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Euro Global Foods and Distilleries Rewards Outstanding Distributors

EURO Global Foods and Distilleries Limited, a subsidiary of Sona Group of Companies last weekend honoured top performers amongst its distributors across Nigeria at its 2014 annual Distributors’ Forum held at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja. A number of distributors received certificates of excellence and cash incentives in recognition of their contribution to helping the company achieve its numbers.

Speaking at the event, Chairman Sona Group of Companies, Mr. Arjan Mirchandani said, “We’ve taken giant strides in the last few years, from increase in product portfolio to increase in trade partners and being recognized as one of the top 50 fastest growing companies in Nigeria. It’s been an excellent season for us and we must appreciate our partners who have contributed to our successes throughout these years.”

Arik Air Launch Frequent Flyer Programme – Arik Affinity Wings

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Arik Air, West and Central Africa’s largest commercial carrier, has launched a frequent flyer programme, aligning its offering with the industry’s foremost airlines in the process. Arik Affinity Wings is packed full of benefits designed to reward guests for their loyalty by giving them the opportunity to earn miles on domestic, regional and long-haul flights.

Customers can join the programme by logging on to Arikaffinitywings.com and completing an online enrolment form where they will receive 1000 bonusAffinity Miles along with a personal Affinity Wings membership number. Once redeemed, miles can be used to fly to any destination on Arik Air’s roster, upgrade tickets and make payments for excess baggage. Furthermore, Affinity Wings membership is free and members will automatically be entitled to exclusive benefits, such as extra baggage allowance, access to Arik Air’s business lounges and priority check-in at the airport.

$9.3Million ‘Arms Deal’ And The Wind Of Change by Comrade Timi Frank

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The Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), based in Kaduna, was established by an Act of Parliament in 1964, primarily to produce small arms and ammunition for the use of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies. According to information on its website, the Corporation said it is capable of deploying its excess capacity to produce machinery spare parts for industries and other products for civilian use.

The local manufacture of these materials and equipments would have saved the country a lot of cost especially given the growing insecurity in the country which has seen Defence budgets soar in recent years, claiming at least about a quarter of the national budget in some instances. In 2012 alone, Defence and Security vote was N921.21 billion ($5.9478 billion) out of a total budget of N4.74trillion. Defence budget in 2011 was about N348billion out of N4.48trillion total annual appropriation.

Regrettably however, DICON’s vision to be a corporation built on a sound commercial footing to continuously produce and constantly improve on the quality of arms and ammunition needs of the defence, security and foreign policy of Nigeria with the best international standards is far from being realized owing to lack of foresight, ineptness and corruption by successive administrations at the federal level. Given the the right political will, nothing stops DICON from advancing innovation into military technology to the highest level in the production of latest jet fighters, anti missile defences, anti bomb and drug detectors and military tanks which as well may provide needed foreign exchange for the nation when sold to neigbouring countries.

I am not party to $9.3m deal-Oritsejafor

The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, ( CAN) Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor has said he knew nothing about the controversial $9.3m smuggled into South Africa by two Nigerians and an Israeli, using his private jet.

Oritsejafor broke his silence during the National Executive Council meeting of CAN on Monday at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.

The CAN leader said there had been attempts in the media to link him with the incident by mischievous elements, adding that he had kept quiet all the while, because he needed to explain his position to the church which is his primary constituency.

Oritsekafor, in his address declared that he was never a party to the movement of the $9.3m from Nigeria to South Africa to purchase arms and ammunition.

“I want to assure you that I will not do anything to tarnish the image of Jesus Christ or compromise the divine standard of the church.

CBN sets new rules for int’l fund transfer operators

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has barred Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) from operating as international money transfer service providers, while issuing guidelines for the operations of inbound and outbound international money transfer services in the Nigeria.

This is contained in a circular reference TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/016, signed by I. O. Gbadamosi, Director, Trade and Exchange at the CBN.

