, youth outreach and women empowerment,” Atu said.

Earlier, the Director of the foundation, Mr Ikechukwu Nwobodo, said that the organisation which was founded in 2017 had engaged in charitable works and growth of indigent families through medical outreach and others.

In a goodwill message, Enugu State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Manfred Nzekwe, said that the state government would partner with the foundation in any way possible to address the challenges of indigent members of the society among others.

Nzekwe commended the founder of the foundation for the initiative.

Highlight of the event was testimonies from beneficiaries of the foundation’s empowerment schemes.

2023: Edo should produce president after Buhari – Edo Indigenes

The umbrella body of Edo indigenes, Edo Indigenous Movement(EIM) /Edo Progressive Indigenes Association (EPIA) has said that the next president of Nigeria should be an Edo person.

EPIA in its argument, wondered why there is so much hullabaloo over Nigeria’s presidency when the Edo people, despite their contributions to national development, have never been considered for the position.

Chief Bishop J.O.E Edokpolo who is the Edo Indigenous leader and president, in a message to journalists at the weekend, said its the turn of Edo State to produce a president.

“In all fairness, Nigeria should be led by a president of Edo extraction in 2023. Given its historical role in Nigeria and as a kingdom that has been seen as one of the most historically civilized class of people in Africa, we feel very marginalized for not having a president from Edo Kingdom. It is our turn and not our fault, Edo is able and capable”, he stated.

Igbos Owns Nigeria Not Fulani, Come to the North and See – Prof. Yusuf

Former Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof Usman Yusuf, has described claims that the Fulani “own” Nigeria as a fallacy and “sentimental nonsense”.

He said that the erroneous narrative was being pushed by unscrupulous elements with a nefarious agenda.

According to him, Fulani people were in the minority in the federal civil service compared to Yoruba and Igbo people.

The Katsina-born professor added that Yoruba and Igbo people were also far richer than their Fulani counterparts.

Yusuf said that there was therefore no justification for claiming that the Fulani own or control Nigeria.

“Which part of Nigeria do they own? Igbo people are richer than Fulani people; Yoruba people are also richer than Fulani people. There are more Igbo and Yoruba in federal civil service than Fulani.

“Does any Fulani own a bank? Does any Fulani own a media house? Does any Fulani own a hotel? All the hotels in Abuja and land are owned by the Igbo. Is Abuja Igbo land? Can Fulani own in the East what Igbo own in the North? No. If you have never been to the North, come and see the landed properties that the Igbo have, which the Fulani do not have and cannot have in Igbo land.

“Whoever that says Fulani man owns Nigeria, let him come and say how. Fulani man occupies Aso Rock, and so what? An Igbo man should come and occupy Aso Rock and give the Fulani all the material wealth he has in the North. That is nonsense.
“Igbo own all the hotels, they own banks, and Yoruba own the newspapers and banks. What do the Fulani own? It is just sentimental nonsense,” Yusuf told Saturday Sun.

Ohafia residents protest release of Church of Satan pastor in Abia

Some youths in Ohafia, Abia state have taken to the streets to protest the release of Ifegwu Udo aka Lucifer, founder and pastor of the Church of Satan, from prison.

According to reports, Udo was granted bail in the sum of N1 million each with two sureties in like sum. He was, however, released after meeting the bail conditions.

Speaking to reporters on the protest and banishment of the evil master, the president of Ohafia youths, Obasa Ohafia, described Udo as a persona non grata to the community.

His words, “After the incident in Ohafia in which the police station, high and magistrate courts were burnt, we discovered after investigation that the policeman who killed the trader apprentice that triggered the protest came out from Lucifer’s brothel where he got himself drunk before he shot dead the young man.

“Since he was arrested, calm returned to Ohafia, but on Monday we heard he (Lucifer) was released, the same day, an okada rider in Ohafia was killed and his motorcycle made away with. The youths then said if Lucifer could be released and the same day somebody was killed, it then means there will not be peace in Ohafia if he
returns”.

Obasi said since creation, nobody in Ohafia has been known by the name Lucifer, adding that since the name was strange to Ohafia, it means the person bearing it is a stranger and “this is why the youths are saying no to Lucifer, we don’t want him again”.

Obasi said Ndi Eze Ogo (ruling chiefs) in Ohafia were in support of the protests and have authorized them to deal decisively with Lucifer wherever he is seen in Ohafia.

“The Eze Ogos are in total support of our action, we embarked on the peaceful protest to tell Lucifer he has been banished from Ohafia. We are saying no to Lucifer, he is a bad influence to youths in Ohafia.

The youth leader foreclosed any brokering of peace between Ohafia youths and Lucifer, insisting that if the founder of the Church of Satan could be pardoned and allowed to return to Ohafia, it will be after 10 years according to the custom of the people.

