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Eid-il-Fitr: Sultan advises FG on ASUU strike, rising food prices

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The Federal Government must urgently find solution to the current nationwide strike by university lecturers, the Sultan of Sokoto and the President General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has said.

He also called on the government to address the twin problem of inflation and insecurity in the country.

These are contained in the Sultan’s Eid-il-Fitr message released on Friday and signed by the NSCIA’s Director of Administration, Zubairu Usman-Ugwu,

He specifically urged security agencies to up their game in order to address the country’s dangerous security situation.

He urged traders to desist from the habit of arbitrarily increasing the price of food items, just as he appealed to Muslims to exercise their rights to contest for elective positions and participate actively in the electoral process by not only obtaining their Permanent Voters Cards, but also casting their votes on the election days.

The statement read in part, “The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), under the leadership of its President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alh. Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, felicitates with the Nigerian Muslim Ummah and indeed the entire Muslim world on the auspicious occasion of the 1443 AH ‘Idul Fitr. We beseech Allah to grant everyone the opportunity to witness many more of it.

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“The council seizes the opportunity of Eid to express its serious concern about the skyrocketing prices of food and consumables in the country and appeal to the government to stem the tide of inflation while urging traders too to desist from the habit of arbitrarily increasing the price of food items.

“We appeal to ASUU and the Federal Government to find an amicable solution to the ongoing impasse/strike and not allow some unscrupulous individuals to mobilise students in the name of protests to destabilise the country;

“We call on security agencies to up their game and forcefully address the dangerous security situation in the country.

“We appeal to politicians to consider politics as a service to the Nation, which should not be pursued as a do-or-die affair. Nigerians should freely choose their leaders on the basis of those who will lead them with justice, fairness and character in the line with our usual prayer, ‘O Allah, make the best of us our leaders and don’t make the worst of us our leaders. Don’t make us, on account of our sins, be under those who will neither fear you nor be compassionate to us.

“We urge Muslims to exercise their rights to contest for elective positions and also participate actively in the electoral process by not only obtaining their Permanent Voters Cards, which is still ongoing but also casting their votes on the days of elections. The Council insists that it is a religious duty for every Muslim to obtain his/her voter’s card.”

The Sultan welcomed the policy of the Nigeria Police Force to allow female personnel to use a head covering and urged other military, paramilitary and security agencies to toe the line, stressing that it would promote inclusivity and civility in service.

The NSCIA, however, expressed serious concern about the persecution of Muslims, particularly in Bauchi and many southern states.

He urged Muslims to continue to exercise patience and restraint in the interest of peace and national development.

The council further enjoined Muslims all over the country to look out for the end of fasting announcement by the Sultan after the moon must have been sighted.

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FG recovers N120bn from crime proceeds —Lai Mohammed

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Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has said it had realised at least N120 billion as proceeds from criminal financial operations since the bill on Proceeds of Crime Recovery Management was signed into law earlier this year by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the disclosure at a news briefing where Minister of Environment presented the scorecard of the ministry under the Buhari administration in Abuja, yesterday.

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Mohammed said:  “I have an update on the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act (POCA), 2022. In line with the new law, all relevant agencies of government have now opened ‘Confiscated and Forfeiture Properties Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

“I can confirm that so far, the Federal Government has realised over N120 billion, among other currencies, from POCA. This money will be used to fund the completion of ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the country such as the Second Niger Bridge as well as Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kano Expressways. We will continue to update you on this,” he added.

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Appeal court nullifies sale of Intercontinental Hotel to 11Plc

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The sale of Intercontinental Hotel in Lagos to 11Plc by Polaris Bank and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, (AMCON) has been nullified by the Court of Appeal.

The appeal court sitting in Lagos also ordered a return of the facility to the original owner, the Milan Industries Ltd.

