Sterling One Foundation Launches New Project For Women Farmers In Flood-Affected Areas 

Sterling One Foundation logo
Sterling One Foundation logo

As part of relief interventions following the devastating nationwide floods in Nigeria, the Sterling One Foundation has launched Project Ladder, in partnership with Whitefield Foundation and Sterling Bank, to provide support for victims whose farms were affected by the floods. 
The project which kicked off in Ndokwa East and Oshimili North Local Government Areas of Delta State is aimed at not only providing relief for the flood victims but providing improved farm inputs with better yield potential than the regular options. 
Delta State is one of the 33 states in Nigeria that were affected by the 2022 floods, which started in May and lasted until October, claiming over 500 lives, displacing millions of people from their homes, and destroying about 110,000 hectares of farmland. Following the cholera outbreak in the country’s north-eastern region, several interventions were launched in response to the disaster, many of which focused on providing alternative shelter for the displaced, food materials, and drugs.
Mrs. Olapeju Ibekwe, CEO of the Sterling One Foundation, explained why they started the project, saying that it was important to shift the focus from the immediate survival response that followed the floods to how to help the victims rebuild their lives. 
“The floods affected several farming communities, and what we’ve set out to do is support them with resources to regain some self-sufficiency. Project Ladder is not just a flood relief project, but an initiative under our food security portfolio aimed at driving increased yield by supporting farmers with better inputs, and teaching them better farming practises, thus fighting the food shortages across the country,” she said. 
For the project’s launch phase, about 100,000 enhanced cassava stems were distributed to women farmers, marking the start of a robust plan to support them all through the planting season in hopes of a great harvest. 
Mrs. Funmi Johnson, CEO of Whitefield Foundation, spoke about the project’s impact, emphasising how important it was for the nation’s food security, as most flood victims are farmers who need to be empowered to rebuild their means of livelihood and continue to contribute their quota to supporting the nations.
The project touches on two of the Sterling One Foundation’s five focus areas: food security and gender equality, as well as women empowerment. This year, the Foundation plans to deepen the work done in these areas to cater to more communities and impact more direct beneficiaries. 

NCC Says iI’s Not Responsible For Monitoring Social Media Contents

L - R: Nafisa Rugga, Head, Digital Media, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Oscar Kalu, Director, Programmes and Organisation, National Civil Society Council of Nigeria (NCSCN); Nnena Ukoha, Head, Corporate Communications, NCC; Reuben Muoka, Director, Public Affairs, NCC; Amb. Blessing Akinlosotu, Executive Director, NCSCN and Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan, Head, Media Relations, NCC, during a courtesy visit by the NCSCN to the Commission to seek areas of collaboration in Abuja recently. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it is not the regulator of the contents of the social media networks that many stakeholders have complained about. The submission came during a recent visit of the National Civil Society Council of Nigeria (NCSCN), led by its Executive Secretary, Blessing Akinsolotu, who sought the intervention of the Commission on the worrisome and misleading content of social media platforms. “We know that NCC, as the regulator of the telecoms industry, has greater role to play in helping to curb the spread of fake news and incendiary contents that Internet users put on social media platforms. Therefore, we want NCC to partner with us in this regard,” he stated.

L – R: Nafisa Rugga, Head, Digital Media, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Oscar Kalu, Director, Programmes and Organisation, National Civil Society Council of Nigeria (NCSCN); Nnena Ukoha, Head, Corporate Communications, NCC; Reuben Muoka, Director, Public Affairs, NCC; Amb. Blessing Akinlosotu, Executive Director, NCSCN and Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan, Head, Media Relations, NCC, during a courtesy visit by the NCSCN to the Commission to seek areas of collaboration in Abuja recently.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it is not the regulator of the contents of the social media networks that many stakeholders have complained about.
The submission came during a recent visit of the National Civil Society Council of Nigeria (NCSCN), led by its Executive Secretary, Blessing Akinsolotu, who sought the intervention of the Commission on the worrisome and misleading content of social media platforms.
“We know that NCC, as the regulator of the telecoms industry, has greater role to play in helping to curb the spread of fake news and incendiary contents that Internet users put on social media platforms. Therefore, we want NCC to partner with us in this regard,” he stated.

