NIGERIA - Portharcourt based Gospel artist Minaye PRINCEWILL releases new single ''Salvation''.
The song "Salvation" is a true reflection of God's love towards mankind. Giving Jesus to man is the Greatest gift of all time.
God empresses His Love for humanity by giving Jesus Christ to lay down His life for us. We should always and gladly celebrate that with our shoulders high to the glory of God, Full of boldness, cause Christ gave us victory in all ramifications of life.
We should always walk in the knowledge of that Truth.
The victory song will not depart from your habitation.
Salvation is Here!
I was lost
No where to be found..
I'm darken within, my soul can't be found..(Elele ma ma Elele mama)
Is it true lord, you've been calling for me.
Have been hidden inside me,No one to rescue me now..
And here in my heart,I heard the voice saying this is the way,come to me and be free and I go give you all you need.
Salvation has come.
Your glory I see.
Your beauty surrounds me.
This is the victory song..
Salvation has come.
The battle is won.
My spirit be lifted.
This is the victory song. Yeah..eyeah ehh..(Elelele..Elele mamama yah).
Only resurrection in Christ..
The life that we living, is all to you...
My praises I'm raising the blessings are pouring for me..
So na kri na teme alabo wa boma be eh eh eh eh
For all that you've done,I just can't describe it now.
Salvation has come
Bridge. I'm still living,cause am winning the victory life,that we're living, it's Amazing, the victory song...
Salvation has come
Owu ohh wu ohh uwo Ohh
Ebube dike is a song of praise to God currently being ministered in various churches and is written and composed by Femi Ajide; A gospel Artist based in Abuja. He is a multi talented instrumentalist and an exemplary leader in the music industry.
Femi Ajide has been in professional music for about 15 years. He started his music career in the junior choir at the age of six. He is a former music director of living Faith Church, Goshen Abuja (Winners Chapel National Headquarters )
His debut album has nine tracks of inspirational songs.
Multi-talented gospel music artiste Oladimeji Emmanuel also known as Image is out with a brand new highly spirited single titled “Call to Prayer”.
The song talks about the efficacy of prayers and what prayers can do in the life of a man. This is one song that every household must have in their music libraries.
Looking at all the happenings around the world in recent times, it’s obvious that what we need at this trying moment is God. Prayer indeed is the key that unlocks every door. If there is a man to pray, there is a God to answer. This song is an old hymnal song titled “ Wakati Adura Didun” and it features the highly sought after Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe popularly known as Genesis.
According to the music minister, this single is one of the tracks in his forthcoming album that will be released before the end of the year.
The last may not have been heard of the crisis rocking Oando PLC as the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) has issued an award against two companies owned by the chief executive officer of Oando Plc, Mr. Wale Tinubu and his deputy, Mr. Mofe Boyo to pay a total debt of US$680 million (equivalent of N244.8 billion) to Ansbury Investments Inc, which is owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi.
In its ruling on July 6, 2018, the LCIA held that Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) British Virgin Islands, which owns 55.96% of Oando PLC through a holding company named Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) Nigeria Ltd, is indebted to Ansbury Investment Inc. to the tune of US$600 million (equivalent of N216 billion).
An international lawyer and counsel to Ansbury Investment, Mr. Andrea Moja, confirmed the LCIA award in a press release on Sunday.
According to Moja, the Arbitration Court also held that a company known as Whitmore Asset Management Limited, whose ultimate beneficial owners are Wale Tinubu and Mofe Boyo, are indebted to Ansbury Investment to the tune of another US$80 million (N28.8 billion). This brings the total debt owed by the Oando managers to Ansbury Investment to US$680 million.
Documents obtained from the LCIA, which is reputed to be one of the world’s leading international institutions for commercial dispute resolution, identified the family of a Nigerian-Italian, Mr. Gabriele Volpi as the ultimate beneficial owner of Ansbury, while Mr. Wale Tinubu and Mr. Mofe Boyo are the ultimate beneficial owners of Whitmore Assets Management Limited.
The London Arbitration Court held that an existing “Third Shareholders Agreement” between the parties is fully and legally binding on the parties as claimed by Ansbury Investment.
The documents indicate that a final award in which the court will pronounce on accrued interests on the debts owed and legal expenses incurred by Ansbury will follow in the next few days. The LCIA award has been communicated to the parties concerned since July 9, 2018.
