Nigeria’s Supreme Court, in one of its last pronouncements of 2021, ruled that Section 46 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act should be interpreted within the narrow confines of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, the precursor to the establishment of the EFCC – to prevent illicit financial outflows from Nigeria. The apex court, in a landmark judgment in Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN) vs. The Federal Republic of Nigeria, Appeal No. SC/CR/161/2020, told the anti-graft agency that its powers to investigate and prosecute financial crimes under Section 46 of the EFCC Act was not at large. It held that the EFCC could not hide under its Act to usurp the functions of other law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies like the police, Office of Federal and States Attorneys General, Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee, and the National Judicial Council (NJC), among others. The court further held that in so far as those agencies were in place and for offences that had been clearly defined by penal and criminal codes, the EFCC had no business dabbling into such areas. This landmark judgment comes on the heels of public outcry over what many have described as the excesses of the EFCC and its operatives vis-a-vis the limits of its powers. There have been questions on why a federal agency would be exercising oversight powers on states under the guise of financial crimes when each state has its penal and criminal codes dealing with such offences. There are concerns about the principle of federalism, whether a case where a federal agency is probing into the finances of states is not an abridgement of federalism. For instance, the apex court that held in Ehindero Vs. Federal Republic of Nigeria that EFCC derives its power from that of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), looked the other way when the issue of the propriety of the EFCC prosecuting former Governor Shema in respect of an offence committed in Katsina, without the fiat of the Attorney General of Katsina State. Lawyers have said that the Supreme Court has, by this judgment, corrected the anomalies of the past and restored constitutional order by reinforcing the prosecutorial powers of the AGF under Section 174 of the Constitution for federal offences and the powers of Attorneys General of the respective states under Section 211 of the Constitution.
The Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (OAuGF) says about 178,459 different types of arms and ammunition got missing from the Nigeria Police armoury in 2019, without any trace or formal report on their whereabouts. Of the figure, 88,078 were AK-47 rifles and 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols from different formations nationwide. These could not be accounted for as of January 2020. A Thisday report cites details contained on pages 383 to 391 of the Auditor General for the Federation’s annual report on non-compliance, internal control weaknesses issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the year ended 31 December 2019, which was dated 15 September and submitted to the National Assembly. The report accused the Nigeria Police headquarters of lacking comprehensive details of unserviceable weapons, lamenting that such could fall into unauthorised hands for illegal use. It stated that the action of the Nigeria Police contravened paragraph 2603 of the Financial Regulations, which stipulates that in the event of any loss of stores, the officer in charge of the store in which the loss occurs shall report immediately to the head of department or unit but not later than three days, by the fastest means possible if the loss occurs away from headquarters. “Out of this number, 88,078 were AK-47 rifles, 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols across different police formations, which could not be accounted for as of January 2020. Formal report on the loss of firearms through dully completed Treasury Form 146 (loss of stores) were not presented for examination,” the report said. “Records obtained from force armament at the Force headquarters showed 21 Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadron, Abuja, did not report a single case of missing firearm, whereas, schedule of missing arms obtained from the same PMF showed a total number of forty-six (46) missing arms between 2000 and February 2019. The value of the lost firearms could not be ascertained because no document relating to their cost of acquisition was presented for examination,” it added. The OAuGF report also queried the police hierarchy for the award of contracts without evidence of project execution. It revealed that 10 contracts worth ₦1, 136,715,200.00 were awarded to a single proprietor in the name of different companies with details of the three companies as the same. “The three companies did not disclose their relationship in accordance with the fundamental principles of procurement as required by extant regulations,” the report stated. The report also indicted the Nigeria Police for paying the sum of ₦924.985 million for 11 contracts involving the construction of three units of Gunshot Spotter System, supply of 50 units of Ballistic Roller Trolley and 20 units of Ballistic Mobile Surveillance House in some selected Commands and Formations without evidence of project execution.
Financial technology services contributed the majority of the $1.09 billion raised by Nigerian startups in 2021, according to Techpoint’s latest report on the contributions and achievements of startups in Africa. According to the report, financial services raised 73.5 percent or $741,615,000, followed by e-commerce with 13.8 percent ($139,242,000) in the year under review. “Two fintech startups each raised 9 digits in dollars; 6 of the 13 Nigerian startups that raised 8 digits were also fintechs,” the report read. The report further stated that the total amount of startup deals in Africa in December 2021 was $407.86 million, with South Africa having the highest share with 52.7 percent ($215.7 million). This is followed by Nigeria’s 41.4 percent share equivalent, amounting to $168.9 million and 11 rounds seed capital. Other countries with startup funding include Kenya ($54.15 million), Egypt ($6 million), Togo ($5 million), Cote d’Ivoire ($2.4 million) and Morocco ($540,000), respectively. According to the report, a total of 23 funding deals encountered in Africa with 8 seed rounds and 5 pre-seed rounds in different sectors such as financial services raised $199.10 million with 8 deals, e-commerce ($112 million), mobility and logistics ($61 million), education ($20.10 million) with three deals each. On the other hand, the human resource sector raised ($5.07 million), Blockchain($6 million), services ($2.95 million), agriculture ($1.10 million) and property ($540,000) with one deal each.
Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has resigned amid political deadlock and widespread protests following a military coup that derailed the country’s fragile transition to democracy. Hamdok’s decision, announced in a televised address late on Sunday, came six weeks after he returned to his post in a deal with the coup leaders he argued could save Sudan’s political transition. But the pro-democracy movement rejected that agreement, and Hamdok failed to name a new government as thousands of people continued to protest against the military’s power grab. In his resignation speech, Hamdok said a roundtable discussion is needed to agree on a new “national charter” and to “draw a road map” to complete Sudan’s transition to democracy. “I decided to give back the responsibility and announce my resignation as prime minister, and give a chance to another man or woman of this noble country to … help it pass through what’s left of the transitional period to a civilian democratic country,” Hamdok said. The announcement throws Sudan’s future deeper into uncertainty, three years after an uprising that led to the overthrow of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir. An economist and former United Nations official widely respected by the international community, Hamdok became prime minister in 2019 under a power-sharing agreement that promised multiparty elections in 2023. But military-civilian ties became frayed as the army refused to cede power, and on 25 October, Hamdok was removed and placed under house arrest. He was reinstated on 21 November in a deal that called for an independent technocratic cabinet under military oversight. Sudan’s pro-democracy movement denounced that agreement, however, insisting that power be handed over to a fully civilian government. Hamdok said on Sunday that his efforts to bridge the widening gap and settle disputes among the political forces have failed. The prime minister’s resignation came hours after Sudanese security forces violently dispersed huge crowds protesting against the coup, killing at least three people, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD). The protests came despite tightened security and blocked bridges and roads in Khartoum and Omdurman. Internet connections were also disrupted before the protests, according to advocacy group NetBlocs. Authorities have used such tactics repeatedly since the October coup. Sunday’s deaths have brought the death toll among protesters since the military takeover to at least 57, according to CCSD. Hundreds have also been wounded.