Zenith Bank Plc, the largest bank in Nigeria by tier-1 capital and the foremost provider of financial services to multinationals, corporates and SMES in the country, has affirmed its commitment to accord its growing retail business the same attention and focus that has enabled it become the leading corporate bank player in the country.
This is in line with the Bank’s strategic focus of extending its exceptional service offerings to everyone hence encouraging the drive for financial inclusion.
Customers can now open a Zenith Bank account with a Zero Balance (N0.00) as opposed to its initial range of N50, 000 – N250, 000.
This move highlights the bank’s ability to adapt to the changing needs of the financial environment.
The Bank has also upgraded its retail banking offering with innovations such as *966# USSD EazyBanking, Social banking on Facebook and other offerings that will ensure memorable user experiences for its customers.
As such, Anyone interested in opening a Zenith Bank account can do so by dialing 9660# and following the prompts or visiting www.zenithbank.com or walking into any zenith bank branch nationwide.
They added that the medical consultant attending to her has advised that the only option left will be a keykole surgery and she is calling on good Nigerians to come to her aid.
We learnt she has spent all her money on the ailment and presently she needs financial help to stay alive. She is presently on admission at Rapha Medical Centre, 14 Muyideen Street, Off Ireshe Road, Off Adaraloye Street, Ikorodu, Lagos.
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, has lamented that quacks have taken over every institution in the country, including the country’s political space.
Kukah said that the quest to achieve a united Nigeria, devoid of rationalization and fictionalization, has remained an illusion for the same reason.
The cleric spoke at the National Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Kukah. He said Nigeria is now one of the most dangerous country to live in.
Kukah said, “The quest for national cohesion remains an illusion and the result, therefore, is that marketing Nigeria becomes an act of frustration. In part because too many issues have still not been resolved.
“Tragically as the population has increased we have not been able to craft a narrative. Is there any institution in Nigeria that has not been taken over by quacks, including our politics?
“There is no institution you can blame in this country, everywhere. That is why it is even so dangerous and so important to think about how to advertise Nigeria. I mean, where do you start?
“I think that the problems in Nigeria have very little to do with the things that we ascribe, but is everything to do with our inability, sheer incapacity to manage diversity. Managing diversity is a science.
“If we do not have a sense of direction and purpose; a nation that does not have a clarity of vision as to where it is going, and what the tools that are required.
“When you live in a country like Nigeria, where people are safer with their nephews, cousins, brothers, sisters, as special assistants, personal assistants, then we are in trouble. How we manage diversity in Nigeria then becomes an issue.”
Continuing, he said, “The question then is if you want to market Nigeria, where do you start from. We are practising politics of a very poor quality.
“Our politics have become so regionalised, fractionalised. Whenever I look at the map of the last elections, I do not feel proud as a Nigerian. That you will have an election where very clearly, the country is divided into two and the lines are precise.
“If this is the kind of country that we have, how do we develop the capacity to manage diversity. When a president is travelling, the governors are struggling to go with him.
“And yet in reality, for those journeys, like when the president is going to China, there must be an academic expert who understands China, who should be able to brief the President.
“This is the only country where the only experts are those manufactured by those in power. Does it not surprise you? The country has become averse to expertise, to intellectual contribution.
“The incredible capacity of our people is in suspended animation. It is really frightening what is happening in Nigeria. With the kidnapping in Katsina yesterday, there are no more sacred spaces in the country.
“It is a mortal sin and a massive scared on Nigeria’s face the millions of young people who are moving around and have turned to crime. It is totally unacceptable that we would live with so much and so many of our people are objects of humiliation around the world.”
The current crisis facing the Western Metal Products Company has led to the closure of no fewer than 19 enamelware firms, while 250,000 jobs along the steel and enamelware value chain are also about to end, investigations by our correspondent have revealed.
WEMPCO is reportedly facing a huge debt burden of over N90bn, planning to sell its flagship five-star Oriental Hotel on the Island and considering exiting Nigeria.
Our correspondent gathered that the 40-year-old firm was the authorised sole distributor of cold-rolled iron sheet, used in the manufacturing of roofing sheets and annealed iron sheets used in the manufacturing of enamelware.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, in order to protect the local manufacturers, had included cold rolled iron sheet and annealed in the list of 41 banned items from access to official foreign exchange.
The implication is that all the firms that produce roofing sheets and enamelware in Nigeria may have to shut down in the event of WEMPCO’s exit.
Already, all the firms manufacturing wheelbarrows and shovels are said to have shut down while others are winding down gradually having run out of stock of raw materials.
