Vanguard Newspaper 14 February 2018
18 — Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018 CASES of Nigerians languishing in prisons abroad are on the increase. Latest statistics revealed about 170,000 Nigerian citizens are rotting away in jails all over the world. The figure reflects a sharp increase from that of 2012, which was estimated at 16, 300, including those on death row. Out of the 2012 figure, 6,000 were awaiting death penalties for drug-related offences, while 5,145 women were trapped after being trafficked. Another 3,719 were held in Canada, over 750 were in British jails, 700 in China, 500 in India and 96 in Indonesia, out of which 23 were on death row. Others were held in Malaysian and Singaporean prisons. Most of the current 170,000 are serving terms for drug and human trafficking and sundry immigration offences. Patriotic Citizens Initiative, PCI, a civil society group, mid-last year raised an alarm over the ordeal of Nigerians in jails overseas. The group charged the Federal Govern- Keeping Nigerians away from jails abroad ment to investigate allegations of mysterious deaths and “organ harvesting” of Nigerians in Chinese prisons, where about 8,000 were incarcerated for drug trafficking, immigration, smuggling and other offences. The majority were victims of shoddy investigation and alleged trumped-up charges. About 40 Nigerians are executed, especially in Asia, annually. PCI’s reaction was based on a plethora of distress calls received from those serving terms in prisons. They claimed Nigerian inmates disappeared in manners suggestive of extra-judicial killings carried out by Chinese prison officials. There were other allegations of slave labour, denial of access to medical treatments and other human rights violations. Nigerian youths migrate in droves to foreign countries for economic reasons. Our poorly-developed labour market, coupled with a growing army of about 40 million unemployed youths and an economic downturn prompt the exodus. Some were lured into drug and human trafficking with juicy offers. A majority still embark on dangerous journeys despite repeated warnings. The Federal Government should not be insensitive to the plight of its citizens imprisoned in foreign countries. The Presidency should set up an inter-agency delegation to visit these countries to properly investigate some of the allegations and ensure our citizens are given justice. The office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora should convene a stakeholders’ meeting on the plight of Nigerian prisoners abroad. Both chambers of the National Assembly should also intervene with a view to finding solutions to the problem. It is demeaning to our image to just abandon our citizens in foreign jails when they are being maliciously victimised. We must create opportunities for young Nigerians to fulfill their dreams within our country. Nigeria has what it takes to make its people happier in their own country. By Sunny Ikhioya THESE are interesting times. Our politicians are at it again, trying to paint what is black as white and vice versa. We -the ordinary folks - are left wondering but can do nothing. We all know that having the voter’s card alone does not guarantee victory, the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) has to be fruitfully utilised and other activities properly monitored. A million ants cannot lift an elephant, they will be crushed in the process. How will the ordinary Nigerian see his political dreams actualised without getting crushed? That is the challenge that we are faced with. The past three years have shown that our politicians of the People's Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressive Congress, APC are the same. Despite the rhetoric, we have seen that no significant value has been added to the lives of the ordinary citizens. It has all been recycled ideas and activities, even the anti corruption strategy is same with what we had witnessed in the past, nothing new. This was the state we were - of 'siddon look' or do nothing - until the former president Olusegun Obasanjo came out with his expository letter to President Mohammadu Buhari. The letter has reverberated reactions both locally and internationally but, before then, Oby Ezekwesili, former minister, had mooted the idea of supporting any group that is ready to take on both the APC and the PDP, head on, in the elections of 2019, not many people took notice. Femi Falana (SAN), had publicly expressed the tragedy to the nation, of having only President Buhari and former Vice President OPINION My fear for the Third Force Atiku Abubakar running for the position of President in the coming election. No one took note too but, since Obasanjo intervened, the situation has taken a new turn. The idea of a Third Force or third major political party is beginning to crystallise, people are now emboldened to act or speak up, even the usually With Obasanjo as the leader or pivot of the Third Force movement, what type of people should we find there? Retired, disgruntled, and recycled PDP and APC members reserved body of Catholic Church Bishops have come out to express their dissatisfaction with the way the country is been governed during their visit to the President. All parties are beginning to strategise as a result of the situation. The ruling APC could not find the voice to tackle Obasanjo frontally. They only issued a tepid and diplomatic response through the Minister of information Hon. Lai Mohammed. It is clear that there has not been succour in the land. People are suffering , while others are being slaughtered without a thought. With the apparent inability of the government to tackle these issues, the country is now polarised along ethic lines to the extent