Group Calls For Immediate Release of Detained Premium Times Reporter

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) today called for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Samuel Ogundipe, a Premium Times newspaper reporter who was arrested yesterday and is being detained by the Nigerian Police at the Force headquarters in Abuja for refusing to disclose the source of his information for a news report.

In a statement issued today by its Programme Director, Mr. Ayode Longe, MRA said:  “We are dismayed by this increasing resort by the Buhari Administration to tactics of intimidation and harassment of media practitioners in breach of the provisions of the Constitution and other laws.  We are seriously concerned that such acts appear to be on the upswing as the 2019 elections draw nearer and urge the Government to retrace its steps in order not to permanently damage public confidence in democratic governance.”

Mr. Ogundipe was reportedly invited by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police to its headquarters in Abuja on August 14, 2018 and arrested when he honoured the invitation.  He was then transferred to the IGP Monitoring Unit at Force Headquarters, where he is currently being detained.

The Police are reported to have frozen the reporter’s personal bank account without any warrant from any court, just like his arrest and detention.

The Editor-in-Chief of the online newspaper, Mr. Musikilu Mojeed, and its education correspondent, Ms Azeezat Adedigba, were reported to have been initially arrested, manhandled and briefly detained by the police before being released.

While Ms Adedigba was released after about three hours of detention, Mr. Mojeed and Mr. Ogundipe were driven from the SARS headquarters to the IGP Monitoring Unit at Force Headquarters where the police forced Mr. Ogundipe to write a statement.

Mr. Longe advised the Police: “If you have any actionable case against Mr. Ogundipe or any other journalist, you should follow the due process of the Law; you should go to court and obtain a warrant if you have any evidence of criminal conduct by the journalist that necessitates his arrest and detention and the freezing of his bank account, rather than arresting and clamping him into detention in a manner reminiscent of the dictatorial practices that characterized the first coming of President Muhammadu Buhari as a military Head of State.”

According to him, if Nigeria wants to be taken seriously by the international community, then it must abide by the established norms and standards under international law, which abhors the criminalization of journalistic activities or the right of citizens to freely express themselves.

Saying that “democratic governance presupposes respect for the rule of law”, Mr. Longe stressed: “it is disheartening that the Police went outside their mandate to freeze Mr. Ogundipe’s bank account in order to financially suffocate him and force information from him, contrary to the laws of the land. We find this action to be unjustifiable and unbecoming of any democratic institution.”

Mr. Longe called on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to preoccupy himself with the task of reforming the Force and, in particular, overhauling SARS which has become the symbol of government brutality against its own people in Nigeria.

Ali Ahmad, Cross River Speaker, Others For Citizens Conference

The speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ali Babatunde Ahmad will on  Saturday, August 11 lead discussions alongside his Cross River State counterpart Rt. Hon. John Gaul Lebo and other panel of discussants on “Not Too Young To Run And Then What?” at the CITIZENS  CONFERENCE ILORIN, 2018.
In a statement signed by the Executive Director of MACAA and the Convener of the Conference, Seun Awogbenle in Ilorin on Thursday, he disclosed that other Panel of discussants that are also expected to discuss at the event include, Special Advsier to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rinsola Abiola, Hon. Moshood  Bakare, Member, Kwara State House of Assembly, Jude Feranmi, Former Youth Leader Kowa Party and convener of Raising New Voices initiative.
Ayodele Adio, Managing Editor, GloommeTV,  Saadatu Falila Hamu Aliyu, Lawyer and a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Yemisi Ajeojo Economic Advisory Trainee & co-founder, Triift Africa and David Inung a renowned public Speaker.
During the conference, the panel of discussants are expected to provide a framework that works on the next line of action for the new constitutional provision at the event.”
Recall that MACAA had in a press statement in July announced it’s plan to hold the maiden CITIZENS CONFERENCE, ILORIN 2018.
The organization noted that the conference is line with it’s resolve to strenthen and deepen democratic governance.
“We are positive that the recommendations, can serve as a political direction and  model that works, for young people who have a strong will, desire and interest in public service in terms of approach and processes.” Awogbenle said
He reiterated the commitment of the organization  to helping Millennials find their voice, unlock the power of the citizen and inspire Africa’s new tribe.
The conference which is expected to start by 10:00am prompt, is scheduled to hold at the  Banquet Hall, oposite government House, beside Kwara Hotel, Ahmadu Bello Way, GRA Ilorin.

