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Herbert Wigwe: The secrets he took to the Grave 

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A good friend may keep your secrets for a period of time. A best friend keeps your secrets through thick and thin. But a loyal friend would take your secrets to the grave, like Herbert Wigwe.

At his death, a powerful cabal comprising his secret clientele has kept an asphyxiating distance from his enterprise, Access Holdings Plc, as though the skeletons he helped stash in their safe boxes were spring-loaded and ready to burst out onto the front lawn of the public gallery.

In the wake of his untimely death, several shades of mourners have emerged from the groves of Nigeria’s rich upper crust.

Of the mourners are those who lament the loss of a friend, while some mourn the loss of a beloved relative and benefactor. Among the grief-stricken, however, emerged a curious band of mourners, comprising certain prominent people and industry titans, mourned the passing of Wigwe quite differently, particularly for the pecuniary loss it has inflicted on them.

The untimely death of the former Chairman of Access Holdings Plc has been a source of worry and interminable grief to certain influential and powerful figures in the country.

The reason is not far-fetched; many of them kept humongous sums of money and other valuables in Wigwe’s custody while he was alive. A great deal of such fortune was kept carefully away – from the official records and cash registers of Access Bank.

Wigwe, being the man in charge, never had cause to share the location of such monies with any of his cronies, associates or underlings, not even his bosom friend and partner of many years, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, with whom he founded Access Bank.

Findings revealed that the late Access Holdings head honcho devised a creative way to help them keep and invest their fortune and for doing this, they rewarded him handsomely. This, according to Access Holdings insiders, was one of the major reasons they became very disturbed at Wigwe’s sudden demise.

“When his death was announced, some powerful people burst into tears, lamenting that their lives were virtually over. A popular Abuja big boy fainted and had to be placed on a drip in Abuja,” said one of the directors at Access Holdings.

According to him, even before Wigwe got buried, most of his secret clientele had started making frantic calls to their other links within Access Holdings and Access Bank, begging them to help them sift through their financial records to see if Wigwe had left a trail through which the billions of naira they stashed away with his help, could be discovered and retrieved.

Further findings revealed that out of sheer desperation and fear of losing their fortune, they plotted to influence the appointment of the deceased’s partner, Aig-Imoukhuede.

The latter’s choice was surprising as most of Wigwe’s rich and powerful clients had never been too thrilled or friendly with him. Many of them hated his guts due to his perceived haughtiness and lack of regard for them.

At his recent pronouncement as Access Bank’s new Chairman, not a few members of staff experienced jitters about the likely bent of Aig-Imoukhuede’s new administration.

Immediately his appointment was made public, a dark pall coalesced above the bank as both senior managers and junior staff members cringed in anticipation of his grim tenure.

But the powerful cabal that influenced his emergence was very thrilled and grew anxious with each passing day in anticipation of how the Access Holdings’ chairman could serve its interests.

Back when he presided as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer MD/CEO of the bank, it was a common thing to see members of staff tremble and kowtow before him; so scary was his mien and administration that several top managers of the bank caught a cold every time he sneezed. A similar atmosphere pervades the entire bank a few days after his pronouncement as the bank’s chairman.

Whatever anyone thinks, Aig-Imoukhuede is not one to brook any tripe from any quarters, unlike his late friend and partner, Herbert Wigwe.

When he was the MD of the bank 10 years ago, you mess with Aig-Imoukhuede at your peril. His influence was so overwhelming that every member of staff trembled before him as he brooked no disrespect or dissent from anyone, no matter how highly placed that person was.

Aig-Imoukhuede was so straight-faced and pitilessly blunt that no one dared come close to him, without an extremely urgent and important reason.

While his intellectual capacity is widely acknowledged and extolled, the same could hardly be said about his human relations skills.

Source: TheCapital

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Aviation

DANA Incident :Tukur warns against stripping NCAA’s autonomy

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The Nigerian Government has suspended the operations of Dana Air. The order followed an incident involving a Dana Air plane at Lagos airport

Former Assistant General Secretary of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Alhaji Mohammed Tukur
has warned against the danger of undermining the autonomy of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA).

