Sunday, 19 November 2017
Sunday, 29 October 2017 14:26

KING JOSHUA RULES AGAIN


•Stops brave Takam in 10th round

•Retains Boxing World titles

•Joshua praises opponent

•Takam wants a rematch


ANTHONY JOSHUA stopped a resilient Carlos Takam in the 10th round to successfully defend his IBF and WBA heavyweight world titles in Cardiff.

The Briton made it 20 victories from as many bouts in front of an estimated 78,000 at the Principality Stadium.

Joshua’s nose was cut in the second by the head of Takam, 36, who replaced Kubrat Pulev 12 days before the bout.

Joshua, 28, then cut Takam’s eye in the fourth, but it took until round 10 for the Cameroon-born boxer to be stopped.

Joshua has now cemented his status as the best pound for pound heavyweight boxer on the planet after overpowering a resilient and determined Carlos Takam in front of a brimming Principality Stadium.

Eager to prove the bookmakers wrong who had stacks the odds so heavily against him, Takam started out determined to make a go of the showdown, digging in early on and catching Joshua with a clash of heads. Joshua talking in the ring, he said: “First and foremost, Cardiff thank you for coming out this evening.

“Takam, it was a pleasure. I come to fight, I don’t sit on the edge and make decisions. it was a good fight until the ref stopped it, so I have the utmost respect for Takam.

“I have no interest in what is going on with the officials, that’s not my job. I think people want to see Takam unconscious on the floor, and that’s what I was trying to get to.” Joshua’s gallant challenger Carlos Takam, who is asked whether the referee was right to stop the fight, replied: “No, I don’t think so.

“I don’t know why the referee stopped the match. I respect the champion and the UK fans, they are great fans and I am happy to box here. I don’t know why they stopped it.

“I want a rematch, I make my preparations with 12 days to fight Anthony. I want a rematch, I want to box him again, I want him, he is a great champion.”

After a brief short-out prior to the ring walk the power was back on in the area. Thankfully Joshua was with it as the first bell sounded. He bounded across the ring, perhaps open to stifle the expected early charge. AJ towered over the 6ft 1in Takam, who crouched even lower as if to minimise Joshua’s target further. He hardly threw a punch in the first, though, which Joshua took without landing many of his own.

Joshua, warned by trainer Rob McCracken that Takam possessed knock out power, was taking few risks at the start. But it was the challenger’s head rather his punches which inflicted he first facial damage of the night. Joshua reared away from the impact, which gave him a bloody nose, but then opened up in retaliation.

Published in Headliners

With just few hours to the all-important showdown between Anthony Joshua and Carlos Takam, the sleepy town of Sagamu has become a beehive of activities as residents trooped out in their numbers to support their son in what they have dubbed a must win encounter.

Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua is defending his heavyweight world title for the fourth time against French- Cameroonian Carlos Takam.

The event, hosted by the Joshua family partnering with Kwese Sports had people of all ages and from all works of life congregate at the Pa Joshua Memorial Hall to see how their illustrious son dismantle  willy Takam.

Sagamu holds a special place for Joshua as the heavyweight champion spent a year schooling within the vicinity during his teenage years. He has often stated that the discipline inculcated in him during his boarding house years in Sagamu made him the tough and successful boxer he has become today.

The heavyweight world champion faces Takam at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday evening as he looks to retain the titles he fought so hard to win against Wladimir Klitschko.

With an anticipated crowd of 80,000 people set to gather in the Welsh capital, Joshua would not be blamed for feeling some nerves.

But judging by his Instagram snap, Joshua has not been struck by any fear ahead of that encounter.

He wrote as a caption to the social media photo: ‘Feeling fight day fresh #stayhungry’.

The Nigerian born British fighter came in at the largest weight of his career, a full stone heavier than Takam, contrary to promoter Eddie Hearn’s predictions.

Joshua commented when asked: ‘I don’t know what’s happened. I’ve been starving myself.

