NIGERIA NEWSPAPERS: TODAY’S THE NATION NEWSPAPER HEADLINES [20 FEBRUARY, 2018].

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Below are the headlines found on The Nation Online Newspaper for today, Tuesday, 20 February, 2018.

For advising President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek reelection and initiating the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), former President Olusegun Obasanjo came under attack yesterday.
Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka dismissed the CNM, saying he would need to have his head examined should he identify with the Obasanjo-inspired group.
 
Former Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Adamu warned the ex-President that he might soon become a national nuisance, with the way he had refused to allow his predecessors run the country.
Sen. Abdullahi Adamu said Obasanjo cannot dictate to Nigerians who to vote in 2019.

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He also described Obasanjo’s CNM as a red herring which cannot influence the outcome of the next election, adding that the former president’s statement was in bad taste.
According to him, Obasanjo ought to have been put on trial for corruption.
Prof. Soyinka spoke in an interview with BBC Yoruba. Adamu spoke at a news conference in Abuja.
Soyinka said: “Me? Obasanjo would establish a group and I will become a member of such group? That means they should get a psychiatrist to examine me.”
 
He also spoke about the controversial statement by former military President Ibrahim Babangida, also on Buhari’s administration.
Soyinka said: “When these soldiers begin to speak, we are supposed to get suspicious and ask what exactly do they have in mind? It is possible that what they have in mind is different from what we have in mind.”
“You can look at it from two perspectives – the messenger and the message. The message should be examined closely. We should not look at the misdeeds of the messenger alone. Let’s start by asking, is he saying the truth or telling lies, or is he being tricky?

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“If he is saying the truth and talking about things that are beneficial to the masses, we would allow that be. After that, we would now look at the person speaking; what is in his mind? …  even if it’s a little child who is speaking, as far as that child is saying the truth, we won’t ask the child to keep quiet. We won’t ask the child, what do you know? We would listen. It is the same situation with those who have presided over the affairs of this nation without making significant progress.
“We have seen their weaknesses, we have seen their nakedness in public, if they now want to be covered by saying that they have turned a new leaf, we would examine that, too. What I am saying in essence is that what they have said should also be examined.”
He urged the youth to come together and present a candidate to represent them, adding that the older generation would support them.
“We have a lot of them. It is the turn of the younger ones. If they come together, as we speak, if they can start now and bring out one individual among them, we will work with him,” Soyinka said.
“We are going to give them the support they need to transform the country. People like us are supposed to sit somewhere.”
Adamu said Buhari does “not intend to leave a bleeding, disunited nation and disarticulated socio-economic development at the end of his tenure”.
He said: “…Let me say at this point that I am worried by the antics of Obasanjo and his penchant for promoting himself as the only competent Nigerian leader.
“Since he left office on October 1, 1979 to local and international applause, Obasanjo has systematically sought to undermine every federal administration after him. He has today set up himself as the moral conscience of the nation. He believes he has acquired the wisdom of King Solomon and has consequently imposed on himself the right to decide who rules us and how we should be ruled.
“Perhaps, part of the reason is that before leaving office in 2007, his party, the PDP, conferred on him the titles of Maker of Modern Nigeria and Father of the Nation. Such titles do have a heady way of making a man seeing his head bedecked in the halos of self-righteousness.

