Researchers from the United Kingdom (UK) said vitamin D was linked with poor muscle health in older adult.
These are the findings of a new study published recently in the journal ‘Clinical Interventions in Ageing’.
To address the problem, study co-author, Eamon Laird, has called for the implementation of policies that could eliminate vitamin D deficiencies in the population by fortifying food with vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a loss of bone density, which can contribute to osteoporosis and fractures (broken bones). Severe vitamin D deficiency can also lead to other diseases. In children, it can cause rickets, a rare disease that causes the bones to become soft and bend.
Adults older than 65, are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiencies.
People get vitamin D through food and by exposure to sunlight. In severe cases, deficiency can lead to thin, brittle or misshapen bones and Vitamin D supplementation is the main treatment.
In this study, the team examined more than 4,100 people, aged 60 and older, in England. About four in 10 with vitamin D deficiency had muscle weakness — twice the level found among those who had adequate vitamin D levels.
According to the findings, impaired muscle performance was three times more common among those with vitamin D deficiency (25.2 per cent) than those with adequate vitamin D (7.9 per cent).
Further analysis showed that vitamin D deficiency significantly increased the odds of impaired muscle strength and performance.’
In addition, participants who got regular moderate physical activity were much less likely to have poor muscle strength and physical performance, the study showed.
Alternatively, maintaining muscle health helps seniors maintain their independence, mobility and quality of life. It also lowers their risk of falls and frailty.
First author, Niamh Aspell, who did her doctoral studies at Trinity, said the findings support the need for public health strategies to eliminate vitamin D deficiency in older people.
Senate investigates CBN, banks over N20trn unremitted stamp duties
he Senate, yesterday, directed its Committee on Finance to investigate the alleged non-remittance of over N20 trillion into the Federation Account by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The whopping sum of money was an amount allegedly collected as stamp duties from banks and other financial institutions in the country by the apex bank, which it allegedly failed to remit into the coffers of the federation as required by law.
The lawmakers resolved to carry out the inquest while considering a motion entitled, “the need to improve Internally Generated Revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria through non-oil revenue”, sponsored by Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP, Ondo Central).
Leading debate on the motion, Akinyelure told the Chamber that the CBN had, in January 2016, issued a circular directing all banks and financial institutions to charge stamp duty of N50 on lodgements into current accounts against revenue projections by the Federal Government of N2.5 trillion annually.
He stated that after the issuance of the circular by the CBN, all deposit money banks and financial institutions effected N50 per eligible transaction in accordance with the provisions of the Stamp Duty Act 2004 and Federal Government Financial Regulations 2009.
The lawmaker, however, noted that efforts by the Federal Government to recover over N20 trillion from Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBBS) to the Federation Account were frustrated by the CBN.
He said: “The CBN and NIBBS have technically refused to comply with the Presidential directives for the recovery of over N20 trillion revenue into the coffers of government.
“The CBN and NIBSS deliberately failed to cooperate and comply with the directives of Mr. President for the realisation of over N20 trillion revenue due from stamp duties collected for 2013 to 2016 and subsequently over N5 trillion minimum revenue due to be collected annually to the Federation account to be shared among States of the Federation for infrastructural and economic development.”
Akinyelure posited that since the Federal Government issued the directive for stamp duty collection, banks had not been transparent in its transactions in this regard, and that the apex bank had not been furnishing the public with reports on the matter.
“Since the implementation of the collection of stamp duties, accountability by banks has not been transparent and no report by CBN or its subsidiary (NIBSS) to the Nigerian public to know the actual revenue generated, collected and transferred to the Federation Account,” he lamented.
The lawmaker reminded his colleagues that the House of Representatives and National Economic Council (NEC) had, in May 2019, decided to intervene in the matter and recommended that all agencies should support the Federal Government’s recovery mandate on the over N20 trillion stamp duty.
According to him, the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) and Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) have adopted the combined resolutions of the House of Representatives and NEC.
He further lamented that before the Joint Task Force could move to recover the huge unremitted fund, the CBN, in August 2019, released a report that its borrowings to banks would hit N23 trillion by the end of this year.
