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DSS seeks court order to extend Emefiele’s detention



The Department of State Services may have decided to approached a Magistrate Court to obtain an order to keep the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, in its custody for as long as his interrogation will last.

A source in the DSS revealed to our correspondents that the Service would likely approach the court to obtain an order to detain the suspended CBN boss for an indefinite period or minimum of renewable one month to allow for unfettered interrogation.

President Bola Tinubu had on Friday suspended Emefiele from office with immediate effect.

The Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, has already been appointed as the acting Governor.

This was sequel to the on-going investigation of Emefiele while in office and Tinubu’s proposed reforms in the financial sector of the economy, according to a statement by the Director of Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey.

According to the statement, Emefiele was directed to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), Mr Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi pending conclusion of investigation and the reforms.

Emefiele was arrested in Lagos on Saturday by the DSS and immediately flown to Abuja.

A viral video showed the suspended apex bank’s boss being driven to the airport tarmac in an unmarked Hilux van sandwiched by security operatives.

After disembarking from the vehicle, he was escorted into a waiting plane where security operatives were waiting to receive him.

One of the operatives, who closely followed Emefiele, had in his hands a pair of handcuffs.

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The source said: “He (Emefiele), is going to be with us for some time. We may obtain a court order to further detain him.

“The previous charges against him are there and further investigations may add to that.

“You know that he is a big man, and we have to make sure that the loose ends are tightened before we take him to court.

“Recall that we were looking for him before his suspension.

“Now that we have him, we will hear from him; hear what he has to say on those issues we have highlighted before.”

Another credible source added that the secret police had assembled a team of crack investigators to quiz Emefiele on wide range of issues, including alleged terrorism financing, diverting public funds to political gains and mismanagement of the economy and the apex bank, among others.

“We have a team of investigators, who are going to obtain statements from him.

“Honestly, Nigerians need to know what happened and why we were looking for him the other time,” the source added.

Meanwhile, Emefiele’s arrest is a precursor to the imminent purge of the top echelon of the apex bank, said to have become too ethnicised with staff members from particular tribe and religion.

Aside Emefiele, our sources informed that other top directors of the CBN would be quizzed as a comprehensive probe of Emefiele’s administration as directed by the President.

Dependable sources said the DSS would also go after senior officials in the procurement department of the CBN as well as special advisers to the embattled governor.

A source stated, “One of those under the radar of the DSS is a Special Adviser to the CBN governor.

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“He retired from the CBN in 2021 as a Director but was retained by Emefiele as Special Adviser.

“He is believed to have an insider knowledge of all the actions taken by Emefiele.

“Other subjects of interest are senior officials and Directors in the Procurement Department.

“The fact is that many top directors will be invited questioning in the weeks ahead.”

We also learnt that Emefiele, his aides and other top directors would be grilled on a number of issues relating to loans worth billions of naira given to farmers under the Fadama scheme, which were believed to have been marred by fraud.

Also, the controversial sale of Polaris Bank, which was allegedly fraught with irregularities; alleged financing of the Indigenous People of Biafra by the suspended CBN boss, and other allegations bordering on forex fraud.

Mismanagement and fraud associated with NIRSAL was also brought under the radder, the sources volunteered.

The CBN chiefs are also expected to answer questions on the apex bank’s fiscal policies, including the handling of the naira redesign, hoarsing of the curency which led to the scarcity of naira notes and caused nationwide economic crisis, resulting in riots, attacks on banks and death of some citizens.

“Their level of complicity will determine if they will retain their jobs or face prosecution at the end of investigation,” another source stated.

Earlier on Saturday, the spokesman of the DSS, Dr Peter Afunaya, confirmed that the suspended CBN governor was in the custody of the agency and would undergo interrogation.

He said in a statement, “The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby confirms that Mr Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is now in its custody for some investigative reasons.

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“The public, particularly the media, is enjoined to apply utmost caution in the reportage and narratives concerning this.”

This was a follow-up to an earlier statement by Afunaya in which he said Emefiele was not yet in the custody of the secret police.

Indications also emerged on Saturday that the DSS might conduct a search on the residence and office of the suspended apex bank governor as part of its investigation.

Another source in the secret police said, “He (Emefiele) has been on the watch list of the service for long, now that he has been arrested, he will be spending the night in custody at our headquarters and may not be released anytime soon. There is also the likelihood of his residence and office being searched in furtherance of the service’s investigation.”

The DSS had been on the trail of the suspended CBN governor and had even approached a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory to arrest him.

But Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, said the secret police did not provide any concrete evidence to substantiate its claims that Emefiele was involved in terrorism financing and economic crimes.

Among allegations levied against the embattled CBN governor by the DSS are terrorism financing, mismanagement of Nigeria’s social investment programme and the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme, among others.

At the CBN headquarters, Saturday, our correspondents observed only the presence of the apex bank’s security men and a few plain clothes security operatives.

