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Sultan offers to hold talks with Boko Haram

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Sultan of Sokoto
Sultan of Sokoto

Sultan of Sokoto

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111, on Tuesday offered to hold talks with Boko Haram, if the Federal Government approves, to end the terror attacks by its members.

Abubakar, at a dinner for reporters on Monday night in Sokoto as part of the Ramadan, also urged the Federal Government to engage the Boko Haram in a dialogue.

But he warned that government should hold peace talks with the insurgents from a position of strength. He said: “We are ready to go anywhere to talk to anybody as long as there is a formula of what to be done. We don’t have any legal authority to call for a dialogue with any insurgent; the Federal Government must make the move.

“I have said it so many times that no amount of force can defeat insurgents. Dialogue is the best option, but we must negotiate on the platform of strength so that there will be peace. You must be stronger than the person you are negotiating with and when the insurgent knows you are stronger, he will listen and agree to your terms and there will be peace.

“I have seen what happened during my stay in Pakistan for three years. I have seen what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even the United States of America is talking with the Taliban and Al- Qaeda. Even Pakistan, after fighting Taliban for several years, is following the path of dialogue. Why can’t we negotiate with Boko Haram and now release some prisoners for the Chibok girls?” The sultan also lamented the spike in Boko Haram attacks that have led to the rise in the death toll arising from the insurgency in the country. According to him, Nigeria can only achieve enduring peace through dialogue.

He also urged elected leaders to act to tame the insurgency in some parts of the country. He said: ”Elected leaders should do something urgently about this menace now so that Nigerians can go back to their normal lives in a country which is free. ”The Boko Haram people are not Muslims and their activities are not aimed at strengthening Islam; rather to destroy it. ”We must, therefore, condole with Nigerians over the senseless killings of innocent people in the past one week in Kano, Borno, Yobe, Plateau and Zaria, among others.”

The sultan dismissed claims that the Boko Haram insurgency was part of a plot to turn Nigeria into an Islamic nation. He said he would continue to work to ensure sustained harmony between the two major religions in Nigeria. He also welcomed the appointment of service chiefs and the National Security Adviser (NSA), saying, ‘‘we know them and we are confident that they will deliver.” The Chairman of the Sokoto council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Labaran Dundaye, commended the Sultan for sustaining the annual dinner.

“We will continue to operate according to the ethics of the noble profession of journalism to ensure the prevalence of peace and unity in Nigeria,” Dundaye said. Meanwhile, the United States has said the brutality and barbarism of Boko Haram know no bounds in view of the recent attacks by the insurgents on some countries in West Africa.

It also condemned the recent killings by Boko Haram in Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria. In a statement yesterday by the US Embassy in Nigeria, the US Department of State’s spokesperson, John Kirby, said the US condemned the “horrific and indiscriminate” Boko Haram suicide attacks on the Grand Marche in the Chadian capital of N’Djamena on Saturday, as well as attacks in Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria “over the past two days.”

“Boko Haram’s targeting of men, women and children highlights that the group’s brutality and barbarism know no bounds and we remain committed to working closely with the region to root out the threat posed by the group. “We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the soldiers, government officials, and civilians killed; we hope those who were injured will recover quickly,” Washington said.

The US government, however, praised the security forces of the three countries for their timely responses to “these callous and cowardly attacks on innocent civilians.” It expressed its commitment to support the governments and people of the Lake Chad Basin region in their ongoing struggle to degrade and defeat Boko Haram.

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Nigeria’s debt stock hits N39.6tn in 11 months

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The Nigeria’s total debt stock rose from N32.9tn as of December 2020 to N39.6tn in November 2021.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, in her presentation of the 2022 approved budget, disclosed that the government borrowed N6.7tn between January and November 2021, according to a copy of the presentation obtained by our correspondent.

The new borrowing in the period under review consists of N5.1tn domestic debt and N1.6tn. The domestic debt, however, includes borrowing from the Central Bank of Nigeria, according to the presentation document.

In March 2021, the Debt Management Office had disclosed that the country’s total public debt stock was N32.9tn as of December 2020.

An additional N6.7tn loan means the total public debt stock would be about N39.6tn as of November 2021.

The DMO had disclosed that the country’s total public debt increased to N33.1tn at the end of the first quarter of 2021, from N32.9tn in December 2020, showing an increase of about 200bn.

In Q2 2021, the total debt stock rose by N2.4tn to N35.5tn by June 2021.

The increase continued by N2.5tn to hit N38tn by Q3 2021, which was the last figure provided by the DMO.

However, based on the minister’s presentation, there was an increase of N1.6tn from September to November 2021.

Within the 11-month period, debt servicing gulped N4.2tn which represents 76.2 per cent of the N5.51tn revenue generated during the period.

The minister defended government borrowing and the country’s debt level, insisting the country had a revenue challenge, and not a debt problem, adding that the debt level was still within sustainable limits.

