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EMEFIELE FINALLY BOWS TO PRESSURE, SAYS OLD NAIRA NOTES LEGAL TENDER

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Exactly 10 days after the Supreme Court judgement mandating the use of old N,1000 and N500 notes as legal tender till December 31, 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on Monday bowed to pressure and officially ordered commercial banks to comply with the court verdict.

He also announced that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 would remain legal tender till the end of the year.

Emefiele said the decision followed a meeting with Bankers  Committee that held on Sunday.

The development has put an end to the confusion over the legality of the old naira notes. The action is also expected to ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians who have faced severe hardships over the scarcity of new naira notes amid the controversial ban on the old notes.

The Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, disclosed the latest development in a statement titled ‘Old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender – CBN’

The statement read, “In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the rule of law principle that characterised the government of President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as a regulator, Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling of March 3, 2023.

“Accordingly, the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and has directed that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023. Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly.”

Earlier on Monday, the Nigerian Bar Association and Nigeria Labour Congress had berated the Federal Government and the CBN for failing to obey the Supreme Court judgment on the old naira notes.

On Sunday, the Arewa Consultative Forum in a statement said Buhari’s failure to obey Supreme Court would tarnish the reputation of his regime.

The NBA came down hard on the President and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for failing to obey the Supreme Court judgment.

The Supreme Court had in its March 3 judgment extended the legal tender status of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes until December 31.

However, the AGF and the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele refused to comply with the order despite pressure from Nigerians. Their actions also encouraged commercial banks to reject the old notes as legal tender.

Worried by the development, state governments involved in the suit threatened to file contempt charges against the two officials on Tuesday (today) should they fail to obey the apex court order.

In the judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the Supreme Court held that Buhari breached the constitution in the manner he issued directives for the naira notes.

The seven-man panel also slammed the President over his February 16 broadcast in which he said only the N200 note should remain legal tender in flagrant violation of the restraining order made by the apex court.

Justice Agim stated, “The rule of law upon which our democratic governance is founded becomes illusory if the President of the country or any authority or person refuses to obey the orders of courts. The disobedience of orders of courts by the President in a constitutional democracy as ours is a sign of the failure of the constitution and that democratic governance has become a mere pretension and is now replaced by autocracy or dictatorship.”

NBA’s commitment

Speaking on the continued disobedience of the Supreme Court, the NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, on Monday warned that the bar would resist any action undermining the rule of law, constitution and democracy in the country.

The seven-page statement was titled, ‘’Statement of the NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, on the naira redesign policy: Demand for compliance with the judgment of the Supreme Court in suit no.: SC/CV/162/2023 Between Attorney-General of Kaduna State and nine others vs Attorney-General of the Federation and two others delivered on March 3, 2023.

Citing several paragraphs of the Supreme Court verdict which berated the President for disregarding the orders, the NBA said it was sad and disheartening that the Federal Government and its agency, the CBN remained adamant about the plight of Nigerians which was a direct consequence of the implementation of the naira redesign policy in spite of several interventions for its review.

The body of lawyers noted, “Regrettably, not even the clear findings by the Supreme Court as to the unfair and deceptive nature of the policy could make the Federal Government retrace its steps.

‘’The Supreme Court went to the extent of not only condemning the actions of the President as contemptuous of the court but also held that the actions constitute a threat to the rule of law and the existence of our democracy.

“We cannot under any guise or pretence accept or tolerate any appearance of autocracy or dictatorship. Our system of democratic governance has come to stay, it must not only be respected by all and sundry but must also be jealously guarded and protected.’’

The NBA president described the situation as the greatest test or challenge to the nation’s constitutional democracy, stressing that the executive could not afford to disregard the orders of the Supreme Court made for the benefit of the people that elected it to power.

“I therefore, on behalf of all Nigerians, call on the President to immediately direct compliance with the terms of the orders made by the Supreme Court in its judgment delivered on 3 March 2023,’’ he said.

Insisting on obedience to the orders of the court, Maikyau declared, “The Supreme Court has issued directives to the Federal Government for the benefit of the people and there is no option other than to comply. The President is under constitutional obligation to comply and enforce the decision of the Supreme Court.’’

Maikyau said the NBA remained committed to the promotion, entrenchment and respect for the rule of law, the integrity of the court and the independence of the judiciary, adding, “The NBA shall stand up against any action that seeks to undermine the rule of law, the integrity of the court and the independence of the judiciary.’’

