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Ajaokuta Steel critical to Nigeria’s rapid development says Adeyemo



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Ajaokuta Steel critical to Nigeria’s rapid development says Adeyemo

By Rex Danjuma

Deputy Secretary general of the African Iron and Steel Association (AISA), Solomon Femi Adeyemo has reechoed the fact that Nigeria’s development is anchored on the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta steel Company.
He spoke over the weekend when he recieved a certificate of credence conferred on him by Public Office Holders Association of Nigeria (POHAN) for excellence.
The steel complex which was said to have been 90% completed in 1984 by late Nigerian first executive President Alhaji Shehu Shagari had been abandoned by successive administrations and the gigantic project has been lying fallow almost in the shadow of its potentials.
A accord to revive the Ajaokuta project was reached recently during a meeting between Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia in October last year.
The partnership was meant to help get sections of the factory into production before the end of 2019, according to, the minister of Mines and Steel Development Olamilekan Adegbite.

Continuing the deputy secretary general said no nation can develop rapidly without steel.

“Firstly, Steel is the bedrock of every development in any country, go to China, go to Asian countries where we have Steel industries that are working they put them to use, even the per capita income of China at a time was measured by the Steel that they produce so you see there cannot be any meaningful development in any country without Steel it is not possible.”
We had a committee that was set up by world Steel Association and we called it sustainability study group, I was part of that sustainability study group and we found out that there is nobody who goes out that has no element of Steel on him.
“There is no way any person will dress up and there is no element of Steel on him.
“Check your Biro, your button, some of the designs on your cloths, so Steel is so important that we carry it along with us anytime, anyway and everywhere we are. Imagine that about 200m people in Nigeria are carrying one product of Steel in one form or the order.
“Think of the level of production, think of the products. To come to look at Ajaokuta Steel, you see there are other industries that are tied to this Steel complex.
“It is an integrated Steel complex, that means every other one comes to support it. Look at the downstream effect, is it those that are going to be building or those that are going to be using it for one thing or the other.
“Think of the thousands of products that would be coming out of it just like in the issue of the Petroleum product where Nigerians base their argument on just petrol, what of all other products that are associated with it?
“We are not talking about the black oil, petroleum jelly that we can get out of it, we are just talking about petrol, and that is what we are talking about in the Steel sector.
“In the Steel sector we have so many other things that are attached to it.
He expressed the confidence that Ajaokuta steel Company would be back on track as enunciated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Adeyemo based his confidence on the believe that the issue is very close to the President’s heart and so he does not have any doubt as to the coming back on stream of the steel complex.
The deputy secretary general said from the pronouncement of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, when he said he has set up committee of professionals who will look into the immediate take off of the Ajaokuta Steel, ‘all we need to do is to keep our fingers crossed and be praying for that committee that has been set up so that they hasten up.’
Adeyemo indicated that the minister at another forum was also quoted as saying that they are making sure that the Ajaokuta steel complex takes effect and seen to be working before the exit if the President Buhari administration. “We can just pray for them that this promises will come to pass.”
He said though non of the African Iron and steel Association members is a member of the committee however
very many of the committee members are engineers adding that they have the confidence they will deliver as promised.
He said on behalf African Iron and steel Association they had written to the Federal Government to congratulate them for taking that bold step and the committee thank them as they agreed to get back when their inputs are needed.
He expressed the hope that the committee is going to work objectively and call those who knows something about this thing to come and chip in their own knowledge.
The deputy secretary general said the proposed multiple railway projects to achieve Intermodal Transportation in the country as captured in the 2021 budget by the federal Government would easily be achieved if Ajaokuta resuscitated to produce that railtracks.
He recalled at a time when Government was about to build the Stadium in Abuja when the association went to the President then, chief obasanjo and told him, to allow the Nigeria steel industries to produce the Steel quantum of the Stadium and the answer was not favourable.
“We should be looking for way forward and that is those who knows the thing should be allowed to do it. We should use our local content to achieve our purpose.”

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Emefiele insists, Cryptocuerrency is inimical to the economy




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Emefiele insists Cryptocuerrency is inimical to the economy

***Cryptocurrency Used To Fund EndSARS Protest- ICPC

***It failed critical tests of vulnerability -NFIU

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Governor Godwin Emefiele has maintained his stance that Cryptocurrency is highly inimical to the Nigerian economy and could further weaken an already weak currency, the Naira.

According to Emefiele, Cryptocurrency is “money created out of thin air”, with the players untraceable and unknown.

In the same vein, Chairman of ICPC Professor Bolaji and the Nigerian Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU) unanimously agreed that cryptocurrency is being used as channel for funding violence and terrorism in Nigeria.

