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First Bank Of Nigeria reiterate Commitments to SMEs



First Bank of Nigeria on Sunday expressed its commitment to the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in line with the Federal Government’s economic diversification drive.

Mr Gbenga Shobo, the bank’s Deputy Managing Director, made the commitment at the third edition of Fiesta of Flavours in Lagos.

Shobo said that the bank would continue to promote SMEs and enterprenuers to boost job creation to reduce unemployment rate in the country.

He said that the bank partnered Eventful Limited to encourage and to showcase SMEs in their value chain.

Shobo said that the bank’s synergy was in line with the Federal Government diversification drive, noting that food was now the major oil of the country.

He said that the bank was doing many other things to promote local content and diversification programme of the government.

Shobo said that the bank was partnering Eventful Limited to drive Nigeria’s food economy through the sponsorship of the event.

He said that the support reinforced the bank’s commitment to building the entire agricultural value chain from production to consumption and creating opportunities for SMEs in the food sector.

Mrs Yewande Zaccheus, the Chief Executive Officer of Eventful Limited, said that the initiative had created opportunities for the growth and development of SMEs.

Zaccheus said that the company was using the initiative to showcase SMEs, adding that many busineses had grown through the platform.

She said that SMEs that did not have money to advertise were using the platform to create awareness.

Zaccheus advised government to support SMEs to grow with improve operating environment in view of the dwindling oil revenue.

Chef Tiyan Alile, the Founder Culinary Academy and Culinary Consultant for Fiesta of Flavours, advised the Federal Government to provide needed enabling environment to enable SMEs to thrive.

Alike advised that government should introduce friendly economic policies to boost growth and development of the private sector to reduce unemployment rate.

Alile also advised that government should introduce one year tax holiday to SMEs.

She also advised that the hospitality industry should be strengthened to increase the country’s revenue base.

Alile commended First Bank for its continuous support in ensuring the success of the fair.

She said that many jobs had been created through the fair and the bank had been its major sponsor in the last three years.

Miss Henrietta Ikhuoria, the Managing Director, Feast House Chef, also commended the bank and Eventful Limited on the programme.

Ikhuoria said that she came to use the platform to showcase her company that was into takeout lunch, bulk meal and outdoor catering services.

She said that the company had been in existence for a year and six months with footprints on the Victoria Island and plans to extend to Lagos Mainland in 2018.

Ikhuoria lauded the organisers for enhanced security and conducive stands at the fair ground.

She urged the organisers to reduce the gate fee to N500 from N1,000 to encourage more particaption and to boost sales.

Nonye Nwankwo, a Client Service officer in Nestle Nigeria, said that the company embraced the platform to educate people and customers on how to used their products.

Nwankwo said that the company used the platform for demonstration on the best ways to use the products and as well create awareness for new product introduced in the market recently.

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Stakeholders Extol Jim Ovia, As Zenith Bank Names Iconic UNILAG Alumni Building In Honour Of Late Prof. Ibidapo-Obe




Zenith Bank Names Iconic UNILAG Alumni Building In Honour Of Late Prof. Ibidapo-Obe

Stakeholders Extol Jim Ovia, As Zenith Bank Names Iconic UNILAG Alumni Building In Honour Of Late Prof. Ibidapo-Obe—-The memory of Professor Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, came alive as Zenith Bank Plc named the iconic building housing its Unilag Branch and the University of Lagos (Unilag) Alumni in his honour on Friday, November 25, 2022.


In his opening remarks at the commissioning ceremony, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc and Chairman of the Body of Banks’ CEOs in Nigeria, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, lauded the Founder and Chairman of the bank, Jim Ovia, CFR, for being physically present at the commissioning of the building to honour the memory of his late friend, Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, who served on the board of Zenith Bank as a Non-Executive Director, and for his passion for youth education and digital learning.


He noted the remarkable and continued commitment of Jim Ovia, CFR, to education and youth development in Nigeria, especially through the setting up of James Hope College, a co-educational institution which offers a combination of British and Nigerian curricula, and the James Hope University, which is billed to commence academic activities next year. He also extolled his philanthropy through the setting up of the Jim Ovia Foundation and Mankind United in Total Support for Education Initiative, which has awarded scholarships and produced over 1500 graduates from among indigent people who would not have had the benefit of having a university education.


