Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge: Delta, Rivers Corps Members Listed To Benefit From N10m Business Grant

Unity Bank
Unity Bank

Unity Bank’s flagship Entrepreneurial Development Initiative, Corpreneurship Challenge, is set to return for the 8th edition across 10 locations in Nigeria, including a debut in Delta and Rivers States.

The Retail lender kick-started the Corpreneurship Challenge scheme in 2019, with a launch in Lagos and in three other states, which included Edo, Ogun, and Abuja, but with the increasing traction of the initiative among corps entrepreneurs, the Bank has now expanded the programme to 10 states across the federation.

The first expanded edition covered Lagos, Ogun, Abuja, Edo, Katsina, Enugu, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Kano and Kaduna. This edition will hold for the first time in Rivers and Delta as well as making a return to Sokoto, Edo, Abuja, Akwa-Ibom, Osun, Kano, Bayelsa and Enugu.

The Corpreneurship Challenge, which has earned the Bank a national recognition for its impact on youth empowerment and job creation, has continued to elicit growing interest among the corps members, attracting over 2000 applicants and participation in every edition.

In partnership with the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development, SAED, the initiative prominently features a business pitch presentation that provides the participants with the opportunity to present their business plans and stand a chance to win up to N500, 000 cash in the business grant.

Previous editions saw participants pitching business plans from several sectors including software solutions, fashion, fish production, poultry farming, bee farming, retail chains, and piggery to beverages which were assessed based on originality, marketability, and future employability potential of the product and knowledge of the business.

So far, Unity Bank has invested over N100 million in the initiative which has now produced 58 winners since it was launched.

Maritime Security: Nigeria’, JAPAN Sign Exchange Notes On High-Speed Boat To Reinforce Deep Blue Project.

Honorable Minister of State Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba (middle); Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, His Excellency Kazuyoshi Matsunaga (left) and Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh during the signing of an Exchange of Note (E/N) with the Japanese Government for the Economic and Social Development Programme in Abuja.
Honorable Minister of State Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba (middle); Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, His Excellency Kazuyoshi Matsunaga (left) and Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh during the signing of an Exchange of Note (E/N) with the Japanese Government for the Economic and Social Development Programme in Abuja.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria has signed an Exchange of Note(E/N) with the Japanese Government for an Economic and Social Development Programme involving the acquisition of High-Speed Boat to reinforce services for coastal security in Nigeria, with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, as the implementing partner.

The Honorable Minister of State Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba signed on behalf of Nigeria, while the Ambassador Extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, His Excellency Kazuyoshi Matsunaga signed on behalf of the Japanese Government, with the Director General of NIMASA Dr Bashir Jamoh in attendance.

Prince Agba noted that the procurement of the High Speed Boat worth $2.78 million dollars, will greatly enhance the operations of the Deep Blue project. He commended the Japanese government for their interest and interventions in Nigeria for Economic development.

“This project to strengthen the operations of NIMASA will definitely strengthen the partnership between the Government of Japan and Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

“Nigeria also appreciates the recent exchange of notes we signed for Emergency Improvement of Electricity Supply Facilities in Abuja, and the role Japan played in the development of the National Power Development Master-plan designed to guide the Government on the optimal energy mix and efficiency for Nigeria”. The Honorable Minister said.

On his part, the Director General of NIMASA Dr Bashir Jamoh, assured the Japanese Government that the Agency working with relevant stakeholders will ensure the sustainability of the recent success in the war against piracy in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.

“This High-Speed Boat is a welcome addition in our growing arsenal of platforms and assets to reinforce service for coastal security, not only in Nigeria but also in the Gulf of Guinea, as over 60% of shipping activities in the region pass through Nigerian waters”.

“This vessel will be incorporated into the Deep Blue project which already has 2 special Mission Vessels; 2 Special Mission Aircrafts; 3 Special Mission Helicopters; 10 Unmanned Air Systems and vehicles; 17 fast moving interceptor boats; 16 armoured vehicles and the C4i centre.”

