Reps Stop Planned 60% Hike In Nigerian Law School Fees

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal House of Representatives has implored the Council of Legal Education to stop forthwith the increment of the Nigerian Law School fees.

The House following the adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Obinna Chinda in the absence of the sponsor, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, urged the council to stay action on the matter owing to the economic situation in the country.

Leading the debate on the motion titled, “Need to check the 60 per cent increase in the Nigerian Law School Fees,” Obinna noted that the Nigerian Law School “Is the medium through which the Council of Legal Education discharges its function to regulate the legal education of persons seeking to become members of the legal profession as provided for under Section 1(2) of the Legal Education (Consolidation, etc.) Act Cap. L10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

He also noted that the function of the Council of Legal Education to oversee legal education in Nigeria includes deciding the cost of tuition and other services rendered to students of the Nigerian Law School.

“The House is aware that Nigeria is currently facing a 27.33 per cent inflation rate, as reported by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, which is projected by trade economics to rise to 30 per cent by December 2024.”

“The House is concern that in exercising its functions, the Council of Legal Education has approved a 60 per cent increase in Nigerian law school fees from N296,000.00) to N476,000 in 2023/2024 Bar Part II academic session,” adding that the House “Is also ware that the 2023-2024 Bar Part II academic session commenced in January 2024 with no time given to prospective students to raise the balance.”

He further noted that unless immediate steps are taken to strike a balance between the Council’s need to provide quality services and the prospective students’ abilities to afford an increment, the country will see a high decrease in the number of Nigerian law school students, resultant decrease in the number of lawyers in the next Call to Bar Ceremony, therefore leading to a higher national unemployment rate as those unable to attend law school cannot work as legal practitioners.”

FAAC: FG,States,LGs Get N1,149.816trn In January

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total sum of N1,149.816trillion January 2024 Federation Account Revenue to the Federal Government, States and Local Government Councils.

Bawa Mokwa, the Director of Press and Public Relations in a statement said the revenue was shared at the February 2024 meeting of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) chaired by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun.

According to a communique issued by FAAC, the N1,149.816 trillion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N463.079 billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N391.787 billion, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) revenue of N15.922 billion and Exchange Difference revenue of N279.028 billion.

Total revenue of N2,068.154 billion was available in the month of January 2024. Total deductions for cost of collection was N78.412 billion, total transfers, interventions and refunds was N639.926 billion and savings was N200.000 billion.

Gross statutory revenue of N1,151.808 billion was received for the month of January 2024. This was higher than the sum of N875.382 billion received in the month of December 2023 by N 276.426 billion.

The gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) in January 2024 was N420.733 billion. This was lower than the N492.506 billion available in the month of December 2023 by N71.773 billion.

The communique stated that from the N1,149.816 billion total distributable revenue, the Federal Government received a total of N407.267 billion, the State Governments received N379.407 billion and the Local Government Councils received N278.041 billion.

A total sum of N85.101 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting States as derivation revenue.

From the N463.079 billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N216.757 billion, the State Governments received N109.942 billion and the Local Government Councils received N84.761 billion. The sum of N51.619 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting States as derivation revenue.

The Federal Government received N58.768 billion, the State Governments received N195.894 billion and the Local Government Councils received N137.125 billion from the N391.787 billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue.

The N15.922 billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) was shared as follows: the Federal Government received N2.388 billion, the State Governments received N7.961 billion and the Local Government Councils received N5.573 billion.

The Federal Government received N129.354 billion from the N 279.028 billion Exchange Difference revenue. The State Governments received N65.610 billion, and the Local Government Councils received N50.582 billion. The sum of N33.482 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting States as derivation revenue.

In the month of January 2024, Companies Income Tax (CIT), Import Duty, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Oil and Gas Royalties increased significantly, while Value Added Tax (VAT), Export Duty, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) and CET Levies decreased considerably.

