The Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), Ghana chapter, has provided details of the attacks on Nigerian residential buildings in Ghana.
In a phone interview with NAN, Vice-President of NIDO-Ghana, Mr Kingsley Attoe, stated that unknown armed men stormed the Nigerian High Commissioner’s residence in Accra, Ghana, with bulldozers and demolished four units of the nearly completed four-bedroom block of flats, on the property on the night of Friday, June 19.
At about 10 pm on June 19, the men entered the premises and ordered the Charge D’ Affairs to leave or be bulldozed. She left after calling the police headquarters, which was just a few meters away. Though there was no record of injury, the security operatives were harassed.
According to Attoe, the demolished buildings which were still under construction were meant to house staff and visiting diplomats to the High Commission upon completion.
Despite the reports made with the Police, no arrests have been made as of Monday morning.
“The information we have is that the High Commission was not informed, the guy who is said to be a businessman claims he owns the land title in 2019.
“We are petitioning the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Presidency in Nigeria, National Assembly and other relevant authorities in Nigeria, we need to act fast,” Attoe stated.
Attoe said further that Ghana is a sister nation to Nigeria and citizens of both countries do a lot of business together, hence their shock over the attack.
House of Reps response
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has said Ghana must face the consequences of its actions and inactions.
In a statement by its chairman, Rep. Yusuf Buba on Monday, the committee said the action infringed the International Rights of Nigeria and signifies an invasion of Nigeria’s sovereignty.
The lawmaker said that it was a gross violation of all known conventions and treaties on diplomatic relations and friendship between both countries, and Nigeria cannot let this one pass silently in the name of diplomacy.
“While the demolition lasted, several frantic efforts were said to have been made by members of the Nigeria Mission to report what was ongoing to both the Ghana Police Service and their Foreign Affairs Ministry.
“In spite of those efforts, no reprieve, we were told, came the way of the Nigerian diplomats. We further learned that, even when the Police finally arrived at the scene, they could not do anything,’’ he said.
Buba noted that that the present Nigeria mission in Accra, constituted four hectares of land that was officially allocated to Nigeria as part of the agreement to situate the mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Ghana, and Nigeria possessed all necessary legal titles and certifications, including site plan, payment receipts and allocation papers from the Ghanaian authorities in respect of the land.
“The action, and indeed, inaction which makes the authorities complicit in the act, the Ghanaian people violated many an article in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1949 and, therefore, must be sanctioned,” he added.
Ghana Govt reacts
The Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has issued a statement confirming the attacks by unidentified individuals who breached the premises of the High Commission and demolished the property under construction.
“The Ministry views with concern this development which is a breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR, 1961).
“Investigations are ongoing to unravel the facts of the matter and bring the perpetrators to book. Meanwhile, the Ghanaian government has beefed-up security at the said facility and the situation is under control,” it said in its reaction.
The ministry assured that the Ghana government will do all to ensure upholding the rule of law, and the safety of members of the Diplomatic Corps in Ghana.
Over 20% of N-Power beneficiaries are now business owners – FG
The Minister emphasized the President’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has said that about 109,823 beneficiaries of the N-Power programme now have their own businesses.
This represents about 22% of the 500,000 Nigerians that have benefited from this programme since its inception.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Minister’s Special Assistant on Strategic Communications, Mrs Halima Oyelade on Saturday, July 4, 2020. She said that the beneficiaries of Batch A and B of N-Power have established businesses in their communities.
The Minister in the statement said, “Statistics like this gives me joy and once again, I want to say congratulations; I look forward to hearing amazing testimonies and meeting beneficiaries of this programme who will be doing great things in the future”.
She emphasized President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years by creating opportunities that would improve the productivity of Nigerian youths for entrepreneurship or employment.
Going further the minister said, “Thus, the need to find ways to engage them is of utmost importance. However, the commencement of the enrolment of Batch C was predicated on the need to give more Nigerian youths the opportunity to benefit. This is because, keeping only 500,000 beneficiaries for four years defeats the purpose of Mr President’s vision, hence the need to scale up and was in no way meant to be punitive.”
While acknowledging the beneficiaries’ contributions, Farouq said, ‘’You are our model N-Power beneficiaries. Please avail yourselves of all opportunities provided by government like interest-free loans and leverage on those opportunities while using N-Power as a stepping stone”.
The minister said the ministry is working at resolving some of the challenges facing the programme which include delays in the payment of stipends, beneficiaries not showing up at their places of primary assignments and people accessing the programme while gainfully employed elsewhere.
The minister also assured beneficiaries that outstanding payments would be made and transition plans were ongoing and would be duly communicated to them on their platform.
Some of the beneficiaries of the programme gave good testimonies about the impact of the programme in their lives and all expressed their gratitude to the Federal Government for the opportunity.