Ambassador Matsunaga Kazuyoshi noted the project is to support the measures adopted by the Nigerian Government to deal with the threat of the blue economy, to prevent and suppress piracy, armed robbery, and any other unlawful act against ships in Nigerian waters.

The Ambassador said “in the Gulf of Guinea, as you know, the piracy problem is hindering the economic development of the coastal areas. A slowdown in economic development impoverishes the coastal population, forcing some of them into piracy for their livelihood. We need to break this vicious cycle.”

Economic and Social Development is one of the guiding principles of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD. “The people and Government of Japan hope this project will enable NIMASA reinforce their operations and services for coastal security in Nigeria, strengthen Nigeria’s counter piracy efforts and prove useful for the security of the Gulf of Guinea.

Pantami Storms Minna With Digital Economic Agenda


Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami
Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami
he Federal Government’s agenda to transform the country to a robust digital economy, became the focal point in the message of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, who was the special guest at the weekend commissioning of a ‘Digital Nigeria Centre’ at the Father O’Connel Science College, Minna, Niger State.
Hosted at the occasion by the college community led by its old student and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada who facilitated the project executed by the Universal Service Provision Fund, USPF, Pantami said through diligent implementation of the digital economy agenda, Nigeria has the potential of critical mass of ‘digital natives’ that can transform the country into a regional and global digital powerhouse.

“With the tools being provided through the DNC, creative Nigerians can play a key role in the creation of digital jobs across all sectors of the country. Such jobs are either based on or are dependent upon Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs),” he said.

The Minister who spoke through the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, said the current implementation of Nigeria’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, emphasizes the importance of innovation and startup ecosystem to the development of Nigerian indigenous digital economy. He said the DNC commissioned at the college targets students and youths among others, for skills acquisition in order to increase ICT literacy among school teachers and students; provide a platform for accessing online educational resources; equip students with ICT skills; facilitate ICT adoption in teaching and learning; and increase the pass rates in mathematics, English language and other science subjects.

Pantami who spoke to an audience that included Niger State’s Commissioner for Education, Hajiya Hanatu Jibrin Salihu, who represented the Governor of Niger State, advised the school to effectively utilize the DNC whose four components include ICT Tool component (made up of 40 desktop computers with embedded operating systems, server, printer, remote-controlled projector, high resolution scanner, and e-learning software) as well as the power structure, consisting of an inverter that comes with its charger, solar panels, batteries and automatic changeover.

“There is also a connectivity component, made up of routers, switches, and firewall for network protection, modem, fibre/microwave radio or Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) and bandwidth for internet connectivity. Lastly, there is a non-ICT component constitutive of the furniture, cabinet, cooling systems, and allied appliances” he said.

The DNC, formerly known as School Knowledge Centre (SKC), has an overarching objective to carry out the Commission’s statutory mandate of expanding the frontiers of universal access and universal service by ensuring service provision to unserved and under-served areas of the Nigerian economy.

Since the modification of the project from SKC to DNC, the Minna project became the second to be commissioned after the first DNC located at Ijesa Muslim Grammar School, Ilesa, Osun State, was inaugurated in January, 2022.

Maritime Media Practitioners Unveil CONMMEP, Seek Stakeholders Partnershi

Frontline Maritime Journalists have unveiled a new group known as Congress of Nigerian Maritime Media Practitioners, CONMMEP with the aim to adequately showcase, educate and inform governments agencies, stakeholders and general public of activities in the Maritime sector.

CONMMEP believes happenings in maritime sector are under reported due to lack of synergy between operators and maritime Journalists.
The President of CONMMEP, Alhaji Tunde Umar – Daniah, while Unveiling the new association in Apapa recently, said one of the major reasons the nation’s economy is yet to flourish was because maritime sector has not received the kind of attention it deserves.
According to him, “it is not that the government is deliberately not doing the right thing but because most times some key operators mislead those in authority by not telling them the actual issues on ground.”

Daniah urged maritime stakeholders to always partner with the media so that the right information would get to policy and decision makers and investors.

The CONMMEP President added that the massive water resources made available by God to Nigeria, if properly harnessed, is capable of changing the fortune of Nigeria for good.