“The Senate must consider whether the target N20 trillion fund is being recycled into private banks (with impunity) when Federal Government had directed its recovery,”Akinyelure said.
In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said: “I engaged the Ministry of Finance and CBN for an interaction, and I discovered that what we have been expecting to be available as stamp duty is not so.
“I was under the impression that we had over N20 trillion somewhere. It will interest you to know that we don’t even have N1 trillion.
“What has happened is because those that are supposed to collect the stamp duties were taking advantage of the non-electronic transaction.
“With the passage of the finance bill, this is an opportunity we have to start getting what ordinarily should go to the government.
“The banks and many private organisations have taken advantage of the way the stamp duties have been.
“I want to believe that from January 2020, when the Finance Bill will start being effective, the stamp duty collection will be significantly improved.
“It is for our Finance Committee to monitor closely what the collection should be.
“We have also come up with another idea of engaging all the revenue generating agencies on a quarterly basis.
“We have got already a list of all of them from the Federal Ministry of Finance. We will put them into maybe four groups, and the first meeting for evaluation of their collection will be sometime in March.
“We would like to know in the first quarter how much they have collected, and if they have not met targets; if they have met targets, how do we do better than that? The idea is not to slow down the operations of the agencies.”
Nigeria needs $22.7bn loan to fix infrastructure – FG
n order to bridge the infrastructural deficit in the country, the Federal Government has declared that it will require borrowing at least $22.7 billion.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed; her Works and Housing counterpart, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, that of state for transport, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, as well as the Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniha, made the disclosure at an interactive session with the House of Representatives’ Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management led by Hon. Safana Dayyabu (APC, Katsina).
The ministers, who were before the committee to defend the loan request of $22.718 billion made by President Muhammadu Buhari, underscored the urgent need to fund the budget, improved on infrastructure development and create jobs with the loan.
According to the DMO, Nigeria’s Total Public Debt Portfolio as at June 30 stood at $83.88 billion (N25.7 trillion).
The 8th National Assembly had received the proposed projects for 2016 to 2018 Medium Term (Rolling) External Borrowing Plan put at $30 billion.
The ministers, however, presented the same proposal at $22.7 billion and gave reasons why the country should have funds as soon as possible.
They emphasised that the loans would promote infrastructure development and job creation.
In her lead presentation, the Finance Minister, Ahmed said: “We need to invest in roads, rails and to be able to grow at a growth better than we are growing now. They are strictly for infrastructure development so that we can address the deficit that we have. We know we must comply with some criteria.”
Defending the proposed loan, the minister said that “Nigeria does not have a debt sustainability problem, but revenue challenge.”
She added that “every kobo borrowed will be judiciously used.”
Also speaking, Fashola said that the government cannot ignore the demands for infrastructural sustainability. “It is right to have this hearing because we cannot ignore the concerns of the members of the public over the debt profile of the country.
“As we cannot ignore the concerns about debts, so we cannot ignore the concerns and demands for the provision of life sustaining infrastructure.
“So, everybody wants a road, everybody wants a rail project, everybody wants a port and efficient airports. They want to ensure that our ports are efficient so that business can function more effectively, so that clearing of goods can happen more quickly and cheaply.
“And in the midst of these physical challenges, the revenue is not just enough to meet these challenges.”
Fashola said that there are a total of 524 ongoing road projects across the country, but there is no money to execute them, adding that “524 roads projects are currently being executed. N73 billion was released this year. We have contractors willing to do the work, but we cannot pay them.
“We have had deficit budgets for a long time and so we have to borrow.
“Over four years, we have never received full funding for any budget. There is deficit and we cannot finance it.
“Some of the roads we are investing in will last for upwards of 20 to 30 years if well maintained and not abused. For rail assets, usually the tracks will last for at least 100 years. Power plants like the Mambilla will be there for many decades.
We must find a way to finance these assets. We will be spending today’s money to secure tomorrow’s assets.”
On the current status of East-West Road, the minister said it was not under his ministry, adding that a substantial part of the road had been completed.
“East west road is not under my ministry. It is under Niger Delta Ministry. I can say here, that a substantial part of that road has been executed. I drove through the stretch in 2016. Large part of it has been completed,” he said.
