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$75m: Pfizer Demands DNA Report from Beneficiaries

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Pfizer International, the US pharmaceutical company that carried out a meningitis trovan test in 1996 on a number of children in Kano State, has demanded a Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) report as a pre-condition for beneficiaries to draw down on the $75 million judgment money against it, a retired justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Abubakar Wali, has said.
Speaking at the palace of the Emir of Kano on Friday, Justice Wali, who traced the history of the trovan test, said Pfizer came to Nigeria in 1996 at the peak of the outbreak of meningitis disease in Kano to offer assistance on affected victims. He said, unknown to the government and people of the state, the company had come to test the drug, which resulted to deforming and killing of many children in the state.
The retired Justice also said his team was at the palace to seek the guidance of the emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero, as plans were afoot to sensitise the people against coming in to make wrong claims. He assured that “all the victims must undergo DNA test to ensure that the genuine victims benefit from the settlement.”
Justice Wali also told the emir that out of the $75 million judgement money Pfizer agreed to pay, $30 million would go to the victims and their families. Another $30 million would be used to provide health projects in the state, while $10 million would go for litigations and $5 million used to settle sundry expenses.
Responding, the Emir Bayero explained that he was aware of the task before the committees instituted by the state government to handle both the settlement of compensation to the victims and healthcare issues, as agreed by Pfizer and Kano State government.Bayero said the Kano State Government had constantly been updating him on any development relating to the Pfizer case and commended the government for leading the litigations initially started by the families of victims. He said such an effort had yielded positive results.
According to him, “ I have to commend the efforts of the government in ensuring that justice is done, through the out of court agreement, what I want people to do now is since the monies will be provided soon for settlement of the victims or their families, modalities should be followed to the last letter so that only the affected families benefit”.
He advised that the people should be aware of the modalities to be followed in taking the claims; as such all claimants should be honest because the calibre of persons in the two boards would not in any way allow abnormalities.
He cautioned pharmaceutical companies worldwide to conform to the ethics and avoid testing animal drugs and vaccines on human beings. He said that what happened in Kano in 1996, in which hundreds of children were reported dead or deformed through the application of meningitis trovan test drugs was a great lesson to the whole world.
Other members of the settlement team that accompanied Wali to the palace were Justice S. M Balgore (rtd), Professor Isa Hashim, Dr Musa Borodo, Professor Mutassir Ibrahim and Dr Prosper Igboli.
Besides, Wali said the state government had also instituted a healthcare board under Professor Shehu Ahmed Sa’id Galadanchi as chairman to fast track the implementation of government’s action plan arising from the Pfizer case.
Other members of the board are Professor Auwalu Hamisu Yadudu, Architect Ibrahim Haruna and Dr. Habibu Sadauki, Alhaji Adamu Aliyu Kiyawa and Alhaji Adamu Jafiya
Both boards, Wali said, have Mr. David Odiwo and Alhaji Umar Farouk Ibrahim of the SSG office as secretary and assistant secretary respectively.
Kano State Government on July 30 formally signed an agreement with Pfizer over the controversial drug trial. The out-of-court settlement in the multi-billion-dollar suit against Pfizer, in the three-year drug test in the state, came after years of litigation.
“We have settled and we are signing an agreement , Kano State government has finally reached a $75 million settlement agreement with Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company, over the 1996 Trovan test in the state,” said Aliyu Umar, counsel for Kano State government, had said then.
Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, had said he was in London with leader of the Trovan test victims’ chairman, the State Attorney-General, and the State Commissioner for Health to finalise agreement and work out modalities with Pfizer executives on how the money would be shared. He said the full payment might take up to 2011.

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Economic Growth, Determining Factor For Policies In 2023  – Stockbrokers