Hon Shehu Yahaya: The Unbroken Mandate With The People Of Adavi Constituency

Hon. Yahaya is a seasoned Social Democrat, Progressive politician who believe that the ultimate purpose of governance is the utilisation of democratic mandate conferred on elected leader and representative by the sacrosanct authority of Universal Adult Suffrage to diligently reposition public and social institutions for improved social service delivery, vis-à-vis the rapid and sustainable movement of a given society up the ladder of justice, prosperity and all-round development.

As a social democrat, Hon. Yahaya holds that it is incumbent on the three primary estates of the realm to ensure cooperation and synergy in the discharge of their constitutional roles so as to guarantee the rapid delivery of the dividends of democracy to the general constituents within Adavi Local Government and Kogi state at large .

The provisions of basic necessities of life for his constituents to make their living meaningful have been his covenant with the people which he vowed to fulfill to a creditable percentage on health, education, job-wealth creations, information communication technology, poverty reduction through empowerment, rural electrification, agricultural program and good governance/representation to serve his people and only the people of Adavi Local Government in line with the NEW DIRECTION mantra of His Excellency Gov. Yahaya Adoza Bello and President Mahammadu Buhari’s CHANGE agenda.

Having said this, He present himself to you for your alliances, supports and togetherness as he hope to, by the Special Grace of Almighty God, take our constituency to a more greater heights.

“Without you there will be no me. I wish to apparently declare that my sane aspiration to contest for Adavi state constituency in 2019 is to continually give you an ample sense of belonging in governance and to vigorously push your views, hopes and aspirations for consideration at all times and with the hope to deliver dividends of democracy to your door steps.
I will continue to count on you as I hopefully see your valuable and electoral votes counting for assurance of our radical socio-economic growth and development”.

Skye Bank Merchant, Gidado Emerge Tops At mCash Re-Launch

Skye Bank mCash Merchant, Sulaiman Gidado, has emerged one of the top performing agents in the country. Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS) made this known when it identified Suleiman as one of the top mCash merchants at the mCash relaunch which held in Lagos Tuesday.

Part of  the renewed efforts to further drive financial inclusion in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) mandate, NIBSS, in collaboration with Banks, financial regulators, leading Telecommunications companies and merchants was the re-launched of the payment solution.

While fielding questions from the media about mCash at the event, the head of E-Business, Skye Bank Plc, Akinwale Ojo, described mcash as an innovative solution targeted at low-value retail payments

He further stated that, “The intention of mCash is to create enhanced  opportunity for people who rely mostly on cash to find convenient means of making payments electronically thus further enabling financial inclusion in Nigeria.”

On his part, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NIBSS, Adebisi Shonubi, said, NIBSS partnered banks, telecommunication companies, financial regulators, and merchants on the initiative to further drive financial inclusion.

Shonubi stated that “the relaunch, which is in line with Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) renewed efforts at driving financial inclusion was the rolling of agency networks involving the banks, telcos and merchants, and is thus ecosystem driven.”

According to the NIBSS boss, “in the next two years, the plan is to have 500,000 agent networks that will provide financial services as well as educate and inform people on how the platform works.”

The mCash utilises Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, USSD code in payment processing. Merchants can deploy mCash as a payment channel by registering with their banks, who will issue them an 8-digit seller code which buyers or payers need to use while making payments to them. A customer who wants to make payments through mCash has to dial the universal code, *402*SellerCode*Amount#. Upon dialling the code, the name of the seller will appear and a list of banks a customer wishes to make payments from. The user can then select a bank and input passcode to authenticate and complete the transaction. Upon completion of the transaction, both the buyer and the seller will receive flash confirmation of debit and credit messages instantly.