Oil & Gas

Crude supply: Modular refineries back Dangote, seek Tinubu’s intervention



Dangote Petroleum Refinery has announced a further reduction of the price of diesel from 1200 to 1,000 naira per litre.

Modular refineries, on Sunday, confirmed the concerns raised by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, on the fact that some mafias in the oil sector were bent at stopping in-country refining of crude oil for the production of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, and other refined petroleum products.

Operators of modular refineries stated that they had raised this concern severally in the past but received no positive feedback, stressing that the Chairman of Dangote Petroleum Refinery just re-echoed it last week.

They spoke to our correspondent through their umbrella association, Crude Oil Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria, while reacting to Dangote’s recent revelation on the matter.

CORAN is a registered association of modular and conventional refinery companies in Nigeria. Modular refineries are simplified refineries that require significantly less capital investment than traditional full-scale refineries.

The Publicity Secretary, CORAN, Eche Idoko, said, “You can see that Dangote has raised similar concerns just as we’ve been saying all along about the mafias in the oil sector. These merchants have held the country hostage, especially in the area of our domestic petroleum products’ supply and it is crippling the whole economy.”

Last week, Dangote revealed that both local and international cartels, which he described as “mafia”, made repeated attempts to sabotage the $19bn Dangote Petroleum Refinery project located in Lagos.

“Well, I knew that there would be a fight. But I didn’t know that the mafia in oil, they are stronger than the mafia in drugs. I can tell you that. Yes, it’s a fact,” he said.

Dangote, who described himself as a fighter, said they tried all sorts to stop him. Dangote spoke at the Afreximbank Annual Meetings and AfriCaribbean Trade & Investment Forum in Nassau, The Bahamas.

“As a matter of fact during the COVID period, some of the international banks were looking forward to making sure that they push us into default of our loans so that the project will just be dead. And that didn’t happen with the help of banks like Afreximbank,” the oil firm’s boss had stated.

CORAN explained that the rise in food inflation in Nigeria could also be attributed to the hike in the pump prices of petroleum products, especially PMS, stressing that in-country refining would have helped in tackling these costs.

“The reason why this government hasn’t been able to tackle inflation, especially food inflation in the country is because of the prices of petroleum products. And you can’t keep playing the ostrich,” Idoko stated.

He added, “Yes we understand that if you are in OPEC you can decide to peg the price of your crude to OPEC standard, but in all OPEC-member countries, including Saudi Arabia, Russia, etc, they all have special arrangements internally for their people.

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“They have special arrangements for domestic use of crude. Even South Africa has crude oil reserves, but where is Nigeria’s reserves? And I don’t mean oil reserves in the ground that are yet explored, but reserves that are stored somewhere.”

On June 3, 2024, The PUNCH reported that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, declared that Nigeria would continue to comply with crude oil production adjustments approved by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Lokpobiri, who spoke at the 37th OPEC and OPEC+ meeting, had explained that the oil production adjustments by the global oil cartel were meant to stabilise the market.

“Nigeria remains unwavering in its commitment to the agreements made under the Declaration of Cooperation. Our adherence to these production adjustments is crucial for maintaining market balance and supporting global efforts toward sustainable oil market stability,” the minister had stated in a statement.

But CORAN argued that the mafias in the oil sector were fighting Nigeria from attaining self-sufficiency in the domestic refining of crude oil because these persons were profiting from petroleum products’ importation into the country.

“Who is this present government talking with on issues that has to do with supply, energy efficiency and others? Who are they talking with, who are the stakeholders? We have made efforts to meet with the President severally, but every attempt was blocked. Who are those benefitting from the current situation in the country?” the association’s spokesperson stated.

Idoko added, “And if they don’t believe us because we are an association of smaller refineries, at least they have heard Dangote say it now. Who are these people fighting the self-sufficiency in the refining of petroleum products in Nigeria? The Minister of Petroleum, who is actually the President, should speak about this.

“He should tell us what is his principle. Is he looking at creating self-sufficiency in domestic refining of petroleum products or that he wants to continue the regime of petroleum importation? If it means the presidency speaking to Nigerians directly, telling us what their policy thrust is on this matter, then fine.”

Dangote had also during his speech revealed that international oil companies denied him access to their crude because they did not think he could succeed with the 650,000 barrels per day capacity refinery.

“In a system where, for 35 years, people are used to counting good money, and all of a sudden, they see that the days of counting that money have come to an end, you don’t expect them to pray for you. Of course, you expect them to fight back.

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“And I think that is the process that we’re now really going through. But the truth is that, yes, the country, the sub-region, and also the continent, of sub-Saharan Africa, need this refinery. So, you expect them to fight through non-supply of crude, non-purchase of the product, but I think it’s all temporary. We’ll get there,” he added.