The balance in the ECA was $473,754.57

Mele Kyari Assesses Energy Security’s Role In Wealth Creation

Mohammed Shosanya

The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd), Mr. Mele Kyari,has said that no public wealth creation endeavour can achieve any meaningful success without energy security.

He stated this in a presentation at the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) Public Wealth Management Conference which held in Abuja on Tuesday.

A statement signed by Olufemi Soneye,Chief Corporate Communications Officer,NNPC quoted Kyari as noting that all other wealth creating activities such as agriculture rely heavily on one form of energy or the other to thrive.

“If you don’t have energy, you don’t have agriculture. You can do all the agriculture but you can’t take it to the market, you may not be able to preserve it, you can’t even export it. So, all those indices are clearly connected to the ability to create energy,” he emphasized.e

He disclosed that Nigeria has a huge energy deficit with about 70% of the population lacking access to clean cooking fuel and over 50% lacking access to electricity.

He listed some of the impediments to the achievement of energy security in Nigeria to include lack of investment in the energy sector due to uncertainty in the business environment and multiple taxation, adding that in the last 10 years, less than 3% of the total investment flow into Africa came into Nigeria.

He, however, assured that NNPC Ltd was working hard to lay the foundation for sustainable wealth creation by filling the energy deficit gap, stressing that the company’s growth trajectory from a loss position N803bn in 2018 to N2.5tr in 2022 was a testimony to the abundant potential of NNPC Ltd to lead the process of wealth creation in the country.

He emphasized that in spite of the challenges, NNPC Ltd is still the highest tax paying corporate entity in Nigeria.

CBN, ONSA Move To Penalize Forex Racketeers

Mohammed Shosanys

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) have partnered to investigate and penalise those involved in illicit activities within the foreign exchange market.

ONSA’s Head of Strategic Communications,Zakari Mijinjawa,disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

He said the CBN and ONSA’s efforts to combat illicit activities in the FX market are being undermined by speculators — both domestic and international — operating through various channels, thereby exacerbating the depreciation of the Nigerian naira and contributing to inflation and economic instability.

“Recall that to address the exchange rate volatility, CBN initiated a comprehensive strategy to enhance liquidity in the forex market, including unifying FX market segments, clearing outstanding FX obligations, introducing new operational mechanisms for Bureau De Change operators, enforcing the Net Open Position limit for commercial banks, and adjusting the remunerable Standing Deposit Facility cap,” the statement reads.

“To reduce the pressure on the naira, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has raised a 7,000-man special task force across its 14 zonal commands to clamp down on dollar racketeers.

“Yet, recent intelligence reports have highlighted continued illicit activities within the Nigerian foreign exchange market. The ONSA and CBN are therefore, embarking on this collaborative approach to tackle these infractions.”

According to the statement, the partnership will involve a coordinated effort with key law enforcement agencies, including the Nigeria police force (NPF), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

Mijinyawa said the joint efforts demonstrate the Nigerian government’s commitment to improving its anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework and exiting the grey list of the financial action task force.

He added that the efforts will make progress in ensuring a stable and transparent FX market, fostering investor confidence, and advancing the nation’s economic wellbeing.

Africa Leads World’s 20 Fastest-Growing Economies In 2024—AfDB

Mohammed Shosanya

Africa will account for eleven of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies in 2024, the African Development Bank Group said in its latest Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook (MEO) of the continent released on Friday.

Overall, real gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the continent is expected to average 3.8% and 4.2% in 2024 and 2025, respectively. This is higher than projected global averages of 2.9% and 3.2%, the report said.

The continent is set to remain the second-fastest-growing region after Asia.

The top 11 African countries projected to experience strong economic performance forecast are Niger (11.2%), Senegal (8.2%), Libya (7.9%), Rwanda (7.2%), Cote d’Ivoire (6.8%), Ethiopia (6.7%), Benin (6.4%), Djibouti (6.2%), Tanzania (6.1%), Togo (6%), and Uganda at 6%.

“Despite the challenging global and regional economic environment, 15 African countries have posted output expansions of more than 5%,” Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina said, calling for larger pools of financing and several policy interventions to further boost Africa’s growth.

Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook, a biannual publication released in the first and third quarters of each year, complements the existing African Economic Outlook (AEO), which focuses on key emerging policy issues relevant to the continent’s development.

The MEO report provides an up-to-date evidence-based assessment of the continent’s recent macroeconomic performance and short-to-medium-term outlook amid dynamic global economic developments.

The latest report calls for cautious optimism given the challenges posed by global and regional risks. These risks include rising geopolitical tensions, increased regional conflicts, and political instability—all of which could disrupt trade and investment flows, and perpetuate inflationary pressures.

President Adesina emphasised that fiscal deficits have improved, as faster-than-expected recovery from the pandemic helped shore up revenue.

He explained further: “This has led to a stabilisation of the average fiscal deficit at 4.9% in 2023, like 2022, but significantly less than the 6.9% average fiscal deficit of 2020.

The stabilisation is also due to the fiscal consolidation measures, especially in countries with elevated risks of debt distress.”

He cautioned that with the global economy mired in uncertainty, the fiscal positions of the African continent will continue to be vulnerable to global shocks.

The report shows that the medium-term growth outlook for the continent’s five regions is slowly improving, a pointer to the continued resilience of Africa’s economies.

Presenting the key findings of the report, the African Development Bank’s Chief Economist and Vice President, Prof. Kevin Urama said: “Growth in Africa’s top-performing economies has benefitted from a range of factors, including declining commodity dependence through economic diversification, increasing stra­tegic investment in key growth sectors, and rising both public and private consumption, as well as positive developments in key export markets.”

He added: “Africa’s economic growth is projected to regain moderate strength as long as the global economy remains resilient, disinflation continues, investment in infrastructure projects remains buoyant, and progress is sustained on debt restructuring and fiscal consolidation.”

“The future of Africa rests on economic integration. Our small economies are not competitive in the global market. A healthy internal African trade market can ensure value-added and intra-African production of manufactured goods,” said Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals, African Union Commission, Ambassador Albert Muchanga.

He assured that the MEO forecast, and recommendations will be made available to African heads of state and that the report will be useful when the African Union makes its proposals to the G20- an informal gathering of many of the world’s largest economies to which the African Union was admitted last year.

The improved growth figure for 2024 reflects concerted efforts by the continent’s policymakers to drive economic diversification strategies focused on increased investment in key growth sectors, as well as the implementation of domestic policies aimed at consolidating fiscal positions and reversing the increase in the cost of living and boosting private consumption.

Speaking, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Prof Mthuli Ncube described the report as being “on point” and consistent with the reality in his country, describing it as useful for economic planning across Africa. He urged the African Development Bank to continue its thought leadership to help policymakers continue to build resilience to withstand shocks and drive growth.

Ncube said: “Zimbabwe expects slower growth due to climate shocks in the region. Southern African countries depend on agriculture for economic growth, so climate-proofing agriculture is key. We are in talks with creditors to restructure its debt, which is slowing economic growth. Internally, the country will focus on economic and governance reforms and reforms around property rights to increase agricultural production.”

Director of the Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University Prof Jeffrey Sachs noted that long-term affordable financing must be part of Africa’s strategy to achieve growth of 7% or more per year and warned that Africa is paying a very high-risk premium for debt financing. He called for this point to be made to the G20.

“Long-term development cannot be based on short-term loans. Loans to Africa should be at least 25 years or longer. Short-term borrowing is dangerous for long-term development. Africa must act as one, in scale,” he explained.

Sachs, who is also the UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals also called for a much larger African Development Bank, better resourced to meet Africa’s financing needs.

AGF Ordered To Re-open Trial Of Dele Giwa’s Killers

Mohammed Shosanya

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF) to re-open investigation and prosecution of those involved in the gruesome killing of the founder of Newswatch Magazine, Dele Giwa, on October 19, 1986.

He was murdered in his Lagos office through a letter bomb.

