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CJN Reads Riot Act As NJC Queries Three Judges

CJN - The harmattan news

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Tanko Muhammed, on Monday held a marathon meeting with the six chief judges invited over the conflicting ex parte orders emanating from different judges across the country.

A statement from the spokesperson of the NJC, Soji Oye, revealed that the meeting which commenced at 11am lasted till 5:30pm, with the Chief Judge of the High Court of the FCT also in attendance.

He said the CJN first had a one-on-one interaction with the CJ of the FCT, Abuja, and then the CJs of Rivers, Kebbi, Cross River, Jigawa, Anambra, and Imo.

The Chief Judge of Delta was not present at the meeting.

“Each of the CJs present was separately quizzed personally by the CJN for over an hour before he later read the riot act in a joint session with all of them,” the statement said.

“A damage to one jurisdiction is a damage to all,” the CJN, who was said to be visibly angry, was quoted as telling the judges. “We must, therefore, put an end to indiscriminate granting of ex parte orders, conflicting judgements or rulings occasioned by forum-shopping.

“Your job as Heads of Court is a sacred one, and it, therefore, includes you vicariously taking the sins of others. There must be an end to this nonsense.

“You shall henceforth take absolute charge in assigning cases or matters, especially political personally. We shall make an example with three judges and never shall we condone such act.”

Three of the judges who granted conflicting ex parte orders have been invited to appear before the NJC to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them for granting such orders.

The statement was, however, silent on the identity of the affected judges.

Justice Muhammed also warned all the CJs to avoid unnecessarily assuming jurisdiction in matters with similar subjects and parties already before other courts, so as to protect the court from lawyers who were out for forum-shopping.

He advised them to work in tandem with all their judges to salvage the image of the judiciary.

The CJN warned the CJs to desist from the practice of designating newly appointed judicial officers as vacation judges and assigning complex cases to inexperienced judges.

He advised all heads of court to be current on the developments in the polity and the judgments delivered by courts of various jurisdictions and to urgently issue practice direction to guide judges in their various courts to avoid giving conflicting decisions.

Read Also: NASS REPUBLIC: Fighting Buhari For Press Freedom.

Justice Muhammed concluded that the judiciary would no longer condone indiscipline or allow any judge to tarnish the image of the judiciary.

The NJC is to invite all heads of courts to a meeting to re-emphasize the need for the judiciary to be circumspect on the issue of granting ex parte orders.

It will also meet and collaborate with the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on the same issue.

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Development

Borrowing Threatening Nigeria’s Debt Sustainability- DMO

Debt issuance and management supervising agency, Debt Management Office (DMO) has alerted Nigerians to the country’s debt sustainability being under threat.

A statement released by the agency revealed that while Nigeria’s loans may still be within acceptable range of the country’s economic size, the ability to sustainably meet the obligations on such loans is now under threat.

The DMO also revealed Nigeria is still within its benchmark limit of 40 per cent debt-to-GDP ratio even with a total public debt stock of N42.8 billion by the first half of this year, which is about 23.06 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

Director General, Debt Management Office, Ms Patience Oniha who commented on the review of revenue budgets and actuals against actual debt service over the past eight years, said the debt service-to-revenue ratio is “high”.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) over the weekend, Oniha said;

“Dependence on borrowing and low revenue base are now threatening debt sustainability.”

She also disclosed that Nigeria’s low revenue base compounded by dependence on crude oil resulted in budget deficits over the past decades, putting pressure on the country’s debt sustainability.

Oniha added;

“Nigeria’s public debt stock has grown consistently over the past decades and even faster in recent years. Consequently, debt service has continued to grow.

“The outlook shows that both the local and international markets are becoming tighter and interest rates are rising, thus priority should be less on borrowing and more on revenues from oil and non-oil sources.”

The DMO DG also said that while efforts at increasing non-oil revenue are yielding positive results, urgent actions are required to moderate the level of new borrowings and ensure that the public debt is sustainable.

Oniha who further revealed that most countries around the world have placed more emphasis on taxation as a principal source of funding for the government, Nigeran government should, as a matter of urgency, rationalise expenditure and accelerate the growth in revenues, including implementation of strategic actions to boost tax administration and efficiency.

The DMO DG also advised that “borrowing should be tied to projects and some of the projects should generate commensurate revenues to service loans used to finance them”.

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Development

At Annual Bankers Dinner, Emefiele Says Inflation A Global Trend

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has said the steady increase in headline inflation from 15.60 per cent in January to 20.77 per cent in September was consistent with global trends.

