Super User

Super User

Intercontinental Marketing & Communication Consortium Limited has apologised to the Advertising Standard Panel, Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, over the usage of an unapproved advert billboard tagged, ‘All Eyes On the Judiciary’.

The company responded to the letter of violation received by the company from ARCON through its Managing Director, Stephen Ogboko.

Ogboko stated, “We sincerely apologise for this and state that our action was not intentional. The truth is that immediately after we received the brief for the said campaign, we sent the artwork to Markus Inji Lukman, an ARCON liaison officer who has helped us vet campaign materials in the past. Lukman assured us that the material would be approved, as he had seen a similar one.”

The company apologised for causing any inconvenience, adding that it would never do anything to threaten or cause disrepute to the country’s judiciary.

Reacting to the development, the ARCON Director-General, Olalekan Fadolapo, stated that despite the apology, the company would face the tribunal.

He said, “They’ll be appearing before the Advertising Offences Tribunal and need to explain their position because it is very unfortunate. Verbal or communication of approval through verbal means or text messages doesn’t constitute approval. They are professionals; they are sworn to the advertising oath to protect the integrity of the profession. So, coming out to say that somebody within the system orally or verbally gave them approval is not acceptable. The damage is done already and they will be appearing before the tribunal.”

Fadolapo said the official who gave the purported verbal approval had been queried, adding that a committee was also looking into the process that led to such permission.

 

Punch

Text with Jesus is a new instant messaging application powered by ChatGPT that allows users to chat with Jesus Christ and other biblical figures impersonated by the popular artificial intelligence program.

Created by Cat Loaf Software, an app-development company in Los Angeles, the new messaging program features a plethora of biblical characters, from Jesus to Judas and the rest of the apostles, and even First Testament protagonists like Ruth, Job, and Abraham’s nephew, Lot. And, if your dark side ever takes over, there is even an option to chat with Satan. The app was launched recently and has been getting mixed feedback online. Reactions have varied from amusement to accusations of blasphemy and heresy, which is really not that surprising considering the sensitive topic. For some people, religion is the most sacred thing in their lives, so they don’t take lightly anything they consider offensive.

Stéphane Peter, the app’s developer and the CEO of Cat Loaf Software, has described Text with Jesus as just ‘another way to explore Scripture,’ but some users have reported that certain religious figures impersonated by ChatGPT just weren’t what they expected. For example, Jesus has reportedly been chatting in an uptight tone, while many of the other religious figures have been trained to avoid taking offensive stances on sensitive issues like gender identity, pronouns or sexual orientation.

“I updated it so it can speak more like a regular person and ensured it didn’t forget that it’s supposed to get stuff from the Bible,” Peter said about the app. “It’s a constant trick to find the right balance.”

Cat Loaf Software allegedly invited a number of church leaders to try a beta version of Text with Jesus and made several subsequent improvements, including adding Bible chapter and verse citations. It’s still not perfect, obviously, this is basically ChatGPT trained on the Bible, but it could see some success among zealous Christians.

Apparently, the app even has some monetization features. For example, unlocking some of the included Biblical figures to chat with requires a monthly fee. For example, gaining access to Mary Magdalene in Text with Jesus requires a fee of $2.99 a month.

Oh, and if chatting with the Son of God just isn’t enough, you can actually play Jesus in a video game.

 

Oddity Central

WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

Three Ukrainian military pilots die in mid-air collision

Three Ukrainian military pilots including a "mega talent" who yearned to fly F-16s were killed on Friday when two L-39 combat training aircraft collided over a region west of Kyiv on Friday, the air force said on Saturday.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who is counting on swift training of crews to fly up to 61 F-16 fighter jets promised by his Western allies, said in his nightly video address that the three men included Andriy Pilshchykov, callsign Juice, "a Ukrainian officer, one of those who greatly helped our state."

Air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat described Pilshchykov -- who was fluent in English and aged 29 when Reuters interviewed him in December -- as a "mega talent" and leader of reforms.

"You can't even imagine how much he wanted to fly an F-16," Ihnat wrote on his Facebook page. "But now that American planes are actually on the horizon, he will not fly them."

Ukraine's prosecutor general's office announced a criminal investigation had been opened into whether flight preparation rules were violated.

"It is too early to discuss details. Certainly, all circumstances will be clarified," Zelenskiy said.

The air force announced the crash on its Telegram app. "We express our condolences to the families of the victims. This is a painful and irreparable loss for all of us," it said.

Zelenskiy noted that the third Saturday in August is also when Ukrainian military and civilian aviation celebrate their professional day, and said the introduction of F-16s would mark a "new level" for military aviation.

"This will also bring civil aviation back to the Ukrainian skies, as it will move us closer to victory and provide Ukraine with greater security," he said.

Radio Svoboda shared video of blackened, mangled aircraft remains being removed from a field far from the frontlines at the village of Sinhury, about 10 kms (6 miles) south of Zhytomyr and about 150 kms (90 miles) west of Kyiv.

In the video, an unnamed man said he heard an explosion in the air above the school building and then two planes falling in smoke and flames. A woman described seeing two planes flying at a distance from one another than coming closer and closer to each other before the crash.

Military analyst and former pilot Roman Svitan, in an interview posted by online outlet Espreso TV, said the crash was "most likely" related to formation flying. He said the standard distance was 50-70 meters but that sometimes planes flew practically on top of each other at a distance of 3 to 4 meters.

He said the L-39 was at once a fighter, an attack aircraft, a bomber and a training plane but that in formation flying, especially at low altitudes, "there's no time for ejection."

Zelenskiy offered condolences to the pilots' families and added, "Ukraine will never forget anyone who defended the free skies of Ukraine."

** Ukraine will speed up advance on southern front, commander says

Ukrainian forces believe they have broken through the most difficult line of Russian defences in the south and will now be able to advance more quickly, a commander fighting in the south told Reuters.

Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in June, but well-prepared Russian defence lines reinforced by minefields have slowed their southward advance towards the Sea of Azov.

Ukrainian forces said on Wednesday they had raised the national flag in the settlement of Robotyne in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, about 10 km (six miles) south of the frontline town of Orikhiv.

"We don't stop here," said a commander who led some of the troops into Robotyne and who uses the callsign "Skala," eponymous with the battalion which he leads.

"Next we have (the town of) Berdiansk, and then more. I made it clear to my fighters at once: our goal is not Robotyne, our goal is (the Sea of) Azov."

