18 — Vanguard, THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019 THE way Nigerians from all walks of life have responded to the reported illness of a former Captain of Nigeria’s national football team, the Green Eagles (now Super Eagles), Mr. Christian Chukwu (popularly called “The Chairman”) is a heart-lifting reminder that in spite of the many grave challenges that assail our sense of nationhood, Nigerians still share strong bonds of empathy. Over the past weekend, the story came out that the former Enugu Rangers International Captain and current Director of Sports was seriously ill and needed urgent medical attention abroad. The President of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, Mr. Amaju Pinnick, who disclosed that the football icon of the 1970s and 1980s needed at least ,000 (about N18 million) for an urgent medical trip abroad to save his life, also said the Federation had already taken steps to ensure he got Standing up for Chairman Christian Chukwu back to his feet. Apart from the chorus of sympathetic voices raised among Nigerians, especially in the social media, billionaire businessman and philanthropist, Mr. Femi Otedola, volunteered the ,000 medical bill for Chukwu. It also turned out that the management of Enugu Rangers International and the Enugu State Government, ENSG, had already proactively provided the ailing football hero with financial assistance so far worth N2.7million both for his medical expenses at a top hospital in Enugu and also for the upkeep of his family. The State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Ogbuagu Anikwe, issued a statement detailing efforts already made by the ENSG to tackle Chukwu’s health challenge, making it clear that he was not an abandoned, helpless old man as otherwise portrayed. He also debunked the story that Chukwu was down with prostate cancer, saying that the nature of illness remained a closely guarded secret between him and his doctors. We are happy that the ENSG is ready to do whatever it humanly takes to assist Chukwu overcome his illness. We also commend the NFF for its quick response and also Mr. Otedola for his philanthropic gesture. Chukwu, who captained Nigeria’s heroic Eagles to its first African Nations Cup victory in Lagos in 1980, led a team that was famous for their exceptional football skills, sense of patriotism and readiness to make sacrifices to bring glory to Nigeria. The tone and atmosphere of national unity commanded by the Eagles of those days in spite of hot rivalries among the clubs the players were drawn from set the stage for football’s status as the only factor that unites Nigerians. The response of Nigerians to Chukwu’s travails is a great improvement compared to what happened to other icons in the past. This will encourage the youth to rededicate themselves to the service of the nation. OPINION Awolowo, WNTV and the barbarians By Banji Ojewale IT has been said of Obafemi Awolowo, West ern Nigeria’s first premier, that like Roman Empire’s first emperor, Augustus Caesar, he was ‘’an efficient organizer” and a ‘’great builder”who struck several feats that have remained unmatched in Nigeria’s record books several decades after his rule. In his severally referenced book, An Outline History of the World, H. A. Davies notes that Augustus appeared to have fulfilled his boast that ‘’he had found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble”. He transformed Rome from a small republic not only into an empire, but also into a civilization that influenced world history over the ages. With Awolowo, there are also parallels that are engraved on marble. As premier from 1954 to 1959, when Nigeria was yet a dependent colonial outpost of Britain, he ran a government that has since been rated the golden era of the South West, the outer region of the area stretching eastwards to the banks of the Niger also being beneficiaries. Awolowo introduced free education, the first in our clime. He then embarked upon a voyage of social reforms that heavily subsidised health to announce to the world the arrival of a socialist, even if of the centrist hue. There was more to attend to: changing the topography of Ibadan, the populous capital of the region. JP Clark, the remarkable poet and dramatist, wrote a short poem describing the city as a place ‘’running splash of rust and goldflung and scattered among seven hills like a broken china in the sun”. So as Awolowo freed the people from illiteracy, ignorance and disease, he thought they could as well do with a superstructure that brought employment and some aesthetics. Enter Cocoa House, in its age reputed to be the tallest edifice in Africa. Then came Liberty Stadium, a rare sight in Nigeria. Still more: On October 31, 1959, Ibadan made history to become home to Western Nigeria Television, WNTV, the first TV station in Africa. Uncommon accomplishment, because it was only in the mid 1930s that even the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, began transmitting experimental entertainment programmes to about 100 viewers in the London area. Now, what many of us fail to realise is that Awo’s goal on WNTV wasn’t to catch the attention of history or to get a box to entertain the people. Well, history could so reckon his move. But his aim, from my reading of the legislative debate that preceded the law birthing the station, was to drive the premier’s vision for mass education. His dream to offer education to all went beyond the classroom. This dream took WNTV to the precincts of industrious integrity befitting a first in Africa, as it employed the best in the field. When AnikeAgbaje-Williams became Nigeria’s first female announcer at WNTV, she was hitting a road to be followed by equally illustrious professionals:Teju Oyeleye, Ayo Ogunlade, Vincent