The 18-page document contains licensing requirements and standard practices regarding international money transfer services operators of both inbound and outbound transfers.

As part of the new guidelines, the CBN has pegged the maximum limit of outbound international money transfer at $2,000 per transaction, noting that the maximum allowable cash withdrawals for inbound money transfer shall not be more than $500, and that any amount in excess of $500 would be paid through an account.

Agbakoba, Babalakin in Court Brawl as Judge Vacates Order on Seizure of MMA2, Other Assets by Davidson Iriekpen,THIS DAY

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It was a full blown drama monday at the premises of the Federal High Court in Lagos as a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), and Chairman of Bi-Courtney Group, Mr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), engaged in a brawl at the resumed hearing of a debt recovery suit between Babalakin and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

The altercation almost degenerated into fisticuffs between the two senior lawyers but for the prompt intervention of other lawyers including Wale Akoni (SAN) and Abiodun Layonu (SAN).

Trouble started when Justice Ibrahim Buba upturned an earlier order made by another judge of the court, Justice Okon Abang, empowering AMCON to take over the assets of Babalakin’s companies, including Terminal 2 of the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos.

In the order, Agbakoba was also appointed as the receiver/manager over all the companies of Babalakin including Bi-Courtney Limited, Chartered Investment Limited, Resort International Limited and Roygate Properties Limited.
The orders were based on an agreed N50 billion, which Babalakin allegedly admitted owing AMCON.

National Honours: In the interest Of Real Honours…..Vanguard

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YESTERDAY Monday, 29th September 2014 was another day of pomp and pageantry at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, as President Goodluck Jonathan presented the 2014 edition of National Honours to no fewer than 304 recipients.

The various grades of honours were distributed to the high and mighty, ranging from politicians to public servants, elected personnel, police and military top shots, business leaders, academicians, sportsmen and women and what have you. However, this year’s edition was a little more refreshing as four Nigerians of humble standing who during the past year were identified by the media for their extraordinary feats were also honoured.These included two junior police officers, a taxi driver who returned money left in his cab by a customer, and a steward who has served many presidents over the years.

Oritsejafor is finished; CAN is damaged – Cardinal Okogie

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In perhaps the most stinging criticism of the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), by a past leader of the body, the former Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Olubunmi Okogie, said the current president of the association, Ayo Oritsejafor is making a mockery of the association by his closeness to President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

Describing him as “fallen from grace to grass”, Mr. Okogie said Mr Oritsejafor’s has also lost grip of the leadership of CAN.

Mr. Okogie, who spoke during an interview with the New Telegraph newspapers, said Mr Oritsejafor “unrighteous” quest to remain in power and his “romance” with politicians have finished him and derailed the once respected Christian body from the lofty dreams of its founding fathers.

Arik Air resumes flights to Banjul

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Arik Air, Nigeria’s largest commercial carrier is resuming flight services to Banjul, Gambia, the airline said in a statement on Monday, following annoucement last week that Ebola has been contained in Nigeria.

Arik Air will be operating three weekly flights from both Lagos and Abuja to Banjul via Accra (Ghana) on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, said Banji Ola, Arik Air spokesman.

Ola said Arik is resuming flights to Banjul on Wednesday 1 October.‎

“We are pleased to resume flight operations into Banjul after the brief period of suspension due to the Ebola Virus Disease episode,” said Arik Air’s Managing Director, Mr Chris Ndulue.

Ndulue said the safety and security of Arik passengers and crew are always the airline’s top priority.

“As such, we are working with local and international health authorities to safeguard the health and well-being of our guests and staff as we resume operations into The Gambia”.

Tainted medals….The Nation

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With our kind of National Honours, no self-respecting persons would want to be honoured anymore

As the recipients of this year’s National Honours bow before President Goodluck Jonathan to receive their medals today at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, men of conscience in their midst would whisper to themselves that what hangs around their necks are tainted medals not worth the strap with which they are held. Seated in the expansive and lavishly decorated hall, they would notice all around them, ex-convicts, suspected murderers, treasury looters, serial bank debt defaulters, economic saboteurs and even petty thieves. Surely, there would be also a few good men in the gathering: Yes indeed but very few good men.

