Port Harcourt October 21, 2019 The United Kingdom, (UK) receives not
less than 90 billion shady funds from across the world every year most
of them stolen by public officials from the third world including but
not limited to Nigeria, foreign experts said in Port Harcourt on Monday.
The experts said 87,000 illicit assets in UK are owned by anonymous
companies in tax havens, while the values of secretly owned properties
in the UK are between 56 to 100 billion pounds. Forty percent of these
properties are in the city of London, they affirmed.
The revelation was made by world acclaimed anti-corruption advocates,
Christian Erikson and Lionel Faull in a joint paper tagged Obtaining
Property Information Overseas presented at the ongoing anti-corruption
training organized by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda
(Heda Resource Centre) in collaboration with international groups, The
Corner House, Kent Law School, all in the UK, MacArthur Foundation and
the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, (OSIWA).
The programme drew 70 civil society organisations, media, labour and
representatives of anti-corruption institutions from across the southern
region of Nigeria.
In his remarks, Nick Hildyard, an anti-corruption investigator said
though the UK has one of the most effective anti-corruption laws, but
that in reality, the country does not appear to be fully prepared to
stall the wave of corruption with her financial institutions providing
the logistics for corrupt officials from Nigeria. “The UK is a legally
corrupt country”, Hildyard said adding that if Western countries
genuinely wish to fight corruption, they should stop the warehouse of
stolen funds from Nigeria.
Faull said “Getting your money back is easier said than done. It takes a
long time. If you do not support corruption, there is no need doing
banking with Nigeria. The fight against Corruption will not succeed
without a very active citizenry. It requires international solidarity,
teaming up with civil society in order to work with international
organisations and make authorities accountable.”
In his presentation, the HEDA Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju said about
456 top Nigerian public officials holding strategic positions are yet to
declared their assets inspite of the regulations put in place by the
Code of Conduct Bureau, (CCB)
Speaking at the conference, the Special Adviser to President Mohammadu
Buhari on National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) Mrs. Maryam Uwais
said millions of Nigerians have never felt the impact of the government.
She commended the Federal Government’s efforts at fighting poverty by
ploughing recovered stolen wealth into meeting the essentials of poor
individuals across the 36 states of the Federation.
Uwais said “We have information about savings among the beneficiary of
the N-SIP. We discover that 567 million naira have been saved by these
women. 18,210 have also taken loans and less than 1000 have defaulted.
The beneficiaries are involved in animal husbandry and other businesses.
They have become very useful to themselves. What we have done is to
insulate the process from the political process”
She said at the moment, 6million Nigerians are on the data base of the
NSIP adding that 167,000 out of the figure are physically challenged
people. Communication, she said, remains a challenge since many of the
beneficiaries live in the rural areas. “It has been a dilemma for me
generally. It’s been a choice that has been hard. We call on journalists
to please go out of their duties to help reach out to them.”
She said that corruption cannot be eradicated overnight. On poverty
alleviation, Mrs Uwais said “We need at least 10 years of consistent
intervention to be able to make real impact. We have tried to adopt best
practices given our own circumstances. The money given to the poor
continues to facilitate economic growth. We must all participate in this
sustained effort. It is time to turn the tide of the fortunes of our
people. Corruption knows no boundary. We need to ensure that utilization
of funds is transparent.”
In her presentation, Prof Ayo Atsenuwa of the University of Lagos said
though the Freedom of Information law has opened fresh opportunities for
Nigerians to hold their leaders accountable, she however regretted that
the Official Secrets Act which was introduced by colonial lords about a
century ago into the Nigerian legal system remains in force. Nigeria,
unlike many other countries and jurisdictions, lacks a policy,
guidelines or law on public access of court documents.
Nigerian stock market opens with N119 billion loss
Nigerian equities market resumed trading on Monday with a loss of 0.91 per cent as a result of profit taking in some blue chips.
Speficially, the All-Share Index which opened the week at 25,182.67 lost 228.35 points or 0.91 per cent to close at 24,954.32.
Accordingly, Month-to-Date and Year-to-Date losses increased to -1.2 per cent and -7.0 per cent, respectively.