The decision was taken in a unanimous judgment delivered by three Justices of the Appeal Court: Jimi Olukayode Bada, who read the lead judgment; Muhammad Ibrahim Sirajo and Peter Oyinkenimiemi Affen.
The appellate court ruled that Milan Industries Ltd had fully paid the bank the N2 billion mortgage facility it secured from Polaris Bank before the hotel was taken over and sold by AMCON and the bank.
The bank, which was then known as Skye Bank, had put the management of the five-star hotel under the receivership of Mr Kunle Ogunba, an arrangement that was nullified by a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Despite this, the bank went ahead and sold the hotel to another company, 11 PLC, a move that was challenged at the Appeal Court by the lawyers to Milan Industries Ltd, Messrs Ahmed Raji SAN and Tunde Kasunmu of Prof A.B Kasunmu SAN chambers.
Milan Industries Ltd had taken a facility from Skye Bank to part finance the five-star hotel located in Victoria Island, Lagos and managed by IHG.
The Milan Group had up till 2021 to pay back the facility. But in a curious move, the bank obtained an interim order to take over the management of the hotel, an order that was vacated when the suit was struck out by the court on March 20, 2018.
According to the Certified True Copy of the judgment signed and released on Wednesday by the Senior Registrar of the court, A. G. Balogun, the appellate court held that the two issues Milan Industries as Appellant/Cross Respondent was contesting were resolved in its favour.
According to the lead judgment by Justice Jimi Bada, “With the resolution of Issues No. 1 and 2 in favour of the Cross Respondent and against the Cross Appellants (Polaris Bank, AMCON and 11 Plc), it is my view that this cross appeal lacks merit and it is hereby dismissed.”
While agreeing with the lead judgment, another member of the appeal court panel, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, stated, “The appellant insisted that it had paid over two billion Naira in liquidating the facility and that as at the time the 1st respondent (Polaris Bank) entered into agreement to sell the appellant’s secured asset to the 2nd respondent (AMCON), there was no collateral and secured asset to sell to the 2nd respondent.
It was also the case of the appellant that at the time the 2nd respondent sold the appellant’s Intercontinental Hotel to the 3rd respondent, the appellant had discharged its obligation under the legal mortgage by paying the amount secured by the property.”
Justice Sirajo ruled, “I adopt his lordship’s reasoning and conclusion in the leading judgment as mine in also allowing the appeal.

“I abide by all the orders made in the lead judgment including that of the costs.”
While also concurring with the lead judgment by Justice Bada, the third member of the appeal panel, Justice Peter Affen said, “The judicial reasoning and conclusions reached on the issues raised accord with mine, and I hereby affirm my agreement with the leading judgment which allowed the main appeal and dismissed the cross appeal. I equally abide by the orders on the costs.”

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Auditor General report: 100 govt establishments risk zero allocation

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About 100 government establishments, comprising ministries, departments and agencies face the risk of getting zero allocation in the 2023 budget should they fail to respond to the queries raised against them in a report by the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation.

The affected groups, according to Senate President Ahmad Lawan, have one week to respond.

He said this after Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo), raised a point of order during plenary that agencies indicted in the audit report had refused to appear before his panel.

Urhoghide said his committee had invited heads of the affected agencies on several occasions to respond to queries raised in the Auditor-General’s report.

The lawmaker said sections 88 and 89 of the constitution empowered the parliament to summon federal government agencies to account for public funds they had spent.

He lamented that the agencies had refused to appear before his committee, saying the amounts involved were staggering.

He urged the Senate President to issue warrant of arrest to compel the agencies to appear before the Public Accounts Committee.

Responding, the Senate President said, “Reading this list at plenary, it gives the agencies the opportunity to now know, if they were not aware before for those that may claim ignorance.

“I am taking the opportunity to advise that, in the next one week, the agencies mentioned here should appear before the committee. If there is no communication whatsoever and no cogent and verifiable reasons are given, we will slash the budget of the agencies.”

Some of the agencies are Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Transportation, Health, Works and Housing, Information and Culture, Mines and Steal Development, Police Affairs, Defence, Youths and Sports, Petroleum and Aviation.

Others are State House, Budget Office, Presidential Fleet, Nigerian Army, Navy, Nigerian Air Force, NAFDAC, Civil Defence, Presidential Amnesty Programme, FERMA, NEMA, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Debt Management Office, INEC, North East Development Commission (NEDC), Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dept Management Office, National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), National Examination Council (NECO).

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