The Chief Judge of Federal High Court, Abuja Division, Hon. Justice Adamu Abdu Kafarati, has reiterated the need for judges in Nigeria to support the recovery efforts of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) since the corporation was established as a central element of government’s response to financial crisis in the country.
He made the remarks at the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Abuja when he addressed federal high court judges at an interactive session between the trio of NJI, AMCON and federal high court judges.
Describing AMCON’s assignment to recover over N5trillion for the country as a national assignment that must be supported by all stakeholders especially the judiciary, the Chief Judge also highlighted the crisis that would have hit the Nigerian economy if government did not establish AMCON at the time they did. AMCON coming to save the banks in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasised, so the corporation must be supported firm judicial processes to recover the outstanding debt because AMCON also borrowed money to rescue the banks.
He said, “My Lords, banks are drivers of the economy as they supply its oxygen. That is why during the 2008/2009 financial crisis in Nigeria (partly triggered by global financial crisis, and partly by domestic activities), government intervened to support the banks by bailing them out in order to allow the financial system to continue functioning. In the absence of government intervention in the banks through the vehicle, which AMCON provided, a number of banks in the country would have failed thereby inhibiting banks from playing their crucial roles in the economy like payment of services to households and companies extension of credits, savings accounts and financial insurance among others.”
Justice Kafarati further said, “The interruption to the critical service that banks provide, and the likely loss of confidence in the system that would have followed, would have led to widespread disruption and ultimate collapse of the financial system in Nigeria. AMCON was thus created in 2010 as the most important step towards resolving non-performing loans in the banks. This was effected through the injection of capital into the ailing banks in consideration for equity. Recognising the grave systemic risk posed by high level of bad debts otherwise known as non-performing loans, AMCON was set up to manage the assets transferred to it with a view to maximizing their value through eventual sale or orderly liquidation.”
He said the judiciary must therefore collaborate with AMCON to recover every outstanding debt because with the purchase of the NPLs, AMCON, he argued, is expected to maximize the value of asset recoveries and minimize costs to taxpayers. The Hon. Justice also reminded the judges that this mandate can be accomplished effectively because the AMCON Act conferred ‘special powers’ to the corporation in its debt recovery drive. In enforcing its powers, he added that AMCON has an obligation to complement the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in their mandates respecting financial system stability in Nigeria.
According to him, the totality of the conceptual, functional and jurisprudential implications of the establishment of AMCON is that despite the universal financial crisis of 2008/2009, Nigeria was insulated from the collapse of any bank, a run on the banks or notably, the need to withhold depositor’s funds. He therefore said AMCON required the full utilization of the extra ordinary, special and unusual powers to enable it overcome the challenges otherwise confronted by banks in their efforts to recover debts from recalcitrant obligors, especially since the perpetual debtors resort to all manner of legal loopholes to ensure that they never redeem their obligations.
Addressing the judges earlier, AMCON Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ahmed Lawan Kuru did not mince words acknowledging the overwhelming challenges faced by AMCON in the recovery of the outstanding debt of AMCON, which he put at N5.4trillion. He said, “My Lords, it is clear to us now that we (AMCON) cannot go very far without the support of the courts because AMCON obligors deliberately raise technicalities in courts to elongate and delay their cases with AMCON.”
The AMCON boss informed that as a result of these antics, AMCON as part of its renewed strategy for recovering decided earlier in the year to refocus its strategy by shifting gears from restructuring towards enforcements. He said, “It has become clear to us that in order to attain the target as we approach sunset, we must redouble our efforts in the areas of enforcement. The AMCON Act anticipated a situation where we may need to enforce if negotiations fail. Negotiation has failed us, given our sunset date. It is also clear to us that we cannot go very far without the strong support of the judiciary. Out of the 191,766 cases pending at the federal high court, more than 3,000 are related to AMCON alone.”
Explaining that AMCON is not a profit-making organization, Kuru however asserted that if the national assignment of recovering the N5.4trillion of bad debts is to be achieved, the AMCON practice direction must be strengthened and encouraged. But should AMCON fail to recover this huge debt at sunset, the impact, he stated will be catastrophic to Nigeria’s economy.
AfDB, GGBI partner to strengthen Africa’s green bond market
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, has signed a declaration with the coalition of development finance institutions to promote green bond markets in Africa.
AfDB’s Group Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Ms Hassatou N’Sele, said this in a statement issued on the bank’s website.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Africa’s engagement in the green bond market currently represents less than one per cent of the more than 2.2 trillion dollar community green bond issued in 2022.
N’Sele said the institutions in the Global Green Bond Initiative (GGBI) comprised the European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.
Others are the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, Green Climate Fund and Germany’s KfW development bank, while PROPARCO of the AFD Group act as consortium of European development finance institutions.
The AfDB’s chief financial officer signed the declaration with representatives of the coalitions’ institutions on the sidelines of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
N’Sele said the engagement was to tap from the Global Green Bond Initiative technical assistance programme announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in June 2023.
”The Initiative will help private capital flow from institutional investors into climate and environmental projects in EU partner countries, increasing their access to capital.
”Providing technical assistance to green bond issuers in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs), and crowding in private investors through a dedicated de-risked fund.
”This will act as an anchor investor in green bonds issued in EMDEs.
“The anticipated impact can be up to 15-20 billion euro in green investments,” she said.
N’Sele said the partners supported the origination of green bonds, development and identification of pipelines of green projects, and the development of credible and coherent green bond frameworks.
