Monday, 18 December 2017

ARTS AND CULTURE

The Gambia has become the latest country to deny that it is selling a Siberian businessman land for his plan to revive the Russian monarchy.

The Gambia "has not signed any memorandum of understanding with the Romanov Empire represented by Arch Chancellor Prince Anton Bakov," the Gambian president's website says

Mr Bakov told reporters back home that The Gambia had agreed to let him build artificial islands on its Bijol islets as a base for his Romanov Empire micro-state, in return for $60m (£44.8m) and use of the proposed hi-tech "smart city" of Saint Nicholas, the Argumenty i Fakty website reports.

But the Gambian government says it did not agree to Mr Bakov's proposal during his visit last month.

Government lawyers rejected the plans on the grounds that the Romanov Empire is "not a real state... and does not have the authority to enter into an international treaty," the president's website says.

Planned Romanov Empire islands in GambiaImage copyrightROMANOV EMPIRE WEBSITE
Saint Nicholas, Africa's proposed first 'smart city'

They also raised concerns about the environmental and financial implications of the artificial islands project.

Mr Bakov, a former MP, created the Romanov Empire micro-nation in 2011 for "people unhappy with President Vladimir Putin's regime". It is nominally led by "Nicholas III", a German aristocrat with a Romanov grandmother, but has little support among Russia's traditional monarchists.

Mr Bakov has tried and failed to persuade a series of other countries - most recently Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean - to let him use their islands as a territorial base for his Empire.

But this latest rebuff seems unlikely to dampen his enthusiasm for restoring Russia's imperial glory in exile. "I never put all my eggs in one basket," he told reporters in his home city of Yekaterinburg.

Russian businessman and claimant to the Russian throne Prince Karl Emich of LeiningenImage copyrightANTON BAKOV/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Mr Bakov (left) discusses imperial projects with "Emperor Nicholas III" (right)
Published in Business and Economy

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reversed Senate President Bukola Saraki’s acquittal of false assets declaration charges.

The appellate court, in a unanimous judgment by a three-man panel, led by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe Wilson, ordered Saraki to return to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for the continuation of his trial.

The court held that the prosecution led direct and credible evidence to establish a prima facie case against Saraki in three of the 18 counts contained in the charge for which he was tried.

The counts on which Saraki is to enter defence are 4, 5 and 6 in relation to his alleged failure to declare some houses he acquired in Ikoyi, Lagos.

In Count 4, Saraki is alleged to have falsified his Assets Declaration at the end of his tenure as Kwara State Governor in 2011 and on assumption of office as a senator in 2011 when he declared that he acquired No. 17A, McDonald, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The prosecution contended that the defendant falsely declared that he had acquired No 17A, McDonald, Ikoyi on 6th September 2006 from the proceeds of sale of rice and sugar.

In Count 5, he is also alleged to have falsified his Assets Declaration at the end of his tenure as Governor of Kwara State in 2011 and on assumption of office as a senator in 2011 when he declared that he acquired No. 17B, McDonald, Ikoyi Lagos.

The prosecution contended that the defendant falsely declared to have acquired No. 17A, McDonald, Ikoyi on 6th September 2006 from proceeds of sale of rice and sugar.

In Count 6, Saraki is accused of making a false declaration in the Assets Declaration Form at the end of tenure as governor in 2007 and on assumption of office as executive governor in 2007 when he failed to declare his outstanding loan liabilities of N315,054,355.92 out of the loan of N380,000,000 obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.

The CCT  on June 14, upheld Saraki’s no-case submission, discharged and acquitted him, a decision the Federal Government appealed.

The Appeal Court, in its judgment yesterday, resolved four out of the five issues identified for determination in favour of the appellant.

The court said the tribunal was wrong to have held that Saraki was not invited to make a statement in the course of investigating the allegations against him.

It said the Senate President made a statement in the course of investigation, which was tendered and admitted by the tribunal as Exhibit 46.

The appellate court also faulted the CCT’s decision that the joint investigation team constituted by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the allegations against Saraki was unknown to law.

It said there was no law forbidding the CCB from collaborating with other investigating agencies of government to effectively discharge its mandate.