Robotyne is about 100 km from Berdiansk, a port on the shores of the Sea of Azov, and 85 km from the strategic city of Melitopol. Both are occupied by Russian forces following Moscow's full-scale invasion in February last year.

Moscow has not confirmed that Ukraine has advanced into Robotyne.

A U.S. official said last week that Ukrainian forces did not appear likely to be able to reach and retake Melitopol in their counteroffensive, intended to split Russian forces in the south.

Defending Ukraine's strategy this week, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy dismissed suggestions that his country's troops were spread too thinly and repeated his belief that Kyiv would regain all Ukrainian territory that has been seized by Moscow.

"We have passed the main roads that were mined. We are coming to those lines where we can go (forward). I'm sure we'll go faster from here," Skala said.

He said two houses were still under Russian control in Robotyne: "We're fighting for them, and then we'll have full control (of Robotyne)."

Skala said Ukrainian troops had now entered territories where there were only "Russian logistics" groups, and where he made clear he did not expect Russian defences to be as difficult to break through.

"We are moving on to liberate all our territories," he said.

 

RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

Ukraine confirms ‘secret meeting’ with NATO generals

Western officials are regularly receiving up-to-date reports from the battlefield in Ukraine, President Vladimir Zelensky’s top adviser has said, confirming a report about a recent meeting between Kiev’s top general Valery Zaluzhny and NATO commanders. 

“There are a lot of meetings like that,” Mikhail Podoliak told a Ukrainian TV channel Saturday. According to Podoliak, Kiev’s military strategy stays “flexible,” evolving in accordance with the situation on the ground.

“The General Staff is constantly making adjustments, depending on what is happening on the front line,” the adviser said. “Obviously, these adjustments are always being discussed with our partners in order to actualize the deliveries of additional [weapons].”

The Guardian reported on Saturday that “eleven days ago, some of the most senior soldiers in the NATO alliance traveled to a secret location on the Polish-Ukrainian border” to meet with Zaluzhny and “his entire command team.” The goal of the five-hour meeting was to “help reset Ukraine’s military strategy” in light of its sluggish offensive, the newspaper said. Ukrainian and NATO officials reportedly also discussed plans for the winter and beyond.

Kiev’s much-anticipated offensive, launched in early June, has so far failed to win any significant territory, costing the Ukrainian army heavy losses in men and Western-supplied armor in the process.

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported recently that US and British officials had disagreements with Ukrainian planners over tactics. It was said that one of the complaints was that the Ukrainian army had dispersed its most-equipped units along the front line, instead of focusing on a concentrated strike in one place.

After Washington’s approval, Denmark and the Netherlands promised last week to send their US-made F-16 fighter planes to Ukraine. The jets have long been on Kiev’s ‘wish list’, as the country hopes to salvage its combat operations.

Russia, meanwhile, has repeatedly warned that Western weapons would not change the course of the conflict, and would only draw NATO closer to open confrontation with Moscow. 

** West pushing everyone towards WWIII, ignoring signals from Moscow – Medvedev

Russia’s opponents in the West are pushing everyone towards World War III, ignoring signals from Moscow, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with TASS and RT.

"Frankly speaking, it would have definitely been better if they had heard them [the signals]. In any case, the world would not have to face the threat of World War III. In fact, this is where our opponents are actively pushing everyone," he said, commenting on the idea that Russia’s tough response to Georgia’s 2008 aggression should have served as a strong signal to the US and its NATO allies of the need to listen to Moscow’s concerns.

However, "they failed to hear our signals," Medvedev emphasized.

 

Reuters/RT/Tass

On October 21, 1968, a letter was written by a group which went by the name, Egbe Mekunnu Taku, literally, Association of the Adamant Poor, to the then Military Governor of the Western State, Major General Adeyinka Adebayo. The letter explains, and succinctly too, the anger of poor and impoverished people all over the world against governments’ punishing policies. Angered by Adebayo’s jerking up of tax, from a flat rate of three, to six pounds, the association, which comprised mostly farmers, the bulk of whom were taxable workers of the time, literally dared the leopard in its den by lighting fire-lamp to catch a glimpse of its scary face. As a result of the increment, cost of living suddenly skyrocketed, even amid the civil war that the Yakubu Gowon government was fighting against the then Eastern State. Tax at this time was like the ubiquitous petrol of today which cuts across all and sundry. The Egbe Mekunnu Taku letter goes thus: “It is quite evident that there is absolutely no sale of cocoa which serve (sic) as the main source from where we the farmers get our yearly income and that we are living at the mercy of the Almighty God. We beg to say that we are at present experiencing a good hardship in regard to our individual mode of living at the farm; our old ones as well as the young ones are crying of hunger (sic) day in and day out whilst many of us go about without food at times for days… this current tax assessment is considered to be too much for the individual to meet…”

At first, Adebayo met with leaders of the unions of farmers under the aegis of Egbe Agbekoya, (Farmers Against Oppression) Olorunkoya (God is Against Oppression) and Mekunnu Parapo (Association of the poor) in Ibadan, Ogbomoso and Abeokuta. The leaders were Mustapha Okikirungbo, Tafa Popoola, Adeniyi Eda, Adeagbo Kobiowu, Rafiu Isola and Mudasiru Adeniran. On November 15, 1968, the governor again met with them at Idi-Ayunre and Olode villages, via Ibadan, flying to the former meeting venue in a helicopter, due to the bad road. He was however shouted down by anti-tax sloganeering. Adebayo nevertheless continued with this tax regime, despite the massive resentment. Believing in the power of the gun and armaments to suppress the farmers rather than a continuation of dialogue, in radio and newspaper announcements, government threatened that, “as from tomorrow, those who have not paid their tax will be blacklisted as human parasites and saboteurs and treated as such” (Daily Sketch, June 30, 1969). Thus, between 1968 and 1969, farmers, led by ringleaders like Adegoke Akekuejo, Tafa Adeoye, Folarin Idowu, Mudasiru Adeniran and Tafa Popoola, shouting, Oke mefa l’ao san! Oke mefa l’ao san! – We will only pay 30 shillings! – marched from village to village in their anti-tax mobilization against the military government, towards Mapo hall. They ransacked offices, with a complete state of anomie foisted on the region. Government’s deployment of violence to quell the peasants’ uprising only worsened the violence, leading to several deaths of policemen and farmers. The rioters set free 464 prisoners at Agodi Prisons on September 16. 1969. This was the anomic state until Chief Obafemi Awolowo met with Tafa Adeoye and other groups at the Akanran village on October 15, 1969 which created an armistice.