Justice Inyang Ekwo made the order on Friday, while delivering judgment in a suit by the Incorporated Trustees of Media Rights Agenda against the AGF.

By the suit,MRA had sought the enforcement of fundamental rights of media professionals to safety as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution and African Charters on Human Rights.

Justice Ekwo held that the AGF as Chief Law Officer of the Federation was under obligation to prosecute and penalize killers of media practitioners in the country including the late Giwa.

Besides,the court ordered that the killings of other journalists in the discharge of their lawful duties must be investigated and perpetrators brought to book in line with the provisions of the law.

Justice Ekwo ordered the Federal Government to ensure adequate protection and safety of lives of journalists as enshrined in sections 33, 39 of the Constitution and Articles 4 and 9 of the African Charters on Human and Peoples Rights.

Nigeria Attracts N30bn Foreign  Investment In 9 Months

Mohammed Shosanya

The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) drive of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s administration has yielded about N30 billion in investment commitment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment has said.

She disclosed this while reeling out achievements recorded so far, within the administration of President Bola, through her ministry, at the second edition of the Ministerial Press Briefing organized by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation in Abuja.

She said even though the investments came in form of commitment, the FDIs have started flowing as actual buildings had already started, stressing that some the investments would come in form of equipment and other means.

“For us in investment, when you say commitment, it means that you have committed to bring that money or a promise. So this is a commitment so the money and investment, the proposal everything is done. They have already started building and they are continue to build. And it is over a period of 5 to 8 years. The monies, some of them will come in form of equipment, some in form of direct investment into manufacturing and into the facilities. So that fund yes, is committed and is live. It is here already” she said.

She also declared that contrary to wide speculations that Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited (SPDC) is leaving Nigeria, the British oil company is actually expanding its investments in the country.

She clarified that Shell Petroleum is only divesting its onshore investments and expanding its investments in gas offshore, contrary to rumours in the social media space.

She expressed optimism that by the third quarter of 2024, the numerous efforts of the President Bola Tinubu’s administration would critilalize into a huge and tangible industrial success where Nigeria would be counted among the industrialized nations in the world.

In his opening remarks, Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Information and National Orientation emphasized the fact that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the entire government fully understand the pains and challenges that Nigerians are going through at this time, and we are working very hard to alleviate these pains and bring lasting relief to all: individuals, households and businesses.

“Just yesterday, the President met with the 36 State Governors, as part of efforts to scale-up the collaboration required to tackle the social and economic challenges confronting us. Indeed, the State Governments are just as critical as the Federal Government in the work that needs to be done.

“We ask for your continued understanding, patience and belief in the Renewed Hope vision of Mr. President. We will keep you informed about everything we are doing to make the vision a reality” he said.

Abuja:FCCPC Shuts Sahad Store For Cheating Customers

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission(FCCPC), Friday sealed Sahad Stores Limited, a popular supermarket located in the Garki Area 11 of Abuja.

The supermarket was accused of shortchanging customers by charging prices other than the price tag on the shelves.

The enforcement was led by FCCPC Acting Executive Vice Chairman, Adamu Ahmed Abdullahi.

Abdullahi told journalists that the Commission’s preliminary investigation confirmed that the management of the supermarket was short-changing customers.

He said the Store would remain sealed until the completion of the further investigation.

Speaking, Director for the Surveillance and Investigations Department at FCCPC, Mrs Boladale Adeyinka, said that price tags on products on the shelves of the supermarket were different from prices at the pay point computers.

Adeyinka said that even the same products and brands had different prices.

She said:”The same products, the same brand has different prices. One is N5,000 while one is N6,000.

”Imagine if you buy 10 pairs, that means you have been short-changed by N10,000. In this period, we want people to have maximum value for their money,” she stated.

The Acting Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, Mr Adamu Abdullahi, who led the enforcement team to close down the premises of the mart, said the act was an obnoxious practice which amounted to a violation of rights under the FCCP Act.

Mr Abdullahi said the practice contravened Section 155 (3) of the FCCPA and the fine amounted to N100 million or more.