He commended the judgment of the apex court, saying it not only spoke to the responsibility of the court to the people but also its bounden duty to protect the rule of law and the integrity of the court.

‘’The Supreme Court has by this judgment proven to be the Supreme Court of the people of Nigeria,’’ the bar association further noted, stating that whenever public confidence in the other arms of government begins to wane, the legal profession, in particular the judiciary, must rise to the occasion by delivering justice with such courage and precision to provide succour to the people.

‘’This is what the Supreme Court has done so boldly and courageously in this instance,’’ Maikyau further noted.

Quoting section 287 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to buttress its stand, the NBA stated, “The decisions of the Supreme Court shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by the court with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Supreme Court.”

The statement explained further that Nigerians may not be too enchanted with the judiciary, arising from unsubstantiated and spurious allegations of judicial misconduct.

The fact, it argued, remains that the citizens still must look to the judiciary as the only and final resort, to protect their rights as a people and secure probity in public life.

‘’The Supreme Court has spoken for the people of this nation and has appropriately issued orders to the executive and the orders of the court must be complied with,’’ Maikyau held.

The Senior advocate disclosed that in the wake of the naira redesign policy, the NBA engaged in wide consultations with critical stakeholders to assess the possible impact of the policy on the economy and the people.

The body of lawyers said, incidentally, the CBN’s cash swap programme has not addressed the concerns of Nigerians post-January.

He lambasted the CBN governor’s shoddy handling of the controversial policy.

Seven-day ultimatum

In a new development, the leadership of the NLC has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to end the cash crunch in the country.

The president of the NLC, Joe Ajaero issued the ultimatum on Monday in Abuja, at the opening session of the Central Working Committee meeting of the labour union.

Ajaero frowned on the difficult situation foisted on Nigerians as a result of the cash swap policy of the Federal Government and warned that on the expiration of the seven days, workers would be directed to stay away from work if nothing was done to ameliorate the situation.

The NLC president criticised the current fuel scarcity, lamenting that workers and Nigerians are being pushed to the wall.

‘’On this issue of fuel scarcity and cash crunch, Congress wishes to inform the Federal Government that we will no longer keep quiet.

“NLC is giving the CBN and the FG seven working days, if they fail to do the needful at the expiration of the seven days, all workers in Nigeria should stay at home,” Ajaero stated before the meeting went into a closed-door session.

But breaking his silence on the non-compliance with the Supreme Court order, the Presidency has said at no time did the President instruct the AGF and CBN governor to disobey any court orders involving the government and other parties.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President, (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu stated this in a statement on Monday titled, ‘President Buhari never told AG and CBN gov to defy Supreme Court order.’

It said, “The Presidency wishes to react to some public concerns that President Muhammadu Buhari did not react to the Supreme Court judgment on the issue of the N500 and N1,000 old currency notes, and states here plainly and clearly that at no time did he instruct the Attorney General and the CBN governor to disobey any court orders involving the government and other parties.

‘Attacks unfair’

“Since the President was sworn into office in 2015, he has never directed anybody to defy court orders, in the strong belief that we can’t practise democracy without the rule of law and the commitment of his administration to this principle has not changed.

‘’Following the ongoing intense debate about the compliance concerning the legality of the old currency notes, the Presidency, therefore, wishes to state clearly that President Buhari has not done anything knowingly and deliberately to interfere with or obstruct the administration of justice.

“The President is not a micromanager and will not, therefore, stop the Attorney General and the CBN governor from performing the details of their duties in accordance with the law. In any case, it is debatable at this time if there is proof of wilful denial by the two of them on the orders of the apex court.’’

According to Shehu, the directive of the President, following the meeting of the Council of State is that the apex bank must make available for circulation all the money that is needed and nothing has happened to change the position.

He added, ‘’It is an established fact that the President is an absolute respecter of the judicial process and the authority of the courts. He has done nothing in the last eight or so years to act in any way to obstruct the administration of justice, cause a lack of confidence in the administration of justice, or otherwise interfere or corrupt the courts and there is no reason whatsoever that he should do so now when he is getting ready to leave office.

“The negative campaign and personalised attacks against the President by the opposition and all manner of commentators is unfair and unjust, as no court order at any level has been issued or directed at him.’’

As for the cashless system the CBN was determined to put in place, the Presidency claimed it is a known fact that many of the citizens who bear the brunt of the sufferings ‘’surprisingly support the policy as they believe that the action would cut corruption, fight terrorism, build an environment of honesty and reinforce the incorruptible leadership of the President.’’

