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Japa: Dangers in relocating to Canada, why you must think twice

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Following the unpleasant news of the death of a young Nigerian in a tent outside a shelter home in Toronto, Canada, and a suggestion that

Following the unpleasant news of the death of a young Nigerian in a tent outside a shelter home in Toronto, Canada, and a suggestion that it may just be a similitude of the horror Nigerians who have been thronging to that North American country have been facing, Gboyega Alaka had an insightful engagement with a Nigerian, Michael Kehinde Abiodun, who has been resident there for 25 years.

On November, 2023, a Nigerian male asylum seeker was found dead in a tent outside a Canada shelter for the homeless.

The man, not named, reportedly died while trying to keep himself warm in Peel, a regional municipality in Greater Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Nigerian, believed to be in his 40s, according to a local newspaper, Toronto Star, died on Wednesday, November 15. Patrick Brown, mayor of Brampton, confirmed the man to be a Nigerian who had come to seek asylum in the country.

Preliminary investigation said the man must have died from excessive inhalation of carbon monoxide while trying to keep his tent warm. He reportedly had to make do with the tent when he could not find space in the shelter. The mayor also noted that the shelter system in the region was overstretched by over 300 per cent, which left the deceased no choice but to make do with the tent.

A damning headline by Tola Owoeye of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism which stated: Nigerian Asylum Seeker Found Dead in Canada Shelter. Hundreds More May Follow,’ especially sent panic waves through the minds of Nigerians who had relatives and friends who recently migrated to the North American country. This was further aggravated by the fact that the authorities weren’t immediately forthcoming with his identity.

That horrible news becomes scarier, when juxtaposed with Environment and Climate Change Canada declaration that more than 80 people die each year in that country from exposure/hypothermia.

A Nigerian-Canadian, Michael Kehinde Abiodun, who has lived in Canada for 25 years and runs 3C Autism and Mental Heath Supports Services in Toronto, said he was called in to supervise the burial of the man, apparently because of his Nigerian roots.

“According to information,” Abiodun explained, “the shelters were full already. The tents outside are meant to accommodate people until they could find space for them in the shelter. Toronto being a commercial gang lion of Canada is highly populated, and could be likened to Lagos, because of its abundant opportunities. So the shelter gets filled up from time to time, meaning some have to stay in the tents outside. This guy that died, I won’t mention his name, was buried last month.

He was a Chartered Quantity Surveyor back home in Nigeria. His wife was also a Chartered Quantity Surveyor. They came in about six years ago but their papers didn’t sail through. I’m not sure, but I suspect they came in as visitors and their application for permanent stay or work permit was not granted. They were asked to leave the country, from what I learnt, but I think they were still looking for how they could maneuver their ways. Unfortunately the marriage broke down and both went their separate ways. To be honest with you, the guy had it very difficult, so he went to the shelter. He was using the tent as temporary shelter. According to information, they found the body lying in the cold; he had apparently been dead for days before he was discovered.”

According to Abiodun, “Canada is a terribly cold country, where you cannot survive on the street. Such person, if he doesn’t get help, is likely to die of hypothermia. “

Settling in Canada not tea-party

“The situation that man faced is common with people who come into the country without the right papers,” Abiodun, who is President of Yoruba Community Association (YCA) and Board Secretary of the Nigerian Canadian Association (NCA), Toronto, expanded.

“A lot of people who come here and are not able to find their footing are facing depression and other mental issues. To be able to find your footing here, you must regularise your stay by getting the permanent residence permit, which is as good as citizenship. A permanent residence permit will allow you to stay in the country; from there you can apply for citizenship certificate. Without those things, it will be difficult for one to get leverage.”

How did the man survive for six years without a work permit?

“Probably his work permit expired and was not renewed. To work here you must obtain work permit but if after expiration the permit is not renewed, it becomes an issue.

I really didn’t know him but his family members contacted me. Because his wife didn’t have appropriate papers, she could not be present at his burial. I, however, learnt they had one child.