But for the dystopia that arose as a result of the Adeyinka Adebayo-led government’s increased tax and the graveyard calm of today, there is hardly any difference between the hardship faced by western state farmers of the late 1960s and the excruciating pains that have been the lots of Nigerians in the last three months under Bola Tinubu. Since May 29, grueling poverty, social discord and spike in rates of crime have been on the increase after the off-the-cuff removal of subsidy by the government. Government’s subsequent responses to the groaning have been more of a staccato than a respite. Nigerians cannot see any coordinated or mapped out outflow from the fuel subsidy removal and unification of Forex. Many marvel that a government whose head had serially mouthed his long-term hunger to be in the driver’s seat of the presidential office could demonstrate such gross unpreparedness and perfunctoriness towards the challenges arising from administering office.

So, last week, the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, articulated same grouse and sang same song ceaselessly sung on the streets of Nigeria since May 29. While addressing journalists in Benin City, Obaseki lacerated the buttocks of the Tinubu government, expressing shock at its inability to effectively plan a workable response to the fuel subsidy removal. The subsidy removal, the governor said, has seriously impoverished Nigerians, as well as inflicting hardship and suffering on them. Worse still, he said, the palliative policy of the government, due to its peremptory attitude to the plights of the people, has morphed into an unmitigated fraud, with the economy under Tinubu taking a turn for the worse. In all, these can be attributed to Tinubu’s effeminate grasp of the economy.

“I am shocked that people who campaigned around the country, saying that they will remove subsidies, had no clear plans on what to do after subsidy removal. They don’t know what to do and how to support those who will be victims of subsidy removal. I am shocked and scared of what we are passing through today, where the government doesn’t seem to have a plan or solution on how to respond to the consequences of the policy measure put in place by their administration. With the way they have mismanaged our national economy, we have to deal with inflation, between 20 and 25 per cent. It means that the people will feel more pain, especially the weak and vulnerable in the society, particularly our pensioners, as whatever they get as their entitlement will do only little for them,” he said.

Almost immediately after Obaseki said this, Nigerians wondered what the Tinubu government’s response would be. Permit me as I digress. When Dele Alake, erstwhile image maker of the president, gave that self-justificatory claim that the president appointed him into the Solid Minerals Resources ministry, rather than the Information ministry, because of “the nature of this sector to our economic growth and vitality of this country which is dear to the heart of Mr. President,” I grimaced. Going further, he claimed that it was “just very apt and proper for him to send me here because he knows and trusts that I have a demonstrable sense of responsibility and courage to drive the agenda.” My take was that Tinubu was smart enough to realize early that he could not afford to recreate another Josef Goebbels in the information ministry, shortly after the monumental disaster of Lai Mohammed. A combative Alake was fit and proper for the hocus-pocus of presidential elections but off-putting for a government that postures as friend of the people.

We, for a minute, forgot that this was not a continuation of the Muhammadu Buhari government and Lai Mohammed was not in the saddle, even as he luxuriated in his paradise of lies. Then, we graphically imagined the usual potpourri of governmental playing-God, hogwash and arrogance, the usual broth dished out as Aso Rock’s replies to perceived enemies, would be pelted on Obaseki. It was however gladsome when we realized that a new Sheriff of the Information Ministry had come into the saddle. He even announced that his term of office was not going to be a roller-coaster of lies. At an official reception by the ministry for him, Mohammed Idris Malagi promised that there would be no room for lies and fake news. “For me, I am actually a reporter reporting for duty and I meant it with every sense of the word. The president has asked me to come and tell you that this is a brand new Ministry of Information and National Orientation….We are going to say it as it is. Mr. President is somebody who is truthful, honest, transparent. He has said that when we come, we should own up where there are mistakes, we should own up where we erred, we should not be shy to say, ‘No this is wrong and we are going to correct it.’”

From where did Malagi get those superfluous superlative adjectives of Mr. President being “truthful, honest, transparent” and all those what-ought-nots? Or perhaps, the Minister merely wanted to flaunt his English and Literary Studies background by showing off his arsenal of ironies, paradoxes and metonyms? If not, it is a general opinion that those superlatives are misplaced for the subject under reference. As far as Nigerians are concerned, the Honournable Minister should reserve his “truthful, honest, transparent” arsenal of ironies, paradoxes and metonyms about the current managers of our destinies for his next work of fiction.

And then, in his first official reaction on behalf of the federal government, Malagi unmistakably reversed the promises he made to Nigerians. You would imagine that the disputatious ghost of Lai Mohammed had risen in Malagi. Reacting to Obaseki’s national alarm on the whimsical navigation of Nigeria’s economy by Tinubu, Malagi began his intervention from a rather simplistic and ad-hominem plank. Obaseki, he said, had of recent, “shifted focus to the nation’s economic challenges as cannon fodder to divert attention from his poor performance at the state level.” That rhyme sounded kindergarten and a refrain of bad managers of office holders. It is a familiar route always trodden by information managers who forum-shop in hazy attempts to deflect justified arrows shot at their bosses.

Even members of the APC, in their closets, are worried about the policy somersaults and reactive colour of this government. Germane issues critical to people’s lives are left unattended to. For instance, Malagi, in hitting Obaseki, demanded that leaders should align criticism with reality. Here we go, Honourable Minister: What is the reality of Nigeria today? In simple terms, the reality is that Tinubu’s economic policies in the last three months, without debate, have pauperized Nigerian people colossally, more than previous governments’. There does not appear to be any mental rigour birthing those policies as they seem to be unintended governmental reactions. What broader economic picture could a fuel subsidy removal, inflicted at the spur of the moment, have on Nigerians when the president himself confessed that it was a product of a haphazard seizure “by the spirit of courage” without any governmental blueprint? While it is true that virtually everyone – World Bank, IMF and various economic experts – “have consistently advocated for the removal of fuel subsidy because of the fiscal distortions and burden it has placed on the economy,” as Malagi said, none of those bodies reckoned that a leader would be as unconscionable as to remove fuel subsidy without a requisite well-thought-out panacea to ease its resultant excruciating pains.