 

 

Kano Deputy Governor Resigns Over Looming Impeacment

For fear of ominous impeachment process by the Kano state House of Assembly, the state Deputy Governor, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, has hurriedly tendered his resignation on Sunday.
This followed decision by 30 out of the 40 legislators to commence impeachment proceeding against the deputy governor over false, unfounded allegations and undermining the state government.
The deputy governor is also accused of making unguarded comments capable of causing disaffection particularly in the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the state in general.
A statement signed by the commissioner for Information, Youth and Culture, Malam Muhammad Garba, says the deputy governor, who doubled as commissioner for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, has publicly forsake the Ganduje Administration and swore allegiance to his political Godfather, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso.
It also debunked bogus allegation over threat to his life and that of members of his immediate family which is regarded as unbecoming considering his position as no. two citizen with a provision for statutory security detail.
The statement also expressed dismay over allegation of non-payment of entitlements by the former deputy governor, indicating that based on available records, in 2017 alone, the sum of over N120, 000, 000.00 was paid to him as travelling allowance both within and outside the country, while in 2018, over N30, 000, 000.00 million was paid to him for various travelling allowances.
‘’Of recent, in July, to be precise, the sum of N7, 409, 575.00 was released to the former deputy governor to travel to the United Kingdom to receive an Honourary Degree from the University of Reading; the sum of N7, 800, 000.00 was also paid as his travelling allowance to Khartoum, Sudan for the convocation ceremony of the University of Africa; for a trip to the United Kingdom for the World Education Forum, the sum of N8, 509, 000.00 was paid to him; while his trip to Saudi Arabia for his daughters’ graduation was also sponsored by the state government, among other privileges extended to him’’, the statement added.
It also challenged the former deputy governor on allegations that the state government has committed resources to sponsor rally in support of his removal from office, adding that the gravity of the allegation may prompt the government to take appropriate action.
‘’The former deputy governor ought to have landed safely and quietly instead of making unsubstantiated allegations just to draw attention,‘’ it concluded.

Transcorp Hotels 2018 Profit After Tax Expands By 85%

The pride and pearl of the Nigerian Hospitality Industry, Transcorp Hotels Plc. (“Transcorp Hotels”) has announced its Unaudited Financial Statements for the period ended June 30, 2018. The company showed significant growth over same period last year recording a turnover of N8.01billion, Profit Before Tax of N2.02billion and Earning Per Share of 17.84 Kobo.

Transcorp Hotels delivered a commendable 29% year-on-year growth in revenue at the close of the first half of 2018, moving from N6.20billion in HY 2017 to N8.01billion in HY 2018. Gross profit for the period grew by 31% to N5.89billion from N4.50billion of HY 2017; Profit before tax for HY 2018 was N2.02billion against N1.10 billion in HY 2017, representing a 85% year-on-year growth. The Group ended with an impressive Profit after Tax of N1.38billion, representing 83% year-on-year growth over N760million in HY 2017.

Commenting on the financial results, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotels Plc., said “We are thrilled with the half year results of the hotel, which was primarily driven by the increase in occupancy, room inventory and aggressive marketing strategies. With the help of a strong and dedicated workforce, we will continue to deliver significant value to our shareholders and unrivalled service excellence to our customers.”

He emphasised that for Transcorp Hotels Plc. to achieve its long-term strategy of being Africa’s leading hospitality company, the organisation is investing resources into diversifying its overall guest experience using technology. According to Mr. Ozigbo, “we recently launched the Transcorp Hilton mobile application, which allows guests request for dining services, housekeeping services, valet services and maintenance requests with the click of a button. Guests can read up about local attractions in Abuja, explore on-site and off-site recreational services and navigate key locations around the city through the inbuilt map.

He added that Transcorp Hotels Calabar is also undergoing an extensive upgrade of its existing technology and internet services, to ensure guests experiences are better personalised and customer service is seamless across digital platforms. “This is the only way we can remain competitive in the ever-changing business landscape”, Ozigbo said.