“There is the story of another guy who died in June last year, three weeks after coming. He was actually sleeping in a shelter; it was from there that he was rushed to the hospital before he died. Another bitter truth is that most of our people who come here have underlying illness; usually tropical illnesses, but without adequate papers, they can’t access proper healthcare. Some of them may not even be aware of their illnesses until they get here. This young man was in his thirties. I also learnt he came in with a masters degree, and that he was doing well back home; a millionaire, as a matter of fact.”

Why then would he give up all that he had for uncertainty?

“I’d say greed. Seventy per cent of it is down to greed. A lot of them were comfortable back home. Everything is regimented here. Yes, there are free food spots, but you can’t compare it to having your own means of livelihood and eating food of your choice.”

Do more migrants run into this conundrum?

“I’ll put it this way,” Abiodun began in a reflective tone. “If you’re embarking on that kind of journey, make full enquiry from the people living in your country of destination; get them to tell you the fact of the situation on ground. Read the news; 90 per cent of the things we read on the news are correct. I have a lot of people who are close to me who want to come here; I always advise them that if you’re coming, make sure you get yourself prepared; have your own money; enough money; so that if the reality you meet does not meet your expectation, you can go back home. A woman here lost her three kids about six years ago. She was due for deportation but she refused to leave the country. She kept appealing, going to lawyers. It was snow period and she was travelling with her three kids alongside her friend and her own kid, when their vehicle rolled over in an accident due to bad weather caused by snow. Her three kids died, while the only child of her friend survived.

“But if you look at it critically, coming to Canada with her three kids is a testimony to the fact that she wasn’t doing too badly back in Nigeria, because it’s not cheap paying the passage of that huge number. I always tell them, go back home and face your business or job. I also tell them, if you don’t have money, don’t come here. Don’t send your children to school here if you can’t afford to pay their school fees. Don’t say ‘Oh, they would do menial jobs…’ Those jobs are not available. Things are very unlike those good old days. The population is increasing everyday just like Lagos.”

Not El-Dorado

Back home in Nigeria, Lagos specifically, more and more youths, even middle-aged people are preparing hard to relocate to Canada. Many would do anything and accept any kind of visa to just step in the North American country. A drive past visa processing locations, even as this feature is being knocked together, shows huge human activities, alongside vehicular traffic. Many are prepared to sell everything they worked for, in what has been termed ‘trading certainty for uncertainty’.

A hip-hop artist, Magnito, even sang a song, which literally endorsed Canada as a panacea to struggling Nigerian youths.

Abiodun, however, scoffed at such ignorance. According to him, a major misconception is to think that people who come to Canada attain instant success or immediate financial prosperity.

“It’s not like that. Rome was not built in a day. This is a highly regimented country. Things grow here in arithmetical progression, not in geometrical progression; so it is a false impression to think that you instantly become financially successful once you come in here. There are professionals – medical doctors, chartered surveyors, lawyers, engineers, who came in with the same mentality that things would be easy and instant, but who were disappointed. They have their regulatory laws here; so you just can’t jump on the beat and start practising. You have to undergo some procedures and processes before you can qualify to practice. If you’re a medical doctor back home, you have to sit for their professional examinations until you pass; and that can take up to five or six years. We have lawyers who are doing healthcare jobs while waiting to pass their exams and get their certification. The funny thing is that some eventually forget whatever certificate they came with and face the healthcare job for life, because they’re already making enough money for a good living. Aside the challenge of certification, one other reason it is difficult for migrant lawyers to practice is that they need to have their own client base. If you don’t have enough clients, how are you going to practise or survive? Not many people are fighting each other here, so the cases are not even there. Nothing like charge and bail lawyer here; what they have are corporate issues.

“Overall, it takes an average migrant about six years to settle in Canada. However, if you come in with a permanent resident paper and you’re armed with a skill that they need, then you can get a job within six months. I’m talking of jobs like barber, plumber and the likes.”

Blames deceptive immigration agents

Abiodun also put a lot of blame at the feet of self-acclaimed immigration agents who are only out to make their money and would paint all sorts of false colours to con ignorant and desperate people.