Also recall that The PUNCH exclusively reported earlier this month that international financiers that were meant to fund the construction of about 20 modular refineries in Nigeria had withheld their funds due to the challenge of getting guarantees for crude oil supply to the facilities when they are completed.

Producers of crude oil in Nigeria, who are largely international oil companies, have not been able to provide guarantees to assure the financiers that crude would be supplied to the modular refineries when the plants are set to produce refined petroleum products.

Based on this, funders of the facilities have held onto their funds pending when the Federal Government would be able to impress it on IOCs to provide the guarantees required for crude oil supply to modular refiners.

Although Nigeria prides itself as the largest crude oil producer in Africa, it exports bulk of its crude to earn foreign exchange, starving domestic refiners who find it tough to source the United States dollar required for the purchase crude.

Nigeria currently has 25 licensed modular refineries. Five of them are operating and producing diesel, kerosene, black oil and naphtha. About 10 are under various stages of completion, while the others have received licences to establish.

Operators of modular refineries had told our correspondent that aside from the five that were in operation currently, the remaining plants were embattled due to the major challenge of crude oil unavailability, a development that has stalled funding from financiers.

“Only about five of our members have completed their refineries. The others are having a major challenge. This challenge is that the people who are supposed to finance them have not disbursed financing for construction because they want some level of guarantee.

“A guarantee that if they finish the refinery, they are going to get feedstock, which, of course, is crude oil,” Idoko had stated.

Efforts to get the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, on Sunday, to speak on the concerns raised by the refinery operators were not successful.

The spokesperson of the commission, Olaide Shonola, could not be reached, as her number was not connecting, while she had yet to respond to a text message sent to her on the subject up till when this report was filed.

However, while responding to the demand for a Conditional Term Sheet by the financiers of modular refiners earlier, the commission stated that it received figures on the production capacities of indigenous refineries and had presented them to crude oil producers to make the commodity available.

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NUPRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Gbenga Komolafe, while reacting to a question by our correspondent on the matter, however, stated that the commission would not guarantee supply to refineries that had yet to come into existence.

“This still borders on the implementation of the domestic crude oil obligation. First of all let me make it clear that establishing a refinery of whatever capacity, whether it is a modular refinery or the bigger sized refinery, is a commercial engagement. So the commission can’t come in to give any form of guarantee. I need to make that clear.

“However, the regulator will only implement the provisions of the PIA given that all the regulatory activities of the commission are expected to be in compliance with the provisions of the law. So as it relates to guaranteeing feedstock to refiners, that is enshrined under section 109 of the PIA.

“And what we have just done in furtherance of that provision is that we have put in place a regulation that has to do with domestic crude oil obligation. So in the implementation of that provision, what we do is that we receive the figures on the domestic refining capacity from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

“And once we receive that, our development and production department factors the numbers against the capacities of the various producers within the upstream sector and makes it obligatory for them (crude producers) to meet those numbers, thereby guaranteeing that volume of supply to existing licensed and operating refineries, not refineries that have not come into existence,” Komolafe had explained.

The NUPRC boss had stressed that “we do not guarantee crude for financing of refineries that have not come into existence.”

Recall that the commission recently promised to ensure that crude oil was supplied to domestic refiners

It stated that in compliance with the provisions of Section 109(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, the NUPRC in a landmark move, had developed a template guiding the activities for Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation.

“The commission in conjunction with relevant stakeholders from NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services, representatives of Crude Oil/Condensate Producers, Crude Oil Refinery-Owners Association of Nigeria, and Dangote Petroleum Refinery came up with the template for the buy-in of all.

“This is in a bid to foster a seamless implementation of the DCSO and ensure consistent supply of crude oil to domestic refineries,” Komolafe had stated.

Source: The Punch

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Harsh environment: Tax revenue from manufacturers plunges by 70%



New VAT rate to be carried out in phases – Panel

In apparent reflection of the harsh operating environment for the manufacturing sector in Nigeria over the past year, accentuated by fuel subsidy removal, naira devaluation and increase in electricity tariff, tax revenue from manufacturers dropped drastically by 70.24 percent, quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), to N43.2 billion in the first quarter of 2024 (Q1’24) from N145.1 billion recorded in the previous quarter (Q4’23).

This is contained in the Company Income Tax (CIT) Q1 2024 report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the tax revenue from both local and foreign manufacturing companies.

The report also indicated a decline of 31.4 percent year-on-year (YoY) in tax payments by manufacturers compared with N62.9 billion recorded in Q1’23.

CIT, also known as corporate tax, is a levy imposed by the government on the income of a company. The rate is hinged on zero percent for companies with gross turnover of N25 million or less, 20 percent for companies with gross turnover greater than N25 million and less than N100 million, and 30 per cent for large companies above N100 million.

A breakdown of the NBS report revealed that out of 21 sectors, manufacturing activities which used to be one of the highest contributors to tax revenue recorded the lowest growth rate.

