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Malami Advises Nigeria on Best Ways to Sell National Assets

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sell national assets

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, has advised the Federal Government of Nigeria on the best ways to concession or sell national assets in order not to run into trouble.

In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and publicity, Mr Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the nation’s chief law officer said future transactions must be carried out in the national interest and in compliance with the law.

He stated this while reacting to the settling of the long-standing contractual dispute with a foreign investor group in Ajaokuta Steel company by 91 per cent to $496 million from $5.258 billion.

The mediation proceedings, according to a statement, were under the International Chamber of Commerce’s  (ICC) Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) framework led by Mr Phillip Howell-Richardson and came into effect on August 19, 2022.

Nigeria succeeded in reducing the claim in mediation brought by the international firm of King and Spalding, legal representatives of the global group, by 91 per cent.

A claim for over $10 billion was threatened in arbitration before the International Chamber of Commerce, International Court of Arbitration, Paris, in respect of five major contracts of 2004-2007 – covering steel, iron ore, and rail.

In May 2020, the group threatened a resumption of the arbitration and announced an anticipated claim in damages of over $10-14 billion against the Nigerian State in respect of the affected 5 contracts.

But the government made efforts to resolve the matter and Mr Malami said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has now rescued the steel industry from interminable and complex disputes as well as saving the taxpayer from humongous damages.”

“One of the lessons to be learnt included that the future arrangements – sale or concessions – must be carried out in the national interest and in compliance with the law,” he noted.

The statement stated that the Minister grappled with the inherited problem by adopting a blueprint of seven principles for the cost-effective resolution of contractual disputes wherever they occur.

“They are the use of institutional mediation, choice of FGN counsel, the use of financial advisers with reputational capital, the importance of not discouraging foreign investment, fiscal responsibility,  transparency, and the recognition that joined-up government produces superior outcomes,” it stated.

The FGN engaged PwCNigeria to do a comprehensive review to ensure taxpayers are protected. Also, Dr Tunde Ogowewo, a barrister (and senior academic at King’s College London), represented the FGN and advised the government throughout the process.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Olatubosun Suggests Home-grown Method of Teaching Yoruba Culture

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in Oyo State, Mr Wasiu Olatubosun, has suggested that the Yoruba culture can be taught effectively through a home-grown teaching method.

At the 2022 Ijala Are-Ode Cultural Festival in Ibadan, the Commissioner emphasised that for the Yoruba race to conquer the world, its people must appreciate who they are, learn the things of the race, and behave truly like omoluabis.

He informed participants of the programme with the theme Ijala: Beyond Social Gyration to Intellectual Exposition of Yoruba Cultural Heritage that the state government, under Governor Seyi Makinde, has shown commitment to resuscitating the Yoruba culture and tradition among the younger generation through a re-introduction of history classes to public schools in the state.

Mr Olatubosun, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Oye Oyedele, assured that the state government would continue to promote the growth of the language and the culture of Yoruba.

In his contribution, a veteran actor and Araba Awo of Osogbo, Mr Yemi Elebuibon, urged Africans to develop their culture, observing that it is a must to “first appreciate who they are and what they are.”

He also warned the Yorubas against jettisoning Ifa science and technology, adding that if care is not taken, in no distant future, people of the Yoruba tribe will soon be paying the Europeans for Ifa divination.

During his lecture, a scholar, Prof. Akinkunmi Adegbola Alao, said there was a need to go back to the basics, look beyond the social gyrations derived from Ijala by hunters, and find ways to deploy the intellectual foundation of Ijala in Yoruba cultural heritage, urging historians to research Yoruba cultural values that can benefit the society constantly.

He noted that although the immediate purpose of any traditional music performance is to entertain, the genre of music could influence a renaissance of Yoruba Culture and traditions, appealing to Africans, especially the Yorubas, to embrace and leverage indigenous technology to develop human society.

“We need to go back to the basics. Go beyond just the gyrations of individuals, amusing themselves, to unearth the intellectual premise of this rich cultural tradition,” he said.

Speaking on what led to the celebration of Ijala by hunters in those days, Mr Alao noted that the neglect by the political class gave room for chanting Ijala by the hunters to celebrate their contributions to society.

He applauded the efforts of hunters in maintaining peace within the boundaries of their society, admonishing the political class to stop forthwith diminishing their importance.