Onyeagwu also recalled how the bank’s partnership with the University of Lagos began in 2001 with the donation of the first ICT centre, when the Founder and Chairman was the Group Managing Director/ CEO of the bank. According to him, “Today, Zenith Bank has built not less than 15 ICT centres in various tertiary institutions and cities all over the country. And I just want to say that no single institution or individual has been able to accomplish what we have done in that respect. And this is a demonstration of the passion our Founder and Chairman has, not just for education, but also for digital learning and computer literacy. This is in addition to several other support to the university, including the institution of Academic Excellence Awards in 2001, where the best graduating students from selected departments – Banking & Finance, Business Administration, Economics and Accounting, receive awards with financial rewards (currently NGN500,000) and employment opportunity, and the donation of 3,500 tablets to enable indigent students of the university to learn online effectively in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic”. Onyeagwu noted that the building is a strong statement of Zenith Bank’s sustainability initiatives as a signatory to several global sustainability frameworks including the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking, as it incorporates many of the elements that make a facility environmentally friendly and sustainable.


Speaking at the commissioning of the iconic building, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel noted the huge contributions of Zenith Bank and, in particular, Jim Ovia, CFR, a man he described as a father, to the development of Nigeria. In his words,” when you see things being done consistently in the right way, there is always a man pointing in that direction. A lot of people ask me how come you are doing so much in public service; I say I come from a background where my mentor told me that you don’t report efforts, you don’t give excuses, but you report results. So no matter the situation, even in the midst of an economic recession, in the midst of Covid, you should not stop development and performance. As far as you are from the Zenith family, you are expected to have that creativity and ideas that can make you produce results. In Zenith, we say only the paranoid survive. So I really want to appreciate what I am seeing here today”. Whilst thanking the alumni association and the school authority for their collaborative efforts towards achieving capacity development, which he described as the bane of Nigerian society, he expressed his delight and honour to commission a building named after the revered Late Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, who touched and impacted so many people while he was alive.


In his address, the National President of Unilag Alumni Association, Dr. John Momoh, thanked the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank as well as the management of the bank for the magnificent building and Mrs. Sola Ibidapo-Obe for accepting the association’s request to name the building after her husband as a lasting legacy in his honour. He encouraged everyone to take good care of and maintain the building to serve the university community for years to come.


In her remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, acknowledged the invaluable contributions of Zenith Bank to the development of the school, promising to work with the Alumni association to ensure that the facility serves not only the Alumni but also the entire students populace. She thanked the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, CFR, for donating 3,500 tablets to the university, which ensured that students who could not afford laptops for e-learning during the covid-19 pandemic were not left behind.


In her remarks, the wife of the Late Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, Mrs. Sola Ibidapo-Obe, thanked the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, CFR, for immortalising her late husband with such a great edifice named after him. Recalling how close he was to her late husband, Mrs Ibidapo-Obe said: “You are my husband’s friend. Dr. Jim Ovia has demonstrated the love that does not die in his friendship with my beloved husband. When he fell ill, Dr. Jim Ovia was there from day one till the last moment. I could feel the way he felt. From then, I knew that he was a genuine friend. He tried his best to ensure my husband survived, but he did not”.


The iconic building, which sits on a total site area of 950m2, was constructed by a team of world-class builders who had the mandate of delivering the best quality possible. The iconic structure is a smart building that incorporates many of the elements that make a facility environmentally friendly and sustainable, including a grid-tie solar system that sustains power load on solar and not on a generator or national grid, an inverter-driven VRF air conditioning system and motion sensor lighting to enhance energy efficiency, perforated aluminium composite panels for natural lighting and ventilation, free Wi-Fi system to provide internet access for students, fire management systems, including fire hydrant, smoke detector, and fire alarm system, and a LED screen installed on the building for the dissemination of information. The iconic building will house the Unilag Branch of Zenith Bank Plc and the operations of Unilag Alumni. Of the total 1,665m2 of floor area designated for office use in the four-storey building, 585m2 will be used by Unilag Alumni.