“The Maritime sector if adequately and judiciously harnessed has the potential of generating more revenue for the country than oil.
“What the Federal Government needs is to pay close attention to the sector and also engage professionals with requisite experience to champion rapid development of the Maritime industry.

Emphasizing on synergy with industry stakeholders, CONMMEP President said operators in the maritime sector suffer in silence because government does not know what the main issues are since the operators do not open-up to Journalists.
” We need to collaborate with all segments of the maritime community for the growth and development of our nation. Operators should be able to brief Journalists when activities of government agencies are negatively affecting their businesses. Also, agencies of government should partner the media for better stakeholders understanding of their policies. By so doing, there will be peace and positive changes in the Maritime sector.”

Furthermore, Daniah advised operators and Government agencies in the maritime industry to always collaborate with CONMMEP and other Maritime journalists so that the right information on activities and development in the sector would be disseminated to investors and the general public in good time

NDLEA Commended  For Sustaining Fight Against Drug Abuse And Illicit Trafficking

NDLEA Commander of the Apapa Special Area Command, Mr. Inelegwu Ameh
NDLEA Commander of the Apapa Special Area Command, Mr. Inelegwu Ameh
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA has been Commended for its efforts at steming the tide of drug abuse and illicit trafficking in the country.

Participants at the Public enlightenment of the 2022 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking gave the commendation Monday while rounding off the week long activities to mark the day

Some participants who spoke at the conference .such as Chief Osita Chukwu, the President of Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders inhis goodwill message applauded the good job the NDLEA Chairman, Buba Marwa is making in this regard, insisting that “everyone who witnesses what goes on in our society should know that there is actually a tremendous change in the the fight against drug importation, sale and abuse. If other sectors of the economy can do very well like the NDLEA has been doing as at today, we will not be searching for running mates for Presidents and running mates right now because the right key for the right door would have been discovered and we will then be able to be witness a change that will be impactful”.

Cross section of participants at the international day Against Drug Abuse and illicit trafficking
Cross section of participants at the international day Against Drug Abuse and illicit trafficking

Representative of the Flag officer commanding the Western Naval Committed, Commander Muhammed Dalhatu in his goodwill message also congratulated the NDLEA for organising this year’s drug abuse awareness campaign.

He said “we all know the efforts NDLEA management puts in place to make our society an illicit drugs free society. We have seen it all over the places.

Controller of Immigration Apapa Lagos Seaport and Marine Command ably represented by C.S.O Adewunmi also commended the NDLEA for the commemoration of 2022 International Day against Drug Abuse. According to Adewunmi the NDLEA is doing a great work in trying to eradicate drug abuse in our society.
He bakoned on all to rally round and support NDLEA to make our society a drug.

Dr. Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents while commending the efforts of the agency at curtailing the menace of drugs trafficking, disclosed that his association has been collaborating with the NDLEA in the past two years on the issue.

In his keynote address, Dr. Wale Ige of the Nigerian Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru used graphic and video evidence to illustrate his presentation to bring home the problem of drug abuse. Dr. Ige whose paper is titled “Addressing challenges in health and humanitarian crises in the maritime corridor”, pointed out that health is described as the general condition of a person and that the UN defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and psychological well being and NOT as a mere absence of illness.

Lt.Col. Amajuoyi, Commandant at Bonny Cantonment who wondered why the menace of drug abuse has lingered so long advised the agency on adopting proactive measures in order to solve the drugs problems.

Dr. Ige who delivered the Keynote address noted that humanitarian crisis can have physical, mental and psychological implications on the human person and so should be eradicated. He said that by reason of the participants being mainly those close to the port corridor, a place of transhipment of cargoes, care must be taken to forestall the incidence of drug trafficking, sale and abuse that may lead to a crisis. He admonished parents and leaders to show responsibili c bcty and refrain from engaging in activities that will introduce their children and wards to the dangerous arena of substance abuse.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the NDLEaA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa in his address of welcome at the occasion noted that the day is of utmost importance to the global community in the continuous effort to ameliorate the consequences of abuse of illicit substances and make our world a safer place.
He said the theme for this year which is “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises.” highlights an aspect of the drug problem that is critical for Nigeria and indeed the world at large.