“What we have found out that they are doing is misleading pricing and lack of transparency in their pricing which is against section 155 (3) of the FCCP Act.

”It is an obnoxious practice and amounts to a violation of rights under the FCCPCA.

”Section 155 of FCCPA states that any corporate person that contravenes this law is liable to a fine of N100 million or even more.

”We found out that they are contravening this law and made sure that we came to tell them that our mandate is very clear. What we have come here today to do is to make sure that they comply with the law.

”We called them to defend themselves, but they failed to show up and in the long run, they sent a lawyer and the lawyer is not familiar with the case, but we requested for names of people that we wanted to come and defend them.

”Those people refused to come, and these are the people in charge of retail, fixing prices on the computer system and shelves.

”We do not have a choice but to seal off the premises until they comply with the provisions of the law,” he said.

Oyo Government Shuts Six Health Facilities Over Quackery

Mohammed Shosanya

The Oyo State Government, has shut six health facilities across the state over quackery.

The shut facilities committed various offenses, including recruitment of unqualified personnel to provide medical services and engage in illicit practices.

Among the facilities sealed were the New Jobi Memorial Hospital; Omolara Clinic & Maternity Home Iped Amazing Grace Medical Clinic; Emiloju Clinic and Maternity Centre Ogbere and Safeway Clinic, Gbaremu; Emilagba clinic and Maternity Centre, Ibadan.

Speaking during an inspection and monitoring exercise held within the Ibadan metropolis, the State Antiquackery Task Force Committee Chairman, Dr. Adekunle Aremu said the team carried out the operation as part of the government’s efforts towards protecting the health and well-being of residents.

He said the Oyo state government would not tolerate any form of quackery or substandard practice in the health sector.

He added that anyone found culpable would face the full wrath of the law.

He urged the public to report any suspicious or illegal activity in any health facility to the Ministry of Health or the nearest security agency.

He also advised the public to patronize only accredited and registered health facilities in the state, adding that they must ensure only qualified personnel attend to them.

He appealed to health workers to abide by the ethics and standard of their profession.

He also urged residents to cooperate with the government in its quest to provide quality and affordable health care to the people.

He said: “The goals remain clear, Oyo state government is dedicated to upholding rigorous standards and prioritizing the health and safety of every resident.

“The government ensures that healthcare services consistently meet the highest benchmarks for quality and safety, so citizens can trust their well-being”.

FG Withdraws Charge Against Sowore

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal Government has withdrawn the charge it filed against rights activist, Omoyele Sowore and Adebayo Olawale aka Mandate.

The withdrawal of the charge was sequel to a notice of discontinuance filed at the Federal High Court Abuja, where Sowore and his co defendant are being prosecuted.

The Notice of Discontinuance, dated February 15, 2023, was signed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN.

“By virtue of the power conferred on me under Section 174 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, Section 107 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and all other powers enabling me in that behalf, I, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice tend to discontinue Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/235/2019, between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Omoyele Sowore, Adebayo Olawale aka Mandate.

An Abuja based legal practitioner, Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq, has commended the decision of the AGF to discontinue the trial of Omoyele Sowore in court, where he was charged by the Government Republic of Nigeria for alleged staging a revolution.

Olajengbesi said the decision reflects a commitment to upholding the principles of justice and fairness within the country’s legal system.

“By discontinuing the trial, the Attorney General has demonstrated a willingness to review cases objectively and prioritize the protection of citizens’ rights.

In a statement on Thursday, Olajengbesi said the action Prince Fagbemi has reinforced the importance of safeguarding freedom of expression and ensuring that individuals are not unduly persecuted for exercising their rights.

“I applaud the Attorney General for his discernment and for taking proactive steps to promote a legal environment that respects fundamental human rights.

“This decision sets a positive precedent for the administration of justice in Nigeria and reaffirms the government’s dedication to upholding the rule of law.

“As advocates for justice and equality, I stand in support of such principled actions and urge continued adherence to the principles of fairness and accountability within our legal system” Olajengbesi stated.