Akinlosotu said the situation demands immediate intervention of key stakeholders to ensure that the content of the social media and the Internet are credible and enhance national social cohesion.

Director, Public Affairs of the Commission, Mr. Reuben Muoka, who received the group on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, informed the organization that Commission’s mandate does not extend to controlling the content of such media platforms.

According to Muoka, the major role of the telecom regulator is to facilitate the deployment of telecom infrastructure that provides different types of telecommunications services, including improving broadband that enhances robust Internet experience, and ensuring fair competition as well as the protecting of telecom consumers.

Muoka said the mandate includes making services available, accessible and affordable for Nigerians who may leverage such access to engage in digital social mediation for the benefit of the individual, businesses, and the nation’s socioeconomic growth.

In the performance of its functions, Muoka said the Commission promotes collaboration and partnerships with different stakeholders such as NCSCN, in creating awareness and promoting access to different categories of consumers in the country. He said the Commission looks forward to furthering collaboration with NCSCN in its efforts to align with the aspirations of users of telecommunications services across the country.

The NCSCN, a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, commended the Commission for its people-oriented and consumer-centric regulatory activities.

The Council also seeks collaboration with NCC to spread messages of the Commission’s consumer enlightenment programmes to Nigerians in the grassroots through its over 100-member Civil Society Organisation (CSOs).

Akinlosotu also invited the Commission to partner with the NCSCN in hosting a conference aimed at tackling the seemingly intractable diffusion of fake news, particularly on social media networks

CONMMEP Condoles SIFAX Boss Over Brother’s Death

Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, CEO SIFAX Group
Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, CEO SIFAX Group

Congress of Nigerian Maritime Media Practitioners (CONMMEP) has commiserated with the Chairman of SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi over the demise of his twin brother, Mr. Kehinde Afolabi.

In a condolence letter addressed to Dr. Afolabi and signed by CONMMEP President, Alhaji Tunde Umar- Daniah, the association regretted the painful exit of Mr. kehinde Afolabi describing it as a collosal loss, and prayed God Almighty to grant the family the fortitude to overcome its attendant trauma.

CONMMEP in the letter, described death as an inevitable end of all mortals, and humans having helplessly embraced the reality, must take absolute control of their emotions while mourning a loved one in order to avoid taking dangerous decisions in such event.

“We pray God Almighty to grant the family the fortitude to bear the collosal loss and also provide direction and succour to his immediate family.

“Sir, please do accept our sincere condolences which is also extended to his wife and children as well as the entire Afolabi’s family.

“We express our sincere condolences and sympathy to you and the entire Afolabi’s family as we pray God Almighty to grant his gentle soul eternal rest”.

FirstBank: The Embodiment Of Corporate Responsibility And Sustainability

FirstBank logo
FirstBank logo

Who should corporate responsibility and sustainability lessons be taken from? Some companies are still unclear about the concept but latching onto the sustainability mantra anyway, because it has become a marketing buzzword for business? Or a company through whose creed and deeds, over the many decades it has been around, people can see corporate responsibility and sustainability lived (first) and preached (subsequently)?

If the above set of questions constituted a question in an examination hall, it would be one of the easiest of questions to answer. Not one person would fail it. Outside the examination hall, the answer to this question that seems as easy and simple like the question of 2 + 2 may not be as easy and simple. It may be complicated by all the cleverly arranged noise and claims projected at people to make it difficult for them to see and accept the obvious.

So, it is incumbent on people who know, and care enough (like this writer), to keep stating and restating the obvious. This is in the hope that doing so would help others to take full cognisance of the obvious and not allow themselves to be bamboozled by image without substance and rhetoric without pedigree.

The concept of corporate responsibility and sustainability is not about the clever or manipulative use of marketing buzzwords by corporate citizens. It is about impact, net positive impact, in the lives of real, not imagined, people through the deliberate and well-planned activities of socially-responsible corporate citizens.

Even if history is no longer taught in most schools in Nigeria, the records are there. The records show that Nigeria has been blessed to have standing by her, at all times, a corporate citizen which understands the concept of corporate responsibility and sustainability.

This corporate citizen has been standing by Nigeria before the country’s founding, through its amalgamation, Independence and all the conflicts and crises Nigeria has gone through and still faces. Today, the corporate citizen still stands by Nigeria.

