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Keystone Bank Survives Another Blackmail Scare

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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.

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Crude oil prices approach $70 after US attack on Iranian general

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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.

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Sylva: FG making plans for fuel at N97 per litre

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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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Inflation hits 11.98% — highest in 19 months

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The consumer price index, which measures inflation, stood at 11.98% in December 2019.

This is 0.13 percentage points higher than the 11.85% recorded in November.

This is the highest point the index has reached in 19 months.

“On month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 0.85 percent in December 2019, this is 0.17
percentage points lower than the rate recorded in November 2019 (1.02%),” the report, which was released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Friday, read.

“The urban inflation rate increased by 12.62 percent (year-on-year) in December 2019 from 12.47 percent
recorded in November 2019.

“The rural inflation rate increased by 11.41 percent in December 2019
from 11.30 percent in November 2019.

“The composite food index rose by 14.67% in December 2019 compared to 14.48% in November 2019.

“Core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural
produce stood at 9.33% in December 2019, up by 0.34% when compared with 8.99%
recorded in November 2019.”

According to the report, the rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread, cereals, meat, fish, O
Oils and fats, potatoes, yam and other tubers.

On a year-on-year basis, food inflation was highest in Sokoto (17.75%), Ogun (17.37%) and Plateau (16.75%), while Bayelsa (13.26%), Delta(12.72%) and Bauchi (12.19%) recorded the slowest rise.

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