The Ansbury statement reads in part: “The award has been communicated to the parties on July 9th, 2018 and the key terms are as follows:
“The claim of Whitmore Asset Management Limited that the parties agreed to a binding Fourth Shareholders Agreement was rejected. The court upheld the position that the Third Shareholders Agreement is fully and legally binding between the parties as stated by Ansbury Investments Inc.
“The alleged agreement by which Whitmore Asset Management Limited was to hold 60% Of Ocean And Oil Development Partners (BVI) Limited is not binding on the parties.
“Ocean And Oil Development Partners (Bvi) Limited owes a debt to Ansbury Investments Inc for an amount of US$600 million.
“Whitmore Asset Management Limited owes a debt to Ansbury Investments Inc for an amount of US$ 80 million.
“This partial award will be followed by a Final Award in which the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) will pronounce on interests on the amounts owed and legal expenses.
“Given the above, Ansbury Investments Inc will immediately submit an application to London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) in which it will be asked to charge Whitmore Asset Management Limited for all the due interests and legal expenses as well.”
In 2012, Ansbury reportedly invested about $700 million in Ocean and Oil Development Partners Limited (OODP BVI), a special purpose vehicle registered in the British Virgin Islands by acquiring a 61.9 per cent stake in the firm, while a company owned by Tinubu, Withmore Limited, held 38.10 per cent of the stake in OODP BVI.
Tinubu had approached Mr. Volpi to invest in the British Virgin Islands-registered firm when Oando PLC was seeking to acquire ConocoPhillips’ upstream oil and gas assets in Nigeria for $1.5 billion. OODP BVI, in turn, owns 99.99 per cent of the shares of Ocean and Oil Development Partners Nigeria Limited (OODP Nigeria), which holds 55.96 per cent of the shares in Oando.
When the disagreement broke in 2017, Ansbury also petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in May accusing the management of Oando PLC of mismanagement, cooked books and huge indebtedness.
The petition was titled
“Serious Concern to Corporate Governance Existence, Gross Abuse of Corporate Governance and Financial Management in Oando Plc – Request for Urgent Regulatory Intervention.”
In the petition, Ansbury cited page eight of the company’s annual report of 2016, alleging that a “strong uncertainty regarding the going concern status of the group had already arisen in 2015 and strengthened in 2016 as clearly pointed out by the auditors in their report”.
The petitioners also alleged that “operational management closed with a consistent loss of over N7.68 billion, significantly worse than 2015”, arguing further that “the net loss for the year from continuing operations in 2016 amounted to N25.8 billion, adding to the net loss of N34.9 billion of the previous year (2015)”.
Ansbury also informed SEC that Oando’s “current liabilities as at December 31, 2016, far exceeds the current assets by N263.7 billion, confirming serious financial imbalance from the previous financial year”.
The petition culminated in the suspension of Oando’s shares on the floors of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in October 2017. The suspension was however lifted on April 11, 2018.
SEC has since ordered a forensic audit of Oando’s financial records.
Court Ordered Volpi To Pay Self, Tinubu Insists
According to the statement, lawyers representing Wale Tinubu and Mofe Boyo who are co-owners of Whitmore Asset Management Limited, have come out to say that contrary to the statement issued by the legal counsel to Ansbury Investment, Mr. Andrea Moja, the amounts owed to Ansbury Investments Inc, owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi, is in fact $80m owed by Whitmore Asset Management Limited, while the balance of $600m is owed by Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI.
It states that Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI Ltd, is owned by all three parties Wale Tinubu, Mofe Boyo and Gabriele Volpi, hence the judgement by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) implies that Volpi as part owner of OODP BVI owes himself by virtue of his ownership in the company.
‘‘The principals have chosen to speak as there were concerns that Volpi’s press release implied that they, Whitmore Limited, had a total indebtedness of $680 million. Sources have indicated that payment terms for the personal debt are being ironed out by both parties whilst payment terms for the $600 million owed by OODP will be determined by the LCIA which is reputed to be one of the world’s leading international institutions for commercial dispute resolution,’’ the statement read in part.
So the activist, Didier Jimenez-Castro of Hillsborough, New Jersey, got together with some other local organizers to create a GoFundMe page to raise money for a Trump Baby blimp, the Bridgewater Courier News says.
