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NAFDAC seizes N90 million alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles in Lagos.

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NAFDAC seizes N90 million alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles in Lagos.

NAFDAC seizes N90 million alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles in Lagos.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has confiscated about N90 million worth of alcoholic drinks in sachets, small volume Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and glass bottles below 200ml in Lagos State.

NAFDAC’s investigation and enforcement team, during a three-day exercise which ended on Saturday, visited about 10 companies and confiscated over 16,127 cartons of the products.

These products contained 30ml, 35ml, 100ml and 120ml pack sizes with alcohol volume of 43 per cent, against the 30 per cent for spirits and 18 per cent for bitters recommended by NAFDAC.

In January 2022, NAFDAC issued a Federal Government directive to the manufacturers of such alcohol beverages to stop production and sales from January 31, 2024.

Assistant Director, Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, NAFDAC, Anthony Abah, who led the enforcement team to Ipaja and Igando, said about 13,948 litres of rum, bitters and gin worth N50 million were confiscated in the area.

Other areas visited, such as Oshodi, Ikeja and Ogba, had N40 million items confiscated.

According to Abah, the enforcement is on the ban of production of alcoholic beverages in sachets, small volume PET and glass bottles to phase out the products. He noted that the action is not a total ban on alcohol production in the country.

He said: “We have placed all the violating materials on hold as well as all the quantities of items we found; the packaging materials, labels and whatever that is relevant to those particular pack sizes. When these small volumes are phased out, access to alcohol will be restricted to anybody below the age of 18 years.”

On sustainability of the enforcement, Abah said: “We will follow up on adherence with the directive after this enforcement exercise. Violation attracts a stiff penalty and there is room for prosecution.”

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Wigwe: Family releases burial rights, excludes RCCG City of David

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Wigwe: Family releases burial rights, excludes RCCG City of David

Wigwe: Family releases burial rights, excludes RCCG City of David

The City of David Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Lagos will not play any official role in the funeral service of the late Herbert Wigwe, former Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Access Holdings Plc.

Wigwe, who died on board a chopper in the US some weeks ago, was a member of the parish.

The late banker died alongside his wife, Chizoba; son, Chizi; and a former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group), Abimbola Ogunbanjo.

After his death, the wife of the parish pastor, Dr. Siju Iluyomade, held a lavish birthday that left tongues wagging.

Distinguished personalities rejoiced with the pastor’s wife at the party, which took place at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Some people expressed displeasure that Iluyomade held such a party weeks after the tragic deaths of a prominent member of the church.

According to the programme, a funeral for the Wigwes will commence with a tribute to Herbert Wigwe’s professional legacy at the Eko Hotel in Lagos on March 4.

Separate ceremonies to honor Chizi and Chizoba are scheduled for March 5 at the Eko Hotel in Lagos, followed by a night of tributes on March 6 at the same venue.

On March 7, a combined service of songs will take place at the RCCG, Resurrection Parish, Lekki, followed by a Christian wake-keeping at Wigwe University, Isiokpo, Ikwerre LGA, Rivers.

On March 9, the funeral and private interment service for the family will be held.

The final service will be an outing ceremony at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Lion of Judah Parish, Isiokpo, Ikwerre LGA, Rivers, on March 10.

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Uncovering the $26 Billion Cryptocurrency Mystery: Central Bank of Nigeria’s Stance on Binance

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Uncovering the $26 Billion Cryptocurrency Mystery: Central Bank of Nigeria's Stance on Binance

Uncovering the $26 Billion Cryptocurrency Mystery: Central Bank of Nigeria’s Stance on Binance

In a recent revelation that has sent shockwaves through the financial landscape of Nigeria, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, disclosed that an astonishing $26 billion had been funneled through Binance Nigeria by unidentified sources over the course of one year. This bombshell revelation sheds light on the shadowy world of cryptocurrency exchanges and raises serious concerns about illicit financial activities taking place within the country.

Binance, a popular online platform for trading cryptocurrencies, has come under scrutiny in multiple jurisdictions around the globe for its alleged violations of regulatory guidelines and its disruptive impact on traditional currency markets. Countries such as the UK, Japan, Canada, and Singapore have raised red flags over Binance’s operations, with the United States imposing a hefty $4.3 billion fine on the platform for breaching anti-money laundering and sanctions laws, prompting the resignation of its CEO, Changpeng Zhao.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Nigeria declared the operations of Binance Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Binance, as illegal in June 2023, adding fuel to the fire of regulatory concerns surrounding the cryptocurrency exchange.

