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Some people were invited to APC to ‘come and eat’, says lawmaker Philip Agbese

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Philip Agbese, deputy spokesperson of the house of representatives, says some members in the All Progressives Congress (APC) were invited to “come and eat”.

Agbese said this on Sunday in reaction to the victory the APC recorded during Saturday’s rerun election to conclude the tussle for Guma 1 constituency in the Benue house of assembly.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared APC’s Terwase Uche as winner of the election after he polled 5,289 votes to defeat Geoffrey Jimin of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 4,134 votes.

Speaking on behalf of the Benue APC national assembly caucus on Sunday, in Abuja, Agbese said the party won the election because of the leadership of George Akume, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF).

“We were in receipt of credible intelligence about high tensioned forces within the party, which should have originally added efforts to support the labour of original APC men and women, led by our Member, RT. Hon. Dickson Tarkighir; but rather, deployed the resources of the party and the collective patrimony of the people to fight the people and sabotage their genuine labour,” the lawmaker said.

“But for the timely guidance and congent leadership provided by the leader of the party, Senator George Akume and the state chairman, Comrade Austin Agada, the story would have been different.

“Now, the Benue people have known the truth. The APC as a party has also seen the difference between genuine party men and those who were invited to come and eat.

“And in all these, too, we must acknowledge the leveled playing ground provided by the electoral umpire, INEC, the professional and civil manners the security agencies conducted themselves during the election and the level of cooperation from the participants and their agents.”

The lawmaker said Benue people “have reached a higher stage of political awareness”.

“It spells a good future for the state. It means future elections will toll this pattern of peace, freeness, fairness and credibility,” he said.

“The electorate too must be commended.”

Pupils abducted from school bus in Ekiti regain freedom, driver found dead

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The kidnapped pupils and a staff member of Apostolic Faith School in Ekiti have regained their freedom.

The school children were said to have been rescued in the wee hours of Sunday.

The pupils, a driver, and a teacher, were abducted on Monday, January 29, from their school bus in Ekiti state.

They were heading to Emure-Ekiti when the assailants intercepted their bus at Eporo-Ekiti.

Abutu Sunday, police spokesperson in Ekiti, who confirmed the development to TheCable, also disclosed that the driver of the bus was found dead.

“In the early hours of today around 1:30 am, the abducted children and their teacher were rescued by the team of police and other security agencies, including the locals,” Sunday said.

“Unfortunately, we lost the driver who is suspected of having been killed by the abductors.”

Fidelity Bank appoints Abolore Solebo as executive director 

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The Board of Fidelity Bank Plc has announced the appointment of Mr. Abolore Solebo as Executive Director of, the Corporate Banking Directorate.

This was contained in the company’s notice to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and the investing public seen by newsmen.

According to the statement, the appointment has been approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria, and notice of the same was communicated to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.

The appointment is in furtherance of the Bank’s strategic objectives.

The Board noted that it is confident that Mr. Abolore Solebo will make significant contributions to the growth and development of the Bank and looks forward to working closely with him to achieve its strategic objectives.

Profile of Abolore Solebo
According to the statement signed by the Company Secretary, Ezinwa Unuigboje Abolore, Solebo joins the Board of Fidelity Bank Plc with over 24 years of extensive financial services and general management experience in Corporate, Investment, Commercial, Retail and Transaction Banking, Enterprise Wide Risk Management, Corporate Strategy and Consulting in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Since joining the Bank in 2008 as a Senior Manager, Abolore has held key positions including Head, of the Corporate Bank Directorate Analyst Group (2008); Division Head, of Upstream (2010); Division Head of energy & Power/ Project Finance (2017) and serves on various Management Committees.

Abolore was Acting Head of the Corporate Bank Directorate from 2021 until he was appointed Executive Director and is the recipient of several performance awards in the Bank.

Before joining the Bank, Abolore worked at Shell International Trading and Shipping Co Limited, London as a Credit Risk QA Analyst on the Global Credit Initiative Project for its global trading operations between 2007 and 2008.

He began his career as a Trainee Banking Officer at Citizens International Bank Plc in 1999.

He later moved to Broad Bank of Nigeria Plc as a Banking Officer in 2002 after which he left for the UK and returned to Nigeria in 2008 to join the Bank.

Aside from being a seasoned corporate banker with experience in various sectors of the economy, he is also an Energy Sector expert.

Abolore is a keynote speaker and resource person on Oil and Gas matters in Nigeria and has been involved in multibillion-dollar projects/finance transactions.

He holds an MBA from London Business School (UK), an MSc in Financial Management and Economics (Middlesex University, UK) with Distinction, and a BSc in Accounting from Ogun State University.

He has attended executive management and leadership programmes at international business schools including Wharton, the University of Pennsylvania, and London Business School.

Abolore is an Honorary Senior Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and a member of The Energy Institute UK (Nigeria Branch).

FG, CBN deny plans to convert $30 billion domiciliary deposits to naira

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The Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have denied that there are plans to convert $30 billion domiciliary deposits to naira.

