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Osinbajo Jets Out To Vietnam

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, departed Abuja today for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for high-level bilateral engagements in the Southeast Asian country, including meetings with the President of Vietnam, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and the Vice President, Pho Chu Tich Nuroc, among other government officials and the business community.

Osinbajo’s reciprocal visit to the Southeast Asian country will further fortify trade and bilateral relations between both countries.

This was disclosed in a statement by Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, on Saturday.

Recall that in view of the trade and bilateral relations between Nigeria and Vietnam, then Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, Vuong Hue, visited Nigeria in 2019 and met with Osinbajo.


Although both countries have maintained long-standing diplomatic relations since 1976, Osinbajo will be the second high-ranking Nigerian government official to visit the Southeast Asian country after former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The VP will also participate in a business forum at the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce aimed at matchmaking entrepreneurs from both countries.

Osinbajo will conclude the Vietnam visit on Wednesday.

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One Killed In Multiple Accidents On Kara Bridge, Motorists Groan In Gridlock

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About seven vehicles including a container-laden truck were involved in the multiple accidents that have paralysed movement and left motorists and travellers on the ever-busy road stranded in nerve-racking gridlock.

Already, first responders including officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) have arrived the scene.

The FRSC Sector Commander in Ogun State, Ahmed Umar, told Channels Television that a traffic hawker was killed in the unfortunate accidents, adding that emergency responders are still rescuing those injured.

Umar attributed the cause of the accidents to brakes failure by the truck whose driver rammed into the vehicles in front of him from behind.

Similarly, a spokesperson for LASEMA told our correspondent that rescue efforts are ongoing at the scene of the accidents.

The situation, coupled with the repair works ongoing on the narrowed road, has caused intense traffic along the axis with scores of motorists struggling to find their way out of Lagos.

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Naira Hoarding: Sterling Bank In Fresh Trouble, Faults ICPC’s Arrest Of 2 Staff

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Few days after Sterling Bank defended allegation of hoarding new N200 notes in the vault of  its Ekiti  branch office, the bank on the evening of Tuesday February 8, 2023, faced similar ‘charges’ at its Abuja regional office and other Federal Capital Territory branches.

Sterling Bank, in a communication, admitted that ICPC invited two of its staff for questioning in respect of the naira hoarding allegation.

The new allegation, this time coming from the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), hinted of the bank deliberately withholding new naira notes from customers, two days away from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN)  February 10 deadline for return of old notes.

ICPC had, on Tuesday evening, tweeted  that it discovered millions of new naira notes in Sterling Bank’s Abuja offices, an allegation the bank denied in a statement.

Sterling Bank Respond ICPC’s Allegations

But the bank in a carefully crafted response to the naira hoarding allegation early Wednesday evening, said it complied with all complied with all guidelines on distribution of redesigned notes from inception to date.

What the bank is saying:

OUR ABUJA REGIONAL OFFICE

This report is developed for the purpose of providing the true representation of events to the narrative as expressed by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) in a tweet late on Tuesday, February 7, 2023.

Background

  1.  A regulatory monitoring team visited our Abuja Central Business District (CBD) Complex on February 3, 2023.
  2. The monitoring team, in the company of the branch service manager and other staff, inspected and observed the following꞉
  3. The branch’s ATMs were dispensing all denominations of the newly designed notes.
  4. The branch was in full compliance with the regulator’s recommendations on Over ‑ The‑Counter (OTC) disbursements.
READ ALSO  Sterling Bank Wins Best Employer Award For Fifth Time

During the inspection, the monitoring team made inquiries about the details of the cash observed in the vaults. To which the team responded with details of the branch’s ATM and OTC cash disbursement processes.

To our knowledge, all responses provided were satisfactory as no further queries were raised.

The monitoring team promptly left the premises upon concluding the inspection.

  1.  Approximately  one  hour  later,  officials  of  the  Independent  Corrupt  Practices Commission (ICPC), accompanied by the monitoring team, returned to the branch and removed two of the branch’s staff for further questioning at the ICPC headquarters in Abuja.
  2.  The Sterling staff were held at the  ICPC office and were later released withoutany charges levied against them by the close of the business day on February 3, 2023.