“It is therefore wide off the mark to blame the President for the current controversy over the cash scarcity despite the Supreme Court judgment. The CBN has no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President.

“President Buhari has also rejected the impression that he lacks compassion, saying that “no government in our recent history has introduced policies to help economically marginalized and vulnerable groups like the present administration,’’ the statement said.

Meanwhile, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has called on the Federal Government and the CBN to obey the Supreme Court ruling on the old naira notes in order to ameliorate the suffering occasioned by the cash crunch.

Diri said going by the March 3 judgment of the court, the old and new N200, N500 and N1,000 ought to circulate side by side till December 31 this year.

Diri made the call at the Government House, Yenagoa, on Monday, during an interactive meeting with the leadership of various unions and associations of transporters, traders and petroleum marketers in the state.

The leadership of the various unions and associations of petroleum marketers, transporters and traders at the meeting included the state chairmen of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Peter Erefamote, State Tricycle Owners Association, Mr Sani Moniru, and that of the National Road Transport Workers Union of Nigeria, Chief Erebo Oyinkuro.

Others were the former secretary of the Swali Market Traders Association, Mrs Fortune Samuel, and Mrs Christian Gwuembe of the Periwinkle Traders Association.

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THE IGBO CULTURE OF I KPÓPÙ (TAKING SOMEONE OUT)

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The Igbo culture of I kpópù is one such lingo in the Igbo language that cannot be given an easy, direct translation, just as it is somehow complex in its simplicity, for the non-Igbo to understand, replicate, or practice.

One can only contextually approximate an interpretation, like to say it is about ‘taking someone out’, which as a normal English language expression could mean to kill someone. But here, it is directly opposite to the above, to mean or at least suggest, to take someone to another clime, to teach or help him secure a means of livelihood, for a better future.

The Igbo culture of I kpópù is very well different from I gba boyi, which is the popular system where a lad is taken into apprenticeship in a business by an established person he serves for some time, usually going into years, and is thereafter settled with a start-up at the end of the term of his learning. There are usually agreements that are followed, even when nothing is cast in stone.

In I Kpópù, a person, younger or older, simply follows someone, a relative, friend, or just somebody persuaded to assist, to his base, within the country or abroad, to help him ‘find his feet.’ He could take him into his business or give him out to someone else who does the kind of business the young man is interested in. Whatever, he serves as his guardian and mentor hence he oversees everything he does, to ensure he is well and achieves his aspirations.

Most times when people are taken out, it is an epic, destiny-shaping journey. While the benefactor makes everything available within his powers, to make the beneficiary succeed, it is expected of the latter to apply himself fully and with diligence to his hustling. Most times, they are taught trades or skills, or even become boyi (apprentice), depending on many factors, ranging from personal preferences to available opportunities. Of course, the conditions are usually not a bed of roses, of which the indomitable Igbo spirit of can-do, overcomes.

In most cases, whoever is taken out is not expected to pay back as it is usually help just offered to a kinsman, friend, or even a recommended stranger, keen to succeed in life. However, appreciation is usually shown in many ways, like acknowledging the benefactor’s intervention through verbal testimonies, presentation of gifts as well as hosting of such individuals and friends, among others, while also making oneself available as an instrument of help to others. That is why for everyone who takes out someone, someone else had possibly taken him out, just as the last in the chain is expected to take someone out too in the future.

Igbo people, especially the youths, value this Igbo culture of I kpópù a lot. Many lives have been changed through this practice. Today in Igbo land, it is therefore common to rate people, not necessarily by what they have for themselves, but by the number of those they have helped to also become successful. And this is one of the means. So, now the seasons and celebrations are over and people are returning to their bases, many have in tow youngsters who are going to pursue their dreams and destinies across the world. And rest assured by this time next year, many of them would come back successful.

And they would be very much ready to take yet other scores of young men with them, to take their shots at life. This is one of the ways the South East of Nigeria has continued to have the highest per capita income in the country. As such, while it is everyone’s right to hustle, it is expected of every brother to extend that privilege of assistance to a brother, to make his dreams come true.

Written by Wordshot Amaechi Ugwele

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EEDC NOTIFIES CUSTOMERS OF PLANNED PREPAID METER UPGRADE

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Below is an official statement to that effect:

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC (EEDC) has notified its customers that by 24th November 2024, all prepaid meters in its network will cease to accept credit tokens, unless they are upgraded.

This is as a result of a software upgrade which will be affecting all Standard Transfer Specification (STS) compliant prepaid meters across the globe.

