Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Eze Festus Odimegwu Receives 2013 Zik Prize for Leadership Award

Eze Festus Odimegwu, CON, OON, FNIM, FNIMARK, OKAA.

National Population Commission Chairman, Eze Festus Odimegwu,CON was on Saturday July 27th honoured with a Professional Leadership Award at the 2013 Zik Prize for Leadership Award. He was ably represented by Mr. Wale Banjoko, the Group Finance &Admin Director, Royal Lifestyle Services Group of Companies Ltd , other strategic business units of the group like Quintessentially Nigeria, Recherché signature Events and Gifts and Palatially sole marketers of Angel champagne were all present at the five star event at the prestigious Civic Center on Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

Betty Obasi, Engr Emeka Sibeudu and Wale Banjoko.
 Mr. Wale Banjoko, the Group Finance &Admin Director, Royal Lifestyle Services Group of Companies Ltd representing Eze Festus Odimegwu.

Other recipients include the Managing Director Fidelity Bank, Reginald Ihejiahi, Minister of Housing, Ama Pepple, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Tabiu Kwankwaso; Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi.

 Former interim head of state, Chief Ernest Shonekan And Ide Ahaba, Chief Sunny Odogwu.

 Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso,Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Roli Udughan, Hon. AminuTambuwal, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, and  Dr. Reginald Ihejiahi.

Govs Rabiu Kwankwaso,Emmanuel Uduaghan and Kayode Fayemi.

 Dayo Olujekun and Bimbola Akinyele 

Yomi Popoola.

Celebrated singer Onyeka Owenu and a fan.

                                                                  Abolore Agbaje.
                                                                Annie Inyang.
                                                                     Betty Obasi.
Thelma Adaeze Okonkwo, Managing Director of Quintessentially Nigeria Limited, Ugochi Nwachukwu and Annie Inyang.
Annie Inyang with Miss Nigeria, Akudo Ezinne and Thelma Okonkwo.

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Hollywood Goes To Cape Town

Daniel Espinosa directing "Safe House" in Cape Town.

Film making in Cape Town, South Africa costs 20% less than in Australia and 30-40% less than in Europe or United States of America.

Of course, many people in Nigeria and most people outside the United States don't know what it means for a movie to top the U.S. box office on Super Bowl weekend. It is not a small achievement and that is what Josh Trank's directorial debut Chronicle did in the first weekend of February 2012. The American science fiction thriller was set in Seattle, but was made in South Africa's Cape Town where low production costs are attracting filmmakers from Hollywood and other major film studios in the United States and Europe.

Chronicle cost only $12 million, but made over $126 million for 20th Century Fox, according to the CNN report by Robyn Curnow and Teo Kermeliotis on December 13, 2012. "Fox was totally stunned by it," says Nico Dekker, chief executive of Cape Town Film Studios, the South African facility where Chronicle was primarily shot. "The $12 million film is looking like a $30 million or a $40 million film on the screen," he added excitedly. Cape Town has boosted some of the biggest box office blockbusters like Safe House starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, Dredd, Mary and Martha TV series, featuring Hilary Swank and the upcoming Australian post-apocalyptic action film Mad Max: Fury Road with home girl Charlize Theron, who is the first South African to win an Academy Award in a major acting category, Tom Hardy and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley by Australian director George Miller.

Then this May, Hollywood came again with Michael Bay hired to produce Robert Louis Stevenson’s "Treasure Island" prequel Black Sails, the Starz Entertainment LLC television series to be filmed at the same Cape Town Film Studios and the production will run for 3-5 years, making it the largest film production ever made in South Africa so far. Of course Michael Bay is famous for his blockbusters Armageddon (1998), Pearl Harbor (2001) and the Transformers series (2007-present) grossing over $3 billion world-wide.

"It's cheap for people to film here," said Toby Stephens, the British actor who plays the "Flint" in Black Sails.

