Reps To Investigate CBN, Ministry Of Finance And First Bank

Ogun Governorship Aspirant, Three Rep Members Dump APC, PDP
A file photo of lawmakers during a plenary at the House of Representatives.

 

The House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Public Procurement to investigate allegations of gross statutory breaches.

Specifically, the House on Tuesday asked the committee to investigate allegations of violation of the Public Procurement Act by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Ministry of Finance and First Bank Nigeria limited, over a grant to Oyo State to procure agricultural equipment.

The lawmakers described the act as undermining and sabotaging the intention of the Federal Government in making Nigeria fully self-sufficient in food production.

This came through a motion of urgent public importance.

In a similar development, the same committee has been tasked to investigate alleged violations of the Public Procurement Act and abuses of other public service rules and regulations by the University of Lagos.

The motion further notes that there are allegations against past and current management of the university, including the governing council.

The committee is expected to report back to the house within five working days.

Nigeria Can Turn Its Population Into An Asset – Awosika

 

 

The chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika, has said that Nigeria can turn its teeming population into an asset that will generate revenue in foreign exchange for the nation. 

Mrs. Awosika made this assertion on Wednesday while delivering a speech as Guest Speaker at ‘The Platform’, a flagship programme by the Covenant Christian Centre.

In her speech which earned her a rousing ovation, she said that Nigeria’s population is its most obvious asset, arguing however that that asset can become a liability if not handled properly.

“Our easily and obviously celebrated asset is our population, we are so many. By 2050 or 2040… we are going to be the third largest country in the world after China and India… Good for numbers, but guess what, it’s not the population that is the real asset, it’s how we handle that population that will turn it into a real asset for us or a liability “.

She opined that the goal of turning the growing population to Nigeria’s advantage begins with a deliberate investment of resources towards nurturing future generations.

“How can we turn our population into an asset? We have bright minds, which is why Nigerians proffer solutions in other environments where they are nurtured.

“All we need to do is decide our population is going to be an asset. And from now, based on the goals we have identified for ourselves, we are deliberate about investing in nurturing that Youthful population to deploy what is required for that vision to be actualised,” Awosika said.

“Nigerians are migrating, good! We are many, as we say, there are many nations that need people; so we can turn migration into policy, we can turn our population into income-earning assets,” she added.

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Awosika urged leaders and resource persons in Nigeria to study other nations of the world as to identify their needs and train young Nigerians to be solutions to those needs.

“We can be deliberate about identifying the parts of the world that needs specific skills, and because we have a lot of young minds, we can retrain them, prepare them for those skills,” she added.

“We can have government-to-government negotiations, or private sector led to work, repatriating income to several parts of Nigeria. Our people can be a source of foreign exchange for us as a nation.

“There are countries who work on models that are not different from that. When you have a lot of people and you do not have the abilities, people are not accidentally getting up to go to Canada, to go anywhere, no!

“Let’s say our people are sought after; but to make them sought after for other nations, what must they know? What must they have? What must they do?

“How do we prepare processes that allow them to be trained? I know an African nation that is looking for 6,000 teachers.

“Nothing stops someone in that sector from building programmes or investing in finding 6,000 unemployed graduates, preparing them with teaching methodology.

“Teaching them about living in that country, telling them about how to be great ambassadors of Nigeria, wherever they go, and going to make a deal with that nation, to say we can provide you with these teachers on contract; Five years, 10 years, three years, they move.

“If you go to Dubai, most of the hotels have Kenya in the industry. Why? They were deliberate about setting up hospitality schools, to train people to be exported into countries that need manpower for hospitality.

“We know how to greet people, we know how to be hospitable, we know how to embrace people, we have the natural culture to be right in hospitality if our people are trained as assets for that industry.

“Our population can be a liability if we do not have specific deliberate agenda for developing them.”

READ ALSO: The Platform Was Aimed At 3,000 – 5,000 people, Now We Have Millions – Poju Oyemade

Awosika also challenged Nigerians to find and execute innovative ideas that will make the country work, rather than just sit back and criticise the government.

“We should criticise ourselves but we should criticise to build. We should see a problem and be angry about it and innovate and seek to find the solution to the problem because we know why we want to do it. Because we know that this country must work for every single one of us from the weakest to the strongest of us to prosper.

“For us to be able to provide for those that are weak; men, women, children, every community in the village and city. For every fatherless and motherless child to still be able to have hope in the system of our country.”

