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ill-treatment meted out by Buhari, APC worsened agitation for Biafra – IPOB leader, Kanu tells EU parliament

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The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, on Tuesday, took his agitation for the actualization of a Sovereign State called Biafra to the European Union parliament.

The IPOB leader told the parliament that it was the ill treatment meted by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration that aggravated the situation that worsened the agitation for Biafra.

In a paper presented by Mazi Kanu, to the EU Parliament and made available to reporters by IPOB’s Deputy Leader, Uche Mefor, Kanu pointed out that “after the Nigeria Biafra Civil war, Biafrans slowly rebuilt their world, but as far as Nigeria was concerned, they were not and never had been Biafrans, they were Nigerians from South east or Igbo-speaking Nigerians.

“Biafran war was airbrushed out of the Nigerian consciousness. Biafrans could only whisper about their loss. Joining the global Biafran diaspora was one option for those who could get out of the country; other remained in Biafra land, their Biafran identity amongst themselves, undiminished.

“Nigeria leaders particularly the present administration of Buhari continues to prioritize crushing assertions of Biafra identity has been the order of the day as even peacefully commemorating the war risks arrest, detention prohibited ill treatment or being shot.

“In recent years the Nigerian state authorities have conducted three orchestrated campaigns against Biafrans, and the three Operation Python Dance military operations have been battles targeted against the Biafrans, the first being in 2016 and the second in 2017 and the third that is ongoing, all designed to undermine calls for Biafra self determination.

“Operation Python Dance campaigns are laden with intimidation, serious and systemic human rights violations carried out by the state with impunity and IPOB which is a voice for Biafrans for self determination, a non violent group being always targeted for destruction.

“It is the determination of the IPOB to ensure self determination by calling for referendum that the Buhari led Nigerian government decided to brand it as a terrorist organization, a proclamation the EU, the United Kingdom and United States of America have all rejected.

“Nigeria is the problem not the solution, adding that Nigeria has always been a fiction because it was created for British administrative and colonial continence in 1914, having drawn together alleged desperate people into one entity.

“Biafrans do not speak the same language, as many speak Igbo, and others speak Urhobo-Isoko, Ijaw-Epie-Ogbia, Ogoni, Efik, Annang, Eket, Oron-Ibibio, Ogoja, Ejagham, Igala, Idoma Ibani and Igbanke among others.

“To put Biafra in its Nigeria geo-political context, Biafraland is made up of Rivers Province Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Imo, Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Bayelsa, and Delta and the Fulani herdsmen have shown interest in the provinces from the central belt of Biafra such as Enugu.

Kanu further stated that the Biafra persecution started with the Independence as one colonial master was replaced by another and that Biafran fared better under the British than they have under Nigerian dominance.

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Crisis rocks AEDC over equity share holding as foreign investor alleges agreement terms violation

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CEC Africa Investment Limited, one of the foreign investors in the nation’s power sector has alleged that its massive investment in Nigeria’s power sector faces a high risk.

It also explained that the emerging risk followed the alleged hijack by a powerful cabal of KANN Utility Company Limited, a consortium where it has majority shares.

TIMELY POST gathered that KANN even brought the 60 percent of equity of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC.

Further, it was gathered that KANN is a consortium owned between CEC Africa Investment Limited and Xerxes Global Investments Limited that bought the Abuja electricity company.

But an attempt by the CEC Africa Investment Limited to enforce terms of agreement with its Nigerian partner, Xerxes Global Investments Limited, the two companies that own KANN consortium, and safeguard its investment is currently the subject of what stakeholders have described as “unnecessary and embarrassing litigation” at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The Case reference number FHC/Abuja/CS/684/2018 explains that between 2012 and 2013, KANN’s two shareholders viz CEC Africa Investments Limited, which has over 60 years history of power operations across several southern African countries and Xerxes Global Investments Limited agreed to jointly bid for the purchase of 60% equity stake in AEDC valued at $164 million.

The two companies agreed that CECA and Xerxes would own and hold 50% each of the shares of KANN and that each of the two parties would make equal financial contribution towards the acquisition amount and costs with regard to the purchase of 60% shares of AEDC.

The two companies also agreed to fund 25 percent of the AEDC equity share ($41 million) by cash contributions in their 50%/50% shareholding interest and KANN would borrow the remaining 75% of the acquisition costs of $123 million from a third party lender, the United Bank for Africa (UBA.

However, Xerxes could not raise its equity contribution when the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) demanded for the initial 25% ($41 million) upfront payment; CECA alone raised initial 25% equity payment fully in March 2013.

