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First Bank Is Reducing Poverty Through Its 31,000 Agent Network – Adeduntan

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In its quest to deepen financial inclusion, FirstBank is channelling its resources to reach those at the bottom of the pyramid through its agency banking.

The tie-one bank has over 31,000 agents spread across Nigeria with 9,000 assigned to provide financial services to the highly excluded Northern region.

According to Adesola Adeduntan, the MD/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, the bank took it upon itself as part of their strategic plan to be the bank that can be the right partner to the CBN and the government by helping to achieve the right social impact.

“If there is that bank on ground to help the country to address the seeming geographical gap in terms of financial inclusion, it is FirstBank, because we are already doing a lot,” Adeduntan said.

With over 125 years of unbroken existence in Nigeria, the lender has the largest branch network in Nigeria with over 750 branches spread across the country.

Nigeria has an exclusion rate of 36.8 percent as at December 2018; this translates to about 36.6 million Nigerian adults who are not included in the formal financial net.

The Central Bank of Nigeria plans to ensure it drive that number to 20 percent by the year 2020. But with less than five months to the deadline, the regulator has about 16.8 percent exclusion gap.

“So with over 31,000 agents and 750 branches spread across all the LGAs in Nigeria, FirstBank is indeed a frontrunner at not just providing banking to all Nigerians but importantly improving their respective businesses and developing the Nigerian economy,” Adeduntan noted.

According to Emeka Onwuka, CEO, Parkway Project, a Lagos-based Fintech company known for its popular ReadyCash product, when it comes to financial inclusion, the distribution is really “where we have the problem.”

“It is not about wallet rather it is about the touch point where people can actually go and have access,” Onwuka added. In January 2019, the central bank unveiled a revised version of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) in which it projected that it will enroll about 500,000 mobile money/bank agents available to serve about 105 million adult Nigerians by the year 2020. The figure translates to about 476 agents per 100,000 adults.

Less than five months to the projected deadline, Nigeria’s financial institutions have however enrolled a joint 65,753 mobile agents, data obtained from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) showed.

This is 86.85 percent less than the 500,000 mobile agents which are going to serve about 105 million adult Nigerians. If the industry regulator is to meet the target by 2020, it would have to enroll about 434,247 agents in five months.

According to data by EFInA, a huge population of Nigerian adult still lack access to financial products and services. The number is however highest in the northern part of the country.

Compared to other regions of Africa’s most populous nation, the northern part of the country reported more unbanked people owing to high illiteracy level, insurgency in some parts of the region coupled with high poverty rate, as compiled from BusinessDay survey.

“Currently we have up to 9,000 agents specifically in the northern part of the country and the same thing goes for the statistics of our ATM,” Adeduntan said.

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Rivers, Imo Teachers Shine As Promasidor Marks World Teachers Day With Special Cowbellpedia Teacher’s Mathematics TV Quiz Show

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It was a reversal of roles for teachers last weekend as Promasidor Nigeria Limited, makers of “Cowbell, Our Milk”, marked the 2019 World Teachers Day with special (Teacher’s edition) of Cowbellpedia Mathematics Quiz Show to celebrate the teachers.

The twelve teachers, who produced the finalists in the Junior and Senior categories of the 2018 edition of the competition, contested for honours and prizes.

In the Junior category, Mr Paul Fase of Graceland International School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, outclassed others with 105 points, to win the star prize. Fase was the teacher of Favour Okarike who emerged as second runner-up in 2018 finals.

On the heels of Fase was Kayode Adebayo, a teacher from The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State who garnered 95 points to emerge as first runner-up, while Godwin Udom, his counterpart from the same school, scored 75 point to become the second runner-up.

Adebayo’s student, Master Akinleye Akinfoluhan was the junior category champion in the 2018 edition while Udom’s pupil, Loluwa Abiodun was a finalist.

Other teachers who also participated in the contest but fell by the way side include Beckley Daniel of Welkin International School, Ota, Ogun State; Hamzat Dankanawa a teacher from  Nigerian Tulip International College (Boys) Abuja and David Akuru from Jesuit Memorial College, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Fase with a five years’ experience in the teaching profession, expressed gratitude to God for winning, maintaining that he now appreciates what the students are going through. “It is very easy to blame the students for lack of speed and for errors, but I now know it is not that easy,” he admitted.

In the Senior category, Ebock Inah-Ngulu, a teacher from Federal Government College, Owerri, Imo State, got the crown with 75 points. His student, Jessica Austine, was a finalist last year.

Christopher Olasupo of Graceland International College, Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Anfani Egbeyemi of The Ambassador College, Ota, Ogun State came second and third respectively. Olasupo’s student, Chinedu Mgbemena was the 2018 senior category champion, while Egbeyemi taught Enoch Adenekan, a 2018 finalist.

The trio successfully shrugged off the challenge from Oladipo Olatunde of The Ambassador College; Olalekan Olowe from Reality High School, Ilesha, Osun State and Samson Otunubi, a teacher from Federal Government Academy, Suleja, Niger State.

All the teachers commended Promasidor for the initiative which they described as a big morale booster for teachers across the country, adding that teaching requires passion, but teaching Mathematics demands a ‘special anointing’ because of the nature of the subject and the misconception by students and parents.