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, a lender of unmatched pedigree, a bank with a history of unparalleled support to Nigeria and Nigerians (right from the colonial era to date, even serving as Nigeria’s central bank at some stage of our national development), has been a corporate citizen like no other.

A brand that has backed innumerable groundbreaking projects across Nigeria and beyond, FirstBank has demonstrated that real impact that can be seen and felt by all, and not mere marketing buzzwords, is the real measure of an institution’s understanding of corporate responsibility and sustainability.

It is incontrovertible that whichever way corporate responsibility and sustainability is understood or defined, FirstBank is sure to tick all the boxes. Just name every parameter for assessing a company’s efforts in corporate responsibility and sustainability and match each against what FirstBank has been doing. Is there any parameter that FirstBank has not surpassed?

FirstBank has been living corporate responsibility and sustainability for most, if not all, of its existence as a going concern. Knowing it cannot do it alone, the bank has also devoted resources to efforts that will enable it to preach or pass the message so other corporate citizens, groups and individuals will emulate it.

One platform the bank has used effectively for this purpose is its Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S) Week. The CR&S Week is a full working week that the FirstBank Group, in-country and across the world where it operates, dedicates to the promotion, execution and celebration of social responsibility initiatives.

The Sustainability Week also includes a huge kindness campaign to reorient citizens towards the right values and reignite acts of kindness in society. It is only one of the many ways FirstBank is living true to its brand promise to always put customers first.

And the Sustainability Week seeks to invite others (individuals and corporate citizens) to follow the bank’s example and begin to intentionally create positive impact in their immediate communities.

From the inaugural edition in 2017, where the theme was “Promoting Kindness: Putting You First”, the Sustainability Week has helped to reinforce FirstBank’s role as a nation-builder that is driving sustainable development across communities where it operates. It was an opportunity for the bank to encourage others (individuals and corporate citizens) to follow in its steps, even if all they can afford to take are small steps.

Taking small steps may have informed the choice of theme for the second edition of the Sustainability Week in 2018: “Touching Lives: You First”. The bank sought to debunk the notion that touching lives in meaningful ways and making an impact on society require big-ticket projects, whilst emphasising the power in the little things people do and the small steps they take.

After all, is it not little drops of water that make a mighty ocean, like the saying goes? And does the journey of a thousand miles not begin with a (small) step, like another saying puts it?

Just take a look at SPARK (Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness), a values-based initiative that raises consciousness promoting kindness to one another in society, which the bank started during the inaugural Sustainability Week in 2017.

Aimed at reinforcing FirstBank’s corporate culture of encouraging giving and volunteering among its staff and the larger society, its magnitude today and the many kind initiatives it has sparked off across the country could not have been imagined when the seed was planted five years ago. Incalculable manhours and financial resources from FirstBank staff and partners have been contributed willingly.

Children in orphanages, internally displaced persons (IDPs) in various IDP camps, widows and other underprivileged or vulnerable groups have been visited and their challenges alleviated if not totally eliminated. Scores of career counselling sessions with secondary school pupils across Nigeria has also been organised as part of the Sustainability Week, which has been the first of its kind in Nigeria’s financial services industry.

In 2019, the third edition of the Sustainability Week with the theme: “Ripples of Kindness: Putting You First” enunciated the values (or pillars) of the SPARK initiative to include Compassion, Civility and Charity. FirstBank believes that these values and the acts of kindness that flow as a result of embracing the values are critical to promoting and building peaceful co-existence and prosperity in society.

Among the key highlights of the 2019 Sustainability Week was a “Nice Comments Day” that was a day set aside to foster words of encouragement, support and kindness to people around one, regardless of ones’ familiarity or close ties, in recognition of the instrumental role kind words play in lighting up people’s day and bringing out the best in them.

Another highlight was the SPARK School Engagement that promoted the SPARK initiative in schools, with the objective of embedding the values of SPARK amongst school children at a young age so the values become part of, and habitual to, them as they develop into adulthood.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic and government-imposed lockdown, the year 2020 witnessed no edition of the Sustainability Week. Any attempt to stage the kinds of activities and events that usually accompany the Sustainability Week would have been counterproductive, spreading infections and possibly deaths instead of kindness and joy that the Sustainability Week has become synonymous with.

