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Palm oil more expensive than crude oil – Godwin Emefiele

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Wednesday, urged Federal Government to attach premium to palm oil production, saying its price is higher than that of crude oil.

Emefiele stated this in Abuja when he appeared before Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions for screening for his second term nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He did not, however, give the current prices of the commodities in the international market, but said that palm oil was a goldmine, which Nigeria had capacity to export to many countries.

The CBN Governor expressed concern that though Nigeria was one of the major palm oil producers in the 1960s, it failed to consolidate on it because of the discovery of crude oil.

He, however, said that the CBN, through its legal functions, would come up with a special programme to boost palm oil production to help in diversifying the economy.

According to him, Nigeria had the potential to export palm oil and boost its revenue generation.

Emefiele recalled that “in the 60s, Nigeria controlled 40 per cent share in the global palm oil chain.

“We were exporting our palm oil to different parts of the world, but because we found crude oil, we receded and abandoned it.

“The price of a tonne of palm oil is more than the price of a barrel of crude oil. So, what happened?

“For other countries, when they had the opportunity in agriculture and in the crude sector, they did not let their guards down; unfortunately, we did and that is what we are paying for today.

“Such move is so, so that when there are some external shock, it will not be felt.

“We will grow that market again and after that, we will go into cocoa,” he said.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to repositioning the agriculture sector.

According to Emefiele, the president had on different occasions insisted that the country should be producing what it would consume and consume what it would produce.

He noted that the charge resonated with CBN management, which took it further by starting the Anchor Borrowers Programme that had impacted so much on the lives of Nigerians.

He also disclosed that the apex bank was coming up with a fund for the creative industry “to engage Nigerian youths so as to increase employment rate as well as tackle restiveness’’.

The CBN governor informed the committee that the bank had worked assiduously to stabilise the economy in many areas.

“We went into the regime of restricting Foreign Exchange. This was intended to control import and encourage export, to reduce pressure on the reserve.

“Fortunately, we saw import dropping to as much as six billion dollars on a quarterly basis to today that it is significantly lower.

“Having adjusted the demands and trying to see how to balance the foreign exchange rate, a number of intervening actions were introduced to help boost the supply of foreign exchange into the market.”

He pointed out that the bank had explored other intervening initiatives that would help boost the supply of foreign exchange into the market, including encouraging investors.

Emefiele added that CBN had been able to reduce the exchange rate from about N500 to a dollar to the current rate of N360 to a dollar.

He promised to make further effort to ensure stability of the exchange rate for a clear monetary policy direction.

“Exchange rate now converges substantially at N360 to a dollar; inflation trending downwards for about 25 consecutive months now, from about 18.72 per cent in 2017 to as low as 11.72 per cent now.

“In the area of interest rate, we tried as much as possible, but unfortunately we have not quite achieved what we thought we will achieve on interest rate moderation.

“Though we have moved from about 18.5 per cent to 14 per cent, we will still work hard to bring it further down.”

On recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank’s population projection of over 400 million for Nigeria in 2050, Emefiele said much work needed to be done for policies that would make life easy for the people.

“We just came back from the IMF world programme in April and in the World Bank-IMF World Economic Outlook, Nigeria is positioned as a country whose population will rise to over 425 million people by the year 2050.

“That will present Nigeria as the country with the third largest population in the world after China and India, and surpassing the United States of America.

“We, from the Central Bank on the monetary policy side, have come to realise the instrumentality of the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

“A programme where access to credit is being provided to our masses all over the country will be a way to generate employment and boost economic activities among our rural population.

“The results are there to see that as a result of our Anchor Borrowers Programme where we have disbursed over N190 billion to over 1.1 million farmers, cultivating over 1.3 million hectares of land, we need to do more.

“As we do this, we make finance available at low interest rate, make access to credit easy for our people and in doing this, we will be able to create jobs for them and improve their livelihood.

“I am very optimistic that this can be achieved,” he said.

Emiefele called for prayers and concerted efforts to consolidate on his achievements, if his nomination was confirmed.

He said, “You have all testified to what we have done in the last three to four years. I am not saying it is that simple. It is difficult but we will do our best.”

He pledged he would not rest in ensuring that the next five years would be unbearable for those bent on sabotaging government policies, adding that the bank would do anything to bring such persons to book.

“We need your prayers because the road ahead is still very tough. So, I appeal to all Nigerians to respect the policies and laws of the country.

“Part of the problems we have is lack of respect for our policies. Nigeria is very good at putting in place policies that are sound and workable, but implementation is almost zero and that must change,” the governor said.

On belief that the bank was operating multiple exchange rate, he said it was not true.

According to him, the bank only have multiple windows to make it easy for Nigerians who make use of foreign exchange, and in spite of the multiple windows, there is convergence of rate, with about N360 to a dollar.

In his remarks, Chairman of the senate committee, Sen. Rafiu Adebayo, said that the committee would put its report together and submit to the Senate in plenary for further action.

He commended Emefiele’s effort in stabilising the economy through various initiatives, and urged him to put in more effort in ensuring that some economic challenges currently bedevilling the country were tackled.

The Senate had on May 9, read a letter from Buhari requesting the confirmation of the CBN governor for a second term.

It, thereafter, directed its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, on Monday, to screen the appointee and report back.

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Crime

Inside Enugu Where Families Kidnap One Another As Revenge

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In Nigeria, even so-called men of God fake their own kidnap; same with husbands and wives. Sometimes, children also fake their own kidnap. Kidnapping has become fashionable in Africa’s most populous nation.

There is no end to kidnapping in Nigeria as kidnappers are often handsomely rewarded and sometimes given amnesty.

