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African Leaders Backs Action to Address Climate Change

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African Leaders Backs Action to Address Climate Change

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By Dipo Olowookere

African Heads of State and Government marked Africa Day in the Africa Pavilion at the UNFCCC 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) on Friday with focused and strategic discussion on the ratification and roll out of the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the key continental initiatives to support member states’ efforts.

President Alpha Condé of the Republic of Guinea presided over the High Level gathering also attended by the Presidents of Botswana, Mr Ian Khama; Liberia, Ms Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; Togo, Mr Faure Gnassingbe, Ministers from the continent, heads of Pan African Institutions; the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency and; development partners.

The Africa Day event had the dual themes of “Moving from Commitment to Action with Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)” and “The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative: Moving Forward.”

As Climate Change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world, with Africa already experiencing some of the most severe impacts, the continent’s leaders have proactively responded with the establishment of the Committee of Africa Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) and the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) on Climate that have thus far, tremendously influenced global negotiations.

Presence of heads of state at COP22 and the Africa Day event further demonstrated the importance placed on securing the continent’s interests within the global climate governance mechanism and in defining the roadmap to reduce global temperature rise to ‘well below’ 2oC goal, considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the threshold for averting dangerous changes to the climate system.

COP21 in Paris in December 2015, delivered the landmark Paris Agreement in which the Intended NDCs emerged as the game changer and primary mechanism for reducing global temperature rise. To date 46 African countries have signed the Paris Agreement and 27 out of 103 countries have ratified the Agreement that entered into force on 4th November, 2016.

Africa has seized the opportunity of COP22, dubbed the action COP, to demonstrate leadership in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, through the NDCs and in ensuring that the means of implementation, namely finance, capacity building, technology development and transfer – the cornerstones of implementation- are provided.

Beyond COP22 a critical issues is the alignment of NDCs with existing national development priorities and initiatives. Implementation will be enhanced and supported by pan- African initiatives and programmes operating through a range of partnerships, two of which are: The African Adaptation Initiative (AAI) and; the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI). The latter, supported by the governments of France and Germany, seeks to achieve at least 300 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2020.

Emphasising the importance of energy access, President Condé noted that out of 1 billion Africans 700 million have no access to energy. “Since 2002, we have fought to ensure that production is accelerated and increased,’’ further expressing satisfaction at the funding for AREI as an indicator that Europe is taking steps to deliver on commitments for implementation.

President Konde said that Africa needs to develop on the basis of an energy mix “but we also need to develop fast, and the faster Africa has access to energy the faster Africa will develop”, he said.

AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina said energy is the engine of Africa’s growth and development and reinforced the need for an energy mix of on and off-grid systems. “Let’s turn pledges on paper into projects on the ground. Let us together deliver success for Africa. Let us together light up and power Africa!” he urged.

“All these initiatives fit very well into our African Union Agenda 2063 where we want to have a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and commits Africa to pursue a sustainable development path where climate resilient programs play a major role while we protect our environment through renewable energy”, said Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission (AUC), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, in a statement read on her behalf by Dr Elham Mahmoud Ahmed, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, AU Commission.

Mr Abdalla Hamdok, ECA Executive Secretary a.i, emphasised the importance of aligning Africa’s climate change initiatives with sustainable development noting that “The impacts of climate change in Africa are increasing in complexity resulting in new and emerging threats to lives and livelihoods, catalysing new migration dynamics, disasters and conflict and lost economic opportunities.”

Egypt’s Minister of Environment and President of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN), Mohammed Fahmy, also welcomed the initiatives and encouraged good governance and transparency as the foundation of implementation.

COP21 and 22 Presidents, Segolène Royal of France and Salaheddine Mezouar of Morocco, also participated in the event. ‘This is an African COP, the biggest economies must fulfil their commitments to Africa’, said Ms Royal.

Mezouar, COP22 President said ‘Africa must and will electrify at the lowest cost’, and that the COP 22 roadmap should “respond to the issues of financing, access to electricity and capacity building to increase the success of projects….” Further emphasizing that it was time to put an end to clichés about African countries’ ability to carry out projects.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Apprehension Over AMCON MD’s Visit to EFCC

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AMCON Ahmed Kuru

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The visit of the Managing Director of Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr Ahmed Kuru, to the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is already causing apprehension.

Mr Kuru was reportedly grilled by the anti-graft agency on Wednesday after he was invited by the organisation for questioning.

Already, it is being speculated that his ordeal with the EFCC may be connected with the plans by AMCON to name and shame chronic debtors, who took loans from commercial banks but refused to repay as promised.

Yesterday, the AMCON MD was grilled by the agency over allegations bordering on the diversion of assets and the sale of the properties to his associates at ridiculous prices.

According to reports, Mr Kuru allegedly sold properties valued at billions of naira belonging to Atlantic to another despite a court case on the assets.

Atlantic was accused of loan default with Skye Bank and the properties in collateral were seized and allegedly sold below the prevailing market value while the action was instituted in court.

Amid these accusations, the EFCC is yet to comment at the time of filing this report.

AMCON is an agency set up by the federal government to acquire all toxic loans of commercial banks, with the aim of recovering them.

In November 2021, the agency submitted a list containing its top 1,000 obligors owing N4.4 trillion to the National Assembly.