Maduka, Ayo Vaughan, Tunji Shenjobi, HO Robin, JideAkinbiyi, Yemi Farounbi, Kunle Adeleke, Fabio Lanipekun, Modupe Akin Olotu, Tunji Marquis, Akin Akinwunmi, etc. As these distinguished professionals receded, the management began a seamless recruitment scheme that seemed to bring in quite young replicas of these masters: Toye Akiyode, Soji Alakuro, Bode Oyewole, Bukola Famuyiwa, Toyin(I can’t recall her surname), Segun Soroye, Segun Aderiye, Kayode Adedire, The current crusade by Farounbi and others who worked at WNTV to mark the station’s 60th anniversary in October 2019 should soar above a one-off affair; they should go the whole hog of restoring WNTV to its old status as broached by Awolowo and his government Gbadebo Olaitan, Niyi Yusuf, Banji Ojewale, etc. These were enterprising young men and women the station was willing to invest in through exposure to further professional courses in and outside the country. They didn’t disappoint the management. They went on to scale the heights right within WNTV or after their stay there, taking after the greats they met at the station in the early ’70s. WNTV developed into a school, a monument of sort, that turned out those who today have swayed the broadcast industry in directions challenging one to greatness and ideological imperatives of service to the society. That’s what broadcasting is all about. From Ibadan, a seed sown at Agodi has grown beyond its territory to cover the entire expanse of Nigeria. But alas, rather than preserve this monument, the military government of Olusegun Obasanjo took over WNTV in 1976, halting a trajectory pushing that institution into the league of Third World Monuments. As the barbarians rubbished all the totems of civilization they met when they conquered Rome in 476 AD, the military government’s takeover of WNTV, with its radio wing WNBS, also moved the industry into its dark ages. The world after the overthrow of Rome, was plunged into a long period of anarchy characterized by ignorance, turmoil and contempt for the arts, literature and science. The blueprint the station had, to be perpetual partners in development with society as conceived by Awolowo and the patriarchs and matriarchs he put together, was drowned by the bureaucracy of the forfeiture. There’s also been an official distortion of history: NTA Ibadan, set on the grounds of WNTV-WNBS, is now referred to as NTA Ibadan, First in Africa. That’s history standing on its head! NTA Ibadan isn’t the first TV station in Africa! WNTV is! History must be put back on its two legs. WNTV should be returned to its original owners. The second step is to reconstruct the premises to reflect its old façade and position it into a tourist complex. WNTV is a monument, the way it is with the Statue of Liberty in New York and Mount Rushmore, in South Dakota, both in the United States. Millions troop there paying good money to stand in the presence of history. WNTV in the ancient city of Ibadan is our own history. Let our people come to WNTV as we rehabilitate her and play back the best of TV we shall be dredging from the past. As the new-look station runs contemporary programmes, it shall also give visitors a peep into its glorious past. The current crusade by Farounbi and others who worked at WNTV to mark the station’s 60th anniversary in October 2019 should soar above a one-off affair. They should go the whole hog of restoring WNTV to its old status as broached by Awolowo and his government. •Ojewale, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos
Vanguard, THURSDAY, APRIL 11 , 2019 — 19 FG, states spend N428bn to service external debt in 2018 •External debt rose by 33.8% By Nkiruka Nnorom The Federal government and the 36 states spent N428.4 billion to service external debt amounting to N7.76 trillion (.3 billion) in 2018. The amount spent on external debt services represents 4.7 percent of the N9.1 trillion approved budget for 2018. National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed this in a report titled, “Nigeria’s Foreign and Domestic Debt position for Fourth Quarter, and 2018" The report showed that the country’s external debt rose by 33.8 percent to N7.76 trillion (.3 billion) in 2018 from N5.8 trillion (.91 billion) in 2017. Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s external debt showed that multilateral debt stood at .01 billion and accounted for 9.05 million or 16.92 percent of the total external debt service. Bilateral debt (AFD) which stood at 4.63 million accounted for 0.36 million or 10.21 percent of the external debt service figure, while .17 billion of the external debt which was commercial (basically Eurobonds and diaspora bonds), accounted for .03 billion or 70.03 percent of the total external debt service. Others, comprising of agency fees and oil warrants, accounted for the remaining .75 million or 2.84 percent of the total external debt service fee. Meanwhile the country’s total public debt comprising of foreign and domestic debts CURRENCY BUYING SELLING US DOLLAR POUNDS EURO FRANC YEN CFA WAUA RENMINBI RIYAL SDR DANISH RAND .25 0.60 2,441.00 -5.00 .79 0.01 .98 0.37 .30 0.32 306 306.5 307 399.483 400.1358 400.7885 345.1374 345.7014 346.2653 306.1224 306.6226 307.1228 2.7478 2.7523 2.7568 0.5042 0.5142 0.5242 424.024 424.7169 425.4097 45.5864 45.6613 45.7362 81.5913 81.7246 81.8579 424.6056 425.2994 425.9932 46.2173 46.2928 46.3683 . 