Connect with us

Boss Picks

Will Nnamdi Kanu Ever Get a Fair Trial?

Published

on

By Eric Elezuo

The hopes of not a few Nigerians were dashed on Friday when the Supreme Court upheld the appeal of the Federal Government of Nigeria challenging the Court of Appeal’s decision, which ordered Nnamdi Kanu’s release.

By the decision of the apex court, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is to remain in detention, casting shadows of doubt if ever the freedom fighter for the actualization of the sovereignty of Biafra, would get justice.

The apex court ordered him to return to the Federal High Court, Abuja, to face his seven-count of terrorism.

The apex court in October fixed the date after counsel for both the federal government and the detained IPOB leader adopted their final briefs of argument.

The Supreme Court held that the court of appeal was wrong and that the trial court couldn’t try him because the prosecution violated his rights.

In the judgment prepared by Justice Garba Mohammed, and read by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the court condemned the invasion of Kanu’s residence, declaring it irresponsible.

The court held however, that there is no law in the country stopping a trial based on the violation of the rights of a suspect.

Mohammed said, “If the police should destroy the house of a suspect to obtain exhibits, should that diverse the court against entertaining the offence?

“His remedy should be the way of civil proceeding. Proceedings can’t be stopped on account of the violation of the rights of the suspects; that is not our law for now.

“We decided not to go with the court of appeal. Though we condemned the violation of his rights, Nigeria must redeem its image and adhere to the rule of law. If a person has been granted bail, why did you invade his house? That is irresponsible. You shouldn’t blame him for running.

“No legislation in the country stripped the trial court of the jurisdiction to go ahead with Kanu’s case, despite the illegal action of the FG.

“The law must take its course. The Court of Appeal was wrong that the trial court couldn’t try him. The appeal is allowed, and the cross-appeal is dismissed.”

Chief Mike Ozehkome SAN, who argued for Kanu, prayed the appeal prayed the court to not only order the immediate release of his client from detention but to equally award very heavy and punitive costs against the Federal Government.

In his submission, however, counsel to the federal government, Tijani Gazzali, urged the apex court to uphold the amended brief of argument he filed on May 3, 2023.

He prayed the court to allow FG’s appeal, set aside the judgement of the Court of Appeal which ordered Kanu’s release, and order the resumption of his trial before the Federal High Court in Abuja on terrorism-related charges.

Gazzali further urged the apex court to dismiss Kanu’s cross-appeal.

On October 13, 2022, the Court of Appeal Abuja delivered a judgement ordering Kanu’s release from detention.

The court ruled that he was abducted, ill-treated, and “illegally moved” from Kenya to Nigeria to face treason and terrorism charges.

The judges dismissed the criminal case but Nigerian prosecutors have appealed and Kanu, who is in his mid-50s, remains in custody.

Kanu, a former London estate agent who also runs the outlawed Radio Biafra station, was first arrested in 2015 by the former President Muhammadu Buhari administration, but jumped bail two years later in September, 2017, after his home, Afara Ukwu was invaded by the Nigerian Army, in an operation tagged, Python Dance. He reappeared in the UK and Israel much later after tongues have wagged endlessly regarding his whereabouts.

The Nigerian government had banned IPOB as a terrorist organisation, accusing it of stoking ethnic tensions by claiming genocide against Igbo. The ban was however, reversed by a competent court of law.

Kanu was re-arrested in Kenya, and clandestinely brought back to Nigeria in June 2021.

He was arraigned before the Federal High Court in Abuja on four charges of treasonable felony, conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, illegal importation of radio equipment, and defamation of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The charges were later withdrawn by the former Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who replaced them with a fresh 14-count charge bordering on terrorism and membership of a proscribed group, among others.

After a dilly dally game between the Federal government and court, the charges were further reduced to seven.

But on October 13, 2022, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, held that how Kanu was renditioned to the country violated the country’s extradition treaty and was also a breach of his fundamental human rights, after the IPOB leader the petitioned the court against his arrest.

The appellate court also struck out the terrorism charges filed against Kanu by the Nigerian government and ordered his immediate release from the DSS facility.

The FG, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, failed to adhere to the orders of the court, but appealed the court ruling and subsequently obtained an order staying the execution of the court judgement at the Supreme Court.

Kanu, through his lawyers, filed an appeal against the stay of execution order at the apex court on November 3, 2022.

