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P&ID: Petitioner promises to testify against ex-CJN Belgore.

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The Human and Environmental Development Agenda, which petitioned the Code of Conduct Bureau over the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Alfa Begore’s alleged roles in the $9.6bn judgment awarded against Nigeria, has assured the bureau of its readiness to testify against the former judiciary helmsman.

The Chairman of HEDA, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, told The PUNCH on Tuesday he was invited by the bureau after he submitted his September 30, 2019 petition to adopt the content and give assurance about his availability to testify in the case.

Suraju said, “After we submitted the petition, we received a call from the bureau inviting us to appear to adopt the petition as ours and to assure it that we would be ready to honour further invitations if we are needed and to testify in the event that the matter gets to court.

“I appeared before the Intelligence, Enforcement and Investigations department of the bureau on October 4, 2019 and signed documents adopting the content of the petition as our own and assuring them that the content was true to the best of our knowledge. We also gave them all assurances they requested, including that we would be available to testify in the case.”

The group had in its petition sent to the CCB and President Muhammadu Buhari accused Belgore of charges including conflict of interest as a result of his roles in the proceedings leading to the award of $9.6bn in favour of a British Virgin Island firm, Process and Industrial Developments.

The award was, in January 2017, issued by a British arbitration tribunal in London in favour of P&ID and against Nigeria over the country’s alleged breach of a gas supply contract.

Belgore, who had been reportedly invited for questioning by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over his roles in the case, was said to have given expert evidence before the arbitration panel in favour of P&ID leading to the humongous sum of $9.6bn awarded in favour of the foreign firm.

The arbitral award was subsequently affirmed by a London court in August this year.

HEDA, referring to Belgore’s roles in the case, said in its petition sent to the CCB that “there is a clear case of conflict of interest which is backed up constitutionally by the Code of Conduct for Public Officers”.

“Specifically, Section 1 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers which states that a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities,” Suraju stated.

He added that Section 5 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers of the 1999 Constitution “directly prohibits former Presidents, Vice Presidents, Chief Justice of Nigeria, governors and deputy governors from working for foreign companies or enterprises”.

The petitioner noted that Belgore remained the chairman of the National Merit Honour Award Committee which conferred duty of patriotism and loyalty to the country on him.

He noted that Belgore is a member of the Council of State comprising the incumbent President, past Presidents and Heads of State, former CJNs, President of the Senate, Speaker of House of Representatives and all governors of the 36 states.

“By working for PI&D and proffering the expert advice for the British company, the former CJN violated the provisions of the Constitution and also exposed privileged and sensitive national information to foreign private company.

“It can be concluded, without equivocation, that drafters of the Constitution understand the weight of the offices occupied by the prohibited officers and the potential implication of actions such as taken by the former CJN.

“The act he allegedly committed is grave and amounts to a breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, thereby violating the provisions of the Constitution,” he said.

The petitioner prayed that the former CJN “be prosecuted immediately by the Code of Conduct Bureau before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for violating Section 5 of the Constitution”.

He also prayed that the former CJN “be removed with immediate effect as Chairman of the National Merit Honour Committee” and stripped of his national honour of Grand Commander of the Niger as a result of the alleged breach.

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Buhari says if the government get infrastructure right, Nigerians will not care about governance.

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said that if the Federal Government was able to put in place the right infrastructure in different sectors of the economy, Nigerians would not be so concerned about “who’s in government.”

Buhari, who said this via his verified Twitter handle, added that his government was doing its best to provide infrastructure within the available resources

He said that he believes that with the right infrastructure, Nigeria would prosper.

The president tweeted, “I firmly believe that if we get infrastructure right in Nigeria, our roads, rail, ports; Nigerians will mind their businesses, many people will not even care who is in government. A country like ours, full of entrepreneurial energy and potential, will prosper.

“This is why Infrastructure will continue to be one of our primary focus areas. We must & will rewrite the story, for this dear country of ours. I wish we had even more resources, and we are working on this, but we are doing our best within the resources currently available to us.”