The upgrade will be implemented through a special ‘reset token’ known as “Key Change Token” (KCT), which will be loaded on their meters, to have them upgraded.

Customers of EEDC that are using prepaid meters are therefore advised to ensure that their meters are upgraded before the set date of 24th November 2024, to avoid losing them.

The management of EEDC appeals to its customers to remain calm and not panic, as they will be notified of the process and modalities for the upgrade.

For enquiries and further clarification, customers are to call: 084 700 100, SMS/Whatsapp: 0815 082 6060 or 0815 082 6061, or send email to: customerservice@enugudisco.com

EMEKA EZEH
HEAD, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, EEDC
24/07/2023

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[TACKLING HARD TIMES] HERE ARE VEGETABLES YOU CAN GROW IN POTS ON YOUR BALCONY

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Today, many Nigerians are particularly challenged as to how to make ends meet. It is therefore important to think of simple and creative ways to boost your standard of living without spending more. As vegetables are what we need all the time, sourcing them can be quite expensive and time-consuming too.

But you can create your own little garden within the building and have fun too in having handy those fresh veggies you desire. This is all too easy if you have water as we already have enough sunlight here to provide the ideal weather needed for the plants to grow and do well.

hot peppers growing in a container

Indeed, there are many people that would love to start a vegetable garden but simply don’t have the outdoor space to do it. These days, many people live in apartments and high rises and simply don’t have any outdoor space to work with for gardening. Luckily, gardeners are no longer relegated to building raised beds or starting in-ground gardens, and there are a wide variety of vegetables that are well-suited to container gardening. 

Growing vegetables in containers gives you the option of creating a vegetable garden on your balcony or patio, or even indoors near a sunny window.

Just about every vegetable that you could ever want to grow outdoors in a garden can also be grown in a container garden on your balcony, and your vegetables will thrive in containers as well, as long as you provide the proper growing conditions and care, and select a container that is large enough to house the plant comfortably, and allows plenty of space for its roots to expand as it matures. 

In this article, we’ll tell you which vegetables are great for growing in pots in a balcony or patio garden setup, go over each vegetables basic growing preferences, highlight the best varieties of each vegetable for container gardening, and finally, we’ll give a few tips and pointers about starting your own balcony vegetable garden.

red tomatoes

TOMATOES

Tomatoes are some of the easiest vegetables to grow in containers. As long as you have a location that receives at least five to six hours of sunlight per day, you can grow tomatoes in your balcony container garden with ease. If you have limited space, try growing a dwarf variety, or cherry tomatoes instead of one of the larger tomato varieties. Tomato varieties that are well suited to container gardening include Patio Princess, BushSteak, Sweetheart of the Patio, Tumbler, and Glacier. 

For more on how to grow tomatoes in containers, click here.


BEANS

Pole beans and bush beans are both well-suited to container gardens. All you need is a spot that gets lots of sunlight, a pot that is at least one foot deep, and a trellis-like structure for the vines to grow on (for climbing varieties), and you can expect to see a good crop of beans that are ready to harvest within just a few short weeks. Good bush bean varieties to grow in containers include Bush Blue Lake, or Contender. For pole beans that are well-suited to containers, try Cherokee Trail of Tears. For green bean varieties that grow well in pots, try out Mascotte Green Beans.  

For more information on how to grow green beans in containers, click here. For more on how to grow other types of beans, click here.


PEPPERS

Aside from tomatoes and radishes, peppers are the easiest vegetable to grow in containers, and they are voracious producers as well. You will need to provide a large, deep pot, preferably at least one foot deep for ideal growth. Keep your peppers in full sun and start providing fertilizer when the plant flowers until it is done producing fruit. The best pepper plants for containers are Jalapeno, Yellow Spice Jalapeno, Early Jalapeno, Shishito, Poblano, Bolivian Rainbow, Numex Twilight, Fushimi, and Devil’s Tongue peppers

To learn more about growing hot or sweet pepper plants in containers, click here.

CARROTS

Carrots are easy to grow in containers as long as you select the right varieties. You want to pick carrots that are short instead of the standard carrot types, as the standard carrot varieties need more room for their roots to grow. Also, make sure to select a container that is deep enough to support their long taproots. Avoid overwatering and keep foliage dry to avoid issues with mildew. The best carrot varieties for pots are Romeo, Tonda di Parigi, and Little Finger. 