Low production costs and favourable exchange rate are attracting major Hollywood studios with the South African government offering tax rebates of 25% to 35% of qualifying expenditure on films made within South Africa. But according to the Mail and Guardian newspaper, South Africa's film industry remains small globally, contributing less than 0.01% of the total GDP compared to India's Bollywood that made 112.4-billion rupees ($2.02-billion) in 2012, as documented in a March 7, 2013 report by KPMG and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. In spite of the apparent lack of a cinema-going culture among black South Africans who make up 79% of the population, South Africa is still the biggest film industry in Africa at the moment with the largest number of screens operated by Ster-Kinekor Theatres, Nu Metro Cinema and other smaller cinema operators. And local film makers have been competing well globally with Gavin Hood's Tsotsi winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards in 2006. And with the cooperation and support of the Cape Film Commission (CFC), Cape Town will continue to attract Hollywood and other major international filmmakers and creating thousands of jobs to boost the South African film industry.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima.
Michael Chima is a prize winning Nigerian writer and Publisher/CEO of International Digital Post Network Limited, the largest Nigerian online news and information media network, Founder of the annual Eko International Film Festival, Founder/CEO of Screen Outdoor Open Air Cinema and Executive Director of his Screen Naija One Village, One Cinema Project, the largest community cinema project in Africa. He is also the Publisher/Editor of Nollywood Mirror, the first and most circulated publication on the Nigerian film industry distributed by Amazon, over 27 active blogs and other publications.
You can borrow his books for free on a Kindle device with Amazon Prime.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Landmark Ruling On Application of Freedom of Information Act

Landmark ruling on application of Freedom of Information Act

July 30 2013

In 2011 Nigeria passed the Freedom of Information Act, which seeks to guarantee citizens' access to public information. The law is revolutionary in the scope of information to which it grants access, and the safeguards contained therein are a welcome departure from the pervasive secrecy in Nigerian governance. The Lagos Federal High Court recently had the first opportunity to interpret and apply this law in Boniface Okezie v Central Bank of Nigeria.(1) The Central Bank is a government agency.
On August 13 2009 the Central Bank, exercising its powers under the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, fired the executive directors of five Nigerian banks for borderline fraudulent acts and mismanagement of bank resources. The affected bankers were also prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which, in collaboration with the Central Bank, sought to recover some of the assets that they had allegedly stolen. However, there were questions about the manner in which the recovery of the assets was being handled, particularly the apparent lack of consideration for the rights of the affected banks' shareholders.
In 2012 the Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, represented by its president, Boniface Okezie, wrote to the Central Bank requesting information relating to the recovery of Oceanic International Bank Plc's assets. The letter, written by Okezie's solicitor and dated January 26 2012, requested the following information:
  • the cost so far to the Central Bank, the government and the Nigerian people of the banking reforms instituted by the Central Bank, and particularly the amount of legal fees and other fees paid and to be paid to professionals and professional bodies;
  • how much of the amount mentioned above represented fees paid and to be paid to Olaniwun Ajayi LP and Kola Awodein & Co. These two law firms dominated representation of the Central Bank and its related bodies in the litigations triggered by the reforms. These same firms were engaged by the Central Bank in other capacities, including as advisers to the five banks in which the Central Bank had intervened and as consultants to the Central Bank and other related bodies, and also for the criminal prosecution of the former executives of the five affected banks;
  • the total sum paid to Olaniwun Ajayi LP in respect of the prosecution of Cecilia Ibru, former managing director of Oceanic Bank Plc, and the proportion of this sum that was in the form of commissions on the properties recovered from her; and
  • the total cash and value of properties recovered from Ibru, the whereabouts of the recovered assets and what proportion of these assets had been returned to Oceanic Bank and/or its shareholders.

The basis for the above requests was that taxpayers' money was being used for the prosecution of the banks' chiefs and the reform process. The association also believed the entire reform process to be a drain on the economy, benefiting only a few.

When the Central Bank refused to disclose the information requested by the association, a suit was instituted against it under the Freedom of Information Act. The association requested the court to compel the bank to publish its handling of approximately N191 billion's worth of assets forfeited by Ibru.

In a landmark ruling on the application of the Freedom of Information Act, the court held that the Central Bank, as a public institution, has a duty under the act to provide details of such information, and that the bank's refusal to disclose the information on request by the association was unlawful.

