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Corporate Nigeria shuts down Lagos for Wigwe

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Corporate Nigeria and some political titans turned up yesterday to celebrate the life and times of the late Chief Executive Officer of Access Corporation Plc, Herbert Wigwe who all of them described as a titan.

In an emotion laden ‘Night of Tributes’ with touching memories, dignitaries from the public and private sectors, led by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, governors of Lagos and Ogun states, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN governor and bank chief executives sang praises of the late bank chief.

Wigwe, 57 years old, who was also MD/CEO Access Bank Plc, died in a helicopter crash in United States on February 9, 2024, alongside his wife, Chizoba Wigwe, his Son, Chizi Wigwe amd former President, Nigeria Exchange, Mr. Abimbola Ogunbanjo.

Other dignitaries at the event include President, African Development Bank, AfDB, Adesina Akinwunmi, Chairman Zenith Bank Plc, Jim Ovia, Chairman Coronation Capital, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, CEO, GTHoldings Plc, Segun Agbaje, CEO of FirstBank Nigeria Limited, Adesola Adedutan and the President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, Mr. Ken Okpara.

Dangote

In his tribute, Dangote descibed the late Herbert Wigwe as a loyal friend and a pillar of support for him and his family.

Fighting to hold back tears, Dangote narrated how late Herbert encouraged him in his business pursuits.

Dangote described the late Herbert as a visionary role model with courage second to none.

“I am proud to name him my devoted friend, mentee and supporter. I will forever cherish the warmth of his friendship,” Dangote said.

Adesina

AfDB President, Adesina Akinwunmi, in his tribute said: ‘’Herbert Wigwe brought pride to Nigeria and to Africa.

“He was relentless, determined, bold, visionary, inspiring, with exceptional drive for excellence. Everything he touched became gold

“Herbert is a bankers banker, and investors asset holder. His drive for major achievements sparks courage. Herbert was bankable and Access Bank was bankable.”

Aig-Imoukhuede

The chairman, Coronation Capital, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, described Herbert Wigwe as a brilliant banker who help to transform the banking industry in Nigeria.

Edun

Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, described late Herbert as a pillar of support who was full of knowledge, ideas and creative thinking.

“He gave me his time and thinking. He had solutions, never at a loss,” said Edun.

Sanwo-Olu

Governor, Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo Olu, paid glowing tributes to the leadership qualities of late Herbert Wigwe, especially in rallying support to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Herbert led from the front during the difficult period of COVID 19.

Describing the late banker as a brother, friend adviser, who supported the infrastructure drive of his administration, Sanwo Olu said Lagos would not forget Herbert Wigwe.

Gov Abiodun

Herbert believed in Nigeria—Dapo Abiodun

Ogun State governor on his part, praised the late Herbert for his commitment to Nigeria

“Herbert believed in Nigeria. He did everything to support Nigeria. He was intelligent, bold and lived two lifetimes in one.”

Cardoso

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso described late Herbert Wigwe as a trully exceptional individual who played a pivotal role in transforming Access Bank into one of Nigeria’s foremost financial institutions.

I spoke with Herbert 2 weeks before he died —Agbaje

Agbaje

The Group Chief Executive Officer of GT Holdings, Mr Segun Agbaje, in his tribute, said he spoke with the late Herbert two weeks before he died, just as he described him (Herbert) as a fierce competiton.

Agbaje said: “It is indeed a very difficult for me. Herbert was my colleague, friend, competitor and brother. Only Herbert could have been all those things to a human being.

‘’We started as colleagues. I met Herbert in November 1991, we were both in the corporate bank. And then, as we all matured, Herbert became my real brother.

‘’He would alweays make the phone call to get you out of the spot you were in. It is weird that my last conversation with him was two weeks before he died.

He came to my house to talk about his obsession which was his university.”