However, FirstBank’s avowed commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainability would not allow it fold its hands and just watch while COVID-19 and its debilitating effects tried to make living and learning difficult for most Nigerians.

Working virtually or remotely and, where it could not do otherwise, physically but in strict adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols, FirstBank executed several initiatives meant to ameliorate the very difficult situation in Nigeria then.

The bank contributed to efforts to provide palliatives to vulnerable Nigerians, announced a moratorium on repayment of loans, set up a special loan fund for businesses run by women, established another for school proprietors in collaboration with a state government and drove an e-learning initiative that sought to move one million school children to a safe online learning platform so their educational progress would not be set back due to COVID-19 restrictions, government-ordered lockdown and the closure of educational institutions for the greater part of 2020

“Kindness: A Way of Life” was the theme for the fourth edition of the Sustainability Week held in 2021. Highlights of activities of the 2021 Sustainability Week, designed to entrench a culture of kindness, included a practical-oriented training webinar for staff to embed a culture of kindness in the bank by driving understanding of how kindness (or the lack of it) can impact the workplace, the marketplace and the communities in which staff live and work.

Another important feature of the Sustainability Week was the “Kind Comments Days” that ran all week to inspire a consciousness of kind choice of words and consideration for others. There was also a dedicated programme in secondary schools designed to institutionalise SPARK by using school SPARK champions (including students and teachers) alongside other partners such as Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN) and Lagos State government to inculcate the SPARK values in school children.

One other feature was the ground-breaking ceremony for the Lagos State government’s OCAAT (One Community At A Time) initiative to provide the Primary Health Care Centre at Ijedodo community in Alimosho LGA. Set up as an initiative to improve the health and welfare of the members of various communities in Lagos State, FirstBank partnered the government on the project as part of its contribution to global efforts to meet some specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

There were also webinars: a general webinar with the sub-theme: “Education: Does Kindness have a Role?”; and a millennial webinar with the sub-theme: “Making the Cyber World a Kinder Place” which sought to proffer solution to the question of how people could become kinder on social media platforms.

All the past editions of FirstBank Sustainability Week highlight the longstanding and relentless commitment of FirstBank not only to continue to live but also to preach the message of corporate responsibility and sustainability.

Given its unmatched pedigree in corporate responsibility and sustainability, FirstBank has earned the right to address all other corporate organisations as well as individuals and groups on matters of sustainability. The bank has earned its right to the people’s audience.

It is against this backdrop that FirstBank’s forthcoming 2022 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Week should be welcomed by other banks and corporate citizens, irrespective of industry, as an opportunity to come together and take lessons from Nigeria’s foremost corporate citizen with regard to corporate responsibility and sustainability.

FirstBank does not consider itself too big to take lessons from other corporate citizens in areas where they have distinguished themselves. So other corporate citizens should not feel too big to take lessons from FirstBank in this area where the bank stands highly distinguished.

Or can anyone claim not to know that if the concept of corporate responsibility and sustainability were to be represented by one corporate citizen per country on a world map where countries are denoted by their foremost corporate entities, it is unarguable that FirstBank would be the company eminently representing Nigeria on that map?

Culled from Leadership Newspaper

PenCom Approves FBN Holdings  Acquisition Of Access Pension Business

PenCom - logo
PenCom – logo

The acquisition by FBN Holdings Of Access Pension Business received the approval of the National Pension Commission (PenCom).

The approval was contained in a recent statement from the Commission
Meanwhile, the statement read in parrt thT5
“The National Pension Commission (PenCom) wishes to inform the general public and relevant Stakeholders that PenCom has approved the acquisition of Access Pension Custodian Limited by First Pension Custodian Limited,” the statement reads.
“The acquisition is the culmination of the divestment process by Access Pension Custodian Limited from the pension custody business, transfer of all assets under its custody to First Pension Custodian Limited and the return of its operating license to PenCom.
“The Commission assures Stakeholders and the general public of its continued commitment to the effective regulation and supervision of the pension industry.”
In May, First Pension Custodian Limited agreed to purchase Access Bank Plc’s entire share capital in Access Pension Fund Custodian Limited.
Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs) are responsible for keeping safe custody of pension assets on the trust on behalf of contributors.
The planned acquisition is expected to shrink the number of PFCs in the country to three companies namely cZenith Pensions Custodian Limited, UBA Pensions Custodian Limited and First Pension Custodian Limited.