‘I’ve trained hard so maybe it’s the extra running. Maybe I’m filling out naturally as I’m getting older’

He has turned 28, but insisted: ‘I’ve never felt better and fitter in my life. ‘

Published in Headliners

• Declare War Against Anti-Buhari Ministers, Open Campaign Office
• 50% PDP Members Hijacked Buhari’s Govt, Says Custom Boss

There are strong indications that President Muhammadu Buhari would seek re-election in the 2019 general elections. Yesterday, his supporters, under the aegis of the Buhari Support Organisations (BSO), openly beckoned on him to seek a second term of four years, while opening his campaign office in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The gathering brought together some serving governors, ministers and other appointees, who called themselves “Buharists,” even as they declared war against cabinet members considered to be working against the President’s interest.

In attendance were Governors Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi); Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Simon Lalong (Plateau); Ministers of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mohammed Bello; Defence, Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali; Niger Delta, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani; and Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, as well as Chairman of the occasion, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, among many others.

Head of BSO in the pre-2015 polls and presently Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali, lamented that Buhari’s government has been hijacked by 50 per cent opposition People Democratic Party (PDP) members serving as cabinet members, promising aggrieved supporters that the issue would be looked into.

He said: “When we were there working and jumping on the street and reaching every corner, we were shouting change, change for a better Nigeria. Now, the key word is good governance for Nigerians.

“We must agree that we cannot finish our four years without delivering and leaving something to be remembered for in this country for a long time to come. We have no problem with our President, because he is on course.

“But I must confess here that we have been infused by people who were not part of this journey and these people are the ones that call the shots today. That is why we are derailing.

“If we had the right people who had the vision and have been there in and out, I believe we would not be going the way we are going today. “It is my belief that those of us who have been in the trenches all these years to get good governance will surely be sleeping with belly ache everyday, especially in the recent past.

“Everyday, when you wake up, there is a story that makes you shiver. We cannot, as a people who have fought and committed everything we had to bring this government to being, sit back and allow things to happen the way they are happening.

“At the end of the day, the fingers will point at us, because we were the ones who went to people and urged them to give us their votes. These people that are calling the shots today were not there and when the chips are down, they will disappear and melt within the system. We are the ones that will be asked to account for what happened.

“Are we willing to face Nigerians and tell them that we have failed? I think this is the time for us to come together, create a system that is very robust enough to fight back and take back government in our hands and ensure that we deliver.”

He, however, called on all the support groups to “go back to the study room,” adding: “This is a commission, but it is also the beginning of the fight for good governance. We must get back to the trenches, draw our own battle plan and battle line.

“I enjoin you with that same commitment we had in 2015, I implore you to bear with us and commit yourself to a better future for Nigeria.” Lalong, who reinforced Ali’s assertions, added that some of them who are governors, too, were not carried along when appointments were made.

“Let Mr. President be aware that this is the time to do it, because even as governors, we are also complaining in our various states. We complained in our state that while we are here, sitting down, we hear appointments made and then people start asking, you are the governor, where is this man coming from? But when we turn right and turn left, we don’t know where such man is coming from.

“Many people have complained. I’m sure governors have complained that we should be able to know who and who will protect Mr. President and his administration, so that when you appoint him and you find him guilty or you find him wanting, hold the governor responsible, because in our various states when we established BSO, we also had BSO.

“But today when we turned back and find out that they are not enjoying, it means that something is wrong and that is the wrong we have pointed out and we must be very brave to say it.”

Abubakar, who said he was not part of the BSO at the beginning, but believe in the vision of the President, asked the supporters to continue the support, saying: “It is incumbent on us to support the BSO to succeed.”

Earlier, despite his silence on the issue, a group of lawmakers, under the aegis of Buhari Support Group (BSG), yesterday said the President has what it takes to lead the country beyond 2019.

Addressing State House Correspondents after a closed-door meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, leader of the group, Senator Abu Ibrahim, said even though the issue did not form the crux of their meeting, members were poised to mobilise massive support for his re-election in 2019.

He said BSG, which is an umbrella platform of about 180 different support organisations that worked for the party’s victory in 2015, believes in Buhari’s philosophy and capacity to solve the myriad of challenges facing the country, as well as facilitate stability, prosperity and progress. Hence the group has been holding series of meetings and discussing the problems of Nigeria and how to improve the situation in the country.

