06 Nov

The week ahead – Job security will be the topic as the year ends

Nigeria’s economy remains in near coma with the absence of a working cabinet at the federal level. This bad economic climate has resulted in a rash of job losses among some of the most promising start-ups in Nigeria. There is also, as the year draws to an end, the possibility of mass sacking by banks and other multi-national companies. If this happens, it is bound to complicate the economic situation in Nigeria. This grim outlook is not helped by regulatory confusion, and an apparent haste in various decisions taken thus far within the telecoms and the financial sector.

For example, the Central Bank of Nigeria appears to be at logger heads with the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria over the decisions taken against Stanbic-IBTC Holdings. The CBN cleared Stanbic of any wrong doing and opined they were in order with respect to the NOTAP approval and extraneous issues that spurred the FRCN’s decision to bring down the hammer on Stanbic last week.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange has invited Oando’s audit committee and its external auditors as part of the delayed filing of the audited financial statements of the firm for the year ended December 31, 2014, as well as its results for the first and second quarters of 2015. This follows the heavy losses declared by the firm.

The private sector investor currently in charge of the redevelopment of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway appears to have been hit been by a scarcity of funds, and is negotiating for fresh funds to be injected into the project. The Goodluck Jonathan administration had provided the initial N50 billion in the first instalment by making available 50% of the sum, following the revocation of the prior concession agreement with Bi-Courtney Highway Services.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed has revealed that shoddy investigation on the part of the security and anti-corruption agents has led to the death of fraud cases at the courts. Justice Mohammed said that law enforcement agencies ought to pursue investigation-led arrest and not arrest-led investigation.

The security situation across the country appears to be deteriorating. In Lagos, miscreants have continued their siege on innocent citizens who commute to work both in the early and late hours of the day. Lagos governor, Akin Ambode held a Security Council meeting and promised to arrest the tide. Citizens made use of social media platforms to show how robbers break car windscreens, in most cases dispossessing the victims of valuables, and leaving them psychologically traumatized.

This week, a court in Lagos ordered the detention of Joseph Aminu, a policeman, for killing a tennis player, Beauty Mcleod. Aminu allegedly shot Mcleod in a hotel following an altercation.

A survey at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport has indicated that up to 25% of the people who claim to be staff of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, or Skyway Aviation Handling Company, SACHOL, possess fake identity cards. The report of the survey indicates that some of the touts are former staff of airlines, government agencies and travel agents who have lost their jobs, and are now aided by their former colleagues in an elaborate scheme to return to the airport with fake identity cards.

The DSS has brokered peace between the leadership of Fulani, Miyetti Allah and the Afenifere group. This became necessary following the trouble that has brewed in the South West on the account of kidnap of the former Secretary To The Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae. The DSS threatened to deal with anyone found to be promoting violence with words and actions, and advised them to leave in peace.

Internationally, reports surfaced in the UK that their intelligence services are pursuing leads that a Russian airliner which crashed in Egypt early this week was brought down by an explosive device. The American president has concurred with the British, lending credence to the Islamic States’s claim that their branch in the SINAI was responsible for the crash.

  • COUNSEL
    The Senate President finally presented the list of confirmed ministers to the President at the Aso Villa. Though it has paved a way for the inauguration of ministers next week, it was a needless show. Nigeria needs the President to assign sensitive ministries like Power, Energy, Justice, Finance and Economy to those who can get the job done, let them get on with the urgent business of stabilising the economy.
  • Last week, we wondered why the FRC was raising questions about a report that it had approved previously, an action which questions its transparency. This worry still remains. That the CBN has absolved Stanbic of wrong doing is quite an embarrassing dimension to the ongoing face off between the FRC and Stanbic. That all of this is happening as the Stock Exchange is scrambling to look into the Oando palaver a year late sends a bad signal to investors and stakeholders that our regulatory bodies are not serious.
  • Regarding the state of our roads, we advise that the federal government divests from the operation of most roads in Nigeria, and adopt a concession based arrangement to finance all federal roads. This is both as a result of the paucity of funds, and the fact that by now it should be clear to all the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing cannot maintain our roads. We hope the concessionaires conclude their negotiations on the fund raising and strive to complete the Lagos/Ibadan express way. It remains Nigeria’s most important road.
  • The revelation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria explains why corruption and fraud may remain with us for a while. We believe that neither the EFCC nor ICPC as presently constituted and structured, have what it takes to fight this war. The CJ has simply echoed the thoughts of many Nigerians on the inadequacies of the Nigerian criminal justice system.
  • The Governor of Lagos should, as a matter of urgency, call for a security summit and brainstorm on ways and manner to address the daily menace of men of the underworld. We aver that the current Commissioner of Police has not helped matters. He needs to be seen to lead the war on a daily basis beginning with a 24/7 patrol and reconnaissance on identified dark spots.
  • Having said that though, we urge all Nigerians and residents of Nigeria to exercise extraordinary caution while relating with men of the Nigerian Police. Most of them are poorly trained, underpaid, frustrated and have no idea about basic human rights. This is not the first and may not be the last time that a policeman has killed a citizen in cold blood. The death of Beauty Mcleod is a sad reminder about the many that have been cut short by unwarranted brutality and disregard for human life by members of the Nigeria Police, and we hope that her murderer is brought to justice.
  • FAAN and the FG need to act fast to remove all touts from our airports. They represent a permanent danger to the passengers and other sensitive facilities within the airports. It is also important to note that our airports, especially the International Airport in Lagos, are Nigeria’s gateways. The current situation of these facilities will never encourage prospective investors in the country.
  • The Office of The National Security Adviser should be interested in how the Sinai plane crash is investigated and resolved. Boko Haram, a terrorist group still active in Nigeria has declared allegiance to ISIS, and may become interested in copy-cat attacks, which given the current situation in our airports, is not far-fetched.