Displeased by the verdict of the appellate court, the FG filed an appeal at the Supreme Court, culminating in the judgment of Friday, December 14, 2023.

It is believed that the continuous incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu, is the root cause of the sporadic and pockets of violence in the South East region, with an illegal sit-at-home order given every Monday in the entire region in the last five years or thereabouts. This order has, according to economists, decimated the hitherto booming economy of the region.

Though dozens have been killed in the ensuing violence over the continuous detention of Kanu, the IPOB has consistently denied involvement.

Meanwhile, rhe Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), a sister arm of the struggle for Biafra, has described the Supreme Court judgement against Nnamdi Kanu as an open rape of justice and rule of law.

MASSOB said the Supreme Court failed to uphold the integrity of the judiciary battered during the presidential election.

In a statement signed by its leader, Uchenna Madu, MASSOB said: “This is an open rape of justice and rule of law. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was earlier discharged by the Nigerian Federal High Court and Appeal Court. It was expected that the apex court would uphold the integrity of the Nigerian judiciary, but it woefully and sadly failed to redeem the battered image of the Nigerian judiciary, which was messed up during the presidential election cases.

“The people of Biafra and Nigeria have deepened their lost hope in the Nigerian judiciary. Nnamdi Kanu was kidnapped in Kenya and extradited illegally by Nigeria. The latest judicial prosecution of Ndigbo in Nigeria will never soften or demoralise our unshakable and indomitable spirits for Biafra’s actualisation and restoration.”

Also condemning the judgment was the members of the family of Nnamdi Kanu, have rejected the Supreme Court’s verdict on his terrorism case.

Kanu’s younger brother, Emma, told journalists that the court verdict was unfortunate.

He said no family member is happy about the verdict.

He said, “It is extremely unfortunate that the Supreme Court could come up with such a  judgment.

“This case began from the Federal High Court which of course lacked the jurisdiction to try  Nnamdi Kanu from here, through High Court  to the Appeal Court that discharged and acquitted him and then a stay of execution was filed against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and it was granted on civil proceedings which is very wrong. Legally, it is wrong. But it was granted.

“I believe, there is no due diligence in this case and for those who have been handling the matter before now, there was no due diligence.

“Now taking the case back again and having acknowledged in the court today by the judge that delivered this judgment that the way and manner Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was brought back to Nigeria was illegal. He agreed with the Appeal Court that it was extra-ordinary rendition. He said  the invasion of his house was also illegal and that the security agents acted irresponsibly.

“He said also that the revocation of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s bail was wrong and that it shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but he concluded by saying that the appeal by the Federal Government was granted, while the cross-appeal was not allowed, referring the case to square one, that is where we came from, which is the Federal High Court Abuja.

“Bearing in mind that some of the charges have been quashed, which all know was the truth, where are they going to start from? Of course, what is left is a bailable offence which Nnamdi Kanu never committed.

“So, I am yet to understand what is actually playing out, but I can assure that we are not happy and nobody is happy.”

The struggle for the state of Biafra is a follow-up of the civil war fought between 1967 and 1970 between the Nigeria Forces and Biafran soldiers led by Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu. Though Biafra lost the 30 months war in which about one million persons, mostly of Igbo extraction were killed, and though Ojukwu is long dead, the echos have continued to reverberate, causing chain reactions in the Nigerian body polity.

A cross section of respondents, told The Boss that it will be difficult for Nnamdi Kanu to ever get justice or fair trial in the Nigerian system as presently constituted.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Boss Picks

How Governor Fubara Got Trapped

Published

on

By

By Eric Elezuo

“On his part, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Siminialayi Fubara, who has the mandate of the people of Rivers State to govern them for the next four years, has shown feebleness of character, by agreeing and appending his signature on a document containing such absurdity.

“He has betrayed the people who elected him as Governor and those who stood behind him in this cause. Mr Fubara has shown naivety in his actions; by signing that document, he has signed his death warrant, believing that the President will show him some sort of favours. Mr. Fubara’s mandate is Constitutional and so, he cannot surrender it in the face of intimidation from any quarter. And it is quite unfortunate. Did he go to that meeting to speak and justify his actions, or he went there to take directives from an equally elected President?

