Few days after Keystone bank was rocked by allegations of ownership brouhaha, a popular Nigerian business news blog has been exposed for trying to blackmail the bank.
Information filtering in revealed that the business news blog attempted to blackmail Keystone Bank Limited and its managing director/CEO, Dr. Obeahon Ohiwerei.
According to sources close to the bank, the said publisher had contacted Keystone Bank demanding a whopping N40 million to ‘kill’ purported stories which was discovered to be a fabrication of lies and allegation against the financial institution and its managing director/CEO.
The publisher was told point-blank that the bank could not afford such amount of money. It was learnt that the publisher was undaunted in his plan to obtain from the bank and its leadership. He therefore quickly pegged down his demand to N15 million, a negotiation which the bank also declined immediately.
Angered that his plot to blackmail the bank was becoming unsuccessful, the publisher threatened to publish the false stories to rubbish the bank and its CEO.
When contacted, a staff of the bank who prefers to remain anonymous confirmed the story. According to him, after building its reputation to its present standard, Keystone Bank will not succumb to cheap blackmails or any blackmail for that matter. “We are waiting for him to make good his threats. I can assure you that the bank will not hesitate to use all legal means to seek redress as a deterrent to other unscrupulous elements out there,” he said.
The controversial publisher is said to have a huge reputation of blackmailing top business executives of blue chip companies and has made millions from the act.
Union Bank Partners Mama Moni To Support Low Income Women
Union Bank recently partnered with MamaMoni Empowerment Foundation to set up an Innovation Hub for low-income women and girls from urban slum communities as part of its commitment to boost women empowerment, talent development, and financial inclusion. The hub, which is located in Amuwo-Odofin area of Lagos State, was formally opened on Tuesday.
The vocational training program has been established to enable the girls and women to build sustainable means of living. It is anticipated that each year, over 400 underprivileged beneficiaries will receive training in vocational skills such as hairdressing, make up, fashion designing, mobile farming and furniture making. Other courses to be offered at the hub include financial literacy, coding and personal branding.
Speaking at the launch of the innovation centre, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing at Union Bank, applauded the efforts of the MamaMoni team in improving the outcomes of women in underserved communities through micro loans and empowerment schemes. She said, “Union Bank is proud to have been a principal partner of the MamaMoni Foundation over the years. We identified this initiative as one that will help amplify our efforts to support women and drive financial inclusion. It is our hope that this innovation centre will go a long way in improving the lives of women from low-income communities and their families as they strive for a better future.”
In 2016, Nkem Okocha, founder of the MamaMoni Foundation emerged a winner in the LEAP Africa Social Innovators Programme (SIP) sponsored by Union Bank, receiving a grant of N1,000,000 to expand the MamaMoni operations. Since then, the Foundation has impacted over 6,000 women by providing them with micro loans and basic vocational and financial literacy skills.
Union Bank is committed to enabling the success of the average Nigerian and continues to champion the cause for the women empowerment. Earlier this year, the Bank launched its women’s proposition, tagged ?lpher, a platform to empower women across all segments of the Nigerian society through capacity building opportunities, networking platforms, scholarships and tailored financial services.
FG to ban individual ownership of cooking gas cylinders
The federal government says consumers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as cooking gas won’t be allowed to own cylinders anymore.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on LPG penetration in Abuja on Tuesday, Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, said the government will introduce a policy that would require that the ownership of the cylinders rests strictly with the dealers and distributors.
He said the policy was part of the strategy to deepen LPG penetration and address issues of safety.
Represented by Brenda Ataga, his senior technical assistant, Kachikwu said the government has reached an agreement with two original cylinder manufacturers to deliver 600,000 cylinders to LPG distributors on credit, with a payback period of 18 months.
He said the government will soon commence a clampdown exercise on illegal roadside LPG dealers and advised all skid operators to “immediately convert their outlets to micro distribution centres (MDCs) before the enforcement begins”.
Ataga explained that consumers would only pay for the content of cylinders when the exercise begins.
“The MDCs will essentially create and introduce into the market what we call the cylinder exchange programme, whereby the cylinders are owned by the distributors.
“There is no need for you to decant for anybody that comes in, and that eliminates illegal risks as well.
“You would fill them at the refill plants that would be tied to you and exchange it with your customers because you know your customers already.
“Your customers pay for only the content, while you own the cylinders and control the management of those cylinders.
“It is for us to be able to, at any point in time, discern and discover cylinders that are bad, cylinders that need recertification and cylinders that need to be removed from circulation.