Even in Zamfara State, bandits who killed, kidnapped and razed houses were given ‘palatial’ treatment as they sat among policemen, traditional rulers, etc., to decide how peace could be maintained in the state. No arrest was made.

You kill, kidnap and commit arson in Nigeria, you are more likely to be respected.

But not every criminal-minded person enjoys that.

At other times, they are idolized and made celebrities. Upon the capture of the ‘billionaire’ kidnapper, Evans, Nigerian policemen excitedly posed for selfies with the alleged notorious kidnapper.

In Enugu, the kidnapping tale in Nigeria has become more intriguing with the news two brothers who kidnapped a member of another family for a bemusing reason, you will only know about in Nollywood movies.

According to PUNCH, two siblings were arrested by operatives of the Enugu State Police Command, on Friday.

They were Hyacinth Okeh and Fredrick Okweli.

Okeh and Okweli claimed that they were forced into kidnapping to avenge the abduction of their sister by their victim’s brothers.

These suspects were aged 20 and 22 respectively, are from Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Ebere Amaraizu, said they were arrested following their alleged involvement in the kidnap of Enejere Charles, who he claimed was their third victim.

Ebere Amaraizu said N187,000, two automatic pump action guns, charms, and two single-barrelled guns were recovered from the suspects.

But speaking to a source, the two men, who confessed to the crime, said they kidnapped their victim because his brothers, whose names they gave as Ogbonna Michael and Ezea Ifeanyi abducted their sister and collected N600,000 as ransom before her release.

Fredrick Okweli said: “I was arrested with my brother for kidnapping one man from our community. His brother abducted our sister and we kidnapped his brother in retaliation.

“We took our victim inside the bush and called his people to pay money before we released him.

“They paid the money but when we went to collect it at Ubollo-Afor in Udenu Local Government Area, the police arrested us”.

Hyacinth Okeh said: “After the money was paid and we were going to collect it at Ubollo-Afor, we didn’t know that security operatives had set a trap for us.

“Immediately we got to the place, we were arrested and taken back to the bush where we hid the victim and the gun, we used to carry out the operation.

“We had never kidnapped anybody before. We were forced to do this because Michael and Ifeanyi kidnapped our sister and collected money from us despite pleading with them,” he claimed.

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Crime

Kidnapping: South-west State Assemblies Mull Stiffer Punishment For Kidnappers

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The South-west state assemblies say they will establish laws that will impose stiffer punishment on kidnappers in the region.

Lagos and Ogun states already have laws prescribing the death penalty for kidnappers.

According to the Deputy Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Iroju Ogundeji, a bill recommending a death sentence for kidnappers was already in the works in Ondo and was awaiting passage.

The lawmaker, who decried the state of kidnappings and other forms of insecurity in the state, said the assembly was not happy with the development, especially the killing of Olakunrin.

Ogundeji said: “We are not happy with the ugly development; we already have a bill stipulating capital punishment for kidnappers and the bill would soon be passed into law. The bill entails that anybody found guilty of the kidnapping offence will be sentenced to death.”

Timothy Owoeye, the Speaker of the Osun State assembly, stated that the assembly would prescribe life imprisonment for kidnapping.

Owoeye said he had introduced the bill to the parliament and it would discourage kidnapping because of the stiff penalty recommended.

Owoeye said: “The bill which I introduced in June to curb the menace of kidnapping has passed first reading. The bill titled ‘State of Osun Kidnapping (Prohibition Bill), 2019’ recommends life imprisonment for perpetrators of the dastardly act.

“The bill has passed first reading but the House has decided to conduct public hearings so as to get the input of critical stakeholders as well as kidnap victims.

“On the issue of the death penalty, when the victim of a kidnap dies in the process of kidnapping, it is simply a murder charge; and it will be repetitive to introduce new laws considering there are enacted laws in place to deal with the issue.”

The Ekiti assembly has also called for a review of existing laws on kidnapping and banditry with the imposition of more stringent penalties for the offences.

The Speaker of the Ekiti assembly, Funminiyi Afuye, said a law for “very stiff penalties” would be passed “after a meeting of all stakeholders in the South-West”.






She said the house would not support death sentence for kidnappers, saying, “For now, a very stiff penalty is okay.”

However, the Speaker of the Oyo assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin, said consultations were ongoing over the spate of kidnappings in order to get an enabling law that would cater for all the six states in the South-West.

All the six states’ assemblies in the region recently converged on Ibadan for a security summit and agreed to tackle the menace of kidnapping.

Ogundoyin said: “On the issue of whether there would be a death penalty for killer herdsmen or kidnappers, we are going to take a common position on that with other state assemblies in the zone.”

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Buhari

Ajimobi: I Don’t Want To Be Minister Under Buhari, Prefer To Be Senator

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A former governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, says he prefers to be a senator in Nigeria to being a minister.

His reasons are not farfetched.

Fielding questions from journalists in Ibadan, the ex-governor infamous for his ‘constituted authority’ statement explained why he would want to be a federal lawmaker in the senate and not a minister under President Muhammadu Buhari.

“I hold President Muhammadu Buhari in high esteem. I will actually prefer a younger person to be considered for the ministerial slot since I am pursuing my senatorial ambition,” he stated.

He added, “I am in court for my senatorial election. I only expressed my preference that I am in court because I prefer the Senate.




“How can I be pursuing the Senate and ministerial appointment at the same time? I prefer the Senate.”

Ajimobi, however, pointed out that President Buhari had not offered him any ministerial appointment, noting that it was a reason he was committed to the petition the All Progressives Congress filed against Senator Kola Balogun at the tribunal.

Balogun, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared the winner of the Oyo South senatorial district election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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