“The nature of their profession takes them away from domestic politics. They are always engaged in warfare and deep forest hunting, and so many other activities outside the immediate precinct of the established kingdoms. So many times, they are not on the ground to take part in the political process, so the political class diminished their importance,” he observed.

“But they resorted to Ijala to celebrate themselves, to call attention to their importance and to let people know they have contributed a lot to the development of the society,” he continued.

The culture enthusiast commended the Oyo State Government for partnering Ona-ara Development Forum in celebrating the Ijala are-ode cultural renaissance.

“Rather than denouncing our hunters, we must encourage them to use their knowledge towards the development of human society positively,” he noted, stating that the festival will open doors of opportunities to hunters, showcasing talents and the importance of the hunters’ guild.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman Organising Committee, Ijala Are-Ode Cultural Festival, Mr Dipo Gbenro, noted that the Ona Ara Development Forum seeks the development of Ona-Ara.

He also revealed that the forefathers of all Ona-Ara indigenes were hunters and warriors who played pivotal roles in the Agbekoya war, stating that Ijala is expository of intellectual content, spells history, and family lineage.

“Ijala explores and exposes the inadequacies of our leaders, promotes social relations and is rich with powerful words,” he said.

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NDLEA Welcomes Training Support from French Police

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr Mohamed Buba Marwa, has commended the support from the Police Nationale (RAID) of France, especially in the areas of training and equipment.

The NDLEA boss said this in Abuja on Friday when the Police Attaché at the French Embassy in Nigeria, Mr Emmanuel Verin, led a team of French VIP trainers including Mr Cedric B. and Mr Christophe J. who were in the country to train a number of NDLEA officers in special operations, paid him a courtesy visit.

Speaking at the event, Mr Marwa said, “I would like to appreciate the French government for its support as one of our leading partners. We have received tremendous help from France not only in terms of training but also equipment.

“The support was capped with my recent visit to France, where we received a warm reception at all the institutions visited, and the training promised was promptly organized. We’re grateful for that, and we are looking forward to more collaboration and support.”

In his response, Mr Verin said, “we’re proud to work with NDLEA because your officers and men are very smart and professional, and that’s why you’re getting results; hence, our priority in terms of support for NDLEA is in the area of training.

“Our trainers who have been here to train your men are specialists and top in the field. We’ll do this for a very long time, and we’re glad to work with you.”

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Paris Club Refund: Governors Move to Legally Block $418m Payment

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has said that it will explore all legal options on the disbursement of the $418 million Paris Club refund and promissory notes to ensure resources meant for state governments are not illegally paid to consultants.

The forum disclosed this in a statement issued by its Chairman, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, after the teleconference meeting of the 36 state governors.

“Regarding the $418 million Paris Club Refund and promissory notes issued to consultants by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO), the forum remains resolute in exploring all legal channels available to it in ensuring that resources belonging to states are not unjustly or illegally paid to a few in the guise of consultancy,” it said.

The Sokoto state governor said the group had also instructed its lawyers to approach the Federal High Court on the proposed privatisation of 10 National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) by the federal government.

“The forum, following its advocacy that the proposed privatisation of 10 NIPPs by the Federal Government should be stopped, instructed its lawyers to approach the Federal High Court, which at present has issued a court order restraining all the parties in the suit from taking any step or action that will make or render the outcome of the motion on notice seeking for interlocutory injunction nugatory.

“The effect of the order of the court is that respondents cannot proceed with the proposed sale of the power plants belonging to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHCL) until the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction,” he said.

Mr Tambuwal added that sequel to discussions between sub-sovereigns at the recently concluded 2nd African Sub-Sovereign Government Network (AfSNET) Conference, the forum agreed to pursue support for enhanced dialogue, cooperation and collaboration between sub-sovereign governments around intra-African trade, investment, industrialisation, and development.

He said that such would be done through membership in the Forum of Regions of Africa (FORAF) and its partnership with the African Export-Import (AFREXIM) Bank.

The governor said that the forum was also monitoring the flood situation across the country and working with the Federal Government to prepare emergency interventions to ameliorate the impact of the floods on food security.

Mr Tambuwal said that the forum was working with the Federal Government through the National Economic Council (NEC) and in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).

Others, according to him, include the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHDSD), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) and the World Bank.

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