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BIG STORY

FCMB Reinforces Commitment To Innovation, Customer Satisfaction, Joins Open Banking Nigeria

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First City Monument Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, is now a member of the Open Banking Nigeria, an industry-focused non-profit body facilitating the advocacy, development, and adoption of a common standard for open Application Programming Interface within the Nigerian financial ecosystem.

With this development, FCMB has formally joined more than 50 other individual and corporate members across the financial industry, including banks, fintech, financial consultants, global customer service leaders, among other stakeholders as an integral part of Open Banking Nigeria.

Open banking is a concept aimed at enhancing the capability of operators in the financial industry and allied institutions to drive and deepen innovation through access to more customer-authorized information and data.

In Nigeria, it will result in far greater end-user satisfaction, help the various stakeholders thrive, boost collaboration, and inspire more innovation.

In addition, the adoption of the concept would create a new data-sharing infrastructure among financial institutions, which will go a long way towards enriching the range of services and products that would emerge from operators.

Commenting on FCMB’s membership of Open Banking Nigeria, the Divisional Head, Transaction Banking of the Bank, Rolayo Akhigbe, said: “As an institution focused on the attainment of enhanced customer experience and a more productive as well as impactful business environment, our membership of Open Banking Nigeria reinforces our commitment to the delivery of exceptional services.

“We are optimistic that this would also upscale our operations and ultimately enable us to align with the aspirations of our customers.”

Also commenting, the Team Lead, Banking As A Service of FCMB, Isi Nweje, stated: “As always, we are receptive to partnering with the drivers of initiatives that advance the development of Nigeria’s financial services industry to greater heights, while also enabling and fast-tracking growth across other sectors of the economy.”

A Trustee of Open Banking Nigeria, Ope Adeoye, said: “It is a delight to welcome FCMB to the fold. We anticipate working together for a standardized API-led system that would facilitate the growth, accessibility, and viability of numerous cross-industry initiatives which would stem from Nigeria’s financial ecosystem.”

Established in 2017 to define and develop these open and non-partisan APIs, Open Banking Nigeria serves as a platform where industry players jointly champion a progressive cause for the benefit of the country and, by extension, the African continent.

First City Monument Bank is a member of FCMB Group Plc, one of the leading financial services institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments.

With a clear understanding of its market and environment, the Bank has successfully transformed into a retail banking and wealth management-led group.

It has also continued to distinguish itself through innovation and the delivery of exceptional services while enhancing the growth and achievement of the personal and business aspirations of customers.