Emefiele said this at the 57th Annual Bankers Dinner, organised by the Chartered institute of Bankers Nigeria (CIBN), on Friday in Lagos.

The dinner had the theme, “Radical Responses to Abnormal Episodes: Time for Innovative Decision-making” wass appropriate and well timed.

He also said headline inflation soared to 20.77 per cent in September, indicating eight consecutive months of uptick, and that the upward momentum was after a successive period of decline in 2021, due to balanced monetary policy actions.

He said upside pressure on consumer inflation re-emerged during the year, as global conditions complicated existing local imbalances to undermine price stability.

“Food remains the major component of domestic consumer price basket. The annualised uptick in headline inflation mirrors the 6.21 percentage points upsurge in food inflation to 23.34 per cent in September.

“During this period, core inflation also resumed an upward movement from 13.87 per cent in January to 17.60 per cent.

“In addition to harsh global spill overs, exchange rate adjustments and imported inflation; inflation was also driven by local factors such as farmer herder clashes in parts of the food belt region,” he said.

Emefiele said during the early part of 2020, the world economy experienced the most significant downturn last witnessed since the Great Depression following the outbreak of theCOVID-19 pandemic.

He said the effect contracted global GDP by about 3.1 per cent in 2020, and commodity prices went into a state of turmoil as the price of crude oil plunged by over 70 per cent.

He said as the world struggled to recover topre-pandemic conditions, the global economy was yet again hit by another adverse occurrence with the eruption of the Russian-Ukraine war.

He said the war, along with the sanctions placed on Russia by the US and its allies, led to a spike in crude oil prices.

He said in the attempt to contain rising inflation, advanced markets such as the US, began to increase their policy rates, which led to a tightening of global financial market conditions along with a significant outflow of funds from emerging markets.

“The subsequent strengthening of the US dollar further aggravated inflationary pressures, along with a weakening of currencies, and depletion of external reserves in many emerging market countries.

“Today close to 80 per cent of countries have reported heightened inflationary pressures due to a confluence of some of the factors mentioned above,” said Emefiele.

He explained that central banks in emerging markets and developing economies, in a bid to contain rising inflation were also compelled to raise rates, which was expected to lead to a tapering of global growth over the next year.

“In fact, the short-term global growth projections by the IMF have been downgraded three times in 2022 and is likely to be below the 3.2 per cent and 2.7 per cent estimates for 2022 and 2023, respectively.

“Average growth among advanced economies is projected to plunge from 5.2 per cent in 2021 to 2.4 per cent in 2022 and 1.1 per cent in 2023.“Estimated output growth in emerging markets, is expected to slow from 6.6 per cent in 2021 to 3.7 per cent apiece in 2022 and 2023,” he said.

He said in view of the food, energy, and cost-of-living crises in many countries, there were growing restrictions on food exports from many countries.

“As at the last count, about 23 countries, mainly in advanced economies, according to the World Bank have banned the export of 33 food items. “Seven other countries have additionally implemented various measures to limit food exports,” said Emefiele.

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Development

Despite Challenges, Nigeria’s Economy Growing Under Buhari- Minister

The President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration  has recorded economic growth despite global and local shocks.

This was the view experienced by Mr Clem Agba, minister of state for budget and national planning, at a sensitisation programme on the Nigerian Labour Force Survey (NLFS), and the Nigerian Living Standards Survey (NLSS) organised by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in Abuja.

He said some of the economic gains made by the regime were in education, health and the general welfare of the people.

The minister, represented by Faniran Sanjo, the director of the social development department in the ministry, urged Nigerians to focus on the successes recorded by the government.

He said the global and local shocks include COVID-19, the Russian-Ukraine crisis, security challenges and the climate change effects disaster in recent times.

Mr Agba said it was important to disregard the negative opinion that the government had thrown more people into poverty or had done nothing to mitigate the effects of the global challenges.

“My advice, therefore, is to focus more on comparative analysis of the situation in other countries, particularly in Africa and Europe, to appreciate the efforts of the government of Nigeria,” Mr Agba explained.

The minister added, “For example, in Ghana, Ethiopia and Rwanda, inflation was reported at 40.4 per cent, 31.7 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively, in October 2022. While the inflation figure recorded in the UK was at its highest rate of 11.1 per cent, the highest since October 1981.”

The minister explained that with the high rate of inflation in the above-listed countries, Nigerians could envisage the negative effect on household consumption and poverty levels.

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