Jimenez-Castro set a fundraising goal of $4,500. “Within 22 hours, we reached our goal,” he told the Courier News.
“I contacted the manufacturer again and we will have our balloon by mid-August.”
The London blimp was also the result of a crowdfunding campaign.
“Donald Trump is a big, angry baby with a fragile ego and tiny hands,” the blimp’s fundraising page reads. “We want to make sure he knows that all of Britain is looking down on him and laughing at him.”
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Sentiments remained bearish in the Nigerian equities market as it further fell weekly by 0.62 percent on sustained profit taking activities.
The All Share Index (ASI) shed 232.82 points or 0.62 percent W-o-W to settle at 37,392.77 points while year-to-date loss stood at 2.22 percent. As a result, investors lost N84 billion as market capitalization went down to N13.546 trillion.
In the same vein, most sectored gauges fell, the NSE Banking index, NSE Consumer Goods index, NSE Insurance index and NSE Industrial index decreased by 2.10 per cent, 5.10 per cent, 0.43 per cent and 1.29 per cent respectively to close at 465.77 points, 891.54 points, 143.51 points and 1,927.75 points respectively. However, NSE Oil/Gas index rose by 0.71 percent to close at 316.17 points.
Meanwhile, a total turnover of 1.219 billion shares worth N17.333 billion in 17,362 deals was traded last week by investors on the floor of the Exchange in contrast to a total of 1.842 billion shares valued at N16.594 billion that exchanged hands previous week in 18,941 deals.
Market breadth was negative with 21 gainers and 55 losers. Custodian Investment led the gainer's table by 17.47 percent to close at N6.12 per share. C&I Leasing followed with a gain of 10.22 percent to close at N2.48, while Forte Oil rose by 9.68 percent to close at N28.90 per share. On the other side, Tantalizers led the decliners table by 25 percent to close at 27 kobo per share. Mutual Benefits Assurance followed with a loss of 24.44 percent to close at 34 kobo and DN Tyre & Rubber declined by 20.69 percent to close at 23 kobo per share.
Outlook For This Week
This week, analysts at Cowry Asset Management expects the local bourse to close flat in the green territory as early-bird companies release half-year results which in their opinion would be largely positive.
Analysts at Cordros Capital Limited said
“we guide investors to trade cautiously in the short-to-medium term, amidst continued selloffs, and the absence of a foreseeable one-off trigger in the near term.
However, our positive view of Nigeria’s long-term macroeconomic outlook, in addition to the likelihood of lingering external risks settling, remain supportive of long-term gains.”
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“If Trump says, ‘Let bygones be bygones because we have a world to run,’ that is essentially what Moscow needs from this,” one analyst said.
• British investigators believe the same military unit used to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential election may also be responsible for the nerve agent attack in Britain against a former Russian spy in March.
The attack was probably carried out by current or former agents of the service, known as the G.R.U., officials said. British investigators are closing in on identifying the individuals they believe poisoned the former spy, Sergei V. Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia.
But officials have not ruled out the possibility that another Russian intelligence agency, or privatized spinoff, could be responsible.
• “He told me I should sue the E.U.”
Prime Minister Theresa May revealed the advice President Trump had given her on how to negotiate Britain’s withdrawal from the E.U.: Go straight to court.
In her comments to the BBC, Mrs. May appeared to be pushing back against Mr. Trump, who had criticized her for ignoring his suggestion.
Twitter had a field day during Mr. Trump’s visit to Britain, including when the president momentarily seemed to (gasp!) walk in front of Queen Elizabeth II. And a paraglider was arrested after unfurling a banner that read “Trump Well Below Par” over his Turnberry golf resort in Scotland.
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Heritage Bank Plc, has entered into a partnership with the Lagos branch of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) to host the 2018 Lagos Bankers & Stakeholders’ Nite.
General manager and chief compliance officer of Heritage Bank, Mr. Wumi Adeniyi, who disclosed this in a statement at the weekend, said the bank decided to support the Lagos Bankers’ Nite initiative because the event will foster a robust engagement among professionals in the sector as well as customers of banks.
“We take very significant recognition of the fact that we are a bank which must interface with our colleagues and customers at a time like this. It is a significant event in the calendar of the banking community in Nigeria and Heritage Bank, being a member of that community, must participate in it and we have supported the initiative over the years.”
