A shooting on a major shopping street in central Brussels Wednesday evening left four people wounded, the Belgian capital’s police said.
The assailants had left the scene by the time the police arrived after being called at about 7:30 pm (1830 GMT), police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere told AFP.
“At this point, there is nothing to make us think it was a terrorist act,” she said.
One of the wounded is in critical condition.
The shots were fired on the Avenue de la Toison d’Or, a busy commercial street near a covered passageway featuring upscale fashion boutiques. The passageway was evacuated, according to Belgian media.
The recent announcement by Procter and Gamble regarding plans to cease operations in Nigeria echoes a Déjà vu moment for consumers, raising fears of significant job losses and escalating prices of essential items such as diapers, sanitary pads, and other household goods.
Following the earlier exit of GSK, Nigeria witnessed a staggering 1000% increase in the cost of drug items, amplifying concerns about the potential consequences of another major consumer manufacturing company leaving due to macroeconomic challenges.
What Nigerians are saying
Nigerian reactions on social media (X)reflect a deep sense of apprehension and economic jitters. @StephAdamu expressed concern about the impending rise in consumer goods prices, drawing parallels with GSK’s departure.
- “The potential exit of Procter & Gamble in Nigeria is going to deal with us terribly. It’s already expensive buying Always sanitary pads and pampers then imagine when they leave, we can all see the result of prices of drugs after GSK left. How are we going to handle purchases of products like always sanitary towels, pampers, Ariel and co? When will Nigeria as a country grow beyond importing every thing and manufacture our own products locally? The coming year is going to be a tussle”
- Another user, @MissPearls said “GSK left Equino left Sanofi Left Procter and Gamble (P &G) is leaving too Many more companies will fold up or leave. Unemployment is skyrocketing, your currency is almost becoming useless which way forward?”
@SportsDokita underscored the potential rise in job insecurity and the discouraging effect on foreign investors, stating.
- “P & G is the latest company to close down its operations in Nigeria and will now revert to IMPORTATION which will make their products more expensive. In case you don’t know what they produce, they produce Ariel, pampers, batteries, shaving stick, etc. Now imagine the number of Nigerians that have lost their jobs just because these guys are leaving. Tinubu keep making the economy unbearable and say you’re looking for foreign investors when the ones here are freaking LEAVING!!!!!”
@Mavisikpeme corroborating previous thoughts on the new development said “P&G living Nigeria means 5,000 Nigerians have lost their jobs . This was a company producing the likes of Ariel detergent , oral B toothpaste , always pad , pampers to mention but a few . Renewed shege promax !!”
Emphasising on the economic impact the FMCG company would have on the job market as a whole @ChijiokeIke gave a breakdown of the company’s employment history.
“P&G entered the Nigeria Space in 1992 employing only 40 people in their Lagos Office Fastfoward 10 years they had employed a total of 1800 people from the Nigerian Labour Market In 2015, the APC government of Buhari took over from PDP promising Change.
As of 2018, P&G laid off over its first batch of 120 staff shutting down their biggest plant in Ogun state. As at the time this plant was the single biggest American owned Non-Oil Investment in Nigeria Fast forward to 2021, they conducted another round of redundancies in Ibadan.
Now in 2023, they have finally thrown in the towel due to the Obscenely High cost of Operations and Corrupt Practices slowing down their supply Chain Over 1500 people will lose their Jobs.
That’s 1500 families not sure of their next source of income. That’s 7500 people not sure about how they will feed next year Let’s not even mention the Local Economies that will be effected”
In light of the impending closure, @KBT_BANKOLE urged people to stock up on essential items, “With the closure of operations of Procter & Gamble in Nigeria, the prices of FMCGs like sanitary pads, baby diapers, detergents, toothpastes, etc are about to skyrocket. Do you guys realize how serious this is? Please stock up on these items in bulk NOW if you can. Renewed Shege”
@hispri0rity, echoing the sentiments, anticipated a triple increase in prices for various products. “Procter & Gamble is leaving Nigeria, Vicks lemon plus, Vicks blue, pringles, Pampers, Ariel, Always, Oral B, Gillette Safeguard, etc will triple in prices.”