The NDLEA Chairman who was represented by the Commander of the Apapa Special Area Command, Mr. Inelegwu Ameh, stated that. “drug abuse health challenges came to the fore in 2021 as the human family was recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the crux of the World Drug Report for 2021, which noted that “Drug use killed almost half a million people in 2019, while drug use disorders resulted in 18 million years of healthy life lost, mostly due to opioids. Serious and often lethal illnesses are more common among drug users, particularly those who inject drugs, many of whom are living with HIV and Hepatitis C.” ”

Marwa admitted that the concerns of World Drug Report 2021 were not far fetched because here in Nigeria, there were similar patterns with findings of the National Drug Use and Health Survey in 2018 with the risk of the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases very high and this in turn raises the stake of a public health crisis. Hence, there was no questioning the rationale of treatment for drug users.

“The National Drug Use Survey afforded Nigeria the baseline information needed for the design and implementation of effective prevention, treatment and care services capable of reducing the demand for drugs and also prevent the morbidity and mortality attributable to drug use.” He stated

The NDLEA Chairman affirmed that there were challenges associated with these substances which were obvious and as the report noted: “Two-thirds of high-risk drug users reported a self-perceived need for drug treatment. Around 40 per cent of those reported that they had wanted to receive drug treatment but were unable to access such services.”
Aside from the cost of treatment, the stigma associated with substance use and access to required health services were cited as major barriers to treatment in the country.

AFRIMA Meets ECCAS, UNESCO In Gabon, Discusses Plans To Stimulate Africa’s Creative Economy

From Left) Commissioner in charge of the Department of Gender Promotion and Human and Social Developments, Economic Committee of Central African States (ECCAS), Her Excellency, Ms. Kapinga-Yvette Ngandu; ECCAS President, His Excellency Gilberto Da Piedade Vérissimo; President/Executive Producer, All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), Mr. Mike Dada; AFRIMA Associate Producer, Ms Victoria Nkong,  at the ECCAS Secretariat, in Libreville, Gabon.
From Left) Commissioner in charge of the Department of Gender Promotion and Human and Social Developments, Economic Committee of Central African States (ECCAS), Her Excellency, Ms. Kapinga-Yvette Ngandu; ECCAS President, His Excellency Gilberto Da Piedade Vérissimo; President/Executive Producer, All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), Mr. Mike Dada; AFRIMA Associate Producer, Ms Victoria Nkong, at the ECCAS Secretariat, in Libreville, Gabon.
As the All Africa Music Awards began its countdown to the 2022 main awards ceremony, Monday, with the call for submission of entries from artistes, the continental awards platform has restated its commitment to uplifting the African creative economy, using music as its tool.

It made this known during a recent strategic stakeholder meeting, in Libreville, Gabon, with the President of Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) Commission, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Gabon, delegates and senior officials from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), as well as delegates from Centre International des Civilisations Bantu (CICIBA) who are excited about the AFRIMA initiative.

AFRIMA, which is in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC), corroborated UNESCO’s standpoint, on the need to deepen Africa’s creative exports, especially through providing access to training and resources for young aspiring creatives.

According to UNESCO’s representative to Gabon and ECCAS, Mr. Eric Voli Bi, Africa’s creative economy needs more support and opportunities for the youth – who make up the larger chunk of the workforce – to thrive.

He said, “I must thank AFRIMA for constantly projecting the continent in a positive light to the world, and for giving African youths opportunities to be recognised on a continental and even global scale. UNESCO is always interested in youth education and development initiatives, and AFRIMA is one veritable platform to help stimulate potentials among these youths. I believe, with one voice, we can speak louder. That is the way to go.”

The President of ECCAS Commission, His Excellency Gilberto Da Piedade Vérissimo, accompanied by Her Excellency Ms. Kapinga-Yvette Ngandu, Commissioner in charge of the Department of Gender Promotion and Human and Social Developments, ECCAS, welcomed the AFRIMA delegates to its regional secretariat and pledged support towards AFRIMA. He assured that ECCAS will partner AFRIMA to provide capacity building for African youths across the central African region as well as develop its music industry.