Alhaji Tukur in a statement described the the grounding of all the fleet of the DANA by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace, Barrister Festus Keyamo as a usurpation of the powers of the NCAA.

“The action of the Minister is like putting our civil aviation on a reverse to the era between the late eighties and the early time of the present democratic dispensation when President Obasanjo for no just course ordered the grounding of the entire Chanchangi fleet over Bellview crash.”

He noted that the development was a dangerous signal that must be repealed so that the civil aviation authority would not be relegated to an appendage of the Ministry.

The former AON scribe further described the grounding of DANA, an airline that just scaled through the economic audit of the NCAA as unfortunate stressing that it was also happening at the wake of the authority’s successful safety audit and FAA’s category one.

“It’s ironic for Keyamo who recently complained of high insurance rates and leasing costs faced by the Nigerian operators to come up with such hammer on DANA which gives an impression that our CAA lacks independence and oversight capability”.

Alhaji Tukur further observed that there was likely an aqua plain on the runway because of the rain saying that it was necessary to have waited for the investigators to come up with the plenary report while only the aircraft involved should have been grounded.

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 ‘Multichoice, a scam’ – Nigerians react to new prices for DStv, GOtv

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There has been growing concerns among Nigerians over the recent increase in subscription fees for Multichoice products, specifically

There has been growing concerns among Nigerians over the recent increase in subscription fees for Multichoice products, specifically Gotv and Dstv. Many Nigerians have expressed their dissatisfaction with the company’s decision to raise prices annually, claiming that it is becoming excessive and burdensome for consumers.

Multichoice on Wednesday jacked up the prices of its offerings in Nigeria four months after its last increment. The company reviewed prices in its packages across the board. The new prices will take effect from May 1, 2024.

With the latest price hike, the DStv Premium package increased from N29,500 to N37,000. Similarly, the DStv Compact+ went up from N19,800 to N25,000 while the Compact package increased from N12,500 to N15,700.

The Comfam package moved from N7,400 to N9,300. Yanga package moved up from 4,200 to N5,100 while Padi package increased from N2,950 to N3,600. HDPVR was increased from N4,000 to N5,000, the Access Fees package from N4,000 to N5,000, and XtraView moved from N4,000 to N5,000.

Meanwhile, the Gotv Supa+ package moved from N12,500 to N15,700, Supa package from N7,600 to N9,600, and Max package from N5,700 to N7,200.

While the Jolli package was jacked up from N3,950 to N4,850, the Jinja package moved from N2,700 to N3,300, and Smallie package from N1,300 to N1,575.

The company implemented an upward review of prices in December 2023, days after announcing a $72m loss in its financial statement for the third quarter of the year.

Checks on the company’s reviewed price list then showed a 20 per cent per cent hike in the company’s packages across the board.

In April 2023, the broadcasting company also announced an upward review of prices on its DStv and GOtv packages by 17 per cent.

This was confirmed in a text message sent to customers that the new rates will take effect on May 1, 2023.

The pay-tv firm said the price adjustment was due to the rising costs of business operations.

“Please note that from May 1, your monthly subscription (premium) will be N24,500. To retain your old price of N21,000 for up to 12 months ensure you are active by April 30,” the text message reads.

Also, in March 22, MultiChoice increased the prices of its DStv and GOtv packages.

Announcing the increase in a statement, the company said the rising costs of inflation and business operations led to the increment in the prices of the packages.

As a result, there have been calls for the government, represented by the National Assembly leaders, to intervene and possibly even ban the usage of Multichoice products in the country.

The rationale behind this move is to safeguard the interests of Nigerian consumers who are grappling with the escalating cost of living in the country. The situation has led to heightened tensions between the company and its customers, with many calling for a more equitable and transparent pricing model.

Businesses need to respond to the concerns of their customers, particularly in a highly competitive market such as the media and entertainment industry. Multichoice’s current pricing policy has been met with significant resistance from Nigerian consumers, and the company must take proactive steps to address these concerns. Failure to do so may result in a loss of customer loyalty, decreased revenue, and reputational damage.

The PAPERS speaks with some consumers about the latest Multichoice products prices.