The court also faulted the tribunal for holding that the prosecution failed to prove its case by not tendering the original copies of Saraki’s assets declaration forms and his statement.

It said the certified true copies (CTC) of the forms and statement were sufficient under the law to be admitted as exhibits in favour of the prosecution.

On whether the tribunal was right to have upheld Saraki’s no-case submission, the appellate court resolved the issue against Saraki.

After a thorough analysis of the evidence led by the prosecution, the appellate court said the prosecution led credible and direct evidence in respect of three counts – 4, 5 and 6 – of the 18-count amended charge, to warrant his being called upon to enter his defence.

The court said the prosecution was unable to discharge the burden of proof placed on him by the law in relation to counts 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.

It said some of the prosecution’s witnesses gave both oral and documentary hearsay evidence that are inadmissible in law. It also said the prosecution failed to call witnesses in relation to the 15 counts.

For instance, the court noted that the prosecution, though accused Saraki of earning double salaries from the Kwara State Government and as a senator, it failed to call witnesses from the Kwara State Government and the National Assembly in support of the allegation.

The court ordered that the case be remitted back to CCT for Saraki to enter his defence.

Other members of the panel – Justices Tenimu Y. Hassan and M. Mustapha – agreed with the lead judgment by Justice Akomlafe-Wilson.

A two-man panel of the CCT, headed by Danladi Umar, on June 14, 2017, upheld the no-case submission filed by Saraki after the prosecution, led by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), closed its case after calling four witnesses and tendering 48 documentary exhibits.

In upholding the no-case submission, the tribunal dismissed the amended 18 counts preferred against Saraki on the grounds that the prosecution, was unable to establish any prima facie case against the Senate President.

Umar, in his lead ruling, exonerated Saraki, holding that failure of the prosecution to obtain his  statement and make it part of the proof of evidence was fatal to the case.

He adjudged as “absurd” that neither Saraki’s statement nor the report of the investigation said to have been carried out was produced before the tribunal.

He agreed with the defence team, led by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN),  that the prosecution’s evidence had been manifestly discredited during cross-examination by the defence.

He added that the evidence adduced by the prosecution, led by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), was “so unreliable that no reasonable tribunal could convict” based on it.

The tribunal chairman specifically noted that the third prosecution witness, Mr. Samuel Madojemu, who is Head, Intelligence Unit of the Code of Conduct Bureau, only gave hearsay evidence on the information the witness purportedly received from the EFCC.

But the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, through  Jacobs, on June 20, filed a 17-ground notice of appeal against the CCT’s judgment.

The Federal Government faulted all the grounds on which the CCT predicated Saraki’s acquittal, describing the entire judgment as unreasonable and unconstitutional.

Jacobs subsequently filed an appellant’s brief on July 28, formulating five issues for determination.

Saraki, through his lead counsel Agabi, also filed his respondent’s brief on August 22.

While adopting his appellant’s brief on November 22, Jacobs urged the court to grant the Federal Government’s appeal and hold that the judgment of the CCT was perverse. He also reiterated that the CCT erred by adjudging the oral evidence of the prosecution’s third witness, Madojemu, the Head, Intelligence Unit of the CCB, as hearsay.

I’ve been vindicated, says Senate President 

Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday described the Court of Appeal verdict as a vindication for him.

In a statement by his media adviser Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki expressed the belief that upholding a no-case-submission with regards to 15 of the 18-count charge confirmed his innocence.

“At least, today’s judgment has confirmed the position of the Tribunal that the prosecution’s case was entirely based on hearsay, not on any concrete evidence.

“The verdict of the Court of Appeal, just like that of the Tribunal before it, aligned with our position that the preposterous claims made during trial by the prosecution concerning operation of foreign accounts, making anticipatory declarations, collecting double salaries, owning assets beyond his income and failure to declare assets owned by companies in which the Senate President owns interests, among others, have fallen like a pack of cards and lack any basis.

“On the remaining three counts, which really touch on two issues, referred back to the Tribunal for the Senate President’s defence, it should be noted that the Appellate Court only gave a summary of its decision today promising to provide the parties with Certified True Copies of the judgment soon. As soon as it makes the details of the judgment available, our lawyers will review the grounds of the decision and take appropriate action.

