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Ayade, APC tender 749 exhibits, seek to upturn election of Sen. Jarigbe

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Ayade

Former Gov Ben Ayade and the All Progressives Congress have tendered 749 exhibits to upturn the election of Sen. Jarigbe Jarigbe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the ongoing National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal (EPT) in Cross River.

The sitting in Calabar, which continued to the late hours of Tuesday, was however adjourned to 10 a.m. on July 26 due to the poor lighting system in the courtroom.

The petitioners, Ayade and APC, called four witnesses for cross examination from Bekwarra Local Government Area, one of the LGAs in the northern senatorial district of the state where they alleged electoral irregularities.

However, a mild drama ensued in the courtroom when the lead counsel of Sen. Jarigbe, Mba Ukweni, SAN objected to the right of two witnesses of the petitioners to identify evidence P39 brought before the court.

Ukweni argued that for a witness to be able to identify or tender a document from the witness box, he or she must have mentioned or referred to it in an earlier deposition.

“It is similar to the rule of pleading; if you don’t plead any fact, you cannot lead evidence on it.

“So, if a witness does not refer to a document in his statement, he cannot also identify the document from the witness box or have it tendered, not just in election cases but also in civil matters,” he said.

Vehemently opposing the counsel to the respondent, Lead Counsel of the petitioners, Prof. Mike Ozekhome, said a witness could mention matters relating to the document in his deposition if he is a polling unit agent for his party.
“Our witnesses have mentioned register, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, (BVAS) and voters, the only thing they said they did not do was that they should have said voter register in their deposition.

“Our witnesses said they are from their polling units and can identify the document, the document was already tendered as exhibit, they were not trying to tender them but to identify them.

“A witness from a polling unit can be made to look at the register of voters or any document from that polling unit which he has identified,” he said.

Ruling on the matter, Justice M. A. Sambo upheld the objection of counsel to the respondent, Jarigbe and the PDP that a witness can only identify and speak on an issue contained in the deposition which he tendered.

This decision did not go down well with the counsel to the petitioners as he disclosed that they would challenge it in the end in their final written address.

Ayade is contesting the Feb. 25 Cross River Northern Senatorial District election in which Sen. Jarigbe of the PDP was declared winner.

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Job Losses, Factory Closures Loom As Unsold Goods Pile Up — MAN

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AGAINST the backdrop of sustained pressure in the foreign exchange market and high cost of production, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN has indicated that inventory of unsold goods is escalating to levels now threatening the existence of companies operating in the production sector of the economy with attendant job losses.

Findings show that as of the weekend the foreign exchange market had recorded over 254 per cent plunge in the value of the naira since flotation of the currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2023.

Recall that the naira traded for N471 per dollar in the official I&E market on June 13, 2023 before the floatation of the currency, but exchanged for N1,665.50 to a dollar as at February 23, 2024 on the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), indicating a depreciation of more than 253.6 per cent over the eight-month period. The forex crisis is also stoking inflation, and coupled with high energy costs, purchasing power has continued plummet, stifling demand for goods.

Speaking on the impact of this development on the manufacturing sector, Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said: “There are reports that across the board, many warehouses and plants of many manufacturing firms are stockpiled with unsold goods manufactured last year. “The development is as a result of the devastating effects of the exchange rate crisis, inflation, fake and sub-standard goods, smuggling and other macro-economics challenges.”

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CBN Lifts Ban On BDCs, Introduces New Operational Mechanism

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In a major development aimed at financial stability and strengthening the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to resume its weekly intervention in the country’s foreign exchange (FX) market through the Bureau de Change (BDC) operators.

In 2021, the central bank, in a bid to achieve its mandate of safeguarding the value of the local currency, ensuring financial system stability, and shoring up external reserves, announced the immediate discontinuance of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

However, the resumed intervention, which would reportedly commence today for funding as well as Tuesday for collection, will see the apex bank inject FX into the subsector in a bid to rescue the naira from further depreciation against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar. The collection will be at designated CBN branches in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Awka, while details of the naira accounts to be credited for funding bidding will also be made available today.

CBN is also expected to publish the list of eligible BDCs to benefit from its funding using certain compliance criteria.National Executive Council of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) hinted on the latest developments through a memo to its members over the weekend.

The association also warned members that it will no longer be business as usual under the new supervisory regime of the central bank, as any infringement or infraction would result in outright revocation of license and prosecution.

ABCON said through the association’s various engagements with the central bank, in conjunction with ABCON’s strategic partners, CBN had agreed to its request, under the bank’s supervision, to inject liquidity into the market through a weekly intervention beginning today.

CBN assured ABCON that the new circular on the Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines to BDCs, which was introduced over the weekend, was only a draft exposure that required the association’s inputs before the release of the final guidelines by the apex bank.

To that effect, the letters of the guidelines were not cast in stone, the association’s leadership told its members, who had been worried over the sweeping reforms in the document, which, among other things, prescribed N2 billion and N500 million minimum capital for national and state BDCs, respectively.

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