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Protesters storm Abuja, Lagos, Benin, Osogbo, others, demand reversal of harsh policies



…Police arrest 30 protesters, detain Inspector for assaulting journalist

By Ayo Fadimu, Eunice Odigie (Benin City), Abimbola Abatta (Osogbo)

Hundreds of protesters under the aegis of RevolutionNow took to streets of some states in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The protesters demanded the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari over alleged bad governance.

The protest led by a former presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore.

The protesters marched through Area 1 roundabout, before proceeding to the US Embassy, chanting different anti-government songs and bearing placards with different inscriptions like ‘Buhari has failed’; ‘Failed leadership has made Nigeria the capital of the world.’

The protesters insisted that the President should resign over increasing insecurity, hunger and corruption in the country.

The protesters who also included #BringBackOurGirls activist, Aisha Yesufu, Ariyo Dare-Atoye, Henry Shield, Adebayo Raphael, Deji Adeyanju of Concerned Nigerians, among others, criticized what they described as the oppression in the The protest, according to Sowore, is to demand reversal of: “anti-people policies implemented by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

“These harsh policies that have burnt a burdensome hole into the pockets of the Nigerian people are coming at a time when citizens are recovering from the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, a global health crisis that was also mismanaged by the Buhari’s government further plunging already struggling citizens into deeper financial problems.

“It also comes at a time when there is an unprecedented dictatorial-style crackdown on free speech, dissent, activism, journalism and the right to associate and congregate peacefully and protest.

Amongst its demands, CORE clamoured for reversal of the hike in the price of petrol from N148 to N151, an end to: “state-supervised and approved impunity under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari” and the sacking of all service chiefs in the country due to their: “proven incompetence in finding a lasting solution to the Boko Haram insurgency which has claimed and is still claiming the life of Nigerians daily”.

Yesufu said Nigerians must make the nation work, stating things were becoming unbearable.

She advised Buhari to always listen to the yearnings of Nigerians especially the masses.

Raphael said Nigerians have passed a vote of no confidence on the political leadership, adding that “under Buhari, our economy is in shambles; under him, hardship has been redefined.”

Dare-Atoye stated: “In the last 48 hours, a good number of soldiers have been slaughtered and injured. We are not better than those who have died, so why can’t we come out and protest? The only people enjoying Nigeria are the president and his family. A policeman cannot afford to cater for his family.

“Today, we have passed a vote of no confidence on the president and we want to tell them that this is just the beginning. The revolution of the common man is coming.”

Adeyanju said Nigerians were dissatisfied with the security and economic conditions in the country, stressing that “Nigeria is not working.”

He observed that soldiers, policemen and other security agents have taken over the Unity Fountain, Maitama, where a rally was supposed to hold.

The activist appealed to the US to place a visa ban on the Director-General of the Department of State Services for clamping down on protesters in Osogbo.

His words: “We call on the US, UK and the EU to issue visa ban against the Inspector General of Police, Director General of SSS, Chief of Army Staff, other heads or security agencies or any State Commissioner of Police, Director of SSS or Army Commandant at the state levels who oversees the clampdown on protesters.

“It is no longer news that Nigeria is increasingly becoming a repressive state, and the security agencies have surrendered their constitutional responsibility and made themselves a tool in the hands of the government. These security agencies have criminalized the act of protest, an otherwise constitutional right, in an attempt to shield the government of the day from criticism.”

It was gathered that the protest also held at Life Camp, Jabi, Kuje, Kwali, Kubwa, Gwagwalada and Lugbe.

In Lagos, the State Police Command arrested 30 protesters at various locations within the state for unlawful assembly and conduct likely to cause a breach of public peace during the Independence Day celebration.

This indication is contained in press statement, signed by the Command’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), SP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, and made available to newsmen in Lagos.

Adejobi said that the protesters put on crested vests of #RevolutionNow# with placards and gathered in numbers in violation of the COVID-19 protocol in the state.

“They will be charged to court on Friday, Oct. 2,” he said. The officer also said that the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, earlier ordered for the immediate detention and orderly room trial of one Inspector Adadu Innocent.