The much anticipated Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s power intervention projects will be ready by May, 2024, according to Project Management Office, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Engr. Engineer Matthew Ajibade,
The N122.223 billion projects, which cut across the states of the federation, aim to resolve the transmission and distribution interface bottlenecks to improve supply to end users and unlock the unutilised generation capacity in the country.
Ajibade, who led the CBN, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), NESI and other stakeholders on tour of the projects sites in Lagos on Wednesday, noted that, manufacturing process for most of the contacts is scheduled to be completed early next year 2024 to pave way for shipment and delivery.
The projects, when completed, will enhance delivery of about 1,500MW of power nationwide.
Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had, in August this year, approved the sum of N122,289,344,369.39 for intervention in the nation’s power sector.The loans were accessed by the 11 electricity distribution companies at 9 % interest rate from the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN).
According to Ajibade, so far, N85.4billion of the approved sum had been disbursed to 53 contractors to execute the projects.
Already, 10 of the power transformers have been delivered while the rest ranging from 150MVA, 100MVA and 60MVA are expected to be delivered and installed on or before May 2024.
“This intervention is anchored on firm Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between TCN and DisCos on the one hand and DisCos and their customers on the other hand. The facility was given to Discos to invest in TCN Networks by virtue of NERC regulation that permits third party investment in the Electricity Network.
Payment for the loan would be a net off from the TCN monthly invoice to DisCos. The project implementation Office (PMO) is resident in TCN for effective implementation”, he stated.
However, seven contractors that have finished with offshore production process are; Skipper Nigeria Ltd (BEDC), GTA Engineering Nigeria Limited for PHEDC network, T&D West Africa Ltd (IKEDC), Lagacee Power Ltd (AEDC), Bussdor & Company Ltd (AEDC) FOSAB Global Energy Services Limited PHEDC and Beam Energy Ltd (EKEDP).
Some consignments containing Power Transformers have been delivered to Gwagwalada, Oworonsoki 132/33KV Substation and TCN Ojo store in Lagos by Contractors.
CBN’s representative and Assistant Director/ Head Infrastructure Finance Office, Tumba Abdulrazaq Tijani, applauded the commitments of the contractors, saying, execution of the projects within a short time of accessing funds surpassed the bank’s expectations.
He noted that the projects, when completed, will impact positively on electricity deliveries by discos to consumers across the country.
The projects include eight 150MVA, 19 of 100MVA, 67 of 60MVA, three Re-conductoring existing Transmission lines (Conductors & Accessories) of 517.5 km, 24 contracts for upgrading Existing 132/33KV Substations and construction of 50 of 33KV line bays.
• Project worth billions of naira, delayed for efficiency, says FPRO
• ‘We buy our own uniforms, officers’ welfare not police priority’
• Lawmakers consider auction of ‘squalid quarters’
Seven months after handing quit notice to 22,500 police officers living in the 25 barracks marked for demolition by the Lagos State government, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is yet to effect payment of rent to the displaced officers seven months after the promise was made.
The barracks had been recommended for demolition for not meeting up with the structural integrity test and for vacating the barracks between May 1 and 30 to give access for rebuilding activities, affected officers were promised a particular amount of money to rent temporary accommodation for two years, which the rehabilitation project is expected to last.
Under the 2024 proposed budget, the Ministry of Police Affairs has a budget of N938.7 billion, with N806.7 billion allocated as personnel cost, N62.4 billion for overhead and N69.6 billion to be spent on capital projects.
Specifically, ongoing assessment of police barracks nationwide is expected to cost N100,513,975, construction/provision of police stations/barracks will cost N5.77 billion while N1 billion is expected to be expended on rehabilitation/repairs of police stations/barracks.