Update: Quit APC Now – Kwara Groups Tell Gov Ahmed

Following calls from various stakeholders in Kwara State, the State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has hinted that he might be quitting the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). This follows stakeholders’ insistence at a meeting with the governor in Ilorin that he should leave the party because it has fallen short of their aspirations.

The governor insisted that the party has not met the expectations of the people of Kwara State.

Governor Ahmed made this known on Thursday at State Banquet Hall, Ilorin while reacting to the requests of various stakeholders in Kwara Central Senatorial District, prevailing on him and the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to immediately dump the APC.

The governor recalled how key stakeholders in the ruling APC in the state built the party in 2014 alongside other notable Nigerians with high expectations but were disappointed about the failure of the government at national level to address insecurity, economy and unemployment challenges confronting the nation.

According to the governor, “We formed APC together in 2014 with the hope to meet the needs and aspirations of the people in critical areas of our national life”.

He said the leadership of the APC had failed to intervene on critical issues affecting the party and its members, pointing out that injustice within the party is unbearable.

Gov Ahmed who thanked the people of the state for their support assured the stakeholders that he would consider their pleas and make public the new platform that would meet the aspirations of the people of the state.

He also promised that the administration would continue to run an all inclusive process that would take care of all interests.

Various stakeholders who spoke at the Town Hall meeting called on the Governor to take the state to another political party where their welfare would be guaranteed and expectations would be met.

In his remarks, the State President of Kwara State Artisans Group, Alhaji Saad Alawaye who commended Gov. Ahmed for his numerous empowerment programmes to the informal sector promised continuous support in moving the state forward.

The State Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Mr. Joshua Adekanye who spoke on behalf of all the 16 local government chairmen, their vice chairmen and 193 councillors expressed readiness to dump the All Progressives Congress in the interest of the people.

On their parts, the Youth leader, Alhaji Mohammad Ali Baba and the Women Leader, Hajia Rahmat Oganija thanked the governor for his support to the youth and womenfolk in the state.

They however said they were not comfortable to remain in the APC, citing injustices against the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and called for immediate defection to a better and safer political party.

The meeting had in attendance Artisans group, market men and women, Okada riders, youth groups among others.

Abdulwahab Oba
Chief Press Secretary
to the Kwara State Governor

NILS Trains Adamawa State Legislators On Financial Autonomy

As part of its strategies for effective service delivery in the legislature, the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies will begin a 2-Day workshop, themed “Strengthening Capacity of Adamawa State House of Assembly for Financial Autonomy”.

The workshop is designed for the Members of the Adamawa State House of Assembly, to draw from the experience of the National Assembly the systems, processes, procedures and practices in operation and management of legislatures in the context of financial autonomy.

The Director General, Professor Ladi Hamalai, MFR, hinted that this training  would provide deep insight and requisite experience for the state legislators to effectively prepare the State Assembly for the discharge of its functions under the new financial dispensation.

It would be recalled that the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria had on 8th of June 2018, signed into law the Fourth Alteration Bill that guaranteed financial autonomy to the 36 State Assemblies.

The workshop is billed to take place in NILDS, Abuja between, Thursday, 26th – 27th July 2018.

Abiru Charge New Skye Bank Employees On Integrity And Professionalism

Tokunbo Abiru, Skye Bank CEO, has charged the bank’s newly hired employees on the need to embrace integrity and professionalism as key ingredients for a successful banking career in the era of openness and internet of things.

Abiru gave this charge while speaking at the graduation ceremony of Skye Graduate Intensive Training (SGIT), which held at the Skye Business School, Ibadan at the weekend

Addressing the new staff who emerged through the bank’s popular ‘Skye Graduate Intensive Training (SGIT) the Skye bank Group Managing Director, advised that their professionalism will ultimately impact positively the financial sector.

“In addition to exuding the qualities of the ideal Skye Persona, you must embrace the attitude of openness, demonstrate knowledge of the policies of the bank, respect constituted authorities; as well as treat the customers with utmost regard. Most importantly, you must set targets and goals for your selves at all times”, the CEO admonished.

