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SEC urges shareholders associations to merge for effectiveness




The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday called for mergers among the 125 shareholders associations operating in the Nigerian capital market to form stronger alliances.

Ms Mary Uduk, SEC’s Acting Director-General, made the call at the Issuers and Investors Alternative Dispute Resolution Initiative (IIADRI) annual symposium on Thursday in Lagos, saying that mergers would make them stronger and more effective.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of this first annual symposium was : “AGM Optimisation: The Roles of the Company Secretaries, Regulators, Registrars, Auditors, Media, Shareholder Associations and other Stakeholders’’.

Represented by Mrs Maryam Sallau, Uduk said that mergers would make shareholders’ associations stronger, more influential, effective and also enhance shareholders’ value.

According to her, the merger will produce stronger and better associations as well as help in market growth and development.

Uduk noted that there were 125 shareholders’ associations presently recognised by the commission, noting that more applications for recognition were being processed.

The acting director-general said that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had only 24 recognised investors associations.

“The number of shareholders’ associations recognised by the commission is growing and may soon outnumber the listed companies on the Nigerian bourse.

“In order to make shareholders’ associations stronger, more influential, and effective and indeed enhance shareholder value, it is advised that some of the associations should form stronger alliances by way of mergers,” Uduk said.

On the benefits of stronger and coordinated shareholders’ associations, she said: “It would foster the protection of investors’ interest through the enhanced scrutiny of the activities of companies by members of the associations.

“Through the associations, shareholders will also be provided with platforms to network and exchange of ideas as the associations enlighten members through their meetings and capacity development programmes.’’

She added that strong and coordinated associations provide invaluable benefits to shareholders by bringing good representations of shareholders at Annual General Meetings (AGMs) or Extraordinary General Meetings.

Uduk spoke on the theme: Enhancing shareholders value through stronger and coordinated shareholder associations: Why and how?.

The lead speaker, Ms Daisy Ekineh, Chief Executive Officer, DSE Advisory Services Ltd., said that shareholder associations as currently exist were neither effective nor respected.

Ekineh said that shareholder associations in Nigeria were not taken seriously by stakeholders including public companies.

She noted that they were perceived as often seeking pecuniary benefits from companies as against ensuring good governance and were also perceived as disruptive rather than disciplined at AGMs.

“There are too many shareholders associations, making it difficult for regulators and others to effectively engage with them,” she said.

According to Ekineh, there are over 100 registered shareholders with the CAC, according to SEC’s records in 2017.

She said that SEC had to issue the Code of Conduct for Shareholders Associations to mitigate the negative activities of the associations.

“Shareholder associations can only ensure required governance on companies, if they themselves act responsibly and with integrity.

“Shareholder activism in Nigeria should not be synonymous with confrontation and intimidation but effective engagement,” Ekineh.

She urged shareholders to know and understand their companies in order to be efficient.

“Effective shareholder activism complements regulators in investor protection, promotes good corporate governance and could enhance shareholder value,’’ she added.

Earlier, Mr Moses Igbrude, IIADRI Chairman, said that the organisation was borne out of a passion to entrench harmony and engender growth in the Nigerian Stock market through investors and issuers enlightenment on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

Igbrude said the association is particular about using mediation, conciliation and negotiation as veritable tools in achieving its set goals and objectives.


New Zealand has no new COVID-19 case for 15 consecutive days




New Zealand reported no new case of COVID-19 for 15 consecutive days, said a statement of the Ministry of Health on Saturday.

The combined number of confirmed and probable cases stays at 1,504, of which 1,154 are confirmed, it said.

New Zealand currently has 1,481 people reported as having recovered from COVID-19, unchanged from Friday. There is only one active case in the country.

There is no one receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19, and the death toll remained at 22.

New Zealand is increasingly confident that there is no current community transmission, said the Ministry of Health.

“The ministry will continue to monitor closely for any new cases in New Zealand and review the control measures needed to prevent and manage any spread of COVID-19 — including the possible use of masks by the public,” said the Ministry of Health, responding to the latest guidance from the World Health Organization on the use of masks for control of COVID-19.

