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Bloggers’ Guild commiserates with Access Bank, family of late Wigwe

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Dear Access Bank and the family of the late Group CEO,

The Guild of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria (GPBN) extends our deepest condolences on the tragic loss of your Group CEO, Herbert Wigwe in the helicopter crash on February 9th, 2023.

Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time, and we share in the grief of losing a visionary leader.

May strength and solace surround you as you navigate through this profound sorrow.

Sincerely,
President, Guild of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria (GPBN)

N1.3bn fraud: Pastor Theophilus Ebonyi acquired hotel, factory with church members’ funds, says EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says Theophilus Ebonyi, general overseer of Faith on the Rock Ministry International, acquired a hotel and factory using funds gotten through fraud.

Ebonyi was arrested in 2023 by the EFCC for allegedly defrauding members of his church and other Nigerians to the tune of N1,319,040,274.31 “using fake grants” from the Ford Foundation.

The agency said the pastor defrauded his victims by advertising an intervention project through Theobarth Global Foundation, his non-governmental organisation (NGO).

He had claimed that the Ford Foundation was offering a grant of $20 billion to assist the less-privileged in the country.

In a statement on Wednesday, Dele Oyewale, EFCC head of media and publicity, said investigations showed that Ebonyi acquired a 23-room hotel, a pure water factory, two blocks of a primary school, a two bungalow office at New Karu and a five-bedroom duplex at Karsanan in Abuja, with the proceeds of his dealings.

Oyewale said the pastor also set up a live broadcast channel with studio equipment for his NGO, with the funds of his subscribers.

“He allegedly hoodwinked his victims to subscribe as beneficiaries of the phony grant by asking them to pay for registration forms and clusters. Each subscriber was made to pay N1,800,000( One Million, Eight Hundred Thousand Naira only). Through this arrangement, Ebonyi allegedly raked in N1,391,040,274.31. His subscribers are innocent and unsuspecting Nigerians and NGOs across the country,” the statement reads.

“Investigations by the EFCC showed that Ford Foundation had no arrangement, grant, relationship or business with Ebonyi. The Foundation pointedly disclaimed him and his NGO stressing that it had no link whatsoever with them. The Commission has also traced five properties he acquired as proceeds of his criminal dealings.

“Ebonyi is still reportedly reaching his subscribers on some social media platforms to market his spurious grant from Ford Foundation.”

Longest-surviving heart transplant recipient, Bert Janssen recognised by Guinness World Records

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Bert Janssen, the longest-surviving heart transplant patient, has been recognised by Guinness World Records.

“The longest surviving heart transplant patient (male) is Bert Janssen (Netherlands, b. 8 June 1966), who has lived for 39 years and 100 days after receiving his transplant on 6 June 1984, in Harefield, UK as verified on 14 September 2023,” Guinness World Records wrote on its website.

“The surgery was performed by Harefield Hospital (UK) with further care provided by Laurentius Hospital (NL)”.

At the age of 17, Janssen was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a condition that impacts the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body.

His cardiologist in his home country had ties with Harefield Hospital in London and Magdi Yacoub, the doctor who eventually carried out the operation.

The now 57-year-old Janssen reportedly said the new heart allowed him to quickly return to a good quality of life, playing tennis and volleyball and securing a full-time job.

He said he was still grateful for the incredible gift his donor gave him and hopes his story would be an inspiration to others.

“I could never imagine I will come this far, but nevertheless I always look up to others who had their donor heart longer than I had,” he said.

“It feels like an honour to have reached this milestone, but what I think is most important is that I set a benchmark for others.

“It is now officially proved that it is possible to come this far while having a donor heart.

“I assume the marker will yet move quite a bit further and I will be pleased if others will break my record in due course.”

He married his wife Petra in 1996 and welcomed sons Guido and Ivo in 1996 and 2000 respectively.

Fernando Riesgo Gil, consultant cardiologist and lead of the heart transplantation service at Harefield Hospital, said it is fantastic that one of the hospital’s early transplant patients continues to live such a full and happy life so long after his transplant.

“Blood and Transplant website, there were 7,314 adults on the active transplant waiting list in the UK as of last week Feb. 2, 2024, along with 248 patients under the age of 18. Of the total, some 334 are waiting for hearts,” he said.

