Ahmed Kuru and his adversaries
By James Imoru
BEING a beacon of integrity in an abundantly blessed but criminally managed, consciously monetized society like Nigeria can be daunting. Ask the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) boss, Ahmed Lawan Kuru. Confronting the hawks who wrecked the banking sector with unpaid loans and thus forced the creation of the corporation in the first place is not just a daunting task; it is an assignment strewn with perils, including lawfare and media wars by profiteers from the people’s pain, the friends and enablers of criminals. For one thing, the obligors of AMCON are in the commanding heights of political power, and if the nation has learned anything in the past few years when the corporation and these enemies of state have been locked in a battle, it is the fact that criminals do not like exposure.
In 2017, Kuru was garlanded as the African Best Rated CEO of The Year at the second edition of the National Development Forum (NDF)/award ceremony organized by African Development Magazine. Explaining the criteria for the selection of Kuru at the event, the media house stated that the AMCON boss was adjudged winner by the panel of judges after a careful evaluation of his difficult assignment at AMCON and the fact that he went about it in a way that supported the anti-graft war in the country. As it noted, it was a herculean task chasing dangerous debtors who had borrowed money from taxpayers to fund their lavish lifestyle while deliberately refusing to pay back and thus contributed to crippling the Nigerian economy. The same point was canvassed by the management of the New Telegraph when they bestowed upon Kuru the maiden edition of the “Public Integrity Award 2021.” The AMCON boss, they averred, was selected from a large poll of public servants heading different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government across Nigeria because of his commitment, dedication, uprightness, and patriotic zeal that he has gone about the recovery drive from AMCON obligors who owed Nigeria a current outstanding debt of over N4.4trillion.
As a popular Nigeria musician quipped, “it is divinity that abhors falsehood, the world wants no forthrightness.” And yet someone must stand up to be counted; someone must dare the status quo and rescue the nation from ruin. That is the kind of job Dora Akunyili had, and it is the kind of job Ahmed Kuru has. It is no wonder, then, that hiding under pseudonyms (fake names) and purveying the most blatant of falsehoods, certain anti-Kuru elements have gone on an overdrive in the media in recent times, cooking up falsehood against the high-flying, phenomenally cerebral, passionately committed and resource-savvy AMCON boss. Combining innuendos with conjecture, and vile abuse with sheer envy, they are doing their level best to robe the AMCON boss in the garb of a villain and get him out of the way. They are movers and shakers within the Nigerian landscape and they are not content with the multiple frivolous cases they filed in court in a desperate attempt to get away with crimes for which in saner climes they would presently be rotting in jail. The tactic is unmistakable: take Kuru’s job away from him by casting aspersions on his integrity, forcing the president to remove him. This is, to say the least, a devious tactic, and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not be moved by it. He is much too sophisticated to be swayed by charlatans masquerading as social crusaders. Convicts of financial crimes and the brains behind failed banks fazed by the public spirit with which Kuru works can only rage using media hounds; they must not be allowed to turn back the hands of the clock.
The fact that a good number of AMCON obligors who have no business occupying public office given their role in wrecking Nigeria’s financial system are now occupying top government offices should be a source of concern. But the fact that they are using public funds to sponsor all manners of attacks against AMCON is even more egregious. They are using public funds to protect their crime and take out those who dared to challenge them. They detest AMCON and its debt-recovery efforts with passion. And their pain was compounded by the fact that following his stellar performance in the first five years at the helms of affairs of AMCON, President Muhammadu Buhari reappointed Kuru, a career banker with professional experience spanning nearly four decades across investment banking, risk management, operations, human capital management and marketing, for another term of office in 2021.
As Managing Director/CEO of the former Enterprise Bank Limited, Kuru oversaw phenomenal growth. Within the first two years of his leadership, the bank made over N11billion profit, solidifying the path of profitability. It is a fact that it was AMCON that saved Arik Airlines, the largest local carrier, and Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s oldest carrier from shutting down operations, while making other strategic investments in a number of other local carriers, all of which have helped to keep the aviation sector afloat. The fact that AMCON has recovered about N1.8trillion from inception till date cannot be discountenanced, nor can the fact that it acquired about 12,000 Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) worth N3.7 trillion from 22 banks and injected N2.2 trillion as financial accommodation to 10 banks in order to prevent systemic failure.
In August last year, speaking in London, United Kingdom, at a training for Federal High Court judges from Nigeria, the AMCON boss indicated that the corporation’s recoveries in cash and in sale of assets had been made possible with the help of the judiciary. This was because “granting of Exparte Orders as well as orders to attach traced assets have compelled most recalcitrant obligors of AMCON to come to the negotiation table.” The recalcitrant obligors, he said, had mastered the act of clinging to the technicalities rather than settling their established obligations. But the Kuru-led AMCON had never shirked its responsibilities. AMCON made a profit of N23.97 billion in 2020, which increased to N34.65 billion in 2021. In the year 2022, the corporation made N58.59 billion profit. It has consistently delivered on its recovery mandate since its inception. The figure was over N70 billion for 2023. Given the feelers from the corporation, things are bound to get even better under Kuru’s leadership in the days to come.
Imoru , Civil Right Activist, contributes this piece through email@example.com
Ogun To Begin Sales Of 100 Trucks Load Of Rice At Cheaper Rate-Abiodun …the poor, elderly, vulnerable to get free allocation
Ogun To Begin Sales Of 100 Trucks Load Of Rice At Cheaper Rate-Abiodun
…the poor, elderly, vulnerable to get free allocation
Ogun State has purchased 100 trucks load of rice to be sold at cheaper rates to residents of the state to cushion the effect of the rise in the prices of goods in the country.