She had said, “This is to restate, that the debt level of the Federal Government is still within sustainable limits. Borrowings are essentially for capital expenditure and human development as specified in Section 41(1)a of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.


“Having witnessed two economic recessions we have had to spend our way out of recession, which contributed significantly to the growth in the public debt. “It is unlikely that our recovery from each of the two recessions would have been as fast without the sustained government expenditure funded partly by debt.”

However, economic experts, including a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and former presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu, have countered the minister.

Moghalu had said, “There are many ways through which we can improve Nigeria’s domestic revenue situation without selling the future of our country. As to the argument that Nigeria does not have a debt problem but a revenue problem, that is mere sophistry. If you’re spending 90kobo of every one naira you earn repaying debt, you are insolvent.

“You cannot say that we have a debt-to-GDP ratio that allows you to continue borrowing. No! That is an argument for sustainable economies. You cannot be comparing Nigeria with advanced economies. We are in an economy that is still very basic.

“If you are not earning enough revenue, why are you borrowing? You are just compounding your problem. Why don’t you focus on where to get the revenue from instead of lazily ignoring that problem and just trying to survive with borrowing?

“If an individual was living a life that way, it would be a calamity. That is why Nigeria is in a calamitous situation today economically,” he said.

The World Bank had recently said Nigeria’s debt was vulnerable and costly, adding that the country’s debt was at risk of becoming unsustainable in the event of macro-fiscal shocks.

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Kidnappers in military uniform abduct two federal workers on Lagos-Ibadan Road, demand N40million

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Two staff of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) have been abducted around the Isara axis of Lagos-Ibadan expressway end of Ogun State.

The victims were said to be on their way back to Lagos from Ibadan before the car in which they were travelling broke down around 6:45am, and while in the process of fixing the car, the gunmen in military camouflage emerged from the bush and marched them away.

The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Tope Adaramola, confirmed the incident.

Adaramola said the kidnappers had contacted the management demanding N20million each for the victims to regain freedom.

He said the kidnappers used the mobile phone of one of the victims to demand the ransom, adding that the management had equally reported the incident at the Divisional Police Headquarters in Isara.

Adaramola added that those abducted were junior workers of the council, that their salaries were not up to N60,000.

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N2.4bn Judgment Debt: Supreme Court reverses self, restores GTBank’s appeal against Innoson Motors

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The Supreme Court has set aside its earlier ruling which dismissed Guaranty Trust Bank’s (GTB) appeal against a N2.4 billion judgment in favour of Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited.

The apex court set aside its own decision on Friday, while delivering judgment in an application by GTB seeking the re-listing of the appeal on the grounds that it was wrongly dismissed.

The apex court in reversing itself relied on Order 8 Rules 16 of the Supreme Court’s rules that empowers it to set aside its decision in certain circumstances, like any other court.

Specifically, the five-member panel, led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola in a unanimous decision on Friday, held that the apex court erred in its ruling of February 27, 2019, wherein it erroneously dismissed GTB’s appeal with number: SC/694/2014 against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The apex court in the lead judgment written by Justice Tijani Abubakar, but read by Justice Abdu Aboki, claimed that it was misled by its Registry, which failed to promptly bring to the notice of the panel that sat on the case on February 27, 2019, that GTB had already filed its appellant’s brief of argument.

The apex court noted that had the panel that sat on the case on February 27, 2019, notified it of the existence of the appellant’s brief of argument, it would not have given the ruling which dismissed GTB’s appeal on grounds of lack of diligent prosecution.

The apex court justices explained that the court has powers to reverse itself where there was any reason to do so, especially where any of the parties had obtained judgment by fraud, default or deceit; where such a decision is a nullity or where it is obvious that the court was misled into giving a decision.

According to the judgment, the circumstances of the GTB case falls into the category of the rare cases where the Supreme Court could amend or alter its own order on the grounds that the said order or judgment did not present what it intended to record.

“I am convinced that at the material time that the appellant’s appeal was inadvertently dismissed by this court, there was in place, a valid and subsisting brief of argument filed by the applicant.
“It will be unjust to visit the sin of the court’s Registry on an innocent, vigilant, proactive and diligent litigant.

“It is obvious from the material before us, that there were errors committed by the Registry of this court, having failed to bring to the notice of the panel of Justices that sat in chambers on February 27, 2019 that the appellant had indeed filed its brief of argument. This is a case deserving of positive consideration by this court.

“Having gone through all the materials in this application therefore, I am satisfied that the appellant/applicant’s brief of argument was filed before the order of this court made on February 27, 2019 dismissing the applicant’s appeal.
“The order dismissing the appeal was therefore made in error. It ought not to have been made if all materials were disclosed. The application is therefore, meritorious and hereby succeeds,” the apex court held.

He proceeded to set aside the court’s ruling of February 27, 2019 dismissing GTB’s appeal and ordered that the appeal marked: 694/2014 “be relisted to constitute an integral part of the business of this court until its hearing and determination on the merit.”
Other members of the panel were John Okoro and Helen Ogunwumiju.

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