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PUNCH appoints Joseph Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief as Osinubi retires

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Adeyeye Joseph and Ademola Osinubi

The board of directors of Punch Nigeria Limited has appointed Adeyeye Joseph as the newspaper group’s Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief. Joseph’s appointment will take effect from May 1, 2022.

The newspaper’s current Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Ademola Osinubi, who forwarded a notice of retirement to the board in October 2020, will be retiring from the services of the company on April 30, 2022, after a distinguished career as the leader of the country’s most successful newspaper company.

The board, which took due notice of Osinubi’s preference to retire at the time, refused to accede to his request because of the unexpected onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and deferred his retirement by 18 months.

Osinubi, a former editor of The PUNCH, Saturday PUNCH and Sunday PUNCH, was general manager before he was appointed managing director/editor-in-chief. He had an outstanding career as a reporter and editor before taking over the company’s leadership reins at a time when its fortunes were at their lowest ebb.

Working closely with PUNCH’s emeritus chairman, Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, and ably supported by the board, Osinubi clinically executed the board’s vision for the company and conceptualised management policies that contributed immensely to the successful evolution of PUNCH from a tabloid newspaper into a dominant quality newspaper brand in Nigeria.

Under his stewardship, the company became Nigeria’s most-widely read brand, while its newspapers, reporters and editors won local and international journalism awards consecutively and repeatedly.

Osinubi who was in the services of the company for 45 years and served as managing director/editor-in-chief for 27 years will remain on the newspaper’s board of directors as a non-executive director. He will also continue to serve as a trustee of the Punch Media Foundation.

In a speech delivered at his last board meeting as the company’s managing director/editor-in-chief, in March, Osinubi said, “I am thankful to God for the unique privilege to have served the company in this role and at a time it posted a tremendous growth trajectory in relevance, capacities and prosperity for all stakeholders.

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“There can’t be a better choice than Joseph as my successor at this period in the life of our newspaper company.

“He is a highly ethical professional with a deep understanding and knowledge of print and digital journalism. He has shown a proven commitment to higher levels of relevance and all-round growth.”

Joseph, a former editor of The PUNCH and Saturday PUNCH, has played key roles in the ideation and implementation of successful print and digital projects in the newspaper group’s publications and digital arms in the last ten years.

A winner of the Editor of the Year prizes of the Nigeria Media Merit Awards and Diamond Awards for Media Excellence at different times, and the DAME Informed Commentary prize, Joseph was the newspaper’s controller, digital and publications before his elevation into the board of the company as executive director, digital and publications in 2016.

He started his journalism career in THISDAY where he worked in all of the newspaper’s titles, and its special publication, Glitterati, at different times, before leaving as a chief correspondent to join PUNCH in 2005.

Reacting, Joseph said, “I am grateful to God for this rare privilege. I’m also grateful to the board for the confidence reposed in me. I am honoured to succeed Mr Osinubi, whose track record of outstanding accomplishments is nonpareil in the industry.

“It is a time of great uncertainty for print and digital newspapers but as Sun Tzu wrote, ‘in the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity’. I intend to make my stewardship a period of relentless search for opportunities to grow our platforms, audience and revenue, and to create sustainable value for all our critical stakeholders.”

He described PUNCH journalists as some of the most outstanding reporters and editors in the industry.

He said, “With the support of my colleagues within and outside our editorial units, I intend to sustain the culture of corporate excellence and the tradition of timely, courageous, pro-people journalism that has stood PUNCH in good stead in the last two decades.”

Joseph holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Obafemi Awolowo University and a master’s degree in Digital Journalism (distinction) from the Middlesex University, United Kingdom. He is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School Advanced Management Programme; the General Management Programme of Cranfield University, United Kingdom and the International Institute for Journalism, Germany’s newspaper management programme. He is a member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Institute of Directors of Nigeria.

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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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