Justice Mohammed Idris ordered the bank to comply with the association's request by releasing the information sought. Stressing that it was unlawful for the bank to withhold the information, the court observed that:
"The Act is intended to promote transparency and prevent corruption, therefore all public institutions must ensure that they comply with the FOI Act in the interest of transparency, justice and development."
However, the court refused to compel the bank to disclose the information relating to the fees and commissions paid to the law firms representing it on the grounds that such information enjoyed client-attorney privilege and was protected under Section 16 of the act. The court mandated the bank to comply with its orders within 72 hours. However, the bank is yet to comply and has appealed the decision.
The court's ruling on the need for the Central Bank, as a public institution, to comply with a valid request for information and the need for public institutions in general to comply with the Freedom of Information Act is commendable and in the spirit of transparency and accountability.
However, the court would have been within the remits of both the law and the act to compel the disclosure of fees paid to the legal practitioners representing the bank. A clear reading of the relevant provisions of the Nigerian Evidence Act 2011 shows that it protects only communications which are deemed confidential.(2)
In this case, where shareholders have inferred that depositors' funds recovered by the Central Bank may have been squandered by it or even embezzled, to be explained away as consultants' fees, the question of how much was paid to whom is crucial. The public interest in knowing about such payments far outweighs the advantages of keeping the amounts secret. The Freedom of Information Act envisages as such when it provides that the court shall order a public institution to disclose information or part thereof to the applicant if it finds the public interest in having the record made available to be greater and more vital than the interest served if the application were to be refused, in any circumstance.
However, this case nonetheless represents a bold step in the entrenchment of good governance in Nigeria.
For further information on this topic please contact Funke Agbor or Jamiu Akolade at Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun by telephone (+234 1 462 2094), fax (+234 01 461 3140) or email ( or
(1) FHC/CS/L/494/12.
(2) Section 195 provides that:
"No one shall be compelled to disclose to the court any confidential communication which has taken place between him and a legal practitioner consulted by him, unless he offers himself as a witness in which case he may be compelled to disclose any communications which may appear to the court to be necessary to be known, in order to explain any evidence which he has given, but no others."

The materials contained on this website are for general information purposes only and are subject to thedisclaimer.
ILO is a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. In-house corporate counsel and other users of legal services, as well as law firm partners, qualify for a free subscription. Register at

Download the Freedom of Information Act. 2011. Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.


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All Change for Listed Companies: Two Sets of Amended Rules Come Into Force

All change for listed companies: two sets of amended rules come into force

Contributed by Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie
July 30 2013

After almost two years, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has finally published the long-awaited Consolidated Rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The previous consolidated version of the rules was published in 2000, just after the enactment of the Investment and Securities Act 1999. Since then, the Investment and Securities Act 2007 has replaced the 1999 act and numerous amendments have been made to the base document containing the rules. In September 2011, in order to codify the various rules that existed, the SEC released draft consolidated rules for the purpose of market-wide consultation, observation and comments before final adoption. These rules were expected to be formalised and published quickly. However, it became apparent that the draft consolidated rules not only codified the existing rules, but also introduced some new rules that had never formally been exposed to the market.

To avoid any confusion in the market, the SEC then went through a prolonged review process during which it requested formal comments and feedback from the market on the draft consolidated rules. In June 2013, following feedback from stakeholders, the SEC finally adopted the consolidated rules. These rules are substantially different from the previous rules in format and, in some cases, content. The SEC has consolidated all of the rules that were introduced piecemeal over the past 10 years or so, including new rules that were introduced earlier this year such as those governing sukuk. Not all the proposed changes in the draft consolidated rules were retained in the consolidated rules. One of the areas of the draft consolidated rules that caused much concern was a proposed requirement for SEC approval in relation to an acquisition of 30% or more of the shares or equity interests or assets of a company, rather than the existing requirement of 50%. However, it appears from the final version of the consolidated rules that the threshold at which the SEC must approve an acquisition remains at 50%.

The consolidated rules introduce some interesting changes. One such change is the exception to the requirement for SEC approval for all acquisitions: the consolidated rules now exempt from SEC approval acquisitions of the shares of private/unquoted public companies with assets or turnover below N500 million. Also, and perhaps in response to the recent bail-out for stockbrokers, the permitted indebtedness for brokers has been slashed from 200% of net capital to just 10% of net capital. There have also been some minor changes to the definition of a 'company insider' and, in addition to directors, employees and holders of 5% or more of the shares of the company, the rules now include members of the company's audit committee.

The consolidated rules are not the only change in the market, as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) recently updated the Listing Rules and has proposed wholesale changes to the form of general undertaking that listed companies must provide. The general undertaking deals with the post-listing obligations of a listed entity, particularly in relation to the disclosure of information to the market. Ensuring equal access to information has been an important focus of the NSE and is one of the eight pillars that the NSE has identified as critical to moving the exchange forward. In furtherance of this objective, the NSE also recently introduced an issuers' portal known as X-Issuer, which allows the online submission of information by listed companies. The NSE believes that X-Issuer will reduce the leakage of price-sensitive information by speeding up the time between submission of financial and other information and the release of such information to the market.

In the draft form of the general undertaking, which was recently released to the market for comments, the NSE proposed for the first time a specific closed period during which insiders of the listed company cannot trade in the shares of the company. Although many listed entities had their own internal guidelines on this issue, this is the first time that a minimum standard has been set. The provisions of the draft general undertaking also place an obligation on listed companies to establish guidelines relating to trading in the shares of the company by employees and introduce specific provisions regarding the obligation of a company to respond to rumours in the market.