“As Governor of a State and as the Chief Security Officer of the State, he has shown tremendous lack of courage and competence. It will be in his best interest to resign if he cannot govern the State as constitutionally provided, or he may as well decamp and join APC, and be taking directives from Nyesom Wike and President Tinubu on the governance and leadership of the State,” – Chief Edwin Clark

This is not the best times for the Governor of Rivers State, Siminialayi Fubara, as he continues to battle for his political life even as he remained the constitutionally elected number one citizen of the state.

In the light of the above, the governor of Osun State, Ademola Adeleke, was recently quoted as describing Fubara as being in government but not in power.

Fubara’s travails started barely five months into his administration, when he reported fell out with his godfather and political benefactor, Nyesom Wike, the immediate past Governor of the state, and currently the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. By October 2023, all hell was already let lose in the oil rich state.

Observers have said that Fubara’s refusal to be continually humiliated and have his executive authority undermined drew the irk of Wike. Consequently, a plot was hatched to impeach the governor with the majority of the members of the House of Assembly, who have unequivocally pledged loyalty to Wike. And so, Fubara’s political battle ensued.

The governor, according sources, was unperturbed as he had a majority of Rivers people behind him.

“Much as the elites of the state, who had had one form of connection or allegiance with Wike, were backing the FCT Minister, the man on the street stood solidly behind Fubara. And so, when the impeachment plot was noise about, the Rivers people came out enmasse, and quashed the attempt.

Fubara had vowed that he will resist any unjustified impeachment attempt against his government.

The remarks came on the heels of the crises that engulf the state when rumors of impeachment of the governor began to make the rounds.

Addressing a crowd of supporters at the government house, Fubara narrated how he was ‘shot at’ by OC operations on his way to ascertain the extent of damage resulting from a Sunday night fire incident at the Assembly complex.

“If I am impeached, I will not be the first person nor the last one. But any attempt that is not justified will be resisted,” the governor vowed.

But he was later to be ambushed, trapped and subjected to sign an eight point agenda, presented by the president and the men of Wike. Not a point of the agenda was to his advantage, stakeholders have reasoned.

They also reasoned that by his act, he had frustrated the backings given to him by the Rivers people and notable stakeholders like Chief Edwin Clark and Chief Ayo Adebanjo among many other men and women, who have stuck out their necks to protect both the constitution and democracy at play in the state.

However, the political crisis in the State, suddenly assumed a new dimension as President Bola Tinubu is accused of flagrantly desecrating the same provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which he swore to protect. His actions through the peace meeting he supposedly brokered, was dismissed by not a few Nigerians as extra constitutional, and without respect for the law of the land.

BACKGROUND OF THE CRISES

The crisis, which erupted as a result of the perceived desire of the former Governor of State, who is now the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, to control the mechanism of the state government to the detriment of the incumbent governor, Siminialayi Fubara, witnessed the massive decamping of 27 lawmakers to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and resignation of nine commissioners, including the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.

The long list of commotion, and the bid to stop the lawmakers loyal to Wike from possible impeachment of the governor, Fubara hastily demolished the State House of Assembly Complex, and in its wake obtained a court order, preventing the sitting of the decamped lawmakers at any place.

TINUBU’S INTERVENTION AND THE EIGHT POINT COMMUNIQUE

But the president, seeking to restore peace, invited the contending duo to Abuja for settlement. Reports say that while the loyalist of Wike were represented in their numbers, only Fubara attended from his own camp, leaving his people out of the negotiation. Fubara, according sources, was at this point trapped.

An eight Communique was subsequently drawn and signed to after the the meeting. The terms of settlement as recorded in the document, were dismissed as one-sided, and counterproductive both to Governor Fubara and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This therefore, begs the question as to the reason behind Tinubu’s desire to jettison the constitution, replacing it with his own drafted resolutions.

Reacting, Elder statesman and Leader of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, expressed disgust at the 8 point Communique released after the meeting.

The elder statesman, who could not hold his anger, while addressing the media, said they will resist any of such draconic, arbitrary and unconstitutional action of the president and Wike.

Clark accused the president of being bias, resolving the matter to the benefit of the loyalists of Wike, and leaving Fubara to hang in the wing.