About the visit to Sterling Bank, CBD, Abuja

  1.  The Sterling branch at the Central Business District, Abuja, is a regional headquartersand serves as a hub for 5 Sterling branches and 15 ATM terminals within the region.
  2.  During the visit, members of the monitoring team inspected the vault of the branchand observed the sum of N258,000,000 in N1000, N500 and N200 denominations.
  3. The distribution records from the CBD branch to other locations served within the region were presented for the evaluation of the monitoring team.
  4. The  monitoring team  proceeded to visit two  branches  in  Utako and Wuye as  both locations receive their cash disbursements from the regional headquarters ofSterling in CBD.
  5.  Upon their visits to the Utako and Wuye branches, the monitoring team reviewed the records submitted for the movement of cash from the CBD branch to other branches served within the region.  It is important to state that cash was being paid over the counter at  both  branches,  and  the  ATM  terminals  were  dispensing  the  newly  designed denominations during the monitoring exercise.

Matters Arising

Sterling deems it necessary to point out the following꞉

  1.  Members of the regulatory monitoring team were informed of the sums contained in the branch’s vault prior to the inspection. These sums were confirmed with are view of the records as presented by representatives of the Bank.

The assertion of a “discovery”, as presented in the narrative, is inaccurate and grossly misleading.

  1. All cash observed in the vault of the CBD branch was earmarked for distribution to other branches in the region for disbursement to customers of the bank and the public.
  2. The sum of N5,000,000 each as contained in the monitoring team’s report,represents the cash moved to augment the vault balances of the Utako, Wuye, Seda Close and Kotangora branches (in line with the bank’s daily routine of cash management) and also for disbursement to the public via their ATM terminals.
  3. All balances in our vaults are reported daily to the Central Bank of Nigeria and form the basis for the allocation of new notes in an efficient manner; it is therefore,untrue that such monies are ‘stashed’ or ‘hoarded.’

Sterling’s Distribution of New Notes

From the commencement of the distribution of the re‑designed denominations, the CBD branch has received the total sum of N1,543,000,000 from the apex bankand paid to customers as summarized below꞉

  1.  The  sum  of  N892,700,000  paid  out  in  about  104,821 transactions  across  15ATM terminals between January 6 to February 6, 2023.
  2. The sum of N78,600,000 paid out in approximately 3,892 over‑the‑counter transactions across all 6 branches in the Abuja region between February 2, 2023 to February 6, 2023.

This was commenced upon receipt of the directive from the regulator to disburse the new notes over the counter ‑ subject to a limit of N20,000 per transaction.

  1. The sum of N1,000,000,000 in a combination of old and new notes, wasdisbursed to customers over the counter in about 2,124 transactions betweenDecember 15, 2022 and January 5, 2023.

The current balances across the 6 branches in Abuja as at the close of business on February 7, 2023 stood at N178,670,000.

The average vault balances currently held in the six locations is N30m per branch; well below our historical vault balances.

Conclusions

  1. The  representatives of the  bank duly  informed the  regulatory  monitoring team and officials  of  the  ICPC  of  the  sums  in  the vault,  stating  the  purpose  as  intended  for distribution to other branches.
  2. It must be noted that no cash was “stashed” in the vault of the regional office.

For emphasis, we wish to state that Sterling Bank has complied with all the guidelines on the distribution of redesigned notes from inception to date,” the bank said regarding the naira hoarding allegation.

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CBN Deadline: How Supreme Court Ruling Saved Nigerians From Economic Shutdown, Fani-Kayode Speaks

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Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has hailed the Supreme Court ruling against the CBN on the use of old naira notes.

The apex court judgement annulled the Central Bank of Nigeria deadline of February 10 as the last date the notes would be acceptable.

A seven-man panel led by Justice John Okoro, in an unanimous ruling, ordered that the notes remain in circulation after Friday.

A statement by Fani-Kayode commended the Supreme Court for displaying “remarkable insight and sensitivity” in the matter.

He said the justices proved that the courts are the last hope of the common man “when faced with the tyranny of abusive and cruel policies and insane officials”.

The former presidential aide also thanked the All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftains, Governors Yahaya Bello, Nasir El-Rufai, and Bello Matawalle.

The Governments of Kogi, Kaduna and Zamfara States sued the Federal Government on Tuesday.

Fani-Kayode noted that history and posterity will reward them for getting a judgement that saved Nigerians from “the most complex and greatest evil”.

He described the deadline as “the darkest conspiracy” ever hatched against democracy and foisted on citizens by “a tiny group of evil technocrats and saboteurs working for a greater power”.

The APC 2023 campaign director said there’s now a chance to change the narrative and take away the immense suffering that has been imposed on Nigerians in the last few days.

Fan-Kayode added that the policy which sought to “inflict pain on the people, destroy their future and scuttle democracy” has been declared illegal.

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