MATTERS ARISING:Economy: Okonjo-Iweala Now AU Risk Agency Chairperson

okonjo iweale juneFinance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been appointed as the first chairperson of the Governing Council of African Risk Capacity (ARC), a continental financial climatic disaster risk management agency. ARC is a specialised agency of the African Union (AU) which supports countries in the continent in mitigating the severe social and economic impact of extreme weather conditions through a structured insurance system.
ARC is expected to help African governments plan better for emergency situations, manage them efficiently as well as in ensuring sufficient distribution of resources to disaster areas, innovative technology based on satellite weather surveillance and software run by independent risk professionals.
While expressing her delight at the appointment, the finance minister said “The ARC will support the governments of its member states to manage response programs effectively. And ensure that they have resources to meet natural disasters head-on.”


Lagos commences registration of residents
The Lagos State Government says it is set to commence the registration of residents in the state, with 57 registration stations opened in the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas of the state. General Manager, Lagos State Residents Registration Agency, Ms. Yinka Fashola, who disclosed this at a recent stakeholders’ forum in Lagos, said the outcome of the exercise would be computed into a database to assist government in providing adequate social services to the estimated 20 million people who live and work in the state.
She explained that the responsibility of ensuring every resident in the state was captured in its database had been given to LASRRA, which was established in 2011 by an enactment of the state law. Adding that the exercise would have technological features such as finger prints to authenticate and validate the registration process and thus enable the government to have a reliable database of all residents as well as provide useful information for social, political, business and financial activities. “With the exercise, every resident will possess a highly secured unique identification number and card. It will also remove the veil of anonymity from every resident of Lagos. The database will serve as a register that will contain all the demographic information of all residents of Lagos State. About 1,000 personnel will be engaged for the exercise.”
She also hinted that identity cards, which residents would be able to utilise in transactions with any government agency, would be given at the end of the exercise. “It contains a unique reference number (residency number) that links every individual to his or her own personal and biological data. The residency number serves as a reference for the respective individual in their transactions with government bodies,” she added.


Banking & Finance Licence Abuse: Bill recommends imprisonment for bank directors
As contained in a bill presently before the House of Representatives, bank directors, managers and employees who abuse their operating licences risk a minimum of two-year jail term and a fine of at least N1m.
The bill which is aimed at to repealing and re-enacting the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act, bars directors from tampering with depositors’ funds and provides penalties for various fraudulent practices in the banking sector. The BOFIA though passed by the 6th House, was reintroduced in the 7th House due to lack of Presidential assent.
At a recent session presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, lawmakers endorsed clauses one to four and part of clause five of the bill. The portion of clause five endorsed by the House reads, “Any person, who, being a director, manager or officer of a bank that fails to take reasonable steps to secure compliance with any of the conditions of the licence of the bank is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of at least N1m and a minimum of two years’ jail term.”
Let’s hope the bill won’t be scuttled by the powers that be…


Towards Another Amnesty Brand
President Goodluck Jonathan has established a committee within the membership of the National Security Council (NSC) to work out the feasibility and modalities to be adopted if the federal government decides to grant pardon to Boko Haram
The terms of reference of the committee are: to consider the feasibility or otherwise of granting pardon to the Boko Haram adherents, to collate clamours arising from different interest groups who want the apex government to administer clemency on members of the religious sect; and recommend modalities for the granting of the pardon, should such step become the logical one to take under the prevailing circumstances.


Education & Youth Development: A policy that may complicate our educational brand
Almost 13 years after the talented Nigeria’s 4×400 metres relay quartet were dubiously denied the gold medal by the U.S squad at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has finally sent the gold medal won by Nigeria relay quartet at the games following the disqualification of the U.S squad for doping violation.
The Americans were disqualified because of the late Antonio Pettigrew confessing to having used banned performance-enhancing drugs at the time. With Nigeria elevated to the top position, Jamaica were promoted to silver and Bahamas the bronze. According to a statement by the IOC, “Pettigrew was disqualified in August 2008 but the Executive Board delayed a decision on reallocation until it had received information stemming from investigations into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) sports-doping scandal.”
The Nigerian team comprising Sunday Bada, Jude Monye and Clement Chukwu and Enefiok Udo-Obong, were asked to return their silver medal to be replaced by gold but only Enefiok returned his. The IOC letter covering the dispatch of the medal and signed by Dr Jacques Rogge, the IOC President, was addressed to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC).
It reads: “I am pleased to send you this Olympic Gold for Mr Enefiok Udo-Obong, who was part of your men’s 4x400m now placed first in the athletics men’s 4×400 metres relay event at the Games of the XXV11 Olympiad, Sydney 2000.”
Though the captain of the team, Sunday Bada is late, it would be written in the annals of the Olympics that even in his death, he won gold at the games that celebrates humanity.


Media: Enroute Digital Brand of Broadcasting
THE House of Representatives Committee on Information & National Orientation says the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA and Voice of Nigeria, VON are in position to leverage the Nigerian Communication Satellite, NigComSat facilities in their ongoing efforts to achieve digitalization in 2015.
House Committee Chairman, Hon. Bubar Jubrin recently stated this during a facility tour of NigComSat in Abuja. Hon. Jubril expressed satisfaction with the ingenuity of local engineers at the place saying it would be regrettable and amount to a colossal waste if all the facility in NigComsat are not utilized by Nigerians, especially government agencies.
“It will be regrettable and monumental waste if all these facilities that are in place are not used. Apart from the social and security implications, as a nation, Nigerians should be proud to do things on their own terms and faith instead of outsourcing these things and encourage capital flight. For us, government ministries, departments and agencies like NTA, VON, NBC are in position to utilize what we have been able to acquire here, particularly the digitalization scheme that is now ongoing, which is hoped to be achieved in 2015,” he said.


Tourism & Culture: Don’t wipe out a NATIONAL BRAND
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State recently condemned the reported attempt by the Federal Government to convert the National Theatre into a five star hotel, saying “stop wiping away history.”
Fashola also stressed the need to allow the private sector manage ports activities in the country.
Fashola, while speaking at the 2nd Lagos Corporate Assembly said the sale of the edifice would lead to erasing a heritage that had lasted for years. The Federal Government had earlier issued a circular to the occupants of the 36-year-old edifice, to vacate the place within two weeks.
Fashola said: “I heard that the National Theatre is up for sale. And I wondered which kind of people offer to buy the edifice and how they make money. If someone, who had visited the country in 1977 for FESTAC ’77, come back and wanted to see the National Theatre, we would then say that it has been turned to a hotel”
The National Art theatre is one of the national monuments erected during General Yakubu Gowon regime.


Brand Extortionia… ACP dismissed
At the 35th plenary meeting of the police recently held in Abuja, the police service commission’s axe fell on some officials who were found wanting in their respective duties. Among the dismissed officers was an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Fausat Oduwole, who was believed to have extorted N21.6m from police sergeants who wrote promotion examinations in one of the police colleges in the country. She was found to have collected the illegal levy from the police officers to enable them to get promotion.
The commission’s axe also fell on Chief Superintendent of Police, Olusegun Fabunmi, who shot dead one Ademola Aderinto at Yaya Abatan Street,Ogba, Lagos during the fuel subsidy protest in January 2012. Fabunmi, former DPO of Pen Cinema Police Division was dismissed from the force for acts unbecoming of a senior police officer and is also being prosecuted for murder by the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender at a Lagos High Court.

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