Malagi then tumbled into cants, sophistries and illogical ad-hominem arguments that made his intervention very watery, self-serving and insincere. In one breath, he accused Obaseki of “benefitting from the fuel subsidy removal, which is evident in the more than doubling of the FAAC allocation” and advising that, “rather than delving into narratives which do not provide the complete picture, the focus should be on how the Edo State Government will be using available resources to drive impactful projects that genuinely uplift the people of Edo State.” In those very disjointed ripostes, Malagi literally "aimed at the man," and in the process, shifting his focus from the critical issues raised by Obaseki. While doing so, he enveloped himself in a blanket that could not allow him see the larger issues of the parlous state of the economy under Tinubu and the cries of the people. Because he could not see nor perceive the people’s cries, in frustration, Malagi then shot at the man who dared to bring out the log in Tinubu’s eye.

There is no doubt that the overwhelming cries of Nigerian people woke the Tinubu government from its somnambulist first three months in power. When it then woke up, government then rambled to offer N8000 to the “poorest of the poor.” Seeing that this would not work, it again cloned the same discredited Godwin Emefiele borrowing method to shore up the economy. Immediately, the Tinubu government then asked for a loan of $3 billion from JP Morgan, via the NNPC. Yet, the economy is gasping and clutching to straws. Tinubu hasn’t shown that he runs a government that is prepared for the acute challenges of office. Obaseki adequately articulated this effeminacy of control, a view of not only the common man on the streets, but one that is not dissimilar from those of respected economic experts. They all worry at the anti-people thrust of the three-month stay in office of Tinubu, especially the ostensible paucity of thought process that goes into his government’s economic policies.

The N185 billion palliatives is undoubtedly the most outstanding of the government’s policy. Its aim is to mitigate the grueling effect of the economy on Nigerians. Each state was allocated the sum of N5 billion. If you ask me, there is virtually no difference between this palliative and the parlous N8000 it earlier proposed. Only that, this time, the federal government has succeeded in offloading blames from the people to the governors. When Tinubu, last week, told the people to hold their governors responsible for whatever was the outcome of the palliative's distribution, it was obvious to me that the aim of redesigning the curve of the palliative tokenism had been achieved. It was a masterfully crafted scapegoatism.

Questions have been posed severally on the N5billion allocation. One is that, did it occur to government that the poor in, say Kano, are not the same in number with those in Ebonyi? If this is the case, why give them uniform amounts? Second, if the money is a loan to the states as it has been confirmed to be, why is the federal government assuming patrimony over it? Why make it look as if the Federal Government had done the states some good that needed trumpeting to the world? Again, why make this policy look like an Uncle Grisham Comes To Dinner, as if it was the newest intervention ever? The Buhari government did something similar, in what was referred to as the Paris Club payment to states.

Malagi must know by now that Nigerians believe that Godwin Obaseki has earned his epaulettes for his Nostradamus peer into the future. On April 7, 2021, while hosting the transition committee members at Government House in Benin City, just as he did last week, Obaseki raised a similar alarm. Nigeria was in huge financial trouble, the governor shouted. Reason? Buhari had ordered a subterranean printing of Nigerian money to fund shortfalls in allocations shared to states. “In another year or so, where will we find this money that we go to Abuja to share every month? Last month, we got FAAC for March; the Federal Government printed an additional N50 to N60 billion to top-up for us to share…My worry is that we will wake up one day like Argentina, the naira will be N1,000, N2,000 and will be moving because we don’t have money coming in. You are just borrowing, borrowing and borrowing without any means or idea of how to pay back,” he said.

Hell was immediately let loose. Megaphones like Malagi were amplified to the limit of their decibels. Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, led the army. “The issue that was raised by the Edo State governor, for me, is very, very sad because it is not a fact. What we distribute at FAAC is revenue that is generated…it is not true to say we printed money to distribute at FAAC, it is not true,” she said. Lai Mohammed joined the inglorious orchestra. Ingenuously called Ways and Means, it was later revealed that the government had printed money to the tune of N22.7 trillion.

Rather than waste precious time and space to demonize Obaseki, Malagi should know that Nigerians adjust themselves to listen when Obaseki raises alarm on the economy. He earned his keep by the certitude of his projections. It is old grandmother tale to use political party affiliation as cudgel of censure. Nigerians are interested in logic and facts of issues.

Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD …… Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years ~ Isaiah 38:2-5

Introduction

Undoubtedly, man is a comprehensive package of God’s supernatural acts (Genesis 1:26-28). He was originally created to operate in a realm beyond and above the natural, in the class of God (Psalms 82:6; John 10:34). Notwithstanding, man still needs God, always.

At the outset of creation, before God breathed into him, man was like an effigy, a mere ceramic and empty dust moulded into shape (Genesis 2:7). Man will always require God’s supernatural energy and intervention for his daily sustenance. Happily, whenever God becomes intentionally involved, every difficult situation receives a dramatic turnaround (Psalm 126:1).

Yes, we hear the phrase “divine intervention” tossed around a lot in our society today. But, it’s quintessential wisdom for us to know what it is really, and how God steps into our peculiar situations to give us relief.

Concisely, divine intervention is when God moves and acts deliberately to change the outcomes of a situation by the act of His mercy. It is a typical miracle of God showing up in the interest of His people.

We generally point to divine intervention when there is no other explanation other than God for how something — miraculous deliverance from accident, death, shame and embarrassment, or healing from an incurable disease — happened.

Acts of God that orchestrate inexplicable victories, being in the right place at the right time for unique opportunities, or being boxed into circumstances that eventually protect people from harm’s way are all examples of divine intervention.

Indeed, there are so many situations in which we find ourselves that require God to bring us out. Recall the following real life scenarios, and see the characteristic excellencies of God’s intervention in the various issues of human life.

Israel was in a terrible and prolonged bondage in Egypt, under the rule of Pharaoh. In the end, God stepped in, and there was a great and clear deliverance (Exodus 3:8).

David also found himself in the miry clay of persecution and troubles. The more he struggled to be free, the deeper he sank. God then stepped in, and David was marvelously helped (Psalm 3:1-5).

In 2 Kings 4, a poor widow owed so much money, and the creditors came calling to take away her two sons in the place of the money owed. If God didn’t intervene, her staffs of comfort and consolation would have been removed from her.

Peter toiled! He was a very skillful and highly experienced fisherman. He went out at the best time for a great drought of fishes, yet he caught nothing because of the undercurrent activities of toiling demons. However, when Jesus Christ stepped in to help him, the story changed dramatically (Luke 5:1-15).

