Recession: FG Closes 9 Foreign Missions

The Federal Government has approved the closure of nine foreign missions and their conversion to non-residency representation or concurrent accreditation, as part of measures to reduce the cost of running Nigeria’s foreign representations in the face of economic realities.
It also reduced the number of officers at foreign missions, stopped posting staff of home ministries to foreign missions and approved the training of Foreign Service officers to carry out multiple tasks, including administration, immigration, trade, culture and education related functions.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina said President Buhari stated this while declaring open an induction course organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Nigerian Career Ambassadors-designate who were recently cleared by the Senate.
According to President Buhari: “We are optimistic that the external factors that partly contributed to push our economy into recession will ebb in 2017. Until then, I regret that the resources available to fund our missions abroad will not be as robust as we would like.
“We are working hard to turn around our national economy by effectively reforming our macroeconomic environment through measures, some of which were outlined in my budget speech to the National Assembly last week.”
The president, who said the prevailing economic circumstances have led to a restructuring of Nigerian missions abroad, reminded the Ambassadors-designate that,  “as we are all making great sacrifices at home, we also expect you to similarly make judicious use of the resources put at the disposal of your missions. As Heads of missions, you will be held accountable for the utilisation of all resources under your control. These are lean times, and all of us are expected to do more with less.”
He specifically charged the Ambassadors-designate to change the narrative of Nigeria outside the country by playing up the positive values and outstanding contributions of Nigerians in the global arena.
“For far too long, we have allowed Nigeria to be defined by others, always emphasising our negatives. To the average foreigner, Nigeria evokes 419, terrorism, militancy, communal and religious clashes, insecurity, corruption and all our other faults.
“You have the duty to correct this narrative by taking the initiative to define and portray our country for what it truly is. We are a nation of 180 million vibrant, enterprising, hardworking, hospitable and peaceful people. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities as strengths such that we are the leading country on the continent. Therefore, you will need to mobilise, sensitise and motivate all your staff so that together you engage with your host governments, the private sector and other segments of the society to explain that Nigeria is much more than the negative image portrayed to them.”
The President further urged them to leverage on the achievements of Nigerians within the country and in diaspora.
“Think of people like Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, Chinedu Echeruo who founded Hotspot application which he sold to Apple for over a billion dollars; think of Bayo Ogunlesi, who runs over a billion dollar infrastructure fund and is now Adviser to US President-elect; and Jelani Aliyu, an accomplished car designer at General Motors. Indeed, these and other hardworking Nigerian professionals in the diaspora have never forgotten their roots and have been making significant contributions to their communities back home, and even to our economy through  their huge remittances.”
Buhari further urged them to sustain the work ethic characterized by the love of country, professionalism, excellence, integrity and honour associated with the “Nigerian diplomatic tradition established in 1957 by the pioneers of the Nigerian Foreign Service, sometimes referred to as the “12 Apostles” and also “bequeath same to succeeding generations. ”
President Buhari also charged the Ambassadors-designate to stress Nigeria’s commitment to international peace and security through contributions “to nearly every UN peacekeeping initiative since 1960 when we achieved our independence.
In addition, we are the stabilizers and shock absorbers of West Africa, having helped to contain potentially de-stabilising developments in the sub-region.”
Buhari further charged the Ambassadors–designate always to be mindful of the national priorities that “revolve around the economy, security, anti-corruption, good governance, agricultural transformation and infrastructure development, including rail, roads and power” and use their roles “as Principal Representatives to build meaningful partnerships to attract foreign investments, new skills and technologies.
“As Nigerian Ambassadors, you must show leadership, fairness and justice to all. Discipline, probity, accountability and zero tolerance for corruption must be your watchwords. You are expected to project the best image and traditions of our country in your conduct and all you do.”
The president, however, expressed optimism that the current economic recession will fade next year.

Credit: sunnewsonline

South African Bank Closes Accounts Held By Zuma Friends

A South African company owned by friends of Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday First National Bank has closed its accounts due to a scandal over its relationship with the president.

“Oakbay has received no reason whatsoever justifying FNB’s actions.

“We are already in the process of moving our accounts to a more enlightened institution,” Oakbay Investments said in a statement.
FNB is a unit of FirstRand

Three other South African companies, including KPMG and Barclays Africa, have severed ties with a firm owned by the Guptas, a family of Indian-born businessmen close to Zuma.

Credit: NAN

Prosecutor Closes Case In Metuh’s Trial

The prosecution has closed its case against the spokesman for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh.

The case was closed after the 8th prosecution witness briefed the court on how Mr Metuh had destroyed his statement during investigation by the anti-graft agency.

Under cross examination, the witness, Mr Junaid Sa’id, said that after Mr Metuh had written in his statement that the monies he received from the Office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki, was for campaign activities as approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan and for the payment of his personal debt.

Credit: ChannelsTv

INEC Closes Defence In Akwa Ibom Election Petition Tribunal

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has on Thursday closed its defence in the Akwa-Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

Lawyer to the INEC, Alex Ojiekeme, who announced the closing of the defense said INEC is satisfied with the testimonies of the witnesses filed which he says are sufficient to prove there was election in Akwa Ibom State.

The tribunal has adjourned till October 8 giving the lawyer’s three weeks to prepare their final addresses, which will be taken alongside all pending applications.

Credit: channelstv

Akwa Ibom: As PDP Closes Case, Tribunal Orders INEC To Open Defence

As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor Emmanuel Udom closed their case yesterday, the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to open its defence against the allegations of aiding election malpractices in the April 11 polls.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Sadiq Umar, gave the order after counsel to the PDP, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), announced that the party would not present additional witnesses originally listed to testify at the tribunal.

As a result, Justice Umar ordered INEC as the third respondent in the petition, to present its defence today (Tuesday) when the proceedings will commence.

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Naira Appreciates, Closes At N215 Per Dollar

The naira appreciated against the US dollar in the parallel market, closing at N215 to a dollar. This represents an appreciation of N16 from Tuesday when a dollar exchanged for N231 in Lagos and Kano, and N230 to a dollar in Abuja.

It was gathered that the CBN issued a circular to sell additional $30,000 to all licensed bureaux de change (BDCs) in the country on Friday, apart from the weekly sale of $30,000 that the apex bank normally makes to each BDC.

Read More: vanguardngr


Fuel Scarcity: GTB Closes Branches Nationwide

Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) announced it was closing all its branches nationwide due to the worsening scarcity of fuel scarcity in the country.

Customers have already been notified. “The current shortage of petroleum products in the country has limited our ability to supply diesel to all our branches, in order to continue normal branch operations.  Due to this, we unavoidably have to close our branches nationwide at 1pm on Monday, 25th May 2015,” the notice read.

The bank appealed to clients to understand the current situation and assure them it was working hard to find alternative solutions to problem.

“Whilst we have had to take this step to close branch operations early, we would like to seek your understanding at this time, and assure you that we will continue to work hard at finding alternative solutions to this situation and will advise you once the situation has abated.”

It added that the bank alternative channels such as e-Branches, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Internet Banking SMS Banking, Mobile Banking would be fully functional and available for their customers. “All our alternative channels will be fully functional and available for all your Personal and Business Banking”.

The bank also apologised for any inconveniences this might cause to its customers.

Credit: CAJ News