Also speaking, Senate Leader and member of the group, Ahmed Lawan, expressed satisfaction with the APC-led administration, saying Buhari should be given another opportunity beyond 2019 to complete all that he has started, particularly in the areas of insecurity, anti-corruption and the strive to revitalise the economy.

He said the present administration has achieved a lot in driving the socio-economic development efforts and, therefore, deserves another chance.

A statement by the Presidency later quoted Buhari as expressing satisfaction with the group’s support for his administration.

Published in Headliners

A Nigerian man simply identified as John based in South Africa has bought a luxury Mercedes-Benz G-class to a South African man to apologise after impregnating his wife.

A South-African news website, Daily Live, quoted John as saying that the husband of the woman he inpregnant anger subdued immediately on receiving the car.

“I know what I did is wrong but I feel better he has accepted my gift. He accepted that his wife, my girlfriend, is pregnant and will soon give birth to my son. He was angry at first but when I presented the car to him his anger vanished,” said the man who identified herself as John.

A source close to the family of the woman who fell pregnant says she knew about the affair but never thought it would lead to a pregnancy. She says she is disappointed the husband accepted the Mercedes-Benz from the Nigerian national.

“Nigerian men will never take our men seriously. What kind of a man accepts a gift from a man who impregnated his wife? He will impregnate her again and buy the stupid husband another car. I am so disappointed,” she said.

When approached for a comment the husband said “it is wrong to say I am stupid. The point of the matter is we cannot reverse what happened. We sat down as men and sorted the issue. The Bible says we must forgive and forget. I have always dreamed of driving a G-wagon. Christmas came early for me and my family,” said the husband who didn’t want to be named.

“The baby will be born and I’ll take care of him as my own. If the father wants to take him to Nigeria I wouldn’t mind. I will give my wife the support she needs always. That is what marriage is all about. I love my wife and will not leave her because of a mere pregnancy,” he added.

Published in Headliners

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The row over the dismissed former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina, has deepened with fresh facts emerging that a minister begged a detective to spare the suspect.

There were indications yesterday that the minister might have played a vital role in the reinstatement of Maina.

Security agencies were also said to be probing allegation that Maina has a Nigerien passport, following an alert that he was smuggled out of the country through Niger Republic.

Investigation revealed that the controversy surrounding the reinstatement of Maina suggested complicity by many government officials and top security agents.

It was learnt that President Muhammadu Buhari would have to be “more painstaking” to be able to tackle the scandal now tagged MainaGate in some quarters.

A top source said: “President Muhammadu Buhari needs a comprehensive appraisal of the circumstances surrounding the reinstatement of Maina. A syndicate in the government was behind the whole saga.

“For instance, a minister had met with an EFCC operative, who was coordinating the investigation of Maina, to spare the suspect. This was done before the minister was inaugurated as a FEC member.

“The said minister specifically demanded that Maina’s case be closed and the suspect should be used as a prosecution witness. He said Maina would make vital documents available to assist the EFCC.

“The said session was held at the private office of the minister in Garki part of Abuja. But the operative, who was shocked by the plea, refused to cooperate with the minister.

“If the government digs well, the operative (who has left the services of EFCC) can be recalled to give evidence on how and where the minister met him.”

The source said apart from the minister, Maina was even closer to a former First Lady who did everything she could to protect him.

And when the EFCC probe was intense on Maina, the ex-First Lady was said to have prevailed on “the stubborn detective” to stop the investigation.

The source added: “Also, a former First Lady had tried to influence the EFCC on the investigation of Maina by mounting pressure on the same detective. This happened when CP Ibrahim Lamorde was the chairman of EFCC.

“When the operative was adamant, the ex-First Lady allegedly engineered a petition against the operative by claiming that he collected N50 million from Maina.

“The EFCC and other agencies investigated the bribery allegation and absolved the operative of any infraction.

Findings however confirmed that Maina had been around the corridors of power in the last 23 years.

Another source said: ”Maina is not new to the corridors of power. He had wielded influence in Aso Rock since the dictatorial regime of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

“He knows every nook and cranny of Aso Rock, so he is used to floating in the seat of power, even during the administrations of ex-Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo before he was cut to size when Obasanjo was in charge.

