…As Badaru assures prompt payment of entitlements
One hundred and thirteen Generals of the Nigerian Army have retired or would be retiring from the Service this year even as the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, has praised them for their sacrifices and unwavering commitment to the nation’s stability.
The Minister also assured them of prompt payment of their pension entitlements.
Badaru gave the assurance on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, during a Regimental Dinner Night organised in honour of the newly retired and retiring senior officers at the Armed Forces Officers’ Mess in Asokoro, Abuja.
A statement by the director, Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, said the honourees included one General, one Lieutenant General, 67 Major Generals and 44 Brigadier Generals, who bowed out of the Nigerian Army, after meritorious and dedicated service without blemish to the nation within the year.
The minister urged the retirees to reflect appropriately on the next phase of life, assuring them of Government’s commitment to prompt payment of pensions of retired personnel.
Badaru saluted the retirees and expressed the nation’s gratitude for their exemplary service, love for country and commended their spouses for their perseverance.
He charged members of the Armed Forces to remain loyal and sustain the culture of supporting democracy in Nigeria and across the shores.
He added that the disposition of the Armed Forces towards democracy had made it a shining example in West Africa and an influencer in the comity of nations.
The minister stated that the occasion provided Nigerian Army the opportunity to reflect on its service and profound dedication as demonstrated by the retired and retiring senior officers.
He said the experiences and skills garnered while in Service and respect for diversity, which has been their working principles throughout their career, will provide them a veritable platform as they exit the service.
Badaru stated that the federal government will continue to do all within its reach to improve the well-being of serving and retired personnel.
In his remarks, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, enjoined the retired senior officers to appreciate God and the Nigerian Army for a successful sojourn in the ‘noble profession of arms’ and attaining the point of meritorious disengagement from active service.
The COAS appreciated the wives and families of the retired senior officers for their patience and support while holding the home front.
Gen. Lagbaja expressed gratitude to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Assembly and the Defence Ministers for their untiring support to the Nigerian Army.
He reaffirmed the unalloyed loyalty of the Army to the President and the nation in the discharge of its constitutional roles in defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
In a vote of thanks on behalf of retired Generals, Major General Victor Ezugwu (Rtd) appreciated the COAS for the honour accorded them, pledging that they will remain good ambassadors of the Nigerian Army, even in retirement.
Highlights of the event were the presentation of record of service certificates and souvenirs to the retired and retiring senior officers and a loyal toast to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Order CBN to honour Letters of Credit– SINET to Tinubu, NASS
Amidst several hardships facing the Nigerian populace, the Social Integrity Network, (SINET) has urged President Ahmed Bola Tinubu and the leadership of national assembly to compel the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, to order and reconsider honouring the forward contracts that are genuinely backed up with proper compliant documents for utilisation against each Letters of Credit (LCs) opened by the commercial banks using the forwards as a hedge.
The group also urged the Federal Government to make further clarification concerning a statement credited to the CBN Governor on issues regarding the alleged and well-publicized revelations of a $2.4 billion forex trading fraud.
SINET recalled that “On February 5, 2024, the governor of CBN made this declaration in both his interactions with Senate committees and his interview on a national television, following the engagement of Deloitte Management Consultant to conduct a forensic investigation where he claimed that the said amount was uncovered.
A statement issued on Monday by SINET national coordinator, Ibrahim Issah, disclosed that “On the contrary, we wish to unequivocally state that these claims lack merit and do not take into account the consequences they will have on businesses, public perception, or the economy of our cherished nation and its implication on forex both at home and abroad.”
According to him, “Without sentiment, the claim is completely falsehood and unacceptable as he, the CBN governor, failed to consider its economic implications. It is pertinent to state that genuine businessmen and women across the country, borrowed Funds from commercial banks, some with interest rates as high as 30% to secure forex from the CBN through their respective commercial banks since CBN does not sell the dollars to individuals directly.