Adejobi said that the inspector, attached to PMF 22 Ikeja, had been detained for hitting and injuring one Mr Kayode Jaiyeola of the Punch Newspaper with a stick at Maryland, Lagos.

“Odumosu personally moved the injured journalist to the Police Cottage (Hospital) at Area F, GRA, Ikeja, where he personally waited and ensured that the injured journalist was given immediate and good medical treatment.

“An eyewitness account from senior officers on ground revealed that the policeman suddenly attacked the journalist, without any previous altercation or confrontation.

“This propelled the commissioner to order for his trial in order to serve as a deterrent to others who are fond of engaging in unprofessional and unethical conducts,” he said.

According to Adejobi, Odumosu urged the general public to believe in the command’s commitment to sanitise and reform the policing system in Lagos State in conformity with international standards.

In Benin city, the protesters under the aegis of a group known as Coalition for Revolution took to major streets in the ancient city, calling on President Buhari to fix the country or resign honourably

The protesters who carried placards with inscriptions such as: ‘change the system not palliative’; the poor have rights too’; ‘reverse electricity hike now’; ‘reverse all privatisation’; ‘Buhari: obey Nigerians not IMF’; ‘end poverty in Nigeria now, etc, also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to give Nigerians divIdends of democracy.

Comrade Kola Edokpayi, spokesperson for the group, while addressing News men at the Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said there is nothing to celebrate about Nigeria independence, adding that Nigeria is rather an embarrassment before the committee of nations.

According to Kola, the pitiable state of the nation has led to mass exodus of Nigerian youth travelling to Libya, Italy, and other crisis ravaged countries, adding that these youths prefer to die in these countries because our leaders have failed them.

He said, “Today, we are no longer proud that we are from Nigeria. There is mass exodus of our youths from Nigeria to Libya enroute Italy. They prefer to live Italy, and die in Libya where there is crisis; they prefer to live and die in Afghanistan, Iraq where there is crisis; they prefer to die in Syria, a crisis ravaged country just because our leaders have failed us. Our leaders are busy celebrating failed independence of Nigeria. There is nothing to celebrate about. Independence is meaningless unless it is meant for the total liberation

“Topping all these, our rulers have decided to add heavier palavers to our sufferings. Within three months,  they hiked fuel prices, increased electricity tariffs, stamp duty, food items, and other basic amenities. To be a Nigerian is now as costly as hell,” Kola lamented.

In Osun State, Protesters under the auspices of #RevolutionNow movement on Thursday morning took to major streets in Osogbo to protest alleged harsh policies implemented by the President Muhammadu

Buhari-led administration.

The protesters, who gathered at Old garage around 8:30am, chanted anti-government songs to condemn the hardship faced by Nigerians.

Operatives of the Department of State Security tried to stop the protesters from proceeding with the protest but to no avail.

The peaceful protesters of Coalition of Revolution (CORE) movement decried the brutality they suffered in the hands of operatives of the Department of Security Service (DSS) in Osun State.

The DSS operatives were accused of beating and arresting 11 members of the group during the protest. The arrested members were later released at the entrance of DSS office.

One of the protesters who is a member of “Take it Back Movement,” Nigeria, Olaoluwa Owoeye said the porous regime of Buhari should resign with immediate effect.

“We are calling for immediate resignation because we cannot continue with this act of indiscipline; we cannot continue with this act of corruption; we cannot continue with this act of fuel hike; we cannot continue with this act of electricity hike.

“We are saying immediate and unconditional release of the materials that have been taken such as our phones, money. We are also calling for the probe of the battery regime, the DSS head, we are saying he should withdraw his neck from this unruly act that they perpetrate against Nigerians.

“They should do that within 24 hours or else, they are going to see us on the streets again.”

Also speaking, Temitope Fagunwa Maberu said Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world. “We have the poorest people living in the whole world domicile in Nigeria, and yet the Nigerian state has the audacity to tell us that we are celebrating independence.

“We are saying that this independence is nothing to write home about; it is nothing to celebrate because the entirety of what we are told as citizens should celebrate in the 21st century, we are not entitled to it.”

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Divestments: Foreign investors cite harsh operating environment as reason for exit, pull out N310bn assets



Foreign investors have cited a harsh operating environment as reasons for their exit from the Nigerian market.