It may well be that there are few good men left among us, which may explain why the president is hamstrung in finding worthier honourees, but as we have said here many times before, this annual ritual need not be a mass affair. The current number of 305 is undoubtedly too large and unwieldy; making a circus show what ought to be an instrument of moral rebirth and national renewal.

As we have noted each year, instead of honouring a few men and women of character, integrity and conscientiousness, Nigeria’s National Honour has been debased, much like all national affairs as if it were the sharing of the so-called national cake. In the first place, the method of selection is flawed. Why are governors required to shortlist candidates in the same flawed manner of the sharing of political appointments? Why do we have a selection committee that is highly susceptible to being compromised?

We are yet to come to terms with the rationale and criteria for these awards. Why for instance do we hand out honours to service chiefs each time, considering the rot and corruption reported in the military? For over five years, the military has been unable to dislodge a small band of insurgent group from a small portion of the country. In fact, the terrorists have worsted and demystified our men so much that Nigerians are disillusioned about their famed prowess. Yet at every turn, we reward them with high national honours.

Why is the list suffused with men and women who are still in service? Why are we rewarding National Assembly members, civil servants, judges, party stalwarts, political appointees, traditional rulers and governors? Just a few days ago, the Chief Justice of the Federation, Maryam Aloma Mukhtar lamented the blistering corruption in the judicial system. She has had course to criticise the conduct of judges and lawyers, pointing out how they have let down the judicial and legal systems. Yet we are quick to reward them with awards.

The National Assembly members have been the butt of sharp censure over their fiscal recklessness and lack of transparency and accountability in the management of their annual budgets and in the matter of their remuneration. Not long ago, the international media was awash with the outlandish salaries and emoluments they allot themselves, making them the highest paid parliamentarians in the world in a poverty-ravaged country. Yet every year, the president, it seems, rewards members of the legislature for this conduct that is inimical to the very survival of the Nigerian state.

Members of the Federal Executive Council are not left out of the bazaar. About a dozen of them are handed the medal for no other reason than that they are privileged to be appointed ministers of the federal republic. It does not matter that the ministries and sectors they represent have been in retreat over the years. Has Nigeria’s highest national honour become some kind of booty?

We are particularly worried that in the last three years, we, as well as well-meaning Nigerians have pointed out this flawed process, yet the presidency simply ignored what is obviously wise counsel. We surmise that this obduracy, this tendency to insist on ignoble ways of conducting our national affairs is doing harm to the sanctity of the nation; far-reaching harm.

Olowude, IGI CEO, dies in US

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The Industrial and General Insurance Plc. has announced the death in the early hours of Sunday of its Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Remi Olowude after a protracted illness.

The Chief Executive Officer it was gathered died in a hospital in the United States.

Olowude, according to a source in the company died from an undisclosed ailment in the US, where he was taken to few weeks after his health deteriorated.

Olowude was elected as the Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association, NIA, in 2012 to head the Association for two years but his health condition did not permit him to run the affairs of the body.

IGI has been recording a poor performance in the insurance market as the company  failed to submit its financial results to the regulatory authorities in the last two years.

Olowude had his formal education in Economics both at the University of Lagos (1970-73) and the University of Santa Clara, California, United States (1976).

He was also an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute of London and had delivered papers at various fora on wide-ranging topics.”

He has a total of 28 years’  experience in Insurance Management.

For an Independent Prosecutor by Femi Falana

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Corruption manifests itself in numerous and varied ways. It could be petty or incidental, involving small-scale embezzlement, misappropriation, bribes, favouritism or discrimination. Corruption can also be more systematic and include bribes and kickbacks by private and public actors, large-scale embezzlement and misappropriation of funds and economic privileges accorded to special interests. The causes of corruption are numerous and interrelated. They consist primarily of a socio-economic system that is built on ruthless exploitation and diversion of public wealth. The second cause is the illegal action of a few individuals and their insatiable ambition for political and economic power in clear and direct detriment of the common good.