Abiru who was represented by Dr. Ayo Abina, Directorate Head, Southern Business, said, the bank places a high premium on staff training and manpower development as a way of building an informed and competent work force to enable the employees excel in their assigned tasks.

“You have been trained to be professionals and leaders, who will make the difference in any area of the bank you are deployed to. You are undergoing today’s graduation not because we sought to do you a favour, but because you emerged successful from amongst thousands of Nigerians that sat for the same examination”, he emphasized.

The Skye Bank boss advised the newly inducted employees to continue to seek new knowledge in order to become knowledge based employees, charging them to commit their time in the bank to problem solving, rather than being willing wailers in the face of challenges.

Earlier, Skye Bank’s Head of Human Capital Management, Mr. Taiwo Olupeka, said the 53 graduands were the successful lot among the over 2,000 candidates who sat for the bank’s recruitment test.

Olupeka described them as the ‘best of the best’ after a very rigorous and thorough exercise, charging them to do their best to make the bank the first and leading commercial bank in the country.

A Mathematics graduate from Anambra State University, Pamela Chikezie, was the best graduating student from stream 41 while a Banking & Finance graduate from Michael Okpara University Umudike, Prince Emmanuel, was the best student from stream 42 after the 9 weeks of intensive training.

The best graduating students; Pamela Chikezie and Prince Emmanuel said they were overwhelmed on hearing their names as the best students of their respective streams particularly because of how keenly competitive and extremely intensive the training was.

Expressing gratitude to the bank, Prince had this to say, “I look forward to putting the same kind of effort that earned me the accolades during the 9 weeks intensive training to my job.” He thanked Skye Bank on behalf of the graduating students for the rare opportunity to work in the organisation.

The new employees who are largely fresh higher institution graduates with diverse academic backgrounds

Skye Bank is Nigeria’s leading retail bank with wide-ranging electronic solutions promoting consumer lifestyle and e-commerce experience for its customers.

MURIC Urges FG To Stop Religious Crusaders In Ikoyi Immigration Office

Following reports that the premises of the Nigerian Immigration at Ikoyi has been taken over by religious zealots who compel staffers and applicants to join them in morning devotions, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has cried out to immigration authorities and the Federal Government to save the department from religious crisis.

In a press statement signed by its director and founder, Professor Ishaq Akintola, he complained that its headquarters had been inundated with reports that Nigerians who visit the immigration office in Ikoyi, Lagos early in the mornings are being made to partake in Christian prayers and evangelical devotion without any regard for their religious leaning.

According to Akintola, “The Ikoyi office of immigrations has been taken over by Christian fanatics who force everyone who arrives early to join in Christian prayers. They insist that there must be morning devotion before starting work every morning. The fact that they have Muslims among their staff and applicants means nothing to them. They invoke spirits and imaginary angels. They shout and scream at the top of their voices. It is madness in official quarters.

“Muslims need protection in this country. We cannot just stand by watching as Muslims are embarrassed and denigrated by overzealous Christian officials in immigration office. It is not only ridiculous but also unacceptable. It is hard to believe that Ikoyi immigration office is owned by the Nigerian government. It looks more like a Christian evangelical office.

“When did Nigeria descend to this level? How can a government department of such high status become a tool in the hands of gymnastic crusaders? We are demanding immediate cessation of this rubbish. It must also be investigated. All government offices are there for staffers to work and for visitors to receive quality service. How can we get that quality service when you force us to go down on our knees contrary to our belief? By the way, how can we allow civil servants to mess up tax payers for crying out loud? No serious nation will allow its work force to descend into the labyrinths of mythical religiousity and Treasure Island miracle mentality.”

MURIC affirmed that Nigerian Muslims are tax payers and major stakeholders who deserve quality service. The Muslim human rights outfit decried the compulsion of applicants to join in morning devotion of any kind in Ikoyi immigration office in particular and any other government department for that matter.