Nigerians who come in here without the right papers go through a lot. The immigration agents would tell them once they got here, they could work for two weeks and recoup their money. However, on getting here, some of them would discover that although they have work permit, the jobs are just not there. Some may have been given two years work permit; some even came in on visiting visa of four years; what they, however, don’t realise is that nobody would employ them on that visa. As a matter of fact, any company that gives them a job is in trouble. And if you’re talking of menial jobs, it takes a lot of courage for anyone to dare, because if anything happens to them on that job, such company would be closed down. Ordinarily, if you’re working in any organisation, they will train you on the hazards and safety measures. Also, most of the jobs that are available are factory jobs and you have to go and queue with job agencies; it’s almost like the casual jobs back home, although the conditions and remunerations are better. A lot of them are suffering, because they have had it well in Nigeria, working in well-paying white collar jobs. Eventually, they become frustrated and go into depression.

“If, for instance, you come here at the age of 45 or 50 as a visitor, for how long will you be running up and down, dodging the law officers? Eventually, some, desperate for legitimacy, would start looking for who can help them get papers; in the end, they get married to women who have papers or citizenship. Meanwhile, they’ve been married in Nigeria. And usually, they don’t tell the new wife. They also end up abandoning their family back home.”

Canada Visa Lottery, a scam

Abiodun is also quick to debunk the existence of any kind of visa lottery in Canada.

“I’ve been here 25 years and there has never been anything like Canada Visa Lottery. It’s part of the scam immigration agents use to con gullible people.”

How then did Canada become such a hot cake for would-be migrants?

“It is our people, the so-called agents that have created issues. During the Covid years, a lot of people rushed over to Canada; not because there was no Covid in Canada but because they heard that the government was giving money, 10,000 dollars to people; so some of our people who came to visit in America, crossed over. They also thought they would get papers to stay. In the end they were disappointed, as they did not get any money; however, the government allowed most of them who wanted, to stay and work. A few were, however denied and deported, while some tried to avoid deportation. Unfortunately, this is a system in which you really cannot hide. It’s like some areas in Victoria Island or Ikoyi back in Lagos, where if you’re found wandering, you’ll be fished out and interrogated. Here, if you’re on the street, it’s either you’re going somewhere or on your way back from somewhere. You must have a destination, else the police would be alerted and you would be picked up before you knew it.

“I came in on my wife’s invitation 25 years ago. It was she who first came in; she later filed for me. I can tell you for free that there has never been a time coming to Canada was easy for anyone. You have to follow the process and nothing is automatic. There are, however, many ways to come over. You can come through a student’s visa; you can come in with a work permit; if somebody here has need for your skill and there’s a shortage of it here, you can also be allowed on that account to come and work.”

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to come here on visiting visa and think that they can automatically settle in and start working. To be honest with you, you cannot even get menial jobs to do, except in rare case. The only other way is to have enough money with you as a visitor. That way, you’re able to fend for yourself and manage until things open up for you. If you don’t have money, your best bet is to have somebody you can stay with, after which you may be urged to declare yourself to the government, probably as a refugee/asylum seeker. That way, you may be taken into a shelter, after which you could officially file for a refugee stay. And this can take two, three to four years.”

Downside for asylum seekers

“As an asylum seeker, you have to get a lawyer to process refugee claimant application for you. Usually, the government will pay part of the legal fee, while you look for the rest. Your appeal may be granted or rejected. If your application is rejected, you may receive a deportation order from the government. However, once you get that deportation order, you are immediately taken to a detention post, from where you would be flown back to your country.

“One interesting thing is that once you are granted refugee status, you can no longer go back or visit your country. This is because the information you have relayed is that your life or very existence was under threat there. You may even be turned back at the airport.”

Culture shock, depression and marriage breakdown

“Another major issue people go through is culture shock. First, there is the work ethics, which is quite different, and for which my company, 3C Autism and Mental Heath Support Services offers training. Then there is the difference in family orientation, which often results in marriage breakdown. The law here supports and empowers the women a lot; which means you cannot control your wife or bark orders at her and expect her to just fall in line, like you do in Nigeria and most parts of Africa. In the case of an altercation or fight, your wife might call in the police, and you could be sent out of your home. It doesn’t matter that you bought the house with your hard-earned money. This has caused many men to come down with depression and other forms of mental illness.

“The resultant frustration has also led to the death of some people. There is this story of a man who came in with his wife in 2010; they had two kids; one day the woman just left the house with the two kids because they had problems in their marriage. In the end, the man came down with depression.