“Some forces in power also have been using him for a purpose which suited their interest. There is no security agency or the police hierarchy where he does not have contacts.

“Everybody is denying Maina now, but he is a public officer who knows many people. He also keeps records of those who have benefitted from him.”

At press time, there were indications that Maina has a Nigerien passport.

It was gathered that he re-entered the country from exile in Dubai through Niger Republic.

A third source said: “There is no record of his return to the country at any airport in Nigeria. Security agencies are looking at some clues which pointed to the fact that he might have used Niger Republic to come back home.

“He is used to Niger Republic’s routes for escapades. He was said to have been smuggled out again to an unknown destination through one of the same routes.”

Family sources told one of our correspondents yesterday that Maina’s family had concluded plans to drag the (EFCC) to court for harassing their son

EFCC operatives in Kaduna had on Monday and Tuesday sealed six houses, including a two-storey office complex belonging to Maina, within the Kaduna metropolis.

The family had also addressed a press conference where they cried out that their son was only being persecuted by corrupt elements in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, threatening that Maina would soon open a can of worms capable of nailing the cabals in his pursuit.

Spokesman of the Maina family, Malam Aliyu Maina, who addressed newsmen on behalf of the family said that the marking of the houses they inherited from their father in Kaduna by EFCC was not only wrong but illegal.

Speaking with one of our correspondents in a telephone interview yesterday, Maina family’s lawyer, Sani Katu, said the family had concluded plans to sue the anti-graft agency over the recent development.

He disclosed that filing of the court papers process had since commenced and would be made public as soon as the case is filed in court.

According to him, “we have commenced the process of filing the case, and as soon as we are filing the case in court, we will let the press know. That is the update for now.”

Meanwhile, the Kaduna zone of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said investigation was still ongoing to discover more of Maina’s properties.

An official of the commission in Kaduna, Ibrahim Kamilu, told The Nation that “we are still carrying out our investigation, and once more of his properties are discovered, they will be sealed.”

Published in Business and Economy
Friday, 27 October 2017 11:35

By Tunde Odesola: Kakanfo my foot!

The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, to me, is the greatest Yoruba oba alive today. Greatest in terms of his intellectual capacity and his understanding of the responsibilities culture has placed on his divine shoulders.

Although the vault of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Sijuwade Okunade, bespoke on riches untold, Alaafin’s unspeakable wealth lies in his unequalled understanding of the Yoruba’s resplendent history, mores and culture.

He exemplified his matchless repertoire of Yoruba history during the inauguration of the incumbent Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, as the Laminisa I, in 2008. During the ceremony, which held in Ede, Ooni Okunade missed the point when he told the audience that the new Timi wasn’t the first from the Laminisa ruling house to be installed as Timi. This position wasn’t, of course, in tandem with the reality presented by the Laminisa ruling house on the occasion 

When it was the turn of the Alaafin to speak, he took the audience, which I was part of, down historical path, painting a vivid picture of how Ede was founded even as he traced, off the cuff, the names and dates of the installation of all the Timis of Ede. A resounding applause greeted his great insight.

I have followed, at a distance, the life of the Alaafin. I know that the Iku Baba Yeye has not forgotten all he learnt about boxing, a sport he picked up as a youth – watching the online video of his pugilistic skills that went viral a few years ago. The paramount ruler is also a world-acclaimed dancer and drummer, too.

Death pursued the Oodua Peoples Congress to my doorstep in Akure where I was a correspondent of PUNCH newspapers around 2000. It was Ogundamisi, Adam’s able lieutenant that lay ‘lifeless’ on the ground floor of the two-storey building that housed PUNCH newspapers’ outstation office at Adegbola Junction along the popular Oyemekun Road in Akure.

I had looked at the almost lifeless and bloodied man on the floor and taken him for a vagrant, sidestepping him unto the stairway en route to the topmost floor, where my office was. I think I saw one or two other OPC members on the ground floor, battered and tattered.