This is a reaction to reports that the Federal Government and the apex bank were considering converting domiciliary accounts to naira as part of measures to solve the foreign exchange (forex) crisis and stop the crash of the naira.

This disclosure is contained in a statement by the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, on Saturday, where he said there was no iota of truth in the report, dismissing it as falsehood.

The CBN also in a post on its official X (formerly Twitter) account on Saturday, February 3, 2024, described the report as fake.

Edun in his statement said, “There is no iota of truth in the claims of Punch Newspaper that the Federal Government plans to convert foreign exchange in depositors’ domiciliary accounts to naira.

“The publication of such falsehood. at a time when the government is working to restore economic stability and confidence in the national currency is tantamount to economic sabotage.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I emphasize that depositors’ foreign currency in their domiciliary accounts will not be converted to naira.”
The CBN in its post said,

‘’No plans to convert $30bn domiciliary deposits to naira. This news is fake!’’

Reports aimed at causing panic in the forex market

The acting Director, Corporate Communications of the CBN, Mrs. Hakama, Sidi-Ali, in a statement described the allegation as false and aimed at causing panic in the foreign exchange market.

She said, ‘’The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to a story published by a national newspaper alleging that the Federal Government is considering converting $30 billion domiciliary deposits to Naira.

‘’This allegation is absolutely false and aims to trigger panic in the foreign exchange market, which the CBN is working assiduously to stabilize, as evidenced by its recent work and policy directions.

‘’Similar false narratives have been spread on the work of the CBN over the past few months and it is clear that vested interests are determined to sabotage our efforts.

‘’We want to assure the general public that CBN is working to build confidence and would never do anything to undermine the currency and the economy.

‘’We, therefore, urge all stakeholders to disregard stories aimed at causing panic in the system and see them clearly for what they are – acts of national sabotage.

‘’We wish to advise, in the strongest terms, against the peddling of false reports that have the potential to be disruptive to the economy. The Bank is the only designated authority for monetary policy changes and will always advise on any policy change(s) before they are brought into operation.

‘’The CBN is always open to answer questions about our policies.’’

Abuja bakers hike bread price, lament rising cost of production

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The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN), Abuja chapter, has lamented the rising cost of all baking materials in the country.

In a statement on Friday, Adeyemi Richard, secretary of the association, said the survival of the industry cannot be guaranteed as all associated baking materials have continued to be on the high side.

According to Richard, the rising cost experienced towards the last quarter of 2023 forced many of the members out of business and others that managed to survive it are yet to stabilise.

“Indeed, we are not ignorant of the N1,400 to a dollar of the foreign exchange but the flour we bought at the rate of N37,000 and sugar at N62,000 last week respectively,” he said.

“The same bag of flour today is N42,000 while a bag of sugar is N72,000 with major distributions.

“All other materials- yeast, margarine, to mention few are at alarming rates including Diesel which is now N1250/litre against N1050/litre sold last week.

“We understand that bread is a staple food for all classes of people but the middle and lower class consume more than the upper class which always makes it difficult for bakers to increase prices in proportionate to that of flour millers and producers of baking materials because they would not be able to afford it.”

Adeyemi, therefore, asked the government to come up with urgent economic and policy surgery that would rescue the industry from total collapse.

On his part, Ishaq Abdulraheem, chairman of AMBCN, said members find it difficult to manage their businesses in the face of this daily increment in prices of baking materials.

Abdulraheem called for the government’s intervention because of its importance to the economy.

He also appealed to the public to bear with bakers as they plan an upward review of the price of bread.

Abdulraheem said the decision is not for profit but to sustain the business while the association look forward to government intervention.

Lagos state government destroys shanties, dislodges squatters under Ijora bridge

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The Lagos State Government has commenced the destruction of illegal shanties occupied by squatters under the Ijora Causeway Bridge.

The government had earlier on Sunday given a five-day quit notice to squatters under the bridge and the Lagos Blue rail Line overhead bridge in Ijora to remove all their shanties for constituting a danger to the Lagos Blue Line corridor or risk demolition and removal.

The state Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, while giving the quit notice lamented the security risk the occupation of underneath the bridge by mini buses, block moulders, fuel sellers and miscreants posed to the safe operation of the blue rail line service, and said the government would not allow it to continue.

Sharing videos on his X handle on Saturday, Wahab stated that the enforcement team was led by ACP Bayo Sulaiman under the directive of the state governor to dislodge the squatters and clear the area.

He wrote, “Following the expiration of a 5-day quit notice issued to squatters under the Ijora Causeway Bridge by #followlasg last Sunday, the Enforcement Team of the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources #LasgMOE and Special Intervention Squad on the Restoration of the Lagos Badagry Rail Corridor Clean-Up led ACP Bayo Sulaiman begin enforcement by dislodging the illegal squatters and clearing up the area as directed by Lagos State Governor, #jidesanwoolu.”