Former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, had on May 3, announced the demolition, redevelopment and reconstruction of 25 barracks and facilities in full compliance with the Lagos State government’s recommendations.
The affected barracks are: Ijeh Police Barracks, Obalende; Highway Police Barracks, Ikeja; K9 Police Barracks, Keffi Street, Ikoyi; Falomo Police Barracks (A and B), Ikoyi; Bar Beach Police Barracks, Victoria Island; MOPOL 20 Barracks, Ikeja; Women Police Barracks, Obalende; MOPOL 2 Police Barracks, Keffi Street, Ikoyi; Mounted Troop, Ribadu Road, Ikoyi and Queen Barracks, Apapa.
Others are: FPRO Annex Office and Barracks, Ijora Olopa; Iponrin Police Barracks, Surulere; Adekunle Police Barracks, Yaba; Federal Highway Patrol Office, Yaba; Alausa Police Barracks, Ikeja; Mounted Troop, Ikeja; Okesuna Police Barracks, Obalende; Mccarthy Barracks, Obalende; Force Headquarters Annex, Obalende; Obalende Police Barracks, Obalende; Bourdillon Police Barracks, Ikoyi; New Staff Quarters, Ikeja; Elere Police Barracks, Agege; Onikan Officers Mess, Ikoyi and Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU), Milverton Street, Ikoyi.
The Force spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), who refuted claims at the time that officers were sent packing without enough notice and provisions for alternative accommodation, had said: “We have not forced anyone out of the barracks. They are expected to move out between May 1 and 30. However, they will not be asked to move until their money is paid for a new accommodation.”
But alas, seven months after the May deadline, NPF has not started payment of rent to the estimated 22,500 police officers living in the affected barracks.
The Guardian investigations revealed that the majority of the officers living in the barracks are unaware of the relocation plan. Also, none of the affected police officers has been debriefed by barracks officials on the quit notice.
With police authorities’ lackadaisical approach towards the project, many of the officers and their dependents living in the derelict structures are confused on the next line of action.
The Guardian learnt that apart from the project cost, estimated to run in billions of Naira, the financial implications of relocating the affected officers in a city like Lagos are humongous and may not be feasible with the current national economic realities.
When The Guardian visited Ijeh Barracks, Obalende, housing about 1,000 people, the buildings were defaced with cracked walls, leaky roofs, broken windows and doors, while the barracks lacked potable water, with poor sanitation.
Some officers queried the motive behind the plan, stressing that police authorities have not been able to complete the redevelopment of the barracks at Government Reserved Area (GRA), Ikeja, which started during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
They alleged that they are doing their best to take care of the buildings but the police hierarchy is doing less to improve the living conditions of the officers. The officers argued that it would be difficult to carry out the exercise because each of the marked barracks had no fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, coupled with relatives and friends.
An officer who pleaded for anonymity said: “I am not against relocation of officers but before the relocation, they should provide a conducive place for us to stay. The buildings are long overdue for renovation.
“It has never been conducive living here, but when you don’t get what you need, you have to manage what is provided. We come back from work to live in a place that is not conducive and it affects our work and delivery. This is Ikoyi and if they are talking about relocation, they should consider that Ikoyi is not Iyana Ipaja, Ikorodu or Oshodi.
Another officer said: “We have been living in this condition and the police authorities have been shying away from their responsibilities. I buy my own uniform; we take care of the buildings within the barracks. I am still studying and it’s not as if they care about my certificate, but I’m doing my best to upgrade myself.”
When asked on the number of officers to be affected by the plan, the Force spokesman said he needed an audit to determine the staff strength in the barracks.
According to him, there are people staying in the barracks, who are not police personnel and that is one of the reasons the facilities are overstretched. He said the Force was working on identifying bonafide personnel before taking any action.
Asked about the estimated amount for the cost of construction, he could not confirm the amount earmarked for the project.