It was gathered that WEMPCO’s trouble stemmed from the influx of substandard roofing sheets smuggled into Nigeria from Cameroon and other neighbouring countries.
The local firms were said to have been mandated by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria to keep the standard of roofing sheet at 0.015mm in thickness.
This posed competition challenge against smuggled roofing sheets which were 0.013mm and 0.014mm.
Low patronage set in for WEMPCO and its stock of unsold products went bad from staying too long in storage.
By last year, the company had closed down almost all its plants as they were no longer producing.
Our correspondent also spoke to some of the buyers of WEMPCO products who recounted a different version of the story.
All of them, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the firm was not consistent in filling orders.
It was alleged that they either took too long in delivering the product or delivered items different from the specification.
WEMPCO was also alleged to have abused the exclusive rights and waivers that were granted to it by the Federal Government.
Our correspondent learnt that whereas the previous government had granted the firm heavy waivers to aid it in production of cold-rolled sheet locally, the firm had instead embarked on heavy importation of the product.
Trouble started for it when the current administration came into power and decided to cancel the waivers.
It then became a Herculean task for WEMPCO to fill orders as the importation route had been closed and they could not produce to meet local demand.
Customers, who paid money into WEMPCO account, neither saw their money nor the goods they paid for. The bank held onto customers’ money because WEMPCO was heavily indebted to the bank, it was alleged.
When our correspondent sought an audience with Robert Tung, the Managing Director of WEMPCO, he declined the calls and did not respond to text messages sent to his line.
Our correspondent put a call through to a consultant to the firm, Jide Mike, but he denied ever working for WEMPCO; he also said he knew nothing about the company.
The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos (UNILAG) chapter, has, again, accused the chairman of the institution’s governing council, Wale Babalakin, of being dictatorial and engaging in illegality in the administration of the university.
In its letter to the union members and signed by its chairman, Dele Ashiru, ASUU said it has received complaints from seven lecturers who were issued queries by the university registrar, Oladejo Azeez, on the instruction of Mr Babalakin.
The letter, a copy of which PREMIUM TIMES obtained, was titled; “Creeping Tyranny and Looming Anarchy in the University of Lagos.”
According to the union, some lecturers received queries signed by the registrar on why they embarked on duly approved trips. The lecturers were also asked in the letter to submit their responses to the council chairman directly.
The letter reads in part; “Our fears that a vicious, vindictive and meddlesome leviathan is at the head of the University of Lagos Council has sadly been confirmed.
“This dictatorial, unprocedural, illegal and deliberate by-pass of the university administration, whose duty is that of day-to-day running of the university is strange and dangerous. It is sad and shameful that the purported report(s) which the pro-chancellor is acting upon has not been received by the university’s council. This arbitrariness and ‘one man show’ is repulsive and unacceptable to our union as it smacks of vindictiveness.”
ASUU has, therefore, advised the concerned lecturers to immediately contact the union for “proper guidance and further actions.” The union assured its members that it would stop at nothing to resist what it described as “creeping tyranny and looming anarchy.”
Babalakin denies wrongdoing
But the governing council chairman has denied any wrongdoing, saying his action is backed by the Act establishing the university.
The message reads; “It is important that ASUU backs up its allegation by referring to (a) specific law that has been violated. Please refer to Section 7 of the University Act, which defines the power of (the) Council. The registrar and secretary to (the) council is in the best position to advise on the procedure of Council. Thank you.”
What Section 7 says
Section 7 of the University of Lagos Act referenced by Mr Babalakin reads as follows:
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act relating to the Visitor, the Council shall be the governing body of the university and shall be charged with the general control and superintendence of the policy, finances and property of the university, including its public relations.
(2) There shall be a committee of the Council, to be known as the Finance and General Purposes Committee, which shall, subject to the directions of the Council, exercise control over the property and expenditure of the University, other than that of the colleges, and perform such other functions of the Council as the Council may from time to time delegate to it.
(3) Provision shall be made by statute with respect to the constitution of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.
(4) The Council shall ensure that proper accounts of the University and the colleges are kept and that the accounts of the University and of each of the colleges are audited annually by auditors appointed by the Council from the list and in accordance with guidelines supplied by the Auditor-General for the Federation; and that an annual report is published by the University together with certified copies of the said accounts as audited.
(5) Subject to this Act and the statutes, the Council and the Finance and General Purposes Committee may each make rules for the purposes of exercising any of their respective functions or of regulating their own procedure.
(6) Rules made under subsection (5) or this section by the Finance and General Purposes Committee shall not come into force unless approved by the Council; and in so far as any rules so made by that committee conflict with any directions given by the Council (whether before or after the coming into force of the rules in question), the directions or the Council shall prevail.
