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WAR! Dangoge battles BUA! *Denies getting illegal forex from Emefiele  

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Management of Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has refuted allegations that it engaged in illegal foreign exchange deals, warning those peddling the allegation of economic sabotage against the company to desist from such underhand practices.

It gave the warning following what it alleged as “claims in some sponsored reports in the online media,” suggesting that the company is being probed for alleged illegal foreign exchange deals and money laundering by the Special Investigator, Jim Obazee, who is probing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the leadership of the former governor, Godwin Emefiele.

The latest development is coming on the heels of what appears a recurring battle between DIL owned by African richest man, Aliko Dangote and the BUA Group, owned by Abdul Samad Ishiaku Rabiu, both playing in the league of Nigeria’s leading investors in various sectors.

Describing the allegation as “spurious and a rehash of a similar report peddled out of malice by a competitor, BUA Group, masquerading as a concerned Nigerian in 2016,” the company said in a statement that “the spurious and false story was started in 2016 and published in both BusinessDay and Leadership Newspapers,” accusing the authors of the report of rejigging it to make it appear as authentic and a new development.

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Dangote said: “It is saddening to note that this publication of Monday, March 14, 2016 in BusinessDay and Leadership newspapers where the author had alleged that about “$3billion foreign exchange sourced from the CBN were diverted to other Dangote companies outside Nigeria, a practice that encourages round tripping and effect money laundering since there is no proper documentation.

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“The same false report back in 2016 is now being given a fresh false slant by one Ahmed Fahad purporting it to be a new petition directed to the attention of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mr. Jim Obazee, the Special Investigator probing the CBN, and subsequently different blogs and social media platforms have been carrying variants of this arrant falsehood to the detriment of our corporate reputation.

“Attempt by the authors of this misleading allegation to give it a fresh life in the media is baffling as the two newspapers that were misguided into publishing it as advertorial then (2016) have since publicly apologised to the Management of Dangote Industries Limited in writing as well as retracted the advertorial in its entirety in their respective publications. Indeed, BusinessDay and Leadership Newspapers admitted that the advertorial was sponsored by Messrs. BUA Nigeria Limited.”

DIL re-emphasised that foreign exchange for its numerous projects were sourced strictly from Interbank Foreign Exchange market in compliance with the CBN approvals and that “Letters of Credit” were established for the construction of the various operational plants and for the purchase of heavy equipment and spares required for the take-off of the Dangote Cement plants.

“The terms and conditions for payments on the transactions were clearly spelt out in the Letters of Credit instruments and in line with the International Chamber of Commerce – Universal Customs & Practice for Documentation Credit – UCP 600. It is also crucial to note that the Letters of Credit in favour of Sinoma International Engineering Co Ltd (a Chinese Government owned company), being the major contractor who accounted for over 75 per cent of these expenditure were paid against the presentation of all relevant shipping documents. There was no single payment that was made through any Dubai company owned by us.

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“All FX purchased in respect of our African Projects expansion were fully utilised for what they were meant for. The projects for which the FX was utilised are visible for everyone to see. It is on record that some of these projects were commissioned by Nigerian top-ranking government officials and in attendance were Chief Executives of various banks, Captains of Industries and the Presidents of the host countries supported by their Senior Government Officials.”

The company further stated that funds invested in its expansion project across African countries were legitimate capital investments in those countries and the repatriation of FX in sum of $576 million so far had helped to boost foreign Exchange earnings in Nigeria and stabilise the FX Market.

Besides, DIL emphasised that it had “always funded the construction of her various plants from Interbank FX Market in line with the CBN directives and relevant periodic progress reports were submitted to the banks for onward submission to the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

 

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Obi: Lagos-Calabar coastal highway, not now, may take 20-30 years

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Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), in the February 25, 2023 election on Monday, raised issues with the controversial Lagos-Calabar coastal highway awarded by the Federal Government to Hitech Construction, at the whopping amount of N13trillion, saying such a gigantic road project was not needed now at a time most of the Federal roads across the country are death-traps.

Obi, former Governor Peter Obi, who broke his silence for the first time over the project, since the news was first broken that the Federal Government had since awarded the contract, while acknowledging its potential benefits, expressed serious concerns about its pricing and raised questions regarding the timing and prioritization in the current Nigerian situation.

The LP boss, who highlighted the pressing issue of numerous uncompleted roads across the country, emphasising their role in economic growth and regional connectivity, maintained that the government should invest such huge resources to deal with the various roads across the country which were in various stages of disrepair, rather than plunging it into one road.

He listed critical roads in various zones, many of which have been under construction for several years due to poor funding and planning to include:

