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Court Orders Release Of Suspended Central Bank Governor's Passport ***Awards N50m Damages To Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

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The Nigeria Police and the Department of State Services (DSS) have been restrained by a Federal High Court in Lagos from arresting or harassing suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

The court also ordered the DSS to release Sanusi’s passport and award him N50m in exemplary damages.

Sanusi’s passport was seized on February 20 when he arrived at the Lagos international airport, hours after he had been suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan over allegations of “financial recklessness”.

The CBN ex-governor, in separate suits, challenged his suspension and asked  the court to restrain the police and the SSS from arresting, detaining or otherwise harassing him.

During the hearing of the rights’ suit on March 31, Monday, the respondents – the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, the Police, and the SSS – made different claims.

The agency SSS accused Sanusi of financing terrorism, which the ex-governor denied.

The SSS counsel, Moses Idakwo, said Sanusi’s interaction with SSS officials lasted less than an hour and did not constitute a violation of his rights.

He also said that the provisions of Section 6 of the National Security Agencies’ Act empowered the SSS to impound the international passport of suspects pending the conclusion of investigations.

It is not clear how this fresh allegation by the SSS is related to the dubious claims by Reno Omokri, the Special Assistant to the president.

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A journalist investigation had exposed how Omokri, using a non-existent alias, Wendell Simlin, created a document linking Sanusi with financing the terrorist Boko Haram group.

The document was later shown to have been created by Omokri, with several Nigerians calling for his sack. The presidency has kept mum since the scandal was exposed.

On Monday, however, Sanusi’s counsel, Kola Awodehin, accused the SSS of falsehood in its new claim against the bank chief, saying the agency had no shred of evidence.

The counsel to the AGF, Fabian Ajogwu, had objected to the suit, urging the court to strike it out for want of jurisdiction.

He argued that the provisions of Section 254 (c) 1 (d) of the 1999 Constitution ousted the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

He noted that the case before the court borders on the applicant’s employment, saying that labour-related cases are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court, NIC.

The counsel urged the court to strike out the suit.

Ajogwu also argued that the applicant should not, by the suit, seek to restrain the respondents from performing their constitutional duties.

He argued that Sanusi was being investigated based on the FRCN’s claims. He said the suspended bank chief was being investigated in accordance with the provisions of the law, which the respondents had a statutory duty to perform.

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Citing the dictum of retired Justice Niki Tobi of the Supreme Court in the case of Adeniran vs Alao, Ajogwu submitted that a perpetual injunction would be everlasting and could not be granted by a court of law.

While the AGF said Sanusi was being investigated based on the FRCN investigations, the police said it was not investigating the CBN ex-governor.

The counsel to the police, David Abuo, said nobody ever reported Sanusi to the police.

He however aligned with Ajogwu, saying the case should be struck out as it seeks to bar government agencies from performing their duties.

However, responding to the respondents’ preliminary objection, counsel Awodehin submitted that the court was vested with the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

He argued that the suit had nothing to do with the terms of employment of the applicant or industrial relations, since it was not a case of the applicant against the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He argued that the applicant never sought an order of perpetual injunction, adding that the reliefs he sought were qualified.

Awodehin also argued that the different submissions by the three respondents showed that laws were being violated in Sanusi’s treatment.

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2020: E-COMMERCE TRENDS THAT WILL REDEFINE THE SECTOR

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e-Commerce

 

The future of e-commerce is both exhilarating and daunting for players in the sector, depending on how receptive they are to the dynamic nature of the sector. With the current outlook for 2020, the market is growing rapidly and there are changes that will help businesses grow while there are also new challenges that some businesses may possibly not keep up with.

However, despite these challenges, there are definitely opportunities to look out for. For instance, according to Statista, the global e-commerce retail revenues are projected to grow to $6.54 trillion by 2023 as against the 2019 worldwide e-commerce sales of $3.53 trillion. Players in the sector will profit from the various trends, which are potent to transform the e-commerce sector in Nigeria into a profit-making venture.

The rise and rise of mobile shopping

According to the 2019 Jumia Mobile Report, 85% of the Nigerian consumers on the platform shopped via their mobile devices that is via mobile web and the Jumia mobile App. This is rather unsurprising because at the end of 2018, there were over 5 billion unique mobile subscribers across the globe, and 60% of the connection was through mobile devices, according to GSMA, 2019. Internet users peaked at 3.6 billion. Locally, there were over 172 million Nigerians (87% penetration of the Nigerian population) who had access to mobile devices, whereas only 112 million Nigerians had access to the internet. While the number of mobile/smartphone users might have increased year-on-year, its penetration is still very insignificant. Internet connectivity and the availability of affordable smartphones continue to drive an increasing uptake of mobile shopping. The year 2020 will witness the entrance of new, affordable mobile devices and, the government’s efforts to expand the reach of the internet through the various mobile operators, will further drive increased mobile shopping.

