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Unclaimed Dividends: Reactions Trail SEC’s Trust Fund Policy

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Mixed reactions have
continued to trail the decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to establish an Unclaimed Dividends Trust Fund
Speaking in a telephone interview with The Tide, the Controller, Central Bank of Nigeria, Port Harcourt branch, Mr. Otu Ken Effa, said SEC’s proposal was a noble idea that will have positive impact on the market.
Effa noted that establishment of the trust fund will provide opportunities for the fund to be used for the development of other sectors.
He said that this would make a better achievement than stocking the fund in various companies which use them to do their own businesses.
“SEC should however, give a period of three years and if the owners don’t still come for them, it could now be sent to the fund”, he said.
The Deputy General Manager Operations/Credit, Rivers, State Microfinance Agency (RIMA), Mr Gbarayorks Nuira Albert told The Tide that the idea of the trust fund is good if it would prevent the abuse of unclaimed dividends.
Albert advised that it should only be used as an interim measure as SEC intensifies efforts to ensure that all unclaimed dividends are distributed in the long run.
“SEC should reform and make dividend policy in Nigeria flexible for investors to have option of recapitalization of dividends, instead of paying out at all time”.
Meanwhile, some shareholders have urged SEC to drop the plan of establishing the trust fund, saying that the proposal is unacceptable to the shareholders and unknown in the capital market.
Reports say that a former publicity secretary of Nigerian shareholders Solidarity Association, Alhaji Gbadebo Olatokunbo has said that the entire stock of unclaimed dividends belonged to shareholders and not the federal government or any of its agencies.
He advised SEC to work towards reducing the stock of unclaimed dividends in one capital market, adding that that is the need for SEC to look at how to solve the problem of unclaimed dividends instead of ways of disbursing one fund.
It would be recalled that unclaiemd dividends according to SEC committee reports as at June 30, 2013 amounted to N45 billion.
Another shareholders who pleaded anonymity warned against touching the fund which she said belongs to investors, adding that SEC does not have the right to touch the fund “which is not government’s own”.
She noted the need to pay the dividends directly into investors’ accounts, saying that the move would stop the issue of unclaimed dividends in the capital market.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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