“We remain convinced about the innocence of the Senate President on the three ( or two) counts because we believe the decision of the Court of Appeal is not consistent with the submissions made by both parties at the Tribunal. Thus, it is our view that that aspect of the judgment will not stand”.

Saraki added that his confidence and faith in the nation’s judiciary and its ability to dispense justice to all manners of people remained unshaken.

Published in Headliners

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has described the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as the enemy of Nigeria, saying it would take a united and coherent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to sack the APC government in 2019.

Atiku stated this in a congratulatory message to the newly elected national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus and other officials elected at the just concluded national convention of the party.

The statement, released by his media office on Sunday said the immediate challenge before the newly elected national officers of the PDP was to run an all-inclusive administration where the various interests within the party can find accommodation.

He added that Nigerians are looking up to the PDP for unity in the party, “because it takes a united and coherent PDP to sack the APC government in 2019″.

The statement said, “Our great party, the PDP, is, again, at the threshold of an historical moment. Just as we mobilised to put an end to prolonged military rule in 1999, the people of Nigeria at this moment look up to us to rescue the country from the mis-government of the APC.

“Arising from our elective congress, there should be no victor and no vanquished. Our paramount attention should be focused at sacking a government that deceived the people of Nigeria into power by promising our youths three million jobs annually, only to deliver three million job losses annually; a government that is repeatedly living in denial of its commitment to restructuring. We must be united to take power back to where it belongs: the Nigerian people.

“As members of the PDP, we must take pride in being able to hold a national convention and in so doing live up to the bill of being a truly democratic political party. Our major opponent has not been able to achieve this feat and I join millions of our party members to congratulate the Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee.

“I understand that there are complaints and grievances from many of the co-contestants in the congress. I am aware that the PDP has a mechanism for addressing such complaints and it is important that such avenues of redress are made available for members to explore without let or hindrance. Meantime, I call on all our leaders and members to rally the new executive for the sake of our party, Nigeria and the good of our people”.

Published in Business and Economy

Borussia Dortmund sacked Peter Bosz as head coach on Sunday and replaced him with Austrian Peter Stoeger, who was only fired by Bundesliga bottom side Cologne last weekend.

Dutchman Bosz, 54, was released after just 167 days in charge as Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Werder Bremen left Dortmund winless in their last eight league games following a miserable run of results.

Bosz was dismissed just hours after the Bremen defeat, when poor defending again led to another dreadful team display.

However, it means a quick turn-around for Stoeger, who has precious little time to prepare for the next Bundesliga game at Mainz on Tuesday.

He has just three matches remaining before the winter break with the Mainz match followed by a league game at home to Hoffenheim next Saturday and a plum German cup third-round clash at Bayern Munich on December 20.

“We will train together today and tomorrow and the first thing will be to talk about the current problems,” said Stoeger at Sunday’s press conference.

“We want to bring some more empathy back into the group.”

– ‘Exceptional opportunity’ –
Stoeger says he has gone from one great club to another after having become a cult figure in Cologne by steering them to the Europa League this season — their first appearance in Europe for 25 years.

“I have come from a really great club and to be able to work in Dortmund is something special, it’s an exceptional opportunity, for my staff and I,” he said.

“You only get a chance like this once in your life.”

Stoeger, who steered Cologne to fifth in the Bundesliga last season before a disastrous winless start to 2017/18, flew straight from Vienna to Germany after hearing from Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke on Saturday night.

The call caught Stoeger by surprise, coming just as he had arrived in the Austrian capital to visit family before heading back to the airport.

“I wasn’t planning on this, but the call changed everything,” he said.

“Now we have to see if we can make everyone happy.”

Published in Sports

PDP governors-backed Uche Secundus has emerged the new national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) following an overwhelming defeat of two other opponents at the Eagle Square venue of the party’s convention on Saturday.

The former deputy national chairman of the party garnered 2000 votes, with a former Minister of Education, Prof. Adeniran coming a distant second with 230, while media mogul Raymond Dokpesi brought up the rear, with a miserly 66 votes.