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How Safe Is Customers Money With Heritage Bank?…As Bishop Oyedepo Battles Ifie Sekibo’s Heritage Bank Over Church Funds




Ifie Sekibo

How Safe Is Customers Money With Heritage Bank?…As Bishop Oyedepo Battles Ifie Sekibo’s Heritage Bank Over Church Funds—-According to reports, Heritage Bank owned by Ifie Sekibo is now in the black book of Bishop Oyedepo of Winners Chapel over the later’s inability to retrieve Church funds in the bank.

Things have continued to fall apart for Heritage Bank Limited, owned by Nigerian banker, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, as the fortunes of the bank have continued to dwindle over liquidity issues, lack of proper management amidst financial improprieties.

Recall that Sekibo, who is the founder and pioneer managing director/CEO of the bank, had served out his 10-year tenure in September 2022. Customers, stakeholders and business analysts have however described Sekibo’s performance as poor and uninspiring as he failed to steer the bank out of troubled waters.

Many had wondered why Nigeria’s banking regulator; the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not wielded its hammer on the bank despite its troubled and distressed state. The question on the lips of stakeholders is if the new helmsman, Akinola George-Taylor, could revive the moribund bank.

Fresh information has, however, revealed that Heritage Bank, which came into existence under a new name just a few years ago has continued to sink deeper while its customers have continued to lament over their inability to withdraw or transfer their deposits due to lack of funds.

Most notable among the customers affected by the Heritage Bank’s liquidity crisis is Living Faith Church Worldwide, popularly known as Winners Chapel owned by fiery preacher, Bishop David Oyedepo. ENigeria Newspaper reliably gathered that worried by recent negative developments in the bank, Bishop Oyedepo had directed that the entire funds of the church in the bank worth over N5 billion be moved to another bank. Surprisingly, for weeks now, Heritage Bank has not been able to implement the instruction due to lack of funds.

“For over two weeks now, Bishop Oyedepo directed that the entire church money in Heritage Bank worth over N5 billion be moved to another bank, but Heritage Bank has failed to honour the instruction. After much gimmicks, two of the bank’s directors came begging that they don’t have enough funds. We knew that the bank is distressed and that was why we took the step,” a close source told ENigeria Newpsaper.

The source further disclosed that Bishop Oyedepo has threatened to write the CBN over the development if his request was not met before the end of the week.

Further investigations revealed that apart from the issues of “Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and the Liquidity Ratio (LR), the commercial bank is also grappling with many other crises that tend to threaten its survival. One of them is its poor services which are staring its customers in the face. Already, most of its branches are awash with complaints of unsatisfied customers whose singsong is their plans to close their accounts due to long hours they experience to get services from Heritage Bank staff.

Some of the staff who spoke on condition of anonymity told our correspondent that people are resigning every day because of uncertainties showing up in each of its departments.

“The remuneration of Heritage Bank is very poor. Our salaries have been drastically reduced in recent times with the management citing the poor economy while allowances have completely been discontinued,” the staff said.

ENigeria Newspaper reports that on the other hand, Heritage Bank and its founder, Sekibo’s many battles with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged several undercutting and fraudulent dealings may also be the reason the institution is failing.

Recall that the EFCC had charged Sekibo and five others before a Lagos State high court in Ikeja for an alleged fraud of N1 billion. Sekibo was charged along with Dimire Dike, Wumi Adeniyi, Kolapo Daisi, Funmilayo Taiwo and Akeem Durotoye. The charges bordered, among others, on conspiracy, stealing, obtaining money under false pretenses, and forgery.

The EFCC alleged that the defendants obtained the sum of N1bn from Heritage Bank Plc “by falsely representing the sum as proceeds of Vlamings Professional Limited’s investment in Heritage Bank Plc.”

It accused them of dishonestly converting the N1bn, being Heritage Bank’s property, to their own. They were also accused of forging a document titled ‘RE: Expression of Interest in Agric Fund Management Scheme.”

According to the anti-graft agency, the defendants allegedly forged the document dated April 2, 2015, “purporting it to be a loan scheme executed in favour of Vlamings Professionals Limited.”

The EFCC claimed that the defendants sent the document to it (EFCC), hoping it would be mistaken as genuine.