After I had worked for a while in the office on that particular Sunday morning, Ogundamisi, the bloodied man downstairs came knocking on my door. The sun ray must have woken him up. Being a Sunday, and for fear of attack, I always locked the iron burglarproof at the door.

When I heard the knock, I went to the door where I saw Ogundamisi, (I’ve forgotten his first name now), laboring to breathe. He introduced himself in impeccable English, and that got me to open the burglarproof for him.

He then related the story of how himself and Gani Adams in company with hundreds of OPC members – in a convoy of several vehicles – were attacked in Owo en route to Arigidi Akoko. Scores of OPC members were killed. The incident became the lead story of The PUNCH, the next day. The morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, could not take the dead as they were taken to other health facilities in the state.

Particularly, Ogundamisi was deeply worried about the safety of Adams. He said all the OPC members in the convoy fled in different directions during the night attack.

When PUNCH transferred me to Lagos in 2002, I followed the OPC in the media.
I recall that during the actualization of the June 12 struggle, it was NADECO and not the OPC that mobilized the Yoruba, nay Nigerians, against the military dictatorship headed by General Sani Abacha. It wasn’t the OPC.

Over the years, the OPC has grown from a money-for-security organization to becoming a monster in the South-West. A visit to police stations in any part of the South-West would reveal how mainly illiterate OPC members have been taking the law into their own hands, maiming and killing members of the society in the guise of providing security and settling dispute.

What is chivalrous in an organization that collects money and extorts to provide service? What is noble in an organization whose members are noted for raping, robbery, killing and ritualism?

Gani Adams, the headship of this type of organisation has risen today to become the Aare Ona Kakanfo of the Yoruba. Yoruba ronu.

When Nnamdi Kanu emerged as the new voice of Igbo leadership, I laughed and asked one of my friends, Joel Nwokeoma, ‘is this how low the Igbo nation has sunk’? Joel is having the last laugh now.

Let’s wait and see who the Hausa/Fulani would throw up.

I read someone saying that in ancient Oyo kingdom, the position of the Kakanfo is meant for miscreants. There is nothing farther from the truth than this. In the old Oyo Empire of the 17th and 18th centuries, the Kakanfo was the head of the Eso, who were, according to Wikipedia, ‘70 junior war chiefs nominated by the Oyo Mesi and confirmed by the Alaafin. The Kakanfo later rose to become the supreme military commander and was required to live in a frontier province to keep an eye on the enemy, and to keep him from usurping the government. Forces inside metropolitan Oyo were commanded by the Bashorun, who is a leading member of the Oyo Mesi’.

Which war has Gani Adams fought on behalf of the Yoruba? I only remember Gani to have won for himself a multi-billion pipeline contract from the clueless Goodluck Jonathan government. I also remember Gani Adams unleashed terror on Nigerians in Lagos when the OPC marched for Jonathan during the countdown to the 2015 presidential election.

I have four witnesses who lived in my Iyana Ipaja area, and who are respectable members of the society.
Mr Ben Tomoloju (former Guardian Deputy Editor); Mr Paul Bassey (former Editor, Champion newspaper, former FIFA media consultant); the late Uncle Ben Bayo (former Creative Arts Editor, PUNCH) and a former colleague, Adekunle Salami (aka Slam) who lived in the Mulero axis of Iyana Ipaja in Lagos State.

I mentioned these names to buttress the fact that Nigerians, generally, and not the OPC, fought the military junta. These people were in one way or the other involved/affected in the June 12 struggle and they were never OPC members.

These people I mentioned can testify to the fact that the Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos was the hottest frontline during the struggle to actualise June 12.

I was one of the voluntary youth mobilizers in my area, and I could have been killed by a heavily armed soldier who pursued me into a church on Coker Street, Funlayo Bus Stop, if not for God using the fact that I know the terrain very well.

People were shot before my very eyes at Iyana Ipaja during the struggle.

I trekked from Mulero to Iyana Ipaja in company with thousands of youths every morning to keep a date with fate against the haters of democracy.

I didn’t see any OPC mobilizer during those days.

It is wrong to say that the OPC fought for the actualization of June 12. Nigerians rose against Abacha, not the OPC, please.