Vérissimo said, “Every year, we see our African artistes shine on global levels. It will be retrogressive for us, if we do not invest in them as well. ECCAS, in partnership with the European Union, will continue to invest resources into capacity building for African youths, especially within the entertainment sector. Apart from healthcare and education, the cultural and creative sector of the Central African region is within our primary focus. We are excited that platforms like AFRIMA thrive to give voice to our objectives, and we will pull our weight behind it, for the growth of the continent.”

On behalf of the awards platform, the President and Executive President, AFRIMA, Mr. Mike Dada, assured Africans that the AFRIMA, which has been running since 2014, will continue to prioritise inclusivity in its capacity-building initiatives.

“AFRIMA, and all its supporting initiatives, like the Africa Creative Academy, which we have in the pipeline, is for the entire continent. It is not an East African affair, or a West African Affair. We are one voice and one platform for the African people. So, our capacity-building efforts will cover the length and breadth of the continent and the diaspora. We equally apply this same character in all our campaigns, especially our submission of entries which is ongoing from now till August 5, 2022; it covers everyone across the continent and the diaspora.

“We have done this since 2014, and we are committed to consolidating our efforts this year, with even more zeal, initiatives and twists, to make AFRIMA the pride of not just the African individual, but also every black person and lover of African music out there.”

The main ceremony of the All Africa Music awards will be held from Thursday November 3 to Saturday November 6, 2022. It will feature a 4-day fiesta of music, glitz, and glamour, which commences with a welcome soiree, followed by the AFRIMA Music Village, the host city tour, African Music Business Summit, and the exclusive nominees’ party, before culminating with the live awards ceremony broadcast to over 84 countries around the world.

The submission of entries for the awards is also ongoing for artistes, artiste managers, record producers, recording companies, video directors, disc jockeys and other relevant stakeholders can submit their work or submit on behalf of their clients via the official afrima website at www.afrima.org. All entries must be done in consonance with AFRIMA guidelines, which are also available on the website. Importantly, all prospective entries must have been created between August 20, 2021 and August 5, 2022, being the year-in-review for all submissions.

African music lovers can follow through with the build-up events to the main awards, by engaging the social media platforms (Instagram – Afrima.official; Twitter – Afrimaofficial).

Dollar Shortages Strike Again…Nigeria Indexes In crosshairs


Written on 24/06/2022 by Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM

Despite oil prices surging to multi-year highs, Nigeria has failed to cash in.

The destructive combination of sub-optimal oil production, poor infrastructure, and fuel subsidies have drained oil revenues that account for roughly 90% of foreign exchange earnings.

Lower oil revenues and falling foreign exchange reserves are forcing Nigeria to ration dollars. The negative impacts continue to be reflected across the economy and local currency. But now the dollar shortages have attracted the attention of MSCI Inc. which is considering downgrading the MSCI Nigeria indexes to the status of a standalone market from frontier markets. It is worth keeping in mind that a developed market is the highest ranking, followed by emerging markets, frontier markets, and then finally standalone markets at the bottom. Given the difficulty in repatriating funds from Nigeria, this has placed the MSCI Nigeria Indexes in the crosshairs. Such a negative development may hit sentiment toward the county’s assets at a crucial period where economic growth remains fragile.

To add insult to injury, the NGX All Share Index has gained roughly 20% this year in local currency terms. A blockbuster performance when compared to the MSCI Emerging market Index which is down roughly -19%.

In other news, the Naira was trading around N419 versus the dollar on the official spot rate and has weakened only 1.3% year-to-date. However, on the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) segment of the FX, the Naira ended Thursday at N620 versus the dollar and N602 on the black market. Nigeria still faces the issue of multiple exchanges but this will be a discussion for another time.