“There is the sad story of another Nigerian man who came into Canada a few months ago. The story had it that he had a good job back home and comfortable, but he came in anyway. Somehow, his family members were calling his line but he wasn’t picking; in panic, they contacted somebody else to help check up on him. Alas, he was found dead.

“Our government should also make healthcare accessible for the people. Many of our people arrive here without knowing what they had in their system. I think with good healthcare, security and electricity, Nigeria would be a far better place.”

Advice to Nigerians coming to Canada

“If you have good networking system or you know people living and working here, get them to tell you the truth. The truth might be bitter, but truth is truth; and don’t doubt them or prefer the rosy pictures being painted by immigration agents.

“Also make sure you have enough fund before leaving Nigeria. I, however, always advise them that if you have the kind of money we’re talking about, use it to do something meaningful for yourself and live a better life in Nigeria. What you consider huge money in Nigeria may turn out negligible here when converted to the Canadian dollar. I have a friend in Nigeria, whom an agent misled to sell his car because he got him a work permit. When I asked how much he made from the sale, he said he didn’t even have enough for air ticket, so I told him not to bother. Now he goes to church and other places on okada (commercial motorcycle). I hear how people sell everything they had only to come here and realise it’s not as easy as they thought or were told. I also know many people who have willingly returned home, seeing that they could not cope with the harsh reality on ground and were not ready to be living like fugitives. Nigerian youths should just get themselves together, restrategise and hold their leaders responsible. Face them squarely, and they will have a better country.”

But there are people who have come to Canada and made good.

“Yes, surely. Some people are investors; they came with a lot of money and invested – in finance, real estate, business and other sectors and are doing fine. I know a lot of Nigerians who are doing very well here. But you either have money enough to ride the initial waves of turbulence or you have people who can support you until you settle well. Like I said, the money you consider big in Nigeria may be negligible here. Imagine coming with 100,000 dollars; it will only last you a little while, by the time you rent a house, buy a car or even pay your children’s school fees and utility bills. But such money can serve you well in Nigeria.

Tell us about yourself. How have you lived in Canada for 25 years?

My name is Michael Kehinde Abiodun; I am the President of Yoruba Community Association (YCA) and Board Secretary of Nigerian Community Association (NCA). I am an Autism Consultant – working with people living with autism and mental health. I have my own company, 3C Autism and Mental Support Services. You can call me a health worker if you like. It’s a special job under health services. I went to college for two years after I got here 25 years ago. Since then, I’ve been working with these special needs population. It’s not as if things have been extremely easy with me. Here, things are totally different, unlike in Nigeria, where you could spend three hours on your job and four hours on your phone. Here, you have to be highly committed. Work ethics in this environment are very important.

“Some of the little things that you neglect or don’t care about in Nigeria are taken seriously here. So 3C provides capable, creative, credible support services; that’s why we call it three C. The Yoruba Community Association also does its best to support new migrants from Nigeria in settling well into the country. Today, we have a zoom discussion on how marriages could be saved in Canada. Nigerian marriages are crashing here, in London, in America…. Barrister Eyitayo Dada will be speaking. We are also teaching our children how to speak, read and write Yoruba. The Yoruba Community Association (YCA) will hold its annual Yoruba Picnic on July 6, 2024, while its monthly meeting holds every third Sunday of the month.”

By Gboyega Alaka, The Nation

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After losing several millions, Kessington Adebutu seeks $145 million capital raise

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Wema Bank, a leading financial services provider partly owned by Nigerian gambling magnate Kessington Adebutu, is seeking approval to

Wema Bank, a leading financial services provider partly owned by Nigerian gambling magnate Kessington Adebutu, is seeking approval to raise N200 billion ($145 million) in fresh capital. The bank will hold its annual general meeting (AGM) electronically on May 28, 2024, where shareholders will vote on the proposal.

The capital increase aims to strengthen Wema Bank’s regulatory compliance and fuel its business expansion plans, according to an AGM notice. The notice details a multi-pronged approach to achieving the capital raise, subject to shareholder approval. This includes public offerings, rights issues, and private placements.