The students will come back to ‘battle’ this weekend as the semi-finals of the Cowbellpedia Quiz Show continues with 36 students jostling for 12 final slots. The airing also continues on DSTV Africa Magic Family Channel, AIT Network and other six television stations across the country.

Aside the N2 million grand prize, Managing Director of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Mr. Anders Einarsson disclosed that the winner in each category, (Junior and Senior) will enjoy an all-expense paid educational excursion outside the country at the end of the initiative.

In addition, the first and second runners-up in each category will receive N1.5 million and N1 million respectively, while the teachers of the top prize winners will be awarded N500, 000. Those of the first and second runners-up will receive N400, 000 and N300, 000 respectively.

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FirstBank Georgian Cup Hits The Centenary Mark, A Possible World Record In Sports Sponsorship

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In furtherance of its commitment to the growth and development of sports, nation building and the economy at large, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its sponsorship of the Georgian Cup of the Kaduna Polo Tournament for the 100th consecutive year, possibly the longest running sports sponsorship in the world and a Guinness Book of Records potential. The 2019 edition of the epoch making sports championship runs from October 12 – 20, 2019 at the Kaduna Polo Club, Murtala Mohammed Square, Kaduna.

The Kaduna Georgian Cup Centenary Polo Tournament commenced in 1919, with FirstBank sponsoring the sports tournament for a 100 years. The Cup which was donated by the Bank to the Kaduna Polo Club, is the oldest and most respected Polo trophy in West Africa. 

The 2018 edition of the tournament was won by team El-Amin, also billed to participate in the 2019 edition to defend its trophy, contested by other teams; Rubicon, Imani, Malcomines, Lintex Agad. A total of 45 teams are billed for the 2019 tournament. 

Speaking on FirstBank’s unwavering centenary sponsorship of the Tournament, the President, Kaduna Polo Club, Alhaji Suleman Abubakar said “the Georgian Cup Polo Tournament is indeed the Premier Polo Tournament in the country and it has proudly birthed many other sporting events across the country as well as the West African sub region as a whole. We are honoured to record such a milestone with FirstBank since the inception of the tournament 100 years ago. 

“Indeed, FirstBank remains a noble brand close to our heart at the Kaduna Polo Club and the tournament has indeed been a catalyst of socio-economic growth of Kaduna and the nation as a whole” he concluded.

FirstBank’s sponsorship of the Georgian cup is perhaps the longest standing sports sponsorship in the world, a reflection of a long-lasting partnership that aligns with heritage, shared values, elite performance and quality, all attributes worthy of celebration. This record sponsorship has been filed by the Kaduna Polo Club for consideration by the Guinness Book of World Records under the longest main sponsorship of a sporting world championship title.

Expressing the Bank’s delight on the sponsorship, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Folake Ani-Mumuney said “2019 is indeed an eventful year for us and one of the many high-points since we were founded 125 years ago. Part of our excitement stems from the pride we feel at having supported the Georgian Cup Polo Tournament for 100 years consistently. We are indeed proud to achieve this feat as it reinforces our leadership role as an institution committed to the continued growth and development of sports and the economy at large. The Georgian Cup Polo Tournament is one of the many heritage sporting sponsorships supported by FirstBank over the years. Another example is the FirstBank 58th Lagos Amateur Golf Open tournament, in partnership with Ikoyi Club 1938 holding in November this year which we have also supported for 57 years. We dare say perhaps another record in sports sponsorship”

This unprecedented Polo extravaganza boasts notable players such as Chris Mckenzie, the best South African polo player; Max Charlton, the Best British polo player as well as other top Argentine players in attendance amongst many other professionals.

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N1.1million ‘Jesus Shoes’ with holy water soles and mini crucifix go viral

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A pair of trainers dubbed ‘Jesus Shoes‘ — with holy-water injected soles coupled with a mini crucifix and drop of blood on the tongue to match — have begun to go viral.

The now-trending godly sneakers, which were created by MSCHF (Mischief), a Brooklyn-based creatives, sold out within minutes of being released online on Tuesday, October 8.

The MSCHF rebranded a pair of Nike Air Max 97 sneakers to implement the idea of walking on water with ‘Jesus Shoes’.

Nike was, however, not connected to the project in any way.

The ‘Jesus Shoes’, which are selling for as much as £3,000 (approximately N1.1million), contain holy water from the Jordan river in the bubbled soles, a steel crucifix on top of the laces of the right trainer and a red blob at the tip of each trainer tongue to signify the blood of Christ.

Each pair contains 60 cubic centimeters of liquid.

On the Stockx sneaker trading website the shoes are priced at $3,000-$4,300 a pair.

In addition to the holy water, which was blessed by a priest, there is also the biblical verse ‘Matthew 14:25’ — which accounts the act of Jesus walking on water — referenced on the side of the shoes.

The bottoms of the shoes are also dyed a reddish tint to mimic the shoes worn by popes long ago.

“We thought of that Arizona Iced Tea and Adidas collab, where they were selling shoes that [advertised] a beverage company that sells iced tea at bodegas,” Daniel Greenberg, the company’s head of commerce, told the New York Post.

“So we wanted to make a statement about how absurd collab culture has gotten. We were wondering, what would a collab with Jesus Christ look like?. As a Jew myself, the only thing I knew was that he walked on water.”

The company also disclosed that more of the sneakers will be available from October 22.

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