On Benin-Auchi-Okene road, the minister said: “From the briefings from Ministry of Finance, there are external borrowings. There are also internal borrowings. The road is being funded under SUKUK which is local borrowing. The SUKUK is not enough to fund all the roads. We get N100 billion, we shared it across all the six zones.”
He also denied insinuations that Nigerian roads were not built up to global standards.
“Nigerian roads are designed to global standards. We are not doing things as we want, but according to global standards,” Fashola said.
The view of the Minister of State for Transport, Gbemisola Saraki, was not different on why the Federal Government needed to borrow as she pointed out the need to complete Kano-Lagos and Niger Delta coast rails.
CBN mulls hike in LDR to 70% by 2020
…expects 2.38% GDP growth by Q4
s the December 31, 2019 deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country to attain its 65% Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR) target draws closer, the apex bank has said that it is thinking of increasing the target for lenders to 70 per cent by the end of next year.
The Deputy Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, CBN, Dr. Hassan Mahmoud, disclosed this while speaking at the ongoing workshop for finance journalists organised by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in Yola, yesterday.
He said: “The Central Bank increased the minimum loan-to-deposit ration to encourage banks to lend and de-risk the real sector, particularly the SMEs. This is to encourage employment. Now, we are thinking of doing 70 per cent by the end of next year. Within the period that we have increased the LDR, industry lending has increased by over N1.1 trillion.”
As part of measures to encourage DMBs to increase lending to the real sector of the economy, the CBN had, in July, raised the minimum LDR to 60 per cent, and gave lenders a September 30, 2019 deadline to comply.
At the expiration of that deadline, the regulator debited 12 DMBs N499 billion for not been able to meet the target even as this was raised to 65 per cent which the lenders were directed to attain by the end of this year.
He reiterated that the CBN’s LDR policy was aimed at ensuring that DMBs channel funds to growing the real sector of the economy, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
According to him, before the apex bank introduced the policy, it carried out a research which confirmed that although there was excess liquidity in the system, DMBs were reluctant to lend to the real sector.
Mahmoud, who spoke on the topic: “State of the Nigerian economy and implications for the stability of the banking system,” stated that despite risks arising from sluggish global economic growth, the Nigerian banking industry continues to show resilience.
He said: “Yes, there are vulnerabilities, but we do not foresee any systemic challenges in the banking industry, that would jeopardise the banking system.”
He noted that although the CBN was putting pressure on DMBs to increase lending to the real sector, it was also putting measures in place to ensure this does not impact the industry negatively.
According to him, “What we also did in the system to strengthen banking system stability, is the fact that so long as you are owing a bank, let’s say you have N1 billion in one bank and you went to another bank to borrow N1.5 billion and you leave that to go to another bank to borrow another N1 billion, without paying the loans you collected, the new policy is that as long as you default, where you have money in any bank, the bank you are owing can take the money in any of your account that you have money. You would have been made to sign the agreement before taking the loan. That is one of the measures to guard against risk in the system.”
Also, the CBN expects to achieve 2.38 per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate in the fourth quarter of this year.
Mahmoud said that the GDP growth target would be an improvement over the third quarter growth rate of 2.28 per cent.
“If you are looking at the 1.1 per cent that we did in 2015/2016, and 2.28 per cent that we did in the third quarter of 2019, we will see that we have really moved substantially.
“By the fourth quarter of 2019, we are going to be doing 2.38 per cent in GDP growth rate; that is CBN projection, the IMF is projecting same growth of 3.31 per cent,” he said.
On the wide gap between lending and saving rates in banks, he said that was dependent on customers’ negotiation skills.
He, however, said that it was the responsibility of CBN and NDIC to ensure that customers were not ripped off by the excesses of banks.
According to him, CBN is, however, creating ways to discourage the trend.
Earlier in a paper, the Deputy Director, Bank Examination Department of NDIC, Abdulhammeed Aliyu, said depositors’ protection by the corporation is a sacred duty of the NDIC.
The duty of protecting depositors, he said, is co-undertaken by the corporation in collaboration with the CBN through risk-based interventions to ensure depositors’ funds are safe in banks across the country.