He said: “Billions of Naira. I can’t be specific now, but definitely, it runs into billions based on projections. We have a relocation plan for them. It will be done in phases. Money will be given to them to rent any accommodation of their choice around their barracks (locations) for two years before any relocation is commenced. It’s not eviction, but relocation. Note, please.”
When asked why the project didn’t take off on the proposed date and why officers were yet to get their notices, Adejobi said: “It doesn’t matter the time we start. It is better for us to start late than to rush into it and subject them to unnecessary hardship. We will start. It is capital intensive, we are making arrangements and we will do this in phases.
“Their buildings have been marked, but marking does not mean they are going to demolish them, they only mark to show that the buildings are affected and distressed. So, when it’s time for us to commence, those who are going to be affected will not be evicted, they will be relocated. We did it in Abuja and it worked out, so, it will work in Lagos.
“I read in the news that some officers said they are not sure the police hierarchy will give them back the apartment after the redevelopment. We did it in Kano, which is as big as Lagos in terms of population and they were relocated, and given back the keys when it was completed.”
Appalled by the sorry situations of the barracks, lawmakers in the House of Representatives had recently demanded that the Federal Government auction the barracks across the country, because they have turned to ‘squalor quarters’ despite the billions spent on renovating them.
This is even as the House noted that between 2019 – 2022, over N5 billion was spent by the Federal Government on Police barracks renovations in Nigeria, saying despite all efforts, barracks continue to fail to meet basic needs in their current state of disrepair and lack of maintenance.
This was sequel to the adoption of a motion on the “Urgent Public Importance on the Need to Address the Deplorable Living Conditions of Officers of Nigeria Police Force” moved by Murphy Osaro Omoruyi.
Presenting the motion, Omoruyi informed that in September 2020, the National Assembly passed the Police Reform Bill 2020, which was signed into law by the former President, Muhammadu Buhari, on September 16, 2020, which has as one of its core issues to address the living conditions of the nation’s gallant police officers.
The lawmaker noted that the problem of adequate and dignified accommodation for police officers persists and has so far outlived all previous measures.
He expressed worry that police officers and their families live in squalor quarters characterised by large cracks on the wall, bat-infested houses, leaking roofs and dilapidated structures for barracks across the country.
He argued that the deplorable living condition of the Police officers has dampened their morale and productivity, stressing that if this issue is not urgently addressed, the welfare of officers will continue to deteriorate.
When asked if the IGP, Kayode Egbetokun, is keying into the barracks project, the Force spokesman said: “He’s looking into some of the policies he met on the ground, particularly policies that affect the welfare of police personnel across board but let it be on record that welfare of police personnel is paramount to him. One of the agendas he has for the Nigeria Police Force is to reform, standardise and sanitise the police; we can’t ask somebody to stop corruption without giving him what he needs.”
Asked where the money for the project will be gotten from, he said: “It will come from the budget. We are compiling the budget for 2024 and the IGP has given directives to departments to make their proposals. I have submitted everything and mine is being considered. We will still need intervention funds but most of our projects will be budgeted for.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior, Adams Oshiomhole, has raised the alarm that prisoners from foreign countries are working at construction sites in Nigeria.
He spoke in Abuja on Wednesday when the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, appeared before the National Assembly Joint Committees on Interior for a budget defence session.
“Your ministry needs to regulate the issuance of the quotas very well as I have it on good authority that prisoners from foreign lands are working in Nigeria as construction workers,” Oshiomhole told the minister.
He said though it was heartwarming that the ministry surpassed its revenue targets on the issuance of expatriate quotas, the policy was giving room for expatriates to steal jobs meant for Nigerians in Nigeria.
“Many non-Nigerians are in the country, some of them live inside containers. They were being paid according to their country’s minimum wage by the construction industry that brought them. I don’t want to mention the companies’ names, but if I’m provoked, I’ll mention them.”
Responding, Tunji-Ojo said his ministry had already come up with the Expatriate Employee Network aimed at safeguarding jobs meant for Nigerians from being stolen by expatriates.
