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National dailies: 10 things to know this Wednesday morning

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Good morning! Here is today’s TIMELY POST bulletin from Nigerian newspapers:

  1. The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal will deliver judgment on Wednesday (today) in the petition of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the February 23, presidential poll. The tribunal in a notice of hearing conveyed to parties in the petition through text messages and telephone calls, announced its resolution to make its findings and final decision on the petition public today. Atiku and PDP are praying the Justice Mohammed Garba led tribunal, to nullify Buhari’s election on various grounds ranging from non-qualification to stand for the election, election malpractices, alteration of election results and violence amongst others.
  2. Negotiation between the Federal Government and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) on the new minimum wage was again rescheduled for Sept. 16 on Tuesday. The last negotiation between the government and the JNPSNC was to hold on Sept. 4, but was suspended. Alade Lawal, JNPSN Secretary-General, confirmed on Tuesday in Lagos that the meeting was rescheduled at the instance of the officials. The organised labour and the Federal Government have been in conflict over the implementation of the new minimum wage which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 18.
  3. The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday nullified the election of Senator Dayo Adeyeye of the All Progressive Congress (APC). Adeyeye is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media. The tribunal in a unanimous judgment declared former Minority Leader and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Biodun Olujimi, winner. Justice D.D. Adeck ruled that Olujimi was able to convince the panel on her grounds. Olujimi had submitted that she scored the highest number of lawful votes cast during the keenly contested poll.
  4. President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday decried what he called the undue politicization of the security situation in the country. Buhari, while receiving promoters of the proposed African Security Leadership Summit at State House, Abuja, said no matter how much the revisionists try to distort history, the records show where we were in terms of security in 2015, where we are now, and we also know where we want to be. He said the relative successes of the administration since 2015 are clear, and what remains in areas of security are also clear, despite the politicization.
  5. The Oyo State National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ibadan, on Tuesday, struck out a suit filed by the immediate past Governor of Oyo state, Abiola Ajimobi challenging the victory of Mr. Kola Balogun in Oyo South District. Ajimobi had approached the election petition tribunal, praying the court to declare him, as the winner of the election. The court, however, on Tuesday, upheld the election of Balogun as the senator representing Oyo South Senatorial district.
  6. A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, Tuesday, ordered the final forfeiture of some jewellery and a customized gold Iphone valued at $40m belonging to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to the Federal Government. The trial Judge, Just6I. N. Oweibo had, on July 5, granted the interim forfeiture of the properties, following an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Justice Oweibo had also directed interested parties to show cause why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government. The anti-graft spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.
  7. The Super Eagles threw away a two-goal lead in incredible fashion, to draw 2-2 with Ukraine in an international friendly on Tuesday in Dnipro. Nigeria took immediate control of the game, with an early goal. Joe Aribo finished off a fine team move in the third minute to make it 1-0. Gernot Rohr’s men went into the break 2-0 up, after Victor Osimhen fired in a penalty. However, they conceded two goals in as many minutes in the second half. First, Oleksandr Zinchenko dribbled his way through to pull one back, before Roman Yaremchuk scored the equalizer.
  8. The Election Petitions Tribunal for National Assembly Election yesterday dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 National Assembly election. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Hon Israel Sunny-Goli of the APC winner of the Nembe/Brass Federal Constituency polling 41,150 votes against his closet rival Mrs Marie Enenimiete Ebikake of the PDP, who polled 19, 279. Ebikake, however, in a petition, prayed the Tribunal to annul the election of Sunny- Goli citing non- compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act and violence in seven wards of Nembe Bassambiri. The tribunal led by Justice Lambert Azuama, with Justice Ruqayat Ayoola and Linda Yarosong as members, in its ruling dismissed the petition for lack of documentary evidence and affirmed the victory of Hon. Sunny- Goli.
  9. The National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ibadan, on Tuesday, upheld the election of Senator Abdulfatai Buhari representing Oyo North in the National Assembly on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In a unanimous judgement read by Justice Sambo Daka, the panel said the petitioners Mulikat Adeola-Akande and her party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed to prove their petition beyond reasonable doubt. The panel also awarded a cost of N150,000 against the petitioners.
  10. A soldier was on Tuesday apprehended for alleged car snatching in the Adamawa State capital, Yola. The soldier, who admitted to the crime, justified it, saying he had not been paid for a long time. The Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command, DSP Sulaiman Nguroje, confirmed the incident Tuesday, saying the incident happened in the early hours of the day near a famous part of a town called Target Junction.

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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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