Press focuses on expectation that Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala will be named DG of WTO, others

The expectation that Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will be named the director-general of World Trade Organisation on Monday and the pledge…

The expectation that Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will be named the director-general of World Trade Organisation on Monday and the pledge by President Buhari that the government will protect all religious and ethnic groups in line with its responsibility under the constitution are the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.The Guardian reports that Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is expected to be named the director-general of World Trade Organisation Monday, months after the key ambassadors of the trade organisation recommended her for the job.

Okonjo-Iweala will be the first African and first woman to lead the organisation.

She could have been installed as the boss of WTO late 2020 but the then American president Donald Trump threw its weight behind South Korea Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee.

Yoo pulled out of the race to lead the organisation last week and the Joe Biden administration endorsed the 66-year-old former Nigerian finance minister, dismantling the only obstacle in her way.

“Dr. Okonjo-Iweala brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigerian Finance Minister,” US Trade Representative said in a statement on Friday.

“She is widely respected for her effective leadership and has proven experience managing a large international organization with a diverse membership.”

The newspaper says that President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that his government would protect all religious and ethnic groups, whether majority or minority in line with its responsibility under the constitution.

Malam Garba Shehu, one of the President’s spokesmen, said in a statement on Sunday in Abuja that Buhari made the assertion while reacting to reports of breakout of violence in some parts of the country by some ethnic and sectional groups.

The president warned that the government would not allow any ethnic or religious group to fan the embers of hatred and violence against other groups.

He condemned such violence and gave the assurance that his government would act decisively to stop the spread of any such violence.

He appealed to religious and traditional leaders as well governors and other elected leaders across the country to join hands with the Federal Government to ensure that communities in their domain were not splintered along ethnic and other primordial lines.

Normalcy has since been restored to Shasha community in Ibadan, where traders at the popular market in the area had clashed on Thursday and Friday.

The Vanguard reports that pondering the insecurity situation in the country, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has again asked President Muhammadu Buhari to act swiftly to put things under control, saying the country was being set on fire under his watch.

The spokesman of the group, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a Twitter post on Saturday night, said Nigerians living in any part of the country must be protected.

He also said there would be no attacks on Southerners living in the north as a response to the alleged attack on Northerners in the South.

“Attacking innocent southerners living in the north will not be the right response to attacks on northerners in the south.

“We should demand that Nigerians, wherever they are, must be protected. President and governors, do something, NOW! They are setting the country on fire under you!”

The Punch says that the Federal Government on Sunday announced its readiness to begin the process for the concession of four federal assets.

According to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, the assets include the Tafawa Balewa Trade Fair Complex, Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Calabar Special Economic Zone and Kano Special Economic Zone.

The BPE stated that later this month it would hold an investors’ webinar to showcase investment opportunities in the assets.

“The Bureau of Public Enterprises will hold an international investors’ webinar to showcase investment opportunities in four enterprises slated for concession on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

“The event will hold at 10am,” BPE stated in a statement issued in Abuja by its spokesperson, Amina Othman.

The Sun reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has disclosed that there is no policy conflict between itself and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the ban placed on Cryptocurrency transactions in the banking industry.

In a statement, SEC, said it received several comments and inquiries from the public on a perceived policy conflict between its statement on digital assets and their classification and treatment of September 11, 2020 while adding that it does not see any form of contradictions or inconsistencies.

The commission noted that in recognition of the fact that digital assets may have the full characteristics of investments as defined in the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) 2007, the SEC Statement asserts that trading in such assets falls under SEC’s regulatory purview, except proven otherwise.

The apex regulator stated that the primary objective of the statement was not to hinder or stifle innovation, but to establish standards of ethical practices that ultimately make for a fair and efficient securities market.

The SEC made its statement at the time, to provide regulatory certainty within the digital asset space, due to the growing volume of reported flows.

ThisDay says that some shareholders of companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), under the aegis of Palm Wealth Shareholders Association (PWSA) have instituted a case against the government at Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abeokuta Division, Ogun State to stop the federal government from taking over their unclaimed dividends,

The Finance Act 2020, signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari last month provides that any unclaimed dividends of a public limited liability company quoted on the NSE and any unutilised amounts in a dormant bank account maintained in or by a deposit money bank which has remained unclaimed or unutilised for a period of not less than six years from the date of declaring the dividend or domiciling the funds in a bank account shall be transferred immediately to Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund.

However, PWSA has gone to the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abeokuta Division to stop the government from transferring the unclaimed dividends to the proposed trust fund.

The President of PWSA, Mr. Simon Emokeraro, said in a statement that the case with Suit No. FHC/AB/FHR/14/2021, which has the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Accountant General of the Federation as parties, would be heard on February 25, 2021.