He said the ministry had raked in N1.195bn in revenue from the issuance of expatriate quotas from January to October this year, surpassing its N600m target.
He also said the N380m projected revenue from marriage registration was also surpassed by over N500m with N892.7m realised as of October 31.
A Federal High Court has frozen the accounts of the Kano State Government due to its failure to comply with a court order to pay N30 billion in compensation to victims of the Filling Idi Demolition exercise.
The frozen order affects 24 Kano State bank accounts, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) account of the state.
The presiding judge, Justice E.A Ekwo, has also directed the Kano State Government to appear before the court on January 18 to provide an explanation regarding the freezing of N30 billion in the affected bank accounts.
The funds are intended to be granted to the Incorporated Trustees of Masallacin Eid Shop Owners.
For what many consider his over-enthusiasm in raising N15 billion to complete the long abandoned vice presidential house, Nyesom Wike, Minister of Abuja Federal Territory has gone through great stress and strain this past week. But one thing that is going well for the minister is that you can predict his stand on most issues. That makes him less dangerous than many of his predecessors that have used their positions to inflict pain on Nigerians. It is therefore safe for one to conclude Wike’s desperate attempt to complete the N7.1billion ill-conceived ‘befitting residence for our vice President’ by May 29, 2024 was informed by any other consideration other than meeting President Tinubu’s expectation that he finishes all abandoned projects.
But let us first situate the sources of our nation’s nightmare. Successive past ministers of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have always substituted their brain waves for state policies which they then imposed on Federal Housing Development Authority (FHDA) for implementation.
It has also been established that the Abuja masquerades that have used the FHDA as conduit pipes to fleece the country since 1999 are part of the military baked ‘new breed politicians’ who as creation of “Nigerian army of anything is possible” share the same mind-set with soldiers’ of fortune whose only orientation is sharing spoils of war after victory. It is therefore not a surprise that many of them have been indicted since 1999 through the courts or National Assembly probes for massive corruption executed through “privatization, monetization, unbundling of PHCN and Constituency projects policies or outright stealing by state governors.
While 10 Downing Street, has remained the residence of the British Prime Minister since 1735 and the White House the official residence of American President since 1800 without serious structural changes, our own “Nigerian Defence House”, made up of the main residence/president’s office, Aguda House/Vice President’s office and guest houses, built by Julius Berger at a cost of N25billion in 1989, has according to FHDA gulped about N8b in the name of renovation in a little over a decade.
It was the Abuja minister and the FHDA that unilaterally declared the Aguda House unsuitable for our vice president and went on to secure the Federal Executive Council (FEC)’s approval for a N7.1bn contract to put up what they describe as “a worthy edifice to house Nigeria’s Vice President’. The project according to Minister Dora Akinyili was to be completed in 20 months.
We also got to know through FCDA’s Director of Public Building, Arch. Adebowale Ademo that it was not the vice president, the end- user that decided on the facilities needed in the building but FCDA. And their preference are: the main building, three different living rooms, the vice president private room and conveniences, the second lady private lounge as well as a “chapel, a mosque and a dormitory for the security personnel.”
And just as work was expected to be nearing completion in 2012, it was also the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Bala Mohammed who insisted N9 billion more was needed to complete the project. The request was turned down by the 7th Senate even after the N9billion was slashed to N6billion by the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP). The then Senate Committee on FCT, led by Senator Smart Adeyemi said either N13 billion or N14 billion or N16 billion for the project was “indefensible”.
His position was supported by the then chairman of the House Committee on FCT, Herman Hembe, his counterpart at the Lower House who expressed dissatisfaction with the level of work done despite the claim that about 87 per cent of the contract sum had been paid. It is also on record that it was the minister who, feeling dissatisfied with the verdict of the two houses, took the case before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) where the case stalled following President Jonathan’s insistence that the nation could not afford 120 per cent variation.