Also, the market capitalisation shed N119 billion or 0.91 per cent to close at N13.017 trillion against N13.136 trillion posted on Thursday.
The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; MTN Nigeria Communications (MTNN), BUA Cement, Zenith Bank, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated and Guaranty Trust Bank.
Analysts at United Capital Plc said: “Looking ahead, we expect the market to remain volatile, as investors lock funds in cheap and fundamentally sound stocks, while taking profit on some stocks that gained last week.”
Consequently, market breadth closed negative with 16 stocks compared with 25 decliners.
Prestige Assurance led the losers’ chart in percentage terms, dropping by 10 per cent, to close at 63k, per share.
Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals followed with 9.73 per cent to close at N2.32, while AIICO Insurance shed 9.32 per cent to close at N1.07, per share.
ETI dropped 7.34 per cent to close at N5.05, while UACN Property Development dipped 6.73 per cent to close at 97k, per share.
Conversely, Fidson Healthcare and Red Star Express led the gainers’ chart in percentage terms, appreciating by 10 per cent each to close at N3.30 and N3.63 per share, respectively.
Cornerstone Insurance followed with a gain 9.80 per cent to close at 56k, per share.
Honeywell Flour Mills rose by 9.78 per cent to close at N1.01, while Unity Bank appreciated by 8.77 per cent to close at 62k, per share.
In the same vein, the total volume traded declined by 29.51 per cent with an exchange of 237.65 million shares, worth N1.61 billion, and traded in 4,808 deals.
This was in contrast with a total of 337.13 million shares valued at N3.41 billion achieved in 3,880 deals on Thursday.
Transactions in the shares of FBN Holdings topped the activity chart with 24.35 million shares worth N128.76 million.
Zenith Bank followed with 24.14 million shares valued at N392.36 million, while FCMB Group accounted for 19.47 million shares valued at N33.48 million.
Caverton Offshore traded 17.37 million shares worth N39.02 million, while United Bank for Africa transacted 14.64 million shares valued at N95.74 million.
NIMASA tasked on discrimination against Nigerian seafarers’ certificate
A Marine Engineer, Daniel Ikueyemi, on Saturday urged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to address the issue of discrimination against the Nigerian Seafarers’ Certificate of Competence (COC).
He made the appeal on an Instagram live programme organised by Mrs Ezinne Azunnah of the MaritimeTvNews, entitled, ”Seafarers’ Certificate of Competence: Quality and Opportunities”.
The Certificate of Competency (COC) is a form of licence every mariner is granted to work on ships.
The certificate ensures that the concerned person has the sufficient knowledge and skills to sail on ocean-going vessels.
According to him, our COC is not strong enough and the issue of discrimination of the COC is a common thing for us.
He added that to ensure that the discrimination stopped, there was the need for NIMASA as the regulator to strengthen the security of the COC to standardise it and prevent it from being forged.
“Other ways to tackle the issue is to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some African countries to ensure seafarers utilise their COC.
“There is a notion that 60 per cent of what is taught does not correlate.
“There is need to check this notion and also look into the curriculum that are being used in the country’s maritime academies,’’ he said.
Ikueyemi also pointed out that the feedback mechanism that existed did not capture seafarers’ experience at sea.
He urged NIMASA to have a plan from point of training to point at which seafarers were employed so that their trade would be harnessed.
Also Capt. Ola Alufa, a Marine Captain and Consultant said that the restriction of the country’s COC had not given seafarers the opportunity to be utilised globally.
According to him, Nigerian seafarers are faced with limitations as regards categorisation and that should be expunged.
Alufa suggested that Nigerian seafarers should be well-employed everywhere and be able to work in vessels.
“The limitation is the categorisation. We do not have trading vessels and we need them now.
“NIMASA has tried as regards the curriculum, experience and examination which is very tough. It is of international standard, we need to encourage our own certificate,” he said
He recommended that the Ministry of Transportation must work hand in hand with NIMASA to write to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to expunge the clause affecting seafarers.
“A lot of seafarers have not yet gone on board a ship before. They just got the certificate from schools but there is no opportunity and this still bounces back to government on the need for training vessels.
“The vessels will give seafarers the experience and certificate to be recognised worldwide,” he said. (NAN)
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