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Chairman of Research and Technology at the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr. Akeem Oyewale, has said that economic growth and development should be the determining factor in policies ahead of 2023.
Oyewale, who said this recently at the institute’s Annual National Economic Review and Outlook 2022 webinar  in Lagos, urged policy makers to act in a spirit of justice and tolerance to avoid acts that could lead to violence in the run-up to the 2023.
Speaking on the topic: “Global Dynamics Shaping Nigeria‘s Economic Future”, Oyewale listed factors such as the process leading up to the 2023 general elections, the response to Omicron, and the effects of COVID-19, as what would also determine the growth of the nation’s economic development.
He used the fora to urge the Federal Government to intensify its engagement with Nigeria’s capital market to better smoothly finance the 2022 budget deficit without increasing borrowing.
Oyewale also directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to fully consider the effects on the capital market when making monetary and fiscal policies.
According to him, the philosophy of building an economy led by the private sector enshrined in the National Development Plan must be strictly adhered to.
On the need for new listings, Oyewale said Nigeria National Petroleum Company’s trading should continue with the public listing of its shares on the stock market.
This, he explained, would give Nigerians the opportunity to co-own one of the country’s commanding heights.
“The CBN and banks should grant trading facilities to securities trading firms in the country to maintain optimism in the capital market”, he said.
Speaking further, he urged pension funds and other institutional investors to increase their investment in the stock market to create much-needed stability and encourage new investment.
Earlier, President of the CIS Council, Mr Olatunde Amolegbe,  said the institute would continue with initiatives that would enhance its growth and development in 2022.
Amolegbe stated that CIS would undertake activities that would promote capital market literacy in all geopolitical zones of the country, saying that he would strengthen collaboration with international professional bodies such as CISI UK and others for the benefit of their members.
He continued that the institute was working to increase the number of Nigerian universities offering graduate and undergraduate courses in securities and investment/capital market studies.
“Our vision by 2023 is to see the Securities and Investments profession registered in the hearts of young Nigerian academics as their preferred career path and CIS as the model to be followed by other professional bodies,” he concluded.

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PenCom Completes Review Of Pension Reform Act 2014

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The regulatory body of the Nigerian Pension Industry, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) says it has deliberated on the review of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014).
This was contained in a statement to newsmen signed by Peter Aghahowa, Head, Corporate Communications of PenCom, who disclosed that the regulator organised the retreat on the review of PRA 2014 in Abuja between January 12 and 14.
According to Aghahowa, the retreat was aimed at identifying salient issues to be reviewed in the PRA 2014 as a prelude to advancing legislative action on the bill.
Aghahowa said it is expected that the National Assembly would subsequently organise a public hearing to provide an avenue for stakeholders to formally make input into the proposed amendments.
He also said that the PRA 2014 was enacted following a review of the initial PRA of 2004, which introduced legal and institutional frameworks of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and established PenCom to regulate and supervise all pension matters in Nigeria.
According to him, the Director-General of PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, during the opening ceremony of the retreat, had informed the participants that the PRA 2014 codified one of the most important socio-economic reform initiatives of the Federal Government.
He continued that she said this has brought about a pension industry that has accumulated pension assets in excess of N13 trillion invested in various aspects of the Nigerian economy.
He quoted her as saying that “the review is a corollary to some implementation challenges encountered with certain sections of the Act not long after its enactment in July 2014.
“This was also an addition to persistent calls from stakeholders for the amendment of some sections of the Act, which resulted in several legislative initiatives through the sponsorship of Bills for amendment of the PRA 2014 by the National Assembly.
“Consequently, the Commission as the regulator of the pension industry, decided to coordinate and harmonize the various efforts in order to achieve a comprehensive and constructive exercise for the review of PRA 2014”, he concluded.

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Speed Up Resolutions On Tax Disputes, FIRS Urges Tribunals

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The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Mamman Nami, has called on chairmen and commissioners of the Tax Appeals Tribunals (TAT) to devise appropriate mechanisms to achieve early and speedy resolution of tax disputes.
Nami made the appeal in Abuja recently at the opening of a two-day retreat on the new TAT ‘Procedure’ Rules and e-Filing platform.
He advised members of the tribunal to also pay attention to the public concern on the inconsistency in Order III (6) of the new TAT (Procedure) Rules and Paragraph 15(7) of the 5th Schedule to the FIRS (Establishment) Act to avoid litigations.
“I commend the commissioners for contributing to the development of the tax jurisprudence through the delivery of sound judgments.
According to him, from available reports, they have always exhibited a high level of commitment, probity and transparency in the discharge of their responsibilities.
“I want to also use this medium to appreciate and thank the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and all those who contributed to the development of the new TAT (Procedure Rules) and the e-filling platform.
“These two landmark achievements are expected to improve the efficiency of the tribunals for timely and quicker delivery of judgments, which in turn, will improve compliance and collection,” he said.

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