“The same funds have been deposited with CBN for the past one and half years for forwards allocated for which the Apex Bank is now claiming were fraudulent transactions. May we remind Mr. Governor that while the CBN allocated the forwards after collecting the naira for each forward allocated, the commercial banks used these same forward contracts as a hedge and issued Letters of Credit (LCs) to their various customers against their offshore credit lines and also as a sovereign guarantee to their offshore banks which stand unpaid till today as a result of the failure of CBN to honour the various forward contracts.
“May we also remind our CBN Governor that as a result of their failure to honour these contracts, the outstanding foreign loans continue to accrue interest (post-negotiation charges), which the commercial Banks are passing to their customers: the same customers you say do not have a genuine claim.”
The statement further stressed that, “The public would like to ask Mr. Governor the following questions: What will happen to the foreign bank that is expecting their payment to be paid back? What will happen to the businessmen and women who had borrowed Naira from commercial Banks and paid the same into the CBN account for the purchase of forex for over eighteen months? Who will bear the interest charged on borrowed funds locally? Who will bear the charges running against the offshore lines used in establishing Letters of Credit? What will happen to the businesses? What will happen to the employees that are dependent on the survival of the businesses that CBN is trying to kill?
“We call upon the senate president and, in fact, the president and Commander In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to call the CBN governor to order and reconsider honouring the forward contracts that are genuinely backed up with proper compliant documents for utilisation against each Letters of Credit (LCs) opened by the commercial banks using the forwards as a hedge.
“Let us state categorically that the CBN is killing businesses by cancelling the forward contracts that were sold to them about 18 months ago at the rate of N450/dollar and now selling the same funds to the commercial banks and directing the bank to sell the money at the rate of 1,500/dollar to the same businesses who initially had a forward contract at the rate of N450/dollar.
“May we also remind Mr. Governor, that failure to honour these forward contracts is taking commercial banks longer time to clean the offshore lines already used for establishing Letters of Credit against which shipments have been done and payment made to LC beneficiaries by the offshore banks. The delays of the commercial banks to settle their Forex obligations to their offshore banks is making our country risk to be very high.
“Lastly, the public will like to call on the coordinating minister for the economy, Mr. Wale Edun to engage the CBN regarding this issue of undelivered forward contracts because at present in Nigeria, almost 60% of companies in the manufacturing sector have been closed due to the volatility of Forex in Nigeria in order to avoid the other 40% from also closing down.
“This will go a long way to help the few remaining manufacturing companies still in operation in Nigeria and also encourage the new investors that the president and commander in-chief of the federal republic is trying woo to bring their investments to Nigeria.”
Senate Passes Sen Ashiru’s Bill To Establish National Road Transport Council
The Senate on Tuesday granted first reading to a bill seeking to establish a National Road Transport Council which is to be saddled with the responsibility of regulating the road transport industry and the transport profession in Nigeria.
The bill titled National Road Transportation Council (Establishment) Bill 2024 is sponsored by Deputy Senate Leader Senator Oyelola Ashiru and was introduced to the Senate plenary after the Senators resumed from their 30 day recess.
Further details of the bill fronted by the Kwara South Senator reveals that if signed into law a council board will be established which shall consist of a Board chairman and six members drafted from each geo-political zone of the country.
More insights of the bill sighted by the Sun also states that the board shall be presided by a representative from Ministries of transport, commerce and industry and aviation and they shall not be below the rank of a Director.
As highlighted in the explanatory memorandum of the bill , [b]the functions of the proposed council include; creating an effective regulatory framework on road transport service operators; determining the standard of knowledge and skills required for road transport service operators; encouraging the advancement of education in road transportation; ensuring accessibility of road transport facilities, [/b]channels, and routes; monitoring the performance of the regulated road transport industry; conducting background check on road transport service operators; registering all road transport service providers and determine the fees for such registration; setting guidelines and general policies for road transport service operators; updating the Federal Government on its activities and progress through annual and audited reports; reviewing progress and suggest improvement within the provisions of this Bill and do such other things as are necessary or incidental to the objects of the Council under this Bill or as may be assigned by the Federal Government.
The bill received the nod of the Senators via voice votes presided by the Senate President Godswill Akpabio shortly after it was introduced to the floor of the Red Chambers by the Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.