The state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun stated this on Wednesday while speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting in Abeokuta, the state capital.
Prince Abiodun disclosed that the rice would be subsidized and made available at the rate it was before the recent astronomical rise in the prices of the commodities.
He, however, said the poor, the elderly, and the vulnerable would enjoy free allocation.
“We have decided to give our people foodstuffs like rice, garri, beans. I have ordered almost 100 trailers of rice, they will start offloading them tomorrow (today).
“We have decided that the poor, the elderly, and the vulnerable will be given the rice free of charge, while others will have to buy the rice at the price we formally bought it before the dollar rose very high so that it won’t be a one-off and we can continue till the issue of the dollar is settled,” he said.
Governor Abiodun assured the people of Ogun State that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is fully in charge and knows what he is doing.
According to him, the President is on top of the situation, adding that Nigerians will soon start seeing the manifestation of the several policies put in place to curtail the rising inflation
He added that the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Yemi Cardoso, at a meeting he had with him, has assured that the dollar would soon fall.
“Everything we are experiencing at the moment is very transient, it will soon pass away. Let me assure you, the meeting we had yesterday (Tuesday) and today (Wednesday) after I left that meeting this evening, I am convinced that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is fully in charge. He knows what he is doing.
“With the plan that he has begun to implement, you will soon begin to see the change. We must remain very hopeful.
“The last meeting I had was with the CBN Governor. He said I should quote him and tell you that, very soon, the dollar will crash,” he said.
Abiodun noted that his administration in realization of the present hardship facing the country took some steps to cushion the effect, even as he recalled that an intervention worth more than N5 billion was announced by his administration last week.
Tertiary students of Ogun State origin across the country will receive N50,000 each, the governor said.
The secondary and primary school category with about 800,000 students, Prince Abiodun noted, will be done in phases, with the first phase, comprising 100,000 students getting N10,000 each.
Those not captured now would get five exercise books while waiting for the next phase.
The governor said women and the elderly would benefit from free medical care with insurance cards worth N18,000.
Abiodun further noted that his administration would set aside about N500 million monthly to offset the payment of deductions for civil servants in the state public service.
Governor Abiodun urged Nigerians, especially the youths not to allow themselves to be used by unscrupulous elements to disrupt the peace of the country.
“It is now so bad that they have planned to use our youths, give them money to disrupt the peace of the country by staging protests.
“What we going through isn’t what other countries around the world haven’t also experienced. But they were very patriotic, calm because they know the solution is on the way,” he said.
WE HAVE NO ALLEGATION OF FRAUD AGAINST EX- COMMISSIONER, OTHERS, OGUN ASSEMBLY CLARIFIES INVITATION
WE HAVE NO ALLEGATION OF FRAUD AGAINST EX- COMMISSIONER, OTHERS, OGUN ASSEMBLY CLARIFIES INVITATION
Sahara Weekly Reports That Ogun State House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts and Anti-Corruption, led by Hon. Damilare Bello today continues with its sittings with a clarification that the invitation extended to the former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Abdul-Waheed Odusile and the SSA to the Governor on Media, Emmanuel Ojo was not an indictment but rather to seek clarifications on the audit report of the Ministry.
Hon. Bello issued the clarification today during the Committee’s meeting with the officials of the State Hospitals Management Board at the Assembly Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
The Committee Chairman in company of other members including Honourables Musefiu Lamidi, Dickson Awolaja, Wahab Haruna, Yusuf Amosun, Folawewo Salami, Lawal Samsideen and Waliu Owode noted that the sitting was not meant to witch- hunt but to put the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government on their toes in the prudent management of government resources.
He recalled that at the last sitting of the Committee, there was a misinformation in some sections of the media insinuating fraudulent practices, cautioning that the Committee had not indicted anyone but merely considering issues raised in the audit reports with a view to addressing them.
He stated, “on Monday at our last sitting, there was a misinformation that this Honourable House has indicted the ex- Commissioner and the SSA (Media), we have not indicted anyone. We have only used the media to invite them for clarification on the Auditor General reports in line with our constitutional responsibilities.
It is important to note that the this House has no reason to witch-hunt anyone. We are only making sure the people see our Governor working alongside with the legislators with the right procedure to achieve all the Government lofty policies and programmes”, he stated.
He urged the public to disregard the scandal rumour, saying not everything found on the media space might be the right picture of things coming from the Assembly.
He called on Heads of MDAs to work together with the Assembly in blocking all leakages and help promote accountability and transparency in the running of government in the State.
TINUBU APPOINTS DCG KEMI NANNA NANDAP AS COMPTROLLER-GENERAL OF THE NIGERIA IMMIGRATION SERVICE
PRESIDENT TINUBU APPOINTS DCG KEMI NANNA NANDAP AS COMPTROLLER-GENERAL OF THE NIGERIA IMMIGRATION SERVICE
President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of DCG Kemi Nanna Nandap to serve as the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), effective from March 1, 2024.
DCG Nandap takes over from Mrs. Caroline Wura-Ola Adepoju, whose term in office expires on February 29, 2024.
Before her appointment as Comptroller-General, Nandap was the Deputy Comptroller-General in charge of the Migration Directorate of the Service.
The President anticipates that the new Comptroller-General will deepen the ongoing reforms in the service and create a robust mechanism for efficient and dedicated service delivery to Nigerians, as well as strengthen the nation’s security through proactive and effective border security and migration management.
Chief Ajuri Ngelale
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
February 21, 2024
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