He said, “However, the terms of settlement as contained in the Communique issued at the end of the reconciliatory meeting is what is baffling, appalling and unacceptable to the people, especially, the Ijaw ethnic nationality. From the terms of settlement, it is obvious that President Tinubu sees his role as a mediator, to once again, show gratitude to the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), for “delivering” Rivers State to him during the past Presidential elections, having first of gratified him by making him the Minister of FCT.
First Observation:
The composition of the attendees of the meeting was one sided in favour of Nyesome Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), because while Martins Amaewhule, a former Speaker, (because he has automatically lost his seat the very moment he decamped to another political party), was present at the meeting, it would have only been equitable and expedient, for Edison Ehie, the Speaker as affirmed by constitutional provisions and by the granting of the court, to be in the meeting, if there were sincerity of purpose.

The 8 resolutions reached, are the most unconstitutional, absurd and obnoxious resolutions at settling feuding parties that I have ever witnessed in my life. As a matter of fact, some medias captured it very well when they described it as Directives. And for the fact that such thing was done at the Villa, the seat of the Federal Government of Nigeria, is sacrilegious, because any place housing or is a custodian of symbol of authority, ought to be sacred.

It is obvious that Governor Siminialayi Fubara was ambushed and intimidated into submission. President Tinubu should know that with all the powers he possesses, he cannot override the Constitution. From all that transpired at the meeting, the laws of the land have not been obeyed. President Tinubu simply sat over a meeting where the Constitution, which is the fulcrum of his office as President and which he swore to uphold and abide by, was truncated and desecrated.

27 or so members (because the figure is not certain), of the Rivers State House of Assembly left the political party on which platform they were elected. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is very clear on that. Section 109 is quite clear on that and it says:
A member of a House of Assembly shall vacate his seat in the House if
Being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected:
Provided that his membership of the later political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored;
The Speaker of the House of Assembly shall give effect to subsection (1) of this section, so however that the Speaker or a member shall first present evidence satisfactory to the House that any of the provisions of that subsection has become applicable in respect of the member.

“Nyesom Wike is quite abreast of these constitutional provisions. He shouted his voice hoarse calling for the removal of persons like David Umahi as Governor of Ebonyi State, Ben Ayade as Governor of Cross River State and Bello Matawalle as Governor of Zamafara State, when they decamped from the PDP on which platform they were elected into office, to the APC, citing the above constitutional provisions. What has changed?

“A Court of competent jurisdiction has pronounced Edison Ehie as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly. That Ruling has not been vacated, and based on that he exercised the duties conferred on him by Section 109 (2) as quoted above, when the 27 or so members openly defected to APC, waving the flags of the party and singing President Tinubu’s campaign songs, from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). As at today and going by the Constitution, the Rivers State House of Assembly has four members who are recognised by the laws of the land Therefore, on what premise is Mr. President saying that the 27 decamped members should go back to the House? Under what political party, the PDP or the APC. The directives of Mr. President is absurd and cannot hold water. Mr. President should be aware that Siminialayi Fubara, today, is the elected Governor of Rivers State in the same manner Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the elected President of the country. And as a Governor, Mr. Fubara possesses all the powers as conferred on him by the Constitution.
2. Re-Submission of the names of Commissioners who have resigned their Appointments:
Another “directive” of Mr. President that the names of the Commissioners who were nominated by Nyesom Wike and who resigned on their own volition, and who have lost their trust in Governor Fubara, should be represented to the Rivers State House of Assembly for clearance to become Commissioners again, is ridiculous. Who is nominating them to become Commissioners again? Is it Mr. President? Was Mr. President thinking that he was mediating in a matter between Nyesom Wike and employees in Nyesom Wike’s private company? Is it what Nyesom Wike means when he talks about “structure”, referring to Rivers State as his personal holdings or enterprise?

3. Re-Presentation of a Budget already signed and passed into Law:
Another unthinkable “directive” of Mr. President is that a Budget which has been passed into Law, should be represented. It is absolutely ridiculous and unconstitutional.

“By President Tinubu’s actions and directives, he has overruled the Constitution of the country; he has shaken the foundation of the country’s democracy. People lost their lives fighting for democracy in this country. Today, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has made of no effect the blood of the freedom fighters shed to salvage this country. He has thrown the country’s democracy fifty years backwards; this is unacceptable. Rather than building a strong system and society, we are building strong, invidious characters, with our national patrimony through corruption and avarice.

“By the actions of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, he has really shown his dislike and disdain for the Ijaw people. and confirms his hatred for them. And as the leader of the Ijaws, we will resist it.

