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Obi Cubana: CBN policy on the consequences of spraying money

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For much of last week, culminating in the weekend, the internet was awash with news and pictures from the burial ceremony of the septuagenarian mother of popular Nigerian businessman and socialite, Obi Iyiegbu, a.k.a Obi Cubana.

The burial, which was attended by hordes of Nigerian celebrities from the business and entertainment space lit up the small, otherwise quiet town of Oba in Anambra state in what can only be described as a carnival that lasted for several days.

Obi Cubana and his rich friends put up a formidable jamboree, drawing crowds of people with no nose masks and no apparent care for either the Covid-19 pandemic or the government’s health protocols put in place to check the spread of the virus.

The boisterous celebration which saw notable artists like D’banj and Davido in performance will also be remembered for the wads of naira notes lavishly thrown around at the event. Videos abound online of guests wantonly spraying N200, N500 and N1000 notes at the chief mourner.

Recall that in 2018, the CBN issued a warning to Nigerians against spraying money at parties, insisting that those who flout this warning were at risk of a six-month jail term or a fine of N50,000. A statement by CBN’s spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor read:

“If a celebrant is dancing and you spray him/her, you may go to jail from the party venue, because the law enforcement agents will be there, waiting to arrest you.

The law enforcement agencies must catch offenders and take them to court. Our (CBN) collaboration with the police will intensify as we move to implement the mobile court for offenders.”

The spokesman added that the CBN had concluded the decision to establish mobile courts to prosecute those abusing the naira notes, noting that security agencies particularly the police operatives and officials of the Ministry of Justice would be involved in monitoring the use of the naira at event venues to ensure that the CBN order is enforced nationwide.

In June this year, the CBN reiterated this warning during a sensitization program in Abeokuta, where an Assistant Director at the Currency Operations Department, Aladeen Badajo stated:

“Abuse of the currency attracts a penalty of not less than six months or a fine of not less than N50,000 or both.”

Rather interesting, is the fact that the burial ceremony of the mother of the Cubana Group boss was replete with the police officers and other security operatives, including a well-known Deputy Commissioner of Police and leader of the Inspector-General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team, Abba Kyari, who stated that he attended the burial to honour a good friend.

The heavy police presence notwithstanding, nothing has been said of a possible arrest of guests, either for flouting COVID-19 directives or for blatantly disregarding the CBN’s jail threats for abuse of the naira.

This is not the first, second, third or even tenth time that these policies are being openly disregarded with no apparent consequences from regulatory authorities. Politicians and members of the bourgeois class do it all the time with their high society weddings and funerals. Are Nigerian elites above the law? Better still, if these policies are not to be backed by enforcement, is there really any point in making them in the first instance?

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Ikoyi Building Collapse: Bodies recovered from rubble ready for identification – Lagos State

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The Lagos State Government disclosed that 38 bodies recovered from the collapse site at Gerard Road, Ikoyi, are ready for identification by families.

This was disclosed by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, in a press briefing with newsmen covering the state of rescue operations so far.

He added that the identification process would commence at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), Yaba, citing that 32 names submitted by families are still missing.

What he said

“The autopsy is important because the law says that whenever there is death, as a result of such incidents like the collapsed building, an autopsy must be done before the body is released.”

He added that search-and-rescue would continue until the government could account for everybody inside the building at the time of its collapse and certify also that no corpse was left behind in the rubble.

“So far now, we have recorded 38 dead bodies. And as you know, we have nine survivors. Some bodies are ready for identification. So, people can go to IDH, Yaba, to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

“For bodies that may be very difficult to identify, we shall conduct DNA tests for such bodies to be identified. There are rules for giving bodies to people.

“There are some of the bodies that are in a state that it would be unprofessional for the hospitals to allow people to look at them in that present state and for them to be released the way they are.

“That is why we have the little delay that we are having. But if you go to IDH, Yaba, you should be able to see some of the bodies and be able to identify who you want to identify.

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CBN revises guidelines for the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP)

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has revised the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) guidelines.

This was disclosed by the apex bank in a document “Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) Guidelines” by its Development Finance Department, revised in September 2021.

According to the apex bank, the programme evolved from consultations with stakeholders comprising the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, State Governments, agro-processors, commodity associations, financial institutions and smallholder farmers to ramp up agricultural production, boost non-oil exports and diversify the revenue base of Nigeria.

Key highlights of the guidelines

The CBN in line with its developmental functions as enshrined in Section 31 of the CBN Act 2007, established the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to create economic linkages between smallholder farmers (SHFs) and reputable companies (anchors) involved in the production and processing of key agricultural commodities.