“We put that onus on distributors going forward, to support the safe and standard method of selling LPG.
“I tell you today that Nigeria is the only country in West Africa that does not practice the re-circulation model.
“Everyone has moved away from this because, again, most of the population cannot afford cylinders. So, you have to remove that cost from them.”
In 2015 when he was the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Kachikwu had said the government had plans to distribute gas cylinders to households at no cost.
Tension in NNPC over postings, fresh recruitment
There is tension in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the retirement and deployment of 30 officials, which was approved by the Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru.
There were fears that the corporation was losing good hands to mediocrity and subservience.
It was also alleged that the ongoing recruitment, if it follows a similar pattern, may be a cosmetic exercise calculated to ingratiate particular interests.
But NNPC said there was no cause for alarm because the shake-up and retirement were normal and followed due process.
The presidency has been called upon to reverse the postings to give a sense of belonging to all parts of the country.
A three-page document sighted by our correspondent, with a covering note and two attachments, each page signed at both ends of the paper with a red pen by Baru, details the postings of 19 top officials to new offices.
There have been concerns about the abrogation of due process and disregard for extant regulations in the administration of the NNPC, promotions, postings and responsibilities generating misgiving because they seem visibly skewed in favour of particular interests and tendencies.
It has been alleged, for instance, that certain individuals have rapidly ascended the positions of Manager, General Manager, Group General Manager and much more, in less than three years, most noticeably under the current dispensation in the organisation.
By the new postings, Anas Mustapha Mohammed, General Manager (Cover) Operations, West African Pipelines Company, WAPCO, becomes substantive General Manager, Operations, WAPCO; Usman Faruk, Manager, Asset Management, Nigerian Gas Management Company, NGMC, assumes office as Executive Director, Asset Management, NGMC; while Ali Mohammed Sarki, Manager Exploration, Chad Basin, is promoted General Manager, Chad Basin FES. All three postings are to take effect from May 6, 2019.
Osarolube Ezekiel, who was until recently General Manager/Technical Assistant (Refining) to the GMD, becomes Managing Director, MD, Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company, KRPC. Ihya, Aaondover Mson, Manager Rehabilitation, KRPC, takes over from Osarolube Ezekiel in the office of the GMD in the same portfolio. This swap is with effect from May 13.
Isah Abubakar Lapai, Executive Director, Services, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd, NPDC, moves over to Group General Manager, GGM, NNPC Leadership Academy; Umar Hamza Ado, Manager, Human Resources, Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, becomes Executive Director, Services, NPDC. Garba Adamu Kaita, MD NIKORMA Transport Services Ltd, a subsidiary of NNPC, becomes GM, Human Resources and Administrative Services, Duke Oil. All three postings take effect between May 14 and May 19.
Under the new postings, Manager, Human Resources (Pension), Ossai Uche, becomes GM Support Services, Nigerian Gas Company, NGC, with effect from May 30. Usman Umar, Manager Technical Services, Renewable Energy Division, RED, moves up as Executive Director, Operations, KRPC, effective June 6, 2019; Ehizoje Ighodaro, Manager, OML 26/30 NPDC, assumes duties as GM (Upstream) and Technical Assistant, TA, to the GMD, beginning from June 14, 2019. Ahmed Mohammed Abdulkadir who functioned as GM (Downstream) and Technical Assistant to the GMD transits to Managing Director, Nigerian Gas and Marketing Company, NGMC, Gas and Power, beginning from June 16, 2019.
Lere Isa Aliyu, Manager, Direct Sales Direct Purchase, DSDP Crude Oil Marketing Division, COMD, becomes GM/TA Downstream Office of the GMD as from June 16. Richard-Obioha Mayrose Nkemegina, Manager Power Contract and Management, becomes General Manager, New Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG Ventures of the LNG Investments Management Services, LIMS with effect from July 3, the same day Dikko Ahmed, General Manager, New LNG Ventures, LIMS, becomes General Manager, NLNG, LIMS.
Ibrahim Sarafa Ayobami, Manager Projects, National Engineering and Technical Company Ltd, NETCO, becomes Executive Director, NPDC on July 16, 2019; Usman Yusuf, Group General Manager/Senior Technical Assistant to the GMD becomes Managing Director, NPDC; Sambo Mansur Sadiq, General Manager, Crude Oil Stock Management, swaps positions with Usman Yusuf, becoming GGM/STA to the GMD. Boggu Louis Tizhe, Manager, Pricing and Valuation, Crude Oil Marketing Division, COMD, becomes General Manager, COMD. All postings take effect on July 17.