Analysis of the CIT payments shows that the tax payments by manufacturers in Q1’24 represented 11.2 percent of the local CIT of N386.5 billion in the quarter, compared to 27.2 percent of local CIT of N533.9 billion in Q4’23, and 20.9 percent of local CIT of N300.8 billion recorded in Q1’23.

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The NBS report stated: “On the aggregate, CIT for Q1 2024 was reported at N984.61 billion, indicating a growth rate of -12.87 percent on a QoQ basis from 1.13 trillion in Q4 2023. Local payments received were N386.49 billion, while Foreign CIT payments contributed N598.13 billion in Q1 2024.

“On a QoQ basis, the activities of Manufacturing had the lowest growth rate with -70.24 percent, followed by Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply with -69.14 percent.”

Adducing reasons for this development, Dr. Muda Yusuf, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), said that the economy has not been favourable to manufacturers that normally contribute a lot to tax revenue, especially those in production.

“CIT is mostly paid by the major players like the multinationals and conglomerates. But many of them suffered very serious losses from the foreign exchange reform,” he noted.

Recall that Director General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Segun Ajayi-Kadir, had raised the alarm that 767 manufacturing companies shut down in 2023, while 335 others became distressed due to multidimensional challenges besetting the sector.

Many multinationals announced their exit from the country over the past year, citing unfavourable business environment. They include Kimberly-Clark (KC), Procter & Gamble (P&G), GlaxoSmithKline Consumer (GSK) Nigeria, PZ Cussons, Equinor, Sanofi, Bolt Food, and lately, Diageo which announced its divestment from Guinness Nigeria Plc.

Also, some listed consumer goods manufacturing companies reported big operational losses in the first quarter as borrowing costs swelled on the back of rising interest rates and a further devaluation of the naira.

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Source: Vanguard

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If we knew what we were getting involved in, we wouldn’t have… — Dangote



Dangote Cement Plc, the multinational cement giant, majority owned by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, maintained strong momentum

For context, it is a 650,000 barrel refinery, the biggest in the world. It started in 2016.

Inside the plant itself, Aliko Dangote constructed about 126 km of road. There are 54,000 storm columns built for protection. On-site, there are over 200 buildings. Located in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, covering a land area of approximately 2,635 hectares (seven times the size of Victoria Island, Lagos), it is the world’s Largest Single-Train 650,000 barrels per day Petroleum Refinery with 900,000 tonnes Polypropylene Plant. At the peak of construction, there were over 70,000 workers on site.

In the course of the civil works, some 700 piles were drilled daily, and the total number of piles came to 250,000. It has 177 tanks of 4.742 billion litre capacity – you can imagine that volume. He has bought over 2,262 units of various high-duty equipment to enhance the local capacity for site works since even the biggest local civil contractors are unable to handle “even small portions of our construction requirement.” He has also bought 308 cranes to build up equipment installation capacity since the current capacity in Nigeria is extremely poor. What do you do when the biggest crane in the country is 650 tons, whereas you need a 5000-ton capacity crane? Worse, there were only two such 5000-ton capacity cranes in the world, and they were in use. So, instead of hiring a crane for $300,000 a day, what do you do? Dangote bought his cranes. 65 Million Cubic Metres of Sand were dredged costing approximately 300 Million Euros, using the world’s largest, the second largest and the tenth largest dredgers to elevate the height by 1.5/1.75 metres, to insure against any potential impact of increase in mean sea level due to global warming.

That is not all.

The refinery has a 435 MW Power Plant, which can meet the total power requirement of Ibadan DisCo of 860,316 MWh covering five states, including Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara and Ekiti. Dangote Petroleum Refinery can meet 100% of the Nigerian requirement of all refined products (Gasoline, 53 million litres per day; Diesel, 34 million litres per day; Kerosene, 10 million litres per day and Aviation Jet A1, 2 million litres per day) and also have surplus of each of these products for export.

Aliko Dangote On CNN
So, if Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive of Dangote Industries Limited, and Africa’s richest man, says, in retrospect, that had he known the grand scope of what he was getting involved in, he wouldn’t have tried it, you would understand.

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According to Dangote, during an interview on a CNN programme, Connecting Africa, “People don’t really understand what we undertook to build the refinery. In fact, we didn’t know what we were getting into. If we knew, we would have run away. We wouldn’t have tried it. It was very, very, very tough. We are sitting on a land that is more than 4000 standard football fields. The significance of this project is that we will be self-sufficient, not just in Nigeria but in West and Central Africa. I feel proud as an African that I’ve been able to prove that it can be done and we have done it.”