Voice commerce will be on the rise

A 2017 data show that about 13% of U.S smart speaker owners say they make purchases by voice; the numbers are projected to grow to 55% by 2022 according to OC and C Strategy. In the U.K alone, the total spend on voice shopping has increased. However, in Nigeria Google trends show that the interest in voice commerce has not generated any substantial data but the number of people verbally describing the products they want to purchase rather than browsing about the product has increased, and this is becoming a trend. The fact that other countries are growing in this aspect is a major reason to latch on this. E-commerce players in Nigeria should look for ways to integrate voice commerce in their respective platforms.

E-commerce platforms doubling as an advertising platform for businesses

The number of unique visitors on most e-commerce platforms is enormously huge. Although, while not all of them visit the platforms to order an item, most of them use the prices listed on the platforms as a benchmark for validating price difference in offline stores. For instance, during the 2019 Black Friday, Jumia recorded over 100 million unique visitors and over one billion page views during the one month campaign. The increasing number of traffic being witnessed daily on e-commerce platforms presents a compelling case for monetizing this huge advantage. Many advertisers are seeking for innovative ways to reach their target audience, and leveraging e-commerce platforms with reach across the continent will deliver on such objective. Just recently, Jumia announced that its platform will now be available to businesses to advertise their products and services. In fact, according to the company’s CEO, Juliet Anammah, the advertising initiative is one of the strategic levers of growth for the company in 2020.

Therefore, e-commerce platforms are expected to play big in online advertising as it provides significant opportunity to grow core offerings and profitability. Alibaba has already become the market leader in digital advertising in China. Amazon is estimated to have generated huge ad revenue. Jumia is building a robust online advertising to help other businesses manage their ads, reach more buyers and increase sales.

Brick & Mortar stores will continue to shrink, as most of them will embrace online

It is important for retailers to keep in mind that the digital channels already play a role in consumers’ buying decision and thought process. A significant percentage of offline shoppers use their mobile devices in-store to look up products and read reviews. Customers research products online before making it into the actual store. Shopping online is far more convenient and quicker. There are more sales, no lines, and there is far more selection. Brick and mortar retail outlets will continue to shrink unless customers have very good reasons to visit a store in person.

More SMEs and big brands will leverage e-commerce to drive growth

As businesses expand beyond their local markets, both big, small and medium-size businesses are expected to leverage e-commerce for growth in 2020. Big and small businesses will increase the use of e-commerce to boost conversion, create a personalized customer experience, use data for deeper insights, cross-sell to existing customers and leverage discounts to increase sales.

Extension of logistics services to third party

Fast and on-time delivery of products to customers will continue to play a major role in e-commerce. However, to address infrastructure challenges such as logistics, large network of leased warehouses, pick up stations for customers and drop off points for merchants will form a trend in 2020. E-commerce platforms will extend their services to third parties in 2020 to address critical infrastructure issues. Technology, innovation, partnerships and collaboration will play a key role in addressing logistics challenges in order to stay competitive and profitable. Beyond delivering items purchased on its platforms, e-commerce giant like Jumia will open up its logistics services to the public. This is the first time that Jumia will be providing logistics and delivery services to people other than the shoppers on its platform.

Fintech will overtake Payment on Delivery

While most online shoppers in Nigeria still prefer payment on delivery, this is expected to reduce drastically by the end of 2020 because the rise of Fintech is changing the narrative. More and more online shoppers are starting to develop trust in online payment. A recent report by Jumia shows that this development will grow bigger in 2020. According to the Jumia Q3 Financial Report 2019, over 30% of the transactions on Jumia was done through JumiaPay, its payment platform. Over a year ago, payment on delivery was the preferred option for most consumers. This clearly is an indication that the trust issues around security and safety of consumers’ data and money are clearly disappearing gradually. According to predictions, the company’s payment platform might become its cash cow in years to come.

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Africa Needs Massive Capital Investment in Power, Human Resources to Drive Economic Growth – Elumelu

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The Chairman, United Bank for Africa(UBA), and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu has advocated massive private capital investment as well as increased support to youth development as catalysts for driving the much needed economic growth on the continent.

