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Malami: I was misinterpreted, I did not say Amotekun is illegal

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Operation Amotekun Malami

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said he was misquoted on the Southwest regional security outfit codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’.

Malami, while responding to a question during a chat on Radio Nigeria Abuja on Thursday morning, explained that he did not say that Amotekun was illegal.

He said:

“I was misinterpreted on Operation Amotekun, I did not say it’s illegal.

“I said the Operation Amotekun should be properly backed by law, so if at the end of this government, if the operation has been backed by law, any government that eventually succeeded this government would not rubbish the operation.

“I said if they failed to enact a law in support of Amotekun in the South-West Region of Nigeria, another government can come and say it’s illegal and this is because it is not backed up by any law.

“So, it is just a piece of advice to the state governors to use their power and the State Houses of Assembly in their various states to enact a law that will make the operation more effective.”

But in a statement by his media aide,  Dr Umar Gwandu, Malami later on Thursday insisted that the constitution did not recognise regional security outfit.

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Gwandu quoted Malami as insisting that regional security architectural arrangement by states was not tolerated by the constitution.

The minister said,

“The planning, execution, consummation of whatever security arrangement must be naturally grounded in law, rooted in the constitution and tolerated by the law.

“For any arrangement to stand within the law, the bottom line is that constitutionality and legality must be factored.

“Provided that there is an aberration relating to constitutional compliance, I think the right thing to do is to ensure constitutionality and legality both in spirit, planning, concept, and consummation.

“If you are talking of regional arrangement, for example, at what point did the state assemblies come together as a region for the purpose of coming up with a statue or a law that can operate within the context of the constitution, taking into consideration the federating arrangement that does not allow or tolerate a regional state House of Assembly arrangement.

“You cannot independently, unilaterally operate in the provision of the constitution without recourse to the constitutional authority that is the bottom line.

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“Working together, helping the Federal Government in the provision of security is indeed a welcome development but it has to be rooted in the law and within the context of working arrangement with institutions constitutionally established and not a unilateral exclusive arrangement by a regional body.

“In the circumstances of Amotekun, it is the idea of unilateral control that it is the problem without recourse to the institutional and constitutional arrangement that is put in place by our constitution.

“You can indeed provide whatever support and consideration but definitely it must be rooted in the constitutional arrangement and so self-help by way of unilateral arrangement cannot be tolerated with particular reference to a regional arrangement which is not rooted in the constitution within the context of security.”

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FG releases $311 Abacha loot to NSIA

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The federal government has released $311 million Abacha loot to the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to fund its activities.

Managing Director of NSIA Mr Uche Orji made this disclosure at a virtual meeting with the press to discuss the Authority’s 2019 financial Statement.

According to Uche Orji,

“the federal government has transmitted $311 million Abacha loot to the NSIA. This was facilitated by the legal counsel of the NSIA.”

He stated that the money is domiciled in cash with the Central bank of Nigeria in a special account.”

Orji said the NSIA

“hopes to start using the money in the third quarter of the 2020” on some critical infrastructure projects like the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos Ibadan Expressway among other.

The NSIA boss who was happy at the release of the Abacha loot to the NSIA said the money will go a long way in funding some of its projects more so as the release of the money has now ensured that the NSIA will not go to the market to raise as much money as it had earlier wanted to raise.

With regards to the performance of the NSIA in 2019, the NSIA recorded a five per cent growth in Total Assets from N617.7billion in 2018 to N649.84billion as of the end of 2019.

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It also recorded a Profit After Tax of N34.46billion for the 2019 financial period.

The figures are contained in the 2019 audited financial statement of the agency which was released on Friday in Abuja.

The Authority also said it recorded a total comprehensive income of N36.15billion in 2019 as against N44.34billion recorded in 2018.

Excluding foreign exchange gain of N18billion in 2018 and N1.28 in 2019, the net income in 2019 was N34.87billion compared to N26.28billion in 2018.

Also, it closed key transactions and increased capital deployment on domestic infrastructure projects specifically in agriculture, healthcare, and infrastructure enabling financial institutions.

In the healthcare sector, the NSIA said it operationalized the Cancer Centre at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital in May 2019.

The Authority also said it recorded significant progress on the civil and construction works at the Advanced Diagnostic Centres at both the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital.

This construction works, it said, were subsequently completed in 2020.

On the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative, the NSIA said it delivered 6.5 million bags of 50kg bags of NPK 20:10:10 while accredited participating blending plants increased from 18 to 31 in 2019.

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For the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, the Authority said it received N90billion from government and deployed capital across three of the major road projects under the PIDF.

The three major road projects are the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos – Ibadan Expressway and Abuja-Zaria-Kaduna-Kano Road.

As of the end of 2019, it said a total of ₦181.9billion had been deployed across all the three projects.

Speaking on this financial performance, the Managing Director, NSIA, Mr Uche Orji, said that the outlook for the Fund remains promising.

He said,

“the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented human and health crisis with significant impact on global markets. As such, it may be difficult to predict the markets’ overall reaction to the development.

According to him,

” it is predictable that the volatility introduces by the onset of the pandemic may linger. However, the Authority continues to monitor the market conditions with the view to leverage the upside risks that avail themselves in the market.

He said the NSIA

“expects that our investment strategy will continue to deliver positive returns in the long term in 2020 as the markets normalize and new opportunities emerge.”

The NSIA boss said asset allocation strategy remains stable across the various funds adding that Future generations fund remains 25 per cent public equities, 25 per cent private equity, 25 per cent Absolute Returns and 25 per cent Other diversifiers.

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He gave the areas of focus for the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund to include agriculture, healthcare, power, toll roads and gas industrialization.

Orji said the NSIA closed key transactions and increased capital deployment on domestic infrastructure projects specifically in motorways, agriculture, healthcare, and power:

He noted that,

“operationalizing several subsidiaries of the NSIA will be a key focus especially in the healthcare sector where we have several projects in the pipeline.

NSIA has invested in several financial companies that help develop the capital markets including Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company, InfraCredit, NG Clearing, Development Bank of Nigeria, and Family Homes Funds.

According to Orji,

“we will continue to work on strengthening these entities and making new investments in companies that strengthen financial market infrastructure.”

The NSIA Boss said the Authority would continue to deploy capital into vital sectors of the economy with an increased focus on sectors that will engineer real growth.

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JUST IN: Lagos churches, mosques remain closed

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Worship centres in Lagos will remain shut until further notice, State Government has stated.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu declared this on Friday during a briefing at Alausa Ikeja.

The Governor also announced that all restrictions applying to mass gatherings will remain in force.

Sanwo-Olu added all social and events centres, as well as social clubs, will also remain closed.

Details shortly…

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Benue University VC tests positive for Coronavirus

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Benue State University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Msugh Hembe has tested positive for Coronavirus.

Hembe who confirmed this in a post he shared on Facebook, directed all staff of the university and close associates to undergo Coronavirus test and also to isolate themselves.

He wrote in the Facebook post;

“On Monday, 29th June, 2020, my test result for COVID-19 returned positive.

“I have been in isolation since I found out on Monday about my positive exposure to the virus.

“Staff of Benue State University and close associates are advised to check themselves, isolate and be pragmatic.

He warned everyone to take responsibility, adding that “the virus doesn’t move; we move it. Take responsibility.”

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