“Ever since he was taken away, our people have been sleeping with their two eyes closed, so, there is no point wanting him back”, Obasi said.

Abia Govt release schools resumption timetable

Further to the recommendation of education stakeholders in the state to resume academic activities on the 10th of August, 2020, to enable exit students take part in local and international examinations, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has directed that primary and secondary schools in the state reopen on Tuesday, 4th August, 2020, to ensure that teachers, relevant education and health authorities put in place necessary measures prior to resumption of full academic activities.

The timeline for activities leading to the return of students in exit classes for academic activities on the 10th of August, 2020, are as follows:

1. Monday, 3rd August, 2020

a. Mobilization of leaders of fumigation teams in all the 17 LGAs of the State with each team including, at least, 3 environmental officers from the state ministry of environment and local governments to coordinate and monitor the fumigation exercise in all public primary and secondary schools in the state.

b. Private companies in the state engaged in fumigation business are hereby invited to a meeting at the International Conference Center, Umuahia, by 10am. They are to come with their operational equipment for display, review and possible approval to participate in the exercise.

c. All LGA Transition Council Chairmen and their education secretaries are also invited to attend the meeting at the International Conference Center.

2. Tuesday, 4th August, 2020

a. All schools in the state will reopen with Head and other teachers expected to resume in their various schools to commence a dry run for the resumption of academic activities. They are also expected to attend school from thence till the conclusion of examinations for exit classes in both primary and secondary schools.

b. The state ministry of health, in partnership with the ministry of education, is to commence sample collection and testing for COViD-19 of all head teachers, teachers and all those expected to be part of the management of the relevant examinations in our public and private schools. Only those who test negative to the virus will be expected to continue attending classes or interacting with students and others involved in the management of the examinations.

c. Head teachers and others are expected to monitor the clearing, cleaning and fumigation exercises in the various schools and send reports through the relevant education secretaries in the 17 LGAs to the Honorable Commissioner for Education latest by 10am on the 5th of August, 2020.

3. Wednesday, 5th August, 2020

a. Head teachers are to provide hand washing stations in all the schools as well as ensure that sick bays and isolation areas are readied prior to resumption of students.

b. The ministry of education is to provide detailed readiness evaluation report covering all primary and secondary schools in the State to the Governor for review.

c. State ministry of health, in partnership with the ministry of education, is expected to deliver pocket and table hand sanitizers, face masks and digital thermometers provided by the state government to all public schools in the state for free distribution to students, teachers and examination supervisors.

4. Thursday & Friday, 6th & 7th August, 2020

The state ministry of health is expected to conclude the teaching and training of all teachers on COVID-19 protocols as well as set up relevant monitoring teams that will ensure full compliance.

Finally, the Governor directs that all private primary and secondary schools in the state ensure compliance with the resumption regulations or risk immediate closure.

Thank you.

Chief John Okiyi Kalu
Honorable Commissioner for Information, Abia State
1st August, 2020.

Babachir Lawal: Next president  should come from the South

A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor should come from the southern region of the country.

Lawal especially expressed objection to certain political factions in the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) opposed to the likely candidacy of the party’s national leader, Bola Tinubu.

Tinubu, a former Lagos governor, has been nursing a coy ambition to contest in the 2023 presidential election when Buhari finishes his second term.

However, there are influential people in the party, mostly from the north, who are not comfortable with his likely run.

The recent sacking of the Adams Oshiomhole-led national working committee of the party is considered by experts as being a key strategy to cripple Tinubu’s run ahead of the election.

Lawal said in an interview with Punch, published on Sunday, August 2, 2020, that Tinubu deserves a chance to run.

He said, “Except we want to bring the wrath of God on our heads, because of his role in building the party, equity and a sense of justice demand that he be given a chance in a free and fair system and let his luck prevail.

“Nobody with a clear conscience in the APC will deny Tinubu the opportunity to contest the Presidency.

“Nobody within the party has the moral right to even put a stumbling block on his path.

“The party must create an environment that is free and fair for anybody who wants to contest, including Bola Tinubu.”

Lawal called on Buhari, who sacked him as SGF over corruption allegations, to support a rotation of the presidency back to the southern region.

He noted that the north has had a lot of leadership stints at the top of government without much to show for it.

“A just and equitable way of doing things is to agree, as gentlemen, that since the north has had its president for the second tenure, the opportunity should be given to the south to produce the next president,” he said.

The discussion about rotating the presidency between both regions, an unwritten agreement called zoning, has gained national prominence over the past few days after President Buhari’s nephew, Mamman Daura, said it’s not beneficial to the country.

“It is better for this country to be one. It should be for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere,” he said.