She further posed some challenging questions to Nigerians, with the motive that it will help stir well-meaning citizens to take some proactive measures.

“Who do we want for our nation? What is our common goal as a people? How do we get away from the things that easily destroy us that have no reason to? How do we rise above our past into our future? How do we draw the line on the things that have happened?

“How can we decide to get to where we want to get to if we haven’t first decided where we are going?

“We have to agree that we are going somewhere and we want to get there, but we must define where we are going.

“I didn’t ask the questions to get the answers today; I just want you not to be able to sleep because of those questions.”

 

First Bank Secure Automatic FIBA Champions Cup Qualification

The Nigeria Basketball League champions, First Bank of Lagos are having mixed feelings after securing an automatic ticket for the final round of FIBA Africa Champions Cup women in Angola.

The team’s qualification is based on the fact that they were the only team that registered for the FIBA Africa zone three qualifiers in Lagos.

Eight countries were expected to present two teams for the qualifiers.

First Bank coach Peter Ahmedu, however, is hoping that the team can go on another training tour before the tournament starts on November 10 in Luanda, the capital of Angola.

Court Orders Forfeiture Of Diezani’s Allegedly Stolen $153m

Court Orders Forfeiture Of Diezani's Allegedly Stolen FundsA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sum of $153,310,000, which a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueze, allegedly siphoned from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and stashed in three banks in the country.

Out of the allegedly stolen $153.3m, a sum of N23,446, 300,000 was said to have been kept in Sterling Bank Plc, N9,080,000,000 in First Bank Plc and $5m in Access Bank Plc.

After ordering the temporary forfeiture of the monies to the Federal Government on Friday, Justice Muslim Hassan gave Sterling Bank and any other interested party 14 days to appear before him to prove the legitimacy of the monies, failing which the funds would be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The judge made the order in favour of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which appeared before him on Friday with an ex-parte application seeking the temporary forfeiture of the funds.

In a nine-paragraph affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application, an EFCC investigator, Moses Awolusi, claimed that the anti-graft agency discovered through its investigations how sometime in December 2014 Diezani invited a former Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, to her office where they hatched the plan of how a cash sum of $153,310,000 would be moved from NNPC to Okonkwo to be saved for Diezani.

According to Awolusi, Diezani instructed Okonkwo to ensure that the money was “neither credited into any known account nor captured in any transaction platforms” of Fidelity Bank.

Awolusi said Okonkwo accepted and implemented the deal leading to the movement of $153,310,000 from NNPC to Fidelity Bank.

He said two former Group Executive Directors of Finance and Account of NNPC, B.O.N. Otti and Stanley Lawson, helped Diezani to move the cash from NNPC, Abuja to the headquarters of Fidelity Bank in Lagos.

Awolusi said in a desperate bid to conceal the source of the money, Okonkwo, upon receiving it, instructed the Country Head of Fidelity Bank, Mr Martin Izuogbe, to take $113,310,000 cash out of the money to the Executive Director, Commercial and Institutional Bank, Sterling Bank Plc, Lanre Adesanya, to keep.

He said the remaining $40million was taken in cash to the Executive Director, Public Sector Accountant, First Bank, Dauda Lawal, to keep.

The investigator said out of the $113,310,000 handed over to Adesanya, a sum of $108,310,000 was invested in an off balance sheet investment using Sterling Asset Management Trustees Limited.

He said the $108,310,000 was subsequently changed to N23,446, 300,000 and saved in Sterling Bank.

Awolusi said the EFCC had recovered the N23.4bn in draft and had registered it as an exhibit marked, EFCC 01.

The investigator said the EFCC had also recovered another $5million out of the money kept with the MD of Access Bank Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe.

He said the $5m was recovered in draft and had been registered as an exhibit marked, EFCC 02.

According to him, First Bank’s ED, Lawal, had converted the $40million kept with him to N9,080,000,000.

Awolusi, however, said that the EFCC had recovered that also in draft and registered it as Exhibit EFCC 03.

Moving the ex-parte application on Friday, the EFCC lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, urged Justice Hassan to order the temporary forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government and to order Sterling Bank and Lawal, who were joined as defendants in the application, as well as any other interested parties, to appear in court within two weeks to show cause why the funds should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

Oyedepo, who said the application was brought pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006 and Section 44(2)(‘) of the 1999 Constitution, said granting the application was in the best interest of justice.