In Acts 12, Simon Peter was locked up in prison, to be soon beheaded by Herod, like he did to James. God intervened and set him free from an imminent untimely death.

Lazarus even died (John 11:14-45). If the Lord had failed to step in, Lazarus would have remained in the grave, and that would have been the end of his glorious destiny.

In our contemporary times, I know of a man who couldn’t even explain what momentarily held his legs at a time, and literally kept him standstill to save his head from a falling coconut fruit. I also know of a man who, against his wish, was literally forced out of a taxi that eventually had an accident in which all the commuters died.

Divine intervention is real, and all men who will gain momentum in their endeavours must ensure that the power of God is constantly at work in their lives. It’s impossible to live successfully in life without the God-Factor.

The Fragility of Man Vs The Almightiness of God’s Power

God is aware that man, today, lives in a demon-infested environment littered with several inundating challenges. Notwithstanding these negative realities, our issues can always be addressed and redressed by divine power, wisdom, insight and intervention (Isaiah 38:1-8).

Man's words, thoughts, opinions and propositions can always be reversed, but whatever God pronounces is established, forever. His superiority over all His creatures is incredible (Psalms 62:11).

All power belongs to Him, and His power is ever so rich unto us and can intervene in any area of our lives as may be required at any time (2 Peter 1:2-3). This gives a cause for elation, because if we practically connect with Him via His Word, we can literally collect anything!

He has graciously bestowed on us the power to get everything required to lead a blessed and godly life, and to establish His covenant in our lives (Deuteronomy 8:18). This power is available to all believers in Christ Jesus today, through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

Moreover, as God’s children, we’re His authorized agents and ambassadors on earth (2 Corinthians 5:20). We have received the audacity of heaven to exercise rule and to establish His Will on earth (Judges 5:20-21). What a privilege!

We must hold tightly to God! When we cooperate well with Him, and function only to His specifications, we’ll begin to enjoy incredible dimensions of an out-of-this-world experience (1Peter 1:13-19). Indeed, any attempt to live outside of God’s realm can only be a voyage in futility and frustration.

Repositioning for Supernatural Intervention

When King Hezekiah got a word regarding his imminent death, he turned his face towards the wall. In other words, he turned away from the spectators, and even from Isaiah, to hide his emotion and to focus on God in his prayers.

You also must reposition yourself to secure the intervention of God in your untoward situations. Areas requiring critical realignment include the way you receive, speak, obey and act upon God’s Word, as well as your earnest desires, pursuits and priorities in life.

Again, what you see regularly, the thoughts you allow, the people around you and, especially, how you worship God must be realigned in spirit and in truth. They critically define what belongs to your future.

Friends and brethren, what is your own present situation that you want God to take over? A spiritual attack? A reproach? A stubborn habit? A domineering sin? A miry clay experience? A delay? A financial mess? A sickness? A seemingly endless family crisis?

As God intervened in those days, He still does today (Isaiah 41:10). He doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6). He still intervenes even in very hard situations, if He’s invited. He’s alive, and nothing is impossible for Him. He can always spring forth incredible miracles.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrew 13:8). Believe Him. Call upon Him with all your heart. Ask Him to do something in particular in your life. He will deliver you and bless you relentlessly, and you shall glorify Him.

Even now, you can receive any miracle! Just rely upon the Holy Spirit. The hand of the Lord will lift you out of every negative situation, and you shall become a blessing to the whole world. You won’t miss it, in Jesus name. Amen. Happy Sunday!

____________________

Bishop Taiwo Akinola,

Rhema Christian Church,

Otta, Ogun State, Nigeria.

Connect with Bishop Akinola via these channels:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bishopakinola

SMS/WhatsApp: +234 802 318 4987

Most Christians do not bother with the words of Jesus. If they did, they would not be Christians. Churches carefully avoid Jesus’ words. They are not words on which a large congregational empire can be built. When the people heard the words of Jesus, they left in droves. When Peter understood the message of Jesus, he prevailed on Jesus to change it. Jesus’ words provide the small gate and narrow road that leads to life that only a few will find. (Matthew 7:14).

Deceitful money

So let us look at one of those weighty words of Jesus that Christians prefer to ignore. Jesus refers to money tautologically as “unrighteous mammon.” (Luke 16:9). This means money is fundamentally ungodly. There is no “righteous mammon.” According to Jesus, riches are deceitful. (Matthew 13:22). They promise what they cannot deliver. They promise prosperity but impoverish the soul. (Matthew 16:26). They promise peace but bring anxiety. (Ecclesiastes 5:12).

Money is man-made: it is not of God.  Indeed, it is an idol, the very antithesis of God. Money rules over men, ensuring that it competes with God for human allegiance. Therefore, our faith in Christ compels a choice.  Jesus insists: “No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24).

Jesus never has any commendation for the rich or for earthly riches. Instead, He warns: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21). 

Jesus’ position is that man’s heart is of limited capacity. If our heart is set on worldly riches, we cannot at the same time have God; “the Desire of All Nations” (Haggai 2:7), as our heart’s treasure.

Money is not a currency of the kingdom of God. The currency of the kingdom is righteousness. Jesus insists that money does not even belong to the believer, who is redeemed without money. (Isaiah 52:3). If it belongs to us, we will take it with us when we die. We don’t because it belongs to someone else.   

Therefore, Jesus asks: “If you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (Luke 16:11-12).

False riches

Money constitutes false riches. The riches of this world belong to the wicked. The psalmist declares: “Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.” (Psalm 73:12). The wicked prefer the temporal to the eternal. Therefore, God is content to make this vainglorious world their inheritance. Thus, David talks of “men of the world who have their portion in this life.” (Psalm 17:14). 

What then belongs to the believer? “The LORD is (our) portion.” (Lamentations 3:24). When a man sought Jesus’ help to secure his inheritance, He replied: “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15). 

But how could the man have been guilty of covetousness when all he wanted was his portion of his inheritance? The man failed to understand that Jesus’ doctrine makes us heirs of God and not of men. He was guilty of insisting on what belongs to another man, while neglecting what is rightfully his portion in God.

God is interested in who we are and not what we have. He says: “I AM WHO I AM.” (Exodus 3:14). He does not say “I am what I have.” This life is not about ownership; it is about stewardship. Worldly possessions are the believer’s stewardship. We are managers of our finances, without the burden of ownership. 