$19 billion cost
Speaking on what it has taken to put up the edifice, he said “we spent about $19 billion. It is going to change the game in terms of improvement. If we take in all the crude from Nigeria, it means that we will be taking about 21 million barrels per month. That would also help in terms of reducing the Co2 initiative, rather than ships coming all the way from Europe to bring in products. All the ships going out of Nigeria every month, then you have the products coming into Nigeria. In totality, when you calculate, you are talking about 480 ships of 1 million barrels. That actually will save the environment almost 1.5 to 2 million tonnes of Co2 emissions.”

Asked whether he has started making money from the project, he said: “We will start making money soon. It is not just all about making money, but it also gives us great satisfaction that we are making Africa great. We are making Africa proud.”

AfCFTA & Overcoming challenges
There has always been the issue of crude supply, and this was discussed during the interview. In his view, he agreed “that there are challenges here and there. That is the truth. We have to be very open too.

NNPC has been very, very helpful. They do their own bit. Some of the IOCs are struggling to give us crude oil. Because everybody is used to exporting, and nobody wants to stop exporting”.

Even Aliko Dangote himself asked Eleni Giokos, the CNN anchor, “Why do you think Africa is not growing as it should?”

Dangote answered the question himself: “It is because we export raw materials and import finished goods. It doesn’t matter what it is, whether it is gold or whatever. A raw material is always at a ridiculously priced amount compared to the finished goods.”

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Asked how he hopes to battle this legacy system that profits from the ripoff of focusing on Africa’s raw materials instead of building capacity for processing on the continent, Dangote said “I have been fighting battles all my life, so I don’t get scared of anything.”

On the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, Dangote believes it will be beneficial: “The AfCFTA will be very, very beneficial. If you are talking about benefits, our company will almost be one of the top five in terms of benefitting from the free trade agreement. But I have not seen any improvement. We have 3 million tonnes of Urea we export to African countries, and we have petroleum products to export. We have cement to export. We have too many things to export. What makes sense is to have the free trade agreement work. The trade between Africans is only about 16 per cent, which is too low. We have to make sure that all the regional markets have to remove these requirements of visas. We have to allow free movement of people, free movement of goods and services, and the Afcta will work. Without that, it is almost impossible.”

Intra-Africa trade issues
Dangote then shared an experience: “I am going to Egypt tomorrow, but I need a visa. They are saying that they will give me a visa on arrival if I have an American visa. But I am an African, and Egypt is part and parcel of AfCFTA. But they are saying that no, if you have an American visa, we will give you. So, they are discounting me, being an African. So, how do we trade if you’re not allowing me into their country? What I would love to see is a South African come into Nigeria to get a job without hassle. If you don’t integrate, we will never see what we call prosperity. Integration is very important. If you remember, most countries used to have what we call the Ministry of Integration, but I don’t know what happened. Some of the countries have dropped this, and it doesn’t make sense.”

Aliko Dangote has his eyes set on the future with the succession plan of the group well laid. According to him, “by the end of the year, he expects that the group’s revenue should be around $ 30 billion, thereby placing the company among the best 120 companies in the world.”

PMS delivery date
Last week, during a visit by the leadership of the senate, led by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, to the premises of Dangote Refinery, some of the legislators who had not visited the site were left to marvel at the size of the complex. The question always asked by Nigerians about the refinery is focused mainly on the delivery day when Premium Motor Spirit, PMS (otherwise known as petrol) would flow. Yes, they should be concerned, not with the price of petrol hovering around N600 and 800 per litre, depending on which part of the country you reside or you are to buy from.

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In responding to the question, Dangote explained: “It is good for us to test all the types of crudes that we are receiving. You know sometimes you can buy crude and people can give you the one that has a lot of metal or a lot of sulphur. But the most important thing is that we know West Africa is a home for dumped bad fuel and bad Petroleum products. This lab that we have here you can not even find it in Saudi Aramco because we have the latest and we can test anything be it aviation fuel, diesel, gasoline and kerosene and it will give you the actual result. The longest time a test will take here is 30 mins. As for PMS, it will start coming out by 10/15 of July. We want to keep it in the tank to make sure that it settles, and by the third week in July, we want to be able to take it into the market.”

Revelations from Afreximbank meeting in Bahamas
Last week, Dangote made some disclosures at the Afreximbank Annual Meetings, Dangote likened the oil cartels to a mafia stronger than the drug mafia hell-bent on maintaining their grip on the industry.

He said: “Well, I knew that there would be a fight. But I didn’t know that the mafia in oil, they are stronger than the mafia in drugs. I can tell you that. Yes, it’s a fact. But I’m a person who has been fighting all my life. You know, so I think it’s part of my life to fight. As a matter of fact, during the COVID period, some of the international banks really were looking forward to making sure that they pushed us into the default of our loans so that the project would just be dead. And that didn’t happen with the help of banks like Afreximbank.”

Dangote also disclosed that he has paid off $2.4bn of the $5.5bn borrowed for the Lagos-based refinery.


