South-South leaders angry over botched security meeting – Newstrends
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South-South leaders angry over botched security meeting

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Governors and leaders of the South-South geopolitical region have expressed displeasure over the decision by the presidency to cancel a security meeting of the region planned for Port Harcourt on Tuesday after many of them had gathered at the forum.

They have therefore demanded an apology from the presidency for abruptly aborting the crucial stakeholders’ meeting.

The presidency had fixed the meeting with the governors and other leaders of the region to discuss burning national issues affecting the region and the aftermath effects of the #EndSARS protest.

The FG’s delegation was supposed to include all the ministers from the geopolitical zone.

Addressing South-South leaders at the Banquet Hall of the Government House, Port Harcourt, Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, who presided over the session, expressed regret at the botched meeting.

The meeting was called through the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.

He explained that the meeting time was adjusted twice from 11 am to 1pm, on the excuse that President Muhammadu Buhari was meeting with Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS) and the Inspector-General of Police, who were supposed to be part of the presidential delegation for the South-South meeting.

Okowa, who is also the chairman of South-South Governors Forum, said he later got a call from the Chief of Staff to the President to eventual call off the meeting.

According to him, he felt really disappointed that the region could be treated with such disdain.

Okowa said the people of the region had been embarrassed, disgraced and disrespected.

He noted that the South-South geopolitical zone remained a very important component part of the nation and that the governors felt insulted because the traditional rulers who had gathered for the meeting deserved to be revered.

He said, “As governors, we feel very touched and very sad about what has happened. And having also listened to our youths, we can feel the anger. As a mark of respect for our people, because you are actually the stakeholders of our region, we felt it was necessary for us to consult with you before taking any decision, if we take our decision without consulting with you, then we would have added to the disrespect that has just been meted on you.

“We call for a public apology, not for the governors alone. We call for a public apology because this meeting was not called at our instance. It was called at the instance of the presidency. The time was changed last night. We understood and we talked to our people. Some of us did not sleep in trying to put things together. We have got to a very bad start. So we are going to convey this message to the chief of staff to the president.”

He also said, “We deserve as a region unreserved public apology to the region, particularly to our traditional rulers and the leaders in this zone, which include our Christian leaders, opinion leaders, our women and our youths, and also the governors of the zone who were voted into office and that is the least that we expect for us to accept the reconvene of this meeting.”

Former president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, Ledum Mitee, said the abrupt cancellation of the meeting was an insult on the people of the South-South zone.

A member of the 2014 National Conference, Ms. Ann-Kio Briggs, also said the action of the Federal Government demonstrated the value it placed on the South-South geopolitical zone.

Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Ben Ayade (Cross River), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), and Godwin Obaseki (Edo) were at the forum.

Other eminent persons present are the National Chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd.); and former President, Nigerian Bar Association, Chief Onueze Okocha (SAN).

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IMF predicts 3.3% growth for Nigeria’s economy in 2024

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IMF predicts 3.3% growth for Nigeria’s economy in 2024

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has adjusted upwards it’s forecast for Nigeria’s economic growth for the year 2024 to 3.3 percent.

This revision was announced in the IMF’s World Economic Outlook for April, which was released on Tuesday during the 2024 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and IMF in Washington, United States.

The updated forecast marks an increase of 0.3 percentage points from the previous 3.0 per cent growth prediction published in the IMF’s January 2024 World Economic Outlook.

However, the IMF has taken a more conservative stance for the year 2025, reducing Nigeria’s economic growth forecast to 3.0 per cent, a slight decrease from the 3.1 percent projected earlier in January.

Within the broader Sub-Saharan Africa region, the IMF has maintained its 3.8 per cent economic growth forecast for 2024 but has revised the 2025 forecast downward to 4.0 per cent, from the previously projected 4.1 percent.

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The global economic outlook also received a modest boost, with the IMF raising its growth forecast for 2024 to 3.2 percent, up from the 3.1 percent projected in the January 2024 World Economic Outlook. The forecast for 2025 remains unchanged at 3.2 percent.