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“There is a process for changing our governments through the instrumentality of elections. Chief Obasanjo, one of the architects of that process and a beneficiary to boot, ought to support that process and let the people decide who they want to rule them. It is not for him to decide for the people or the president.
“No one should arrogate to himself eternal verities in the administration of his country. It is his consuming ambition to have his hands on the levers of power under all our presidents. When he loses that grip, he turns against the incumbent in office.
“He undermined Gen. Babangida’s economic programme, SAP, with his statement that the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) should have a human face and the milk of human kindness. He denigrated Gen. Babangida by advising people to whom the former president says good morning to check their wrist watches to make sure it is morning.
“Was he entirely motivated by that noble sentiment? I find that hard to believe.
“I find it difficult to  completely ignore what appear to me like the dark motives hovering over his action because I see it as a behavioural pattern that began with his 2014 letter to the then President Goodluck Jonathan, titled ‘Before it is too late’.
“It seems to me he believes that that letter alone cost Jonathan the presidency. So, if he is fatigued by President Buhari, he can resort to the same weapon with probably the same consequences. It is a long shot.”
The ex-governor insisted that the CNM recently inaugurated by Obasanjo to effect change in 2019 cannot achieve any result.
He said: “His Coalition for Nigeria is a red herring across the path of our constitutional government.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) circular on dividend The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) circular on dividend payout by commercial banks and discount houses has been analysed based on the performances and balance sheet positions of all lenders.

A report released yesterday by Afrinvest West Africa, an investment and research firm, showed that only six banks – Access Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank for Africa, Wema Bank and Zenith Bank- met the CBN’s minimum requirement for Capital Adequacy Ration (CAR) and Non-Performing Loans. Hence these banks are excluded from the restrictions on dividend payment.

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The firm explained that many lenders will not be able to pay dividends based on their capital reserves as well as the proportion of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) in a bid to forestall any threats to customer deposits in the system.
On the criteria that require lenders to meet the minimum Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) before dividend payout, the research firm said all the banks under its coverage, save for Unity and Union, met the minimum requirement stipulated by the CBN.
 
“For Unity, the current CAR (as at nine month 2017) is unavailable while Union Bank had a CAR of 13.3 per cent (below CBN requirement of 15 per cent in first half of 2017). We envisage Union’s CAR will improve by fiscal year 2017, adjusting for the capital raise of N50 billion via rights issue in 2017,” it said.
On another requirement that banks and discount houses that have a Composite Risk Rating (CRR) of “High” or a Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio of above 10 per cent shall not be allowed to pay dividend, the report said only FBN Holdings has a non-performing loan ratio above 10 per cent which should disqualify the entity from paying dividend.
“However, given the Holding company structure operated by FBN Holdings, analysts believe dividend can be paid from earnings of subsidiaries, other than the bank,” it said.
Further analysis of the report showed that banks and discount houses that meet the minimum capital adequacy ratio but have a CRR of “Above Average” or an NPL ratio of more than five per cent but less than 10 per cent shall have dividend payout ratio of not more than 30 per cent.
Under this condition, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (STI) is the only Tier-1 bank restricted to a maximum payout ratio of 30 per cent on the basis of the fact that its NPL ratio stood at 9.6 per cent in nine months of 2016.

Similarly, Diamond Bank, Fidelity Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Sterling and Union Bank are also restricted to a maximum of 30 per cent maximum payout ratio with respective NPL ratio above five per cent but below 10 per cent.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led states in the South South yesterday reiterated their resolve to work in unity to ensure the party forms the Federal Government in 2019.
Leaders of the party in the zone and their governors took this stand at a zonal Executive Council meeting at the Brick House in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.
They alleged that the APC government had failed to provide good governance and  destabilise the nation’s security infrastructure.

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Speaking at the meeting, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike said: “For us, what we want is free and fair elections for Nigerians  to determine the future  of the country.  Nigerians are tired of the APC.
 
“Nigerians have seen that the so called social group that calls itself  a Political party is a failure. The only political party in the country is PDP. APC took power by deceit, but they cannot govern”.
He urged PDP leaders  to remain focused.
National Chairman Uche Secondus said the country had collapsed.
He said: “We must rescue the nation. “Come 2019, Nigeria will be liberated from the hands of the APC. The APC has lost ground in all the six geo-political zones. We have to take one final step to sack the APC government.”
Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson called on the party leaders to support Secondus.
Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel said the South-South formed  the foundation for the revival of the country.
 