Aliyu, whose paper was titled, “Emerging Issues in Regulation and Supervision of Banks in Nigeria,” said intensified oversight by the CBN and NDIC has helped to ensure that DMBs play by the rules.
“Our oversight, in collaboration with the CBN in the area of oversight, has ensured a more proactive approach by banks as we undertake risk-based supervision on examining banks to comply with regulations and ensure they manage their risk adequately in transactions.
“Subsequently, we have moved from individual banks to the entire banking system so that the reforms will be holistic,” he said.
Aliyu further stated that the Corporation introduced several policies to ensure effective supervision.
“The anti-money laundering and terrorism policy Introduced by the CBN and NDIC as well as the implementation of the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) has ensured transparency in banking transactions.
“Also, the Know Your Customer (KYC) Policy has aided banks to investigate bank customers independently, especially in the case of suspicious transactions which have further strengthened the system,” he added.
He, however, noted that weak mutual discipline of banks and legal limitations have been some of the challenges facing the corporation.
According to him, if banks are disciplined appropriately, several complaints will not be recorded often.
Oshiomhole, Wike throw jibes at book launch
choes of political leadership in Nigeria reverberated yesterday at the presentation of a book by former Managing Director of the Sun Newspaper, Mr. Eric Osagie.
The occasion, which had in attendance, the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, as well as the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Prince Uche Secondus, became an opportunity by the leaders of the two leading political parties to throw jibes at each order.
Oshiomhole was first to throw the jibes when he made a reference to an interview of unnamed former Nigerian president, whom he said, appeared on the popular BBC interview programme, HardTalk.
“I watched an interview with former Nigerian president. I have enough trouble right now, so I won’t add to it, I won’t mention names. But Wike knows the person, he is associated with the person, he schooled under the person and still being oversees by the person,” Oshiomhole said.
According to him, when the former president was asked the problem of Africa, he attributed it to lack of population control to match the economic growth.
“But when he was asked that as president of Africa’s most populous nation, how much did he contribute to this population growth? How many children do you have? How many wives do you have whether now or before? That to me is courageous, that leaders should not preach what they are not doing.
“We have it on record that he has so many wives, both registered and unregistered; several children, some in dispute, and yet, you go to the Queen’s land and lecture about population.
“You are part of the people who helped to create problem instead of being role model to young ones,” the APC National Chairman added.
But Wike, who responded almost immediately, drew the former Edo State governor’s attention to his statement when he won second term in office.
“I remember during the chairman’s second term as governor of Edo, he came to the Villa and thanked the then president for one man, one vote. Today, do we have one man one vote? He should have carried it along to make sure that we have one man one vote.
“Two, remember in their own time, they have what they called ‘Occupy Nigeria.’ Nobody was arrested, nobody was sent to jail. Are they practicing what they’re preaching?
“We cannot be deceived by rhetoric, we cannot be deceived by propaganda. All of us know we are not progressing, rather we are retrogressing. Nigeria is witnessing what we preach but not practising. So as a leader, call our leaders to order,” Wike demanded.
He equally tackled the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, who had earlier cautioned the media practitioners on negative reportage as it might affect foreign investment in Nigeria.
But Wike accused him of de-marketing his state, Rivers.
The governor wondered why Peterside could kick against the publication of negative things about Nigeria, but he would say negative things about his own state.
Publisher of Vanguard Newspaper, Sam Amuka, said Nigeria does not need any legislation against fake news or hate speech.
“We do not have to put up legislation. The constitution says what to do: you can sue.
“Who defines hate news? If somebody criticises you the way you don’t like, does it amount to hate news?” he asked.
Army: Law-abiding Nigerians’ve nothing to fear
…says operations meant for criminals, miscreants
eneral Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Olu Irefin, has stated that law-abiding citizens in the country have nothing to fear about Exercise Crocodile Smile IV.
Irefin, who reassured Nigerians about the ongoing military operation, declared that only criminals, miscreants and “those on the other side of the law” should be ready for military onslaught.
He spoke yesterday at the flag-off of road maintenance from Alamala Barracks to Lafenwa Railway in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
New Telegraph reports that the rehabilitation of the deplorable roads was carried out by the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta in collaboration with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
The GOC, who was accompanied by the Commander, 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, Brig-Gen. E.J. Amadasun, said the Army authorities desire a hitch-free festive period for Nigerians.