“Unfortunately, many of these people will die on the waiting list because we have a shortage of organ donors in this country.

“I hope that Bert’s story serves as an encouragement to the public to consider registering as organ donors, to give the gift of life.”

Kwara University deputy bursar, Alhaji Ayuba Abdullahi dies watching Super Eagles AFCON semi-finals

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The Deputy Bursar of Kwara State University Malete, Alhaji Ayuba Abdullahi, on Wednesday night, died while watching the semi-finals between Nigeria and South Africa in the ongoing AFCON.

Nigeria won the match against South Africa by 4-2 goals on penalties after regulation and extra time ended 1-1.

Sources close to the deceased but who spoke on condition of anonymity said Abdullahi went to a sports centre in the Sango area before he started feeling uneasy.

One of the sources said, “The Deputy Bursar watched the Nigeria/South Africa match from the beginning till the end of the extra time, till it was time for a penalty kick.

“He complained that he was feeling dizzy, so he said he needed to go back home and rest not knowing that his BP had gone up.

“On getting home, he collapsed and was rushed to a private hospital in Sango and he was referred to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital and before he could be attended to, he died.

“He was buried on Thursday morning according to Islamic rites.”

The university’s Director of Information, Dr Saedat Aliyu, confirmed Abdullahi’s death.

Aliyu, however, stated that the cause of death was yet to be ascertained by the management of the university.

“Yes, he died last night. He was hale and hearty and was full of life on Wednesday at his office. May Almighty Allah grant him Aljanah Firdaus” she said

A statement by the university said, “This is to announce the death of Mr. Ayuba Olaitan Abdullahi of the Bursary Department.

“Janazah will be held this morning, and his remains will be interred at the Hausa Muslim cemetery, Apata Yakuba, Oyun area, Ilorin, at 9 am.”

Also, a former federal lawmaker in Delta State, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, died while watching the Eagles’ match..

A source close to the politician said, “Cairo Ojougboh, a medical doctor died during the Nigeria vs.South Africa match.

“The incident happened when the penalty was awarded against Nigeria. Dr Ojougboh was said to have shouted and slumped due to a massive heart attack when SA scored.”

In the same vein, a member of the National Youth Service Corps serving in Adamawa State also reportedly died during the game.

The corps member identified only as Samuel from Kaduna State, allegedly passed away just before the final kick which secured Nigeria’s win in the match, The Nation reports.

Enugu lady, Chiamaka Ifezue who killed makeup artist in 2020 to die by hanging

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The Enugu State High Court has sentenced one Chiamaka Ifezue to death by hanging for killing Ijeoma Nweke, a makeup artist, on November 11, 2020.

Chiamaka was said to have conspired with Emeka Ifezue, her brother, to kill Ijeoma, a graduate of Imo University (IMSU), for “having an affair with her boyfriend”.

It is understood that Chiamaka lured Ijeoma to a yet-to-be-identified place with the promise of giving her a makeup gig.

The siblings were said to have poured a substance believed to be acid on the deceased’s body.

In February 2021, they were first arraigned before a magistrate court in Enugu.

According to NAN, on Wednesday, the court — presided over by Kenneth Okpe — found the accused guilty of killing the deceased by forcing her to drink a poisonous substance, which led to her death.

“The defendant was in Count 2, charged under Section 274(1) of the Criminal Code Law of Enugu State Cap. 30 Revised Laws of Enugu State, 2004, which prescribes death sentence as punishment,” the judge said.

The judge also said the defendant carried on throughout the trial with a sense of fulfilment that the mission was accomplished and that her freedom was a matter of time.

“There was no remorse shown from the beginning of trial to judgment day,” Okpe added.

“I hereby sentence the defendant, Ifezue Chiamaka, to death by hanging until she is dead.

“May God have mercy on her.”

Nweke was said to have left her house on November 11, 2020, for a job. She, however, went missing until her corpse was found five days later in a refuse dump in the Maryland area of Enugu.

CC Chigbo, the Enugu state director of public prosecution, described the judgment as a victory for justice.

Naira depreciates to N1,500/$ at parallel market

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The Nigerian naira, on Wednesday, depreciated to N1,500 at the parallel section of the market.