The total number of tests completed to date is 291,994, an increase of 3,007.

New Zealand is currently at COVID-19 Alert Level 2. The general public are encouraged to download the NZ COVID Tracer app, developed by the New Zealand government to facilitate contact tracing and case identification. It has currently recorded 511,645 registrations.


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UN Security Council extends authorization of measures to implement arms embargo on Libya




The UN Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution to extend the measures designed to implement an arms embargo on Libya for a further 12 months from the date of the adoption of this resolution.

Resolution 2526, which was approved unanimously by the 15-member council, extends the authorizations for UN member states to inspect, on the high seas off the coast of Libya, vessels coming from or to the country if they have reasonable grounds to believe the vessels are carrying arms or related materials in violation of an arms embargo imposed by the Security Council.

Resolution 2526 also requests the UN secretary-general to report to the Security Council within 11 months of the adoption of the resolution on its implementation.

The Security Council imposed sanctions, including an arms embargo, on Libya in 2011 after the political turmoil that led to the toppling of former leader Muammar Gaddafi. In June 2016, the council adopted Resolution 2292 to authorize vessel inspections on the high seas to implement the arms embargo. The authorizations have been extended several times.


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House of Representatives set to investigate privatisation of power sector



The House of Representatives Committe on Power, says the House has concluded plans to investigate all privatisation in the sector to ensure that the challenges being presently faced are resolved.

Rep. Magaji Aliyu, Chairman of the Committee said on Friday in Abuja when he led othe members on an oversight function to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

“The house has just been mandated to investigate all power sector privatisation from the public enterprises to the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).

“This will commence by next week so that the issue of no power will be solved and Nigerians get value for their money

“The complexity of this sector is enormous when TCN has capacity to wheel  10,000 megawatts  and the Distribution Companies (DisCos do not take more than 3,000.

“Why we are paying for undelivered capacity in billions of naira, something has to change,” he said.

Aliyu also urged the management of TCN to ensure that Nigerian engineers were patronised in the execution of projects in the sector..

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed an Executive Order aimed at boosting the domestic production of goods and creating jobs in science, technology and engineering in the country.

The President has signed the order that no project should be given to any foreign company unless there is no Nigerian company

“My committee will look into this very seriously to ensure the order is carried out as we will not support any contract given out to foreign companies no matter how technical.

“There can be a technical partnership as we must protect Nigerians and Nigerian businesses,” he said.

He urged the management of TCN to work with NASS, adding that the members were ready to assist them to achieve their goals.

Responding, the Acting Managing Director of TCN, Mr Sule Abdulaziz said that there was the need to strengthen the transmission sector by ensuring critical transformation of the existing system.

According to Abdulaziz, the government, regulator and TCN management will all play key roles in ensuring the transformation of the power sector.

“With the government taking the lead to create the right investment while TCN focus on implementing new technology, faster projects execution and improving operational efficiencies,” he said.

According to him, Members as representatives of the people and legislators have important roles to play by ensuring that the populace they represent have sufficient and qualitative power supply

He said that ensuring qualitative power supply to all constituencies would boost economic growth in the country.

“In order to drive growth in capacity utilisation, the immediate focus of the new TCN management will be on repairing existing equipment which are failing and prone to breakdowns.

“Regular, proactive maintenance processes will be institutionalised to reduce the occurrence and impact of breakdowns.

‘We are also going to prioritise on expanding our capacity via new projects that will span across the entire nation.

“These are some of the considerations that will help in achieving the goal in improving the performance of the transmission sector,’’ the TCN boss said. .

Edited By: Ese Ekama (NAN)

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey (NAN)


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COVID-19: Coalition private sector donations given to isolation centres



A coalition of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has called on the FCT Administration to invest donations by private sectors to isolation centres directly.

The coalition made the appeal in a communiqué signed by Alhaji Abubakar Yaqub and Mr Ossai Ilome, at the end of a one-day situation room meeting on Friday in Abuja,

Yaqub is the NLC Chairman, FCT chapter, while Ilome is the Secretary, Communique drafting committee of the meeting.