Secondus, in the early hours of Sunday, was declared the new chairman with an overwhelming defeat of Prof. Tunde Adeniran and Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

Intense scheming and horse trading characterized the weekend’s event, as nine aspirants earlier cleared for the election, withdrew before the commencement of voting. These include; Chief Olabode George, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Jimi Agbaje and Senator Rashidi Ladoja.

Chairman of the Electoral Sub-Committee of the convention and former Governor of Benue, Gabriel Suswan, announced the results and said that the election for chairmanship position was keenly contested by four candidates.

“In this contest, nine gentlemen indicated their interests to contest, but here, four of them sent letters of withdrawal and so four were left.

“The other ones we were told have withdrawn but there was no letter to that effect.

“The four gentlemen that contested were Uche Secondus, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Founder of Daar Communications; Prof. Tunde Adeniran, former Education Minister and Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, former Minister of Sports and Special Duties.

“Secondus scored 2,000 votes; Dokpesi, 66; Adeniran, 230 while Adedoja scored no vote,” Suswan said.

Other elected officers were Sen. Babayo Garmawa, Deputy National Chairman (North); Mr Yemi Akinwunmi, Deputy National Chairman (South); Sen. Umar Tsauri, National Secretary and Mr Agbo Emmanuel, Deputy National Secretary.

Retired Col. Austin Akinbundu is new National Organising Secretary, Yakubu Hassan, Deputy National Organizing Secretary; Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary and Diran Odeyemi, Deputy National Publicity Secretary.

Mr Abdullahi Maibasira emerged National Financial Secretary, Irona Gerald, Deputy National Financial Secretary; Aribisala Adewale, National Treasurer; Wada Masu, Deputy National Treasurer; Adamu Mustapha, National Auditor and Arong Divine, Deputy National Auditor.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mariya Umar was elected National Women Leader, Umoru Hadiza, Deputy National Women Leader, and Emmanuel Enoidem, National Youth Leader.

The Chairman of the Convention Planning Committee and Governor of Delta, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, commended the Election Sub-Committee for “job well done”.

He also commended all the candidates and delegates who participated in elections and party leaders and members for cooperation that ensured the success of the convention.

Published in Headliners

Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP ) chieftain and senator representing Ogun East senatorial zone at the National Assembly, Buruji Kashamu has been suspended by the National Caretaker Committee of the party.

The decision which was taken at 3am Saturday morning  is said to be for a month.

The National convention of the party is expected to start Saturday morning , with the election of a new National chairman and other officers as the major highlight.

Published in Headliners

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) screening committee on Friday cleared all the nine national chairmanship aspirants to participate in the party’s national convention holding on Saturday.

The aspirants are – Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Prince Uche Secondus, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Mr. Aderemi Olusegun, Prof.Taoheed Adedoja and Chief Olabode George.

The committee chairman, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, presented certificates to the aspirants at the party’s National secretariat in Abuja.

According to Ize-Iyamu, the list of other aspirants cleared for other positions would be displayed at the party secretariat before the national convention.

Published in Business and Economy
THE National Judicial Council (NJC) yesterday announced the compulsory retirement of two judges of the Federal High Court – Justices Ademola F. A. Ademola and O. O. Tokode.

Justice Ademola last sat at the court’s Abuja Division and Justice Tokode was with the Benin division of the court before their compulsory retirement.

The NJC took the decision at its 84th meeting held on December 6, 2017, during which it also issued strong warning to four judges and dismissed petitions against some judges.

The decision by the NJC was contained in a statement issued late yesterday by its Director of Information, Soji Oye.

The NJC’s decision is coming a day after Justice Ademola submitted a letter of voluntary retirement to the NJC through the office of the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Kafarati.

Part of the statement issued yesterday by Oye reads: “Hon. Mr. Justice A. F. A. Ademola, who had forwarded his notice of retirement on 10th October, 2017 to the council against 9th April, 2018, when he will attain the mandatory retirement age of 65 years, was recommended for compulsory retirement from office to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, pursuant to the findings by the council on the allegation contained in the petition written against His Lordship by a group of 8 persons under the name of Committee of Anambra State PDP House of Representatives members-elect…

“The public is hereby informed to disregard news circulating on some news media that Hon. Mr. Justice Ademola has voluntarily retired. The purported voluntary retirement is clearly an afterthought as council had taken action before his decision to forward any voluntary retirement letter.”