For more information, please visit: FXTM

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Risk Warning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Danbatta Harps On Collaboration As Key Success Path To 5G Deployment In Nigeria

Industry collaboration is very essential to successful dep c can get theloyment of 5G Services in Nigeria, so says the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has urged industry stakeholders to stand with the Commission to explore the prospects and potentials of the new technology, which is enormous.
Prof. Danbatta, who spoke at the 90th Edition of the Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) hosted by the Consumer Affairs Bureau of the Commission, said the policy framework for the deployment has come into place and will facilitate deployment of services by the recent winners of the 3.5GHz spectrum auction, MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd and MAFAB Communications Ltd.
He said the Commission has set out the regulatory instruments needed for fast deployment of the new versatile technology for the benefit of the consumers and the stakeholders.
Prof. Danbatta, therefore, invited the support of all stakeholders to ensure that 5G technology is deployed in Nigeria in a manner beneficial to all telecom consumers and to support the emergent Digital Economy Policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
He highlighted the potential use cases for 5G networks as broadly categorised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to include Enhanced Mobile broadband (eMBB), Massive Machine-type Communications (mMTC), as well as Ultra-reliable and Low-latency Communications (uLLC)
“We will continue to collaborate with stakeholders across sectors to ensure faster deployment of 5G services, and accelerate the growth of Nigeria’s broadband infrastructure,” he said.
He identified some challenges in the deployment to include limited frequencies with the required spectral efficiency, skilled professionals with requisite knowledge of the technology, fewer number of 5G-enabled devices, and cost of deployment but stated that the industry must work to turn the challenges into opportunities rather than seeing them as obstacles.
Prof. Danbatta said the issues that should militate against or slow down the deployment of 5G technology are themselves opportunities that can potentially create new revenue streams or new subsectors in the industry.
In the panel discussion on the presentation titled “5G Networks: Opportunities and Challenges” by Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Bako Wakil, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management of NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, who chaired the panel session, urged all participants to exploit the opportunities offered by the 90th TCP to contribute to the deployment of 5G Network in Nigeria.
“We must conclude this Telecom Consumer Parliament with solutions to challenges that are associated with 5G deployment in countries that had deployed the services ahead of Nigeria. We must also have a clear roadmap on how the opportunities offered by the technology can be maximized for the benefit of Nigerians” Adewolu said.
The event was attended by representatives of Mobile Networks Operators (MNOs), the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Consumer Advocacy and Empowerment Foundation (CADEF), Association of Telecoms Cable TV and Internet Subscribers (ATCIS), and other key stakeholders in the telecom industry.

Bayelsa Deputy Governor Seeks Collaboration With Unity Bank On Sports Development

L-R: Odigie William Otaigboria Innocent, Zonal Head, Port Harcourt Region; Hon. Daniel Igali, Commissioner of Sports, Bayelsa State; Mr. Ebenezer Kolawale, Executive Director, Finance & Operations, Unity Bank; His Excellency, Lawrence Ehrujakpo, Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State; Mrs. Tomi Somefun, MD/CEO, Unity Bank Plc; Hon. Tari Porri, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Sports and Mr. Sunny Bakwunye, Divisional Head, Treasury, Unity Bank Plc when the Bayelsa Deputy Governor led a delegation to Unity bank head office in Lagos
L-R: Odigie William Otaigboria Innocent, Zonal Head, Port Harcourt Region; Hon. Daniel Igali, Commissioner of Sports, Bayelsa State; Mr. Ebenezer Kolawale, Executive Director, Finance & Operations, Unity Bank; His Excellency, Lawrence Ehrujakpo, Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State; Mrs. Tomi Somefun, MD/CEO, Unity Bank Plc; Hon. Tari Porri, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Sports and Mr. Sunny Bakwunye, Divisional Head, Treasury, Unity Bank Plc when the Bayelsa Deputy Governor led a delegation to Unity bank head office in Lagos

The Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State visited Unity Bank HQ in Lagos to seek collaboration with the Bank on Sports Development in the State. The Deputy Governor was accompanied by a delegation from the State’s Ministry of Sports and was received by the Managing Director of Unity Bank, Mrs. Tomi Somefun.