“Nyesom Wike is not an emperor. For the eight years he was in power as Governor of the Rivers State, he ruled with an iron fist. As Governor, he will not accept such treatment from anyone, as he is spear heading to be meted out to the current Governor of the State, Siminialayi Fubara. Barr. Wike destroyed his opponent’s houses and even threatened to kill them as cried out by Senator Lee Maiba from Ogoni, and Dr. Abiye Sekibo from Okrika
It is still fresh in our memory, how Nyesom Wike, as Minister of State, Education, used federal might to fight the then Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi that almost led to the grinding to a halt of governance in Rivers State when the Judiciary was closed down and the House of Assembly was shut down by the then Governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi. President Jonathan did not interfere in his action because if he did, he will definitely be breaching Section 5(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria, which President Tinubu has deliberately breached, despite his oath of office to uphold and promote the Constitution. Nyesom Wike is Minister now, and again, he is using the federal government to truncate the wishes of the people of Rivers State. The rule of law in the country is completely truncated by President Tinubu. While it will be noted that presently, the National Assembly is discussing on the Bill of Local Government Autonomy, President Bola Tinubu is directing Governor Fubara to put into effect, a Bill passed by people who are no longer law makers.

4. The members of the House of Assembly choosing where they will sit to carry out their legislative duties:
It is the duty of the executive to provide legislative accommodation for the Houses of Assembly including the National Assembly, and not the members of the House of Assembly to choose a place to meet. It is in this vein that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in presenting his Budget to the National Assembly, recognised the FCT Minister, Nyesome Nwike, as the land lord, because he is of the executive arm of government. It is the FCT that owns the National Assembly complex and maintains it. It is, therefore, ridiculous and unconstitutional for President Tinubu to direct, in his settlement, that the members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, should meet wherever they want to meet.

“We will resist such draconic, arbitrary and unconstitutional action by Mr. President and his customer Nyesom Wike. We will go to court to challenge this so-called one-sided and oppressive action of Mr. President.

Holding that ‘Enough is Enough’, Clark vowed to go court to seek redress on the ambushment of Governor Fubara

Also responding, a former Minister of Work, and two terms governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana and other prominent lawyers in the country, mostly from the Niger Delta region, came out boldly to condemn the actions of Tinubu, saying his intervention is not required as the constitution doesn’t give room for such.

Meanwhile, a cross section of respondents have faulted the outcomes of the reconciliatory meetings with Tinubu, which they agreed that Fubara ‘erroneously’ signed.

They maintained that while he has fulfilled all the terms of the agreement to his own detriment, the camp of Wike has refused to live up to theirs, and continued to rattle the governor. They further accused Fubara of leaving behind the people who have stood solidly with to unilaterally sign a document that betrayed all the efforts put in place to checkmate godfatherism in the state.

A Rivers elder, who craved anonymity, said that for Fubara to get back on his feet, he needs to get back on the good books of the people.

“The governor must apologize to his people for taking the stand he took; for allowing himself to be armtwisted and trapped in such a manner that 27 already resigned lawmakers are back to their seats and threatening his administration. The same way nine resigned commissioners are also recalled,” he said.

Stakeholders have also berated those governors frolicking around the presidency seeking to curry his favour as men and women without adequate sense of history, saying that they are playing into his hands to interfere in every aspect of their administration including judicial pronouncements. They recall that it is this same Tinubu that stood up against former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and was applauded by Nigerians.

They see it as highly ironical that it is the same Tinubu that is today armtwisting governors to dance to his tune.

It would be recalled that most governors prior to their cases in the Supreme Court were regular visitors at the Aso Rock Villa, and after the judgments, were heard thanking the president for their victory.

“Are they giving the president kudos for what happened in the judiciary? Is the president the judicial officer. Are they not invariably giving the president the power of interference even in court matters. These Governors should think again,” a stakeholder queried.

The way it stands, if Fubara fails to rise to occasion, take his stand and fight for what rightly belongs to him, he will remain a stooge of Wike and his handpicked lawmakers.

The governor, as matter of urgency, must begin to regain the trust of the people, whose concern he jettisoned when he signed Tinubu’s eight point document, for any form of restitution to take take place.

Today, he is trapped in the political quagmire and lockjam, but there may hope in the coming days if he retraces his steps, but would he?