As it relates to Justice Tokode, the statement said: “Justice O. O. Tokode of the same Federal High Court was also recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for compulsory retirement from office with immediate effect sequel to the findings of council on the allegation contained in petitions forwarded by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Miss Abimbola Awogboro.

“The petitioners accused the Hon. Judge of misleading the Federal Judicial Service Commission and the National Judicial Council, by submitting six judgments he claimed to have personally conducted while practising as a lawyer; a pre-requisite for his application for appointment as a judicial officer, and was so appointed.

“The Investigation Committee of Council, however, found that the Hon. Judge personally conducted only one of the six cases submitted. Therefore, council decided to recommend his compulsory retirement and the refund of all salaries and allowances he earned since his purported appointment to the position of a judge to the coffers of the judiciary.”

The NJC stated that, in the interim and in exercise of its power under paragraph 21 sub-paragraph (d) of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, it suspended Justices Ademola and Tokode from office with immediate effect.

It added: “The council also issued serious warning to Hon. Mr. Justice A. N. Ubaka of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria for failure to deliver ruling in suit No. NICN/BEN/51/2014 within the time specified by law.

“The Council did not accept the reasons given for failure to deliver the ruling within time.

“The Hon. Judge has also been placed on watch-list of the Council for the next one year.

“Council also gave a warning letter to Hon. Mr. Justice Zainab Aliyu Sadat of the High Court of Niger State and placed her on the watch-list for three years for claiming that the defendant in suit No: NHSC/MN/46/2016 failed to make available authority cited by them after submission of the argument to her.

“Council at the meeting also decided to dismiss the petition written by Senator Alimodu Sheriff alleging Hon. Mr. Justice A. Liman of the Federal High Court of corruption for his failure to honour the invitation of the Investigation committee on the three occasions that he sat to investigate the matter.

“Council exonerated Hon. Mr. Justice Simon Akpah Amogeda of the Federal High Court from corruption allegation by Ernest J. Henry, who could not substantiate his allegation.

“The Council decided to write the petitioner a warning letter for maligning the name of the Hon. Judge.

“In addition, Council exonerated Hon. Mr. Justice F. I. Kola-Olalere of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria from any misconduct in the petition written against him by Samuel Atotuomah. Hon. Mr. Justice B. B. Kanyip of the same court was also exonerated of allegation of corruption written against him by Adebayo Jegede, Esq, who did not attend the Investigation Committee Panel to defend his allegation.”

Published in Headliners
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 06:06

Court unfrezees Patience Jonathan’s 16 accounts

Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja has lifted an order made on May 30, freezing 16 bank accounts linked to wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience.

Justice Nyako in a ruling yesterday ordered the lifting of the freezing order that barred Mrs. Jonathan and 10 organizations linked to her from accessing the accounts containing aggregate sums of $5.8million and N3.5billion.

Yesterday’s ruling was on an application that Mrs. Jonathan and the 10 companies filed to challenge an ex-parte interim freezing order earlier obtained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Listed as applicants with Mrs. Jonathan, in the application, are the Incorporated Trustees of Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation, Pagmat Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, Flinchley Top Homes Limited, Incorporated Trustees of Women for Change and Development Initiative Nigeria, Transocean Property and Investment Ltd, Seagate Property Development Investment Company, Globus Integrated Services and Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited.

Justice Nyako upheld the applicants that the interim forfeiture order had elapsed and could not be renewed by the EFCC.

Five of the accounts are domiciled in Skye Bank Plc, seven are in Diamond Bank Plc, while the remaining accounts are with Union Bank Plc, First Bank Plc, Ecobank and Zenith Bank Plc.

The applicants had insisted before the court that the anti-graft agency obtained the forfeiture order by an improper use of the judicial process.

They told the court that the said interim forfeiture order, including a subsequent one that was issued on October 18, had since expired, with the EFCC, failing to establish a nexus between the applicants and any act of illegality.

In a six -paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Chinedu Maduba, Mrs. Jonathan and the firms admitted their ownership of the 16 bank accounts.

The applicants told the court that EFCC had before May 30 when it secured the forfeiture order, also filed a similar application that affected most of the parties, before Justice C.M.A. Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos in suit number FHC/L/CS/1342/2016 with same granted on October 10.