It was also gathered that Xerxes could not also guarantee the 75% balance of loan repayment at the UBA, thus CECA provided a mandatory Debt Service Reserve Account of $40 million as a security cover for the UBA loan thereby bringing CECA’s total, both to BPE and loan repayment to $81million.

Notably, however, to secure this repayment, XerXes pledged 25% out of its 50% shareholding in KANN to CECA thus making the later (CECA) becoming 75% equity owner of KANN in a written agreement, according to the arguments contained in the the court case.

But now, CECA, in its claim to the court with documentary evidences, is alleging that apart from the fact that Xerxes has failed to honour its agreements with CECA on equity ownership of KANN on 75% and 25% basis, Xerxes is systematically sidelining CECA, plotting takeover of AEDC by trying to change key management positions and leave CECA, the biggest investor in denial.

The parties went for arbitration of the matter at the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and CECA on October 28, 2016 won the case after which CECA took a step further by going to the Federal High Court, Abuja, Nigeria, where the LCIA judgement was adopted as its judgment. Xerxes however appealed the judgement

On account of this case, it has become difficult for KANN to hold statutory meetings of the consortium as every effort to convene general meeting is allegedly being frustrated by Xerxes.

Besides, sources told our correspondent that CECA has been recently harassed by the Department of State Security but the spy agency didn’t find any substance in the issues raised against the company.

Industry players have asking why a co-investor (CECA) is left to bear the responsibility of such a massive transaction but it is not willing to accept terms of agreement it entered into with its partner because the local partners have influence in government.

“We have been following the case. It is rather very unfortunate because with this kind of case, no serious investor wants to bring his or her hard-earned money here to come and invest”, said a chief executive a leading DISCO who pleaded anonymity.

He added that, “this is economic sabotage against what President Buhari told us. We are hoping that the court will give justice to the right company because this is a bad precedence in a critical sector such as power”.

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Senate issues 7-day ultimatum to CBN, FIRS, others to declare statement of accounts

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Senate on Wednesday issued 7-day ultimatum to the Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Federal Airport Authority, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation presently defaulting to submit their statements of income and expenditure accounts spanning from 2017- 2019 to do so.

It also urged the defaulting agencies to submit their lingering responses on issues raised about the belated statement of accounts as contained in their earlier exchanged correspondences.

Other agencies are the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Niger Delta Development Commission, Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, Federal Airport Authority and National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure.

Also defaulting are, Nigeria Football Federation, Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, National Space Research and Development Agency, Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and Industrial Training Fund.

Those invited also include, Presidential Amnesty Program, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Petroleum Equalization Fund Management Board, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Nigeria Railway Corporation and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency.

The Senate also invited Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Nigeria Insurance Trust Fund and National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.

This development followed the Public Account Committee (PAC) of the Senate’s press briefing in National Assembly wherein it disclosed that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government, have not disclosed their accounts for years, as stipulated by law.

Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Chairman of the committee, told Journalist that the PAC had issued correspondences to the affected agencies to submit statement of accounts, to enable the committee carry out “special oversight functions”.

The committee said it has the backing of sections 85, 88 and 89 of the 1999 constitution of federal republic of Nigeria and Order 97(5) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended.

Despite several notices for agencies to submit their statement of accounts, the committee said many of the MDAs have refused to comply.

“In the light of this, all the defaulting agencies are by this notice, given the last opportunity to make submissions before their invitation to the scheduled public hearing”, Senator Urhoghide said.

“The committee therefore, gave 7-day ultimatum to the defaulting agencies, to make submissions “on their responses to the issues raised by the committee in its various correspondences regarding their income and expenditure operations from 2017-2019”.

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Bill to regulate Social Media passes second reading

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A bill to regulate the use of Social Media as well as curb fake news on the internet has passed the second reading at the Senate.

The bill, ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, 2019,’ sponsored by Mohammed Musa was introduced in the Senate two weeks ago.

This comes a few years after a similar anti-social media bill introduced in the eight Senate, sparked outrage across the country.

The second stage of the new bill was passed after lawmakers debated details of the bill during plenary.

Leading the debate, Musa said the bill does not intend to gag the media but to check the spread of false information on the internet.

He also prescribed up to N300,000 fine for an individual if found guilty; and up to N10 million for corporate organisations.

While three lawmakers supported the bill, Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu East) opposed the passage of the bill.

He said the bill was completely unnecessary given the provisions of the Cyber Crimes Act.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, then put the debate to a voice vote. Majority of the senators supported it.

Lawan referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Judiciary. The committee was asked to report back after four weeks.

As part of its work, the committee is expected to conduct a public hearing on the bill.

Details later…

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