Drawing a parallel with the civil service, a top level source within the NNPC faulted the shake-up.
The top source expressed worries about why such senior level postings were “hastily” announced in the twilight of the life span of the present administration, when the government is in transition, with some of the postings scheduled to take effect a month from now, even two months from now.
The source added: “If these postings and appointments were not premeditated, why the haste in appointing people in May into positions they will not be occupying earlier than two months from now? Are they going on any special training or courses to prepare them for their new responsibilities? Aren’t we all under the over-arching umbrella of the NNPC?
“There are also concerns about the deepening of the socio-political gulf in the country, as evidenced by the recent NNPC postings.
“Please take a good look at this list of just 19 postings. Yes, it may be termed internal staff deployment. But out of the 19 movements and promotions in certain instances, 13 of them are from the North. Symbolically, there are three names from the South-South, two from the South-East and one from the South-West. What manner of posting is this? Where is federal character? Where is justice, equity and fairness? Are we all constituents of this same country? You share 19 positions and 13 are appropriated to one part of the country and you tell us all is well?”
The source said the postings might be a pointer to how the ongoing recruitment by NNPC might be skewed to favour some groups.
The source added: “Maybe we should just assume that the recent advertisements for applications into Customs, Prisons and Fire Services might as well follow the same pattern. It is becoming very clear that some animals are more equal than the others in the present political dispensation.”
He expressed the hope that The Presidency will take prompt, decisive and appropriate steps to redress the imbalances in the recent NNPC staff deployment and by extension, revisit similar developments in all state-owned institutions and organisations, to engender fairness and fairplay.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday described the staff movement as “ normal replacement and backfill exercise” to bridge the gap occasioned by impending retirement of some management staff of the corporation, among others.
NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in a statement in Abuja, explained that the exercise involved statutory retirement of 11 of its senior management staff as well as redeployment of 19 others.
He said such replacements were always effected before the final exit of the concerned staff.
Ughamadu said in all 30 senior staff were affected by both the statutory retirements and redeployment.
He listed staff on statutory retirement between 1st May and 31 July to include: General Manager, Chad Basin, Aniya Francis Umaru, who is from the North-Eastern part of the country and retired on May 6th, 2019; Adewale Solomon Ladenegan, Managing Director, KRPC, who hails from the South-West and retired on May 13th, 2019 and Musa Sulyman Gimba, who is the Group General Manager, NNPC Leadership Academy, who also is from the North-East and retired on May 14th, 2019.
Others include: Umma Ayuba Musa, who is the General Manager, HR & Admin Services, Duke Oil, from North-West and retired on May 19th, 2019; Emmanuel–Ate Mariagoretti Ndidi, General Manager, Support Services, NGC, from the South-South who will retire on May 30th, 2019; Tsavnande Thaddeaus Atighir, Executive Director, Operations, from North-Central; Okor Ovieghara, General Manager, Upstream/TA to GMD, who hails from the South-South; Barau Mohammed Kabir, Managing Director, NGMC, who is from the North-West; Dawaki Salihi Abubakar, the General Manager NLNG, LIMS, from the North-West; Ibrahim Aminu Bagudu, the Executive Director, ETSD, NPDC, who is from the North-West and Yusuf Shimingah Matashi, the Managing Director, NPDC, who hails from the North-West retires on 17th July, 2019.
The 19 redeployed staff are Anas Mustapha Mohammed, Usman Faruk, Ali Muhammed Sarki, Osarolube Ezekiel, Ihya Aondoaver Mson, Isah Abubakar Lapal, Umar Hamza Ado, Garba Adamu Kaita, Ossai Uche, Usman Umar, Ehizoje Tunde Ighodaro, Ahmed Mohammed Abdulkabir and Lere Isa Aliyu.
Others are: Richard-Obioha Maryrose Nkemegina, Dikko Ahmed, Ibrahim Sarafa Ayobami, Usman Yusuf, Sambo Mansur Sadiq and Buggu Louis Tizhe.
The NNPC spokesman said it was usual for the corporation to obtain approval on replacements of retiring staff ahead of schedule.
He said this was the case with the recent exercise that takes effect as at when the retiring staff departs at various times within the period.
Ughamadu said the exercise was effected to ensure uninterrupted operations of the corporation in achieving its mandate.
He said extant corporate guidelines were strictly followed in the process.
Ughamadu advised members of the public to disregard the insinuation that some staff of the corporation were relieved of their duties.
He said the deployments were expected and aimed at sustaining the system.
The NNPC spokesperson urged staff of the Corporation not to be distracted with the report.
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