(7) There shall be paid to the members of the Council, of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and of any other committee set up by the council respectively allowances in respect of travelling and other reasonable expenses, at such rates as may from time to time be fixed by the Council.
(8) The Council shall meet as and when necessary for the performance of its functions under this Act, and shall meet at least three times in every year.
ASUU insists no law backs council chair’s action
The ASUU chairman, Dele Ashiru, in a telephone interview with our reporter, insisted that there is nowhere in the section referenced by Mr Babalakin that empowers an individual to take a position on behalf of the Council without being authorised by the Council.
According to Mr Ashiru, the governing council has more than one member and decisions of the council are not reached “in corners of anyone’s room but at the council’s chamber in the presence of other members.”
He said; “We are familiar with the University Act and we have read it many times. There is just nowhere an individual can take any unilateral decision on behalf of the council. Let the council chair also tell us where Section 7 being mentioned by the chairman replaces the use of ‘council’ with the ‘council chairman.’
“Good enough, our chairman is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and some of our members are lecturers of law. What we cannot take is arbitrariness and someone not believing in any constituted authority. We won’t be taken for a ride. Let the chairman tell us when the decision on the action he has just taken was decided by council members.”
We aware of the cat and mouse relationship between the university’s chapter of ASUU and Mr Babalakin over some decisions taken in the past.
During the union’s prolonged nationwide industrial action, the ASUU chairman had, last year, summoned a meeting with some lecturers which was fixed for the university’s Senate chamber.
ASUU had kicked against the decision, which it said was targeted at balkanising its union. It, therefore, fixed its congress for the same venue and same time.
This newspaper is also aware of the unfriendly relationship between the council chairman and some members of the university’s council including members of the institution’s management over allegations and counter-allegations bordering on finances.
The development had led to the setting up of a committee by the governing council to look into the finances of the institution between May 2017 and September 2018.
ASUU is alleging that the council chairman unilaterally queried its members based on the report of the fact-finding committee, which it claimed was yet to be submitted officially to the council for deliberation and action.
Source: PREMIUM TIMES
Seven ladies who were arrested in Abuja and convicted by a mobile court for pros-titution have alleged that policemen attached to the Utako and Gwarimpa police stations in Abuja r*ped and physically assaulted them while in police custody.
The ladies also claimed that the police compelled them to plead guilty when they were arraigned before the court on Monday.
Narrating their ordeal to journalists on Thursday, the ladies, who spoke anonymously, said after their arrest at a night club and a hotel, the police allegedly threw them into a cell and repeatedly tear-gassed them.
One of the victims, explained that a policeman attached to the Utako Police station, who was simply identified as ‘Yellow,’ allegedly hit her with a baton and also flogged her with a horse whip several times, injuring her arm and face in the process.
Her explanations were also corroborated by her co-convicts who lamented the alleged emotional abuse and physical torture they suffered while in detention.
Another victim, who claimed to have been arrested at a shopping plaza, said the policemen attached to the FCT ministerial task allegedly r*ped her when she could not pay them.
She stated, “Three of us were brought out of the van and rped by the policemen because we had no money to give them. We were rped behind the National War College, Abuja. They pushed me to the ground and held me there while one of them rped me. He didn’t wear a condom. The other girls were also rped by two others one of who used a pure water sachet as condom.”
Another victim said she was picked up by the police at a hotel where she attended a birthday bash.
She stated, “I was invited to a birthday party at an apartment in a hotel. I came to the reception to get water and a woman suddenly held my hands and pushed me out of the hotel. I saw a lot of people with cameras and some with mobile phones taking my pictures and shooting a video of the arrest.
“They took me to Zone 6 police station and from there to the Utako police station. I was on my period and I begged a policewoman to help me with a pad, but she refused. We were not allowed to make phone calls to our family members; I don’t know how my sister got to know, and she brought a pad for me.”
“When I wanted to use it, a male policeman followed me inside the toilet and was watching me. This is not fair. A policeman, Yellow, beat me when I demanded my phone. The next day, they took us to Life Camp police station after which they took us to Area 3. The policemen said we should plead guilty before the court otherwise, we would be remanded in prison.”
An activist, Dorothy Njemanze, also narrated her experience in the hands of policemen who allegedly molested her, adding that she was awarded N6m damages by the court in 2017. She lamented that the Federal Government had refused to pay the award.
The acting FCT police spokesman, ASP Gajere Danjuma, said the commissioner of police was aware of the allegations which he said were being investigated.