The statures of the last two occupiers of the title, Chief Ladoke Akintola, and Chief MKO Abiola, make Gani Adam’s ascension to the title a huge insult!

Enter, the generalissimo that ran with his tail between his legs from some gun-wielding boys in Owo.

Yoruba, welcome the era of an Aare Ona Kakanfo, whose organization exploits, extorts, rapes, kills, maims and robs the citizenry.

Gani Adams’ ascension to the post of Aare Ona Kakanfo is a reward for thuggery, violence and all that is despicably wracking our nation.

Gani w-h-a-t?

The Alaafin got it wrong this time round!

Odesola, a former journalist with Punch, wrote from the United States.

Published in Parliament
The Auditor-General of Kogi State and chairman, technical committee, state pension reform, Alhaji Yakubu Okala has revealed that N4 billion belonging to pensioners in the state was diverted into private pockets between 2010 and 2015.

This he said was perpetrated by few individuals saddled with the responsibility of handling the pension funds.
Okala who made this known on Thursday in Lokoja during a stakeholders meeting heralding the new contributory pension scheme by the state government said that all those that were involved in the pension fraud will be apprehended and brought to justice.

According to him, embezzlement of the funds in the state has thrown pensioners into a piteous condition to the point that many of them were ashamed of being identified as retired civil servants.

He added: “Pensioners at the local government level are worst hit by the fraudulent act. Investigation on the councils’ pension is on-going and we must see it to the end.

“Government has tried its best in releasing money for the payment of pension in the state, but the handlers have failed woefully.”

He lamented that in 2007, a pension reform bill was sent to the State House of Assembly, and passed into law, but that the scheme did not commence until after ten years as a result of lack of political will by previous administrations.

He called on the civil servants at the state and local government levels to key into the new contributory pension scheme in order to better their lives after retirement.

He commended Governor Yahaya Bello for his courage in actualising the new contributory pension scheme for civil servants in the state.

The chairperson of the state pension bureau, Hajia Sa’adatu Atima explained that for the success of the new pension scheme, the state government will contribute 10 percent while individual workers will contribute eight percent.

She described the scheme as safe and laudable, urging workers in the state to key into it.

Published in Headliners

Kenya will hold a controversial repeat presidential election on Thursday as planned, the head of the election commission has announced.

Uhuru Kenyatta, who is seeking a second term, won in August but the poll is being held again over irregularities.

Amid reports of unrest, he urged Kenyans to vote and remain peaceful.

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga has called on his own supporters to join him in boycotting the ballot, which he wants to hold later.

A bid to delay the election fell apart after only two out of seven Supreme Court judges showed up for a hearing.

One judge, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, failed to appear after her bodyguard was shot and wounded by unknown gunmen on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court annulled the original election in August by a 4-2 majority, saying there had been "irregularities and illegalities".

Some international observers have reduced their involvement in the poll because they say the conditions are not conducive for a free and fair election.

There have been running battles between police firing tear gas and stone-throwing protesters in the city of Kisumu, an opposition stronghold.

Published in Headliners

Nigeria has one of the least powerful passports in the world, a new ranking showed on Wednesday.

The Passport Index, done by Canada-based global consultancy Arton Capital, showed Nigerians can travel to 44 countries either without a visa at all or can have one issued on arrival.

According to the Index, Djibouti and Congo with visa-free to 45 countries; Algeria (46); Liberia, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, and Burundi and Cameroon (47) are African countries with a stronger passport than Nigeria.

Others are Central Africa Republic (48); Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Egypt (50); Comoros, Gabon, Mali, Madagascar (52); Togo, Niger, Mozambique (53); Rwanda (54); Senegal, Mauritania, Burkina Faso (55); Guinea, Ivory Coast (56); Sao Tome, Benin, Morocco (58); and Ghana, Sierra Leone (60).

Uganda and Zimbabwe rank higher with 61 and 62 visa-free countries respectively, while Cape Verde, Tunisia and Zambia are on 63; followed by Tanzania (65); Gambia (66); Namibia (67); and Kenya, Malawi (68).

Tiny Singapore now has the world’s most powerful passport, according to a new ranking, with its citizens able to travel to the greatest number of countries visa-free.