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  1. NORTH-WEST Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Road, – Sokoto – Funtua – Zaria Road, Kano – Hadejia Road, Kano – Katsina Road , Zaria – Funtua – Shema – Tsafe – Gusau – Talata – Mafara – Sokoto Road , Kano – Kwanar – Danja – Hadejia Road
  2. NORTH-EAST Kano – Damaturu – Maiduguri Road – Mubi – Maiduguri Road, Nguru – Gashua – Bayamari Road, Gombe – Biu – Numan Road, Dikwa – Marte – Monguno Road, Potiskum – Fika – Bajoga – Gombe – Biu Road, Mayo Belwa – Jada – Ganye – Tongue Road, Tumu – Pindiga – Kashere – Bashar – Wase – Wamba – Nassarawa Road.
  3. NORTH-CENTRAL Abuja – Lokoja – Okene – Auchi – Benin Road, Ilorin – Jebba Road, Kabba – Omuaran Road, Suleja – Minna Road, Makurdi – Gboko – Yandev – Katsina-Ala Road, Buruku Bridge across Katsina River.
  4. SOUTH-WEST Lagos – Badagry Road, Ibadan – Ife – Ilesha – Osogbo Road, Itoikin – Ijebu Ode – Ibadan Road, Ibadan – Ilorin – Jebba – Mokwa – Bokani Junction Road, Abeokuta – Ibadan Road, Ikorodu – Shagamu Road, Ado – Igede – Aramoko – Itawure Road, Ajasse Ipo – Offa – Erinle – Osun State Border Road.
  5. SOUTH-EAST: 9th Mile – Oturkpo -Makurdi Road, Enugu – Port Harcourt Road, Onitsha – Awka — Enugu Road, Onitsha – Owerri – Umuahia Road, Bende – Arochukwu – Ohafia Road, Okigwe – Afikpo Road, Nsukka – Obollo Afor – Ehamafu – Nkalagu Road, Oba – Nnewi – Okija Road.
  6. SOUTH-SOUTH: Benin – Sapele – Warri Road, East – West Road, (Warri – Kaiama – Ahoada – Port Harcourt – Eket – Oron) Yenegoa Road, Junction – Kolo – Otuoke Road, Sapele – Agbor – Ewu Road, Benin – Akure – Ore – Ife Road, Ikot Ekpene – Aba – Owerri Road, Jattau – Fugar – Agenebode Road, Bodo – Bonny Road with Bridge across Opobo Channel, Port Harcourt – Onne Road, Agbor – Sakpoba – Ogharefe Road, Odukpani Junction – Itu – Ikot Ekpene – Umuahia Road.
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With the Federal Ministry of Works allocating a capital budget of N892 billion for 2024, in addition to funding from multilateral loan projects and other sources, Obi questioned the wisdom of embarking on another massive project that may not be completed for the next 20 or 30 years.

He warned against exacerbating the problem of abandoned, incomplete projects that do not contribute to economic growth, urging the prioritisation of existing uncompleted projects, while emphasising the need to allocate resources towards repairing and completing vital infrastructure.

The former governor, who stressed the importance of focusing on the urgent needs of the people and ensuring that investments serve the collective good of the nation, advocated for prioritising the completion and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure over embarking on colossal new projects with uncertain completion timelines, adding that fiscal discipline and strategic prioritisation in addressing the country’s infrastructure challenges, must be paramount to leaders of the country.

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Fubara, Rivers assembly return to trenches! Lawmakers override gov on LG laws

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The seemingly unabating schism between Siminalayi Fubara, Governor and members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, assumed another stage on Monday, with the lawmakers deciding to pass the local government Amendment Bill into law without the assent of the state governor,

The Assembly, in apparent defiance of the state High Court’s order directing the status quo on the issue of elongating the tenure of elected local government officials, which formed part of the amendment, went ahead to screen as well as confirm the chairman and other members of the Assembly Service Commission in the spirit of the new law.

Martins Wachukwu, spokesman of Martin Amaewhule, Speaker of the assembly, conveying the development in a statement, said the lawmakers made the decision at its 159th Legislative sitting held at the Assembly Quarters in Port Harcourt, which has since served as their sitting venue since the demolition of the main House of Assembly quarters by Fubara, last year.

Stating that Fubara declined assent to the Local Government (Amendment) Bill initially passed into law on March 13, 2024, by the House, the statement, said the lawmakers were bent on performing their constitutional duties and therefore decided to override the governor’s decision on the matter by a two-thirds majority.

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The statement read: “Determined to perform its Constitutional duties, the Bill was represented by the Majority Leader, Hon. Major Jack and debated upon by Members. Thereafter, the House in accordance with the provisions of Section 100(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as altered, which empowers the House to override the Governor, where he withholds his assent; the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule put the question, and with a two-thirds majority vote, the House agreed to override the Governor and passed the Bill into Law.”

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In another development, the House screened and confirmed nominees for the position of Chairman and Members of the Assembly Service Commission, including: Sampson Worlu as Chairman, Abinye Blessing Pepple, Blessing Belema Derefaka, Gbaranen Robinson, and Dorcas Amos as Members.

The statement recalled that on March 22, 2024, the House passed the Rivers State Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Bill into Law, wherein the House donated back to itself the power to appoint the Chairman and Members of the Assembly Service Commission.

The statement added: “On a sad note, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Amaewhule, announced the demise of Mr Lucky Amadi, the husband of the honourable Member for Obio/Akpor Constituency II, Hon. Emilia Lucky Amadi, and stated that Members would pay a condolence visit to their colleague.”

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BREAKING: Five days after sacking Ganduje, Kano judge reverses self

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Justice Usman Mallam Na’Abba, of the Kano State High Court, on Monday, reversed himself five days after making an order barring Abdullahi Ganduje National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), from parading himself or performing any official function in that capacity.

In vacating the order made ex-parte, following a plea by Haladu Gwanjo and Laminu Sani Barguma, who claimed to be the Chairman and Secretary of the APC Ganduje Ward in Dawakin Tofa Local Government area of the state, for the suspension of the former Governor of the state from his present job, Na’Abba said he relied on fresh arguments made on the matter.

The fresh applications were brought by Glory Adah, a litigation secretary at the law firm representing the APC boss in a motion ex-parte, accompanied by a 27-paragraph affidavit in support, and a written address dated April 22nd, countering the grounds of his previous orders.

Na’Abba, who adjourned the case to April 30 for the hearing, said: “An order of interim injunction is hereby granted staying the execution of the order of interim injunction contained in the ruling of this court delivered on 17h April 2024 directing parties to maintain status quo ante as at the 15th day of April 2024 in relation to the suspension of the 4th respondent/applicant from the 1st respondent by the Ganduje Ward Executive Committee pending the hearing and determination of the 4th respondent/applicant motion on notice.”

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