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Jim Ovia called as police investigate Zenith Bank staff over transaction linked to robbery, shooting of Russian 



A 55-year-old Russian woman Angelina Gold has narrated how she was robbed of $3,500 on Friday, June 14, shortly after she withdrew the money

A 55-year-old Russian woman Angelina Gold has narrated how she was robbed of $3,500 on Friday, June 14, shortly after she withdrew the money from a Zenith Bank Plc branch in Lagos.

She suspected that someone might have witnessed how she was paid the money in the banking hall or some workers of the bank’s branch located along Isaac John Street, GRA Ikeja might be feeding information to robbers.

Gold was shot in the foot by a lone robber in her compound at Oba Akinjobi GRA Ikeja when she was hesitant to release the money.

According to her, the robbery happened less than three hours after the bank transaction.

Narrating her experience, “On Friday (June 14, 2024), my daughter and I went to Zenith Bank at Isaac John Street to collect dollars so me and my grandson can travel on Monday (June 17, 2024) to my country. It was $3,500. Two days before, we told the bank we were coming to get the dollars.

“Once we were done, we went to Oasis and Ebeano supermarket to spend some time there. As we were returning home, my daughter saw a guy at Cubana bus stop. We noticed we had been seeing him around since we left the bank but we didn’t really suspect anything. So when we approached our house at Oba Akinjobi Street, Ikeja, my daughter screamed again that the man that we saw at the junction was around again. How come he trekked so fast? We still didn’t pay attention.

“So we drove into our compound. I parked my car. And as I opened my car door to step out, this man walked up to me and asked if I knew why he was here. He said he came to collect the dollars I withdrew and that he had a gun and was an armed robber. He said he didn’t want to kill me but only wanted what I took from the bank. My six-year-old grandson came out and he pointed his gun at him and my daughter. I tried to protect them to stop him from the nonsense and then he shot me in the foot, collected the money and ran away.”

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Still shocked by the incident, Gold began asking several questions as to how such could happen so fast after she left the bank, without disclosing their movement to anyone.

According to her, this led her to suspect it wasn’t a random robbery.

She said, “I suspect an insider in the bank because we never told anyone we were going to the bank. And Zenith Bank was carelessly giving dollars openly in the hall. This can trigger robbery cases. And for many years, no one has ever experienced armed robbery in our neighborhood in GRA Ikeja. So something is wrong with the security. Banks should stop giving dollars openly in the hall.

“Even if someone saw us collecting dollars and decided to trail us, how was it possible to organise the robbery in just two hours? There were only two people in the hall at that time. So it’s easy to trace. I strongly believe there was an insider in the bank who gave out our information. A few weeks ago, my daughter withdrew a huge amount of dollars from the same bank. Then she called two days before we went to collect another amount of dollars. I’m just thinking about these things; I may be wrong.”

Gold told SaharaReporters that she returned to the bank to officially lodge a complaint but realised it was already closed for the day. This was after she had gone to the hospital for medical attention.

And with the Sallah holidays on Monday and Tuesday, June 17 and 18 respectively, Gold noted that she could not get across to the bank.

“I tried calling them since it happened around 3 pm, by the time we had taken the matter to the police and I was driven to the hospital for treatment, the bank had closed.

“Unfortunately, I have to return to return to Russia on Monday (June 17, 2024) because I have my ticket already. And now I’m travelling without money and with a bullet wound on my foot. I have even spoken to the owner of the Zenith Jim Ovia so I believe the top hierarchy know about this incident,” she said.

Stressing that she reported the matter to the police, she said: “I reported this matter to CSP Oke, the Divisional Police Officer at Area F Police Station in our neighbourhood at Oba Akinjobi. They only said they would be on it and only provided escorts for me to go to the hospital and then to the airport when I’m travelling.

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“Banks to stop giving dollars to people openly in the bank, I would like to stress that again, otherwise they would be inviting criminals who might in turn kill their customers or rob them. There’s nothing much I think can be done. If I can get back my money and the culprit arrested, then that would be awesome. At least I’m glad he didn’t shoot my grandson or daughter or even shoot me dead.”

“I’m sure the robber is a trained security operative judging from the way he acted and how he handled the gun. I know all these because in 2014 I was invited as a supervisor to train special forces during the Sambo Dasuki case. I took all the officers to Russia for training. So I know how they act and behave. The bullet is actually with me. It entered the ground when he shot me in the foot. I picked it up. I will take it to the military hospital in Russia and show them,” she added.

When SaharaReporters called the DPO of the Ikeja station where Gold said she lodged a complaint to get an update on the matter, he declined to discuss the matter on the phone.

“Please, you will have to come to the police station if you have any question to ask,” he said.

However, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer Benjamin Hundeyin later confirmed to SaharaReporters that the matter had been reported to them.

According to him, the matter has even gotten to the desk of the state police commissioner.