Adeduntan Sustains His Winning Streak, Pioneers Leadership Excellence In Banking

Adeduntan, MD/CEO FirstBank Ltd.
Adeduntan, MD/CEO FirstBank Ltd.
Since his appointment as MD/CEO of First Bank of Nigeria Limited in 2016, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan has completely transformed the financial institution and has made it attractive to every strata of the society. From an institution that used to be perceived as an old-generation bank, FirstBank is now a darling to all as it leverages latest digital tools to meet its customers’ needs. Also, under Adeduntan’s leadership, the 128-year old bank has made huge contributions to national development, thereby stimulating development, setting standards and motivating excellent output across sectors. Clearly, these contributions to national development were what endeared Adeduntan to President Muhammadu Buhari who recently saluted him on his recognition by Cranfield University, UK, one of the most prestigious citadels of learning in Europe. Adeduntan will on Wednesday, June 22, be conferred with Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa and he would be delivering an address to the graduating class of the university. This feat, the president in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, described as, “another testament to the fact that Nigeria is blessed with the brightest and the best in all areas of human endeavor.” Buhari lauded Adeduntan for being a role model to the younger generation, showing that hard work pays, and with resourcefulness and doggedness, great heights are achievable.
Adeduntan holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Ibadan, Master’s in Business Administration from Cranfield University, and is Fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), as well as Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
The president sent best wishes to Adeduntan and family as he hoisted Nigeria’s flag proudly to receive an honor Cranfield University said was in recognition of his outstanding contribution to business. Incidentally, Buhari’s commendation came on the day the bank successfully held its AGM which showed a stellar performance in its financials, a transformational result that put the bank on course to reclaiming its leadership position of the financial sector.
Adeduntan has a distinguished career in finance having held senior positions at Citibank Nigeria, KPMG and Arthur Andersen Nigeria. He studied at Cranfield University as a British Chevening Scholar, achieving an MBA in 2005.
Commenting on the honour by Cranfield University, the FirstBank boss said: “I am extremely humbled and most grateful to the university for this recognition. My time at Cranfield served as a catalyst for my professional and personal development propelling me to the leadership position I occupy today.
“I am a firm believer in talent management, being vital to further accelerate Africa’s growth to enable it to benefit from its demographic dividend and the opportunities therein. I look forward to sharing my experiences with the students on the universal applicability of the skills the Cranfield MBA provides to positively impact the world.”
On his part, the Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, Professor Karen Holford CBE FREng also congratulated Adeduntan, saying: “It is an honour to welcome Dr Adeduntan back to Cranfield to recognise all his professional achievements in this way. His own experience at Cranfield University has propelled his career forward and this serves as a true inspiration for our graduates both this year and in the future.”
Indeed, Adeduntan is an accomplished professional with distinctive international and domestic experience in commercial and investment banking, development finance, audit, and consulting; a philanthropist and leader with keen interest in providing platforms for the development of other young leaders.
The FirstBank Group, the commercial banking arm of FBN Holdings Plc, which he heads is made up of First Bank of Nigeria and subsidiaries including FBNBank UK, FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Senegal, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Sierra Leone and First Pension Custodian as well as Representative Offices in France and China.
Adeduntan is overseeing one of the most extensive transformation programmes in sub-Saharan African financial services industry, with the goal to reposition FirstBank Group to market pre-eminence.
He is leading FirstBank Group on the journey to win the most significant emerging business opportunities in the financial services industry through the development and execution of a digital-led strategy that has established FirstBank as the dominant player in digital banking.
FirstBank Group’s transformation programme, under the leadership of Adeduntan has enabled the bank to grow customer accounts from about 10 million in 2015 to over 36 million (including digital wallets), become the second largest issuer of cards in Africa with over 11.8 million issued cards, onboard over 18.6 million active customers on FirstBank’s digital banking platforms, and initiate and grow the most expansive bank-led Agent Banking Network in Africa with over 170,000 agents.