Therefore, uprooting the systemic, entrenched official corruption that has plagued the country for many years requires a long-term, multifaceted strategy, but a key component of this approach must be an effective criminal prosecution.

The main international and regional legally binding treaties applicable to Nigeria on the role of prosecutors in criminal justice system and in the fight against corruption include: the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the United Nations Convention Against Corruption; the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. There is also “soft law” such as the United Nations Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors.

Given the important role the prosecutor plays in the fight against corruption, it is trite that prosecution agencies must be fully independent.

“Some say the Catholic Church has fallen asleep”

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“Is anybody here baptised?” cries the preacher. “Amen!” roars back his flock as it sways to a hypnotic drum beat, part of a push by African Catholics to win back believers seduced away by the fast-growing Evangelical movement.

Hundreds in Gabon have responded to the call of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, a movement born in the United States in the 1960s, and leading a month-long campaign in the west African country to bring “lost sheep” back to the fold.

At the rail station in Owendo, on the outskirts of Libreville, it is not a priest but laymen and women who take turns on stage to sing the Lord’s praises to a devoted audience.

“God loves us,” cries an elderly woman with her arms high in the air, raising a cheer from a dancing, chanting crowd — the scene a far cry from the austerity of a traditional Catholic mass.

Alain Franck, a rail worker heading home after a day’s work, can barely believe his eyes.

Benjamin Adekunle: The Portrait Of A Genocidist by EC Ejiogu​

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Research by this writer reveals that ever before Benjamin Adekunle, who died this month—September 2014—of natural causes after a protracted illness, uttered the excerpt above to the World Press in 1968 as “one of the most notorious of the genocidist commanders in southern Igboland” (Ekwe-Ekwe, 2014) during Nigeria’s genocidal war against Biafra, he was not just an individual who woke up one morning and suddenly found himself in a situation of duty that compelled him to play a circumstantial role that happened to impact the Igbo adversely.

Research by this writer reveals that ever before Benjamin Adekunle, who died this month—September 2014—of natural causes after a protracted illness, uttered the excerpt above to the World Press in 1968 as “one of the most notorious of the genocidist commanders in southern Igboland” (Ekwe-Ekwe, 2014) during Nigeria’s genocidal war against Biafra, he was not just an individual who woke up one morning and suddenly found himself in a situation of duty that compelled him to play a circumstantial role that happened to impact the Igbo adversely.

In the rapidly shifting scheme of events in the Nigeria project during the period that commenced with the termination of de facto British rule on October 1, 1960, the first time in the research for this piece that a young Benjamin Adekunle was encountered was in May 1966.

Pope revisits ‘punishing’ rules on Catholic divorce…The Observer

Millions of devotees remain banned from receiving communion – but meeting of bishops raises hopes of ban being loosened

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Elio Cirimbelli, a 66-year-old family counsellor from Bolzano in north-easternItaly, goes to church most Sundays. He is a devout Roman Catholic but when he attends mass he cannot receive holy communion and must stay in the pew while the rest of the congregation goes up to receive the sacramental bread and wine. “It’s very hard, let’s put it that way,” Cirimbelli says. “We have a church that can be a mother, but sometimes it is a mother which not does embrace but which punishes.”

Millions of Catholics around the world are similarly affected by the church’s ban on communion for those who have divorced – as Cirimbelli did in 1987 – and then remarried.

In a global community divided by headline-grabbing issues such as abortion, contraception and gay sex, divorce is far from the most inflammatory topic of conversation. But for a huge number of ordinary people it is a regular and painful reminder that their church considers them ineligible for a right it grants to almost all other Catholics – murderers included.