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Russia eyes Africa business -Oil, diamonds, nuclear power.

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While Russia has traditionally focused on arms and grain exports to Africa, it is now looking to broaden its activities and influence.

Here are four sectors likely to be discussed at the Russia-Africa Summit set for next Wednesday and Thursday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.—

– Oil and gas –
Russia is one of the world’s top hydrocarbon producers and exporters through energy giants like Gazprom, Rosneft and Lukoil.

But with 65 per cent of its territory covered with permafrost, exploration and extraction are costly, so Russia is eyeing up promising reserves in Africa.

Gazprom is working in Algeria, where it has discovered three gas fields, as well as in Libya, though its activities there have largely stalled since the war in 2011. The group is also interested in taking part in a project to build a gas pipeline linking Nigeria to Europe via Algeria.READ ALSO: Banditry: ‘How military, NSCDC officers were nabbed’

Lukoil recently discovered a number of oil and gas deposits in Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Egypt.

For its part, Rosneft is investing in Egypt’s huge Zohr offshore gas field and is set to be involved in some 20 projects with Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum energy group.

– Nuclear –
Africa is almost entirely lacking in atomic energy, with just one nuclear power station on the whole continent, in South Africa.

Russian-built nuclear power stations have a price advantage over Western competitors and its nuclear agency Rosatom offers, attractive financing deals to customer countries.

It has already signed preliminary agreements on nuclear projects with Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and Uganda.

So far only Egypt has signed an agreement to build a station, one with four reactors at Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast by 2028 or 2029.

The cost of $10 million (nine million euros) to $20 million per plant could be prohibitive, but Rosatom says countries including Rwanda are showing “great interest” in smaller-capacity, less expensive nuclear power stations.

– Diamonds –
Rich in mineral resources, Russia has significant expertise in extraction that could be deployed in other countries.

The world’s top diamond producer, Russia’s Alrosa, founded the Catoca mine in Angola in 2003. The Russians even built a hydroelectric power station to provide electricity for its operations. Since 2014 Alrosa has also been searching for new deposits in the country.

Alrosa this year announced it will also start mining activities in Zimbabwe.

Aluminium giant Rusal, formerly a target of US sanctions, is meanwhile mining bauxite in Guinea and has decided to reopen an aluminium refinery there closed since 2012.

Groups such as Norilsk Nickel, Severstal, Nordgold and Ferrum Mining are present in Madagascar, Guinea, South Africa and Burkina Faso.

– Education –
A massive slump in Russia’s birthrate after the breakup of the Soviet Union has decimated the number of young people looking to study or join the workforce.

As it looks to fill empty seats in universities, Africa could provide a steady stream of students.

Charles Robertson, the chief economist at Renaissance Capital, estimates that the number of Russian students has fallen by 40 per cent in the last decade.

“There are no young Russian people any more, so how do you fill up those universities? You bring in African students.”

This will also bring Russia “a very subtle long-term benefit” in business dealings with Africa, he said.

“People are more willing to do trade deals with a country that they know, that they’ve been to.”

Although the number of African students at Russian universities, at around 5,000, remains much lower than during the Soviet era, it has doubled in the last 10 years and is expected to grow.

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JAMB tells UTME candidates to report fraudulent workers.

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board on Thursday asked the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination candidates to provide the details of any of its workers, who is involved in financial transactions with them.

The board said all fees should be paid by candidates into the board’s Treasury Single Account, while also insisting that candidates must register for the National Identification Number as a prerequisite to take the 2020 examination.

The board stated this on its Twitter handle on Thursday, adding that candidates should visit the nearest NIMC office to have their data captured.

JAMB said, “All payments on JAMB services are made directly to the board’s TSA. Please be informed that the board frowns on any form of financial dealings between candidates and workers.

“Therefore, candidates involved in any financial transaction with a staff of the board should notify the board immediately and also provide any useful information about such staff for necessary action.

“All candidates wishing to take the 2020 UTME must have the National Identification Number. Prospective candidates are urged to visit the nearest NIMC office for their capturing. The board would only register candidates with NIN.”

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