His career in banking and finance, spanning almost three decades, has earned him various recognitions and awards including Forbes Best of Africa – Outstanding Leader in Africa, Distinguished Alumnus Award by both the Cranfield University’s  School of Management and the University of Ibadan, African Banking Personality of the Year,  African Banker of the Year Award; Banking Icon of the Decade by the Sun Newspapers and induction into the African Leadership Magazine (ALM) Hall of Fame, Honorary Citizenship of the State of Georgia and Congressional Commendation Award from the Georgia Senate – USA, Bank CEO of the Year by the AES Excellence Club and several other awards.
He has attended various executive and leadership programmes at Harvard Business School (USA), Wharton School (USA), London Business School (UK), IESE (Spain), University of Oxford (UK), University of Cambridge (UK), CEIBS (China) and INSEAD (France). He is a fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
Adeduntan’s leadership drive also reflected in First Bank Nigeria Limited’s recently released full year 2021 financial statement. The results clearly showed the strength and resilience of the iconic African elephant as well as the financial institution’s leadership in the industry. The impressive results were a reflection of the robust strength and growth of the iconic African elephant, showing that the bank has taken its rightful position among the industry leaders.
In addition, it showed the level of work the current board, management and staff of the bank have put in to turn the tide in the 128 years old institution with entrenched corporate governance.
The full year 2021 performance by the bank represented a shift in the financial institution’s performance trajectory and was made possible through its undeterred commitment in pursuing its transformational agenda; cutting across customer-led innovation, building a digitalised bank, culture change, reinventing the bank’s workplace and safeguarding its assets for the digital age.
For the first time, FirstBank Group posted the best result in more than a decade history of the bank by crossing the N100 billion profit line. Specifically, in the full year 2021 financial statement, the FirstBank Group reported a 73.9 per cent growth in its profit after tax to N117.8 billion, as against the N67.8 billion recorded as of December 2020, just as its profit before tax stood at N130.9 billion, which was a significant rise by 77.9 per cent year-on-year, as against the N73.6 billion it was as of December 2020.
FirstBank’s gross earnings also increased by 30.3 per cent to N716.8 billion in 2021, up from N550.3 billion it was as of December 2020. Also, it recorded non-interest income of N342.2 billion in the year under review, which was 106.4 per cent higher than the N165.8 billion recorded as of December 2020. As a result of years of strategic restructuring of its balance sheet and operations, its gross earnings also moved northwards by 30.3 per cent, its total assets was up 15.9 per cent to N8.5 trillion as of the end of 2021, as against the N7.4 trillion recorded the previous year, just as its customer deposits also climbed by 19.5 per cent to N5.6 trillion, up from the N4.7 trillion recorded the previous year. The bank’s customer loans and advances also improved by 28 per cent to N2.8 trillion in the year under review, up from N2.2 trillion the previous year.
FirstBank has shown innovation, resilience and commitment to growth by significantly reducing its non-performing loans (NPL) from 25% in 2016 to an acceptable level of 6.1% in 2021.
To demonstrate that the bank’s performance in 2021 was not a fluke, the Bank equally performed excellently well in Q1 2022. FirstBank recorded 32% increase in gross earnings to N180bn in Q1’22 from N136.6bn in Q1’21. Profit after tax was up 108% to N32.4 billion (Q1’22) relative to N15.6 billion (Q1’21). This impressive performance is hinged on robust loan portfolio, effective cost structure and increased digital services.
FirstBank recorded the highest decline in its cost-to-income ratio in Q1 2022, dropping from 79.5% recorded in Q1 2021 to 67.03% amongst tier-1 Banks in the review period.  
With FirstBank under Adeduntan, the safety of customers and the security of their transactions come first. This has ensured the bank keeps the trust of Nigerians gained over the many years of its enduring legacy of safety and security.
The bank also delivers unique and bespoke financial services solutions across all customer segments underpinned by its commitment to innovation and the customer experience. It also leverages its strong investment banking capabilities to support clients in defining and executing innovative debt solutions as well as offer strategic advice at the highest level, arrange tailor-made financing structures, manage risk and ultimately help clients to realise their aspirations
Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership.
Over the years, the bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the federal government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes.
With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.
It is expected that the leadership excellence and recognitions accorded to Adeduntan would continue to reflect positively on the FirstBank brand and fundamentals of the bank so that the elephant will continue to stand ‘gidigba.’
Culled from ThisDay