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Tribunal upholds Benue Rep., Achado’s victory

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The National/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Makurdi, has upheld the victory of Rep. Asema Achado, of All Progressives Congress (APC), in the Feb. 25, Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency election.

Delivering the judgment on Saturday, Chairman of the panel, Justice Amina Adamu, said the petitioners, Emmanuel Ukaa and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), failed to prove their case.

Adamu said the petitioners also failed to provide any shred of cogent and compelling evidence to support the alleged offences against the second respondent, Achado.

According to the judge, Section 65 of the Nigerian Constitution provides for the nature of the certificate required for contesting election into the National Assembly election, and Form EC9 relied upon by the petitioner in evidence, is not a certificate.

Amina further held that Achado’s evidence and the academic certificates he tendered were not challenged by the petitioners, whose evidence was porous and contradictory.

She said the petitioners failed to provide any single element required by law to prove allegations of forgery in an election petition.

“The documents tendered by the respondent showed that though his names were arranged differently, the credentials belong to him.

The petitioners have also failed to list the names of schools the respondent attended, and the certificates he allegedly forged. How did the petitioners know that Achado’s certificate is forged, when they did not present any certificates?”

The tribunal held that the petitioners ought to have proven their case by submitting relevant documents to support that, not based on the information contained on form EC9.

The tribunal, consequently struck out the petition for lacking in merit, unsubstantiated in law, vague and baseless, and therefore, affirmed the victory of Achado.

The court accordingly awarded the cost of N25,000 against the petitioners in favour of each of the three respondents, INEC, Achado, and the APC.

Ukaa had dragged Achado to the tribunal challenging his credentials.

The PDP candidate had accused the respondent of forging his certificates and Form EC9, and urged the tribunal to nullify the APC candidate’s election and declare him 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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