The communiqué recommended that Road Transport Union should demonstrate goodwill to government existing protocols by identifying and sanctioning members flouting the existing physical distancing guidelines.

It also recommended decentralised committee on monitoring of members’ compliance on exiting protocols in the six Area Councils.

“A call for state meeting to bring this decision to all members as it was discovered that the delivery of donated hygienic items/materials were not been conducted in an effective manner, and therefore, recommended testing, treating and tracing.

Further engagement with the NLC headquarters should be conducted to solicit broader media campaign for direct donations to relevant stakeholders/departments/facilities.

“Pursue the development of standard operating manual on various procedures to treatment and evacuation of COVID-19 patients.

“Unions should endeavour to pro-actively engage employers without waiting for untoward action to happen first.

National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) in collaboration with NLC headquarter would be engaged to pursue a stimulus package for the aviation industry where necessary,” the communique stated.

However, some of the stakeholders also made suggestions as captured by the communique.

For example, NUATE observed that payment of salaries; sack of employees by the employers; absence of protocol for resumption and hygiene supplies are still posing challenges.

Similarly, the NUJ observed that payment of salaries; security harassment of journalists; supply of hygiene items to media houses as well as lack of hazard allowance were the major challenges facing the sector.

Medical and Health Workers Union emphasised the lack of PPE supply; disproportionate holding centres; and non-existence of FCT owned testing centres.

“They also noted death of health workers outside isolation centres as well as hazard allowance and reduction of tax/insurance as promised is still the problems faced by health officials.

Labour Business School emphasised the apparent loss of income by businesses and called for the formulation of strategic employers’ engagement protocol to be deployed by union executives.

Joint Health Workers’ Union pointed out the absence of insurance cover for health officials and inadequate community sensitisation.

“Others are absence of hazard allowance; inadequate primary health care centres as well as lack of transportation vehicles for health officials to their workplaces,” the communique stressed.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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General news

Ogun FRSC gets new sector commander



Mr Umar Galadunci has been appointed the Ogun Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).

Umar will take over from  Mr Clement Oladele, who has been transferred to Enugu as the Commander of the FRSC Academy in the state.

Oladele made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ota, Ogun.

NAN reports that  the Board of the FRSC recently promoted 119 senior officers to various ranks nationwide.

Oladele and his successor benefitted from the promotion.

Oladele described his successor, who was transferred from Kaduna State, as experienced.

“I want to thank all the staff  of the command for cooperation with me during my stay in Ogun.

“I urge them to extend the hands of cooperation to the new sector commander,” he said.

 Oladele will resume in Enugu on June 12.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye (NAN)Ijeoma Popoola

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Health secretary in Brazil’s Sao Paulo metropolitan region shot at amid COVID-19 outbreak



The Health Secretary of Osasco city in Brazil’s Sao Paulo metropolitan region was targeted in a shooting attack on Thursday night, the state Department of Public Security said on Friday.

The department added that the Police were investigating whether the incident was related to his efforts to fight the novel coronavirus.

“The victim, a public server of the city, had his vehicle hit by gunfire, but he was not injured,’’ the public security secretariat said, identifying him as Fernando Machado Oliveira.

Brazil’s TV Globo network reported that Oliveira told the Police that he had received audio threats on his messaging app WhatsApp.

Osasco city had registered 3,965 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 343 deaths by June 3, data from the city hall showed.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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COVID-19: INEC seeks review of security architecture for elections



The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Friday, called for the review of security architecture for elections, in the light of the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Yakubu, in his remarks during the first virtual consultative meeting of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee On Election Security (ICCES), said there was need to come up with clear guidelines supplementary Code of Conduct, for security personnel on election duty.

Yakubu said that the recently released INEC’s policy on conducting elections under the current global pandemic, was anchored on the guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force (PTF), based on the advisory by health authorities.

“The guidelines provide for measures to protect the electoral process and the people involved, ranging from the election officials, observers, the media and above all, the voters.

“Doing so will also increase public confidence and consequently enhance the credibility of the electoral process.