 

Elumelu said this while speaking on a panel at the  UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020, in London. He stressed the need to invest in critical sectors of the economy such as electricity and human resources, noting that this will galvanise the continent, taking into consideration the huge population which Africa currently boasts of.

According to Elumelu, “Africa needs massive private capital investment to enable us drive the sectors that will develop the economy, especially sectors like power. Access to electricity is very critical if we are to develop our continent. We have a huge youth population in Africa and I think that is our biggest resource as a continent. So, in order to talk about the development of our continent, we must prioritise this segment and focus on how to empower them.

 

“Empowering the youths will help us create jobs and alleviate poverty and I think that this empowerment must start from creating an enabling environment, from making sure we have roads, mass transportation systems and most importantly, fixing the problem of shortage of electricity on the continent.  If we do all of this, we will unleash the enormous potential that resides in Africa and in these young people.”

Through his foundation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, (TEF), in the past 5 years, over 9,600 youths have been empowered across the continent with seed capital, mentoring and networking to grow their businesses and enable them contribute to economic development.

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Throwing more light on what TEF has been able to achieve, he said, “During lunch, I interacted with some alumni of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship programme who said they were beneficiaries of $5,000 support in 2015 from the TEF, and today, they have just completed raising U$3million becoming one of the biggest food chain providers in Rwanda. These are some examples of what such interventions can do. We support, give them an enabling environment, provide a platform and think of our prosperity in a sustainable fashion,” Elumelu explained.

Other speakers on the panel include the President of the World Bank Group, Mr. David Malpass; the Chief Executive Officer, Development Partners International, Ms Runa Alam; and the Group Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone Group, Mr Nick Read.

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On his part, the World Bank President, Malpass, spoke of more focus on digital financial services, stating that investing in Africa will help to take the continent to another level, adding that there is need for more availability of electricity and good trade policies that will boost businesses on the continent.

The UK Africa Investment summit 2020 which was opened by the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, for the first time ever, brought together African heads of states, business leaders and investors, to discuss future partnerships between the UK and African nations. Africa has many suitors he posited. ’The United Kingdom is who you should be doing business with. We have no divine right to this business, it is a competitive world but look  at what the UK has to offer. We are the partner of choice, of today, tomorrow and decades to come’ said Johnson as he addressed the African presidents and business leaders

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UBA Connect Set to Deepen Intra-African Trade…Customers Can Now Make Cash Withdrawals In Local Currencies

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UNIBEN Alumni

Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has announced the official  launch of a flagship product UBA Connect, a service that enables the  customers of the bank to conduct traditional banking transactions at any UBA branch in the 20 African countries where the bank operates.

The service, which is available to both customers and non-customers alike, is expected to encourage intra-Africa trade, as cash withdrawal can now be done in local currencies within the continent while deposits can also be made at any location regardless of where the account is domiciled.

The Chief Executive Officer, UBA Africa, Mr. Oliver Alawuba, who spoke about the product, said, “Africa stands to benefit substantially from intra-Africa trade, which is facilitated by the easy flow of capital within the continent. As a bank committed to creating superior value for all its stakeholders, we are focused on ensuring that we continue to contribute significantly to the development of Africa by improving accessibility and trade with UBA Connect, among other innovative services.”

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He explained that the new offering allows easy transfers to UBA accounts across African countries as well as cash deposit into UBA accounts at any of the bank’s locations in Africa, adding that the cash will be dispensed to customers in local currencies at competitive exchange rates.

Group Head, Marketing, Mrs. Dupe Olusola, said, “We’re thrilled to be able to offer our customers the ease and convenience of UBA Connect. This is in addition to an array of digital platforms which have made banking seamless for more than 12 million people who have trusted us with their money.

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To use the service at any UBA business location in Africa, a UBA Connect Send, Receive or Transfer form needs to be completed, with valid identification (International passport with valid visa or migration stamp, in the case of ECOWAS member countries).

About UBA:

The United Bank for Africa is Africa’s global bank and one of the largest financial services groups in Africa, with presence in 20 countries on the continent. For more than seven decades, the bank has provided superior financial services to small businesses, corporations, governments, institutions and individuals globally. The Nigeria-headquartered bank is also present in the United Kingdom, the U.S.A. and France. The Bank trades under the symbol “UBA” on the Nigeria and London Stock Exchanges.

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