Continue Reading

Boss Picks

‘How MTN Use Interconnectivity Rates to Stifle Other Telcos in Ghana, Nigeria’

Published

on

By

By Eric Elezuo

A study conducted by a former aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Reno Omokri, has described how telecommunications giant, MTN, is stifling other companies in the industry, preventing them from engaging in healthy rivalry through high interconnectivity rates. The former Presidential spokesperson use a case study of Ghana and Nigeria to buttress his point.

In a documentary titled ‘How MTN’s Monopoly Destroyed The Ghanaian Economy. And Nigeria Is Next!’, which he produced after a painstaking investigation spanning several months and covering three African countries including Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, Omokri expised the “practices of telecommunications giant, MTN and their effect on the economies of multiple sub-Saharan countries.”

The politician, who was in the camp of Atiku Abubakar during the last presidential election, declared that “the exposé traced the economic malaise now afflicting the Ghanaian economy partly to the monopolistic policies of MTN, which had led to an unprecedented capital flight from that beleaguered West African nation.”

He noted further: “Last year, Ghana was forced to label MTN a monopoly and slammed heavy fines of $773 million on them for damaging the Ghanaian business environment. MTN went to court, but in October, it was defeated at the Appeals Court, which ruled that the Ghanaian government was right in its classification of MTN.”

Omokri’s report is a consequence of researches to Ghana, where he interviewed government officials, chambers of commerce operatives, and labour union activists, as well as market women and ordinary Ghanaians; Kenya,  where he was told that the shenanigans that happen with MTN in Ghana and Nigeria cannothappen there because the government live up to expectation,  and are alive to their duties to the people; and Nigeria.

Some of the takeaways from his interviews in Ghana are that “ordinary Ghanaians were observed lamenting the erosion of their personal economy, with a market woman saying, ‘All of us in this country now work for MTN’.”

Also, “Labour leaders complained about MTN’s use of interconnectivity rates to stifle other telcos” and that “whereas all the large and medium-sized African nations where MTN is operating have struggling economies, the fastest growing large economies in Africa, such as Ethiopia and Tanzania, both with an average 6% GDP growth rates, do not have MTN operating in their countries.”

He reasoned that available data has proved that the situation could not be coincidental.

“The documentary also quoted Kevin Ekow Taylor, a prominent journalist in Ghana, as saying that: “MTN is basically monopolising the system. They have taken advantage of the market too much. It is all because government upon government have given MTN too much room.

“Every day, an estimated $2 million leaves the Ghanaian economy to South Africa, MTN’s home country. That is disastrous for a country with a GDP of less than $80 billion.”

Juxyaposing Taylor’s assessment, Omokri also quoted also a well-known Kenyan activist, Bishop Wycliffe Khaemba, who said: “The type of things that are happening in Nigeria and Ghana in the telecoms sector can’t happen in Kenya, because our government is alive to its responsibilities.”

He was referring to Kenya’s Information and Communications Act (Interconnection). This legislation is light years ahead of similar legislation in other African nations.

The Kenyan legislation specifically targets preventing a monopoly in the telecommunications industry by requiring “dominant providers to adhere to the principle of non-discrimination. A dominant interconnection provider is obligated to determine the interconnection charges based on objective criteria and to observe the principles of transparency and cost orientation. Failure to comply will result in the CA requesting the interconnection provider to adjust the charges or risk the imposition of a default interconnection charge by the CA.”

The documentary, now making the rounds on social media, also featured a prominent U.S. Mayor, Mike Arnold, the elected mayor of Blanco, Texas, who advised Nigeria and Ghana to look inwards, rather than outward to foreign goods and services, especially in the telecommunications sector.

It would be recalled not long ago,  MTN Nigeria has been involved in an imbroglio with Nigeria’s indigenous telecoms company, GLOBACOM, owned by Dr. Michael Adenuga Jr. It threatened to disconnect Glo users from calling MTN numbers, over a supposed N6 billion debt, until the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) brokered peace, giving a 21-day period to restore parity.

It is also on record that Omokri has consistently advocated a delisting of MTN in Nigeria while Glo is prioritized as it is a wholely-owned Nigerian product.

Continue Reading

Boss Picks

Why Tingo Must Continue to Thrive – Dozy Mmobuosi

Published

on

By

By Eric Elezuo

Tingo Group is a company that reputes itself as innovative and beneficial. Their stock in trade revolves around agriculture, real estate and education.

Reports have said that it has humongous experience in human relationship and offers assistance to all categories of people, a quality stakeholders say has made it competitive in the industry.