They all spoke before the Senate joint committee on Banking and insurance, Capital market and Cybercrime.
The central Bank Governor Godwin Emeifele had been formerly invited to meet with the senate’s joint committee on Banking and insurance, Capital market and Cybercrime to give further explanation of the threats posed by cryptocurrency in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the Senate last week directed the joint committee to schedule a meeting with the CBN Governor for further briefing on the controversy generated by the ban on cryptocurrency transactions in Nigeria.
In the letter to the CBN Governor, the chairman of the joint committee, senator Uba Sani directed that Emeifele bring not less than 40 hard copies of his deference to the joint committee.
Worried that the ban on use of Cryptocurrencies in Nigeria might hurt the economy, the Senate had summoned Emefiele to defend the Apex bank’s  action.
According to the CBN Governor, “We know enough at this stage to decide that the opaque nature significantly threatens our transaction and as you know the CBN has the primary responsibility to protect the investment of every player in the space”, Emefiele said.

He said Cryptocurrency is used to describe the activities of players in the dark world where the transactions are opaque.

Explaining further he said, Cryptocurrency is used to facilitate scam and money laundering; adding that Nigeria has become the second in the use of Cryptocurrencies used in financing terrorism in the world.

“Our business is not a popularity contest but to protect uninformed players. The decision we have taken is in the best interest of every Nigerian who has nothing to hide.

“Transactions are extremely opaque, they are dark, they are not visible and they are not transparent.
“In another parlance, this are people who do not want a trail but indeed by its nature cannot be trailed.

“These definition alone are scary enough to create anxiety on any regulator or SEC or Central Banking any part of the world.
“That is the reason virtually all regulators in the World are weary to recognize it. Since Nigerians delved into it’s usage, we have been studying it’s development and paying close attention to currencies n that space.

“Now, we know enough at this stage to decide that the continuation of these opaque activities significantly threatens the safety and soundness of our financial independence and like you know.
“The CBN has as it’s nature all responsibility as the primary regulator to protect the activities all actors and stakeholders and particularly the uninformed actors in that space.

“For the financial system, all actors who may want to take advantage of their knowledge otherwise to reap where others of the uninformed loss.

“That is the reason we have asked all banks to resist, desist, and, indeed desist from operating account of cryptocurrency dealers in Nigeria.

“For avoidance of  doubt we have asked our banking supervision, our payment system and our IT department to carryout a thorough investigation through the activities of current exchanges and their major players.

“The result of their investigation will lead to better understanding of their activities and maybe unveiled to all in due course.

However, he said they know that Cryptocurrency has been used to facilitate scams which are popularly called 419 transactions that have been known to facilitate money laundering.
“It has been known to facilitate an avenue through which kidnappers receive ransoms and they have been known to be instruments that have been used to finance terrorism, not just in Nigeria but in different parts of the world where these have thrived.

“That is why sometimes we wonder from Data available that Nigeria comes second in the world.
“Most of us are prodding the fact that Nigeria comes second in the world with the use of a tools that facilitates scam and 419: We come second in the world with the use of tool that are used to finance terrorism.
“Let me state that this decision is in the best interest of every well meaning Nigeria who have nothing to hide and is happy to have traceable and transparent dealings in our financial system

“I do not know how many of you may have heard that the international monetary Funds, the US the United Kingdom, Europe agree with us and highlighted that a vast majority of Central Bank around the World have taken the same position as we have done in Nigeria
The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), Bolaji Owasanoye said EndSARS protest was largely financed by cryptocurrency; and an  indication that it could be used to fund Insurgency.

This was as the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit(NFIU), said his agency averted a $3million fraud linked to twenty bank accounts.

The ICPC boss backed the position of the Central Bank; stressing that Cryptocurrency lends itself to money laundering and terrorism financing.

He further disclosed that the anti-graft agency currently has a number of cases linked to Cryptocurrency but is unable to track the suspects.

In kicking against Cryptocurrency, he reminded the Senate how in 2018 a number of globally rated financial institutions had their financial statements hacked with the perpetrators asking to be paid in Cryptocurrencies.

The ICPC Chairman said while the CBN as regulator has responsibility to ensure sound financial stability; it will be difficult to achieve in the case of Cryptocurrencies where the role players are unknown.

To drive home his point, he left the lawmakers with a warning to urgently take decisive action against Cryptocurrencies sharing with them the experience of the Indian Supreme Court and how it ruled and admitted that it “does not know what it is”.

In his own presentation, the Director/CEO, NFIU, Tukur Moddido kicked strongly against Cryptocurrencies; pointing out that it failed the critical tests of vulnerability and attendant risks.

According to Modibbo, the NFIU  through its Cyber Intelligence stopped a scam of roughly $3 million.