“This phenomenon is now common in many ministries, parastatals, hospitals, clinics, market places, etc. Some Christian extremists just assume that they own this country. They arrogantly ask everyone to close their eyes in government offices every morning. They ask them to kneel down and pray. They should be told that Muslims pray in their homes every morning before going to work. So what is the essence of forcing us to pray in the office in Christian fashion? This ignoble practice is common where Christians are heads of department. It happens where Christians are directors. This bedlam must be brought under control.

“If anybody wants to pray in the office, let him or her pray silently and privately. It is an infringement on Allah-given fundamental rights of Muslims to compel them to kneel down and pray in Christian manner just because the boss in that office is a Christian. This is something Muslim bosses will never do and we are demanding immediate stoppage.

“It is paradoxical that the same Christian bosses and directors who force Muslims to join them in prayer are the same people who spread the misleading propaganda that Nigeria is being Islamised. This new revelation proves that they are the ones Christianising Nigeria but accusing the Muslims in order to deceive Nigerians. Our neighbours are adept at deception, outright lies and fake news.

“It may be argued that Muslims also pray at work but while that is true they never drag non-Muslims to join their prayer. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees freedom of religion and that is why whoever wants to worship should do so briefly without compelling others to join him or her. MURIC will continue to expose those who tramp upon Allah-given fundamental rights of Muslims”.

The Muslim group lamented the Nigerian irony where there is excessive show of religious devotion without a commensurate level of transparency and accountability in public office.

“Our advice is that Nigerians should stop this hypocritical show of piety in criminality. How can we spend hours on our knees yet we are ‘fantastically corrupt’? How can we compel people to join in morning devotion but demand bribes from the same people minutes later? Those who waste so much time kneeling down in prayer during working hours do not deserve full salary because they did not render full service to their country. They are cheating on government”.

MURIC also explained that it does not oppose Christians praise-worshipping in workplaces since Muslims also observe Salat (ritual or canonical prayer) at work. The organization insists that the Christian spiritual exercise should involve Christians alone and that no Muslim should be invited or forced to attend or participate. It argued that such Christian praise-singing at work should not be done where both Christians and Muslims are waiting for public service.

 “It is necessary to clarify our position before we draw the curtain in order to avoid deliberate misinterpretation by mischief makers and war mongers. We Muslims are not saying Christians cannot or should not worship in work places. We also worship in our places of work but it is Salat which has prescribed time and special genuflections as we are commanded in the Qur’an ‘Observe regular Salat because it is prescribed at stated times’ (Qur’an 4:103; see also Qur’an 2:238; 23:9; etc). It must be noted that Muslims who observe Salat in their places of work are neither showing off nor being fanatical because such prayer (e.g. between 1 pm and 2 pm) is mandatory and those who ignore Salat are cursed (Qur’an 107:5).

“Nonetheless, our Salat is an all-Muslim affair. We do not invite or force Christians to join us. So what we are saying is that Christians can also assemble for religious purposes in their places of work but they should not invite Muslims talk less of forcing them to join in morning devotion. Morning devotion by Christians in immigration office is legitimate with the proviso that it is an all-Christian affair. But it becomes illegal, illegitimate, unlawful and unconstitutional the moment Muslims are coerced to join. It is religious intimidation of the highest order. Do your own alone and let the Muslims do their own alone. “For you your religion and for us our religion” (Qur’an 109:6).

“As we draw the curtain, we demand full investigation into the Ikoyi morning devotion affair. A circular should go out in all ministries and parastatals warning against forceful morning devotions. Defaulters should be punished as deterrents”.

Ecobank Nigeria Appoints Patrick Akinwuntan Managing Director

Lagos, Nigeria: July 19, 2018 -The Board of Directors of Ecobank Nigeria Limited is pleased to announce, the appointment of Patrick Akinwuntan as the Managing Director designate of Ecobank Nigeria, subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Prior to this appointment, Patrick was the Group Executive, Consumer Banking responsible for leading the Consumer Banking business across Ecobank’s global network of 40 countries, 36 of which are in Africa. As a seasoned banker with over 20 years of senior and executive management experience, Patrick has held several strategic positions for the Ecobank Group in Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria. He had previously been a Group Executive Director on the Board of ETI and earlier, Executive Director in Ecobank Nigeria.