The Founder, who recently stepped down as the CEO, Mr Dozy Mmobuosi, in this brief interview, laid bare everything that make the company thick, including the genesis and near-resolution of all challenges it has faced in recent times.

Excerpts:

Tell us about the Tingo Group journey and how you as a Nigerian built a company that is today listed on NASDAQ

Well, it’s a long story that is summarised in the event of Octover 19, 2021 when following a unanimous approval at a meeting of the Tingo Board of Directors on October 18, we submitted an application to list our shares on the NYSE. The application to the NYSE is part of the Company’s efforts to broaden our appeal to the U.S. and international investors. There was no difficulty in getting the application accepted as it satisfies the NYSE’s initial listing criteria.

It is worthy of note that I have dedicated the past 20 years, leading Tingo to become a highly profitable company that focuses on making a genuine impact to people in rural communities. My vision has always been to bring technology and opportunity to our customers through financial inclusion, poverty reduction and food security.

Our listing on the NYSE is an important step forward for Tingo. The NYSE is the premier exchange in the United States and one that will raise our profile to the broader investment community. The uplist will both increase liquidity in our shares, and ultimately create shareholder value in line with our international peer groups.

I am excited to announce expansion plans and partnerships that will further highlight our commitment to UN SDG’s which will deliver greater returns for our investors.

Tingo is playing a significant role in the agriculture value chain in Nigeria, tell us about your agricultural initiatives and how you have been impacting the lives of farmers in the country.

Ordinarily, Tingo is an Agri-Fintech company offering a comprehensive platform service through use of smartphones (using GSM technology) to empower a marketplace to enable subscribers/farmers within and outside of the agricultural sector to manage their commercial activities of growing and selling their production to market participants both domestically and internationally.

We recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. As a result, we have adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development goals as guiding principles.

Our Agri-Fintech model has created a new impactful agri-based farming solution, which has a unique ecosystem has the potential to create jobs and uplift the income for millions of rural farmers in select markets, not only in Nigeria, but the entire African continent.

You recently stepped down temporarily as the CEO of Tingo; who is currently running the company and how does this affect the Nigerian operations?

We hired the best to run Nigeria and our Africa operations. Local knowledge has remained important in driving the ecosystem we have created. We have a seasoned accountant (Edwin Obasogie) who leads our Africawide strategy, Auwal Tahir, he runs our Nigeria operations,especially driving our collaboration with the All Farmers Association of Nigeria,Neha Meta,she runs Tingo Foods new initiatives (beverage lines and soon to be launched retain products) and Uzo Onunonu, she is driving our mass market focused fintech platforms. At the group level we have Ken Denos who is a lawyer, he will be supported by our Africa team,and I maintain that this is the only way to drive the business,and sustain all our initiatives.

Given the recent SEC charges against you and Tingo-affiliated companies, as well as the charges brought by the DOJ, how do you plan to move forward as an entrepreneur at home in Nigeria and abroad?

It is my opinion that there is no perfect company/organisation/entrepreneur out there in the world. I began my journey as an entrepreneur 23 years ago. And made an attempt to list our holding company in 2020, we experienced all sorts of blockades,and then I got introduced to Darren Mercer who was the CEO of MICT, Inc. I believed we shared the same vision-showcasing Africa and all disenfranchised people (Africa and Asia). We were to merge Africa and China, thus showcasing the best of both continents in terms of companies that believed in using local tech to uplift lives. We began the process of merging both companies,and that meant assembling the best professionals from all over the world. The merger was phased into 3, as I chat to you today that merger hasn’t been completed. I personally feel disappointed in the process thus far, all these allegations to my knowledge is designed to stop us from executing our strategy-ensuring food security and empowering smallholder farmers who are naturally disenfranchised. To be clear, I have not run the day to day operations of Tingo for 6years now,I only help provide product support/creating products,which I feel is where my strengths lie.

As an entrepreneur, I will prove my innocence via legal channels, and I encourage all farmer cooperatives that I supported via Tingo to speak out. I will remain an entrepreneur breaking grounds in the sectors I play in (healthcare, mining, energy, real estate and sports). The world has gone crazy, bad news sells and our so called experts who people rely upon for information have become so lazy. I invite everyone into our world, go and see what we have created. We have board members and former colleagues who are lazy, and can’t stand the heat they feel joining the rest of the lazy world to accept that I have done something wrong or misled the public…take your time to analyse what we have built. I will thrive as an entrepreneur anywhere. And I promise those that I have served (farmers) that I will not let them down.