In the Day of Judgment, God will require us to account for how we spent all the money that came into our hands. Did we use it to secure our temporal “future” here on earth, or to safeguard our eternal future in heaven? Jesus says sardonically: “Make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.” (Luke 16:9).

It is not surprising then that God’s judgment is often proclaimed on those who handle money. (Zephaniah 1:11). Rich men who are not prepared to give away their wealth to the poor cannot enter the kingdom of heaven and become heirs of God. Instead of amassing earthly riches, Jesus counsels that we should endeavour to be rich towards God. (Luke 12:16-21).

Blessing of God 

Men bless with money. But Jesus says: “Not as the world gives do I give to you.” (John 14:27). Therefore, money cannot be a blessing of God. God blesses with His Holy Spirit. (Luke 11:13). 

What money buys is not of God, and that which is of God cannot be bought with money. (Acts 8:20). The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22). But money adds sorrow for the simple reason that it fails.   

Money failed in Egypt and in Canaan. (Genesis 47:15). Check the current exchange-rate: money has failed in Nigeria. Sooner than later, money grows wings and flies away like an eagle towards heaven. (Proverbs 23:5). 

Can we give money to God? Jesus says no. Unrighteous money belongs to Caesar; his image and inscription are on it. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21). 

What exactly belongs to God? God’s image is on man, so man belongs to God. We should give and dedicate ourselves to the Lord; while money should be given and dedicated to “Caesar.” 

Solomon says money answers everything. (Ecclesiastes 10:19). That may be true technically; but money is not the answer to most things. Solomon himself discovered that all that money gave him was vanity upon vanity.  He says: “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

 Wisdom of God

This is what I have learnt at the feet of the Lord. Money is not valuable; we are always giving it away in one transaction or the other. The most valuable things in this world are free. The most important jobs in Christ are the ones for which we receive no wages whatsoever. The poor are far more generous than the rich. (Mark 12:41-44). 

Martins Hile urgently needed to get somewhere, so he asked the Lord for money for transportation. But the Lord said to him: “Stop asking me for money.” The Lord told Martins to go and stand by the side of the road. 

As soon as he did so, a car pulled up in front of him. “Martins, where are you going?” asked the driver, who happened to be someone well-known to him. He then took Martins exactly where he was going.

The Lord said to Martins: “You don’t need any money. All you need is Me!”  

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; www.femiaribisala.com

There comes a time in most entrepreneurs' lives when they realize a simple truth: Money is valuable, but time is more valuable. And while none of us lives forever, there are some things we can do to live a bit longer. 

In fact, a massive new study suggests that eight fairly simple health habits can add 20 years to people's predicted lifespan – an extra 21 years of predicted life expectancy for women who follow them, or an extra 24 years for men. 

As presenting author Xuan-Mai T. Nguyen, a health science specialist at the US Department of Veterans Affairs who is also a rising fourth-year medical student at Carle Illinois College of Medicine, explained:

We were really surprised by just how much could be gained with the adoption of one, two, three, or all eight lifestyle factors. Our research findings suggest that adopting a healthy lifestyle is important for both public health and personal wellness.

The earlier the better, but even if you only make a small change in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, it still is beneficial.

The data was compiled from medical questionnaires and records collected between 2011 and 2019 from 719,147 people associated with a large Veterans Affairs study, and the findings were set to be presented last month at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston.

I'm going to outline all eight of these habits below. For what it's worth, I found it useful to remember an old saying as I read them: "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

Here are the habits, ranked in increasing order of how much time they can add to your life (as percentages), according to the study:

1. Having positive social relationships

The longest-running longitudinal study in history found that good relationships were the most important factor in a long and happy life. Likewise, this study suggests having good relationships led to a 5 percent predicted effect on longevity.

2. Managing or avoiding stress

Some stress is unavoidable, but this habit was associated with 20 percent additional longevity. While not part of the study, here's a compendium I put together a year ago including five simple ways to calm anxiety, including listening to a specially designed song, and controlling your breathing in a specific way.

3. Avoiding binge drinking

The emphasis here seems to be avoiding "binge" drinking, not never drinking alcohol at all, and it also was associated with 20 percent additional longevity. 

In fact, some studies have suggested that light to moderate drinking (one to two drinks per day) can have a positive effect on longevity. "I have no explanation for it," said one study lead, "but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity."

4. Having a sensible diet

Again: a 20 percent effect on predicted longevity. This factor probably doesn't surprise many people, as it's the one bit of advice we've received since we were kids (although the agreed upon composition of a smart diet has certainly changed). One bit of advice? Eat more vegetables.

5. Having good sleep hygiene

Here's another habit that probably isn't a big surprise. It has the added bonus of being enjoyable. I've written a lot here over the years on improving sleep hygiene. 

My two favorite studies are probably this one, laying out exactly how much sleep most people need, and this one, suggesting the benefits of a specific sleep position. Overall, sleep hygiene was associated with 20 percent expected longevity.

6. Having sufficient physical activity

Again, there are so many other studies, and I doubt you'll be shocked by this one. 

But as an example, researchers at Brigham Young University reported a few years back that they've found that a certain type of physical exercise can slow the aging process within our cells – to the point of someone appearing biologically nine years younger. 

In the current VA study, lack of physical activity was associated with a 30 to 45 percent higher risk of death.

7. Not using opioids

To be clear on this one, the habit is not having an opioid use disorder, as opposed to never using prescription opioids. Still, the effect on predicted longevity was estimated in the same 30 to 45 percent category.

8. Never smoking

Pure nonsmokers had the same 30 to 45 percent expected longevity effect. Again, it's not surprising; I've previously reported on studies that suggested smoking correlates to a seven year shorter life expectancy.

We should make clear that our old friend, causation versus correlation, is at play here, in that we can't say for sure whether any of these specific habits actually causes longer life; only that longer life is observed at scale among people who practice them. 

It's an important difference that can seem subtle, and I hope it won't dissuade anyone (myself included) from placing greater emphasis on these habits. Because if you dedicate your life to building things – a business, an industry, even a legacy – it only stands that you'd want to live long enough to enjoy what you've created. 

"Lifestyle medicine is aimed at treating the underlying causes of chronic diseases rather than their symptoms," Nguyen said in a statement accompanying the report, adding: "It is never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle." 

 

Inc

Nigeria’s economy grew at a slower-than-expected pace after the oil sector contracted for a 13th straight quarter, adding to the list of issues President Bola Tinubu needs to address.