Recall that President Bola Tinubu had in his inauguration speech in May and also in August assured investors of his dedication to revitalising the nation’s economy by intensifying the removal of all bottlenecks obstructing efficient business establishment and management in Nigeria.

However, since the President came on board, the country has witnessed over four major foreign investors in the manufacturing and oil and gas sector exiting the country in droves citing high operational costs and unfavourable business climates as some of the reasons for their exit.

The latest exit announcement was made yesterday by Procter & Gamble (P&G) a major global player in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) segment and Equinor, another global player in the upstream oil sector.

With these new exits, Nigeria’s economy is expected to lose $335 million (about N310 billion) in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).

The amount represents the combined assets value of the two companies.

Procter & Gamble (P&G), an American multinational consumer goods company, says it has plans to transition from local production to solely importing its products as the firm winds down its on-ground presence in Nigeria.

Equinor is exiting after selling its Nigerian business, including its share in the Agbami oil field to Nigerian-owned energy company Chappal Energies.

Explaining the decision, Chief Financial Officer, P&G, Andre Schulten said the decision is a result of “the challenging business environment in Nigeria, as well as the difficulty in creating US dollar value.”

On his part, Equinor’s Senior Vice President for Africa Operations, Nina Koch, in a statement, said, “Nigeria has been an important part of Equinor’s international portfolio over the past 30 years.

“This transaction realises value and is in line with Equinor’s strategy to optimise its international oil and gas portfolio and focus on core areas.”

In the second half of this year two other major multinational companies, GlaxoSmithKline, GSK, Consumer Nigeria Plc and Sanofi-Aventis Nigeria Limited, a French pharmaceutical company, pulled out assets estimated at over $800 million from Nigeria, citing harsh operating environment.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has blamed stringent regulatory and legislative activities, insufficient infrastructure, and policy inconsistencies for the difficulties faced by businesses.

Reacting to the exit of Procter & Gamble, P&G, NECA’s Director-General, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde expressed dissatisfaction with the news.

He however, commended the Federal Government for supporting the Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, and manufacturers through the disbursement of the N125 billion Presidential Palliative Programme.

The DG said, “NECA commends the Federal Government for supporting the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and manufacturers through the disbursement of the N125 billion Presidential Palliative Programme.

“This strategic intervention is a proactive step in mitigating the impact of the multi-dimensional challenges currently being faced by businesses. It strongly emphasised the immediate need for decisive measures to halt the ongoing trend of companies divesting from the country.

“While we commend the Federal Government for the disbursement of the intervention funds, we urge a quick and definitive action to arrest the continuous exit and divestment of legitimate organizations in Nigeria.

“In the last few years, hitherto strong brands like GSK, Nampak and now P&G and some other local brands have either closed shop or divested fully or partially. These regrettable departures will persistently undermine the Federal Government’s efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investment, rendering its initiatives highly ineffective.

Highlighting the probable factors behind these business closures, the NECA boss asserted “that the challenging business landscape, marked by stringent regulatory and legislative activities, insufficient infrastructure, and policy inconsistencies, all conspired to exacerbate the difficulties faced by businesses.

“When established global brands like P&G cannot survive the environmental and regulatory onslaught, it is worrisome how many more businesses will capitulate.

“Regulatory bodies tasked with fostering business growth persist in prioritising revenue generation at the expense of their core mandate, while legislators, in the guise of oversight functions, consistently create impediments for organized businesses, hindering their operations.

“The contradictions and self-disruptive tendencies of many federal and state Institutions can only be imagined, as they negate the efforts of the President to attract Foreign Direct Investment.”

NECA implored President Bola Tinubu, as well as the Minister for Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, “to prioritise the survival of local businesses as the primary step before actively seeking Foreign Direct Investment.

“We advocate for the 2024 Appropriation Bill to address crucial infrastructural requirements conducive to business expansion, laying the groundwork for a prosperous nation.

“Additionally, he underscored the necessity of focusing on comprehensive tax reforms and addressing the challenges related to FOREX and exchange rates with a sense of urgency.”