The guest speaker at the event, Mr. Austin Okere, founder/ executive vice chairman of CWG Plc, in his paper entitled: “Big data, Fintech and the future of banking,” noted that the evolving technology which goes beyond financial application is expected to disrupt global supply chain by boosting transaction schemes across borders and improving the transparency of the process.
He said the technology uses the blockchain technology which has created the backbone of a new type of internet which was originally devised for the digital currency, remarking that it is this technology that Fintechs are leveraging to disrupt traditional banks.
He noted that the most disruptive application of the blockchain technology would be in the financial sector as consistent complaints about banks have reached a crescendo in recent times.
According to him, after centuries of receiving deposits and making loans, two customer groups have emerged, and both are calling for a change. The first group comprises of under-banked adults while the second comprises of members of the elite who believe that the relationship is absolutely skewed in favour of the banks.
He said the biggest threat to banks is the perception that they can always make profits even in times of economic downturn when the real sector of the economy suffered the most.
Okere contended that this has led many banks to believe that they are invincible, that is now characterized by loss of touch with customers.
He said the way forward for the banking industry is to collaborate with Fintech companies to deliver financial services because Fintechs have taken over financial services up to a third percentage of the population in volume and in value in countries like Kenya and China.
Also speaking, the chairman of the occasion, Mrs. Foluke Abdul-Rasaq, a director with United Bank for Africa (UBA), observed that a strong banking system is imperative to the economic growth of any country. She stressed that the strength of the sector will depend on the confidence of its practitioners.
Earlier in his address of welcome, Mr. Kola Abdul, Chairman, CIBN Lagos State Branch, reminded the audience that Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, once said in the mid-90s that banking is necessary, but banks are not.
Abdul said this sentiment has deepened among the population over the last decade with public opinion turning against banks. According to him, technology has begun to open a range of options in financial management following the financial crisis of 2008.
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It was finally a night to celebrate in this village tucked into the mountains of central Puerto Rico.
People pressed TV remote buttons, clicked on fans and plugged in refrigerators as electricity again flowed into homes that had been without power since two major hurricanes devastated the U.S. territory nearly a year ago.
Lights are slowly coming on for the more than 950 homes and businesses across Puerto Rico that remain without power in hard-to-reach areas. Repair crews are sometimes forced to dig holes by hand and scale down steep mountainsides to reach damaged light posts. Electrical poles have to be ferried in one-by-one via helicopter.
It is slow work, and it has stretched nearly two months past the date when officials had promised that everyone in Puerto Rico would be energized.
And even as TVs glow into the night and people like 20-year-old delivery man Steven Vilella once again savor favorite foods like shrimp and Rocky Road ice cream, many fear their newly returned normality could be short-lived. Turmoil at the island’s power company and recent winds and rains that knocked out electricity to tens of thousands of people at the start of the new hurricane season have them worried.
“If another storm comes through, we’re going to die. There’s no money left here,”
said 66-year-old Marta Bermudez, who still has a blue tarp over her rusting zinc roof. She doesn’t believe the government has enough resources to properly rebuild the power grid amid an 11-year-old recession.
Still, after power was restored to her house on Friday, she celebrated no longer having to eat a diet of mostly rice, bananas and soup or wash clothes by hand in a sink that she and her husband found on the street after Hurricane Irma.
The only power they had for 10 months was courtesy of a neighbor who threw over a thin yellow extension cord connected to his generator that provided just enough power to light one bulb in her kitchen and another in her living room for a couple hours each day.
Puerto Rico’s electrical grid is still shaky after Hurricane Irma brushed past the island as a Category 5 storm last Sept. 6 and then Hurricane Maria made a direct hit as a Category 4 storm two weeks later, damaging up to 75 percent of transmission lines.
More than 52,000 power poles have been installed and thousands of miles of cable secured, with some 180 generators still providing power at key locations. But Gov. Ricardo Rossello warns that there is no backup system yet in case the power goes out again, which it did for up to 47,000 customers when the remnants of what was once Tropical Storm Beryl lashed Puerto Rico with rain and wind in early July.
A further complication is the lack of leadership at Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority, which has seen four directors since Maria, the most recent one lasting only a day in the job.