Daura’s comment was not favourably received by southern politicians who alleged that it’s a ploy to ensure Buhari’s successor is another northerner.

President Buhari distanced himself from the comment days later, noting that Daura can make such a comment in his personal capacity without it being a reflection of his own opinion on the subject.

Punch

Group sues Buhari, Malami, over unpublished details of govt loans

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja to order President Muhammadu Buhari to publish details of loans that have been obtained by the government since May 29, 2015.

These will also include the interest rate, the total amount of debts that have so far been incurred by the government, as well as details of the projects on which the loans have been spent.

Joined as respondents in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/785/2020 are Mr Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Ms Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; and Ms Patience Oniha Director-General of the Debt Management Office.

SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to tell Nigerians the names of countries and bodies that have given the loans, specific repayment conditions, and whether any public officers solicited and/or received bribes in the negotiations for any of the loans, and if there is plan to audit the spending of the loans, to resolve any allegations of mismanagement and corruption.”

The body is also asking the court to: “direct and compel President Buhari to tell Nigerians if he would instruct the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to monitor the spending of all loans obtained since May 2015.”

SERAP is arguing that: “Opacity in the spending of loans would continue to have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of citizens. Transparency would ensure that the loans are not diverted to private pockets, increase public trust that these loans would be used to benefit Nigerians, provide good value for money, and reassure Nigeria’s creditors.”

According to SERAP, “This suit is permitted under the Freedom of Information Act, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

SERAP is also arguing that: “While access to loans can provide indispensable resources, the mismanagement and squandering of any such resources would be counter-productive. Nigerians should no longer be made to repay debts incurred in their name but which have not benefited them in any manner, shape or form.”

The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) request dated 30 May, 2020 to President Buhari, expressing “concerns that while governments since 1999 have borrowed money in the name of Nigeria and its citizens, much of the funds have reportedly been mismanaged, stolen or squandered, leaving the citizens with the burden of having to repay these loans.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Adelanke Aremo, read in part: “the massive and growing national debts have continued to have negative impacts on socio-economic development and on Nigerians’ access to public goods and services, including quality education, adequate healthcare, clean water, and regular electricity supply.

“SERAP is praying the court to hold that the interest of the public in publishing the information sought is far greater than any other interest President Buhari may be trying to preserve.

“Transparency and accountability in the spending details of all the loans that have so far been obtained by the government, and those obtained by previous administrations would mean that the loans can help Nigeria to overcome its acute development challenges, and reduce the possibility of mismanagement and corruption.

“SERAP is seeking an order to direct and compel President Buhari to disclose information on details of spending of loans obtained by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999, list of countries and bodies that have given the loans, and specific conditions of repayment of the loans.

“Obedience to the rule of law by all citizens but more particularly those who publicly took oath of office to protect and preserve the constitution is a desideratum to good governance and respect for the rule of law.

“The Nigeria Government has signed on to the Open Government Partnership [OGP], and the country is a state party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.”

It would be recalled that Buhari recently sought the National Assembly’s approval for a fresh loan of $5.513bn, reportedly to fund the 2020 budget deficit, critical projects, and support some states. The National Assembly also recently approved a N850 billion loan. Another loan of $22.79bn, had previously been approved by the National Assembly.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Enugu government demolishes sinking 3-storey building

Enugu State Government on Saturday, demolished a sinking three-storey building within the Maryland Layout axis of Enugu South Local Government Area, Enugu metropolis.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ground floor of the building, located at 9, Egwuekwe Street, Maryland Layout, instantly caved-in at about 2 am on Saturday leaving the rest of the building in a perilous situation.

Speaking to journalists while inspecting the sinking building, the State’s Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Greg Nnaji, expressed sadness over inability of individuals to follow adequate procedures of constructing buildings.

Nnaji said that his ministry would ensure proper investigation of the immediate and remote causes of the building collapse.

“I will advise people living around the affected building to vacate the environment because it is not safe for them until investigation about the cause of the incident is carried out,” he said.

Also speaking, Chairman of Enugu State Capital Territory Development Authority, Chief Joseph Onoh, said that while investigation is ongoing; the remaining structure would be demolished and pulled down for public safety.

Onoh, who arrived at the scene with equipment, said it would be totally demolished so that nobody would occupy it under any guise to avoid recording human casualty for the state.

Earlier, some of the occupants of the building, Mr Lazarus Okoye, Mrs Rita Chukwu and Mr Ugochukwu Okorie, said they heard a mysterious sound around 2 am early on Saturday.

However, they said that they never knew it was the sound of the sinking ground floor of the building they heard.

The occupants appealed to the state government and good spirited individuals to come to their aid.

At the time of filing this report over 50 per cent of the remaining building had been demolished by the Enugu State Capital Territory Development Authority.