Gross domestic product in the continent’s biggest oil producer expanded 2.5% in the three months through June from a year earlier, compared with 2.3% in the prior quarter, the statistics agency said Friday. That undershot a median estimate for growth of 2.8% in a Bloomberg survey of five economists.

The yield on the nation’s dollar bonds due 2032 stayed seven basis points higher on the day at 11.07%.

The 3.58% growth in the non-oil sector in the second quarter from a year earlier was offset by a contraction in the oil sector. The industry contracted 13% as production decreased to 1.2 million barrels per day. That compared with 1.5 million barrels per day from a year earlier.

Nigeria has been trying to ramp up production to reach its full OPEC+ quota but has been beset by ongoing supply disruptions, theft and pipeline vandalism.

Growth is also likely to be crimped in the next quarter by Tinubu’s decision to remove fuel subsidies on May 29 and ease exchange controls a few days later, which has led to the naira losing 40% of its value against the dollar and sent prices soaring. Annual inflation quickened to a fresh 18-year highof 24.1% in July.

Last week Tinubu partially walked back those reforms when he suspendedincreases in gasoline prices.

 

Bloomberg

Despite being the largest economy in Africa with an over 200 million human population and potentials to make fortunes, multinational companies are exiting Nigeria because of the high cost of doing business and lack of basic infrastructure, especially electricity.

Experts, who noted that even though the ugly development predated the President Bola Tinubu government, said it was always good to bring the issue to the front burner, especially now that a new government was being formed for the new leaders to act fast and salvage the situation.

Our correspondent reports that over time the multinational companies have been forced to exit the country as a result of surging inflationary pressure, foreign exchange (forex) volatility, rising interest rates, electricity crisis, among other challenges, which have impacted operating expenses and profitability of businesses.

Procter & Gamble, Surest Foam Limited, Mufex, Framan Industries, Moak Industries, Deli Foods, Stone Industries, MZM Continental and Nipol Industries are among companies that have shut down fully or partially in recent years.

That notwithstanding, other experts have a different perspective as to why foreign companies are leaving Nigeria.

They said sometimes, the decision is based purely on internal company exigencies or market-wide or sectoral global trends in labour or technology.

They said the companies’ exit might be driven by sudden changes like the pandemic or economic downturns, adding that it is possible that as some companies are leaving or closing locally, other companies may be coming in or opening.

They said for example, the fintech sector and the digital economy more broadly have been expanding in the country, saying this could be a substitution situation, whereby the decline of one sector is offset by the growth of another.

However, since the coming of the Tinubu administration, both the president and some of his aides have been speaking on efforts being put in place towards revamping the economy, encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and also making local industries vibrant and competitive.

For instance, about a month ago, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Evelyn Ngige, said the launch of Nigeria’s first trade and investment policies would boost the local economy and facilitate increased foreign and domestic trade.

She stated this at the opening of a stakeholders’ workshop on the maiden Nigeria Investment Policy (NINP) and Trade Policy (NTP) in Abuja.

Recall that on May 10, 2023, at the twilight of the former President Muhammadu Buhari administration, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the implementation of the first Nigeria Investment Policy (2023-2027) and the review of the Trade Policy of Nigeria (2023-2027).

Ngige said both frameworks represented significant milestones in the journey for economic growth and development.

She stressed that the ministry remained committed to improving the domestic investment and business environment in order to position the country as one of the world’s preferred investment destinations.

She pointed out that the development of the first investment policy, as well as the review of the country’s trade policy, was a useful outcome of the sustained efforts of the ministry.

The NINP focuses on three pillars: investment promotion, investment facilitation and sustainable development, with the objective to develop the investment policy framework, especially fast-tracking the process of Nigeria’s economic diversification, improving investment and business climate to attract both domestic and FDI.

And in July this year, the Special Adviser (SA) to the president on revenue, Zacch Adedeji, said the government would streamline its taxes from 52 to 10 in order to promote efficiency and accountability.

He stated this during the virtual TOPAZ 88 second lecture series, which had the title: “Revenue Challenges and Opportunities in Nigeria Today”.

It would also be recalled that the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Francis Meshioye, recently said that more multinationals would exit Nigeria if electricity hike was implemented.

Meshioye, who stated that some international manufacturing firms had already exited Nigeria as a result of the electricity crisis, coupled with the unpredictability of the country’s forex before it was recently unified, added that over N144bn was spent on alternative sources of energy by manufacturers in 2022.

He said, “Now, if you spend N144bn on alternative energy sources in one year, you can only imagine the impact which that will have on your cost of operations. The manufacturing business in Nigeria is affected by so many factors, energy is a major one.

“Manufacturers provide almost every infrastructure by themselves. Outside the major roads, you find out that manufacturers provide water, power, security, etc. So, when you look at it, you find out that the cost of doing business is so huge, that a businessman will ask, ‘Is this the only place I can do my business? Can’t I move my capital elsewhere?’”

GSK could spark another exodus

The recent announcement by British multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), to discontinue operations in Nigeria after 51 years has raised fear among experts that it may spark another exodus of multinational companies in the country.

Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and other expert bodies say the exit of multinational companies is as a result of unfavourable government policies.

They noted that GSK’s exit dealt a major blow to the country’s manufacturing sector which was already experiencing significant collapse.

President of NACCIMA, Dele Kelvin Oye, noted that, “While the current administration has commendably set Nigeria on a long-term path to economic progression, it has been noted that some of the immediate positive economic policies of Tinubu have had an adverse effect on certain sectors of the country. In particular, the sudden rise in the price of petrol and abolition of the official naira rate have caused a significant backlash, eroding the already earned income and trading capital of several multinational companies that had established their previous earnings based on the official naira rate at the time.

“As a result, there has been a steady exodus of multinational companies and the collapse of several local companies, resulting in significant job losses and economic damage.”

He, therefore, called on the government to urgently review the short-term impact of its economic policies as they related to commitments already concluded for remittances/raw materials by the affected companies/businesses to reverse the trend of companies leaving Nigeria.

He also called on the government to focus on creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive and provide access to single-digit short and long-term financing to reduce the cost of doing business while prioritising investments in infrastructure and power supply, provide tax incentives to encourage businesses to invest in Nigeria and improve the ease of doing business by reducing bureaucratic bottlenecks.

He added that, “Furthermore, NACCIMA urges the government to work collaboratively with the private sector to develop policies that will stimulate economic growth and create job opportunities in the country. We firmly believe that with the right policies in place, Nigeria’s economy can be revitalised and the country can become a hub for business and investment in Africa.”

