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Buhari wrong to have kept Magu as acting EFCC chief for five years – Lawyer

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A former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Victor Ubani on Monday faulted President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping suspended graft chief, Ibrahim Magu in charge of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for five years without being confirmed by the Senate.

Ubani, who was speaking on Channels TV breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, said the President should have sought confirmation from the Senate or replaced Magu.

“If you look at the act that created the office of the chairmanship of the EFCC, there is no room for acting capacity,” Ubani said. “Even though people will want to have recourse to the interpretation that if you have power to appoint, you also have the power to put someone in acting capacity.”

Ubani added that, ideally, an acting Chairman should not have been in running for the permanent position.

“In America, if they want to send the name of someone in acting capacity to the senate for confirmation, they will remove that individual and bring in somebody else, pending the time the Senate will confirm or reject,” he said.

“But what happened in Magu’s case is that you sent him for confirmation and the Senate rejected him, and you now kept him in acting capacity for five years. Even if someone has to serve in acting capacity, it shouldn’t be up to a year because there must be confirmation as required by law.”

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday affirmed the suspension of Mr Magu as acting Chairman of the EFCC.

Magu’s suspension by the President, which takes immediate effect, was announced in a statement from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

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The minister’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Umar Gwandu, who signed the statement, explained that the presidential directive was to allow for an unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.

He also revealed that President, Major General (retd.) Buhari has directed the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, to take charge and oversee the activities of the commission.

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Meanwhile, Mr Magu, through his lawyer, has since written to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to release him on bail after spending several days in detention.

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Expert urges shipowners to negotiate with AMCON to forestall foreclosure

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Dr. Chamberlain Peterside, a Financial Expert, has urged maritime stakeholders to come together and aggressively negotiate with the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to forestall their foreclosure.

Peterside made the appeal on an Instagram live program on Saturday organized by Mrs. Ezinne Azunna of the MaritimeTv.

The program had the topic, “State Guarantees, Sovereignty Clauses and all Borrowers in the Maritime Industry Need to Know’’.

According to him, the protracted action by AMCON to come after indigenous shipowners to try to repossess or foreclose them will cripple the already weak indigenous shipping industry.

He proposed a set-aside, urging stakeholders and government to see the industry as a special case as presently the coronavirus pandemic had caused more havoc and the need to protect indigenous shipowners.

“Yes there are some defaults but they should not take a strictly commercial view in this. We are not saying they should walk away but AMCON should cool down and work things out.

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“AMCON has to understand the trend of the industry and if the need is in the negotiation, the executive council should be involved.

“The indigenous shipping industry should be taken as a special case because if it is crippled, the multiplier effect will be very huge,” he said.

Peterside noted that presently discussions in the industry were about Cabotage, developing indigenous capacity, helping the industry grow, saying that already people who had taken the risk and had emerged would suffer.

The finance expert said that as regards borrowing now, it was not advisable to advocate for any measure for capital campaign till the end of the year.

He advocated that shipowners should let the dust settle due to the pandemic so that people would know where the market was heading and also the global economy as prices were rebounding.

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“At the level, things are right now, there is still a lack of comfort. The International Oil Companies (IOC) do not feel too comfortable to make key decisions and so the need to watch the IOC’s body language.

“Shipowners should be thinking of diversification. Those in the business of hauling cargoes for IOCs should consider other assets that they can invest in,” he said.

Peterside pointed out that the industry was a very capital intensive one and unfortunately, raising funds was burdened with few lapses such as operational, environmental, regulatory framework, and also risk profile.

He noted that the only sector that had the least risk in Nigeria was the natural resources sector.

He said that as regards guaranteeing Shipowners, a portion of their services should be guaranteed, like a set-aside, an intervention fund which was done all over the world.

Peterside called for the deployment of the cabotage funds which could be used as an intervention fund to create an avenue where indigenous players could tap from.

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“The government is already over-burdened and so cannot guarantee and the Cabotage fund should run very efficiently and on a commercial basis so that it is not frittered away,’’ he said.

He said that another way of generating funds for the industry was to concentrate on cargo and services instead of vessels because one could leverage cash flow.

Peterside noted that as regards banks funding the sector, they needed to have the expertise to be able to operate the trends as the sector was exposed to the global market.

He added that lack of expertise would lead to default in loan servicing, non-performing loans, saying that unfortunately, a lot of indigenous players did not have financial buffers to withstand loan cancellation, suspension of service, or any disruption.

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ExxonMobil Nigeria gets new chief executive

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ExxonMobil on Saturday announced the appointment of Richard Laing as Chairman and Managing Director of its three affiliates in Nigeria.
Mr. Ogechukwu Udeagha, Manager, Media, and Communications, ExxonMobil confirmed in a statement in Eket.
The three affiliates are Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited and Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria (Offshore East).
Udeagha said that the appointment takes effect from Aug. 1.
He said that Laing replaced Paul McGrath, who has been appointed Vice President, Global Projects for ExxonMobil in Houston after more than three years in Nigeria.
“Prior to his appointment, Laing was executive director of oil and gas production and related support groups for all of the ExxonMobil affiliates in Nigeria.
”Laing joined ExxonMobil in 1989 and has held a variety of engineering, planning, safety, and managerial positions in upstream and downstream operations while working in the U.K, Qatar, U.S., and Nigeria,” he said.
Udeagha said that Laing holds a bachelor’s degree in Mining and Petroleum Engineering from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and Master’s in Petroleum Engineering from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
Responding, Liang said; “It is a privilege to lead the ExxonMobil team in Nigeria and build on the work that Paul McGrath had done over the last three years.
“I look forward to the work that lies ahead and continuing the company’s outstanding relationships,” Liang said
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Rotary organizes free hepatitis, liver screening for Abuja community

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The Rotary Club of Abuja, Federal District 9125, on Saturday, organized free hepatitis “B and C” screening as well as Liver Scan for residents of Piwoyi, a suburb located on the airport road, Abuja.

The event which was organized in partnership with Silver Cross Hospital, Abuja, was part of activities to mark this year’s World Hepatitis Day, which was commemorated on July 28.

 

Dr. Patrick Ezie, President, Rotary Club of Abuja Federal, said it was important to raise awareness of the dangers of Hepatitis and how people can prevent themselves from contracting it.

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“We are in an era where we are battling with the Coronavirus pandemic and if someone has other infections in his or her system, Covid-19 makes it worse.

“We organized this outreach today to make the people of this community become aware of Hepatitis and how deadly and highly infectious it is, especially Hepatitis B and C.

“We are also going to inform them on how to prevent themselves from contracting Hepatitis and for those who are negative, we will be giving them immunization because that is the only way they can remain negative.

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“We will also be conducting Liver Scan services because we believe that as a consequence of long-standing Hepatitis, patients with this ailment can develop Liver cancer.

“So once we detect that in a patient, we are going to refer them to our partner hospital immediately so that they can start early treatment,” he said.

Ezie added that the club would continue to support the government’s effort in providing routine health screenings for various communities in the country.

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Mr. Effiom Bassey, Manager, Silver Cross Hospital, said it was important for people to practice personal hygiene and prevent themselves from contracting Hepatitis.

“This ailment can be contracted through body fluids like sweats as well as engaging with multiple sexual partners,” he said.

A beneficiary, Mrs. Caroline Asemah, appreciated the club for bringing the awareness and screening exercise to the community.

She also advised other members of the community to participate in the free test, so that they can know their health status.

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