Olagunju, Ubechu Families Unite In Wedlock

The couple, Chinonso and IbukunOluwa flanked by Dr. Mrs. Isioma Olagunju (L) and Prof. Gbadebo Olagunju (R)
The couple, Chinonso and IbukunOluwa flanked by Dr. Mrs. Isioma Olagunju (L) and Prof. Gbadebo Olagunju (R)

It was colourful and businesslike; a celebration of cultures as the families of Professor Gbadebo Olagunju; an erudite academician and distinguished professor of Law at the Lagos State University, LASU, and Dr. Mrs Isioma Olagunju also of the Lagos State University, LASU gave their daughter, IbukunOluwa , Ijeoma’s hand in marriage to Chinonso, Samuel from the family of Mr. Chidi and Mrs. Kate Ubechu.
The ceremony which was well attended was graced by dignitaries from different walks of life.
The event which was a celebration of cultures was well organized in a calm atmosphere will without doubt will go down the annals of history as an acknowledgement of Nigera’s unity in diversity and it is unlikely to be forgotten in a hurry.

For the couple,. it was indeed a joyous mement as they adorned their gorgeous attires and danced graciously to the music provided by the band.
Father of the bride, Prof. Olagunju who was very elated at the turn of events expressed joy at the union of the couple, while restating his indifference to the tribe or language the daughter is married so long as it one Nigeria
According to him, “the truth about it is the me I am a true and proper Nigerian. I don’t know anything about cross-marriage or tribe, I just believe that what God has ordained should just be”
He admonished the couple to live as one in unity and in agreement with God’s purpose for them.
He said “they should love together in peace and with glory of God. Let God be the one to guide them in all everything they do”

Similarly, Some of the guests at the occassion in admonishing the couple charged them to live in love.
Former Vice Chancellor of the Lagos State University, Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun, charged the couple to hold on to God and to ensure they keep up the legacies and goodwill of their parents.
He further advised the couple to endeavour to live within their means.

Margie Offoha’s “Flag of Our fatherland: Nigeria” Poem Trends Globally

Mergie Oforha Nigerian- American Poet
Mergie Oforha Nigerian- American Poet
A Poem on Nigeria titled “Flag of our fatherland, Nigeria” written by Mrs Margie Chinyere Offoha, Nigerian -American citizen, a Novelist and poet, has gained a pride of place in global highly rated

The trending poem, which is just one out of Offoha’s numerous poems, is currently generating so much views on the platform as it reflects a form of Ode to the Nigerian flag. The beautiful unifying Green white and Green colours, which literally appeared to be losing its unifying and friendly powers driven by peace and unity.

The poet, through the poem, appealed to Nigeria through its national symbol, the flag, Nigerians and the leaders to work assiduously towards restoring the peace and conviviality for which the country and her citizens are known for, as they seem to be eluding the citizens. Strife, the poet in the poem, worries, seems to be overtaking the brotherhood, and promises of nationhood, the country promises.

Mrs Margie Offoha in a comment made available to our correspondent, said that the poem “Green white and Green” is in her effort to bring global attention to Nigeria’s prevailing security problems, helping the people and the government save lives.

The poet, raising concerns on the prevailing state of affairs in the country, started with a question, “Oh, mighty flag of our fatherland, are you still there? Reflecting the cover the flag hitherto gives to Nigerian citizens’ in every part of the country and the world at large.

The poet went further to query, “Oh, mighty flag of our fatherland can you see the pain and suffering your children are enduring? Oh, mighty flag of our land, can you hear our cry? Oh, mighty flag, what happened to the promise you made, many years ago? United you promised us but divided we are”.

