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Atiku Demands Transparency: Urges President Tinubu to Clarify Dubious $3.3 Billion NNPCL Loan

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Atiku Demands Transparency: Urges President Tinubu to Clarify Dubious $3.3 Billion NNPCL Loan

Atiku Demands Transparency: Urges President Tinubu to Clarify Dubious $3.3 Billion NNPCL Loan

In a bold move demanding transparency and accountability, Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flag-bearer in the 2023 presidential election, has called on President Bola Tinubu to provide a detailed explanation regarding the $3.3 billion emergency crude repayment loan taken by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL). Atiku’s demand, articulated in a statement released on Thursday, January 25, 2024, shines a spotlight on a deal that raises questions about its intricacies, funding sources, and the potential financial implications for the nation.  The loan, secured by the NNPCL on August 16, 2023, under the leadership of Group Chief Executive Officer Mele Kolo Kyari, was intended to bolster the naira and stabilize the foreign exchange market. The announcement of the deal was made after Kyari signed the agreement for crude-for-cash funding in Cairo, Egypt. Facilitated by the African Export-Import Bank, also known as Afreximbank, the loan aimed to support the Federal Government in its fiscal and monetary policy reforms.  Recently, the Federal Government received the first tranche of $2.25 billion from Afreximbank, marking a significant development in the execution of the loan agreement. However, Atiku’s concerns center on the lack of comprehensive information made available to the public, with the NNPCL being the primary source of details surrounding the massive financial transaction.  Atiku drew attention to a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Project Gazelle Funding Limited, responsible for driving the deal. Notably, this entity was incorporated in the Bahamas, a detail that has raised eyebrows given the recent Paradise Papers scandal associated with the country. According to Atiku, the SPV is the borrower, and the NNPCL is the sponsor, with an agreement to repay the loan with crude oil at an interest rate slightly exceeding 12 percent.  The former Vice President questioned the rationale behind the Federal Government registering a company in the Bahamas, considering the country’s recent involvement in the Paradise Papers scandal. Furthermore, Atiku delved into the specifics of the deal, expressing deep reservations about the projected repayment plan and the potential financial burden on Nigeria.  He stated, “Now, this is where the details get disturbing because Nigeria’s benchmark for the sale of crude per barrel in 2024 is $77.96. A simple multiplication of that figure by 164.25 will give us a whooping $12 billion.” Atiku highlighted the massive discrepancy of about $7 billion between the projected repayment amount and the details outlined in the deal.  Atiku’s call for transparency extended to the Federal Government, urging them to address critical questions surrounding the loan. These include whether the Federal Government has accessed the loan, if it is included in the government’s borrowing plan approved by the National Assembly, the parties involved in the loan, and their specific roles. He also sought clarity on the loan’s conditions, including tenor, repayment terms, collateral, and interest rate.  In his statement, Atiku emphasized the need for the government to directly engage with the Nigerian public, ensuring that citizens are well-informed about the details of the deal. His insistence on transparency and accountability underscored the potential ramifications of such a significant financial transaction on the nation’s economic well-being.  As Atiku’s demand reverberates across the political landscape, the spotlight is firmly on President Tinubu and his administration to provide clarity on a deal that has raised more questions than answers. The call for transparency in financial dealings is a rallying cry that resonates with citizens eager to understand the intricacies of significant economic decisions impacting the nation.  In conclusion, Atiku’s demand for transparency regarding the $3.3 billion NNPCL loan places a critical lens on a deal shrouded in uncertainty. The incorporation of an SPV in the Bahamas, coupled with discrepancies in projected repayment amounts, has sparked concerns about the deal’s integrity. As the nation awaits President Tinubu’s response, the call for openness and clarity in financial matters gains momentum, underscoring the importance of accountability in shaping Nigeria’s economic future.

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Nigeria Customs Service declares war on illegal grain exports, promises support for food security

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Nigeria Customs Service declares war on illegal grain exports, promises support for food security

Nigeria Customs Service declares war on illegal grain exports, promises support for food security

 

In a bid to safeguard Nigeria’s food security and combat the illicit exportation of grains to other African nations, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has vowed to ramp up its efforts to curb this menace. Ify Ogbudu, the Zonal Coordinator of Zone B of the service, made this declaration during a courtesy visit to the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, at his palace.

During the visit, Ogbudu reiterated the NCS’s commitment to curbing the illegal exportation of Nigeria’s grains. She emphasized the importance of ensuring that the 42,000 metric tons of grains approved for distribution by the Federal Government reach those in need, as directed. Ogbudu sought the emir’s support in this critical endeavor, underscoring the pivotal role of the Customs Service in advancing the government’s agenda for poverty alleviation and food security.

In response, the Emir of Kano expressed gratitude for the Customs Service’s dedication to safeguarding Nigeria’s economic integrity, despite facing numerous challenges. He commended Customs officers for their diligence and urged them to exhibit compassion towards local traders who may inadvertently engage in illegal activities due to ignorance.

NAN reports that the emir emphasized the significance of enlightenment and community engagement in stemming the tide of illicit activities. He pledged the emirate’s full support in facilitating legitimate trade and commended the progress made in reducing disputes between traders and customs officials through stakeholder engagements.

