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Nigeria’s UN Boss in Trouble over Illicit $300m Timber Export

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Amina Mohammed, UN deputy secretary-general

Amina Mohammed, UN deputy secretary-general is facing accusations from an advocacy group that she granted illegal permits to Chinese firms to import endangered Nigerian timber when she was Nigeria’s environment minister.

 

Documents provided by Mohammed were used by Chinese importers to clear more than $300m worth of rosewood logs held up by Chinese border authorities for months, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a Washington-based environmental campaigning organisation.

 

The EIA said its investigation had found that Nigerian officials were paid over $1m to help the importers release the rosewood, which was put on a list of endangered species last year by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

 

In January, Mohammed allegedly signed thousands of retroactive CITES permits allowing the export of 1.4 million rosewood logs in one of her last acts as environment minister before she was sworn in as deputy secretary-general in late February.

 

Farhan Haq said Mohammed, UN spokesperson “categorically rejects any allegations of fraud.”

 

The signing of the permits for the rosewood exports was delayed after Mohammed insisted “that stringent due process was followed,” said Haq.

 

“She says that she signed the export certificates requested before the ban only after due process was followed and better security watermarked certificates became available,” he added.

 

Mohammed, the highest-ranking woman at the United Nations, served as environment minister from November 2015 to February of this year and had previously lead the UN’s efforts to agree on a new global anti-poverty agenda.

 

Foreign Policy magazine quoted a senior Nigerian forestry official, who asked not to be named and who said that Mohammed had signed 2 992 export certificates on January 16.

 

Mohammed had been due to begin her new post at the United Nations on January 1, joining Antonio Guterres as he began his term as UN chief.

 

But she delayed her move to New York to stay on as environment minister at the request of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and was finally sworn in as deputy secretary-general in late February.

 

The UN spokesperson said Guterres has been informed of the reports and “reiterates his full support and confidence in her.”

 

Exploding Chinese demand for African rosewood, also known as “kosso”, has depleted forests across West Africa, prompting CITES to impose strict restrictions last year.

 

According to EIA, Nigeria since 2013 has become the world’s largest exporter of rosewood logs, which are mainly used for luxury furniture.

 

CITES is scheduled to discuss the Nigerian rosewood exports to China at a meeting later this month in Geneva.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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FG Rakes in N50.45bn from May Bonds Auction

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The Federal Government has recorded N50.45 billion from its May bonds auction, lower than the N70 billion it targeted to raise, the Debt Management Office (DMO), has said.

According to the auction result obtained from the DMO website on Thursday in Abuja, the Federal government made N3.50 billion from a five-year bond at 12.75 per cent.

It also made N8.54 billion from a seven-year bond at 13.53 per cent and N38.50 billion from its 10-year bond at 13.98 per cent, bringing the total amount realised from the May auction to N50.45 billion.

The DMO added that N14.99 billion of the 13.53 per cent for March 2025 and N14.99 billion of the 13.98 per cent for Feb. 2028 were allotted on non-competitive basis.

It also said of the 101 bids, only 62 were successful, adding that the auction drew subscriptions of N89.82 billion.

Nigeria issues sovereign bonds monthly to support the local bond market, create a benchmark for corporate issuance and fund its budget deficit.

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NDIC Emerges First Public Organization to be Awarded Three ISO Certifications

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The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has become the first public sector organization in Nigeria to be awarded three International Standards Organization (ISO) certifications by the British Standards Institute (BSI) simultaneously.

At an elaborate ceremony in Abuja, the Corporation was presented with the three certificates by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria who was represented by the Lead Trade Adviser for Education Sector Opportunities, Ms. Natasha Anjekwu.

The three certifications achieved by NDIC are on Information Security Management System ISO/IEC 27001:2013, IT Service Management System ISO/IEC 200001:2011 and Business Continuity Management System ISO22301:2012.

Expressing her delight at the development, the National Coordinator/CEO, SERVICOM Office in the Presidency, Mrs. Nnenna Akajameli. The SERVICOM boss, who was present at the event, lauded the NDIC for the feat.

She urged the Corporation to view the certifications as its most valuable assets which should spur it to greater performance.

She concluded by stating that the SERVICOM Office intended to project the NDIC as a model to other public institutions in its efforts to optimise service delivery among public institutions in Nigeria.

Earlier, in her own remarks, Ms. Natasha Anjekwu described the feat as a great achievement. She said NDIC’s fulfilment of the requirement for the certification bore eloquent testimony to its adherence to international best practice in its operations.

Also speaking at the event, the Director of Home Finance in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Olubunmi Siyanbola, who represented the Minister, also lauded the Corporation and urged it to view the development as a spur towards achieving greater heights.

Responding, the Managing Director/Chief Executive of the NDIC Umaru Ibrahim reiterated the commitment of the Corporation to lead in addressing the challenges of the financial services industry in Nigeria with a view to engendering professionalism and accountability.

While expressing his delight at the emergence of the Corporation as the first public institution in the country to be certified with the three standards at once, the NDIC Boss added that the feat was consistent with the implementation of its renewable 5-year strategic plan, and its desire to be the best deposit insurer in the world by 2020.

He promised that the Corporation would not rest on its oars in maintaining the standard it has set for itself.

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation successfully obtained the three ISO Certifications from the British Standards Institution (BSI) in 2017 after a rigorous process of satisfying the conditions precedent to accreditation.

The British Standards Institute UK thoroughly engaged and audited the Corporation operational processes between April and July of the year to determine the conformity of the Corporation to the standards.

By these achievements, the Corporation is poised to enhance the level of its operational readiness to deliver on its core mandate while continuously improving on the service delivery to meet the expectations of its stakeholders through sound information security, efficient IT management system and a robust business continuity system.

Amongst others, there would be improved information deliverables, availability and efficient services, effective communication as well as sound internal processes that would further engender public confidence in the banking system which would deepen financial system stability.

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Lagos NIPR Holds Lecture Today

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Olusegun McMedal

The Executive Council of the Lagos State Chapter cordially invites the management experts and communication practitioners to the Leadership Lecture, themed: Boosting Competitiveness & Inclusive Growth through Communication, holding at the AGIP Recital Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos on Thursday.

 

The Leadership Lecture is part of a series of activities marking the Lagos Public Relations Week 2018.

 

The Vice Chairman, Channels Media Group, Mrs. Olusola Momoh is the Special Guest of Honour & Chairman of the Lecture. The former Chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Phillips Consulting Group, Mr. Foluso Phillips; an industrial economists and chartered accountant, with tremendous experience in finance, business administration, general management and organisation development committed to the African Renaissance, will deliver the lecture.

 

The Managing Director/CEO, C & F Porter Novelli, Mr. Nn’emeka Maduegbuna will chair the panel of distinguished discussants featuring the Chief Executive Officer, Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation, Ms Osayi Alile; General Manager, External Affairs & Communications, Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Dr. Chioma Nwachuku; Chief Consultant/Lead Strategist, TPT International, Mr. Tokunbo Modupe; and Group Director, Consumer & TMT Sector, africapractice, Mr. Hameed Abubakar.

 

Expected at this conference are public relations and communications professionals, economists, legislators, management experts and business leaders from across different sectors and industries in sub-Sahara Africa, civil servants and other stakeholders including the media.

 

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