The core of the Programme is to provide loans (in kind and cash) to smallholder farmers to boost agricultural production, create jobs, reduce food import bill towards conservation of foreign reserve.

The broad objective of the ABP is to create economic linkages between smallholder farmers and processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and ensuring food price stability.

  • The CBN stated that it would increase banks’ financing to improve agricultural productivity by creating an ecosystem that drives value chain financing.
  • The CBN would bear 50% credit risk after satisfactory evidence that every means of loan recovery has been exhausted by the PFI.
  • The CBN may vary the risk-sharing ratio based on the specific peculiarities/prospects of the Anchor/Project.
  • For losses arising from the negligence and/or inaction of the PFI in the execution of any project, the PFI shall bear the full risk and financial losses thereof.
  • The PFI shall foreclose on pledged collateral one year after expiration of the initial facility and the risk-sharing ratio prescribed above shall apply on the amount net in default.
  • The maximum loan limit for each eligible farmer under the Programme shall be decided based on CBN ratified Economics of Production (EOP) and validated land size. Repayment shall be by produce and/or cash as may be prescribed by the CBN.
  • The loans granted under the Programme shall be fully repaid within the tenor of the facility.
  • Where the facility was accessed through a Commodity Association, the leadership of the Association shall be responsible for full repayment of facility granted to its members.

According to the CBN, the revised Guidelines addresses current realities and developments in the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, aimed at promoting best practice in the implementation of the Programme.

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N40 Million Refund: Court grants relief sought by ex-OPIC MD, Odusola

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A Lagos Division of the Federal High Court has granted reliefs sought by Mr Babajide Odusola, former Managing Director of the Ogun Property Investment Corporation (OPIC), seeking to enforce his fundamental rights.

Justice Peter Odo Lifu granted the reliefs sought by the applicant (Odusola)  in an ex-parte application filed and argued by Mr Ebun Adegboruwa (SAN) and Mr Adetunji Adedoyin-Adeniyi, who are counsel to the applicant.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the applicant sought an order of the court restraining the respondents from taking any action against him related to a report by the Ogun assembly either by invitation or by arrest until the court has heard and determined the substantive suit. The matter was adjourned till January 13, 2022, for a hearing of the substantive suit.

What happened in court

At the resumed hearing on Friday, Mr F. E Bolarinwa, Counsel for Ogun State Ministry of Justice told the court that he had issues in filing his processes, he then sought an adjournment to enable him to file a counter affidavit in opposition to the suit.

Justice Lifu noted that the respondents had not shown cause in the matter. He held that an application for adjournment was not unmeritorious.

The court made a declaration that the report of the committee and proceedings of the assembly which it earlier adopted constituted an infringement on Mr Adesolu’s fundamental rights to a fair hearing.

In an affidavit in support of his application, Odusola averred that in October 2020, he had received a letter inviting him to the Ogun state assembly to appear at its Public Account and Anti-Corruption Committee (PAAC) to clarify alleged irregularities in the activities of OPIC.

He said he honoured the invitation but was confronted with an allegation of misappropriation of OPIC funds. According to him, he never received any complaints or charges against him during his tenure as OPIC Managing Director.

He therefore, sought an interim order, directing respondents to maintain the status quo in respect of the decision of the assembly, pending final determination of the originating motion.

He also sought an order restraining the respondents from taking further steps in relation to the subject matter pending the final determination of the suit.

In case you missed it

It was reported that the Ogun State House of Assembly had ordered the former OPIC boss to return the sum of N40 million which has not been accounted for since 2019. He was given six months to return the money to the state treasury.

It was also reported that Mr Odusola described the allegation levied against him on financial misappropriation by the State’s House of Assembly as false.

What you should know

  • While Babajide is the applicant in the suit, Respondents included: Ogun State House of Assembly, the clerk of the House, Inspector-General of Police, Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of zone II, and Commissioner of Police, Ogun State.
  • In a suit marked: FHC/L/CS/1273/2021, Mr Adesolu had instituted a fundamental rights enforcement suit against the Inspector General of Police and others.
  • The Chairman of the Committee that allegedly investigated OPIC funds was an interested party, who served together with Odusolu in the previous administration.
  • On September 21, 2021, during the plenary, the Ogun state assembly adopted the report of its Committee on Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts, which claimed to have investigated the finances of OPIC and huge sums of money that were missing from OPIC accounts.
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