He explained that the Exercise Crocodile Smile IV was designed in line with military’s constitutional role of conducting internal security operation in aid of civil authority.
Irefin said: “Operation Crocodile Smile is an exercise designed by the military and other civil organisations in aid of civilian government.
“We want to ensure during this festive period, every citizen is able to go about his or her normal business without interference from miscreants. It is to checkmate the activities of miscreants and criminals perpetrating all kinds of crime within Ogun State.
“The aim of the exercise is to check crimes and criminal activities and ensure that people are able to live, sleep and go about their normal businesses without interference.
“Law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear. But if you are a miscreant or on the other side of the law, then be ready for us.”
On the road maintenance, the GOC said it was part of the civil-military relations activities lined up for Exercise Crocodile Smile IV.
He appealed to the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, to assist the Army in fixing the deplorable condition of roads in Alamala and environs.
“It (road maintenance) is a civil-military programme to help our neighbours, who are assisting us, to be able to move freely within our communities.
“We do sincerely hope that the governor, who has the interest of the people at heart, who is very focused, will look into this direction to help in fixing this road. In the long run, it helps to shorten our time to react to situations if and when necessary,” Irefin said.
Buhari removes Banire as AMCON chair, appoints CBN dep gov
…seeks Senate’s confirmation for FIRS board
resident Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, asked the Senate to confirm the appointment of Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu, as the Chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
Adamu replaces Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN) who was appointed in December 2018.
Although no reason has been given for the removal of Banire who has spent barely a year in a term of five years, there were speculations that it may not be unconnected with a recent amendment to the AMCON Act which prescribes that the position should be reserved for a serving Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Adamu served as the Director of Human Resources at the CBN, and subsequently rose to the position of a Deputy Governor at the apex bank.
The President also requested the apex legislative chamber to confirm the appointment of Muhammad Mamman Nami as the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), following the exit of Babatunde Fowler.
The requests of Mr. President were contained in two separate letters he forwarded to the Red Chamber, which were read during plenary by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.
The letter on AMCON, dated December 9, 2019, reads: “In accordance with Section 10(1) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Act, 2010, I hereby present Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu for confirmation as Chairman of the AMCON by the Distinguished Senate.”
In a second letter dated December 9, the President requested for the confirmation of Nami as the new boss of the FIRS.
The letter reads: “Pursuant to Section 3(2) of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007, I am pleased to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the underlisted names of nominees as the Chairman and Members of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.”
Others appointed alongside the Chairman, Muhammad Nami (North-Central) included: James Yakwen Ayuba, North Central; Ado Danjuma, North-West; Adam Baba Mohammed, North-East; Ikeme Osakwe, South-East; Adewale Ogunyomade, South-West, and Ehile Adetola Aibangbee, South-South.
The President also appointed persons to represent some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on the board of FIRS.
Those in this category of appointment are: Ladidi Bara’atu Mohammed, Office of Attorney-General of the Federation; Godwin Emefiele, Central Bank of Nigeria; and Fatima Hayatu, Ministry of Finance.
Others are: Maagbe Adaa, Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission; Umar Ajiya, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; DCG Isah, Nigeria Customs Service, and Registrar General, Corporate Affairs Commission. Buhari expressed hope that both requests will receive “the usual expeditious consideration” of the Senate.
Meanwhile, indications have emerged that the immediate past chairman of the FIRS, Babatunde Fowler, was actually not prepared to leave office when the Presidency named a replacement.
New Telegraph gathered that earlier on Monday, Fowler had written to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, seeking a renewal of his mandate to continue to serve as the Chief Tax Collector of the Federation.
In the letter dated December 9, 2019, Fowler had expressed the desire to be allowed to continue in a bid to consolidate on the achievements of his regime.
The letter read in parts: “I write to notify the Secretary to the Government of the Federation that my first tenure as the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Service (FIRS) ends today 9th December 2019.
“In view of the above, I wish to present myself for reappointment for a second term. This is consistent with the provisions of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007 and would grant me the opportunity to consolidate and build on the achievements we have recorded in the past four years.”