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Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio assured that the National Assembly would work with other PDP  leaders to ensure that the APC is sent packing in 2019.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami (SAN) has sought clarification from the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Festus Keyamo, in relation to the charge they filed against the Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar.
The clarification, which was contained in a query, dated February 16 and signed by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Mr. Dayo Apata, was made available to reporters yesterday in Abuja.
Apata said the EFCC Acting Chairman had up to today to advance his response to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
 
The query asked Magu to explain what informed the filing of corruption charges against the tribunal chairman, having been cleared of corruption allegation two times by the same EFCC.
One of the letters titled: “FRN VS Danladi Umar (CR/109/18) request for briefing,” reads in part: “The attention of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation was drawn to news report that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed charges of corruption against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Hon. Justice Umar, before Chief Justice Ishaq Bello of the FCT High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja.
“I am directed by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation to seek clarification from you as to whether the charges were filed on your instruction or directive and if in the affirmative, what is the compelling basis for doing so. This clarification becomes imperative in view of the following background facts.
“The commission’s investigation report dated March 5, 2015 addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation stated as follows: “The facts as they are now against Justice Umar raised a mere suspicion and will therefore not be sufficient to successfully prosecute for the defence.

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“The commission’s position in paragraph 2(a) above was also maintained and sustained by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation while appearing before the House of Representatives’ Investigative Committee sometimes in 2015 to the effect that report of investigations showed that the allegations against Hon. Justice Danladi Umar were based on mere suspicions.
“In view of the foregoing, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation requests for your prompt briefing as to the existence of new facts, which are contrary to the position in your attached investigation report, sufficient evidence or other developments upon which the prosecution of Hon. Justice Danladi can be successfully based.
THE special sitting of the Federal High Court in Wawa Cantonment, Kainji, Niger State, has ended with the conviction of 205 Boko Haram members, who were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.
One of the convicts, identified as Alhaji Bukar Jindi, got the longest term of imprisonment.
A statement issued by the Federal Ministry of Justice yesterday revealed that 19-year-old Jindi got a total of 66 years upon being convicted on a two count charge.
 
The media aide to the Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami, Salihu Isah, said in the statement, that Jindi got 16 years on the first count and 50 years on the other.
Jindi, Isah added, was convicted for admitting to be a member of the sect Boko Haram and carrying out several attacks leading to loss of lives and properties.
The statement reads: “The unremorseful and unrepentant convict vowed to go back to crime if he is released.
“He was arrested in 2015 at the age of 17. He will have to spend 50 years in prison with effect from the date of his arrest.”
Isah said only one of those tried, Modu Maina, a native of Bama Local Government Area of Borno State was discharged and acquitted.
He was arrested in Ketu, Lagos State where he worked as a gateman.

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“Maina confessed that he was forcefully initiated into the Boko Haram group but relocated to Lagos to avoid being arrested in Bama.
“He said that all the confessional statements he made to Joint Task Force (JTF) was under alleged torture.
“The presiding judge, having reviewed the defendant’s written confessional statements, found him not guilty,” Isah said.
He added that a total of 526 Boko Haram “suspects were discharged for want of evidence, under aged and persons suffering from mental illness.”
Isah said most of the 205 that were convicted were found guilty of admitting “to belonging to the terrorist group; concealing information about the group which they knew or believe to be of material assistance that could lead to the arrest, prosecution or conviction of Boko Haram members. Their jail term ranges from 3 to 60 years.
In early February this year, former President Olusegun Obasanjo published an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari titled: The way out: A clarion call for coalition for Nigeria movement. In it, he raised three fundamental issues.
One, he called on the President to forget his re-election ambition -an ambition which he has yet to declare in 2019 because of his failure on many fronts.
Two, he expressed his loss of faith in the capacity of our two biggest parties, APC (All Progressives Congress) and PDP (Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to drive the nation’s development.
 
