…To Collaborate On Security, Infrastructure, Economy
…Appoint Ambode Chairman, Dickson, Umahi As Co-Chairmen
For the first time in 12 years, Governors of the Southern States of Nigeria on Monday met in Lagos, where they unanimously reiterated the call for true federalism and devolution of powers to States.
The Governors, in a communique at the end of the meeting read by the host Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, also resolved to collaborate with one another for the growth and development of their economies.
Aside Governor Ambode, the meeting was attended by Governors of Ogun, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Oyo, Seantor Abiola Ajimobi; Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Ebonyi, David Umahi; Edo, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Ondo, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu; Abia, Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu; Enugu, Mr. Henry Ugwuanyi; Bayelsa, Mr. Seriaki Dickson and Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.
Governors of Cross River, Anambra and Delta were represented by their Deputies – Mr. Evara Esu; Dr. Ikem Okeke and Mr. Kingsley Otuaru respectively.
Continuing with the communique, Governor Ambode said the Governors after extensive deliberations, also emphasized priority on security and lives and property of citizens of the regions, while also resolving to work on effective linkage on good infrastructure across the 17 States in the region.
At the meeting, Governor Ambode was unanimously appointed as the Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum (SGF) while Governors Seriaki Dickson of Bayelsa and David Umahi of Ebonyi States were appointed as Co- Chairmen of the Forum.
The Forum also scheduled the next meeting for Port Harcourt in a yet to be announced date.
Earlier, Governor Ambode, while welcoming his colleagues to the meeting, reflected on the clamour for true federalism and devolution of powers, saying that states will benefit from the envisaged restructuring.
He said the goals of true federalism, which included the strengthening of autonomy and the enhancement of fiscal viability will enable the states to develop at their own pace and based on their peculiarities.
He said the forum had achieved an increased awareness on the sustenance of the national question germane to peaceful co-existence in the country.
However, he said there is a lot to be done and achieved, stressing that true federalism required urgent, meticulous and proactive attention by the forum.
Ambode frowned at what he described as the non-periodic review of the revenue formula as provided by the constitution to reflect evolving realities.
He said the review is crucial to enhance the viability of states and local government and their capacity to fulfil their developmental roles in the polity.
The governor added: “States are disparaged for always carrying begging bowls to Abuja in quest of hand-outs from the Federal Government. This is a function of our present national constitution that burdens the Federal Government with activities and responsibilities that rightly fall within the province of states.
“The productivity and revenue-generating capacities of most states are thus stifled, thus turning them into no better than street beggar states incapable of even meeting routine obligations of paying workers’ salaries and pensions without federal support.”
Ambode recalled that Lagos State had fought and won several legal battles since 1999 that have systematically strengthened her autonomy and enhanced her fiscal viability.
He noted that the state had won the legal control over the management of its environment, the control of urban and physical planning, the regulation of overhead masts, the registration and regulation of hotels and restaurants, and the control of inland waterways.
Ambode said these victories belonged, not only to Lagos, but also to other states, adding that, if Lagos could achieve so much by fighting alone, the Southern Governors’ Forum will accomplish more through collective planning and strategy.
The governor said the forum has been reactivated at the time the National Assembly is harmonising its differences over the 1999 Constitution amendment, which will soon be transmitted to the Houses of Assembly for approval
He said: “It is important for this forum to comprehensively look at the proposed amendments with a view to working with our respective Houses of Assembly to ensure a coordinated response on our part that will strengthen the practice of democracy, federalism, constitutionalism and the rule of law.
Ambode clarified that, while pushing for greater devolution of powers, responsibilities and resources from the centre to the states, the goal of the forum is neither to a weak centre and strong states and vice versa.
The governor paid tribute to former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu for his initiave, recalling that he hosted the first meeting of the forum in Akodo Beach Resort, Ibeju-Lekki, whe he was at the helm of affairs.
He said while the initiative was received with mixed feelings at the time, Tinubu was vindicated later because of its achievements as the forum became a vocal voice on maters of critical importance, not only to the Southern Nigeria, but to the country as a whole.
Ambode hailed the forum for advocating for a special allocation to oil-producing states in the Federation Account, adding that its agitation led to the current 13 per cent revenue derivation and allocation from the Federation Account.
He said: “Another major victory won towards strengthening the country’s practice of true federalism was the declaration bybthe Supreme Court in 2002 that the then prevalent practice of the Federal Government deducting monies from the Federation Account as a first charge for the funding of Joint Venture Contracts, the NNPC priority projects, servicing of Federal Government’s external debt, the judiciary and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other federal obligations were illegal and unconstitutional.
“The Supreme Court in that case abolished the special funds created by the Federal Government to enable it draw funds from the Federation Account to pay for matters that fell within its exclusive responsibility before sharing whatever was left with states and local governments.”
By Festus Fifen
Barely 36 hours after returning from the D-8 Meeting in Istanbul Turkey on Sunday evening, President Muhammadu Buhari will Tuesday depart for Niamey, Republic of Niger, to participate in a meeting on common currency for the West African sub-region.
Member countries of the ECOWAS Task Force on Common Currency are Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Niger.
According to the statement by special adviser on Media and publicity to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina, The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, will also join the President at the meeting.
According to the statement, President Buhari will return to Abuja same day after the meeting.