The rate is a 3.45 percent decrease from the N1,450 per dollar recorded on Monday.

Currency traders in Lagos, also known as Bureau De Change operators (BDCs), quoted the buying rate of the greenback at N1,490 and the selling price at N1,500 — leaving a profit margin of N10.

At the official window, the local currency appreciated by 1.05 percent to N1,418/$ on Wednesday — from N1,433/$ on Tuesday.

According to FMDQ Exchange, a platform that oversees official foreign exchange (FX) trading in Nigeria, the naira traded as high as N1,510 and as low as N896.28 — with a daily turnover of $203.93 million.

Meanwhile, on February 1, 2024, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), continued its foreign exchange market reforms by removing the limit on the FX rate quoted by international money transfer operators (IMTOs).

“For the avoidance of doubt, by this circular, the cap on allowable limit of -2.5% to +2.5% around the previous day’s closing rate of the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market is hereby removed,” the apex bank said.

CBN instructed the money transfer operators to quote exchange rates based on the prevailing market rates at the FX market.

Dangote University suspends lecturer who asked student to do frog jump (Video)

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The management of Aliko Dangote University of Science and Technology (ABUSTECH), Wudil, Kano, has suspended a lecturer who meted out corporal punishment to some students.

In a now-viral video, the lecturer was captured disciplining some students inside the lecture hall. The students, it was gathered, came late for his class.

While some students were seen kneeling on the order of the lecturer, one of their colleagues was asked to do a “frog jump” while also receiving slaps.

The footage which surfaced on Monday provoked a chorus of condemnation on social media platforms.

Reacting to the video in a statement, Sa’idu Nayaya, the varsity deputy registrar of information and public relations, said the lecturer has been suspended over “physical assault/corporal punishment”.

According to NAN, Nayaya added that the institution’s management has forwarded the matter to the senior staff disciplinary committee for further action.

“The video clip showed physical assault/corporal punishment meted out on some students by an academic staff member in a lecture hall,” the statement reads.

“To that effect, the management of the university immediately queried and suspended the staff member in question, and forwarded the case to the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee for further action.

“These measures are taken swiftly to arrest the situation and bring justice.

“The management is hereby assuring parents, guardians, and the general public that the welfare and safety of the students are topmost, and any breach by whosoever will not be tolerated and go unpunished.

“The management is also assuring that it will continue to provide a conducive learning environment to the students for them to graduate successfully at the end of their studies.”

Senate grills service chiefs on insecurity

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The Nigeria Service Chiefs are currently responding to inquiries from the National Assembly over the state of insecurity in the country.

The security chiefs arrived at the National Assembly on Wednesday in response to a Senate resolution for an interaction.

They entered the hallowed Chambers at 12:39 to meet with the Senate Committee.

The invitation of the Service Chiefs was prompted by the alarming levels of insecurity, with Abuja, the Federal Capital, under siege.

They are also expected to brief the chamber on the infiltration of bandits and kidnappers into the FCT to find a lasting solution to the situation.

However, the insecurity also stretches to some parts of the southwest states such as Ekiti and Lagos.

The Senate had in a unanimous decision after an an emergency session on the first legislative day of the year on January 30, summoned the service chiefs over the spate of insecurity in the country.

Kebbi state government suspends two colleges over unpaid ₦100k dues

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The Kebbi state government has suspended academic activities indefinitely in two private schools in the state.

The two affected institutions are the Lamido Umaru Mutube College of Advanced Studies in Dakingari, and the SAHAM College of Health Sciences and Technology in Zuru.

NAN reports that Aliyu Shehu-Jega, the director of higher education, announced the suspension in Birnin Kebbi on Tuesday.

The director, in a statement, quoted Isah Abubakar-Tunga, the commissioner for higher education, as issuing the suspension.

He said the commissioner suspended academic activities in the affected schools due to their failure to pay their annual dues.

The director said the institutions had an obligation to pay N100,000 each for two consecutive years — 2022 and 2023.

Earlier, Caleb Mutfwang, governor of Plateau, sacked four heads of tertiary institutions, including Bernard Matau, the vice-chancellor of the Plateau State University (PLASU).