Boosting capital, expanding footprint

As part of its growth strategy, Wema Bank also seeks to increase its issued share capital from N6.43 billion ($4.7 million) to N25 billion ($18.3 million). This will be achieved through the issuance of an additional 37.14 billion ordinary shares, each with a par value of 50 kobo. The new shares will be on par with existing shares.

The AGM will present shareholders with special resolutions for consideration. These resolutions empower the board of directors to allocate and issue various securities, including ordinary shares, preference shares, notes, and bonds, to execute the capital raise. Additionally, the resolutions authorize the board to implement strategic measures to comply with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s recapitalization directives.

Innovation amidst challenges

As one of Nigeria’s keading , Wema Bank remains a prominent player in Nigeria’s financial landscape. Renowned for its innovative spirit, the bank launched ALAT, Africa’s first fully digital bank. With decades of experience and a commitment to progress, Wema Bank retains its position as a cornerstone of Nigeria’s financial ecosystem.

Nigerian gambling magnate Kessington Adebutu, founder of Premier Lotto Limited, the country’s oldest gaming company, owns a significant stake (28.09 percent) in Wema Bank through Neemtree Limited, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) established in 2013 for targeted acquisitions. His daughter, Abolanle Matel-Okoh, also holds a 4.54 percent stake in the bank.

 

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Auwalu Rano: Meet Ice block seller who became billionaire, owns 120 filling stations, 600 trucks, 60m litre tank farm

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Alhaji Auwalu Abdullahi Rano, popularly known as A.A Rano, transformed from a humble boy from Kano Village into a billionaire magnate,

Alhaji Auwalu Abdullahi Rano, popularly known as A.A Rano, transformed from a humble boy from Kano Village into a billionaire magnate, overseeing a conglomerate that includes 120 filling stations across Nigeria.

Born into an average family in Lausu, Kano State, Rano started small, with an ice block and groundnut oil business, including other local items.

Rano has gone into building a multi-billion naira enterprise spanning various sectors of Nigeria’s economy.

Today, Rano owns AA Rano oil & Gas industry in Nigeria with 56 ML Tank farm in Lagos, with 120 retail outlet/ fillng stations across Nigeria and over 600 trucks & LPG terminals as well as acquired vessel (M.T LAUSAU).

His ventures include RanoGaz, a state-of-the-art Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) terminal, a rice milling company, Rano Lubricant, Rano Air, Lausu Marine and Logistics, AA Rano Terminal, and AA Rano Road Haulage.

 

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Jim Ovia’s Zenith Bank stake sees $14.63-million drop amid share price fall

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Jim Ovia, Nigeria’s richest banker and a key figure in Nigeria’s banking evolution, is set to receive a $12.7-million payout from his stake i

Jim Ovia, Nigeria’s wealthiest banker and a key figure in the country’s banking industry, has seen the market value of his stake in Zenith Bank decline significantly due to a recent drop in the lender’s share price.

The leading Nigerian banker and business executive, who ranks as one of Africa’s wealthiest individuals, has witnessed an N18.26 billion ($14.63 million) decline in the market value of his Zenith Bank stake over the past 13 days. This decline is driven by the sustained fall in the shares of the prominent Nigerian Exchange (NGX)-listed lender.

This recent downturn follows a surge in the market value of Jim Ovia’s stake in Zenith Bank, which increased by $41 million between Feb. 28 and April 8, rising from N164.6 billion ($132.2 million) to N215.56 billion ($173.1 million).

Zenith Bank’s market cap falls below $1 billion

Zenith Bank, a leading commercial bank licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, is not only a prominent financial services provider in Nigeria and anglophone West Africa but also holds the title of Nigeria’s most profitable bank. It is also one of the largest listed financial services groups on the NGX.

The bank recently declared a final dividend payout of N109.89 billion ($88.3 million) for the 2023 fiscal year, showcasing its strong financial performance. This record dividend payout underscores its commitment to shareholder value and its position as a leader in Nigeria’s banking sector.

In recent times, its shares have declined nine percent on the NGX, falling from N40.00 ($0.0323) on April 12 to N36.60 ($0.02959) on Thursday. This decline has pushed the bank’s market capitalization below $1 billion, resulting in losses for shareholders, including Ovia, a significant stakeholder in the Lagos-based lender.