that have not been seen before. The cry for change is palpable. The ruling party is aware of this and the main opposition party is trying to capitalise on the situation. They have started the promise game again, knowing that the gullible public will fight themselves to death over nothing, with the mere introduction of religious and ethnic sentiments. Since the APC and PDP parties, having been tried and tested and failed to give us the required succour, there is a need for a third party that will consist of true progressives and patriots, who will stand for what is right, even in the face of death. We have seen them before, in the likes of late Aminu Kano, Balarabe Musa, late Tai Solarin, late Gani Fawehinmi, the late Kuti brothers - Beko and Fela and many others. Can we find one of such amongst our present crop of politicians? I ask because we have so many who have pretended to be comrades and progressives, now in the present APC party and in the midst of the dismal performance of the present day government , have refused to come out of their shell. I cannot explain it; is it for pecuniary gains, or power, or just to belong? What has made our progressives suddenly go quiet in the midst of the terrible happenings in our land? Some of these pretenders have shamelessly come out to join the bandwagon of continuity. And you ask, continuity to where? To hell or to heaven? It is an irony that the one promoting the third force movement is Olusegun Obasanjo, an establishment man, a known member of the ruling class, who was once the President and had taken part in the installation of all Presidents after him. He is now the pivot of the Third Force movement, what an irony! With Obasanjo as the leader or pivot of the Third Force movement, what type of people should we find there? Retired, disgruntled, and recycled PDP and APC members. Therein lies my fear for the Third Force movement. Ordinarily, it is a timely and welcome development.The people seriously desire for a true change, with a genuine leadership that will take the people's interest as paramount, not the ones who will give excuses when they assume office. People who have a thorough grasp of the challenges confronting this country and are ready to hit the ground running, since they know the steps to take. It is a shame that the ruling party is fighting to re-present a candidate who took all of six months to put a cabinet in place, in a country with an emergency situation. It is a shame that people are not courageous enough to tell their party leaders that they have failed and request that such leaders step aside. It is a shame that we keep quoting and referring to democracy in other climes and pretend that all is well when it comes to ours. Are there no progressives in the ruling party? Where are they? Do they not have credible and youthful candidates who can turn the country's situation to a more improved level? Why the conspiracy of silence? This nation will never move forward unless we say and face the truth. People will come and go but the truth will remain constant. It is better for us to embrace the truth on time, move on and allow generations coming behind to enjoy the foundation laid and build on it. A Third Force that will accord every member their individual rights is what we crave for. It does not matter if they win the elections of 2019 or not. What matters is that such a party is established and instituted. *Mr. Ikhioya, www.southsouthecho.com Twitter: @SunnyIkhioya
CURRENCY BUYING SELLING US DOLLAR POUNDS EURO FRANC YEN CFA WAUA RENMINBI RIYAL SDR DANISH RAND $122.35 0.50 $1,987.00+17.00 $13.59 -0.14 $63.00 +0.41 59.02 -0.27 304.85 305.4 305.85 422.8684 423.1622 423.855 373.8684 374.4815 375.0946 324.9147 325.4476 325.9804 2.806 2.8106 2.8152 0.5503 0.5603 0.5703 439.6392 440.3601 441.0811 48.1605 48.2399 48.3192 81.3002 81.4335 81.5668 440.4585 441.1808 441.9031 50.2124 50.2948 50.3771 25.4686 25..3104 25.5521 CBN Exchange rate as at 13/02/2018 Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018 — 19 Nigeria’s oil output rise to 1.736 mb/d in January The agreement had been By Ediri Ejoh & Oluchukwu Nkenta NIGERIA’s oil output increased by 167,000 barrels per day (b/d) or 10.6 percent to 1.736 million barrel per day (mb/d ) in the month of January 2018. The output was 1.569mb/d in December 2017, according to data from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Monthly Oil Market Reports, MOMR. The country’s oil production had dropped by 22,000 barrels per day in December 2017 against the November figure. OPEC had asked Nigeria to cap production at 1.8 mb/d and upon hitting the prescribed output level the country would join the OPEC production cut agreement. Nigeria had reached between 2.2 and 2.6 mb/d in the past before militancy in the Niger Delta in 2016 forced output below 1.2 mb/d. Nigeria alongside Libya, have been exempted twice from OPEC’s oil output cutback agreement which kicked off in January 2017. Nigeria’s exemption was due to disruption in oil production caused by spates of attacks on oil installations by militants in the Niger Delta. Both Saudi Arabia and Russia currently shoulder the highest cut since the start of the deal which has seen oil prices rise to $70 per barrel. OPEC and its partners agreed to cut a combined 1.8mbp/d of production in November 2016. extended twice until the end of 2018. However, OPEC is looking at extending the deal beyond this year. It will also be recalled that crude oil prices were last week close to their lowest levels this year with soaring United States, output undermining OPEC’s efforts to tighten markets and prop up prices. From left, Chief Analyst, Capital Market and Research, Capital Bancorp Plc, Mr. Victor Chiazor; Managing Director, Mr. Aigboje