Samuel Jatau, secretary to the state government, who announced the sack, did not give reasons for the development.

Matau was appointed as the vice-chancellor of PLASU while serving as the commissioner for higher education in the administration of Simon Lalong, the former governor of Plateau.

Jatau disclosed that the governor also approved the dissolution of the governing board of PLASU.

Other heads of institutions affected by the removal include the rector of the Plateau State Polytechnic in Barkin Ladi, the provost at the College of Health Technology, and the provost at the College of Education in Gindiri.

Wema Bank appoints Kazaure, Opeke as new directors to its board

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The Board of Wema Bank Plc has announced the appointment of Yusuf Zubair Kazaure and Segun Opeke as Non-Executive Director and Executive Director respectively.

According to the bank in a notice to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and the investing public seen by newsmen, the appointment of the addition of two new directors to its Board was effective from February 2, 2024.

The Bank who disclosed that it has received approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria to appoint the new directors noted that the duo are strong leaders in their relevant sectors and will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the Board of the Bank.

Profile of Mr. Yusuf Kazaure 

According to the statement signed by Company Secretary/General Counsel, Johnson Lebile Mr. Kazaure is a seasoned professional with over thirty-five years of cumulative multi-sector working experience spanning Architecture, Construction, Banking, as well as Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

He is an experienced corporate and technology industry executive, focused on transformative outcomes and motivated by challenges.

Kazaure obtained a BSc and MSc in Architecture from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria. He is also an alumnus of Bayero University Kano, Nigeria, and Oxford University, United Kingdom where he obtained an MBA and Diploma in Computing respectively.

He is currently pursuing a PhD in Cybersecurity at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria.

He started his career in public service in 1987 as an Architect in the Kano State Ministry of Works and Housing before moving into the banking sector where he worked for 10 years.

He served as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and that of Urban & Regional Planning in Jigawa State and later became a Director General in charge of International and Governmental Affairs in the Executive Governor’s Office of Jigawa State between 1999 and 2002.

He was the pioneer Managing Director /CEO of Galaxy Information Technology and Telecommunication Ltd – the Jigawa State-owned ICT company in 2002, and later the CEO of Galaxy Backbone Ltd – a Federal Government owned ICT company in 2014 up until December 2019.

He was also the Chairman of the Board of Directors, of Nigeria Satellite Communications Ltd between January 2020 to June 2023 and a director of MAG Group Ltd, a multinational conglomerate with about eight subsidiaries/ affiliates that have a presence in over 20 countries.

Kazaure has attended several executive training courses at various universities and institutions across the world including Leading the Effective Sales Team at INSEAD, in France; Strategic Alliance at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, USA; Securitization for Housing Finance, Fannie Mae, USA; the Advance Management Training Program (AMP) of the Lagos Business School; the CIO Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, USA to mention a few.

He is a fellow of the Nigeria Computer Society, a fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Management Consultants, and a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Architects.

Profile of Mr. Segun Opeke 

Mr. Segun Opeke is a result-oriented professional banker with over thirty-five years of working experience from leading Nigerian commercial banks.

He studied Banking and Finance at the University of Lagos and thereafter obtained an MBA from the same University of Lagos in 1999.

He is also an alumnus of the Columbia Business School, New York, and the London Business School, United Kingdom.

Segun started his career at Chartered Bank Limited and played diverse strategic roles in various banking institutions including leading the consumer banking team in FSB International Bank before proceeding to Prudent Bank as an Area Manager.

Following the consolidation of Skye Bank in 2006, Segun worked as the bank’s Treasurer and Regional Director and later became the Group Head of Corporate Banking, Aviation, and Maritime group.

Upon Polaris Bank taking over the defunct Skye Bank in 2018, Segun was made an Executive Director in charge of Lagos Business and Corporate Banking directorates until June 2023 when he retired from the Bank.

Segun has attended several professional, management, and leadership programs in world-class institutions including INSEAD and Euromoney, London.

He is a strong team player, and he is credited with making immense contributions in the areas of business development, corporate finance/restructuring, and digital transformation.

According to the Board, the addition of the two new directors will significantly enhance the wealth of knowledge within the Board of Directors of the Bank.