She said “Even though I am in America, I follow the events happening in Nigeria passionately. As a great empath, I carry other peoples’ pain in my heart. I think this is a time for people living outside the country especially poets and artists of various kinds to use their voices to bring global attention to Nigeria, who knows it may make a difference in the lives of poor Nigeria citizens who are forever suffering”

While calling for stronger action to save lives and build a more united country, the poet in stanza three wrote ‘’Peace and unity have eluded your children. The echo of one Nigeria, one Nigeria, is now met with doubt as many no longer believe. Oh, mighty green, white, and green, the flag of our homeland, hear our cry. Rise and bring your children under your shade again”

Carl Scott Harker, a poet and literary enthusiast commenting on the poem in platform wrote, “This is a powerful poem which speaks directly to the pain felt in Nigeria, but I suspect, reflects the condition in too many countries in this world. Well done’’

The Poet, Margret Offoha has authored many other poems, which include, I Am a Nigerian, Kindness, Domestic violence against women, Forgiveness, Faith, amongst others.

Access Bank Clinches Best Performing Stock, Awosika Best Chairman of the Year

Access logo
Access Bank has emerged the best performing stock in 2021 by the Nigeria Exchange Limited (NGX).

The Bank earned this recognition at the 2022 Nigerian Investor Value Awards (NIVA) organised by BusinessDay in collaboration with the Nigeria Exchange Group. Also, Chairman, Board of Directors of the Bank, Dr Ajoritsedere Awosika emerged as the ‘Board Chairman of the Year’ under the listed company awards category.

Access Bank was named the best stock in the ‘Financial Services -Banking’ category for its exemplary performance and creating value on the NGX compared to other quoted banks in the past year. Similarly, Awosika was adjudged the best based on her outstanding leadership and business strategy during the period under review.

The Nigerian Investor Value Awards recognises leaders of public and private companies who have created sustainable alpha-generating value for their shareholders through their strategic priorities, operating efficiencies, organisational values, and market engagement activities.

The listed segment of the awards recognises stellar performance of the public companies creating value on the Nigerian Stock Exchange based on criteria such as share price, dividend payments, sustainability, brand value, market leadership and business strategy against their peers in the year under review.

Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Exchange Limited, Temi Popoola, who was represented by the Divisional Head, Capital Markets, Mr. Jude Chiemeka, said the award by the Businessday Media Limited underlined Nigeria Exchange Group’s goal of promoting actionable and effective multi-stakeholder dialogue on issues central to a well-functioning financial system.

The Publisher, Businessday, Frank Aigbogun said the NIVA, formerly known as the Top 25 CEOs Award, recognises the contributions of astute businessmen and women who toil day and night to ensure the Nigerian economy grows. He noted that the capital market has remained strong in the mix of the global realignment that is going on consequent upon the Ukrainian crisis.

The NIVA award is a further affirmation of Access Bank’s leadership in promoting sustainable banking practices, financial inclusion, and the diversification of local economies through altruistic CSR initiatives that have impacted the lives of many people.

Capacity Building: Okaijesan Lecture Will Create A Better Society – Ojirrua of Irrua

Cross section of Organizers, Guest Speakers and participants at the seminar
Cross section of Organizers, Guest Speakers and participants at the seminar
The Ojirrua of Irrua and Okaijesan of Esanland, HRH, Alhaji William Momodu II, JP, CON has posited that the Okaijesan lecture will create a better society, describing th maiden Okaijesan Enlightenment Lecture as timely and germane in the light of the prevailing situation in the country and Esanland in particular. The lecture which took place recently at the Okaijesan Palace Hall, in Irrua, Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo state, was organised by Action for Rural Urban Enlightenment Campaign (ARUEC) in partnership with the Okaijesan Palace.

Speaking to newsmen at the event, the Ojirrua of Irrua said he was impressed with the choice of topics and qualities of guest speakers, stressing that the lectures will further enlighten the people on preventive measures against the dreaded Lassa Fever disease and help check the rising rate of drug abuse among children in the area.

While commending the organisers for the concept and scope of the lecture, the highly revered traditional ruler urged them to sustain it, noting that “It will help in educating our people on issues relating to health, security, agriculture, business, participation in governance. It will also reduce level of ignorance and create awareness for a better society.”

In his presentation titled: “Preventing Deaths from Lassa Fever in Esan Land: What do we do?” Chief Medical Director, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, (ISTH), Professor Sylvanus Okogbenin observed that Lassa Fever is gradually becoming a silent epidemic which is ravaging the people in that part of the country, regretting that forty per cent of the Lassa Fever related deaths recorded in the state during the first quarter of the year were from Esanland.

