The High Court of Lagos State had on Thursday, May 17th ordered an injunction prohibiting the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) from conducting elections into its vacant positions.
The restraining order will last until May 23rd, one week after it was proclaimed, after which another court hearing will be had.
According to the exparte order of injunction which was obtained by Nairametrics, the ruling was granted in favour of some aggrieved members of the accounting body led by Mr Oluseyi Olanrewaju, who filed a suit on the 14th of May, seeking an Order of Interlocutory Injunction aimed at restraining the defendant, ICAN, “from applying or seeking to apply the rule of ‘VERIFICATION/UPDATING OF MEMBER’ PROFILE'” during the organisation’s election hitherto scheduled for May 18th.
The claimants in the suit include- Oluseyi Olarewaju, Lateef Kazeem, Apanisile Olumide Adebowale, Balogun Yunusa Adeboye and Saheed Lasisi. The defendants, on the other hand, are the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and its President, Ismaila Muhammadu Zakari.
Background to the story
Mr Oluseyi Olanrewaju, in a sworn affidavit he deposited, stated that on May 26th, 2017 during ICAN’s 52nd Annual General Meeting, members reached a unanimous resolution to annul the following ICAN election rules-
- Group Voting and
- Profile Update as a precondition for voting
These rules, he alleged, “had for years beguiled its election into council and has been used by members in council to perpetuate themselves in power.”
He further stated that the ICAN President and Chairman of the Governing Council, Ismaila Muhammadu Zakari, had on April 6th, 2018 circulated a letter to all members, informing them of his decision to veto their unanimous resolution of May 26th, 2017.
According to Olarewaju’s deposition, the President’s reason for this decision was that the issues of member’s profile update and group voting were never on the agenda of the 2017 AGM and as such, do not suffice.
Olarewaju, however, noted that the minute of the meeting would attest to the fact that such issues were indeed deliberated upon, with a unanimous decision reached to its effect.
He further noted that the complainants had on April 14 written a rejoinder, reminding the President that the ICAN AGM “is the highest lawmaking body of the 1st Defendant and thus, any resolution taken remains valid until same is annulled by a subsequent Annual General Meeting.”
Meanwhile, despite the protests, ICAN and its Governing Council went ahead to conduct the controversial profile update verification exercise and even fixed May 18 (i.e., Saturday) as the commencement date for the 2018 Council Elections.
Olarewaju, through his affidavit further stated that the complainants strongly believe that nearly 38, 000 out of 40, 000 ICAN ‘financial members’ did not partake in the profile update exercise. What this means, therefore, is that 38, 000 members of the organisation were disenfranchised.
The complainants also believed that the Council had plans to make use of Group Voting during the election which had since been placed on hold by the Lagos High Court ruling.
Note, therefore, that it was in a bid to prevent the Governing Council from conducting an illegal election that the injunction was sought, and granted.
CBN extends Covid-19 forbearance for intervention loans by another 12 months
CBN will continue to charge an interest rate of 5% for its intervention loans for another 1 year.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced an extension of its regulatory forbearance for the restructuring of its intervention facilities by another 12 months.
In a circular signed by Dr. Kevin Amugo, the Director of Financial Policy and Regulatory. the apex bank said it will continue to charge its borrowers an interest rate of 5% per annum as against the 9% originally offered. The CBN had on March 20th reduced the interest rates on its intervention loans from 9% to 5% as part of its response to the economic crunch brought on by Covid-19 induced lockdowns.
The CBN also offered to rollover moratorium granted on all principal payments on a case by case basis. All credit facilities had been granted a one-year moratorium starting from march 1, 2020 when the pandemic first gripped Nigeria.
See excerpt from Circular
“The Central Bank of Nigeria reduced the interest rates on the CBN intervention facilities from 9% to 5% per annum for one-year effective March 1, 2020, as part of measures to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Nigerian economy.”
Credit facilities, availed through participating banks and OFIs, were also granted a one-year moratorium on all principal payments with effect from March 1, 2020.
Following the expiration of the above timelines, the CBN hereby approves as follows:
1) The extension by another twelve (12) months to February 28, 2022 of the discounted interest rate for the CBN intervention facilities;
2) The roll-over of the moratorium on the above facilities shall be considered on a case by case basis.
What this means
Companies who secured intervention funds from the CBN or through any of its on-lending banks will continue to service the loans at an interest rate of 5% per annum instead of 9%.
- They can also get another year of not needing to pay back the principal sum collection. However, they will need to apply.
- Whilst this move helps the small businesses continue to manage their cash flow, it means the CBN will record a reduction in its income extended under such facility.
- Regulatory forbearance is a widely adopted concept during an economic crunch and it is meant to help stimulate businesses. These pronouncements if implemented will only affect those who borrow from the CBN or BOI but those who do not will miss out.
- Download the circular here.
LNG boss tasks FG to begin the monetization of Nigeria’s gas
Mr Attah has urged the FG to take the gas sector more seriously as the future of Nigeria’s energy lies with it.
The MD and CEO of Nigeria LNG Limited Mr. Tony Attah has tasked the Federal Government to begin the revamping and monetization of the Gas sector in Nigeria.
He made this statement while making his presentation at the 2nd virtual Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) Industry Multilogues, with the theme: “Powering Forward, Enabling Nigeria’s Industrialization via Gas.”
Mr. Tony Attah drew the attention of the audience to the hidden treasure in the Nigerian Gas industry which he believes is not getting enough attention from the government.
On the future of gas as an alternative energy source, Mr. Attah stated that the developed world is already keying into gas as an alternative to crude oil. Gas has proven to be a cleaner and more sustainable alternative.
He exclaimed that Nigeria is very rich in gas and yet poor in energy. Nigeria is the 9th country with the largest gas reserves in the world but makes very little use of it.
Mr. Attah went further to paint a clear picture of the promise of investing in gas using the success achieved by Qatar. Qatar is currently the largest LNG exporter in the world.
“We just touched on a quick case study of Qatar. Someone mentioned Qatar already from a poor fishing country to a gas giant and it took just 10 years, which is why we, as Nigeria LNG, firmly believe in the conversation and the narrative about the declaration of the decade of gas.
“We believe it is possible. If you look at Qatar from 1995, when they really went into gas development, we were just two years behind Qatar. So, Qatar’s first LNG was in 1997.
“Nigeria’s first LNG was in 1999, just two years behind. But then, within 10 years, because of the deliberateness of the government and focus on gas, they have gone to 77 million tonnes and we are at best, 22 million tonnes,” Attah said.
Mr. Attah stressed further the importance of the gas sector in Nigeria’s future. He recalled that the Nigerian Government declared 2021-2030 as the decade of gas. He pleaded with the government to take the sector more seriously as the future of Nigeria’s energy lies with it.
“Gas is the future. That future is now, and just as the Minister of State has made us to realize, gas is food in fertilizer. Gas is transport as you saw in the Auto gas project that was declared.
“Gas is life, as a matter of fact, for cooking, for heating, for existence. Gas is development in manufacturing, gas is power. Gas is everything. “We think it’s time for gas. It’s time for Nigeria to diversify and that is why we fully support the decade of gas,” he said.
What you should know
- Early last year, the director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Mr Sarki Auwalu confirmed that Nigeria’s proven gas reserve stood at 203.16 trillion cubic feet.
- Nigeria has the 9th largest gas reserves in the world. It is also the 6th largest exporter of gas.
- The Federal Government declared the year 2021–2030 as the “Year of the Gas“. It pledged to finally kick start the development and commercialization of Nigeria’s huge gas reserves.
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