They also allegedly forged another document titled, “Agric Management Scheme” purporting that it was approved by Heritage Bank Plc.

Similarly, in a separate allegation, the EFCC again charged Mr. Sekibo before another Federal High Court in Lagos for an alleged fraud of N605,321,051.05.

Joined with Sekibo in the charge sheet marked FHC/C/95C/18 was one Kolapo Kola Daisi and company, Greame Properties Limited.

Still grappling with the effects of these allegations, news broke again of Sekibo’s involvement in an alleged diversion of N13 billion belonging to the Oyo State government. According to reports credited to a source in the EFCC, the money was lodged in some secret accounts in Heritage Bank in connivance with some top state government officials.

The money was said to have been deposited in a secret fixed account with an agreement to share the accrued interest among them.’

It was alleged that about N180 million was traced to Sekibo, while another N85 million was kept in a fixed deposit account on behalf of some top bank officials.

The troubles of Heritage Bank however escalated when it was discovered that a whopping $24.1 million (N9.399 billion) belonging to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) which was lodged with the bank was kept away from the then management of the maritime agency led by Hadiza Bala Usman. Even after the NPA opened discussions with the bank in a bid to recover its money, it was gathered that the management of Heritage Bank feigned ignorance of such lodgment, claiming rather that the money might have been an inherited liability from Enterprise Bank which it acquired recently.

Reports have it that Heritage Bank management, while admitting to hiding the sum, declared that should the money be moved from the bank, it would automatically lead to the collapse of the lender.

Similarly, the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP) for the Recovery of Public Property recently declared that it recovered seven million dollars (N2.1 billion at official rate) illegally kept in Heritage Bank.

Will Heritage Bank survive the CBN hammer? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, Heritage Bank officials did not respond to our inquiries as at press time. More to come.



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The #Naira Was Not Redesigned For Beauty But For Economic And Security Reasons – Reno Omokri





The #Naira Was Not Redesigned For Beauty But For Economic And Security Reasons – Reno Omokri—–A socio-political activist and Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s aide, Reno Omokri has schooled some Nigerians over their myopic mindset towards the redesigned Naira Notes.

The Genius Media Nigeria reports that he made this known via his official twitter page.

Recall, Buhari had unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes at the commencement of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele had on Tuesday said that the president will unveil the newly designed N1,000, N500 and N200 notes.

The unveiling marks the first time in 19 years, Nigeria will be redesigning it’s currency notes.

At a briefing after the ceremony before the Federal Executive Council meeting, the CBN governor debunked insinuations suggesting that the early unveiling of the new notes is a means to target some Nigerians.

Mr Emefiele appealed to members of the public, urging them to desist from making such speculation, adding that that there is no need to perpetuate any such information.

According to him, the CBN will intensify the monitoring process and interrogate the process of withdrawals.

Emefiele maintained that there will be heavy restriction on the volume of cash that people can withdraw over the counter, as it works with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to monitor the purpose of any heavy transactions.

Immediately after the unveiling, Nigerians started expressing disappointment about the look of the newly redesigned naira notes which were unveiled earlier today by President Muhammadu Buhari. 

Across social media, the general feedback shows that many people are underwhelmed as the new banknotes fell below their expectations.

Many of the people who have criticised the newly unveiled banknotes were particularly critical of the colours. They pointed out that the banknotes look like they were printed with Snapchat filters.

Some Nigerians on Twitter even described the new banknotes as poor quality, attributing the poor designs as proof of the naira’s depreciation. Others questioned the relevance of the redesign, considering how much the CBN must have spent on the project.

Following CBN and Buhari Bashing, Reno took to social media to Educate those who have contrary view about on the positive effects of Redesigned Naira Notes. He tweeted:

The Naira was not redesigned for beauty. It was redesigned for economic and security reasons. And it achieved exactly that. Naira appreciated. Bandits were flummoxed. The dollar is powerful, but not beautiful. Emefiele and the CBN board deserve kudos, not hubris!

He further tweeted:

The dollar is powerful, but not beautiful. The Zimbabwean Dollar is beautiful, but not powerful. Money is not decoration. It is not a Fashion statement. It is a negotiable instrument. Let us learn to celebrate little victories, instead of criticising just to trend.

the positive effects


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