He also called on the government to take urgent action to reverse the trend of companies leaving Nigeria and restore confidence in all sectors of the economy.

On its part, LCCI, through a statement by its Director General (DG), Chinyere Almona, opined that despite presenting international businesses with the largest market in the continent, Nigeria still suffered from worrying economic slowdown decisions which were often provoked by the rising cost of doing business, epileptic power supply, weak infrastructural backing, among others.

Almona said, “With justification, the chamber is concerned that if the trend persists, the nation’s economic growth potential will not be realised. GlaxoSmithKline’s decision critically reflects on the nation’s poor ranking on the ease of business measures, which the chamber has constantly spoken about. It is time the government takes appropriate actions to reverse the saddening trends in the business clime in Africa’s largest market.

“Factor cost, as an integral element of the profit equation, is viewed with utmost seriousness by business people. In the face of rising costs, business people will likely search for cost-friendlier locations. The chamber is inclined to suggest the government take a holistic view/review of the business environment and take steps to make the nation’s business clime more competitive for growth.”

Speaking in Lagos, the DG of NECA, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, stated that, “The recent trend of business relocation and divestment is unfortunate. Over the last decade, the private sector has been adversely affected by various policy thrusts of government. Many of these policies were either anti-growth, ill-timed or not-well thought out, while others were not in alignment with the country’s economic realities. In more complex cases, we witnessed an era of policy clashes and contradictions and regulatory and legislative strangulation of businesses which left many companies without a clear path for planning and decision making. Operational costs have increased astronomically, heaping more woes on many companies.”

Speaking further, the DG averred that, “The consequences of the years of wrong policy choices are not far-fetched. As expected, divestment, capital flight and outright closures have become the ‘new normal’ within the business community. This is one of the chief reasons why the rate of unemployment continues to soar perpetually with consequential rise in crime and other security issues. When businesses cease operations, divest or move to other profitable and hospitable environments, a large number of Nigerians become unemployed. Inadvertently, the country loses income from taxes, social investment is hindered and poverty holds sway.”

While urging a more definitive and urgent intervention, Oyerinde stated that, “It is germane to state that the government must take urgent steps to arrest this predicament. While we acknowledge and commend the current administration’s effort to address the concerns of the private sector and the steps it took to provide some respite to businesses in specific sectors of the economy, more needs to be done. Beyond the tax reforms activity and the provision of palliatives to select corporate entities, government should, by deepening engagement with the organised private sector, provide the right intervention and incentive not only to attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), but to also prevent more companies from shutting down, divesting or leaving the country.”

NECA, LCCI and NACCIMA urged the government to work collaboratively with the private sector with the view to developing and implementing action plans that are capable of promoting enterprise sustainability and competitiveness.

Apart from foreign companies, many indigenous companies are also folding up because of the harsh operating climate.

This is also leading to massive job losses in a country where the unemployment rate is above 35 per cent.

A former Chairman of the Textile Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (TMAN), Walid Jibrin, said recently that only 20 out of the 175 textile companies in the country were working as others had been forced to shut down.

The poultry industry has also seen decline in recent months as poultry farms are shutting down over the soaring price of maize as noted by the National President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Sunday Ezeobiora.

A request to the SA to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, on other measures being taken by the government to address the collapse of businesses was not replied to at the time of filing this report.

 

Daily Trust

Saturday, 26 August 2023 04:55

Unclaimed dividend rises to N190bn - SEC

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that the unclaimed dividend figure has risen to N190 billion from N170 billion recorded as at December 2020.

At a Virtual post Capital Market Committee (CMC) Meeting held yesterday, Director General of the SEC, Lamido Yuguda, linked the rising figure to irregularities in identity management and multiple subscriptions from investors.

However, Yuguda stated that while the committee constituted by the SEC on identity management is working tirelessly to harmonise various databases of investors and facilitate data accuracy in the market, investors on their part have failed to claim their dividend.

According to him, the committee is expected to address the challenges of identity management and help tackle some of the issues of unclaimed dividends, direct cash settlement and multiple subscription.

Yuguda said: “The major issue causing rising unclaimed dividend is the owners not having access to them.”

As much as efforts are made by the regulators to ensure the figure is reduced, we keep putting efforts towards making sure that investors come forward to claim their dividend and update their account.

“This would help reduce the figure and ensure that future dividend and benefits get transmitted into the account quickly on a quarterly basis and every investor in the capital market is rightly accounted for to make our database more robust and help us in planning.”

He restated commitment towards ensuring that the commission strengthens its infrastructure base, noting that technology plays a major role in enabling the nation’s capital market attain its full potentials.

To this effect, he said SEC had concluded arrangement to roll out a technology infrastructure that would help strengthen its regulatory function in the capital market by the beginning of 2024.

He re-mphasised the need for government to prioritise the market as the most reliable medium to finance critical infrastructure, which already, is severally identified as the most challenging factor in doing business in the country.

Yuguda stated that the capital market provides variety of financing instruments that would help to facilitate their respective infrastructure projects.

“We need to harness the capital market to fund critical infrastructure that will stand the test of time and prepare Nigeria for the kind of population being forecasted for the country. We are likely to have a surge in our population in the next 30 years.

“We need to make necessary investment in infrastructure so that Nigeria will be prepared to confront this demography so that the youth will also capitalise on this to remain in the country and the capital market is well positioned to play a role in this developmental match,” he said.

In a related development, Yuguda, while briefing journalists at the 2nd 2023 Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting in Abuja, noted that 90 percent of the N190Bn unclaimed dividend is deposited with the payee companies while the remaining 10 percent could be traced to the registrars.

He noted that despite the challenges, the Commission recorded a remarkable 5.23 percent surge in market recapitalisation at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NGX) soon as President Bola Tinubu was sworn-in as Nigeria’s President in May, 2023, which was driven by optimistic anticipation of market reforms.

Yuguda, who doubles as the Chairman of the CMC meeting said, “We acknowledge the prevailing challenges arising from demanding macroeconomic conditions, constrained consumer spending and rising operational costs. Despite these challenges, there remains a shared sense of optimism that ongoing rigorous reforms will rejuvenate the nation’s economy.”

He emphasised the need for a resolute support of the Capital Market for the Federal government by navigating these challenges for the country’s brighter future.

 

The Guardian


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