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AfCFTA: Buhari reveals only condition to sign African free trade agreement

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President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that Nigeria will be guided by ‘‘national interest’’ in taking any decision on the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He said this on Tuesday while receiving National Council of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) led by its president, Engr. Mansur Ahmed.

Buhari noted that he was ready to receive the report of a committee set up to assess the potential costs and impact of signing the agreement establishing the AfCFTA for Nigeria.

The President recalled that the Presidential Steering Committee on the AfCFTA Impact and Readiness Assessment Committee was inaugurated on October 22, 2018, with the mandate to assess the extent to which Nigeria was ready to join the agreement, and what the impact of doing so would be.

The committee was initially given 12 weeks to conclude its assignment, after holding wide consultations with industry groups and stakeholders, including the MAN.

The President told National Council of MAN the AfCFTA is on the agenda for the upcoming AU Summit in Niamey, Niger Republic, in July.

‘‘I don’t think Nigeria has the capacity to effectively supervise and to ensure that our colleagues in AU don’t allow their countries to be used to dump goods on us to the detriment of our young industries and our capacity to utilize foreign exchange for imported goods,’’ he said.

President Buhari also promised to look into the presentation by MAN highlighting issues of concern to the manufacturing sector, namely the AfCFTA, Export Expansion Grant and other incentives, challenges with the 2019 fiscal policy measures, recent increase in NAFDAC charges, the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) (Amendment) Act, 2019, among others.

‘‘I assure you that I know the enormity of our problems in terms of population growth rate and teeming young people.

‘‘We need to move very fast, and the government will try and encourage you as very much as possible so that the problem of unemployment and the provision of other services relative to our population and state of development can be tolerated,’’ he said.

Earlier in his remarks, the MAN president outlined some credible policies that have driven the economy forward in the first term of President Buhari.

Commending the Buhari administration for consistent efforts to sustain the growth trajectory anchored on improving the business environment, Engr Ahmed recognised the government’s efforts at improving the Ease of Doing Business Project, fight against corruption, focus on poverty reduction, job creation and inclusive growth as well as the launch of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

He, however, noted that despite the significant progress recorded in the last 4 years, ‘‘it is clear that our economy is still fragile.’’

‘‘With the GDP at 2.0 per cent and below the population growth rate, the clouds are still threatening and the task of driving the economy upwards is still enormous.

‘‘But Your Excellency we are encouraged by the very strong commitment you expressed only last week in your Democracy Day address.

‘‘You did say that in your second term, your administration will do, even more, not only to continue to drive the economy on the path of sustained growth but indeed to create a more inclusive and sustainable economy,’’ the MAN president said.

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Debt: AMCON Takes Over Donald Duke’s Ikoyi Home

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The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has ordered the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and United Bank for Africa to take over a property belonging to a former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke.

Justice Chuka Obiozor made the order following an ex parte application filed by AMCON and UBA.

The property was to be forfeited over an alleged debt of N537,334,360.77.

Listed as first to third defendants were Stonehedge Investment Limited, Donald Duke and Owunari Bob-Manuel Duke, respectively.

The applicants had prayed the court for “an order of interim attachment, possession and custody of the property being No. 3, Temple Road, Ikoyi, Lagos”.

They told the court that the property was mortgaged by Duke “as collateral in securing the 1st respondent’s indebtedness to the applicants”.

They urged the court to grant them possession of the property “pending the institution and disposal of proceedings for recovery of debt against the respondent, pursuant to Section 49 of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act 2010 (as amended)”.

They also prayed the court for an interim Mareva injunction to take possession of funds in the accounts of Duke and others in any bank “pending the institutional and disposal of proceedings for the recovery of a debt of N537,334,360.77 made up of the principal debt and interest against the respondents pursuant to Section 50 of AMCON Act 2010”.

The judge granted the prayers in addition to an order restraining the respondents from “transacting, transferring, changing or howsoever dealing in any manner or interfering with the applicants’ possession” of the Ikoyi property.

The judge ordered AMCON and UBA to ensure service of substantive originating processes on the respondents within 20 days of the making of the order.

He adjourned the case until September 2, 2019

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LCCI Tackles Buhari, Says He Can’t Lift 100million Nigerians Out Of Poverty

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Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, has said it is impossible for President Muhammadu Buhari to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.

Yusuf made the comments while speaking on a programme on Channels Television.

President Buhari had while addressing new ministers at a retreat on Monday vowed to lift at least 100 million Nigerians out of extreme poverty.

But disagreeing with that statement, the LCCI boss said the President had not been collaborating with those, who could help him achieve the goal.

He said, “The President is talking about taking 100 million people out of poverty over 10 years, it is impossible to do that without investors. Because when we talk about job creation, it is not the government that will create the job.

“As we speak, the government is already overstretched in terms of the number of employees that they have and many of them are struggling to pay salaries and with the minimum wage that we are expecting any time soon, it will become even more difficult to create a new job.

“There is no sufficient consultation between those who are managing the economy and the government.”

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Nigerians react as FBI arrests Invictus Group CEO, Obi Okeke

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Reactions are trailing the arrest of the Chief Executive Officer of Invictus Group, Obi Okeke.

He was nabbed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for conspiracy to commit computer fraud.

Obinwanne Okeke made it into Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 List in 2016.

He was arrested for over $11 million wire fraud after an Office365 account belonging to a steel company’s CEO was hacked.

The suspect was said to have conspired with several individuals to access the CEO’s computers without authorization.

Nigerians have taken to Twitter to express their opinion on the matter.

Some tweets below:

@Adaolis_a: All these motivational speaker that will tell you to believe in yourself and the world is yours. But they are cooperate fraudsters. Invictus Obi is just one of many. I’m sure they is more to this. Another huge stain to Nigeria.

@9aufal: Invictus Obi’s bad record must not be attached to Nigeria’s identity as a nation, the western media has a way of using incidences like this (which can happen anywhere) to generalize and stereotype Nigerians as criminals. Honest hardworking Nigerians are a majority!

@tosinadeda: On this Invictus Obi case, have you noticed that your regular celebs are not coming online to say “Nobody Holy” … Oh well, that shit only applies when the Nigerian Govt tries to nail fraudsters. Nobody wants FBI wahala, Looool Hypocrites.

@MrLekanAdigun: This Invictus Obi’s story clearly shows that Yahoo Yahoo boys can operate anywhere- even wearing suits. That’s why I hardly believe all these influencers giving Tedx Talks if I can’t trace their sources of income. Most of them do Yahoo as a major side hustle. Run your own race!

@asemota: This Invictus Obi affidavit shows what I have always been saying that Nigerian 419 fraudsters are basic. Their victims are also basic too. How can a company where CFO can authorize millions of dollars in transfer have no endpoint security and transaction authorization security?

@Pmoney_Talks: The sad and most painful thing about this Invictus Obi story, is the fact that it is another major stain, and will make it even harder for legit Nigerian remote workers, freelancers, online business persons to get deals and jobs now. The average Nigerian may not understand.

@Boboye_Ak: Court: How did you catch Invictus Obi as a scammer. FBI: *Publishes 4 page affidavit with facts and some details of the investigation* Court: How did you catch the scammer? EFCC: He had tattoos and iPhone.

@4eyedmonk: The apprehension of Invictus Obi is hopefully a notification to the gutter mouthed “rich” businessman/men with obviously dubious “wealth” on here. Your time is near.

@therealdaddymo1: Invictus Obi – He aspired to inspire, then decided to conspire and now he will perspire because plans don backfire and now FBI don acquire the documents whey dem go use enquire. Forbes list membership don expire and shame don catch una whey dey admire. The entire case na wahala.

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