The turnover comes as federal and local officials try to strengthen the power grid in the middle of a new hurricane season and as Puerto Rico’s government prepares to privatize the generation of electricity and award concessions for transmission and distribution.
The changes at the power company, which include the resignation of five board members Thursday after the governor criticized a $750,000 salary for the newest CEO, are not a surprise to Juan Rosario, the board’s former consumer representative.
“The best thing to do when a boat is sinking is to jump into the water,” he said.
Still, despite the instability at the power company and their worries over the power grid’s ability to survive this year’s hurricane season, Puerto Ricans in the remote areas that recently had electricity restored are happy they can go back to their previous lives and no longer have to drain savings to fuel generators.
For the first time in 10 months, retiree Ramon Serrano watched the 11 o’clock news on a recent weeknight and was at peace knowing the insulin he depends on was safe in a cold refrigerator. He went to bed at midnight with his wife.
“It’s the latest we’ve been up,” said the 77-year-old Serrano, who lives in Adjuntas.
The wait for electricity was too much for some in the village.
Mayra Natal, a 47-year-old housewife, said she left Puerto Rico in February to live with relatives in New Jersey for four months because she couldn’t take being without electricity anymore. She returned in May thinking power would be restored soon, only to spend two more months without it despite promises from power restoration crews.
“They kept saying, ‘Next week, next week.’ And that’s what it’s been like until now,” she said.
Some Puerto Ricans are still waiting to celebrate.
Outside a pastel green home perched on a remote mountain surrounded by lush palm trees, 90-year-old Domingo Ortiz sits waiting.
He hasn’t had power since Hurricane Irma and burned through more than 200 candles until a group of volunteers gave him solar lamps this past Tuesday after navigating their way up a steep road filled with deep holes.
They also gave him a solar-powered inverter and a small refrigerator it runs. He and his two sons have filled the refrigerator with four bottles of water, a six-pack of soda and a package of meat stuffed into the tiny freezer.
Every day, Ortiz looks at the lone light post in front of his house and the downed cable that lies curled nearby.
Asked what is the first thing he will do after getting power back, he gestured toward an old boom box sitting on his porch.
“I’m going to turn that on and dance a little from happiness,” he said.
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The deputy governor, Economic Policy, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Joseph Nnanna, has called on the federal government to reduce its level of domestic borrowing so as to drive down the lending rate in the money market.
Nnanna disclosed this at a roundtable event on factoring financing held in Abuja on the sidelines of the just concluded African Export-Import Bank’s annual conference. He said it would be difficult for deposit money banks to lend at a single digit interest rate when the government is borrowing from the banks at an average rate of 18 percent.
‘‘If the government can stop borrowing and start living within its means, liquidity will be there and banks will be constrained to lend at a single digit,’’ he said.
Also, as part of plans to support the search for credit by the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM bank) may soon begin to perform factoring function or support a registered company as a domestic factor.
Experts said factoring means that when a firm makes supplies to a bigger company, he transfers the invoice that has been issued to a third party (the Factor) who himself can then go and collect it when it matures because he has the capacity. In the meantime, the small enterprise has received the money on that same day he issues the credit and removes it from its balance sheet so the Factor takes the risk of the possibility that the obligor cannot be able to pay.
The factoring law is said to be before the National Assembly.
Managing partner, Perchstone and Graeys, Mr Osaro Eghobamien told COLOSSUS GISTS that;
“When the factoring laws is passed, signed and becomes operational, what NEXIM bank will be doing is that they are going to go into what is known as open trade. Afreximbank will provide a lot of money to NEXIM and NEXIM bank will then be able to support a lot of small and medium size enterprises.”
Managing director, Intra- African Trade Initiatives, Afreximbank Mrs. Kanayo Awani, also explained that while factoring is a relatively new concept of funding MSMEs in Africa, it is picking up in fast pace in Nigeria.
Also speaking at the roundtable event, chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency, Jones Onyereri, said that the factoring bill, which is currently before the National Assembly, would receive accelerated passage. He said since it was becoming difficult for small businesses to raise money from banks to finance their operations, there was a need to come up with legislation that would support the use of alternative financing instruments.
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Chinese American actress Mai Tai Sing died on July 11. Sing appeared in numerous films and TV series and was a performer at San Francisco’s legendary Forbidden City nightclub. She was 94.