For more on how to grow carrots in containers, click here


PEAS

Pretty much all varieties of peas are good for container gardening, but dwarf varieties and bush varieties are preferred, especially if you are limited on space for your vegetable garden. Peas enjoy moist soil and cool weather and containers that are six to 12 inches deep depending on the cultivar. If your container is at least one foot in diameter, you can fit four to six pea plants in it comfortably. The best peas for container gardening are Peas-in-a-Pot, Tom Thumb, Snowbird, and Little SnapPea Crunch

To learn more about growing peas, click here


EGGPLANT/GARDEN EGG

Eggplants are fairly large vegetables, but as long as you provide at least a five-gallon pot that is wide enough to provide plenty of room for each eggplant you grow, they will perform very well in pots on your balcony. Eggplants require six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day and regular fertilization. Eggplant plants require support when they start producing fruit, so make sure to remember to provide stakes or cages to help support the weight of the heavy eggplant fruits. The best varieties of eggplant for container gardening are Fairy Tale, Bambino, Crescent Moon, Hansel, and Gretel. 

To learn more about growing eggplants, click here.


TIPS FOR GROWING VEGETABLES IN POTS ON YOUR BALCONY


  • Do not use soil from the ground when growing in containers, as it is typically heavy and may cause drainage issues, and it may contain pests or soil-borne diseases that could hurt your crops. Instead, use potting soil, preferably potting soil that is specifically formulated for vegetables. A top of the line, organic potting soil is ideal, and feel free to mix in some well-rotted compost, or worm castings to increase the organic matter and improve water retention and drainage. 
  • Make sure that your balcony gets plenty of sunlight, as the majority of vegetables and herbs enjoy at least eight hours of sunlight per day. If your balcony or patio area doesn’t get that much sun, you will need to adjust what you are growing in that area. A handful of root vegetables, like carrots and radishes, as well as leafy greens like lettuce, chard, and kale, only need four to six hours of sunlight to thrive. Look for a spot on the porch, deck, or driveway area that does get eight hours of sun for your other vegetables and herbs that thrive in full sun conditions. 
  • Make sure that you have a water source nearby, as vegetables are very thirsty plants and they will need a lot of water during the growing season to develop plenty of fruit for harvests. Having a water source nearby will keep you from having to lug watering cans full of water for long distances to keep your plants hydrated. 
  • Take a look above the location where you are planning on keeping your containers for your vegetable garden and try to avoid placing them under the awning of your balcony or right up against the house. Making sure your plants have access to rainfall can cut a lot of work out of caring for your plants, as you won’t need to manually water them after a heavy rain, as long as they are in a position where they are receiving that rainfall whenever it comes along. 
  • Pick containers that are large enough to support the root systems of the plants that you are wanting to grow and large enough so that the plants have plenty of room to grow to full size without needing to be repotted. Make sure that the containers that you choose have ample drainage. Here is a quick guide to selecting the right size pots for the vegetables and herbs that you want to grow:

One to two gallon containers (for small plants) – Leafy greens like lettuce, kale, chard, collards, and spinach. Other plants that work for one to two gallon containers include grape and cherry tomatoes, kohlrabi, and individual herb plants.

Five to eight gallon containers (for medium plants) – Most brassicas fit into this size container, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, as well as medium-sized tomato plants, okra, and bush-style cucumber plants. 

Eight to ten gallon containers (for large plants) – Most large vegetables will fit into these size containers, including peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, tomatillos, large tomatoes, and bush type winter squash varieties. 

Ten to fifteen gallon containers (for extra large plants) – These extra large containers will suffice for individual plants of extra large tomatoes, winter squash, pumpkins, and artichokes. 

  • Good companion plants for pairing up veggies in extra large containers or for growing near to each other in separate containers:
    • Plant beans with carrots and squash, or pair beans with eggplants. 
    • Plant tomatoes with basil, garlic, and onions. 
    • Pair lettuce with herb plants like basil, rosemary, and thyme. 
    • Plant spinach with chard and onions.
  • Avoid planting these plants near one another, even in separate containers:
    • Keep bean plants away from onion and garlic.
    • Keep carrots away from dill or fennel.
    • Don’t plant tomatoes near squash or potatoes.
    • Don’t plant onions near beans or peas.

Starting your own vegetable garden on your balcony or patio space is fun and easy. Growing vegetables in containers can be nearly as prolific as growing them directly in the ground, and container gardening can drastically reduce issues with pests and soil-borne diseases. If you have a balcony or patio with ample space and plenty of sunlight, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start your own container garden today. 

Source: Gardening Channel

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