Mohammed Momoh, the Lagos state coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), says the body is looking up to the federal government to release a circular for the implementation of the newly approved minimum wage with respect to corps members.
Momoh made this known while speaking to TheCable about the expected wage increase for corps members.
“The effective date of implementation would be stated on the circular and any corps member that falls within that said period and is qualified for the monthly allowance would benefit from the increase if and when the implementation starts,” he explained.
“Corps members are Nigerians and it is only expected that they would benefit from the increase. At the appropriate time, the federal government would fix the allowance for corps members. This would then be made public by the NYSC.
“I have no doubt that the federal government would do the needful in accordance with the minimum wage.”
There had been questions about whether corps members would be eligible for minimum wage.
According to the minimum wage act, it is the duty of every employer to pay every worker the national minimum wage and it defines workers as any member of the civil service of the federation or of a state or local government or any individual (other than persons occupying executive, administrative, technical or professional position in any such civil service) who has entered into or works under a contract with an employer
According to section 2, subsection 1 of the National Minimum Wage Act, the following establishments are exempted from paying minimum wage
- An establishment in which less than fifty workers are employed
- An establishment in which workers are employed on a part-time basis
- An establishment in which workers are paid on commission or on a piece-rate basis
- workers in seasonal employment such as agriculture
The 2011 amendment of the act excluded establishments with less than 25 workers.
Speaking during the 2019 Batch ‘A’ orientation exercise of corp members at the NYSC camp in Sagamu, Sule Kazuare, former NYSC director general, had said there would be an increase in accordance with the increment in national workers’ wage.
“We have a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Wages Commission that each time the salaries of public servants are increased, that of corps members too would take a very relative position,” Kazaure who was represented by Abdulrasheed Sanusi, acting director, corp welfare, said.
Nigeria’s telecoms giant, MTN, has appointed Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a Non-Executive Director effective July 1, 2019.
The appointment of the Emir is part of a board room shake-up at MTN which will also see the on-boarding of South Africa’s former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas as a new group chairman.
In Nigeria, the appointment of Sanusi comes as MTN prepares to list its local unit on the Nigerian stock exchange, a condition of the settlement of a $1 billion regulatory action three years ago.
MTN also announced a separate board of prominent people to advise on broader African issues, which will be headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki and includes John Kufuor, a former president of Ghana.
Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, on Friday said the outcome of its probe into examination fraud between 2009- 2019 would shock many Nigerians.
He said the board has discovered that some prominent Nigerians occupying high positions in the society today did not take its examination themselves.
Oloyede said although the board may not be able to punish these persons because they had already left the system, but it would go ahead to publish their names to shame them.
The JAMB Registrar spoke at the 23rd annual seminar of the Nigerian Academy of Education under the topic, “Admissions into tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria.”
He also said the board has hired a Senior Advocate of Nigeria to prosecute over 100 persons caught in various malpractices during the UTME which held between April 11 and 18, and who were arrested by security operatives across the country.
The registrar did not name the SAN leading the prosecution of UTME candidates and professional examination fraudsters.
He also did not state the day the 2019 UTME results would be released.
Oloyede said the board was amused by insinuation that it’s sever had crashed.
Such comments, he said, were amusing to members of the board.
The registrar said: “If I were to be punishing every staff of JAMB that is committing infractions, I will not focus on the assignment.
“I will be going from one disciplinary committee to the other and my attention will be diverted.
“And that is why I go for the shortest route; once you are caught to have committed one infraction, you will not be assigned with examination duties again.
“It is a privilege, which I can withdraw. If you are that bad that I don’t want to see your face around me, I will transfer you to another place.
“If we have to take disciplinary action against all of them; look at it, today we have 100 people not less than 100 in police cells across the country who were caught for examination malpractices.
“I have appointed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who is a former Solicitor-General to help me oversee all these so that the suspects can be brought to book.
“And my Director of Legal asked me, what offences should we charge these people for; for multiple registrations? And I said why can’t we go to the Examination Malpractice Act?
“So, my problem has started by having to draft the charges, despite the fact that we have evidences against them. That is the beginning of the problem.
“I will now ask to be paying my staff to travel out of Abuja to be testifying in court as they are adjourning month after month the cases and we will be wasting money and time on transport.
“So even now, what we have seen, I tell people that I am more tolerant of corruption in JAMB than when I was as a vice-chancellor at the University of Ilorin.”
He added that the board has de-listed no fewer than 76 Computer-Based Test Centres for various infractions in the recently concluded unified tertiary matriculation examination. (The Nation)