INEC suspends rerun polls in Kano, Enugu, Akwa Ibom constituencies

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the suspension of ongoing rerun elections in specific constituencies in Akwa Ibom, Kano and Enugu states.

In a statement on Saturday, Sam Olumekun, national commissioner and chairman, information and voter education committee, said the suspension was due to disruptions, irregularities and abduction of election officials.

“The affected areas are as follows: Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency, Akwa Ibom State. Suspension of elections in two Polling Units (Village Hall, EdemUrua 003 in Ini LGA and Village Hall Mbiabong Ikot Udo 003 in Ikono LGA) where all election materials were carted away by hoodlums,” he said.

“Enugu South 1 State Constituency, Enugu State: Suspension of elections in all eight Polling Units where the original results sheets were not available for inspection by voters before the commencement of polls.

“Kunchi/Tsanyawa State Constituency, Kano State: Suspension of elections in all ten Polling Units in Kunchi LGA due to invasion, vandalization, and disruption by thugs.”

INEC had earlier announced that it was monitoring reports of hijacking and thuggery in some parts of the three states.

Olumekun said the decision of the commission to suspend the polls aligns with the provisions of section 24(3) of the electoral act, 2022.

“Further necessary measures for the affected constituencies will be announced after the Commission’s meeting on Monday,” the statement reads.

“INEC invites the security agencies to investigate the incidents, while the Commission commits to thoroughly interrogating any breaches involving its officials.”

Ekiti State school students regain freedom after four days in captivity

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The abducted pupils of the Apostolic Faith Nursery and Primary School in Emure Ekiti, who were kidnapped on Monday by armed herdsmen, have been released.

The children regained their freedom this evening after four days in captivity, SaharaReporters learnt.

We had reported on Monday that some pupils, a head teacher and a driver of Apostolic Faith School were abducted in Emure, Ekiti.

According to a video seen by SKYTREND NEWS, sources had said the children were kidnapped after school hours on their way to Eporo Ekiti in their school bus.

“The pupils were kidnapped while going to Eporo Ekiti from Emure on their school bus,” the source had said.

It was gathered that the incident caused panic among residents in the town who had appealed to security agencies for protection.

The incident had come amid the killing of two traditional rulers in the state by suspected bandits.

We earlier reported that bandits suspected to be herdsmen killed Elesun of Esun-Ekiti, David Babatunde and Onimojo of Imojo-Ekiti, Ogunsakin Olushola, after an ambush on their vehicle.

The victims were returning from Ogbe, a neighbouring town in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State, when the gun-wielding men struck from a bush between the border communities of the state and Ekiti.

Their corpses were dropped at a bush path before it was evacuated by combined security agents and some vigilantes.

Source: Sahara Reporters

French firm, Canal+ Group offers to buy MultiChoice for $1.69bn

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Canal+ Group, a French TV channel, has offered to buy all the shares in South Africa’s MultiChoice for $1.69 billion.

According Reuters, Canal+, in a statement on Thursday, said it has already submitted a proposal to this effect.

Canal+, a top shareholder in MultiChoice with a 31.67 percent stake, according to data on London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), said it would likely pay 105 rand in cash per share — a 40 percent premium to MultiChoice’s closing share price on Wednesday.

The French firm said its offer, worth 31.7 billion rand ($1.69 billion), was non-binding and indicative.

The company is expected to deliver a letter of firm intention to MultiChoice’s board once due diligence has been completed.

MultiChoice to continue to thrive in Africa will require a strategy that enhances its scale as well as strengthened local and global expertise,” Maxime Saada, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Canal Plus, said in a statement.

“Our potential offer, if successful, would be an important next step for MultiChoice to realise its full potential.”

Confirming the development, MultiChoice, which operates in 50 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, said it had received a letter from the French media company and would update shareholders on any developments.

Canal+ is a subsidiary of Vivendi SE, a French mass media holding company headquartered in Paris.

Naira dips marginally to N1,461.90/$1

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Naira has recorded a marginal drop at the official market to N1,461.90 per dollar at the first trading day in the month of February 2024.

This is despite the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) removal of foreign exchange (FX) cap from the International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) and ordered banks to sell excess dollars.

This represents a marginal decline of 0.43% or N6.31 weaker than N1,455.59 it traded the previous day according to data from the NAFEM where forex is officially traded.

This despite analysts’ optimism that the new FX rules by the apex bank would shore up dollar supply from commercial banks and stabilise naira in the immediate terms.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had the previous day released a new circular addressing suspected cases of excessive foreign currency speculation and hoarding from Nigerian banks.

The domestic currency depreciated 0.43% to close at N1,461.90 to a dollar on the first day of February 2024.

This represents an N6.31 gain or a 0.43% decrease in the local currency compared to the N1,455.59 closed on Wednesday.

The intraday high recorded was N1526/$1, while the intraday low was N891/$1, representing a wide spread of N635/$1.

According to data obtained from the official NAFEM window, forex turnover at the close of the trading was $156.86 million, representing an 17% increase compared to the previous day.