Jim Ovia’s stake slumps below $150 million

Jim Ovia, a pivotal figure in Nigeria’s banking industry’s evolution and digital transformation, founded Zenith Bank in 1990. With a 16.2 percent stake in the financial services group, comprising 5,072,104,311 ordinary shares, he remains the wealthiest banker in the country.

According to data tracked by Billionaires.Africa, Ovia’s stake has decreased by N18.26 billion ($14.63 million) over the past 13 days, declining from N202.88 billion ($162.53 million) on April 12 to N184.62 billion ($147.90 million) on Thursday. Despite this setback, Ovia retains his status as Nigeria’s richest banker, underscoring his success as a leading businessman in the nation.

 

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Access Holdings’ $1.71B capital raise: Aig-Imoukhuede’s global vision unveiled

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Nigerian financial services giant Access Holdings, led by seasoned banker and business executive Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, has received

Nigerian financial services giant Access Holdings, led by seasoned banker and business executive Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, has received shareholder approval for a N2.12 trillion ($1.71 billion) capital raise, marking a significant step towards its ambitious global expansion plan.

The endorsement at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) paves the way for a multi-tranche, multi-currency, and multi-instrument capital raise program. The proceeds, totaling N1.755 trillion ($1.42 billion) and N365 billion ($295.3 million), will fuel the group’s global aspirations and bolster its ability to achieve its 2027 strategic objectives.

Shifting gears for consolidation and efficiency

Access Holdings outlined its future strategy, which will transition into a consolidation and efficiency phase starting in the second half of 2024. This aligns with the group’s five-year plan designed to expedite its long-term goals.

The company has already made significant progress in 2024, securing four strategic deals, including acquisitions in Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia, alongside a Nigerian insurance brokerage firm. Additionally, regulatory approval for a new consumer lending subsidiary in Nigeria underscores Access Holdings’ commitment to diversified growth.

Renewed leadership and unwavering commitment

Access Holdings shareholders received renewed assurances on sustainable growth and value creation at the annual general meeting (AGM). Chairman Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, alongside newly appointed non-executive directors Olusegun Ogbonnewo and Ojinika Olaghere, addressed the gathering.

Aig-Imoukhuede’s return to the helm, following the passing of banking titan Herbert Wigwe, was met with widespread support. Shareholders acknowledged his key role in the bank’s prior growth trajectory.

Unanimous backing for the capital raise program underscored investor confidence in Access Holdings’ strategic direction. Proceeds from the rights issue will be used to strengthen working capital and fuel organic growth across the group’s banking and non-banking arms.

Echoing CBN’s call for recapitalization

In a post-meeting interaction, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede reaffirmed the group’s commitment to industry recapitalization and delivering consistent returns to shareholders. He emphasized the importance of strengthening capital buffers in the face of currency devaluation and market volatility, echoing the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) recent calls for recapitalization.

The significant increase in Access Holdings’ issued share capital, from N17.77 billion ($14.36 million) to N26.659 billion ($21.55 million), reflects the company’s proactive approach to fortifying its financial position and underwriting its expansion initiatives.

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede: Leading the charge

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, a titan in both business and philanthropy, remains at the helm of Access Holdings as it steers toward becoming a global financial force.

Access Holdings’ stellar 2023 financial performance serves as a springboard for its global ambitions. Group profit surged an impressive 307 percent year-on-year to a record N619.32 billion ($451.7 million), compared to N152.2 billion ($111 million) in 2022.

This growth, achieved under the prior leadership of the late Herbert Wigwe, was driven by the group’s total comprehensive income, which skyrocketed to N1.031 trillion ($752 million) from N233.3 billion ($170.17 million) the year before.

Credit: billionaires.africa

 

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BUA owner, Abdul Samad Rabiu loses $1.2 billion as naira weakens against U.S. dollar

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Nigerian billionaire businessman Abdul Samad Rabiu, chairman of BUA Group, one of Africa’s fastest-growing manufacturing and industrial

Nigerian billionaire businessman Abdul Samad Rabiu, chairman of BUA Group, one of Africa’s fastest-growing manufacturing and industrial conglomerates, has seen his net worth tumble $1.2 billion amid the recent weakness of the naira against the U.S. dollar.