Three, he advocated the formation of Coalition for Nigeria, a movement according to him, “that will drive Nigeria up and forward.”
Two weeks or so later, former President Ibrahim Babangida’s media aide, Kassim Afegbua, issued a statement on his behalf in which he claimed that the general too advised the President to bury his ambition for a second term in office because of his alleged failures and because the nation needed a digital and not an analogue leader.
The general promptly denied authorising the statement. Both Afegbua’s statement and Babangida’s are still wrapped in controversy. Afegbua insists his statement remains authentic.
In his own signed statement titled: “My Counsel to the nation”, the former president advised the political parties to play by the rules and the government to be proactive in matters of security challenges.

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Perhaps, we should read his denial between the lines. While I am prepared to give Gen. Babangida the benefit of doubt for now, I would like to point out that he and his aide appear to have been encouraged to issue their separate statements by Chief Obasanjo’s letter. It is as if they wanted to take advantage of this to say what they had been itching to say about the president all along. I wish to remind the general that although men have short memories; history has a long memory. We can trace nearly all our present economic and political problems to his transition programme. We cannot forget SAP (Structural Adjustment Programme) that sapped the economy, or the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election for which the nation is still paying a stiff price. It is not always advisable to be holier-than-thou.

l have listened to and read the various responses to Obasanjo’s letter. I am encouraged by those responses because they point to our willingness to engage in a national dialogue, be it organised or informal, on matters that affect our country and our collective interests.
 
I can think of no single Nigerian who does not want our country to make the great leap from a struggling third world nation to a first world nation.
We are all in a hurry for our country to make that leap. Nigerians have never been found wanting in offering informed suggestions on what should be the focus of our political, economic and social development such that we could meld the multiplicity of tongues into a modern nation in which, to borrow from the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “we are judged by the contents of the mind and the brain and not by tribes and religions. Nation-building remains a work in progress in all countries. This is often slow and frustrating when the process itself impinges on our individual ambition.”
I believe that it was in this same spirit that Chief Obasanjo issued the letter. It would be uncharitable to ascribe anything other than the purest of patriotic motives to his recent outing. As former military head of state and as a civilian president, Chief Obasanjo is a respected and illustrious son of our soil. He would be morally remiss should he choose to keep quiet when he sees things going wrong in the land.
For a total of eleven and half years in power, he too struggled with the daunting challenges of our national development. He knows the challenges of ruling a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation faced with the crises of under-development.
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The Ojokoro Local Council Development Area (LCDA) has given out about 100 free jamb forms to the youths in the community . The Chairman, Hammed Tijani, said the forms were given to encourage and assist indigent students to attain greater height and break eve. He said: “We are giving this form free to give beneficiaries the opportunity to further their studies in any tertiary institution of their choice. “Upon assumption of office, we gave out free exercise books and other… Read more
A group, the Bukola Saraki Ambassadors, has warned against acts “capable of causing division” among stakeholders in the Senate President Bukola Saraki–led political structure. A statement by the Secretary, Ish-aq Olawale, said the warning became imperative following an inciting publication. Olawale maintained that the publication was a “hatchet job, full of deliberate misrepresentations and falsehood capable of causing disaffection among the top members of Saraki’s political structure.” The statement reads: “We know there is a political structure existing under the… Read more

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Nigeria’s former Ambassador to The Netherlands, Dr. Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, on her 70th birthday today. President Buhari, in a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and publicity, Femi Adesina, joined the Awolowo family, friends and professional colleagues of the cerebral daughter of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in celebrating the landmark age, in a life that has over the years been lined with service to her fatherland, and humanity, as a medical doctor, diplomat… Read more
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State has described Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s ‘suspension’ by the Senator Hunkuyi-led faction as illegitimate. It noted that the suspension is laughable and should be disregarded. The party said sale of forms for the primaries ahead of the May 12 local government elections will begin this week. This was part of resolutions reached after last Friday’s State Executive Committee (SEC) meeting. Acting Secretary Yahaya Baba Pate, who addressed reporters, said the meeting adopted the… Read more

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