It was also another minister of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) Adamu Aliero who threw a jibe at Vice President Osinbajo to attract his attention by claiming “The vice president is staying in a guest house (Aguda House) meant for visiting heads of state.” The vice president in 2016 decided to go and inspect the project that was up till then a monopoly of successive ministers of Federal Capital Territory. His report after the inspection was damning. For him “the N6bn already spent on the project was a misapplication of funds”. His advice to FHDA was that the building be “considered for other use” since according to him, “there is no need for a new residence for the vice president as the current one, called Aguda House, is up to standard with enough space and well managed.”
Osinbajo has said Aguda House is good enough for the vice president. Shettima the current occupier has also not complained. If I were to advise Minister Wike therefore, I will say he should separate himself from his predecessors who as shown above have always wept louder than the bereaved.
I think we should also remind ourselves that it was the FHDA that presided over the sales of Asokoro legislative quarters to the lawmakers, the sale of the Senate President’s mansion, (a national monument) to David Mark just as they did for Dimeji Bankole, the Speaker of the Lower House. While this macabre dance was going on, contracts for a new Senate President and Speaker’s residences were awarded. And while David Mark accused by EFCC of short changing the nation ran to court to defend his spoils of war, the proposed Senate President and Speakers mansions have also become abandoned projects.
In view of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s verdict, I think I will align myself with Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)’s call on the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, to use his leadership position “to promptly reject the plan by the Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike, to spend N15 billion for the construction of a ‘befitting residence’ for the Vice President, Mr. Kashim Shettima.”
The body’s claim that spending N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president at a time when the federal government is set to spend 30 per cent (that is, N8.25 trillion) of the country’s 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion on debt service costs” will be a betrayal of the people, is unassailable.
After all, we have been told that the house with split ACs fixed was nearing completion before it was abandoned. The then FCDA Executive Secretary, Adamu Ismail, was also quoted as telling the Senate Committee on FCT that the proposed additional N9bn ( slashed to about N6bn) by the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) was meant to provide furniture, fencing, two additional protocol guest houses, a banquet hall and security gadgets.
Since the building can be put into other use in its current state, I think Minister Wike should just ignore the above variations and turn the building into other use as suggested by Osinbajo.
For him it becomes a win-win situation. He would have with one single stroke met the expectations of President Tinubu, a leader he desperately wants to please. He would have also distanced himself from his predecessors who for reasons other than altruism were prepared to shave others’ heads in their absence.
Eight commercial banks have fallen short of the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) required for international authorisation, the stress test conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has shown.
The affected banks have been put under pressure to raise their capital base to bridge the gap, which was brought about by the depreciation of the naira against the dollar and other foreign currencies
Through its 2021 guidelines, the CBN had mandated the Deposit Money Banks to maintain a prudential CAR of 10 per cent for national and regional banks.
Those with international authorisation were instructed to uphold a 15 per cent regulatory CAR.
However, the CBN report showed a decline in the banking system’s CAR, dropping to 11.2 per cent, which is 3.0 per cent short.
This is below the 15.0 per cent threshold set for banks with international authorisation.
The decline in the banks’ CAR was attributed to a decrease in total qualifying capital relative to increased risk-weighted assets due to the naira’s depreciation following the adoption of a market-determined exchange rate policy. This reflects the challenges faced by these institutions.
The banks were scrutinised based on their capital strength and risk profile, a crucial measure of a bank’s financial stability.
The stress test was conducted to assess the banks’ financial health and their ability to withstand adverse economic conditions and shocks.
Specifically, the test focused on the CAR, which measures the proportion of a bank’s capital to its risk-weighted assets and is used to determine the bank’s financial stability.
The CAR is a regulatory requirement set by the CBN and each bank is expected to maintain a minimum level of capital to ensure their ability to absorb potential losses.
Based on the results of the stress test, it was discovered that among the affected banks with international authorisation, their capital adequacy ratio was lower than the minimum regulatory requirement set by the CBN.
