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Suicide: NAFDAC announces plan to further regulate Sniper

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The Nigerian government may direct a change in the package of ‘Sniper’, an agro-chemical that has increasingly become a choice killer for persons contemplating suicide, an official said.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said it is partnering with other relevant bodies on this as part of plans to discourage the use of Sniper as a tool for suicide.

This is in response to calls for a check on the proliferation and ease of access to Sniper in markets and streets across the nation.

According to Vanguard Newspaper, the Director General of NAFDAC, Christiana Adeyeye, said Sniper containers “could now be made very difficult to open, or may be turned into a spray rather than the liquid contents it is known for.”

The suicide rate has increased in Nigeria with Sniper among the agents popularly used.

Notable among the reported incidents is that of a 400-level student of the Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Chukwuemeka Akachi.

There was another case of a pastor in a popular Pentecostal church who recently committed suicide after consuming the deadly substance.

That was before Ayomide and Ajani Damilola of the University of Lagos were reported to have killed themselves using the insecticide following the accusations that they stole clothes in their hostel.

Another 32-year-old banker and mother of two, identified as Peace, of Ughelli, Delta State, committed suicide over her husband’s alleged infidelity. She also took Sniper.

Sniper: An easy killer?

The ease of access to Sniper despite its wrong use has become a worry for many Nigerians.

Bottles of Sniper can be picked up easily on the streets as they are sold openly in the market.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that the method used for 20 per cent of global suicides was through pesticide self-poisoning and they mostly occur in developing countries.

Suicide victims appear to find gulping the liquid content of the agro-chemical inside a white container an easier route out.

But experts argue that it is easier to die by a bullet on the forehead than to face the agony that follows after drinking sniper.

NAFDAC’s warning

Mrs Adeyeye also discouraged the use of Sniper and other agro-chemicals for the preservation of food as they contain substances harmful to the human body.

“We also decry poor handling of foods in Nigeria by producers and sellers, because the populace and consumers are being exposed unduly to health risks from contaminants.

“The use of unapproved insecticides such as Sniper for the preservation of grains by unauthorised persons, the use of containers contaminated with hazardous chemicals such as fertilizer bags for grains or chemical drums and jerry cans for food storage are classic examples of a common practice among the market men and women due to ignorance,” the NAFDAC chief said.

Why Nigerians use Sniper indoors

Sniper is a DDVP, 2,2-Dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate compound, marketed in Nigeria by Swiss-Nigerian Chemical Company, as a synthetic organophosphorus. Many Nigerians have, however, converted it to an indoor insecticide.

Sniper is predominantly used as an insecticide because of its effectiveness in killing insects better than well-established brands of insecticide.

The demand is also fuelled by its affordability. A 100ml of sniper goes for between N200 and N300 while its competitors cost as much as N750 for 100ml.

“However, Nigerians may be paying a heavier price with their health in the long term, if the trend is left unchecked”, a microbiologist, Fatima Ahmed, explained.

“The instruction on Sniper says apply diluted portions to crops and there’s a ‘withdrawal’ time in which the crop should not be consumed so the active ingredient degrades to minimal level before consumption. Now compare this minute concentration to drinking from the original sniper bottle,” she noted in the report.

According to her, health experts have raised concerns over the indiscriminate use of Sniper pesticide in the control of mosquitoes, cockroaches and other household insects.

“They warned on its dangerous effects, especially to respiratory organs and even carcinogenic risks. A person may be exposed to the associated risk of Sniper through inhalation, absorption via the skin, ingestion, and eye contact.”

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Access Bank wins Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Award

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Africa’s leading financial institution, Access Bank, has emerged winner of the 2019 Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards for “Outstanding Business Sustainability Achievement” for the 4th consecutive time. The award was received in recognition of the Bank’s unwavering commitment towards embedding social, environmental and economic sustainability into its core business strategy that helps address issues across its business operations and value chain.

The prestigious award was presented to the Bank’s GMD/CEO, Herbert Wigwe at the award ceremony which took place on July 11th, 2019 at the City Hall of Karlsruhe, Germany and was attended by C-level executives, CEOs of leading global financial institutions, top German government officials, policy makers, regulators and key sustainability stakeholders.

The Global Sustainable Finance Awards in Karlsruhe honour financial institutions and related organizations and Presidents/ CEOs with significant contributions to the field of sustainable banking and finance. The awards also aim to promote the growth of sustainable financial instruments and markets worldwide, particularly in the fields of green finance and investments, financial inclusion and social finance, green equity and venture capital as well as the holistic integration of sustainability in financial institutions.

Wigwe stated that “the global finance sector plays a major role in the economy, as they provide huge amounts of capital and have the ability to influence other companies and customers across sectors through their products and services. Many banks are now placing a great deal of emphasis on driving sustainability as well as digitizing core business processes and reassessing organizational structures to be better prepared for the future of banking. This transformation illustrates the increasing desire to become a sustainable and digital bank.

“Access Bank has a corporate strategy and philosophy which places sustainability at its core. Together with our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Access Bank recently launched a five-year tenured, fixed rate green bond worth N15 Billion which is the 1st Climate Bonds Initiative Certified corporate green bond in Africa”, he said.