Earlier, the Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Lamido Yuguda seems to have a more liberal stance toward the use of Cryptocurrencies when he said it should and can be regulated.

Without dismissing the fears expressed by the CBN, NFIU and ICPC, the SEC boss said his agency can develop an appropriate regulatory framework to protect investments in Cryptocurrencies and ensure the operators are duly registered.

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North-Central Gold Processing Plant ‘ll stimulate economic growth – Hajiya Suleiman




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North-Central Gold Processing Plant ‘ll stimulate economic growth – Hajiya Suleiman

Chairman of Kogi State Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO), Hajiya Hassiat Ozavize Suleiman has projected that Kogi State will soon witness geometric economic growth as a result of establishment of North-Central Gold Processing plant in the state.

Hajiya Suleiman made this known today in Mopa/Muro Local Government Area of the state where the ground breaking ceremony for the establishment of the gold processing plant was performed by Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The MIREMCO boss in an interactive session with newsmen also said that the inter state relationship created by the coming of this project will open up Kogi to the entire country and the world at large thereby making the Confluence State an investment hub of the nation.

Governor Yahaya Bello who was represented by the Honourable Commissioner for Information, Hon. Kingsley Fanwo described the event as epoch-making in the history of the Confluence State.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade and her team who were warmly received by His Royal Highness Oba Julius Joledo, the Elulu of Mopa, met and interfacd with other royal fathers of the host community and local government stakeholders with a view to preparing their minds for establishment of the North-Central Gold Processing Plant in their locality.

In his contribution, Kogi State Commissioner for Solid Minerals appreciated the royal fathers for providing the land and the Permanent Secretary for being instrumental for establishment of the legacy project in the state. The Commissioner equally lauded Governor Yahaya Bello for his efforts and continuous support for solid minerals development in Kogi State.

The safety of the project was assured when the host Mopamuro Local Government Area chairman informed the Permanent Secretary of his readiness to provide security and enabling environment for prospectors and the entire populace.

The ground breaking event was witnessed by dignitaries including Kogi State ALGON Chairman and Executive Chairman of Ijumu Local Government Area, Hon Isa Taofiq, experts in mining sector and top government functionaries.

Consequently, a reception was held in honour of the Permanent Secretary, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade who was described as a daughter of the soil by youths and women of the community.

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Solidaridad West Africa pledges support for divestment of Nigerian Economy




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Solidaridad West Africa pledges support for divestment of Nigerian Economy

By Friday Idachaba

Solidaridad West Africa, a solution-oriented international Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has said it is ready to support Nigeria in divesting its economy from oil to Agriculture.

The organization said it will bring to bare its over 50-year experience in global Agricultural transformation to achieve the all important diversification of the nation’s economy.

Senior Climate Specialist, Africa and County Technical Lead, Nigeria for Solidaridad Network, West Africa, disclosed this at a two-day workshop on Thursday in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop is on National Initiative for Sustainable and Climate Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) of Solidaridad West Africa in Nigeria (CSOs) and Media practitioners.

Ogallah said that there was need to divest from crude oil as the major foreign exchange earner for the country and focus on agriculture.

“We have a lot of youths. How do we feed the 200 million plus mouths in the country without Agriculture? So, the way to go is to leapfrog on what we are already doing in Solidaridad.

“We have over 50 years of experience. So, we can bring that to bear in the Agriculture sector in Nigeria on all the commodities like Cashew, Cocoa, Sesame and a lot more.

“In solidaridad, we are working on 13 commodities. Our intervention in Nigeria is also beyond the oil palm sector.

“Currently, we are implementing a horticulture project in Nigeria, fruits and vegetables in Kano and Kaduna, we are going into aquaculture in Ogun State and cocoa in Cross River.

“We did livestock intervention in Kano in 2019. So, you can imagine that of all these commodities our interventions are cross-cutting and Nigeria, the way forward is Agriculture,” Ogallah said.

On the workshop, he said that the event that drew stakeholders from Akwa-Ibom, Cross-Rivers, Enugu and Kogi States would enable experience sharing and stock taking of activities of the year 2020 and plan for the year 2021.

Also speaking, Mr Kene Onukwube, Programme Manager of NISCOPS Solidaridad Nigeria, said there was need for involvement of smallholder farmers, especially through Social Inclusion.

“In terms of social inclusion we are looking at women participation, youth participation and other vulnerable groups such as Persons Living With Disabilities and persons that are in the elderly class.

“We realised from our studies in 2019 that the population of oil palm farmers is highly skewed among the aged persons and youth participation has been very low.

“So, we increased sensitisation and awareness on the need for youths and women engagement in the oil palm sector”, he said. (NAN)

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