They alleged that EFCC suppressed the fact that it had earlier approached the Lagos Division of court for the same relief it applied for and secured from the court in Abuja.

“That by reason of these orders, the Applicants have been unable to operate their accounts as the banks who are in custody of their accounts have refused to honour any of the applicants’ instructions ostensibly because of the order of this honourable court”, the affidavit said.

Published in Headliners
Monday, 04 December 2017 03:11

Investors gain N4tr in equities

Equities investors in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) have accumulated capital gains of about N4 trillion over the past 11 months.  Low valuations, improved macro economy and more coordinated monetary policy management, led to sustained considerable rally across the stock market.

Benchmark indices at the NSE showed average year-to-date gain of 41.19 per cent for the 11-month period ended November 30, 2017, equivalent to net capital gain of about N3.97 trillion, representing a two-month increase of 33.7 per cent on net capital gain of N2.97 trillion recorded at the end of third quarter (Q3).

With largely positive and steady Q3 corporate earnings and stronger macroeconomic data, quoted equities rode above recurring profit-taking transactions, to sustain month-on-month positive trend.

With a net capital gain of N3.97 trillion by November, investors have almost technically recovered what they had lost in the past three years, a major recovery that could reverberate across many other sectors, especially finance and investment institutions with large exposures to equities.

The stock market had been on a losing streak since 2014. Investors lost N1.75 trillion in 2014 and followed this with another loss of N1.63 trillion in 2015. Against the general expectation that political transition and new government will quicken a rebound, equities closed 2016 with a net capital loss of N604 billion. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities on the NSE closed 2016 at N9.247 trillion as against N13.226 trillion recorded at the start of trading in 2014, representing a net capital loss of N3.98 trillion.

Aggregate market value of all quoted equities closed November 2017 at N13.215 trillion as against its opening value of N9.247 trillion for the year, representing net capital gain of N3.968 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI)-the main common price index that tracks share prices at the NSE, indicated 11-month return of 41.19 per cent, rising from the year’s opening index of 26,874.62 points to close this weekend at 37,944.60 points.

Investors in the banking sector were far ahead of other sectors with the NSE Banking Index indicating average year-to-date return of 71.60 per cent for the 11-month period. The NSE 30 Index, which tracks the 30 most capitalised companies, posted above average return of 43.51 per cent, underlining the fact that the recovery was partly driven by large-cap stocks. The NSE Consumer Goods Index ended the period with 28.87 per cent. The NSE Industrial Goods Index recorded the second highest sectoral gain of 33.08 per cent. The NSE Insurance Index posted a modest return of 10.97 per cent. However, the NSE Oil and Gas Index remained on the downtrend with a negative return of -7.01 per cent.

The recovery also impacted positively on the Nigerian pension industry and ethical finance segment. The NSE Pension Index, which tracks stocks specially screened in line with pension investment guidelines, showed that pensioners might be in for wider dining tables with above-average return of 62.58 per cent. The NSE Lotus Islamic Index-which tracks stocks that comply with the Islamic law, recorded considerable return of 32.58 per cent, underlining the attractiveness of ethical investment in the midst of the rally. The NSE Lotus Islamic Index excludes interest-based banks, breweries, gambling and overleveraged companies among others.

The 11-month performance further confirmed quoted equities as the most attractive asset class for the period. With inflation rate at 15.9 per cent and the benchmark interest rate at 14 per cent, average inflation and interest-adjusted return remains in double digit at about 11.3 per cent.

The past two months had built on considerable gain made by the third quarter of the year. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities on the NSE had closed the third quarter at N12.217 trillion, representing net capital gain of N2.97 trillion or 32.1 per cent. The ASI had also crossed nine levels to close September at 35,439.98 points, representing an increase of 31.87 per cent.

Quarter-on-quarter analysis showed that the ASI has already surpassed its third quarter performance within the first two months of the fourth quarter. Between October and November, the ASI recorded average gain of 7.07 per cent compared with 7.01 per cent recorded in the third quarter. The performance so far in the fourth quarter was driven largely by the industrial goods and banking sectors.

Published in Business and Economy
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