There is crisis at Heritage bank.
And it stems from raging nasty fight for control.
The situation is said to be the chief reason Managing Director Ifie Sekibo has stayed away from office since January.
And the cause of the recent suspension of powerful director Mary Akpobome.
Insiders disclosed, both of them and others are caught on the other side of the raging battle for control of the financial institution.
There are said to be three main blocks of investors struggling to take over the running of the bank via their proxies.
The major investors are represented by three key individuals.
A bowler hat wearing former Senator from South South. A very visible ex governor turned Senator and the major backer of the bank chairman.
Interestingly Akpobome and Sekibo belong to the same caucus.
While newly promoted Olufela Ibidapo represents the interest of the very visible former governor turned senator.
Ibidapo just returned as man incharge of the communications arm of the bank was formerly demoted for finding self on the wrong side of corporate politics.
The caucus he represents is said to have the upper hand managing the affairs of the bank, hence his return to grace.
His ”people” are said to be capitalising on the ‘’official mistakes’’ of the other side to consolidate power.
Mary Akpobome is defined as ‘’suspended’’ in the guise of work leave to go and recoup loans she guaranteed.
The bank is said to need all funds it can muster to sustain it’s operations.
Akpobome is described as arguable the bank’s biggest business ‘’puller’’, a status that greatly increases her risks and laid foundation for her present predicament.
‘’someone just leaked the development to embarrass her’’ a source disclosed and explained ‘’that is the kind of nasty behind the scene fight going on at the bank’’.
Suspensions and demotions of staffers – irrespective of competence – are said to be the norms at the financial institution as power swings back and forth based on ploughed in investment.
Powerful Director Akpobome is identified as the biggest victim in recent time.
Bank Managing Director Ifie Sekibo is said to have abstained from work since January to limit being caught in the cross fire.
Those who should know claimed he most times employs the tactic when the fight for control becomes ‘’intense’’.
‘’Ironically for a bank struggling to find it’s feet in the intensely competitive banking industry, this kind of operation disrupting fight for control is the last thing it needs’’ a keen observer of events pointed out.
NCC says 123m Nigerians now have internet
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says the number of Nigerians with access to the internet has increased to 123.5 million in October.
This is in comparison to the 114.3 million internet subscribers recorded in January 2019; indicating an increase of 9.2 million within nine months.
Data released by the commission also showed that active mobile voice subscribers increased from 174,012,136 to 180,386,316 within the same period.
This means that 91% of Nigeria’s 198 million population now have access to telecommunications services.
MTN Nigeria still holds the lion share of the market, having 67,348,858 subscribers which translate to 36.93%.
Globacom has 51,137,642 subscribers and Airtel, 49,650,155 subscribers.
In total, there are 49 individual internet service providers operating in the country.
These 49 provide services to 274,717 subscribers.
At present, there is a risk of increased charges on the part of service providers as 14 states recently increased their right of way (RoW) charges.
The RoW charge is the levy paid to state governments for laying of optic fibre on state roads.
Some of the states increased the charges to N5,000 per linear metre as against the N142 per linear metre agreed on by the national economic council.
Isa Pantami, the minister of communications and digital economy, has warned the states to reverse the charges as it could lead to increased costs of telcos and a hike in consumer charges.
Crude oil prices approach $70 after US attack on Iranian general
Crude oil prices spiked by 4% on Friday upon news that a top Iranian general was killed in an airstrike by the United States military.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for crude oil, stood at $69.01 per barrel, an increase of 4.17%.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) also stood at $63.34 per barrel, a 4% increase.
The Pentagon said the attack was carried out on the order of President Donald Trump to deter “future Iranian attack plans”.
It added that Soleimani was killed because he “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region”.
The airstrike comes days after an Iran-backed militia and its supporters breached the US embassy in Baghdad.
Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) confirmed that Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the force, was also among those “martyred by an American strike”.
In September, oil prices increased by 14% after coordinated attacks were carried out on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities which cut off 5% of global oil supplies.
Working in Nigeria’s good
Although world leaders are holding their breath awaiting Iran’s next action, the situation is working in favour of oil producing nations like Nigeria.
Already, Brent crude price is $9 above Nigeria’s crude oil budget benchmark.
A reprisal attack by Iran could send oil prices as high as $100 as global crude supply could be threatened.
Sylva: FG making plans for fuel at N97 per litre
Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources, says the federal government is working to make fuel available at N97 per litre, using the compressed natural gas (CNG) as an option to premium motor spirit (PMS).
CNG is a fuel that can be used in place of gasoline, diesel fuel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). It is used in traditional gasoline/internal combustion engine automobiles or specifically manufactured vehicles.
Fielding questions from reporters at his office in Abuja on Thursday, the minister said the common man would not notice that subsidy on PMS has been removed when they have CNG as an option.
“If we are thinking of reducing pump price for fuel? I could easily say yes and I’m sure all of you wonder why I am saying that,” he said.
“We are thinking of giving the masses an alternative. Today we are all hooked on PMS, what we want to do going forward is to see that we are able to move the masses to CNG gas.
“CNG unit for unit costs less than even the subsidised PMS. Per litre the subsidised rate of PMS is N145/l. CNG will cost N95 to N97/l that is why I could say we want to reduce the cost of fuel, that way when we are given an alternative Nigerians will not notice when the subsidy on PMS is removed.”
The minister said he is hoping that the petroleum industry bill (PIB) will be passed by the national assembly before May.
According to him, the PIB “has taken us back for too long.”
“We are very ambitious about the PIB and we are hoping that it will pass before May this year which is the first anniversary of this administration and second tenure of this government,” he said.
“We are counting on the excellent relationship between the executive and the legislature but I must say that it is a hope and that is why I am mobilising the support of all of you. We are also mobilising the support of the national assembly and everybody else in the industry.
“Let us build a consensus around the PIB because the PIB has taken us back for too long, it has held us down for too long and we need to get it passed quickly. It is taking us a while to tidy up because we want to take every interest on board.”
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