Mr Kuru had said with the support of the parliament and the Judiciary, recovering the total current exposure on all Eligible Bank Asset (EBAs), which stands at N4.4 trillion, may be possible before the sunset period.

He had lamented that more recently, due to the socio-economic downturn, the market values of assets have significantly reduced, lower than the valuation at the point of EBAs purchase, making it extremely difficult to consummate sales transactions.

“To enable AMCON to succeed in its national call to duty, AMCON solicits the continued support of this Distinguished Committee. The Judiciary must be encouraged to respect the provisions of the law that require them to fast-track cases before them, issue certificates of judgement on properties, which the Corporation has no collateral and demand debtors to deposit Judgment sum before proceeding to appeal any judgement,” he had stated.

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NSCDC Denies Operating Illegal Oil Bunkering Site

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Illegal Oil Bunkering Site

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has debunked the rumour that its marine exhibits yard in Ogbogoro jetty, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, was an illegal oil bunkering site.

This was made known by the Rivers State Commandant of NSCDC, Mr Aliyu Bature, who explained that the Ogbogoro jetty has remained its marine exhibits yard for over 10 years.

He added that every marine exhibit like boats, vessels, barges drums, arrested by or handed over to the Corps by sister agencies for oil theft are usually detained at the yard, pending investigation and court prosecution.

This follows claims made by Obio/Akpor LGA Chairman, Mr George Ariolu, that the NSCDC marine exhibits yard in Ogbogoro was being used for illegal bunkering activities.

In the reaction to the allegation, Mr Bature disclosed that the NSCDC Commandant General, Mr Abubakar Audi, in December 2021 visited the said yard, maintaining that it was a known fact that the yard has been the Corps’ marine exhibits yard.

The agency said some of the exhibits, including 220 drums of AGO and eight Cotonou boats in the yard were seized by the Nigerian Navy and handed over to the NSCDC last week, while other vessels were taken by operatives of the Corps.

He disclosed that the agency has got an intelligence report that hoodlums were planning to attack the yard, by setting it ablaze in order to destroy the exhibits, assuring that such plans will be strongly resisted.

“This place is our marine exhibits yard and not an illegal dump. Most of the exhibits here were arrested by the Navy and handed over to us, while some of the arrests too were made by us.

“The commandant general was here in December and he’s aware that this place is our exhibits yard.

“The Commandant General has deployed personnel to ensure the place is secured, Ogbogoro jetty is a no-go area for anybody because destroying this place means destroying the exhibits to prove that these products were all stolen.

“We had it on good authority that hoodlums were planning to attack this place in order to destroy the exhibits and we will not allow that,” the statement said.

The NSCDC also urged members of the public to report any personnel of the organisation who is involved in the business of aiding and abetting oil theft, illegal bunkering and vandalism, warning that the agency will not hesitate to show such person the way out.

“If any of our personnel is caught, please report the person to us and we will discipline the person accordingly.

“The NSCDC leadership does not in any way condone acts of indiscipline. We are charged to protect critical national assets and if any of our personnel is involved, we will not take it likely.

“That is why those who were in charge of the anti-vandal unit have been disbanded, and are being investigated currently by the committee set up by the Commandant General,” the statement said.

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Senate Re-amends Electoral Bill, Okays Direct, Indirect, Consensus Primaries

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which passed by the National Assembly on November 18, 2021, and sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent but was rejected, has been re-amended.

The President declined assent to the bill because the parliament inserted a clause that makes it mandatory for political parties to elect candidates for elections only through direct primaries.

On Wednesday, the Senate adjusted this clause and approved direct, indirect primaries or consensus as to the procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions.

The upper chamber of the legislative arm of government, in a statement signed by Mr Ezrel Tabiowo, the Special Assistant on Press to Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, said the recommended Clause 84(3) was also approved.

The section stated that “a political party that adopts the direct primaries procedure shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the party.”

Clause 84(4) further provides that “a political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall adopt the procedure outlined below; (a) In the case of nominations to the position of Presidential candidate, a political party shall, (i) hold special conventions in each of the 36 states of the federation and FCT, where delegates shall vote for each of the aspirants at designated centres in each State Capital on specified dates.”

The clause provides that a National Convention shall be held for the ratification of the candidate with the highest number of votes.

The amendment followed a motion for its re-commital to the Committee of the Whole, which was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Mr Yahaya Abdullahi.

In his presentation, the lawmaker noted that the rationale for Mr Buhari withholding assent bordered on his observation in Clause 84.

President Buhari in the letter dated December 13, 2021, and addressed to Mr Lawan had explained that his decision to withhold assent to the electoral bill was informed by advice from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government after a thorough review.

According to the President, signing the bill into law would have serious adverse legal, financial, economic and security consequences on the country, particularly in view of Nigeria’s peculiarities.

He added that it would also impact negatively on the rights of citizens to participate in government as constitutionally ensured.

Mr Abdullahi, however, explained that the motion for re-commital of the bill to the Committee on the Whole was against the backdrop of the “need to address the observation by Mr President C-in-C and make necessary amendment in accordance with Order 87(c) of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (as amended); and relying on order 1(b) and 52(6) of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (as amended).”

Accordingly, the chamber rescinded its decision on the affected clause of the bill as passed and recommitted same to the Committee of the Whole for consideration and passage.

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