For further information on this topic please contact Ngozi Agboti at Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie by telephone (+234 1 263 4831), fax (+234 1 263 4541) or email ( The Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie website can be accessed at

The materials contained on this website are for general information purposes only and are subject to thedisclaimer.
ILO is a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. In-house corporate counsel and other users of legal services, as well as law firm partners, qualify for a free subscription. Register at

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Nokia Still Leads in Nigeria

How about Nigeria? Did anyone guess that Nokia was the key player? I doubt it unless you live there. Dearly loved Apple is in 6th place, behind LG and BlackBerry (BBRY) among others.

(click to enlarge)

Click here for the complete report.


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Nigerian Universities and the Bastardization of Admission Processes

Nigerian Universities and the Bastardization of Admission Processes  

~ By Obinna Akukwe

The processes of gaining admission into Nigerian universities have been bastardized by the trio of JAMB, respective universities and desperate parents. The once transparent admission process into Nigerian universities has degenerated into a cash and carry fraudulent system devoid of fairness, where the highest bidder carries the day. During our own time, there was so much anxiety over Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) examinations that students attended all manners of extra-mural studies to pass. With the passage of time, especially in the early nineties, graft entered into the JAMB admission processes. Some special centres and villages became centres of 'expo' and malpractices. This led JAMB to continue to cancel centres where it is suspected that malpractice took place. In the process, a lot of innocent students were lumped for punishment with the guilty. Years later schools started employing the services of policemen and other law officers to stem the tide of malpractice. Two years into using the policemen, they too became conduit pipes for the distribution of leaked answer scripts and their usefulness was destroyed.

The situation degenerated so much that answer scripts were leaked from either JAMB office in Lagos or respective zonal centres. In 1995 particularly, I remembered students hawking JAMB question papers eighteen hours to the examinations. Those who felt the papers were fake got the shockers of their lives when they discovered that their honesty and patriotic home training was mocked on the exams hall. Few years ago, I heard that some students distributed solved probable JAMB answers A, B, C, D, E, etc on facebook to their friends.

Speaking on the level of compromise associated with the examination, the Registrar of JAMB, Prof  Dibu Ojerinde said that “In 2012 UTME, we had some disturbing news of extortion of money from innocent candidates by greedy proprietors and supervisors all these persons will be brought to book,” Earlier in that 2011 he told news men  that “JAMB is currently investigating some results of 7, 504 candidates, from some centres which are suspicious…the results must undergo further screening because of the unusual performances recorded by candidates from those centre”.
Constant malpractice coupled with incessant demands for university autonomy by lecturers under the aegis of Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), Committee of Vice Chancellors and other university pressure groups led to the acceding of the request for individual universities to set exams for prospective students. This led to the introduction of Post-University Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (Post-UTME) exams. This Post-UTME examination is yet to solve the problems associated with the earlier UTME, UME AND JAMB exams.

In the first instances, parents have to send or travel with their wards to different universities to write Post-UTME exams. A student may travel from Enugu to Abuja to write Post-UTME for University of Abuja, and then travels again to Lagos to write for University of Lagos, then moves to Port Harcourt to write that of University of Port Harcourt and back to base to sit for Enugu State University of Science and Technology’s exams, criss-crossing thousands of kilometers across dangerous countryside to write exams. The students usually purchases exorbitant exams forms from all these schools, travel to these locations, and lodge in hotels or with boyfriends, girl friends and sugar mummies in places if the cost of hotel accommodation is unaffordable. I inquired of a girl in Abuja some time in 2009 from her brother and was told that the girl traveled to Lagos to write Post-UTME exams and never returned back again. Whether rapists, robbers or ritualists caught hold of her and cut her breasts, eyes etc for rituals, nobody could tell.

In 2012 three prospective students traveling to UNN, Nsukka for Post-UTME got involved in auto crash. I do not know whether they died after being rushed to the hospital. During the same phased examinations, the process was cancelled midway because the university discovered that the papers actually leaked the night before. Some students told me that they had the answers in their phones and distributed such through text messages hours before the exams. The authorities told the students to go home and come back later to rewrite the papers at the expense of parents and sponsors. It was later discovered that some university staff leaked the papers to their wards who in turn sold same to the highest bidders. The embarrassed authorities with the aid of the police arrested the erring staffers for prosecution.

Despite all these Post-UTME exams, some parents still pay for their ward’s admission. Last year, a family told me that they paid N400.000 for their ward to read medicine in a university in Lagos, while another family confided that they paid N240, 000 to help their ward secure admission to read law in Port-Harcourt. This process disenfranchises those who are supposed to be on the merit list because highest bidders have taken over their chances. This is because some university staffers reserve lots of chances for themselves which they can sell or dispense as they deem fit.

