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Otedola Hails Tinubu For Resolving UAE Visa Ban, Says “It’ll Transform Stock Exchange”

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Femi Otedola, Nigerian billionaire business magnet, has applauded President Bola Tinubu for resolving the United Arab Emirates (UAE) visa ban on Nigerians.

Recall that Ajuri Ngelale, the presidential spokesperson, on Monday, announced that Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines would resume flight schedules into and out of Nigeria “without any further delay”.

Ngelale made the announcement after Tinubu met with Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE president, in Abu Dhabi.

Since 2021, UAE and Nigeria have been engaging in a diplomatic row over issues involving flight allocations and travel bans.

While commenting on the efforts by Tinubu to resolve the impasse between Nigeria and UAE, Otedola said the resolution of the dispute proved the president’s strong leadership qualities.

“We must all commend Mr President for his shrewd diplomacy to finally resolve this matter,”  Otedola said in a statement.

“Only a leader who understands the importance of business would appreciate the enormous opportunities to be derived from restoring business relations between both countries.”

The chairperson of Geregu Power Plc said Nigeria had failed to attract investments owing to the diplomatic strains, adding that the visa ban reversal will improve Nigeria’s stock exchange.

“One of the understated benefits of this announcement is its potential ability to transform the stock exchange,” the statement reads.

“Middle Eastern investors remain one of the most liquid across the globe and it has been a shame that outside of a few investments in Dangote Cement and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, Nigeria has not been able to attract capital from those regions.”

“Indeed, Asiwaju has demonstrated leadership and the difference in style is like night and day. Tinubu is leading from the front and his economic diplomacy which we pray he sustains, is going to drastically change the image of the country, unlock foreign investments into the country and improve Nigeria’s perception internationally.

“We must all join hands to support this administration and we must all start seeing things beyond our differences. Nigeria badly needs foreign exchange and this move by the President will help improve forex inflows into the country. It is worthy of commendation.”

Otedola also applauded the president’s recent economic decisions.

He said the hardship that Nigerians are facing at the moment is temporary, assuring that the policies of Tinubu’s administration will soon yield results.

“It must be pointed out that his bold policies since assuming office, are the hallmark of a true leader who is not afraid or shy to take actions as long as such actions are in the national interest,” Otedola said.

“Without a doubt, the current hardship will ease once these policies begin to bear fruits. I firmly believe the right measures are being taken and we are headed in the right direction.

“Asiwaju Tinubu is working, Nigeria will work. I advise my fellow countrymen and women to be patient.

“With Asiwaju’s policies, Nigeria will fully recover in a few years. We are witnessing the storm before the calm.

“Now, the storm is blowing away. I am certain, very soon, we’ll begin to experience the inevitable calm and the progress that will naturally follow in a very short while.”

BIG STORY

BUSINESS: Investing In Davido’s Coin Highly Risky, SEC Warns Nigerians

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The public has been cautioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) not to invest in the meme coin that is purportedly associated with popular Nigerian artist David Adedeji Adeleke, better known by his stage name Davido.

The commission made this known in a statement published on its website on Friday.

The SEC issued a warning, saying that users of the meme coin do so at their own risk.

“The general public is hereby advised that meme coins lack fundamental value and are purely speculative. The general public is further warned that investing in meme coins, including $Davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risk.

“Capital market operators are by this notice warned not to associate with instruments that fall outside the SEC’s regulatory purview. Such instruments should not in any manner be distributed or monitored through any capital market mechanism.

“Please note that the commission does not recognise $Davido as an investment product or investable asset class under its regulatory purview, as such individuals who patronize it, do so at their peril,” the statement read.

The SEC said it will keep a close watch on market developments and is ready to step in with regulatory action as needed.

The commission further explained, “Generally, meme coins are cryptocurrencies inspired by memes and internet jokes. They are often envisaged as fun, light-hearted cryptocurrencies promoted through a social media community and sometimes through celebrity endorsements.

“Meme coins are also not intended to serve as a medium of exchange accepted by the public as payment for goods and services, or as a digital representation of capital market products such as shares, debentures, units of collective investment schemes, derivatives contracts, commodities or other kinds of financial instruments or investments.”

The music star unveiled a meme coin called $Davido on Wednesday, May 29, 2024.

However, the meme coin has been widely criticised by Nigerians after its value nosedived just a day after its launch.

Social media was awash with disappointed investors and fans venting their frustration as the coin’s value plummeted, with many expressing their dismay and disillusionment.

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UPDATE: More Women Testify Against Perm Sec Accused Of Sexual Harassment, Union Levels Allegations Too

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The controversies and series of serious allegations surrounding the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa, have taken a different dimension.

The Ministry’s labour union, the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), is likewise incensed at the Permanent Secretary.

The union charged Lamuwa with financial irregularities, favouritism, bad management, and high-handedness, all of which had a negative impact on the rights and welfare of the employees.

In a June 11, 2024, petition to Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the staff union charged that the Permanent Secretary was pushing all matters pertaining to employee welfare, benefits, training, and other related matters to the side.

They specifically highlighted the denial of various benefits the workers were entitled to, which had been a source of their discontent for months.