21.8082 21.8439 21.8795 CBN Exchange rate as at 10/04/2019 rose by 12 percent to N24.39 trillion in December 2018 from N21.73 trillion in December 2018. Further analysis showed that the domestic debt rose by 4.3 percent to N16.63 trillion in December 2018 from N15.94 trillion in December 2017. Lagos State has for the highest foreign debt profile among the thirty-six states and the FCT, accounting for 5.64 percent of the total debt, while Edo (1.09 percent), Kaduna (0.90 percent) and Cross River (0.75 percent) followed closely. Similarly, Lagos State accounting for 3.19 percent of the total domestic debt stock, while Yobe State has the least debt stock with a contribution of 0.17 percent to the total domestic debt stock. L-R: Afolasade Alonge, Divisional Head, Corporate & Specialised Banking, Heritage Bank Plc; Kikanwa Akpenyi, Group Head, Customer Experience & Analytics; Amb. Soline Niyirahabimana, Hon. Minister of Gender & Family Promotion; Mother Dan-Egwu, Group Head, Experience Centre Coordination and Rev. (Dr) Uche Juliet Ajirison, Port Harcourt Coordinator of African Women in Leadership Conference (AWLO), during the African Women in Leadership Organisation Conference held in Kigali Rwanda, yesterday Banks to tighten lending conditions for corporate loans in Q2’19 •As loan defaults decline in Q1’19 By Elizabeth Adegbesan The Deposit Money Banks have said they will tighten lending condition for granting corporate loans in the second quarter of 2019 (Q2’19). The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disclosed this in a report titled: ‘Credit Condition Survey” for first quarter of 2019 (Q1’19) released yesterday. The report among other things revealed that banks intend to demand stronger loan covenants and more collateral for corporate loans. The survey also indicated that the level of nonperforming loans (NPLs) declined in the first quarter of 2019 (Q1’19). The report stated: “Lenders required stronger loan covenants from all firm sized businesses in Q1 2019. However, they reported that they would require stronger loan covenants for all firm sized businesses except for small business, which they plan to leave unchanged, in the next quarter. For the current quarter, fees/commissions on approved new loan applications fell for all firm sized businesses except for small business; while for Q2 2019 lenders expect fees/commissions on approved new loan applications to fall for all firm sized businesses except for OFCs. “More collateral requirements were demanded from all firm sizes on approved new loan application in Q1’19. Similarly, lenders will demand for more collateral from all firm sizes in the next quarter.” On level of performance of NPLs, it stated: “Lenders experienced lower default rates on credit card and on overdrafts/ personal lending to households in the current quarter. They expect improvement in default rates in the next quarter for all loan types. Losses given default on total unsecured loans to households and overdraft/ personal loans to households improved in Q1’19 and were expected to improve in the next quarter. NIMASA to end Cabotage waivers in 5yrs By Godwin Oritse THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, yesterday began moves for the cessation of Cabotage waivers in the next five years with a view to building capacity and growing the Nigerian maritime industry. Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, disclosed this at the ongoing stakeholders’ conference on a ‘five year strategic plan for cessation of grant of Cabotage waiver’. He also disclosed that the agency, the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, and Federal Ministry Finance are currently in talks to consider a single digit interest rate for Nigerians to acquire vessels. Peterside also said that besides the single digit rate, NIMASA is also looking at getting incentives for ship owners so as to enhance their operations and businesses. The agency’s boss said that cessation of cabotage waivers was Continuous stamp duty charges, illegal, fraudulent, NECA warns By Victor Young The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, yesterday called on the Federal Government to immediately impress it on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, to respect valid court judgment and stop the systematic defrauding of millions of Nigerians who are bank customers in the name of deduction of stamp duties from their accounts. Speaking in Lagos, the Director-General of NECA, Mr. Timothy Olawale lamented that the “issue of imposing N50 stamp duty commenced when the CBN directed that banks must deduct N50 stamp duty on all transactions made, with a value of N1,000 and above. This was said to be in compliance with the Stamp Duties Act. The issue of stamp duty was tested in courts and a ruling was obtained in an appeal against the lower court judgment in the case of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Ltd vs. Kasmal International Services Ltd & 22 Ors in CA/L/437A/2014, when Hon. Justice Ibrahim Saulawa and four other Justices of the Court of Appeal held that the Stamp Duties Act did not impose a duty on Money Deposit Banks to deduct N50 on bank deposits. Thus, according to the Appeal Court, “electronic transactions” were not covered by the Stamp Duties Act. He added: “to the best of our knowledge, there was no challenge of this ruling by any party at the Supreme Court.” “The refusal by CBN and NIPOST to respect a valid judgment of a competent court of the land is worrisome. It amounts to contempt of court and sustained daylight robbery of millions of bank customers’ deposits. It is a mark of disrespect to the constitution of Nigeria, disrespect to the court, disrespect to due process and disrespect to Nigerians. long overdue, adding that NIMASA has taken note of stakeholders’ concerns in this regard. “We are determined to bring to an end the waiver regime so that Cabotage will flourish in Nigeria and allow Nigerians benefit from Cabotage trade,” he stated. He explained that the agency doubled the employment of Nigerian seafarers with the suspension of waivers issuance for six months by simply publishing and enforcing the new Cabotage enforcement strategy.