Banks now borrow more from CBN to shore up cash position

Amidst sustained liquidity

mop-up and monetary policy tightening by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, there are indications that many deposit money banks are now resorting to heavy borrowing from the apex bank to meet up with their regulatory and other liquidity obligations.

CBN’s Financial Data for February 2024 obtained by Vanguard shows that the banks’ borrowing from the CBN Standing Lending Facility (SLF) increased month-on-month, MoM, by 65.5 percent to N5.96 trillion in February from N3.6 trillion in January 2024.

The data also shows that the banks deposited N330.71 billion in the CBN’s Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) in the same period, representing a 72.4 percent MoM, decline when compared with N1.2 trillion deposited in January 2024.

This development is coming at the backdrop of the various CBN policies to prepare banks against vulnerabilities from within and outside the country.

One of the latest policies is the increase in the benchmark interest rate, the Monetary Policy Rate, MPR, to 22.75 percent from 18.75 percent and Cash Reserve Ratio, CRR, to 45 percent from 32.5 percent last week.

Analysts are of the opinion that the increase in interest rate would raise asset yields of some banks by an average of 400 bases points (bps) in the financial year end of 2024.

In their Banking Sector update report for March, analysts at CardinalStone Research said: “Based on the first and second-order impacts of the rise in auction stop rates and 400 basis points increase in MPR to 22.75%, we now forecast asset yields to rise by an average of 400 bps across our coverage banks in FY’24 (vs c. 150 bps in our previous communication).

“This adjustment suggests a mean 83.4 percent increase in interest income for our banking coverage.

“Whilst the discontinuation of daily CRR debits is positive, the recent decision of the MPC to raise statutory CRR to 45 percent may appear a downside risk to interest income, with direct inference suggesting that banks can now only deploy 55 percent of new deposits to interest-earning opportunities assuming other rules (such as the loan to deposit ratio) are adhered to.

“We are of the view that the surging interest rate environment may increase pressure on banks to step up on the dividend front in the coming months. This may open avenues for decent dividend income (vs de-annualized return from fixed income options) in the near term.

“In our view, adverse macroeconomic conditions are likely to increase the risk of Non performing Loans , NPLs, in FY’24 (mean of 3.7 percent across our coverage), with sectors that are heavily reliant on imported raw materials and equipment maintenances such as manufacturing likely to be badly hit by the short-term cost implications of ongoing reforms.”

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Damagum returns as National Chairman, urges members to work for party’s success

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Ambassador Umar Damagum has retained his position as the acting National Charman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

On Thursday, the PDP conducted its 98th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.

In a communique after the meeting, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Barrister Debo Ologunagba said the NEC urged all members to continue to work together for the success of the party for the benefit of Nigerians.

A day earlier, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party passed a vote of confidence on Damagum.

Ologunagba said: “NEC charges all organs, leaders, critical stakeholders and indeed all members of the PDP to close ranks, put aside every personal or group interests and work together in the overall effort to reposition and return the PDP to power at the center in the interest of the Nigerian people.

“Consequently, NEC received and approved the Timetable for Party Congresses across the country.

“NEC also approved the Reconstitution of the Party Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committees to further ensure the stability of the party.

“Similarly, NEC approved the extension of the life of the Party Constitution Amendment Committee to allow it to receive new amendment proposals for inclusion in its deliberation and final report for consideration by NEC.

“NEC commended the efforts of the National Working Committee in its effort towards rebranding the Party including the new look PDP Logo which is widely accepted by Party members and Nigerians in general.

“NEC charges all Party members to continue to work together for the success of the PDP for the benefit of Nigerians and sustenance of Democracy in our country.”

Before the NEC meeting, PDP members loyal to the party’s presidential candidate in the last election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had moved against Damagum, over allegations that he was working for former governor of Rivers State, Barrister Nyesom Wike.

Wike led a group of five PDP governors that rebelled against Atiku while contesting the presidential election last year.