Instead, President Buhari appointed Muhammad Nami, a tax consultant, to replace Fowler on Monday, putting paid to months of high wired politicking that had ended his tenure.
It could not be confirmed why he chose to seek an extension of service on the last day of his tenure and whether the Presidency actually received his letter before naming a successor.
The former FIRS boss attended the launch of Federal Government’s financial transparency policy and open of treasury portal same Monday in Abuja.
The event, which had in attendance top government officials, including Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed; and Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Idris Ahmed, among others, held at Abuja International Conference Centre (ICC).
Fowler formally handed over to Coordinating Director, Domestic Taxes Group, Abiodun Aina, who is to oversee the affairs pending resumption of newly appointed FIRS Executive Chairman.
Forgive me, Fayose begs aggrieved PDP members
former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has urged members of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who may be aggrieved by any of his actions in the past to forgive him.
Fayose, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), spoke at his Afao-Ekiti country home at a peace meeting he convened with party members across the 16 local governments, where he urged them to put the past behind them.
He apologised to all aggrieved members who he said he might have wronged while in government.
According to him, the PDP must be repositioned ahead of future elections in the state and nothing should be too much a sacrifice for anyone to make.
“We are on a mission to reposition the party because truly we need a new attitude as members of this party.
“We must tell ourselves the truth that there is nothing to share in failure and we must join hands to achieve something tangible.
“I know some persons are aggrieved and I know we are humans. I apologise to all those that I have offended.
“Let us come together in unity for this our party not to die in this state. That is my priority as the leader.
“I am doing this after one year of leaving office just to allow the present All Progressives Congress (APC) to display what they have for the people and you can all see for yourselves.
“I am not here for my selfish interest, but just to ensure this party does not fail,” Fayose said.
The former governor, who used the meeting to officially congratulate Senator Biodun Olujimi, on her recent victory as the lawmaker representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, noted that she remained a leader of the party in the state.
“Everybody should come back to the party. I am open to reconciliation. If Senator Biodun Olujimi calls you for meeting tomorrow, go there and listen to her. All of us are leaders, don’t let us factionalise this party.
“I am congratulating her (Olujimi) and I don’t have any issue with her and I am sorry for what happened in the past,” he said.
Court orders banker, Indian businessman to pay fraud’s victim N395m, FG’s N20m
ustice Kudirat Jose of the Ikeja Division of Lagos High Court has ordered two officials of Bank PHB now Keystone Bank, who were sentenced to five years’ imprisonment to refund N385 million to Dozzy Oil and Gas Ltd., victim of fraud perpetrated by the officials and N20million to federal government.
The judge had on Monday sentenced the bankers, Anayo Nwosu and Olajide Oshodi as well as Ashok Israni, an Indian businessman to five years’ imprisonment each for N855million fraud when they “did fraudulently convert to your use the sum of N285, 000, 000.00 (Two Hundred and Eighty-Five Million Naira) being the property of Dozzy Oil and Gas Ltd, when you credited the account of NULEC with the said sum to defray its debt owed to Bank PHB Plc., as against paying the sum into the Private Placement Account of NULEC.”
Also convicted alongside Nwosu, Oshodi and the Indian businessman was NULEC Industries Limited belonging to Israni and Kristin’s Bank Limited respectively.
Although the convicts were re-arraigned alongside Sunny Obazee on 4th October, 2016 on an amended 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining by false pretense to the tune of N855million, Justice Jose discharged and acquitted the fourth defendant, Obazee.
She, however, ordered the convict to restitute N395 million to the victim of the fraud
The convicts stood trial for the following charges;
“That you, Anayo Nwosu, Ashok Israni, Olajide Oshodi, Sunny Obazee, Bank PHB Plc/Keystone Bank Ltd. and NULEC Industries Limited, between 14th July and 31st July 2008, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did fraudulently convert to your use the sum of N285, 000, 000.00 (Two Hundred and Eighty-Five Million Naira) being the property of Dozzy Oil and Gas Ltd, when you credited the account of NULEC with the said sum to defray its debt owed to Bank PHB Plc.
, as against paying the sum into the Private Placement Account of NULEC, which sum was to be used as payment for the purchase of shares of NULEC Industries Limited under a Private Placement.