As the founder of Tingo, what are you doing to reassure investors, employees, and the public about the stability and integrity of the company in light of these legal challenges?

A court in the US granted the SEC a TRO, I have respected that by stepping aside. But I will use every media available to me to encourage all stakeholders (employees, shareholders and partners) to keep believing, and to know that whatever it is that might have happened in Tingo would be uncovered, and as for me, I will provide every support possible to keep the vision alive. Tingo must thrive.

The SEC complaint alleges a multi-year scheme to inflate financial metrics. Can you provide your perspective on the nature of these allegations and explain any discrepancies in the financial statements?

They claim we had just $50 at a time, how have we sustained staff and projects?
I will stand by what I have said before. I will cooperate with investigators,and we shall get to the root of this. We always knew that we needed to improve our internal controls and governance. And had started working on all of that since the merger started. Just to be very clear again, this merger is still not complete. And I hope this isn’t a conspiracy to take the business away from us or to stop the merger. I want to point out that those who heard Darren Mercer talk about the Tingo story bought into it and those who heard me speak passionately must have also loved the story. I have never gone on any road show to raise capital anywhere as people claim in false statements. I challenge anyone anywhere in the world who says that I Dozy Mmobuosi raised money for Tingo, let that person speak publicly with proof. I will address all allegations through the legal system across various jurisdictions.

Tingo Mobile has been a notable player in the Nigerian market. How do you plan to maintain customer trust and loyalty amid the legal challenges and allegations raised by the SEC?

I know it’s a very difficult time for me my family, Tingo, our customers and shareholders. We have maintained best practices as far as customer relations goes, I encourage our customers to remain patient,and continue to see the merit and purity of our products. Evil will not win over good. And to our shareholders, I will fight for you all. I was waiting for the merger to complete before I started interacting with shareholders, was never in control from to w moment the merger started. We shall right this ship, no matter what.

The complaint mentions an injunction against selling or disposing of Agri-Fintech and/or Tingo Group stock. What impact do you anticipate this having on the operations of these companies?

The TRO is focused on me, not the company. But I see that vendors media and certain bodies are taking advantage of the situation to cheat the company. I advise the temporary group managers to respond via the legal framework across the territories we operate in. For instance, I saw a message circulating in Ghana coming from the owners of the property we lease in Ghana,asking Tingo to leave, despite Tingo not owing rent, this individual is going round calling the company a fraud when the company hasn’t defrauded anyone. I expect humans to be decent.

The charge mentions misrepresentations in public statements regarding Tingo’s business operations. Can you shed light on recent initiatives or achievements in Nigeria that you believe accurately reflect the company’s success?

Our works speak for us, speak with the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, and visit our offices. I also want to use this medium to let the world know that the food processing facility being built is not a Tingo project. It has been my ambition to build a food processing facility where foods from farms across Africa can be processed and value added. This project is being built on my family land and I am building with my resources, the banks I approached through my agents declined support, so I decided to build without support. You are invited to see how real it is.

Do you see your recent moves to buy Sheffield United as contributing to this continuing legal ordeal?

I hate to regret any move I make. I have more experience, that’s what I can say. When I did the bid for Sheffield United, all I had in mind was connecting a city as disenfranchised as Sheffield, and a company as disenfranchised as Tingo. I insisted on a confidentiality agreement to be signed, it was signed, but someone leaked my involvement. I deposited almost 9M GBP including helping the club pay its tax bills and wages, then the club qualified to the premier league. This story has not been told anywhere because it’s not a sexy story. A black man rescued the club. There are a few fans who know the true story. I respect the current owners of the club, and will continue to dialogue with them on pending issues. It is fine to disagree. But I am not going to let someone lose cos I must win. Human decency should prevail. I encourage the Western world to shun the superiority complex they have assumed. I will not say that all institutions are that way, for instance, the emergence of Rishi Sunak as the PM of Great Britain gave me hope, and also the emergence of the likes of James Cleverly as foreign secretary and now Home Secretary give me a lot of hope.

I am now busy fighting back and writing a book that tells my side of the story. I encourage my supporters out there to fight on.

Originally culled from Nairametrics 

Continue Reading

Trending