“The DPO made me to understand that he responded swiftly. It was the day President Bola Tinubu came to Lagos and he was at the airport. He left there immediately and went to the woman’s house and personally took the woman to Duchess Hospital and checked up on her every day.

“He even went to her house on Monday morning to escort her to the airport. On the day the incident happened, the Russian woman successfully entered into her house only for the gunman to tell the security guys at the gate that he was with her and so he was allowed in. And that’s how he robbed the woman,” Hundeyin said.

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The police spokesperson asked how a stranger would be allowed to gain entry into a private compound, rob the woman of her money and leave without any confrontation.

“As we speak, the security men are in detention. Because if they are not collaborators, why did they allow a stranger to come in without identifying him?” he asked.

On the extent at which the police had gone to pursue this case, SP Hundeyin said the bank workers involved in the transaction had already been written to and were expected to respond by Wednesday when work would resume after the Sallah holidays

He continued, “The DPO has also written to the bank to speak with the bank manager, the teller and every other person that knew about the withdrawal because it’s a bit strange that the gunman followed her to her house and specifically asked for the money that she withdrew from the bank.

“The bank manager will come to the station for his statement. The security guards have also written theirs and are still in detention. The woman said she’s going to Russia to buy a property this week otherwise the price will go up.”

When SaharaReporters reached out to Ayoola Kushimo of the bank’s corporate communications unit, he said the affected must lodge an official complaint at the bank before he would be able to speak on the issue.

He said, “The case in question is new to me. The woman in question has to lodge an official complaint first. Or who did she complain to? You? If at all she made any complaints on Friday when it happened, she is likely not to get any response until Wednesday (June 19, 2024) which is the resumption day after the Sallah holidays.

“Please allow whatever complaints she has made to the head office to filter till Wednesday. I’m sure they will act on it. Thank you.”

– SaharaReporters

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N17bn debt: GTBank drags 60 bank chiefs to court



Customers of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) have taken to the social media to condemn the decision of the bank to deduct a ‘CT miscellaneous

Guaranty Trust Bank has dragged no fewer than 60 top executives of 13 commercial banks to court as a pending suit between GTBank and Afex Commodity Exchange over N17bn Anchor Borrowers Programme loan lingers.

The 60 executives including the chairmen, chief executive officers, directors, and company secretaries of the 13 banks are facing contempt proceedings for allegedly failing to implement a No-Debit-Order reportedly placed on the accounts of Afex Commodity Exchange with the banks.

In suit no FHC/L/CS/911/2024 involving Guaranty Trust Bank Limited and AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited, the Federal High Court, Lagos division presided by Justice CJ Aneke signed an order for the bank chairmen, MDs, directors, company secretaries and the liquidator of Heritage Bank (Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation) to be committed to jail for failing to obey its May 27, 2024 ruling.

A legal notice titled ‘Order to serve notice of disobedience to order of court vide newspaper publication’ published in some national dailies including The PUNCH on Thursday, partly read, “An order granting leave to the Plaintiff Applicant to serve Form 48 (Notice of Consequences of Disobedience to Order of Court) dated 11th June, 2024 and all other forms and processes that may be issued in this contempt proceedings inclusive of Form 49 on the 1st-60st parties cited for contempt

The matter was adjourned to next Thursday.

Parties cited for contempt include Access Bank, Citibank, Jaiz Bank, Union Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, First City Monument Bank, NDIC (liquidator for Heritage Bank), Polaris Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Taj Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank alongside its principal officers.

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In the court ruling dated May 27, 2024, twenty banks were directed to transfer monies standing to the credit of the respondent into the AFEX’s account with GTB until the N17.81bn is repaid.

The N17.81bn loans comprise N15.77bn; the amount outstanding and unpaid, as of April 17, 2024, and the cost of recovery and incidental expenses in the sum of N2.04bn.

The court also granted an injunction allowing GTB to take over AFEX 16 warehouses located across seven states and sell the commodities stored in them, which it said were procured with the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers’ loan facility.

Earlier in the month, the court had served contempt proceedings against AFEX and some of its principal officers including Ayodele Balogun, Jendayi Fraaser, Justin Topilow, Mobolaji Adeoye and Koonal Ghandi.

According to court papers, AFEX had sourced the Anchor Borrowers Programme Loan facility from GTB to provide finance for smallholder farmers registered under the CBN Anchor Borrower’s programme.

The loan was expected to be repaid from the sale of commodities. However, AFEX failed to uphold its end of the deal even after an extension.

In a statement following the interim court order, AFEX claimed that it had repaid about 90 per cent of the loan facility.

“However, a portion of the loan remains outstanding with the farmers and while we have paid out a portion out of our own purse, we remain in discussions with CBN over the outstanding amounts of the said facility,” the exchange said.