“This joint declaration among us to collaborate on technical assistance on green bonds in Africa is our commitment to work together and it is significant and impactful.
”There cannot be impactful development in Africa without vibrant local capital markets,” the AfDB official said.
N’Sele highlighted the AfDB’s engagements in the green bond market, including issuing over 10 billion dollar worth of green and social bbondsin 2022 to support sustainable progress across Africa.
“Let’s help Africa fully leverage the power of green bonds, and we can contribute together towards a sustainable future for Africans,” she said.
Mr Stefano Signore of the European Commission’s partnerships directorate, described the partnership with the AfDB as an important milestone in efforts to mobilise green bonds in emerging developing economies.
Also, representative of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) expressed hope that the partnership would contribute to the intensification of climate and environmentally relevant projects.
”We hope to also contribute to pipelines that can set off the mobilisation of the global green bond initiative.”
NIS opens passport office in Ikorodu
The Comptroller- General of Nigeria Immigration Service(CGI), Mrs Caroline Adepoju ,on Friday assured Nigerians that they would get their passports within three weeks of submitting their applications.
Adepoju gave the assurance while inaugurating a new passport office in Igbogbo community in Ikorodu, Lagos State .
Adepoju said passports would now be processed and issued speedily provided applicants submit all the required details in their applications.
She advised the public to ensure that they renew their passports six months before its expiration to avoid problems while applying for visa to some countries.
Adepoju thanked the people of Igbogbo for their support and for providing all that was needed to start operation in the area.
“I thank the traditional ruler and the people of Igbogbo for their support and for ensuring the realisation of this project.
“This is my first assignment after my confirmation as the substantive Controller General of Nigeria Immigration Service.
“I want to advise the public to ensure they renew their passport six months before expiration to avoid being denied visa by some countries,” she said.
Speaking, Gov. Babajide Sanwoolu said the establishment of the passport office in Igbogbo would improve service delivery i to Nigerians and save the people of Igbogbo and environs the stress of traveling far to obtain tbeir passports..
Sanwoolu, represented by Mr Ibrahim Layode, Commussioner for Home Affairs, said the role of Immigration in any country could not be over- emphasised.
He said that the establishment of the passport front office in Igbogbo was a testament to Federal Government’s commitment to providing world -class immigration services in line with global standard.
Also speaking, the council Chairman of Igbogbo Baiyeku Local Counvil Development Area(LCDA) Mr Olusesan Daini, urged the CGI to consider expanding operations at the new passport front office .
Daini said the council would synergise with NIS to ensure the edifice was maintained.
“We will also improve our security architecture to ensure the office is secure.”he said.
He said that the new passport office was a welcome development as residents would no longer have to travel far to obtain or renew their passports.
“The establishment of this passport front office in Igbogbo will improve commercial activities.
“The council will also improve its security architecture to provide adequate security in the area,” he said.
Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, Oba Orimadegun Kasali ,who spoke on behalf of all the traditional rulers in Ikorodu Division , said he was very happy that the passport front office was established in his domain.
He added that it would go a long way in improving commercial activities in the area.
Adeboruwa commended all those who facilitated the establishment of the passport office in the community.
“I cannot say how happy I am today, infact ,this office will put Igbogbo community in world map.
” I appreciate everybody that has contributed in one way or the other to make this a success,especially the family that donated the land .
“I am glad that Igbogbo passport office has come to stay,” he said.
Nigeria, Germany sign Siemens power project accelerated implementation agreement
President Bola Tinubu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz were witnesses to the signing of an accelerated performance agreement in Dubai on the Siemens power project in Nigeria.
The agreement was signed on the side-line of the on-going 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28 by Mr Kenny Anuwe, Managing Director of FGN Power Company on behalf of Nigeria.
Ms Nadja Haakansson, Siemens Energy’s Senior Vice-President and Managing Director for Africa signed on behalf of the German company.
Speaking after signing the agreement, Anuwe highlighted Siemens Energy’s effective delivery of crucial equipment worth more than 63 million Euros to Nigeria since the commencement of the project.
This includes 10 units of 132/33KV mobile substations; three units of 75/100MVA transformers, and seven units of 60/66MVA transformers, currently being installed by FGN Power Company at various sites.
The Dubai agreement was signed to expedite the implementation of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) to improve Nigeria’s electricity supply.
The PPI, formerly known as the Nigeria Electrification Roadmap Initiative, was the outcome of the visit by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Abuja in August 2018.
An agreement was signed between the governments of Nigeria and Germany in 2019 to improve Nigeria’s power sector.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, stated on Friday in Abuja that since assumption of office, Tinubu had advocated the accelerated realisation and expansion of the PPI.
To achieve this, the project has been a major focal point in three rounds of bilateral discussions at meetings between President Tinubu and the German Chancellor in New Delhi, in Abuja and in Berlin.
The Dubai agreement will facilitate the modernisation and expansion of Nigeria’s electric power transmission grid with full supply, delivery and installation of Siemens-manufactured equipment within 18 to 24 months, Ajuri stated.
It will ensure project sustainability and maintenance with full technology transfer and training of Nigerian engineers at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), he added.
The project will also focus on identified load demand centres with particular emphasis on economic and industrial hubs nationwide and the execution of new 330kV and 132/33KV substations in target load centres with economic priority.
These are in addition to thousands of kilometres of overhead transmission lines to connect new substations with existing ones, Ajuri also stated.
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