During a press briefing following the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting at the CBN headquarters in Abuja, Cardoso emphasized the central bank’s commitment to implementing stringent regulations to fortify the economy, including cracking down on crypto exchanges like Binance. He underscored the collaborative efforts between the CBN and the SEC to prevent market manipulation and safeguard the integrity of the foreign exchange (FX) market.

Cardoso expressed apprehension over suspicious financial flows passing through entities like Binance, hinting at potential illicit activities that could jeopardize the stability of Nigeria’s financial ecosystem. The staggering figure of $26 billion moving through Binance from unidentifiable sources and users within Nigeria has raised alarm bells and prompted a coordinated investigation involving law enforcement agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the police, and the National Security Adviser’s office.

The governor reiterated the CBN’s unwavering resolve to combat financial infractions and prevent market distortions that could adversely impact Nigerian citizens. He affirmed the central bank’s determination to assert control over the financial markets and thwart any attempts at market manipulation that could undermine the country’s economic well-being.

As the investigation unfolds and more information surfaces, the collaborative efforts of regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies are poised to shed light on the opaque practices within the cryptocurrency industry and ensure accountability for any wrongdoing. The CBN’s proactive stance signals a strong commitment to upholding financial integrity and safeguarding the interests of all Nigerians in the face of the evolving challenges posed by the digital economy.

In conclusion, the $26 billion cryptocurrency mystery surrounding Binance Nigeria serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for robust regulatory oversight and vigilance in the fast-paced world of digital finance. The CBN’s vigilance and determination to root out illicit financial activities underscore the critical importance of transparency, accountability, and regulatory compliance in safeguarding the stability and prosperity of Nigeria’s financial system.

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NCC reaffirms February 28 deadline for SIM-NIN linkage

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NCC reaffirms February 28 deadline for SIM-NIN linkage

NCC reaffirms February 28 deadline for SIM-NIN linkage

The deadline for blocking telephone lines without National Identity Numbers (NINs) remains February 28, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has affirmed.

This was disclosed by Reuben Mouka, director of public affairs at NCC, on Monday. This is a follow-up to its April 2022 directive, when the commission directed telcos to restrict outgoing calls on SIMs that have not submitted their NINs.

Reaffirming the NCC’s stance, Mouka said, “I am unaware of any extension and certain there won’t be. I don’t know what to say, but the fact is that there is no change in that deadline. The deadline, which is February 28, stands.”

Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained telecom operators from deactivating or barring any line or SIM not linked to their NINs.

According to Channels TV, Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa restrained the telcos while ruling on an application filed by a Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje.

In April 2022, Ogungbeje filed a suit against MTN when his SIMs were barred, and the court, at the time, dismissed his suit for lack of merit. He filed an appeal, which is currently pending at the court of appeal.

Ogungbeje had sued the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Minister of Justice, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Airtel Networks Nigeria Limited.

Ogungbeje has now asked the court for an injunction pending appeal, restraining all the respondents (the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, and the Minister of Justice; MTN Nigeria Communications Plc; and Airtel Networks Nigeria Limited) from further outright barring, deactivating, or restricting any SIM cards or phone lines on Feb. 28, 2024, or any other scheduled date, pending the hearing and determination of his appeal at the Court of Appeal of Nigeria.

Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa granted the lawyer’s request and restrained the telcos. The Justice also ruled that his order subsists until the hearing and determination of the appeal filed by the lawyer.

In a December 2023 notice, the NCC asked telcos to bar SIMs that have not submitted their NINs by February 28, 2024; bar those whose NINs have been submitted but not verified by March 29, 2024; and bar those who have less than five lines linked to an unverified NIN by April 15, 2024.

It was noted that all affected subscribers must be verified (biometrics and biodata) before their lines get unbarred. As these deadlines loom, telecom subscribers have asked the Federal Government for an extension, especially for the first one.

Adeolu Ogunbanjo, the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, disclosed to BusinessDay on Monday that a one-month extension will ensure more people can get their NINs and link their SIMs before the deadline.

“We want them to extend the deadline to March 31. There are still queues at NIMC centres. These centres are trying, but they can’t attend to everyone,” he said.

The NCC’s directive to restrict outgoing calls in April 2022 affected over 72.77 million active mobile subscriptions. About 125 million lines had been linked to a NIN at that time. Since then, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has not updated the number of SIMs linked to a NIN.

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