BIG STORY

Tukur Buratai’s Vision and Leadership As Nigerian Army Chief of Staff

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It would be understating the fact that Nigerian troops never recorded greater successes against Boko Haram than they did under the leadership of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai (rtd). Buratai, it is on record, did put in all efforts to ensure his troops were motivated with different welfare packages initiated by him for their comfort.
Prior to his appointment as the Chief of Army Staff by President Muhammadu Buhari, the military was losing its officers and men in large numbers. Thus, Buratai’s focus was to improve on the military’s operational achievements. He made a success of it and the result was the unprecedented successes in the counterinsurgency operation he is being credited for even after he exited the office.
Within three months of his appointment, Buratai demonstrated his leadership capability by showing that he indeed understood the terrain of the North East, the epicenter of the insurgency. He took the war to Boko Haram and his soldiers recaptured and hoisted the Nigerian flag in Gamboru Ngala, which served as Boko Haram’s main operational base. The insurgents were chased to their Sambisa Forest hideout where troops of Operation Lafia Dole proudly displayed vital insignias of the sect including a Holy Quran and flags of the sect’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, on national television to the admiration of Nigerians.
Improving the welfare of the army was vital in his agenda. His major policy, therefore, was directly for the benefit of the troops. He ensured that they were in the right frame of mind in their duty. Buratai would go to any length to see and meet the troops’ needs at every point in time. Under his leadership, priority was given to the equipment used by the military to combat the insurgents, among other steps taking by him. The allowances and bonuses of the military were paid as at when due.
His concentration was centered on identifying the most pressing problems that troops and their families were facing, the needs associated with those challenges, and he utilized the resources available to meet those needs. It was also to his credit that the fighting troops were provided with a constant water supply to meet their daily needs and to stabilize them emotionally and psychologically. As part of efforts to encourage his men, General Buratai on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, approved the promotion of 6,199 soldiers involved in the fight against Boko Haram under his watch.
In the basic responsibilities of a leader which include accomplishment of the mission and the welfare of the soldiers, Buratai was not found wanting. He established Nigerian Army Farms and Ranches, built and commissioned a block of flats at Jaji, Khobe Cantonment, Jos in Plateau State, and the Danjuma Chalets at 2 Division Headquarters. The former Army chief also renovated a lot of projects he met on the ground and initiated water projects including the Supply and Transport Foods and new Command Guest Houses.
Buratai’s contributions to national, regional, and international peace have not gone unnoticed here at home and abroad, which, obviously, led to his being appointed a non-career ambassador after a successful military career.
In terms of projects, capacity building, training, and welfare, throughout Buratai’s tenure as COAS, there was never a dull moment.
It is on record that Buratai’s leadership style did inspire the fighting soldiers, a record-breaking template his successors would also find suitable to utilize. When he became the Nigerian army chief, he made it a duty to identify with his officers and men as they launched a full-scale war against the Boko Haram fighters.
He initiated a range of activities in support of developing the force, via intensive training, mentoring, partnering, monitoring, and empowering. His enabling efforts in that regards include setting up the Nigerian Army Institute of Technology and Environmental Studies in Biu, Borno State; Command Secondary School (Boys & Girls) in Kebbi State; Nigerian Army Aviation hangar at Jaji Airstrip, Kaduna; Mine Resistance Amour Protected (MRAP); Activation of Divisions Training Schools; establishing Tinapa Post Housing Development Limited Estate, Calabar; Army Warrant Officers Board; the Nigerian Army Special Forces School; First Nigerian Army indigenous infantry patrol vehicle; Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare Command and the Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company.
Other capacity-building projects Buratai initiated are; the Supply and Transport Driving School; Nigerian Army Women’s Corps; Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association Hospital; Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Command; 20 Regimentation Battalion; 133 Special Forces Battalion; 123 Special Forces Battalion; Counter-Terrorist and Counter-Insurgency Museum; 109 Special Forces Battalion; 4 Special Forces Battalion, Counter Explosive Devices; 707 Special Forces Brigade; Motorcycle Battalion; Nigerian Army Agricultural Business Enterprise Limited; Army War College, Nigeria; Nigerian Army Bureau De Change; Nigerian Army Investments Account; Operation Lafia Dole Sectors 1,2 and 3; Homes Fit for Heroes; Otukpo Post Housing Development Limited Estate; Buffalo Engineering and Technical Services Limited, evolution of new operational concepts, establishment of 6 and 8 Divisions, Nigerian Languages Training Initiative, and many more.
Inspiring and effectively leading subordinates, especially through a military mission with life or death implications, is no small feat. It requires leadership, one that extends well beyond the battlefield.
Evidently, for years to come, history will remember General Yusuf Buratai, particularly, in areas critically important to Nigerian Army.

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BIG STORY

Lagos Ride: Sanwo-Olu Flags Off 1,000 Indigenous E-Hailing Cabs [PHOTOS]

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* Seals agreement establishing a vehicle assembly plant in Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has unveiled a new e-hailing taxi scheme to redefine road transportation in the State. The Governor, on Thursday, signed a partnership agreement with CIG Motors Company Limited for the take-off of the “Lagos Ride” scheme with a pilot fleet of 1,000 units of brand new Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs).

Also at the ceremony held at the State House in Marina, Sanwo-Olu formally sealed a Joint Venture Agreement with the automobile company for the establishment of a Vehicle Assembly Plant in the State. In the next 24 months, Lagos will have a jointly-run factory for the production of different classes of brand new cars.

The establishment of the Vehicle Assembly Plant in Lagos was part of the bilateral agreements reached by the State Government and Chinese Investors’ Community when the Governor visited the Asian country in November 2019.

IBILE Holdings Limited, a State-owned corporation, will be driving the two investment agreements on behalf of the Lagos State Government.

Sanwo-Olu said the new ride-hailing taxi was a social intervention programme initiated with an objective to create jobs and economic opportunities for residents of the State. He said the “Lagos Ride” scheme was in fulfillment of his administration’s desire to give residents a better choice in road transportation by offering a safe, efficient and modern cab model in line with the policy thrust of his Government’s T.H.E.M.E.S agenda.

The Governor said the taxi scheme, which is expected to fully take-off in the next 6 months, had been structured along with a profitability model and designed to be self-sustaining for expansion and growth.

He said: “I am elated to unveil the Lagos State Taxi Scheme, which is another innovative policy of this administration targeted at making life easier for Lagosians, improving mobility, and creating a seamless multi-modal transportation system. The scheme, which is to be known as “Lagos Ride”, is in fulfillment of our desire to give Lagos residents better transportation choices. The modern ride-hailing service is one of the State Government’s socio-economic intervention programmes, which will be professionally managed in line with global best practices

“Our social intervention programmes are tailored towards the eradication of poverty, provision of jobs and other employment opportunities as well as the provision of basic necessities, that make good governance our people’s reality. A major attribute of a modern megacity is a world-class transportation system with inter-connected services and mobility choices for the citizens. The task of bequeathing a safe, efficient, quick, and modern public transportation system is a key thrust of our administration’s development agenda. We are guided by the need for an equitable transportation system with mobility choices for our people.”