Sing died in Hawaii after battling heart disease according to the Los Angeles Times. Born Mae Tsang in Oakland on Dec. 22, 1923, Sing’s entertainment career started when she, without any experience in dance, became a chorus girl in Forbidden CIty’s all-Chinese shows in the ’40s.
She rose up in the ranks and became the dance partner of Wilbur Tai Sing. They toured the country and eventually married and had two daughters, but divorced in 1954.
She started to appear in TV and film in the ’50s when Asian Americans were barely seen in entertainment. She appeared in episodes of Hong Kong and The New Adventures of China Smith. She went on to appear in Hawaii Five-O in 1975 and Jake and the Fatman in 1990. In film, she appeared in The Golden Horde (1951) and then in the Rudolf Mate-directed Forbidden starring Tony Curtis, Joanne Dru, and Victor Sen Yung. She also starred alongside Jeffrey Hunter in Strange Portrait in 1966.
She and Hunter became romantically involved during filming. She also appears in archival footage in the 1988 Deep Focus documentary Forbidden City U.S.A., which chronicles the club’s international reputation as a showcase of Chinese American performers.
In the ’70s, she moved to Hawaii and managed nightclubs that would host musical acts. She retired in 2003.
Sing is survived by her daughters Harvey and Rouillard.
The executive secretary of Financial Reporting Council, FRC, Daniel Asapokhai, has said that the new Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance that is being finalized by the council will ease access to capital by organizations.
Speaking at a public hearing on the exposure draft of the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018 for Federal Capital Territory in Abuja at the weekend, Asapokhai said organizations that practice good corporate governance are at better positions to attract lenders, who are looking for organizations that are properly governed.
The public hearing which commenced in Owerri a couple of weeks ago has been held previously in Port Harcourt and Gombe.
He said: “The Public hearings have really been impactful. It is our belief that this Code will promote ease of doing business, attract local and foreign investments and enhance the integrity of the Nigerian capital market, by entrenching a culture of disclosure, transparency, and accountability. In addition, this Code will raise public awareness of good corporate governance practices.”
Asapokhai revealed that the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance has adopted the ‘Apply and Explain’ principle, which requires companies to apply the requirements of the Code and to explain how they did so.
He also said that the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018 shall apply to all public companies; whether listed or not, all private companies that are holding companies of public companies and other regulated entities, concessioned and privatized companies, and regulated private companies.
In his presentation, he said the new code has 28 principles, 7 parts, and 230 practices.
The federal government suspended the former code of corporate governance and constituted a technical committee lead by Alhaji MK Ahmad to produce a revised national code. The committee has been working on the new code since January.
Speaking with COLOSSUS GISTS, Ahmad said the code is about flexibility as it contains a minimum standard for corporate governance regardless of the size of the organization.
Head, Directorate of Corporate Governance, Financial Reporting Council (FRC) of Nigeria, Mr. Nelson Anumaka said that with the national code, other codes will be within the ambit of minimum requirements enshrine in it.
In a chat with COLOSSUS GISTS at the event, Professor Uche Nwaleke of Nasarawa State University said the code unifies all the other codes and provides a benchmark. According to him, the code will enhance ease of doing business as investors are interested in organizations that have strong corporate governance.
With rattled world capitals watching, President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are ready to go one-on-one in a summit that plays out against a backdrop of fraying Western alliances, a new peak in the investigation into Russian election meddling and fears that Moscow’s aggression may go unpunished.
Monday’s meeting was condemned in advance by an assortment of members of Congress from both parties after the U.S. indictment last week of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Trump’s presidential campaign. Undeterred, the American president is set to go face-to-face with Putin, the authoritarian leader for whom he has expressed admiration.
The meeting comes as questions swirl about whether Trump will sharply and publicly rebuke his Russian counterpart for the election meddling that prompting a special counsel probe that Trump has repeatedly labeled a witch hunt.
While Trump was eager for a made-for-TV spectacle that will dominate headlines like his sit-down with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month, the Kremlin’s primary mission was simply the occurrence of the summit. Putin hopes the meeting, mere hours after he presided over the World Cup finals, will help him forge good personal ties with Trump and focus on areas where Moscow and Washington could find common ground, such as Syria.
