Fire Guts Unity Bank Head Office

 

There has been a fire incident at the Head Office of Unity Bank Plc on Victoria Island, Lagos, on Monday morning.

Videos posted on social media by witnesses showed parts of the building on fire with the flames spreading to at least three floors.

The fire which started early in the morning has been brought under control by officials of the fire service, the bank said in a statement on Twitter.

According to the bank, there was no casualty or loss of lives in the fire and observations as of 8:48 am showed that it did not affect the banking hall or “other strategic business areas”.

The cause of the fire has yet to be identified.

 

Several people have expressed solidarity and support for the bank, which is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and has more than 200 branches across the 36 states of the country and the FCT.

The bank on its part thanked the agencies and volunteers that helped battle the fire.

 

Osun Govt Seals-Off Banks, University Over Alleged Unpaid Tax

The Osun State Government on Thursday sealed off two new generational banks, WEMA and Unity Banks, over refusal to pay taxes and other levies due to the State.

Shutting down alongside was the popular private University, Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU) situated at Ikeji Arakeji.

The incident according to our correspondent paralysed business activities as these companies were shut down.

The two affected banks, as well as the University, were said to have remained adamant to offset the outstanding taxes amounting to N42million which they owed the state government.

Addressing journalists, the acting Chairman, Osun, Internal Revenue Service, Mr Bicci Alli, said: ” the affected companies left the State Government with no  other option than to resort to closing down their premises after series of meeting held with them on the modality for the payment proved abortive.” He stated

Alli further stated that “The distraining exercise will be continuous and extended to other bank, while some other recalcitrant tax corporate and non-corporate payers were found guilty of owing the state government until all what is due to the state is recovered.

“The defaulters were properly served notices before the enforcement begun, the state is being owed about N30billion as tax and levies.”  he explained

Alli further stated that the affected establishments were given notices and reminder of the need to pay up their taxes and levies due to the state, saying the agency approached the court to secure the otices and the need to pay up their taxes and levies due to the state saying the agency approached the court to secure order allowing it to seal off any defaulting establishments after the expiration of the notice.

The revenue boss who added that after the secure of the court order,  another ultimatum was given to allow them ample time to make payment to the coffer of the state.

Alli maintained that the state government embarked on the action in order to boost its purse for the completion of various ongoing infrastructural projects across the state.

While noting that tax default is criminal, Alli said that the government is not only enforcing payment of taxes but to ensure compliance by all citizenry across the state.

He, however, explained that “What the state is demanding from the people is not new taxes and levies but existing ones adding that the governor, Rauf Aregbesola wants to complete all ongoing projects and the only way to achieve this is through buoyant resources that could be generated internally” .he said

He noted that Governor Aregbesola has zero tolerance for tax evasion, adding that OIRS is set to begin criminal prosecution of all tax defaulters in the state so as to ensure that culprits are made to face the full wrath of the law.

 

Enugu Internal Revenue Board Seals Off Eight Banks

enugu-boardThe Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue has sealed off eight banks in the metropolis, for failure to remit about 1Billion Naira tax to the government.

The exercise which started on Monday morning at about 5:30am, affected Access Bank PLC, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Skye Bank, Union Bank, Unity Bank, Heritage Bank, Keystone Bank and Sterling Bank, in the metropolis.

The Chairman, Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue, Mr Emeka Odo made this known to newsmen in Enugu, that the board obtained an order from the state High Court to seal the affected banks.

Mr Odo, said sealing of the banks which is the first phase of the enforcement exercise on the major companies and institutions will remain under lock and key, to ensure that they perform their civic obligations to the state government.

He however called on customers of the affected banks not to panic as the banks are expected to take necessary actions, to enable the government serve them better.

Sacked Staff Picket Unity Bank For Nonpayment Of Pensions

Former staff of Bank of the North, now Unity Bank, Ilorin branch, on Monday morning picketed the main branch for non-settlement of their allowances after disengagement six years ago.

The staff who barricaded the gate of the bank prevented customers from gaining access and accused the management of diverting over N5 billion meant for them for another purpose.

The protesters displayed various placards accusing the management of the bank of not settling their pensions running into billions of naira while several efforts had been made to petitions relevant stakeholders without success.

The pensioners who were calm throughout the nearly five hour picketing of the bank called on the anti-graft agencies to probe the merger process that led to the emergence of Unity Bank which they noted was full of fraud.

While most of the staff of the bank stood outside lamenting the situation of not gaining access in hush tones, some of the pensioners nearly resort to fighting the security of the bank for allowing an influential customer of the bank into the bank.

All efforts made to speak with the management of the bank by Channels Television could not be successful as the branch manager was said to have travelled outside the state to the zonal headquarter on the issue.

Police Boss And 3 Others Killed In Renewed Attacks In Yobe

The  Joint Task Force (JTF) in Yobe state, has confirmed that four persons have been killed in renewed clash between security forces and suspected members of the Boko Haram Sect in Potiskum, Yobe state, north-east Nigeria.

The spokesperson of JTF in Yobe, Lieutenant Eli Lazarus in a statement said the hoodlums attacked the area command office of the Nigerian Police in Potiskum, adding that JTF quickly reinforced the police promptly to repel the attack.

This, he claimed led to the killing of three of the attackers while the DPO of the area later died in the hospital as a result of gunshot injuries he sustained in the clash.

The statement also alleged that 10 other bodies of the hoodlums were carried away by the terrorists during the attack which started around 2AM, Monday morning.

The police assured residents of adequate security of lives and property as it appealed for calm, adding that, all measures are being taken to restore normalcy in the state.

Unknown gunmen widely suspected to be members of Boko Haram in the early hours of Monday attacked Potiskum the commercial center of Yobe state, North-East Nigeria, killing the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the Area.

The renewed attack is still on going as movement in the troubled town has been “restricted”. Potiskum has in the late months, witnessed numerous attacks from the sect members.

Some eye witness accounts claim three of the sect members were also killed while the Unity Bank branch in Potiskum, located in the heart of the town along NPN road, was razed down as several vehicles were also reported burnt.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Salisu Adamu who confirmed the incident to Channels Television in Damaturu, the state capital, said “There were killings and destructions’ in Potiskum town but it is still unclear the extent of the destruction.”

As at the time of filing this report, DSP Salisu Adamu, revealed that the command is still on its way to Potiskum to authenticate the level of damage caused by the hoodlums.

He however said the officers and men on ground were able to repel the attack but that the DPO Mohammed Garba may have been killed in the attack.

The PPRO said he will brief the press as soon as he is back from the scene.

Yobe state has for the past two months has been relatively peaceful as security forces intensifies efforts to restore normalcy in the north east state of the country which has been bedeviled in the last one year.