“That you, Anayo Nwosu, Ashok Israni, Olajide Oshodi, Sunny Obazee, Bank PHB, Keystone Bank Ltd. and NULEC Industries Limited, sometime in 2008 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N855, 000, 000.00 (Eight Hundred and Fifty-Five Million Naira) from Dozzy Oil and Gas Ltd, on the false pretence that NULEC Industries Limited was inactive profit-making manufacturing and trading activities, thereby purporting same to be payment for the purchase of shares of the said NULEC Industries Limited under a Private Placement.”
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC, thereby leading to their full trial.
During the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, presented witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.
Delivering her judgment, Justice Jose discharged and acquitted the fourth defendant, Obazee
The judge, however, convicted and sentenced the first, second and third defendants to five years imprisonment each on counts 1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 and 13 of stealing.
The companies were also offered to pay a fine of N20million to the Federal Government on counts 1, 10 and 13.
NMA: It’ll take 25 years to reduce doctors’ shortage in Nigeria
he Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has declared that with no fewer than 3,000 doctors graduating yearly in Nigeria, it will take about 25 years to produce adequate numbers of doctors to cater for the country’s population.
NMA National President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, made this known yesterday at the ongoing week-long Annual Symposium organised by the Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) in Lagos.
Theme of the symposium is: “Curbing the High Rate of Brain Drain in the Nigerian Health Sector.”
Faduyile said the few healthcare practitioners in Nigeria were overwhelmed as a doctor caters for about 10,000 to 22,000 patients, instead of the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of a doctor to 600 patients.
He said currently, the nation’s education institutions graduate about 3,000 doctors yearly, and with such number it would take about 25 years to produce the adequate number of doctors required to cater for Nigeria’s increasing population.
“Like in the UK where many of our doctors are migrating to, the ratio of doctors to the populace is about zero point eight.
“It means that they have so many doctors, whereas Nigeria is in deficit when it comes to numbers of doctors,” he said.
Faduyile, however, said that there was huge deficit in the nation’s health sector due to brain drain as some of the best healthcare practitioners were leaving the country through migration to more favourable countries.
“Nigeria is losing some of its most educated, talented and professional healthcare practitioners to countries such as Namibia, Senegal, Ghana, UK, South Africa and many others.
“This is because government is not interested in giving adequate priority to health, low funding, no appropriate employment, low remuneration, lack of equipment to intervene and save lives, insecurity, bad roads, among other problems.
“Now, it is taking toll on the country as our people are suffering due to shortage of workers, people are dying due to lack of effective healthcare system and Nigeria has one of the worst health indices in the world,” he said.
The NMA President urged journalists to report the problems in the health sector objectively to make government accountable and make things right.
APC calls for cancellation of LG polls in Adamawa
damawa State chapter of the All Progressives Council (APC) has called for outright cancellation of the local government election conducted on December 7, 2019, due to what it described as irregularities.
The party also called on the Federal Government not to disburse funds to non-elective and non-democratic councils that disregarded section 7 (i) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Alhaji Umar Hammanjoda, the chairmanship candidate, Jada Local Government Area, spoke on behalf of other 21 chairmanship and 226 councillorship APC candidates in the purported council election at the party secretariat, Yola.
He regretted that; “Only 60 per cent of the requirements of ballot papers were given without any single result sheets issued.”
While describing the just-concluded election as a sham, Hammanjoda lamented that the Adamawa State Independent Electoral Commission (ADSIEC) never conducted election in all the 2,609 polling units in the state.
“ADSIEC by its acts of omission and commission deliberately scuttled the council’s election it set out to conduct thereby mismanaging tax payers’ money entrusted to it to conduct it,” he stated.
The candidate spokesperson added that; “ADSIEC deliberately denied the good people of this state the right to exercise their civic responsibility to vote for the candidates of their choice to dramatically manage the affairs of their local government councils.”
In view of the foregoing, the purported declaration by ADSIEC and issuance of certificates of return to 21 chairmanship candidates of the PDP as having won the election, was gross injustice, violation of the electoral law and therefore ‘unacceptable’ to our teeming supporters in the state.
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