In the petition obtained by PRNigeria, the union listed and explained in detail the series of benefits that the workers were entitled to that Ambassador Lamuwa has been denying them for months.

They accused him of unduly and illegally favouring a certain category of people and victimising those who do not dance to his tunes in the area of posting, training and other benefits like Hajj seats.

Some of his alleged crimes as listed in the petition include delay in payment of some benefits, delay in promotion and conversion of staff, lack of transparency in posting, delay in payment of clothing allowance, discrimination in paying First 28 Days Allowance, lack of fairness in the distribution of the 2024 Hajj seats, inadequate posting of Batch B officers to foreign missions, poor sanitation and hygiene due to insufficient water supply, lack of work tools, dilapidated office buildings, refusal to pay the 25th regular course allowance for nine months, among others.

In the petition, signed by the Chairman and Assistant General Secretary of the JNC, Comrade Ali Seidu and Comrade S. E. Akpana, the union urged Ambassador Tuggar to look into their grievances and address the series of injustice allegedly done by the Permanent Secretary to avoid a drastic action by the workers.

They workers said: “Consequent upon the maladministration, dwindling level of productivity occasioned by the administrative leadership apathy in the ministry, the JNC has been engaging with the management thinking its solidarity with the authorities of the Ministry will yield positive results and prompt action on pending issues.

“Unfortunately, there was no corresponding improvement instead, the management has become worse, unreceptive and very harsh to everyone who dares to speak and ask questions. Victimisation, intimidation, and harassment has become a tool the management uses to shut critics while the staff of the Ministry continue to suffer.

“The staff of the Ministry are outraged by the egregious neglect, surreptitious administrative skullduggery, manipulations and commercialisation of the Ministry’s activities by the Permanent Secretary and his allies under the guise of rejuvenation. They have introduced harmful practices that threaten the very fabric of our Institution. We demand an immediate end to all their destructive policies and a return to the principles of fairness, equity and transparency. We call on the Honourable Minister to direct the authorities to investigate these grievances and take swift action.

“We the staff hereby give a 21-days ultimatum to the Management to immediately address the grievances outlined in our communiqué, failure to do so will be met with strong resistance.”

In his response, the Minister called for calm and promised to look into their grievances.

It would be recalled that the Permanent Secretary had been in the eye of the storm for days over allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by a staff of the Ministry, Simisola Fajemirokun-Ajayi, who is said to be an aide to the Minister.

The lady wrote a petition to the Minister, through her lawyer, Femi Falana, which forced the latter to equally write to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, to probe the allegation of sexual harassment against Lamuwa.

The Head of Service also set up a panel to investigate the allegations and suspended the Permanent Secretary pending the probe’s outcome.

Meanwhile, further investigations by PRNigeria showed that at least three more women have approached the probe panel to lodge similar allegations of sexual harassment against Ambassador Lamuwa.

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Ghana Announces Three Weeks Of Power Cuts Over Reduced Gas From Nigeria

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Ghana’s state-owned electricity company has announced a three-week power outage due to reduced gas supply from Nigeria.

This has made the “dumsor” (a term that means “on and off”) electrical shortages that have been a problem for the country for years worse, according to BBC Africa.

Over the past 20 years, Ghana’s population and urbanisation have increased, and with them, so has the country’s need for power.

However, this growing demand has been hindered by the current gas supply reduction from Nigeria, which commenced on Wednesday and is attributed to maintenance works being conducted by a supplier.

This has resulted in a decline in power generation across the country, compelling the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to initiate load shedding to effectively manage electricity distribution, as stated in a release on Thursday.

“The reduction in gas supply is due to maintenance works being undertaken by a gas supplier in Nigeria and is projected to last three weeks,” it added.

On Wednesday, West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCo) revealed that it was experiencing a decline in the volume of gas available for transportation as a result of one of its producers in Nigeria shutting down its facility for maintenance.

This reduction in gas availability has had a knock-on effect on customers in Togo, Benin, and Ghana, who are experiencing decreased gas supplies transported by WAPCo.

“The current situation is entirely out of WAPCo’s control,” the regional power utility added.

“We expect normalcy to return after the maintenance activities.”

ECG has assured the public that it is working collaboratively with other key stakeholders in the power sector to make the most of available resources, thereby minimizing the impact on consumers during the gas shortage period.

It comes barely two months after President Nana Akufo-Addo curtailed the export of electricity to neighbouring Togo, Burkina Faso and Benin in response to local supply challenges.

In recent years, power shortages have worsened as the country grapples with its worst economic crisis in a decade.

Private electricity suppliers are owed $1.6bn (£1.3bn) by the state power company, according to Elikplim Kwabla Apetogbor, the head of the organisation representing them.

Ghana, a leading producer of gold and cocoa, has increasingly relied on gas for electricity generation in recent years.

Despite having hydro and thermal sources, which provide much of its electricity, the country’s infrastructure is often inadequately maintained.

Last July, threats were made by private electricity suppliers to halt operations due to unpaid arrears, highlighting the challenges facing Ghana’s energy sector.

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