It also said the full value of the loan was utilised to provide input to farmers in three consecutive seasons, starting in 2020.

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The exchange added that it had remained consistent with repaying the loans until economic headwinds impacted the operations of the farmers that they had disbursed the money to.

“Over 800,000 hectares of farmland were financed through the course of the programme’s operationalisation; however, significant macro and policy headwinds, including the cash crunch on the back of the Naira redesign policy, severely impacted the productive capacity and market participation of the smallholder farmers in the 2022/2023 season.

“This resulted in less than 40 cent repayment from farmers on their input loan bundles, down from our 90per cent repayment rates in the previous eight years of providing input financing for farmers. The low repayment rate ultimately impacted on our ability to refund the full value of the loan at the end of Q1 2023 and following a 6-month extension period,” AFEX added.

The commodities exchange also stated that the lingering effects of the cash crunch have continued to impact farmers, who sold at below market value to get immediate cash inflows to sustain their families in the period and remain unable to pay back.

Meanwhile, AFEX has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to activate the collateral guarantee of up to 70 per cent clause included in the Anchor Borrowers programme.

“Evidenced in the attached letters, our engagements with Guaranty Trust Bank Limited, a Participating Financial Institution in the program, as well as the apex bank have seen us highlight these limitations on the part of the defaulting farmers with suggestions being made to the CBN to activate the risk-sharing structure put in place for the program and release funds accordingly to sustain activities and allow for needed recovery efforts in our agriculture sector.

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“In light of these engagements, we consider the recent steps by Guaranty Trust Bank Limited to be premature, coming in the midst of open conversations that are being had with all parties to find a path to resolution that does not unduly punish farmers, who have been the biggest hit by macroeconomic conditions that they had no control over,” AFEX concluded.

CBN at the inception of the programme in 2015 said the broad objective was to create economic linkages between smallholder farmers and processors to increase agricultural output and ensure food price stability.

The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme guidelines stipulate that upon harvest, benefiting farmers are to repay their loans with produce (which must cover the loan principal and interest) to an anchor, who pays the cash equivalent to the farmer’s account.

By 2022, at least 4.8 million people had benefitted from the Anchor Borrowers Programme and the CBN in a 2023 statement said it released N1.079tn under the programme, out of which over N500bn is due for repayment.

The programme has since been discontinued by the CBN as it pivots from development financing interventions to its core duty of price and monetary stability.

Source: The Punch


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Nigerian airlines to fly US, S’America routes soon — Keyamo



The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, said the Federal Government has commenced the process of empowering Nigerian airlines to have direct access to International routes to the United States and South American countries.

The minister stated this in a YouTube interview with O’tega Ogra titled, “Unfiltered: The Big Interview” which was viewed by our correspondent on Saturday.

On March 20, Air Peace commenced its Lagos-London flight services, but during the YouTube interview, Keyamo said the government is putting plans in place for local airlines in the country to commence direct flight operations to both the US and South America.

He said, “BASA are negotiated between different sovereigns. So it is when you get your BASA and your reciprocal rights, you can now give it to your local operators and ensure that they are enforced as per the foreign entities. So we did that; we wrote several letters; we travelled back and forth because we knew that that was what we could use to bring down prices. The only thing that can bring down prices in any market is competition. It is not a monopoly.

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“British Airways have enjoyed those routes for so many years unchallenged. There were attempts by local airlines in the past to run the routes, but they muscled them out of the routes. That was why Nigerians were buying tickets for as much as N15m to N16m at some points, business class tickets just for to and fro. So we saw that this was an issue we could easily resolve.

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“So we put our foot on the ground, dusted off the BASA, and ensured that they (BASA) were respected. And when they (foreign airlines) later conceded that Air Peace could start flying the routes, we knew we had achieved something. You saw the immediate results as prices began to dip. But that’s not the only lucrative route we have in Nigeria, we have other routes coming up.

“We are looking at the American routes and the South American routes. Nobody is even flying to South America at all now. But something is in the offing for us to start that route now. That is just one aspect of helping them (Local airlines) to enforce the BASA by telling the countries that these are our flight carriers so that they can respect them as Nigeria representatives, not as just private businesses in the country. But the second aspect of that is to ensure that these airlines can also have the capacity after giving them the routes,” he explained.

He noted that aside from ensuring that the local airlines have access to international routes; the Federal Government is also looking at how to enhance their capacity to service the routes.

According to Keyamo, “One thing is to give them the routes, but how do we enhance their capacity to service those routes? One way of doing this is to ensure that they also have access to aircraft in the same way that these big airlines around the world have access to aircraft.

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“What we have now is a lower capacity to access those aircraft, not to buy them. I have said it many times that no airline in the world buys its fleet 100 per cent. They don’t buy; they lease. So these big airlines you hear about and see with so many fleets; they didn’t buy them; 80 per cent of their planes are on dry lease.”


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