Higo; and Head, Capital Market and Research, Mr. Oluleye Ademola, at a press interactive session on the company’s economic review and outlook for 2018 in Lagos. Concerns over Britain’s endorsement of Naira as trade currency By Yinka Kolawole AS Britain is set to add the Naira as one of its preapproved currencies, which will allow the UK Export Finance to provide financing for transactions with Nigerian businesses denominated in the local currency, the move may transfer payment liabilities for individual transactions to the government. The move is expected to promote Nigeria’s trade with Britain, the UK export finance agency said in a statement. The statement said the UK will provide up to 85 percent of funding for projects containing at least 20 percent British content. Recall that Britain voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, which has forced London to rethink its trade ties with the rest of the world. The United Kingdom and EU struck an agreement in December that opened the way for talks on future trade ties. “This is a clear indication of how much value the UK places on its relationship with Nigeria. It will provide a firm foundation for a significant increase in trade and investment between both countries,” Paul Arkwright, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, said in the statement. The Naira financing will follow the same structure as someone buying in Pounds, except that Nigerian firms taking out a loan in the local currency can benefit from a UK government-backed guarantee. But the statement did not indicate the exchange rate for the programme, just as one of Nigeria’s leading economist, Bismark Rewane noted that the move could shift payment liabilities from individuals to the Federal Government. They are also worried about the rate at which funds would be disbursed since local interest rates are in high double-digits. Bismark Rewane, CEO of Financial Derivatives, said the financing deal would help local importers buy British goods. “If I buy a Rover, the British government is now guaranteeing that I can pay in naira, so the foreign exchange risk has been shifted from me to the Nigerian government. If CBN is unable to remit funds to the UK, then the liability will be on Nigeria,” Rewane said. Severe dollar shortages in Nigeria in 2016 caused by lower oil prices forced the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to allow the Naira to float, after which it lost a third of its official value. The Naira has since traded within a range supported by CBN on the interbank market. Customs intercept banned drugs at Lagos ports, rakes in N35bn in January By Godwin Oritse & Godfrey Bivbere THE Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, said it intercepted four containers laden with banned and controlled drugs while a suspect was arrested in connection with the import. The Command also said it raked in a total of N35.5billion last month thereby surpassing the N31billion recorded in the corresponding period of last year. Disclosing this to newsmen in Lagos, the Customs Area Comptroller, Mr. Musa Jinrin, said that the containers with numbers MRSU 3637149, MRKU 6196764, MRSU 3516384 and MRKU 6058282 containing a total of 1,314 cartons of Why NLNG abandoned Nigeria’s ship registry By Godfrey Bivbere CONTRARY to belief by some stakeholders that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, prefers its vessels registered abroad, facts have emerged that the company which has a large fleet of ocean going ships, abandoned registration in Nigeria because of substandard registry. All vessels, according to the rules of the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, are expected to register under a country of their choice, the maritime administration, which in turn permits such ship to fly their flag. Vanguard gathered that efforts by NLNG in the past to help the nation’s maritime authority, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA to upgrade the registry were resisted. This was confirmed by the President of Nigeria Ship Owners Association, SOAN, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun, who recently attested to the willingness of the company to fly the nation’s flag on its vessels. He noted that the NLNG had engaged a consultant on ways of improving the nation’s registry but expressed regret that nothing has been done with the report after over three years. The SOAN president said the nation’s flag administration is very weak and therefore not attractive to Nigerian ship owners and the international maritime community. Ogbeifun , who disclosed this at a SOAN event in Lagos, said “the NLNG actually approached our flag administration to express their desire and preference to register all her ships in Nigeria if the flags administration can be enhanced and reorganised to meet international standard. “They went further and paid for a consultant to carry out a study of our flag administration and made recommendations to achieve this objective. “The report and recommendations have been awaiting implementation by the maritime administration since then, over three years ago.” He further disclosed that the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on assumption of office as minister, had constituted a committee to look at possible ways to make the nation’s flag administration attractive for international patronage. tramadol tablets and other controlled drugs. Jinrin also said that besides the interception, the Duty Paid Value, DPV, of the drugs was put at N49.9million. He explained that the Customs Service intercepted the drugs based on intelligence, adding that the agency was also worried about the issue of insecurity currently being experienced across the country.