The two leaders first meet one-on-one in the Finnish presidential palace’s opulent Gothic Hall, then continue their discussions with an expanded group of aides and over lunch in the Hall of Mirrors, once the emperor’s throne room. The leaders will then take questions at a press conference before going their separate ways.
Putin will likely not be shooting for official recognition of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea or easing of the crippling U.S. sanctions, aware that the U.S. Congress would never allow such action. But he would welcome a symbolic end to Western protests over Crimea and Moscow’s attempts to destabilize elections and traditional Western alliances and norms.
Trump unleashed his own attacks on those very institutions before arriving in Finland.
In an interview with CBS that aired Sunday, Trump described the European Union, a bloc of nations that includes many of America’s closest allies, as a “foe.”
“I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade,” Trump said.
That attack on the alliance came on the heels of Trump’s jarring appearance at a NATO summit in Brussels, where he harshly criticized traditional allies over “delinquent” defense spending only to later confirm his commitment to the military alliance that has long been a bulwark against Russian aggression.
And on the eve of his meeting with Putin, who has cracked down on the free press, Trump unleashed a series of attacks on the media as Air Force One descended into Helsinki, complaining that Democrats and the press were unlikely to give him credit for any summit accomplishments.
“Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough – that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!” Trump tweeted. “Much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the people and all the Dems know how to do is resist and obstruct!”
In his next tweet, he congratulated Putin on hosting “one of the best ever” World Cup tournaments.
“Russia has done nothing to deserve us meeting them in this way,” said Nina Jankowicz, a global fellow at the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute who specializes in Russia, Ukraine and disinformation. For Putin, she added, “not only is this a P.R. coup no matter what happens, Trump could say nothing and it would help to legitimize his regime.”
Hovering over Helsinki is the specter of the 2016 election interference and ongoing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russia.
Trump said in Britain last week — another chaotic stop on his European tour — that he would raise the issue of election meddling with Putin even as he played down its impact.
“I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee, I did it. I did it. You got me,'” said Trump, invoking a television detective. “There won’t be a Perry Mason here, I don’t think. But you never know what happens, right? But I will absolutely firmly ask the question.”
Trump also said in the CBS interview that he had given no thought to asking Putin to extradite the dozen Russian military intelligence officers indicted this past week in on charges related to the hacking of Democratic targets.
But after being asked about that by his interviewer, Trump said “certainly I’ll be asking about it” although extradition is highly unlikely. The U.S. doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Moscow and can’t force the Russians to hand over citizens. Russia’s constitution also prohibits turning over citizens to foreign governments.
Putin is likely to strongly reaffirm his denial of any meddling and cast the U.S. charges as unfounded.
The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected last week’s indictment as part of a “shameful comedy” staged by those in the U.S. who try to prevent the normalization of Russia-U.S. ties, arguing that it doesn’t contain evidence to back the accusations.
On Syria, a possible deal could see Moscow helping mediate the withdrawal of Iranian forces and their Hezbollah proxies from the areas alongside Syria’s border with Israel — a diplomatic coup that would reflect Russia’s carefully cultivated ties with both Israel and Iran.
While both Putin and Trump spoke about the need to discuss arms control issues, they are unlikely to make any quick deals. They may underline the importance of continuing the discussions, setting the stage for discussions on expert level.
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Niger State Police Command has apprehended one Bello Muhe, 25, for allegedly killing his wife. Muhe was reportedly arrested by police operatives of the command while trying to escape.
The suspect, who hailed from Gautan Fadama village in the Bagudo Local Government Area of Kebbi State, was said to have killed the wife, Husse Ali, 25, for being promiscuous.
It was learned that the suspect had earlier sent the wife to her parents over her adulterous lifestyle, but she reportedly continued the act at her parents’ home.
Northern City News gathered that Muhe allegedly lost his temper and murdered his wife.
“I used machete to kill her for refusing to adhere to my instruction; I told her to desist from sleeping around with other men but she disobeyed me and I blew my top and killed her,” he narrated to Northern City News on Friday.
The suspect described the deceased as a stubborn woman, adding that she refused to respect his admonition to stop sleeping around with men.
“My wife was stubborn, I sat her down and told her the implications of what she was doing, she ignored me and she had to pay the price.”
The Command’s Public Relations Officer, Muhammad Abubakar, confirmed the incident, stating that Muhe had been charged to court.