This implies that these banks may have insufficient capital to meet potential losses during challenging economic conditions, which could potentially impact their overall financial stability.
The CBN’s revelation of the banks’ CAR falling below the minimum regulatory requirement emphasises the need for appropriate measures to be taken to address this issue.
It could prompt regulatory action, such as requiring the affected banks to raise additional capital or implement strategies to strengthen their financial position to mitigate any potential risks to the banking sector and the economy.
The depreciation, stemming from the CBN’s managed float of the exchange rate in June 2023, significantly impacted banks, leading to substantial foreign exchange losses.
It also affected the required capital for international, national, and regional banks.
Speaking penultimate Friday at the annual dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso highlighted plans to introduce new capital requirements for banks.
“Stress tests conducted on the banking industry also indicate its strength under mild-to-moderate scenarios of sustained economic and financial stress, although there is room for further strengthening and enhancing resilience to shocks.
“Therefore, there is still much work to be done in fortifying the industry for future challenges, a topic that I will delve into later in my address.
“It is crucial for us to evaluate the adequacy of our banking industry to serve the envisioned larger economy.
“It is not just about the stability of the financial system in the present moment, as we have already established that the current assessment shows stability.
“However, we need to ask ourselves: Will Nigerian banks have sufficient capital relative to the financial system’s needs in servicing a $1.0 trillion economy in the near future? In my opinion, the answer is ‘No!’ unless we take action.
“Therefore, we must make difficult decisions regarding capital adequacy. As a first step, we will be directing banks to increase their capital.”
The report also outlined a positive trend in banks’ asset quality, with a marginal decrease in Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) from 4.5 per cent to 4.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2023, reflecting improvement in loan recoveries and surpassing the prudential benchmark of 5.0 per cent.
Furthermore, the Industry Liquidity Ratio (LR) witnessed a significant rise, reaching 62.2 per cent in the review quarter, surpassing the minimum regulatory benchmark of 30.0 per cent.
This upswing signifies the banks’ robust capacity to fulfil their financial obligations.
The CBN’s disclosures underscored the pivotal need for banking institutions, particularly those with international authorisation, to bolster their capital adequacy and navigate the evolving economic landscape.
The revelation by the Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, that the presidential intervention in the state’s political crisis climaxed in demanding a signed resignation letter from the Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, should have caused an outrage. There is no circumstance under which a deputy governor handing over his pre-signed resignation to the president can be deemed as freely given consent. In a place where their democracy does not begin and end with seizing power through elections, placing a public officer on tenterhooks such that he can be removed on a whim would be a scandal. But of course, this is Nigeria. Who dares tell President Bola Tinubu that he overreached himself by that move?
The case of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is about the third major instance of a public officer resolutely holding on to office while battling a protracted sickness that keeps him away from his duty post, and Nigeria is still not any closer to institutionalising the means of addressing the crisis that attends such situations. We have, in fact, slid from triggering the “doctrine of necessity” to an informal means of getting a patriarch-president to resolve issues as if this is an agboole fight. What is being touted as a “political solution” to the Ondo crisis robs everyone of the opportunity to resolve the crisis based on a codified procedure.
By getting a higher power to stifle the political agents whipping up crisis, the president merely elevated the ad hocism of wringing out a pre-signed resignation letter out of a political agent above the rational means provided by the constitution. When we have another case like this one in the future (a matter of time), we will not have developed enough the habits that ultimately ingrain the culture of democracy. We will be more likely to fall back on quicker resolution through informal or quasi-formal means. While the crisis in Ondo has been doused for now (at least until the coming election when the question of succession will arise), we are not necessarily better off for it. Neither Ondo nor Nigeria gained anything from the supposed resolution.
Akeredolu’s tenure continues for roughly another year, and he will remain in Ibadan, Oyo State, from where he will be administering the state from his sickbed. Bringing up the morality of an arrangement that allows a governor to oversee his constituents from a remote location expectedly triggers all kinds of sentiments that obfuscate what is at stake. On a good day, Nigerian politics comprises many old men understandably conscious of their own impending senescence. The moral position they take in these situations is dictated by an uneasy awareness of their own biological fallibility.