“To do so effectively, there is need to review the security architecture in the light of the global pandemic and come up with clear guidelines, as well as supplementary Code of Conduct for security personnel on election duty.

 “As the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic will impact on the planning and deployment strategy for the conduct of elections generally, it is necessary for ICCES to evolve effective ways of securing and protecting the integrity of the electoral process.

“Fortunately, in the aftermath of recent governorship elections, ICCES set up an ad hoc committee to advise it on security arrangements for future elections.

“The report of the committee, which will be presented for consideration at this meeting, is coming at an auspicious time.

“We should, as a matter of urgency, come up with a policy and code of conduct for security personnel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Yakubu said.

He disclosed that 15 out of 18 registered political parties had invited the commission to monitor their primaries for the nomination of candidates for the Edo Governorship, while the process for Ondo governorship election would be between July 2 to  July 25.

Yakubu, who said there were already warning signals the parties primaries for the elections were going to be acrimonious, called on security agencies to be proactive by meeting  early, with political parties and aspirants for peaceful primaries and elections.

“As you are aware, the conduct of primaries by political parties tends to be very acrimonious.

“The acrimony is carried forward into the electioneering campaigns and Election Day activities. Already, there are warning signals. The security agencies need to act proactively.

“An early engagement with political parties and aspirants is necessary in order to create the atmosphere for peaceful primaries and consequently peaceful elections,” he said.

He assured that INEC would continue to deepen the use of technology in the management of the country’s  electoral process, including ICCES meetings and other engagements with security agencies.

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, called on security agencies to ensure that Edo and Ondo governorship elections as well as by-elections were conducted without rancour.

Monguno, represented by Galadima Yusuf, expressed optimism that the pandemic would soon be over and there would be peaceful conduct of elections.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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New Zealand confirms no new case of COVID-19 for 14 consecutive days




New Zealand reported no new case of COVID-19 for 14 consecutive days, with the combined total of confirmed and probable cases staying at 1,504, according to the Ministry of Health on Friday.

The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported to the World Health Organization remains at 1,154, said a ministry statement.

The number of COVID-19 related deaths in New Zealand remained at 22, with no additional deaths, according to the health ministry. There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19, it said.

The number of recovered cases is unchanged at 1,481. Only one case remains active, it added.

Laboratories nationwide completed 2,813 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 288,987, statistics showed.

The NZ COVID Tracer app has now recorded 501,000 registrations. That’s an increase of 6,000 on Thursday.

The decision to move down to Alert Level 1 will be made on June 8 and the country could move down to that alert level by June 10.

Restrictions on businesses will be removed under COVID-19 Alert Level 1, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said earlier this week as New Zealanders are seeing their lives returning to normal.

Strict border controls will still remain, Ardern said, adding restrictions on hospitality businesses, gatherings and community sport will be lifted.

Ardern stressed coughing etiquette, adding risks remain as New Zealand heads into winter with more asymptomatic transmission.


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General news

Pastor drums support for security agencies



Pastor Yohanna Buru, Founder of Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigeria, has urged Nigerians to render maximum support to security agencies in their efforts to ensure peace and security in the country.

Buru made the appeal on Thursday when he donated some working tools to members of Civilian Joint Task Force in Kaduna.

He stressed that providing support to security agencies,  especially timely information on movement of suspected criminals, would ensure peace and stability in communities across the country.

The cleric added that it was important to also provide working tools to such agencies including community watch groups such as the C-JTF, to enable them perform effectively.

Buru urged Christians and Muslims to embrace dialogue for sustainable peace in Kaduna State and across the country.

The state Chairman of the C-JTF, Shehu Dan-Tudu, commended Buru for his assistance to the group, which has over 30,000 members in the state.

“10,000 among them are currently supporting state government activities in providing essential services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“They are currently participating towards making sure that citizens obey all the rules and regulations which include social distancing, use of face masks and the stay-at-home order,” he said.

Dan-Tudu warned youths against drug abuse and other social vices, and urged parents to always monitor the movement of their children and wards to insulate them from bad behaviours.

He assured that the group was fully committed to supporting government’s fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Edited By: Nkiru Ifeajuna/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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