Rabiu, ranked as Nigeria’s third-richest person and Africa’s sixth by Forbes, has experienced a notable drop in his wealth figures in recent times.

Since the start of the week, Rabiu’s net worth has fallen from $7.1 billion to $5.9 billion, a significant $1.2-billion decline. This drop has pushed him down to the 497th richest person globally, highlighting the severity of the impact.

Naira weakness behind Rabiu’s setback

The recent weakness of the naira has been cited as the primary cause behind Rabiu’s recent financial setback. The Nigerian currency has weakened for four straight days, erasing earlier gains after reaching three-month highs.

This decline is compounded by dwindling domestic dollar liquidity, further pressured by Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves falling to a seven-year low.

On Tuesday, the naira depreciated further against the U.S. dollar, closing at 1,300 naira per dollar at the official market. In response to this worrying trend, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has intensified efforts to stabilize the exchange rate.

A new circular released Tuesday revealed the CBN is selling additional dollars to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators.

Wealth anchored in public listings

Nigerian billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu’s fortune is largely tied to his publicly traded companies. Rabiu maintains significant control, with a 99.8-percent stake in BUA Foods and a 96.29 percent stake in BUA Cement.

BUA Cement, the nation’s second-largest cement producer, boasts a market capitalization of N4.85 trillion ($3.9 billion). BUA Foods, the country’s most valuable listed food and agri-business company, holds a market cap of N6.84 trillion ($5.53 billion).

Naira volatility ripples through wealth

However, Rabiu, like many Nigerian business leaders, faces challenges due to the naira’s volatility against the dollar. This broader currency weakness raises critical questions about Nigeria’s economic resilience in the face of external pressures.

The decline in Rabiu’s net worth exemplifies the significant impact of currency fluctuations on the fortunes of Nigeria’s wealthy. This trend potentially signals wider challenges for the nation’s economy and top earners.

Credit: billionaires.africa

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Nigerian chess master Tunde Onakoya seeks $1-million funding for initiative

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Nigerian chess master Tunde Onakoya is leveraging his skills to raise $1 million for Chess in Slums Africa (CISA), an initiative he

Nigerian chess master Tunde Onakoya is leveraging his skills to raise $1 million for Chess in Slums Africa (CISA), an initiative he founded in 2018.

CISA focuses on educational development and youth empowerment in underserved communities across Africa.

Onakoya recently shattered the world record for the longest chess marathon, playing for more than 60 hours in New York City’s Times Square. This feat not only secured him a Guinness World Record but also boosted fundraising efforts for CISA, which aims to improve educational opportunities for African children.

Tunde Onakoya’s marathon for change

Playing against Shawn Martinez for two and a half days straight, Onakoya’s daring move secured a new record and fueled his non-profit’s $1-million fundraising campaign. CISA, in partnership with the U.S. non-profit “The Gift of Chess,” aims to distribute 1 million chess sets to impoverished communities by 2030, enriching the lives of underprivileged children.

Onakoya announced the achievement on social media, highlighting his dedication to supporting African education. “We have done it,” he wrote. “This is our why — the reason we are doing this… Together, we can make this happen.”

“This initiative will help us distribute one million chess sets by 2030,” Onakoya said, emphasizing his role as a board member of “The Gift of Chess.” The marathon, held in Times Square, surpassed the previous record set by Norwegians Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad in 2018.

CISA’s chess empowerment mission

Founded in 2018, CISA utilizes chess as a tool to empower children in marginalized African communities. The organization’s core mission is to foster critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and strategic planning in young minds, ultimately enhancing their overall well-being.

Onakoya’s record-breaking feat doubles as a million-dollar fundraising campaign. He aims to empower one million underprivileged children within five years by providing free chess instruction, after-school programs, and tournaments.

Onakoya’s unwavering determination serves as an inspiration. He showcases the power of passion and perseverance in driving positive change. Through his efforts, he strives to make a lasting impact on the lives of African children, demonstrating the transformative potential of education and community support.

Credit: billionaires.africa

 

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