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CBN reviews service charter to drive ease of doing business



By Sodiq Adelakun

In a significant move to bolster the ease of doing business in Nigeria, the  Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Yemi Cardoso, has officially approved a revised “Service Charter” for the nation’s apex bank.

This strategic initiative is a direct response to the mandates of the Business Facilitation Act 2022, which aims to streamline business operations and enhance customer service delivery across the country.

The CBN announced on Thursday that the newly reviewed charter is designed to establish a clear framework for interactions between the bank and its external stakeholders. By adhering to the provisions of the charter, the CBN commits to aligning with the directives set forth by SERVICOM, the government agency responsible for promoting efficient and effective service delivery in public offices.

The implementation of the service charter is expected to mark a new era of transparency and accountability in the CBN’s operations, ensuring that the bank’s services are delivered in a customer-centric manner.

This development is anticipated to have a positive impact on the Nigerian business landscape, fostering a more conducive environment for both local and international investors.

Governor Cardoso’s endorsement of the service charter underscores the CBN’s dedication to upholding the principles of the Business Facilitation Act 2022 and its commitment to driving progress in Nigeria’s economic landscape.

“The document clearly outlines the bank’s mandates, vision, mission, and core values.

“It contains the list of services offered by the bank through its various departments and the service standards for each service.

“The service charter also includes a standardised customer complaints form for reporting service failures as well as a mechanism for addressing failures in any of the bank’s services,” it stated.

It added that the service charter reiterated CBN’s commitment to effective and prompt service delivery to its stakeholders and to its customers.

“It enables our customers to know the range of services provided by the bank as well as the standards at which these services would be provided.

“It equally states redress procedures in the event of service failure from any of our service windows.

“The charter applies to all stakeholders and customers of the bank,” it stressed.

In the foreword to the reviewed document, Cardoso reiterated CBN’s commitment to providing more responsive and citizen-friendly governance through quality service delivery that is efficient, accountable and transparent.

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At UBA Business Series, e-commerce owners urge SMEs to prioritise delivering value



Seasoned business  owners have advised Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) owners and operators on winning tips that will help them run successful online businesses especially in the face of growing competition and challenging business terrain.

Speaking during the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Business Series hybrid event at the bank’s Head office in Lagos on Thursday, the entrepreneurs and E-commerce experts agreed that SMEs should start small and offer value-added services to their customers as these are essential factors to help them grow their businesses into successful empires.

The Chief Executive Officer,, Nnamdi Ekeh, the Founder/CEO RenDoll Fashion Brand, Reni Abina, and Media Personality & Entrepreneur, Kaylah Oniwo were panellists at the event who spoke on the topic; E-commerce: the Effects of Online Retail.

“There is a need for proper documentation. Data is very important for business growth, as it gives you your conversion rates, and lets you know what to do to improve these rates to boost business patronage,” Ekeh said, as he emphasised that boosting security as regards payment options is also very important.

On her part, Abina advised E-commerce business owners and prospective owners to make use of reputable online influencers to promote their businesses, as she said, “It is important to find influencers in your field that are fitting to your brand and the kind of business you do.”

“It is important for business owners to know how their brands are being positioned; remember to track your growth properly as this will help you to know what you are doing right or wrong at every point in time,” Oniwo stated as she pointed out that the need for business owners to take the storytelling element of their business very important.

Together, all the speakers at the event noted that business owners should ensure that their businesses are duly registered, with functional business accounts as this gives a large amount of credibility to the company.

Speaking earlier, the Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Alero Ladipo, said UBA organises these business series frequently as they go a long way towards equipping customers with the much needed strategies to help build their businesses.

She said, “This year alone, we have had several conversations around business and health, personal finance and now, we are talking about e-commerce. To us as a bank, it is important that we have these conversations and the topic for this session is E-commerce, and is very important as we wrap up the year, because this is the season for giving and a lot of buying and selling will be going on during this period.

“As a financial institution that cares about its customers, UBA is interested in bringing in great speakers, experienced business people and thought leaders to educate its customers and Small business owners as they can then take the points discussed in these series and work with them to improve upon and positively impact their businesses,” she stated.

United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees’ group wide and serving over 35 million customers globally. Operating in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, UBA provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

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