Furthermore, the emir lauded the ongoing enlightenment initiatives aimed at supporting local traders and businessmen in conducting lawful trade activities. This collaborative effort between the Nigeria Customs Service and local authorities signals a concerted push toward ensuring food security and economic stability in Nigeria.

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Ogun seals unaccredited nursing department at Harvarde College, leaving students in limbo

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Ogun seals unaccredited nursing department at Harvarde College, leaving students in limbo

Ogun seals unaccredited nursing department at Harvarde College, leaving students in limbo

 

 

In a sweeping enforcement action, authorities in Ogun State have shuttered the Nursing Department of Harvarde College of Science Business and Management Studies in Abeokuta. The crackdown, led by officials from the Ogun Ministry of Health and the State Nursing and Midwifery Committee, comes in response to the college’s operation of an unaccredited nursing programme.

Dr. Kayode Oladehinde, the Permanent Secretary of the Ogun Ministry of Health, underscored the severity of the situation, highlighting that the private institution had been offering a degree programme in Nursing Sciences without accreditation from the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN). This unauthorized operation, spanning six years, posed a significant threat to public health and perpetuated quackery within the nursing profession.

NAN reports that during the enforcement exercise, Oladehinde, represented by Acting Director of Nursing Services, Serifat Aminu, emphasized the grave implications of pursuing a nursing degree from an institution lacking NMCN accreditation. Such degrees, he asserted, hold little to no value, rendering graduates ineligible to obtain a valid license to practice nursing in Nigeria or internationally.

“We have discovered that many institutions, including Harvarde College, offer nursing degrees to unsuspecting students,” stated Oladehinde. “Our mission is to clamp down on such institutions because they end up producing quacks in the nursing profession. This is dangerous for society. Unfortunately, most students are unaware that their time is being wasted.”

Oladehinde urged prospective nursing students and their parents to exercise caution and diligence in selecting educational institutions. He advised thorough research, including consulting the NMCN website for a list of accredited institutions, as the regulatory body updates the list annually. Additionally, he cautioned against falling prey to false claims made by unaccredited institutions, reaffirming the government’s commitment to combating quackery in nursing education and practice.

In response to the enforcement action, a 300-level student, speaking anonymously, expressed shock and dismay over the lack of accreditation at Harvarde College. The student lamented the financial investment made by her parents on her behalf, underscoring the personal toll of the college’s deceptive practices.

The closure of Harvarde College’s Nursing Department leaves students in a state of uncertainty, grappling with the realization that their academic pursuits may have been in vain. As authorities continue to crack down on unaccredited institutions, the incident serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of regulatory oversight in safeguarding the integrity of professional education and protecting public health.

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Tinubu names Lawyer Hafsat Bakari as acting Head of NFIU

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Tinubu names Lawyer Hafsat Bakari as acting Head of NFIU

Tinubu names Lawyer Hafsat Bakari as acting Head of NFIU

 

In a significant development, President Bola Tinubu has appointed Hafsat Abubakar Bakari as the Acting Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), succeeding Modibbo Hamman-Tukur. This decision, announced by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, underscores Tinubu’s commitment to enhancing financial intelligence and combating illicit financial activities in Nigeria.

Hafsat Abubakar Bakari, a seasoned lawyer and financial intelligence expert, brings a wealth of experience to her new role at the helm of the NFIU. Having previously served as Deputy Director within the NFIU, Bakari’s appointment signals a strategic move to leverage her expertise in areas such as anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, and counter-proliferation financing.

NAN reports that, Ngelale highlighted Bakari’s distinguished career trajectory, noting her tenure in various leadership positions within the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Bakari’s roles included heading the General Services Unit, leading the Strategy and Reorientation Unit, and overseeing the Board Secretariat. Her multifaceted experience within the EFCC equips her with a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of financial crime investigation and enforcement.

Emphasizing the significance of Bakari’s appointment, Ngelale expressed confidence in her ability to navigate the complex landscape of illicit financial flows and other nefarious activities plaguing Nigeria’s foreign exchange markets. Tinubu’s administration remains steadfast in its commitment to curbing financial crimes and fostering transparency and accountability within the financial sector.

While Bakari assumes her new responsibilities in an acting capacity, her nomination is subject to confirmation by the Senate. Nevertheless, her track record and expertise position her as a capable leader poised to advance the mandate of the NFIU and bolster the government’s efforts to combat financial crimes effectively.

As Nigeria grapples with the challenges posed by illicit financial flows and economic malpractice, Bakari’s appointment signifies a proactive step towards strengthening the nation’s financial intelligence framework. Her leadership is expected to enhance coordination between relevant stakeholders and facilitate the implementation of robust measures to safeguard Nigeria’s financial integrity.

In accepting this critical role, Bakari is poised to leverage her expertise to tackle emerging threats in the financial landscape and uphold the principles of accountability, transparency, and integrity. Her appointment aligns with Tinubu’s vision for a more resilient and prosperous Nigeria, free from the scourge of financial crimes and illicit activities.

As Bakari assumes her duties at the helm of the NFIU, stakeholders anticipate her strategic leadership and unwavering commitment to driving positive change in Nigeria’s financial ecosystem. With her appointment, the nation embarks on a new chapter in its fight against financial crimes, signaling a renewed resolve to safeguard Nigeria’s economic interests and promote sustainable development.

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