Access Bank remains committed to setting standards for sustainable business practices, adopting innovative solutions to build a future that is desirable, as it becomes the World’s most respected African bank. The Bank continues to make positive contributions to people and planet, in effect paving the way for its own longevity and continued profitability, making the case for sustainability to businesses everywhere.

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GTBank Named Best Bank in Africa at Euromoney Awards …Also emerges Best Bank in Nigeria for a record 9th time

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Foremost African financial institution Guaranty Trust Bank plc has been named the Best Bank in Africa 2019 by Euromoney at its annual Awards for Excellence, which held in London on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at the London Hilton Hotel, Park Lane. GTBank was also named the Best Bank in Nigeria for a record ninth time, reflecting the Bank’s position as one of the best managed financial institutions in the country, with strong and focused leadership that keep the business in a constant state of re-invention and innovation.

Now in its 50th year, Euromoney is the leading publication for covering the growth of international finance. Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence are the awards that matter to the banks and bankers who matter. This year, Euromoney received almost 1,500 submissions from banks in an awards programme that covers 20 global awards, more than 50 regional awards, and best bank awards in close to 100 countries. The Magazine’s Awards for Excellence celebrates the best banks around the world by recognizing institutions that have demonstrated leadership, innovation, and momentum in the markets they operate. In selecting its award recipients, Euromoney combines quantitative and qualitative data to honor institutions that have brought the highest levels of service, innovation and expertise to their customers.

Key to the emergence of GTBank as the Best Bank in Africa and the Best Bank in Nigeria, is the Bank’s digital drive and its clarity of vision in reimagining the future of banks and banking. The Euromoney awards also recognized GTBank’s commitment to leading the future of banking as
well as its consistent long-term strategy led by a senior management team that abhors complacency and keeps the business in a constant state of innovation.

Commenting on the Bank’s Euromoney awards, the Chief Executive Officer of GTBank, Segun Agbaje, said; “We are delighted and proud to win the Euromoney Awards for Africa’s Best Bank and Nigeria’s Best Bank. These awards reflect the progress we are making in delivering the best
banking experience that captures what customers want in the world of today and tomorrow. They are also a testament to our leading role in driving world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation in Africa’s banking industry.

He further stated that; “At GTBank, we are passionate about building the bank of the future by leveraging the best of technology to add real value to our customers’ lives, and these awards illustrate the hard work and commitment of our staff, management and board towards achieving
this goal.

GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The GTBank brand is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world
class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation.

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FirstBank restates commitment to children with special needs

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial institution, has reiterated its commitment to impact the lives of the less privileged and children living with disabilities across the country and in its host communities across the world.

The Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, made this pledge at the weekend (Saturday, 6 July) when he led a team of FirstBank volunteers on a visit to Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired, Surulere, Lagos in the spirit of the Bank’s commitment to encouraging people to Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness (SPARK). SPARK, a values-based initiative is one of the key activities of the annual FirstBank’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S) Week.

Speaking to the pupils and teachers of the school, Adeduntan said the visit was aimed at demonstrating kindness, as it is one of FirstBank’s brand values that positively affects quality of life.

He said, “it is our belief that if all of us can show acts of kindness to people around us, we will make the world we live in a much better place for everyone. Our decision to come here today is to show appreciation to management for shouldering the enormous responsibility of taking care of these children with special needs. This visit is also to assure the children who are schooling here that, as the popular saying goes, you will not walk alone.”

L-R: Matthew Daniel, student of Wesley School; Olusegun Alebiosu, Chief Risk Officer, FirstBank; Seyi Olusanya, student of Wesley School; Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank; Olayiwola Adeola, student of Wesley School and Mr. A.K. Alimi, Principal, Wesley School 1, during FirstBank’s visit to Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired at Surulere, Lagos as part of activities marking FirstBank’s CR&S week 2019.

 

Speaking further, Adedutan encouraged the pupils of the school to seize every opportunity availed them to reach their maximum heights possible, stressing that as an institution, FirstBank, woven into the fabric of the society will always be there to provide them the support they require within its available means and resources.

Asides the visit to Wesley School, 23 other charity homes/institutes, including camps of Internally Displaced People (IDP) were visited by FirstBank staff volunteers, led by senior members of staff. The Bank’s Executive Director, Public Sector, Abdullahi Ibrahim with other volunteer staff visited the School of the blind, Jabi, Abuja while its Group Head, Corporate Banking, Remi Ajose- Adeogun visited the Down Syndrome Foundation of Nigeria, Fagba, Lagos. Other locations visited by the Bank include Madinatu and Almiskin IDP Camp, Maiduguri, amongst others. Food supplies., provisions, toiletries and educational materials were delivered to all the visited homes.

The 2019 FirstBank’s CR&S Week was held from 1 – 6 July across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones and the Bank’s business locations in Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, DR Congo and The United Kingdom.  The CR&S Week is a social impact initiative the Bank started two years ago, with its staff dedicating a whole week to impact lives of individuals living in its host communities.

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