A civil engineer, Mr. Albert Ihedioha said: “It is not their fault; our government gave them the audacity to be scamming us deliberately. The government is not doing enough to protect the citizen of this country from scamming company like Multichoice. What stops this company from operating pay-as-you-go?  As for me, I have stopped using my DStv, I will look into anther cable for cheaper rate, enough is enough for DStv.

Another consumer, Mr. Kazzem Olaonipekun who operates lounge business also speaks against the hike and called it ‘scam’.

“This is not acceptable, I want call on the government to checkmate this South African company, we can’t accept this. This is like a daylight robbery and scam, imagine the inflation, look at the price and how they have been consistently doing it for three years. These are the people running down our economy, president Tinubu must intervene to this act with urgency.”

Speaking in the same vein, Mrs. Nkechi Sinat, a bar owner in Owerri said it is over to the Nigeria government to call Multichoice to order.

She said: “The truth of the matter is that those who are supposed to checkmate them have taken bribes, and that is why they feel they can do anyhow in our own country. Can we go to South Africa to do such? The kind of leverages they have here, can we have it there? As for me and my family, no more GOtv or DStv, and I want to confirm to you that I am selling off my dish once the current subscription expires next week.”

Mr. Michael Ighodalo from Belgium questions the manner at which some companies operate in Nigeria which is different from the way they operate in their own countries.

Hear him: “In a democratic country like Nigeria, such nonsense should stop. I think the Senate needs to look into this, especially this time when people are facing hardship, Multichoice is not reasonable at all. Is that the way they behave in their own country? I am calling on every Nigerian to stand up and say NO to MULTICHOICE and its products. They should stop the extortion. We have other products in the country why can’t we patronize them and dump these Multichoice products?”

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NGX: Investors lose N673bn in five hours

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Investors in the Nigerian equities market endured another bearish session on Wednesday as they lost N673 billion at the end of trading.

Investors in the Nigerian equities market endured another bearish session on Wednesday as they lost N673 billion at the end of trading.

This followed the dip in the share value of MTNN, Transcorp Hotel, Oando and FBNH on the trading floor today.

After five hours of trading at the capital market, the equity capitalization decreased to N55.4 trillion from N56.1 trillion posted by the bourse on Tuesday.

Similarly, the All-Share Index (ASI) decreased to 98,121.30 from 99,311.54 achieved by the bourse the previous day.

The market breadth was positive as 20 stocks advanced, 19 declined, while 78 others remained unchanged in 7,907 deals.

Sunu Assurances Nigeria, Neimeth International Pharmaceutical, and The Initiate led other gainers with 10% growth each in share price to close at N1.21, N1.98, and N1.98 from their previous price of N1.10, N1.80, and N1.80 per share.

UPDC, CAP, and McNichol also increased their share prices by 9.90%, 9.90%, and 9.57% respectively.

On the flip side, MTN Nigeria Communications and Transcorp Hotels led other price decliners as they shed 10% each off their share prices to close at N201.60 and N87.93 from their previous N224.00 and N97.70 per share.

Oando, First Bank of Nigeria Holdings (FBNH), and Fidson Healthcare equally shed their share prices by 9.90%, 9.82%, and 9.75% respectively.

On the volume index, Guaranty Trust Holding Company traded 81.407 million shares valued at N2.9 billion in 444 deals followed by Zenith Bank which traded 46.156 million shares worth N1.69 billion in 650 deals.

United Bank for Africa (UBA) traded 41.600 million shares valued at N953.5 million in 717 deals.

On the value index, GTCO recorded the highest value for the day trading stocks worth N2.93 billion in 444 deals followed by Zenith Bank which traded equities worth N1.69 billion in 650 deals.

UBA traded stocks worth N953 million in 717 deals.

Source: RipplesNigeria

 

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FULL LIST: Multichoice hikes DStv, GOtv prices

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Broadcasting company Multichoice has jacked up the prices of its offerings in Nigeria four months after its last increment.

Broadcasting company Multichoice has jacked up the prices of its offerings in Nigeria four months after its last increment.

The company reviewed prices in its packages across the board. The new prices will take effect from May 1, 2024.

With the latest price hike, the DStv Premium package increased from N29,500 to N37,000. Similarly, the DStv Compact+ went up from N19,800 to N25,000 while the Compact package increased from N12,500 to N15,700.