Atiku lost the election to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who appointed Wike as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

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Reps Urge Ports Operators To Cooperate For Economic Diversification

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By Gloria Ikibah

The House of Representatives has appealed to ports operators in Nigeria to cooperate and align with Nigeria’s economic diversification move.

The Chairman House Committee on Ports And Harbours, Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, made the call at an interactive Session of the Committee with all Terminal Operators and Nigeria Ports Authority Licensed Agents, on Thursday in Abuja.

He explained that the Committee’s interactive session was very crucial because of the invaluable roles the sector plays in the nation’s economy and national life.

He saud: “It therefore presents us with urgent need to effect changes that will restructure this unique and high-tech sector and position it to strategically compete in the global space.

“This sector is very dynamic and we must constantly review the standards, facilities and operational guidelines to keep pace with its obtainable global best practices.

“I wish to reiterate the Committee’s commitment to ensure that the sector remains one of the best through appropriate legislation and oversight in order to bequeath to Nigerians, a Ports and Harbours that is properly regulated and better managed for greater efficiency”.

The Committee Chairman also said that it was important to harmoniously promote the objective of professionalizing the modus operandi of the sector to improve Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product and revenue generation.

“We intend to collaborate with relevant Stakeholders in the industry to ensure that appropriate avenues are created for its economic development and then make it a hub for better non-oil revenue generation. It is imperative to note that the House of Representatives will continue to support total rehabilitation and upgrading of our Ports and Harbours and allied services. We shall ever be ready to provide the necessary legislation and needed oversight to achieve this purpose”, he added.

Rep. Nnaji disclosed that the purpose of the meeting was to provide the interface for members of the Committee to interact with Stakeholders in the industry, most especially Terminal Operators and NPA Licensed Agents regarding their operations and various activities in the Ports and also create the enabling environment and synergy towards achieving the goals of the Federal Government in the Maritime sector, as well as aligning the sector with its contemporary demands, developmental goals, international standards and best practices.

“It is pertinent to note that the Committee’s role is not only to oversight the NPA, but also to partner with stakeholders in the sector to achieve maximum success taking cognizance of government’s quest on increasing revenue generation, port decongestion and boosting infrastructural development for effective service delivery. Thus, we must be committed to transparency, collaboration and open dialogue with all stakeholders to enhance ease of doing business”, the chairman said.

The lawmaker enjoined the stakeholders to bring their exclusive viewpoints and experiences on board as they will be invaluable in shaping policies and recommendations of the committee.

While briefing the committee, the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, Mrs Urunta Chinyere, told the committee that there was the news for the digitization of the operations of the agents.

According to her, if operators can adopt the model, it would enhance revenue generation.

“We observed that most of the terminal operators are doing partial implementation of what we ask for. They are not fully complying to what they are supposed to do”, Chinyere said.

In his response, the Managing Director of Five Star Logistics, Mr. Rigor Nazzari, said that his agency has fully complied with all the models.

According to him, there are operators specific issues at the terminals that need to be addressed by the council.

The committee chairman thereforw called on the terminal operators to comply with the council and upgrade their systems.

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Aisha Yesufu queries Gov. Ododo for trying to prevent EFCC from arresting Yahaya Bello

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Nigerian female social activist, Aisha Yesufu,  has expressed displeasure with the role played by Kogi Stars Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo in stopping the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from arresting his predecessor, Yahaya Bello.

It was gathered that the Kogi Governor on Wednesday, obstructed the arrest of Bello by operatives of the EFCC.

Recall that the EFCC operatives had stormed Bello’s residence in Abuja in an attempt to arrest him over an ongoing fraud investigation.

But Bello was reportedly smuggled out of his residence by Ododo to evade arrest by the anti-graft agency.

“I cannot imagine I, Aisha Yesufu as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a Governor will come to Abuja where I am, to prevent @officialEFCC from arresting someone.

“As in, prevent it from carrying out its constitutional sanctioned duty. Nahhhhh!
Kai! Poor Nigeria!”

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