Nairametrics has reported the opening of application portal for batch C of the programme with effect from 11.45 pm on June 26, 2020. There have been over 3 million applicants that have shown interest in batch C of the programme in about a week.
Nigeria’s debt rises to $79.5 billion, as debt to revenue ratio worsens
According to data obtained from DMO, $27.66 billion (N9.9 trillion) is the total external debt.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy’s total public debt rose to $79.5 billion (N28.63 trillion) as of the first quarter of 2020, which is March 31, 2020. This represents a 15% increase from the figure that was recorded for the corresponding period in 2019, which was about $69.09 billion (N24.94 trillion).
This was disclosed in a latest publication by the Debt Management Office (DMO) on Friday June 3, 2020.
Nigeria has seen its debt stock rise sharply in recent years as the country tries to fund infrastructural and developmental projects and boost its fragile economy, which has been in and out of recession. The country’s economy has been projected to fall into recession again, due to the adverse impact of COVID-19 that has seen oil prices crash globally.
According to data obtained from DMO, $27.66 billion (N9.9 trillion) is the total external debt. This represents 34.89% of the total public debt stock. Whereas, $51.64 billion (N18.64 trillion) is the total domestic debt, which represents 65.11% of the total public debt.
The Federal Government accounts for 50.77% of the total domestic debt, which is $40.26 billion (N14.53 trillion), whereas the State Governments and Federal Capital Territory account for 14.34% of the total domestic borrowing which is $11.37 billion (N4.11 trillion).
Nigeria has been under a lot of fiscal crisis following the crash of oil prices triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The oil sector accounts for about 90% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and about 60% of its total revenue.
The country, which had lined up a series of debt issue this year, had to halt the external commercial borrowing due to oil price collapse. The Minister for Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had last week disclosed that the country would no longer go ahead with its Eurobond debt issue.
The Nigerian government, for now, is focusing on the domestic markets and concessionary loans to help fund the 2020 budget deficit which is made worse by drop in revenue. In the recently approved 2020 revised budget, the federal government is expected to borrow N850 billion from the domestic market.
This rising debt has put a lot of pressure on the government’s resources as it spent $1.69 billion (N609,13 billion) to service its domestic debt in the first quarter of 2020 alone.
Nairametrics had reported that Nigeria’s global rating is at risk due to the sharp rise in the country’s sovereign debt and a growing finance gap. According to a report from the global rating agency, Fitch Ratings, this could trigger a rating downgrade as policymakers struggle to stimulate growth and deal with the impact of low oil prices and sharp drop in revenue.
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According to Fitch, the country’s debt to revenue ration is set to deteriorate further to 538% by the end of 2020, from the 348% that it was a year earlier.
Nigeria and US Authorities battle former Enron Nigerian Subsidiary over $80 million Yacht
Both Nigerian and American governments have opposed Enron Nigeria’s appeal.
19 years after the bankruptcy of Enron Corporation, one of the biggest corporate bankruptcies in American history, a former subsidiary of the company is battling Nigerian and American Authorities over the sale of a yacht valued at over $80 million acquired by Nigerian businessman Kolawole Aluko.
The yacht was seized by the US Government in 2018 after prosecutors say it was bought with the proceeds of bribes paid to Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison–Madueke.
The yacht was later auctioned for $37 million in 2019. The Nigerian government also dropped claims to the proceeds of the sale recently and a Texas Court ordered all proceeds should be retained by the US Government.
However, a former unit of the Bankrupt Enron, Enron Nigeria Power Holdings claims it’s entitled to the proceeds and demands $22 million in a bid to get an arbitration awarded to them against the Nigerian government for suspending a contract signed with Enron in 1999 to build and operate a Power plant.
Enron Nigeria claims the Nigerian government dropped claims to the proceeds of the yacht’s auction in an attempt to fraudulently transfer assets to stop creditors from accessing them. Saying Nigeria dropping its claims was “a recognition of the factual and legal basis” in a DOJ court filing.
Both Nigerian and American governments have opposed Enron Nigeria’s appeal.
Enron Nigeria Power Holdings Ltd is owned by ex-Enron staff involved in the negotiations for the Power Plant contract in Nigeria and was bought out of bankruptcy for $750,000 in 2004 by a Cayman Islands registered company.
An arbitration ruling in 2012 awarded Enron Nigeria Power Holdings $11.2 million including interest in damages against the Nigerian government.
The DOJ says Mr. Aluko bought the yacht for $82 million in 2013 and funded a lavish lifestyle for Alison Madueke in exchange for NNPC contracts valued at over $1.5 billion.
Aluko and his business partner, Olajide Omokore are also accused of laundering illicit revenues into and through the United States