The IMF stated, “Global growth, estimated at 3.2 per cent in 2023, is projected to continue at the same pace in 2024 and 2025.

“The projection for 2024 is revised up by 0.1 percentage point from the January 2024 WEO Update and by 0.3 percentage point to the October 2023 WEO forecast. Nevertheless, the projection for global growth in 2024 and 2025 is below the historical (2000–19) annual average of 3.8 per cent, reflecting restrictive monetary policies and withdrawal of fiscal support, as well as low underlying productivity growth.

The report further elaborates on the expected trends in various economies.

“Advanced economies are expected to see growth rise slightly, with the increase mainly reflecting a recovery in the euro area from low growth in 2023, whereas emerging market and developing economies are expected to experience stable growth through 2024 and 2025, with regional differences.”

Specifically for sub-Saharan Africa, the IMF projects an increase in growth from an estimated 3.4 per cent in 2023 to 3.8 per cent in 2024 and 4.0 per cent in 2025.

This positive outlook is attributed to the diminishing impact of previous weather shocks and gradual improvements in supply issues.

The forecast for 2024 remains consistent with the January 2024 WEO update, as negative adjustments for Angola due to a contraction in the oil sector are largely balanced by positive revisions for Nigeria.

IMF predicts 3.3% growth for Nigeria’s economy in 2024

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Naira abuse: EFCC moves against Cubana chief priest

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Cubana Chief priest

Naira abuse: EFCC moves against Cubana chief priest

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will, on Wednesday, arraign Pascal Okechukwu, aka Cubana Chief priest, over alleged naira abuse.

This comes few days after popular cross-dresser, Idris Okuneye aka Bobrisky, bagged a six-month jail term over naira abuse.

According to the anti-graft agency, Cubana Chiefpriest will appear before the Federal High Court in Lagos for spraying and tampering with the naira.

This was contained in charge sheet filed on April 4, 2024, by EFFC’s prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) alongside seven other lawyers representing the chairman of the anti-graft agency.

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It reads: “That you, Okechukwu Pascal on 13th Feb. 2024, at Eko Hotel, within the jurisdiction of the court, while dancing during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 (Five Hundred Naira) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same for two hours, and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007”.

“That you Okechukwu Pascal sometime in 2020, in Lagos during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 (Five Hundred Naira) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same for two hours, and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007.”

”That you Okechukwu Pascal sometime in January 2024, in Lagos during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 (Five Hundred Naira) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007.”

Naira abuse: EFCC moves against Cubana chief priest

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Kano anti-corruption agency slams fresh charges against Ganduje

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Abdullahi Ganduje

Kano anti-corruption agency slams fresh charges against Ganduje

The Kano State Anti-Corruption and Public Complaints Commission has filed a fresh corruption charges against former Governor of Kano Abdullahi Ganduje.

The commission’s chairman, Muhuyi Magaji disclosed this in an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday.

According to Magaji, investigations uncovered the diversion of N51.3 billion from local government funds to unauthorized individuals during Ganduje’s tenure.

Magaji alleged that the Ganduje administration withdrew N1 billion monthly from state coffers before its tenure ended in May 2023, purportedly for road renovation, but diverted to Bureau de Change operators instead.

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He also cited a case involving N4 billion transferred to an agricultural company from Kano’s consolidated revenue account.

“What is happening now is a tip of the iceberg. As I am talking to you, we are investigating a case whereby N51.3bn local government funds were directly taken from the government coffers (and) sent to other individuals, and we traced it to people.

“We have filed a series of cases. We have a case whereby N1bn in April last year (2023) was removed from government coffers under the allocation of renovating 30 roads in the metropolis, and it was taken away and sent to Bureau de Change.

“We have a case of N4bn whereby it was sent from the consolidated revenue account of Kano State to an agricultural company. All these cases are before the court,” he said.

Recall that the state government has said it will arraign Ganduje, alongside his wife and son, for money laundering, later this week.

Kano anti-corruption agency slams fresh charges against Ganduje

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