The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria and the 19 commercial banks in the country to disclose all accounts in their custody and the balances in such accounts.
The court ordered the banks to disclose the details of all such accounts, their owners and their proceeds in their affidavit of compliance deposed to by their Chief Compliance Officers.
It also made an interim order directing the banks to freeze all the said accounts by stopping “all outward payments, operations or transactions” pending the hearing of the substantive application seeking the forfeiture of the balances in the accounts to the Federal Government.
The banks were also directed to disclose “any investments made with funds from these accounts without BVN in any products”.
Such investments to be disclosed by the banks as directed by the court include “fixed/term deposits and their liquidation and interest incurred, bank acceptances, commercial papers and any other relevant information related to the transaction made on the accounts”.
The court also directed the CBN and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems “to validate the information contained in the affidavit of compliance/disclosure filed by the respective 19 banks” within seven days from the date of service of the orders on them.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had made the orders on October 17, 2017 upon an ex parte motion filed on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation.
Named as defendants are Access Bank Plc, Citi Bank Nigeria, Diamond Bank Plc, Ecobank Nigeria, Fidelity Bank of Nigeria Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Heritage Bank Plc.
Other banks are Keystone Bank, Skye Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and the CBN.
A copy of the enrolled order, made available to journalists on Saturday, showed that the ex parte motion, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/91
1/2017, was moved on behalf of the applicants by A. D. Tyoden. The title of the ex parte application indicated that the accounts without BVN allegedly had insufficient Know Customer Guidelines, contrary to the directive of the CBN and Section 3 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).
The title reads, ‘In the matter of an application seeking an interim order directing all the money deposit banks (commercial banks) to disclose/declare all individual and corporate accounts in their custody not covered by Bank Verification Numbers and for an interim order of forfeiture of the monies therein being accounts with insufficient Know Customer
Guidelines contrary to the directive of the CBN and Section 3 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).’
Granting the ex parte motion, the court ordered banks to file before the court separate affidavits deposed to by their Chief Compliance Officers, disclosing the accounts of individuals, corporate bodies and government agencies in their custody without BVN.
The court directed that the order be equally served on the Central Bank of Nigeria. It furthered ordered the banks to advertise the accounts without BVN in a widely circulated national newspaper as notice to those who might have any interest in any of the accounts.
The court also made an interim order appointing a Bank Examiner from the CBN to examine the books of “any bank that fails to comply with the order of the honourable court to file affidavit of disclosure.”
Justice Dimgba adjourned until November 16 for the hearing of the substantive application seeking the forfeiture of the proceeds of the accounts without BVN.
The court order read in part, “That an order is hereby made freezing the said accounts by stopping all outward payments, operations or transactions (including any bill of exchange) in respect of the accounts pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application.
“That an order is hereby made directing the 1st to 19th defendant banks to disclose any investments made with funds from these accounts without BVN in any products including fixed/term deposits and their liquidation and interest incurred, bank acceptances, commercial papers and any other relevant information related to the transaction made on the accounts.
“That an interim order is hereby made directing the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems to validate the information contained in the affidavit of compliance/disclosure filed by the respective 19 banks within seven days from the date of service on the Central Bank and NIBSS.
“That an interim order is hereby made appointing a Bank Examiner from the Central Bank of Nigeria to examine the books of any bank that fails to comply with the order of the honourable court to file affidavit of disclosure.
“That an interim order is hereby made granting leave to the applicants or any officer authorised by them to advertise the accounts without BVN disclosed by the bank in a widely circulated national newspaper as notice to any person or body corporate or financial institution who may have any interest in any of the said accounts to claim ownership of same within 14 days of the publication of the order and show cause why the proceeds in the account should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
When contacted, the spokesman for the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, however, said he was not aware of the case and could therefore not speak on it.
BEN TV Lagos
Revealed: £127 billion a year – the cost of not being a white British man
New research undertaken by the International Inequalities Institute and Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics, in collaboration with diversity campaigner June Sarpong, has for the first time revealed the full extent of the income gap between white British men and those from other ethnic backgrounds, and women from all ethnic backgrounds.
When analysed on a per capita basis, the figures reveal an even starker picture of inequality between ethnic groups in the UK:
Commenting, June Sarpong, who commissioned the research to support her campaign to encourage greater diversity in the workplace, said:
“Unless you are a white British man, working in the UK today means you lose out.
These figures demonstrate the urgent need for clear policy from government and business to urgently close the income gap. Promoting diversity and tackling income inequality will be good for everyone in society.”
Professor John Hills, who contributed to the research at the London School of Economics, added
”There are many reasons why the incomes of women and men from different ethnic groups are behind those of White British men. Sometimes it is the choices couples make over caring, and who works part-time, where the figures show the scale of the difference in who gets what – and sometimes has more control over it. Sometimes it is outright discrimination, where what people get does not fully reflect their roles. But sometimes, it is sheer waste, where people have ended up in jobs where as a country we are not making the best use of their skills and abilities.”
The tables below reveal the income gap between the average White British man and different ethnic groups. Table 1 demonstrate the gap on a weekly basis per capita, and Table 2 demonstrates the income gap on an annual basis per capita.
|Income gaps (£ per week) (vs White UK men at £676.8/week)|
|Income Gaps (£ per year) vs White UK men at £35,193.6/year|