Under the taxi scheme, Sanwo-Olu said the Cooperative Society in the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment would give operators brand new SUVs for a period of four years, during which they would pay a monthly installment. At the end of the credit tenure, the operators will have the opportunity to fully own the cars.

The Governor said the scheme would offer operators flexible repayment plans and affordable savings for vehicles’ maintenance.

Sanwo-Olu said the establishment of the Vehicle Assembly Plant was in furtherance of his administration’s economic growth blueprint, stressing that the Joint Venture Agreement would revive industrialization, drive up skilled youth employment and create wealth, boost tourism, and encourage technology sharing, adaptation, and advancement.

He said: “As we formally sign the Joint Venture Agreement for the establishment of Motor Assembly Plant, Lagosians should expect a roll-out of vehicles from this plant within the next 18 months. I urge other stakeholders and private investors to collaborate with us to sustain the scheme. We have the political and administrative will to ensure the business survives in Lagos.”

Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, said the e-hailing taxi scheme was initiated, following the approval of IBILE Holding Limited’s proposal in the August 31, 2020 State’s Executive Council meeting.

He said the Assembly Plant and the taxi scheme would boost socio-economic activities and support the development of ancillary enterprises in the transportation sector.

Chairman of CIG Motors Company Limited, Diana Chen, pledged the full commitment of the automobile firm to the agreement.

Ms Chen, who is also the Vice-Chairman of China-Africa Business Council (CABC), disclosed that the automobile firm would sponsor 50 students for a two-year engineering training in a vocational school in China to strengthen its partnership with the Lagos Government.

She said: “My teams are ready to work with 100 percent effort to build GAC MOTORS in Nigeria in the highest level of a brand. This international Joint Venture Project will soon bloom up in the Chinese business communities both in Nigeria and China. I assure you that, we will use this partnership as the best example to introduce and promote a Greater Lagos where greater opportunities abound.”

The highpoint of the event was the signing of the partnership agreements by the Managing Director of IBILE Holding Limited, Mr. Abiodun Amokomowo, and the Vice Chairman of CIG Motors Company Limited, Mr. Linus Idahosa in the presence of the Governor, Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and Lagos Attorney General, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN.

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BIG STORY

#EndSARS: Nigerians On Social Media Ask EFCC To Probe Oba of Lagos Over $2m, N17m Cash Kept In Palace

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Nigerians on social media have called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, for money laundering.

The monarch had said $2 million and N17 million were stolen when youths attacked his palace on October 21, 2020, in the violence that erupted after the #EndSARS protests.

Oba Akiolu, whose staff of office known as the ‘Opa Ase’, was also taken away by hoodlums who broke into his palace during the riot, spoke on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said, “I will support anything that will move Lagos forward. I have appealed to the Federal Government to assist Lagos with what we have suffered. The incident that happened here from October 20th to 23rd is so saddening.

“The destruction we suffered in Lagos is so enormous than in any other part of the country.

“Many buildings were burnt, including vehicles used to generate income. I can now say publicly that they stole $2 million and N17 million from my palace.

“Those who committed the offense would not have done that if they knew the implication. But as a father, I won’t place any curse on them.”

Many social media users have since accused the monarch of money laundering, saying a private citizen should not have at home, the amount of money purportedly stolen.

A tweep, @uncle_ajala, wrote, “The Oba of Lagos says that $2 million and N17million were stolen when hoodlums attacked his palace during the last #EndSARS protest. He should be telling EFCC what he was doing with that amount and how he got the $2m after this revelation.”

“But how will the Oba of Lagos have $20 million in his house? To imagine that he just discovered that after how many months? EFCC where are you?” @Gabafolayan wrote.

“Is Oba of Lagos operating a BDC (Bureaux De Change) in his palace? Is this not some violation? Is this not money laundering @officialEFCC ? @Intergrity56 asked.

@ImportedAlhaji also wondered if the palace of the monarch was a bank. “Please where did he get that money and when EFCC going to call him in for questioning him? Or Palace don turn to bank these days?” he asked.

On Facebook, Wakji Tazuk said, “The Oba should be arrested and prosecuted for keeping such amount of money in his house.”

Nwankwor Chimaobi buttressed Tazuk’s point, saying, “The Oba should be arrested for money laundering.”

“How much is the monthly salary of the Oba?” another Facebook user, Olu Diamond, asked.

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