When an ailing leader clings to power, the structure of power and authority becomes distorted; all manner of self-seeking agents arise to take advantage. Responding to media reports that some nefarious agents are exploiting the governor’s condition to forge his signature, Bamidele-Olateju reassured us that Akeredolu still functions as the governor. Media reports quoted her as saying she sent two files to the governor, which were returned (approved) within a week. But since Bamidele-Olateju did not physically witness him treat those files, how could she say that someone did not truly take advantage of Akeredolu’s condition to act on his behalf? Besides, is signing files all there is to Ondo State governance?
Apart from his prolonged absence from the state, the governor is hardly seen in public. From various media reports and accompanying images, his condition has taken a toll on him. No one can expect a man in his condition to brainstorm ideas or superintend activities. It would be highly insensitive to ask him to sit at extended meetings to debate policies. Under a different set of circumstances, his insistence on defying the reality of biological toll would be inspiring. When such stubbornness is extended to the political arena, we can no longer parse it as a narrative of an individual’s fierce will in the face of constraining reality.
After the instances of late President Umaru Yar’Adua between 2008 and 2010, and that of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, I am afraid that these awkward situations have come to stay. They have become part of our political culture and resolving them going forward will be done without recourse to either the letter of the law or even ethics of public representation. The case of Yar’adua was sensational because the situation was novel for a civilian president. His associates did not quite know what to do and they subjected the man to various undignified treatment in the name of extending his rule for as long as possible. From proving his life through signing the supplementary budgets from his sickbed in Saudi Arabia to eventually opening him up to private observations of his conditions, he was serially exploited.
Then came the Muhammadu Buhari administration where the helmsman spent almost a cumulative one year abroad getting treatments. By this time, we had become familiar with the routine: the denials, the gaslighting, and the belligerence of media aides who arrogantly remind us that it is the 21st century and the president is at liberty to work from anywhere in the world, including a United Kingdom hospital bed.
The hypocrisies of the Yar’Adua years and the absurdities of the Buhari era converge on the present situation. Now that he faces a similar situation, Akeredolu has been reminded of his exact words to Yar’Adua when the latter was sick: if you love your country, you should resign. Now that it is his turn to prove that a state is greater than an individual, he cannot live up to the ideal he preached. Just like in the time of Yar’Adua where we detected the “proof of life” through his signing documents, we know all is well with Akeredolu too because he signed (and approved) two files within a week! Also, similar to how we were told that Buhari could rule from a remote location, Akeredolu also governs from somewhere in Ibadan. His aides say as long as people get their salaries on time, what does it matter where their leader is?
History incessantly repeats itself in Nigeria either because students never take its lessons, or it is just a bad teacher.
Some of these issues, of course, are dictated by the nature of our politics. Even if Akeredolu thinks he ought to end the farce and give up his office, he will be reminded that he holds power on behalf of the ethnic group he represents. In Nigeria, people hold—and hold on to—power on behalf of their respective tribes. Akeredolu, for instance, not only represents the state as a leader, but also represents a specific constituent within the state who consider themselves empowered through him. To give up before his time is up denies them the vicarious pleasure of being in power for the length of time they think they deserve to spend in that office. While they might not be enjoying what they have due to the condition of their representative, they at least get some delight in seeing that another (often, opposing) group does not have it.
As for the political solution of asking a deputy governor to sign and submit a resignation letter, I cannot help but wonder at the cunningness. I frequently marvel at how African leaders can get around any legal and juridical impediment to get power but cannot extend such genius to solve economic and development issues. Yes, they temporarily resolved this problem but what happens next time? The day is still coming when the president will meet his match in a deputy who is ready to stake the limited power of a deputy governor for a showdown. That is the day you run the limits of coercive tactics.