Prof. Okogbenin who was represented by the Deputy Director, Institute of Lassa Fever Research and Control, ISTH, Dr. Joseph Okoeguale, advised the people to beware of rats which is the carrier of the virus that causes Lassa Fever. “The rat that has numerous breasts is the major carrier of the virus that causes Lassa Fever. You should be careful in eating rats. The easiest ways of preventing the disease are through proper sanitation and food hygiene. I will also advise that when malaria is repeatedly treated without cure, you should go to the hospital for test to ascertain the real problem as it may be Lassa Fever.”

On her part, the Chief Superintendent of Narcotics, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Irrua Command, Anastasia Abalaka, who spoke on the topic: “How to Identify Red Flags of Substance Use Disorder in Children”, advised parents to monitor their children closely and who they associate with, urging them not be ashamed to seek help when red flags of substance use is evident in a child.

The NDLEA Chief of Narcotics, disclosed that several substances including pawpaw leaves, soak away emissions and many others are now being used by some drug addicts, pointing out that all hands must be on the deck in sensitizing the public on the negative effects of the use of hard drugs as the NDLEA cannot do it alone.

The Chairman of the event, Professor Frederick Igene, of the Faculty of Agriculture, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma and one time Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University, hailed ARUEC for organizing the lecture. He advised them to invite lecturers, market women, Trade Unions as well as other interest groups in future editions.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Convener/Coordinator of ARUEC, Chief (Dr.) Chris Igene, said the lecture which is first of its kind in that part of the country is aimed at creating awareness and enlightenment to improve the quality of lives of the people of Esanland.

Chief Igene, who is also the Enakhe of Irrua Kingdom explained that the primary aim of ARUEC, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), is to ensure rural-urban development and empowerment in Esanland in particular and Nigeria in general, adding that they intend to achieve the goals through education and social enlightenment campaigns.

He specifically thanked the Okaijesan Palace for partnering with ARUEC and President, KB Crest Group, Engr. Kenneth Aigbogun Airiemiokhale for supporting the successful hosting of the Lecture.

FirstBank Wins Best Bank In Nigeria And Best Bank In Digital Transformation Nigeria 2022

FirstBank logo
FirstBank logo

Nigeria’s premier banking institution and leading financial services inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has won two awards: Best Bank in Nigeria 2022 and Best Banking Digital Transformation Nigeria at the International Investor Awards 2022, a print and online publication that provides insights, news and visual informative pieces with topics ranging from world markets, investing opportunities, industry analysis and so much more. All content is dedicated to the global investment community that wants to take a step ahead.

The bank was recognized with the Best Bank in Nigeria 2022 award for its leadership role in promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria which has been integral to improving lives and stimulating businesses of individuals across the country.

Also, the Best Bank in Digital Transformation was awarded to FirstBank in recognition of its continued efforts at reinventing its digital banking channels which have been central to reinforcing the Bank’s leading role in promoting a cashless society in the country whilst putting customers at an advantage in enjoying a secured and seamless digital banking experiences. The Bank’s digital banking channels include; its recently unveiled fully automated branch (FirstBank Digital Experience Centre), *894# USSD banking, FirstMobile, First online, and WhatsApp banking amongst others.

Expressing delight at the Bank’s performance. Ms Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications First Bank of Nigeria Limited said: “We thank International Investor Awards for the recognition, whilst dedicating these awards to our esteemed customers spread across the world for their unflinching patronage of our services through our 128 years of existence.

As a bank that is woven into the fabric of society, we remain committed to ensuring that our customers enjoy safe, secure and advanced financial services as they seamlessly carry out their banking transactions on the go, irrespective of where they are,” she concluded.

In 2021 financial year, the Bank received similar recognitions. A few of these are: Most Innovative Retail Banking App Nigeria 2021 by Global Banking and Finance Awards; African Bank of the Year 2021 & Innovative Banking Product of the Year 2021 by African Leadership Magazine Awards; Best Internet Banking Nigeria 2021 by International Business Magazine; Best Financial Brand 2021 by Global Brands Awards.

Others are: Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021 by Global Finance; Alternative Delivery Channel of the Year 2021 by BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions Awards and 2nd Most admired financial services Brand in Africa by Brand Africa.