After hearing him out, Justice Hassan granted the order and adjourned till January 24, 2016 for the respondents to appear in court to show cause why the funds should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.‎

Fitch Rates Kaduna State ‘B’; Outlook Stable

Fitch Rates Kaduna State 'B'; Outlook Stable Fitch Ratings has assigned Kaduna state long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) of ‘B’ and a National Long-Term Rating of ‘A+(NGA)’.

The outlooks are stable. The ‘B’ ratings reflect Kaduna’s dwindling revenue prospects in line with declining statutory allocations from the federal government as a result of weak oil prices.

The ratings also reflect the region’s fast growing debt, although servicing requirements will be moderated by government subsidies, concessionary terms and a long grace period.

Fitch also took into account the state’s developing economy focused on agricultural activities and low per capita revenue by international standards.

Fitch Ratings Reviews Nigerian Banks’ Support Rating

Fitch Ratings, First Bank, seven energyFitch Ratings has revised down the Support Rating Floors (SRF) of 10 Nigerian banks to ‘no floor’ and downgraded nine banks’ Support Ratings (SR) to ‘5’ following a reassessment of potential sovereign support for the banking sector.

As a consequence, the long-term issuer default ratings of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, FBN Holdings PLC, Diamond Bank PLC, Fidelity Bank PLC, First City Monument Bank Limited and Union Bank of Nigeria PLC are downgraded to ‘B-‘ from ‘B’, in line with their stand-alone creditworthiness as defined by their viability ratings.

The agency has affirmed the long-term IDRS of Zenith Bank PLC, Guaranty Trust Bank PLC, Access Bank PLC, United Bank for Africa PLC, Wema Bank PLC and Bank of Industry (BOI).

The downgrade of the nine banks’ SRS and the revision of 10 banks’  SRFs to ‘no floor’ reflects Fitch’s view that senior creditors can no longer rely on receiving full and timely extraordinary support from the Nigerian sovereign if any of the banks become non-viable.

Absence of EFCC Counsel Stalls Trial Of Jonathan’s Aide

Judges, Court, Judges, Court, Absence of EFCC Counsel Stalls Trial Of Jonathan's AideThe trial of Waripamo-Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, the former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, could not go on Tuesday at the Federal High Court in Lagos, owing to the absence of the EFCC’s counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

Presiding judge, Justice Muhammad Idris, told the court that he received a letter from the EFCC counsel seeking for an adjournment.

In the letter, Mr Oyedepo asked the court to grant the adjournment to enable him attend to an appeal filed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Ricky Tarfa against the commission

Counsel to Mr Dudafa, Gboyega Oyewole, did not object to the request for an adjournment. He however informed the court that he was surprised that his client was not present in court.

Upon enquiry from the prison’s officials, Mr Oyewole said he was told that Dudafa is seriously sick.

He complained about the EFCC treatment of his client.

Justice Mohammed Idris has granted the prosecutor’s application and adjourned the matter till Thursday November 10, for the continuation of the defendants’ trial.

Dudafa and one Iwejuo Joseph Nna, are standing trial before Justice Mohammed Idris on alleged 5.1 billion naira fraud.

In the first count, the defendants on or about June 11, 2013 in Lagos allegedly conspired amongst themselves to conceal the sum of 1.667 billion Naira said to be the proceeds of crime.

The Offence was said to be contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 17(a) of the same Act.

In the other charges, Mr Waripamo-Owei also allegedly used six companies – Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Ebiwise Resources, Pluto Property and Investment Company, Rotato Interlink Services and De Jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Nigeria Limited  – to conceal varying sums of money between June 2013 and April 2016.

The EFCC’s Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had listed 21 witnesses to testify against the defendants, including Representatives of some banks.

First Bank Launches First Gender-Based Product ‘FirstGem’

First Bank Launches First Gender-Based Product 'FirstGem'First Bank of Nigeria Plc. has decided to gather women from across every sector under one roof to talk to them on the importance of saving.

The management of First Bank thinks the time is right to launch its first gender-based product, as it recognizes the role of women in driving the nation’s gross national income which has been highlighted at different fora.

To First Bank, empowering them only makes things better, as they are ready to work with the women to prepare them for the future through the launch of their latest lifestyle offering for Women ‘FirstGem’

The Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, was quick to state what women stand to benefit keying in into this new project.

She challenged women to brace-up by working hard at their various fields to achieve their financial goals and aspirations.

A panel of speakers from across different sectors shared their knowledge on how women can empower themselves and with that the dignitaries, as well as top officials of the bank officially unveiled the new product

With this launch, the Bank says it is committed to supporting women-led businesses to stimulate sustainable growth and national development with a slogan, ”Empowering Women, Creating Wealth”.