Patrick started his career with Ecobank in 1996 as Head of Commercial Bank and Regional Head in Ecobank Nigeria and since then he has held various senior and executive positions in Nigeria and within the Ecobank Group, including Executive Director, Retail Bank, Ecobank Nigeria, Group Chief Finance Officer, ETI, Group Executive Director, Operations & Technology, amongst others.

Prior to joining Ecobank, Patrick was a General Manager, Springfountain Management Consultants, Lagos from 1993 – 1996; Deputy Manager – Corporate Finance, Credit and Marketing, Manufacturers Merchant Bank Plc, Lagos from 1991 – 1993, and; was a Supervisor in Ernst & Young International (Chartered Accountants), Lagos from 1987 – 1991. A fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA), Patrick also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.

He is an alumnus of the senior executive program (SEP) of the Harvard Business school, a honorary senior member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and an associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria. In line with our leadership and business continuity procedures, the outgoing Managing Director, Charles Kie, will continue to manage Ecobank Nigeria throughout the transition period and ensure a smooth handover to Mr Akinwuntan. John Aboh, Chairman of the Board of Ecobank Nigeria has congratulated Patrick on his new appointment.

He said “We warmly welcome Patrick back to Ecobank Nigeria and look forward to providing him with full support from the Board. I must, once again, extend our most sincere gratitude to Charles for his tremendous contributions to Ecobank Nigeria’s development and wish him every success in his future endeavors.”

Nigeria Air: President Buhari Breaks New Ground – Group

With the unveiling of the logo and the planned take-off of Nigeria Air in December President Muhammadu Buhari has gone beyond completing abandoned projects to resurrecting dead projects.

Making this observation in a statement in Abuja, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) says it is gratifying that the Nigeria Airways killed by PDP government in 2003 is being brought back to life by PMB 15 years after.

In the statement signed by the Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, the group applauded the move and noted especially the acquisition of new Boeing aircrafts.

“This is a most welcome development which will benefit the country in more ways than one, another promise kept and a further proof of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to correcting the wrongs of the past.”

The group recalled that when the President vowed to revive the Nigerian Airways that was liquidated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004, many Nigerians were understandably cynical because of the failed promises of previous governments.

“When the then Candidate Buhari gave his words on the National Carrier, many people who had been told that a government owned airline was not viable felt he was playing to the gallery, but it is now clear that the President is a man of his words,” the group said.

It added that with the unveiling of the logo what many people had dismissed as a political gimmick has begun to manifest. 

The group pointed out that “many older Nigerians would recall that as at 1984 when Buhari was then a military ruler, Nigerian Airways had 34 aircraft, so he was understandably shocked that smaller countries were running well-managed airlines with private sector support and laid the groundwork for what we are seeing now.”

The group reminded Nigerians that the new national carrier is just one aspect of an Aviation master-plan which include a maintenance, repair and overhaul centre, an aviation leasing company and airport concessioning -all designed to make the country the aviation hub for west and central Africa.

BMO also commended the Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika for running with the President’s dream, from planning to execution, while urging him to ensure that the December take-off date is sacrosanct.

It however urged him to learn from the missteps of previous administrations by ensuring that the public/private partnership arrangement is water-tight in order to realise the government’s aspiration of profit within three year’s of operation

On the possible benefits of Nigeria’s investment in a new national carrier, BMO noted that the vacuum created by the absence of a national carrier is costing Nigeria $6.4 billion annually as a result of its inability to reap the benefits from 78 Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) from non-payment of royalty by foreign carriers.

This, it says, is an estimate provided by aviation experts of what international operators should have been paying but for the inability of Nigerian airlines to reciprocate the number of flights operated by these foreign carriers due to lack of capacity and the fact that the country does not have strong airlines that operate many international destinations.

BMO says it is convinced that the Buhari administration would put in place the necessary processes to ensure that never again will Nigeria be deprived of a national flag carrier at a time smaller African countries are running viable, profitable airlines.

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