Passport Index, which keeps track of how usable such documents are, said the city-state grabbed the top spot after Paraguay removed restrictions for Singaporeans.

That means the approximately 3.4 million holders of Singaporean passports can now travel to 159 countries either without a visa at all, or can have one issued on arrival.

Germany came in second place, with its citizens able to visit 158 countries without a visa, while Sweden and South Korea tied for third.

The US passport was in sixth place, alongside Malaysia, Ireland and Canada.

Afghanistan came bottom of the list with visa-free access to just 22 countries.

Passport Index said the US passport’s usefulness has fallen since President Donald Trump took office, with Turkey and the Central African Republic becoming the most recent countries to revoke their visa-free entry for holders.

Passport Index ranks passports worldwide based on the cross-border access a holder has. It was developed by Canada-based global consultancy Arton Capital.

“For the first time ever, an Asian country has the most powerful passport in the world,” Philippe May, managing director of Arton Capital’s Singapore office, said in a statement.

“It is a testament of Singapore’s inclusive diplomatic relations and effective foreign policy.”

Published in News & Stories

The apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market, Securities and Exchange Commission, said there were misstatements in Oando Plc’s audited financial statements for the 2013 and 2014 financial year arising from Oando Exploration and Production Limited transaction.

This revelation was contained in a letter addressed to the Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando, Adewale Tinubu, by SEC.

 In the letter obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, the commission alleged outright disregard to laid-down rules and regulations

 SEC said, “Following the structuring of the OEPL transaction in contravention of the ISA 2007, Oando Plc recorded a profit of about N6bn from the sale of the OEPL that erased the operating loss of N4.68bn, leading to a profit of N1.4bn for the year 2013.

 “The company subsequently declared dividends from the profit. Having admitted that the action was in breach of the ISA 2007, Oando Plc restated its 2013 and 2014 audited financial statements, which contained material false and misleading information contrary to Section 60(2) of the ISA 2007.

 “The commission finds from the corporate governance returns submitted by the company for the period ended December 31, 2016 that the remuneration of the group chief executive officer and the deputy GCEO was approved by the board while the GCEO was responsible for fixing the remuneration of other executive directors, which is in violation of part 3, 14,3 of the SEC Code of Corporate Governance.”

The letter, dated October 17, 2017, was titled, ‘Re: Serious Concern to Corporate Governance Existence, Gross Abuse of Corporate Governance and Financial Mismanagement in Oando Plc’, and was signed by the Head, Legal Department, SEC, Mrs. Braimoh Anastsia.

SEC explained that the last board evaluation of Oando was done by the KPMG in 2012, stressing, “This is a violation of Part B, 15.1 of the SEC Code of Corporate Governance.”

It also alleged that there was a breach of the ISA 2007 on the disposal of OEPL by Oando in 2013.

The regulator explained that the disposal of the OEPL to Green Park Management Limited was done without the prior approval of the commission.

But Oando said in a statement on Tuesday that it had obtained an ex parte order to lift the suspension of trading in its shares as well as halt a forensic audit planned by SEC.

Oando’s share price was frozen at N5.99 on Monday until further notice, the Nigerian Stock Exchange said after SEC ordered an audit of the company’s activities.

SEC, on Monday, said the shares of Oando were now on technical suspension. With the development, the shares of the company will be available for trading on the floor of the NSE, but there will be no price movement while the technical suspension subsists.

Oando, in a statement said, “We are of the view that the SEC’s directives are illegal, invalid and calculated to prejudice the business of the company. The company being dissatisfied with the most recent actions taken by SEC and to safeguard the interests of the company and its shareholders immediately took steps to file an action with the Federal High Court against SEC and the NSE.

“Oando obtained an ex-parte order from the FHC granting an interim injunction, via an order restraining the NSE from effecting the directive of the SEC to implement a technical suspension of the shares of the company, and an order restraining the SEC from conducting any forensic audit of the company’s affairs pending the hearing and determination of the matter.

“The NSE and SEC were served with the court order on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 and the NSE and SEC are legally obliged to comply with the interim order pending the substantive determination of the suit.”

Published in Business and Economy
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