With the chanting of the mantra, First Bank pledged their commitment towards making this project a huge success.

The wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo; Minister for Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the former Deputy Governor of Lagos state, Princess Serah Sosan; wife of the Oyo state governor, Florence Ajimobi and the wife of the Benue state governor, Dr Eunice Ortom to mention a few, were in attendance

Fitch Downgrades Seven Energy

Fitch Ratings, First Bank, seven energyFitch Ratings has downgraded Nigeria-based Seven Energy International Limited’s Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘CC’ from ‘B-‘.

Seven Energy Finance Limited’s 10.25 percent 300 million dollar secured notes due in 2021 has also been downgraded to ‘C’ from ‘CCC’.

The IDR downgrade reflects the ratings agency re-assessment of the significant ongoing liquidity, security and execution risks that Seven Energy continues to face.

The company said that it has taken serious hits from the shutdowns of forcados and Qua Iboe terminals but they hope the force majeure declared by shell in February will be lifted before the end of this quarter.

The energy firm complained it did not lift any oil from its OMLs under strategic alliance agreement between seven energy and the Nigerian petroleum development company.

First Bank Reacts To Latest Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings, First BankThe Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria, Mr Adesola Adeduntan, on Tuesday in Lagos, said that the lender’s business activities are integrated with the Nigerian economy in a way that the bank’s position could be impacted by Nigeria’s overall performance and ratings.

Mr Adeduntan was reacting to the latest Fitch ratings report that shaved First Bank’s issuer default rating to ‘B’ from B+, and FBN Holdings rating cut to BBB+ from ‘A’.

The new head of Nigeria’s largest lender says First Bank is proud to be associated with the Nigerian economy, but currently working to strengthen risk management processes and launch new digital channels, targeted at two million customers of the bank, in the first instance.

First Bank has an estimated ten million customers, which the lender plans to migrate onto new technology platforms, including off-site automated teller machines as well as agency banking.

Fitch ratings affirmed the issuer default ratings of eight Nigerian commercial banks and affirmed the viability ratings of all the banks.

However, the long-term foreign currency issuer default ratings of First Bank and UBA Group was downgraded to ‘B’ from ‘B+’ with a stable outlook.

The global rating agency downgraded the national long-term rating of FBN Holdings Plc to ‘BBB+.

Fitch ratings also cut the bank of industry’s long-term issuer default rating to ‘B+’ from ‘BB-‘ and support rating to ‘4’ from ‘3’.

The latest Fitch report expects Nigerian banks to remain profitable in 2016 despite slower asset growth and higher loan impairment charges.

EFCC Charges Jonathan’s Aide, Waripamo-Owei

EFCC, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei, Goodluck JonathanThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a 23-count charge against the Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei.

Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, who obtained a copy of the charge, said that Mr Waripamo-Owei was charged alongside one Iwejuo Joseph Nna, also known at various times as Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah.

In the first count, the defendants on or about June 11, 2013 in Lagos allegedly conspired amongst themselves to conceal the sum of 1.667 billion Naira said to be the proceeds of crime.

The Offence was said to be contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 17(a) of the same Act.

In the other charges, Mr Waripamo-Owei also allegedly used six companies – Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Ebiwise Resources, Pluto Property and Investment Company, Rotato Interlink Services and De Jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Nigeria Limited  – to conceal varying sums of money between June 2013 and April 2016.

The EFCC’s Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had listed 21 witnesses to testify against the defendants, including Representatives of some banks.

The accused have been scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Youth Financial Inclusion: Ibukun Awosika Seeks BOI Partnership

Ibukun AwosikaOne million young people in Nigeria may soon become employers of labour if the initiative being proposed to the Bank of Industry sees the light of day.

The Chairman of Afterschool Graduate Development Centre (AGDC), Mrs Ibukun Awosika has approached the Bank of Industry, seeking a partnership, aimed at scaling up financial inclusion of Nigeria’s youths.

Mrs Awosika, while speaking with the Executive Management Committee of the Bank of Industry said that the initiative, “ignite idea” hopes to raise a million young entrepreneurs who will provide jobs as well as create value.

Mrs Awosika who doubles as the Chairman of First Bank Nigeria Limited, said that the initiative becomes imperative because those without jobs need to be saved in their numbers.

Meanwhile, both the bank and AGDC agreed that apart from the funds to be disbursed, a lot of work needs to be done in the area of orientation.