This non-transparent process have made many parents to sell family land, properties and life savings to send their frustrated  wards to schools in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Russia while few buoyant ones send theirs to UK for admission. I have unenthusiastically assisted some frustrated families with finance to send their wards to some of these East-European schools and I kept on pondering at how Nigeria is enriching other people's economy due to moronic and educational policies. This results in capital flight and the enrichment of other nation's education industry. Those who are not buoyant for overseas enrollment litter the streets of Nigeria and constitutes nuisance to the society. Many have joined robbery, kidnapping and prostitution gangs because idle minds are devils workshops.

Nigeria’s Minister of Education Professor Ruqayyatu Rufai recently told a news conference that “out of the over 1.7million students that sat for the examinations in 2013, only 500,000 will gain admission”. This means that 1.2 million students will be disappointed. In 2012, 1,503, 931 students sat for the exams and about 450,000 was admitted. In 2011 it was 1,493,603 with about 420,000 getting admitted. In 2010 according to JAMB about 1,375,642 sat for the exams with spaces for less than 400,000.  From the JAMB statistics, it is obvious that about 900,000 applicants were disappointed in 2010; 1 million applicants in 2011, 1.1 million others in 2012, 1.2 million ‘disappointed’ in 2013 and probably 1.4 million come 2014.

Two years ago the Nigerian Senate made attempts to scrap Post-UTME exams citing corruption and duplication of functions. The process failed because the lawmakers couldn’t find a common ground of acceptance.  Around my residence in Abuja lots of brilliant students have been writing JAMB and Post- UTME exams for many years and yet cannot get admission. Some of them have gotten admitted only for their names to disappear from the merit list. According to their frustrated parents, the number on the merit list for some departments of their choice are not up to 20% while the rest is admission by favoritism. In the same neighborhood, some frustrated parents used political party links and corrupt processes to get their wards admitted.

 The solution to these anomalies is for NUC to relax processes for establishment of universities. Their stringent condition is such that only mega funded billionaire institutions and individuals can dare it. How come Ghana is wooing Nigerian students to go there and study? They have enough quality schools to contain their applicants and they maintained qualitative small universities established at little cost. Secondly JAMB should ensure that individual schools admit at least 50% of those who write Post-UTME exams on the merit list. The amount of money spent on these Post-UTME exams should be reduced and if the universities cannot guarantee transparency, the process should be scraped. Nigeria admission process have been compromised by individual universities, JAMB, NUC,  parents and applicants, and God will not leave some people unpunished whose actions or inaction contributed to the bastardization of the once transparent admission process.

Obinna Akukwe

Releases displayed in Africa/Lagos time
26 Jul 2013
16:09 CORRECTED-IFC and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority to Promote Infrastructure Development

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Photos From the Book Launch of It’s Okay To Have A Bad Boss

VIPs at the Launch of It’s Okay To Have A Bad Boss

Both the bosses and their subordinates graced the red carpet launching of the new book "It’s Oay To Have A Bad Boss" at the Terra Kulture on Victoria Island on Friday June 28, 2013. The event attracted colleagues of the author from Diamond Bank Plc and VIPs among other guests, including Mr. Hope Obioma Opara, President of Eko International Film Festival, Nigerian actress Amaka Anioji, Best Actress award winner at the last Abuja International Film Festival and Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Publisher/CEO of International Digital Post Network Group. The Master of Ceremony Mr. Uju Onyechere, stand up comedian Pencil and the saxophonist Olu Jazz made it an evening to remember.

The MC Mr. Uju Onyechere.
Comedian Pencil entertaining the guests. 
The author Darlington Onyeagoro and a guest.
Popular comedian Pencil and his pretty friend.
Hope Obioma Opara, President of Eko International Film Festival.
Mr. Chudi Igwe, Group Head, Diamond Bank Plc, Lagos Central.

 Darlington Onyeagoro’s thought provoking book on corporate ethics and politics in the workplace is actually a guide on how to learn from both the good and bad bosses and go on to be the BOSS in the end. And is that not your goal if you are not one already.

The author says: “Its OK To Have A Bad Boss exposes you to the different kinds of bosses and outlines strategies on how to have a fulfilling relationship with them whilst arming you with the necessary tools needed to meander through the murky waters of the workplace. If you are an employer or a boss then this book was written for you”.

"It’s Okay To Have A Bad Boss" can be delivered to you anywhere you are located in Nigeria and other countries by simply contacting the author on Tel: 234 08032532634 or Email:

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