The Comfam package moved from N7,400 to N9,300. Yanga package moved up from 4,200 to N5,100 while Padi package increased from N2,950 to N3,600. HDPVR was increased from N4,000 to N5,000, the Access Fees package from N4,000 to N5,000, and XtraView moved from N4,000 to N5,000.

Meanwhile, the Gotv Supa+ package moved from N12,500 to N15,700, Supa package from N7,600 to N9,600, and Max package from N5,700 to N7,200.

While the Jolli package was jacked up from N3,950 to N4,850, the Jinja package moved from N2,700 to N3,300, and Smallie package from N1,300 to N1,575.

The PAPERS reports that the company implemented an upward review of prices in December 2023, days after announcing a $72m loss in its financial statement for the third quarter of the year.

Checks on the company’s reviewed price list then showed a 20 per cent per cent hike in the company’s packages across the board.

 

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UBA branches sealed over alleged N14.3 million unpaid tax

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The Kaduna Internal Revenue Service, KADIRS, on Wednesday sealed the United Bank for Africa branches in the state metropolis over

The Kaduna Internal Revenue Service, KADIRS, on Wednesday sealed the United Bank for Africa branches in the state metropolis over alleged N14.3million unpaid tax.

Speaking to newsmen after the excercise, Aysha Ahmad, the KADIRS Board Secretary/Legal Adviser, said the enforcement was to ensure tax compliance in the whole state in respect of withholding taxes and money agents.

“We sent so many demand notices to them. We have asked them to pay the money but they refused, we are left with no other option but to enforce,” she said.

Mrs Ahmad added that the service wants voluntary compliance of tax payment, while lamenting that the defaulter had been recalcitrant.

She, however, said when the defaulters pay, the service would unseal the premises.

Speaking further, the board secretary said the the enforcement was part of a rocess to achieve the N120billion revenue target set by the Kaduna state government.

“To achieve a target, there is always a starting point. Sealing UBA branches in the state for tax default is our start. We are also going after all other defaulters to get what is due for the state government.

“We served them with demand notices . We have been communicating with their consultant and Headquarters. Infact, they even took us to court and the outcome was like a win-win situation at the tax appeal tribunal.

“The court gave us directives to review our assessment which we did and they did not still comply. It is on the reviewed assessment we are enforcing this morning,” she said.

Mrs Ahmad called on the people of the state to ensure voluntary tax compliance, describing it as a civic responsibility.

NAN

 

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MTN records highest number of subscribers porting to other networks

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Telecommunications giant, MTN, has recorded the highest number of subscribers porting out of its network since inception to December 2022.

Telecommunications giant, MTN, has recorded the highest number of subscribers porting out of its network since inception to December 2022.

This is according to the Nigerian Communications Commission in its newly published 2022 Subscriber/Network Data Annual Report.

The report represents the analysis of the Subscriber and Service Data – Porting Trend in Nigeria, from May 2013 to December 2022.

The analysis revealed that of the four major GSM operators in the country, 444,226 subscribers ported out of MTN to other network providers, as against Airtel, Glo and EMTS that respectively recorded 351,422; 277,527; and 190,724 customers porting out.

The analysis also revealed that EMTS recorded 676,944 port-ins, representing the highest number of subscribers porting into its network, followed by AIRTEL with 331,837; MTN with 181,301; and Glo with 105,746 port-ins.

A segment of the report titled, ‘C. subscriber & service data – porting trend in Nigeria as at December 2022’, highlighted the number of GSM porting activities across the four major network providers in the country.

It read, “Table 14 below shows the trend of Nigeria’s porting activities from inception (May, 2013 to December, 2022) for the four (4) major GSM Operators. The analysis illustrates that EMTS had the highest count of Port-in subscribers [676,944] while Airtel, MTN and Glo respectively recorded the following counts of port-in as follows [331,837]; [181,301] & [105,746].”

“Similarly, our analysis from May, 2013 to December, 2022, reveals that MTN had the highest number of subscribers that ported-out [444,226] to other networks while Airtel, Glo & EMTS are as follows [351,422]; [277,527] & [190,742] respectively.”

 

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