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FCTA Earmarks 500 Houses for Demolition 

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), on Wednesday announced plans to demolish about 500 illegal houses and structures in Dutsen-Garki, Apo District, Abuja.

Mr Mukhtar Galadima, Director, Department of Development Control, FCTA, disclosed this after a meeting with the leaders of the community in Abuja.

Galadima, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr Hassan Ogbole, explained that all houses and structures that were illegally acquired or built would be demolished.

He lamented that individuals acquire properties and lands from the natives and develop the lands without approval from the FCTA.

“This is unacceptable to the FCT Administration,” he said.

He explained that the meeting with the locals was in line with the reform agenda of the FCTA to consult the natives before any demolition exercise so as not to take the people by surprise.

He added that the meeting was to also intimate the leaders of the affected community and the public on the intended demolition exercise.

Galadima said that they have agreed with the community leaders to embark on marking of houses and structures, illegally built by non-indigenes in two weeks time.

This, he said, would be followed by the demolition exercise.

The director advised residents against contacting locals for land acquisition and urged anyone interested to acquire land to go to the constituted authority to avoid loss of properties.

He also advised the locals against selling off lands and properties to non-indigenes or expanding without approval from FCTA.

In his remarks, Mr Kak Bello, Deputy Director, Monitoring and Enforcement, Abuja Environmental Protection Board, pointed out that besides erecting illegal structures, people also build on water ways.

“This is not good for the environment. Building on flood plains and dumping of refuse on water ways contribute to the environmental problems being experienced in some parts of FCT.

“I urged people to be law-abiding and desist from building illegally and on flood plains,” he said.

On his part, one of the representatives of the community, Mr Danjuma Fanus, pledged the full cooperation of the community leaders for the success of the exercise.

Fanus, nonetheless, appealed to the FCTA to be considerate while carrying out the exercise so as not to make any of the natives a victim.

“We will cooperate with the authorities, but we also need your cooperation,” he said. (NAN)

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Flooding: Benue Govt Donates Life Jackets to Boat Operators at River Buruku

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From Attah Ede Makurdi

Benue State Government on Wednesday, donated life jackets to operators of boats and other people at the River Buruku crossing point in Buruku Local Government Area of Benue State.

Making the presentation, Acting Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency (BSEMA), Sir James Iorpuu, appealed to the people of Buruku to make judicious use of the jackets to avoid losing of lives during the predicted impending 2024 flood.

He people must put into use the device while crossing the river to be safe, should any accident occur.

 Sir Iorpuu stated that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has earlier informed Benue State of the impending flood and to respond to their alert,  Benue SEMA has swift into action to avoid disasters that will cause lives.

“Governor Alia has carefully selected energetic and vibrant people in Buruku local government to help him deliver to the good people of Benue State,” Iorpuu said.

In his speech, Commissioner for Works, Housing and Urban Development, Tiza  Imojime, commended Governor Alia for prioritizing the interest of his people and  thanked the SEMA Boss, other Government delegations and their team for swiftly responding ahead of the impending flood.

He charged his people to ensure that the life jackets are properly and judiciously put to use, stating that his people have been neglecting the use of  life jackets.

The enjoined Buruku people particularly boast operators to make sure the jackets are properly used to avert losing lives.

In separate remarks, the Commissioner for Humanitarian and Disaster Management, Aondowase Kunde and commissioner for Transport, Power and Renewable Energy, Barr. Omale Omale  all advised the people to ensure proper use of the jackets, saying it’s for their  interest.

Responding on behalf of the traditional rulers, Ter U Buruku, Chief Moses Hanior thanked Governor Alia for having the best interest of Buruku People at heart applauding Commissioner Tiza and Buruku representatives in Governor Alia’s led administration for their responsive leadership.

He assured the SEMA Boss and all Government delegations that they would ensure the life jackets are judiciously used.

When asked by Hon. Tiza if the Jackets would be used, the Secretary, Buruku Marine Association, Mr. Terhile Fefa assured the Commissioner and other Government delegations that they Would make proper use of them acknowledging the quality of the jackets.

The event features top Government functionaries, Civil Society Organisations, Benue SEMA Staff among others.

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Mining coy Advocates Strategic Investment in Nigeria’s Lithium

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A mining company, Segilola Resources Operating Ltd, has called for strategic investment in lithium, particularly because of its demand as one of the critical minerals for the global energy transition.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company , Mr Segun Lawson, made the call in his remarks at the 2024 African Natural Resources and Energy Investment Summit (AFNIS), on Wednesday in Abuja.

Segilola Resources Operating Ltd, is an indigenous gold mining company in Ilesha, Osun state.

In 2023, the project produced 84,609 ounces ( 2,398.6 kilogrammes) of gold amounting to $194.4 million at current prices.

Lawson expressed delight that Nigeria was gaining recognition for its minerals, which it possessed in commercial quantities.

According to him, the country can reposition the solid minerals sector through addressing illegal mining.

“Concerted efforts and stakeholders engagement is required in addressing illegal mining .

“ Nigeria is loosing nine billion dollars in illegal mining,” he said.

He lamented  that insecurity was also affecting mining activities and depriving the county of the requisite revenue it can derive from the sector .

The CEO, however, commended the federal government on its efforts in addressing the menace through the establishment of the Mining Marshals, a special unit drawn from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), to combat illegal mining.”

He listed other challenges in the sector to include environmental degradation, mining by minors which he said require urgent action.

He said that the company was committed to  developing the local economy of its host communities, saying that its work force was  98 per cent local employees .

He said the summit would showcase the vast minerals resources of Nigeria to the global community and boost its development .

“The summit will make Nigeria and Africa, attractive destination for Solid minerals investment ,” he said.

The theme of the summit, which opened on July 16 to close on July 18 is “Natural Resources for Economic Development.’’

The summit is the third edition and is being hosted by the Federal Government in partnership with Core International Mining Company. (NAN)

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Adaora Umeoji Showcases Zenith Bank’s Strong Financial Performance, Targets  Over  N1 Trillion Profit In 2024

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Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial institution, held its Capital Markets Day last week to showcase the bank’s inherent values as it embarks on its recapitalisation journey. The event, which brought together key market players, focused on the bank’s growth trajectory, strategic objectives, market performance, and consistent, robust dividend payout over the years.

It also provided an opportunity for the bank to inform capital market stakeholders about its robust risk management culture, adherence to regulations, capital adequacy, and maintenance of low non-performing loan levels.

Addressing capital market stakeholders, investors, and analysts at the event in Lagos, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dame Dr Adaora Umeoji, highlighted the financial institution’s tier-1 capital of N1.

8 trillion, shareholders’ funds of N2.3 trillion, market capitalisation of N1.3 trillion, a profit before tax of N796 billion, and a dividend of N4 per share for the year ended December 2023.

Providing guidance for 2024, she noted that, given the trend of the bank’s performance and having achieved a profit before tax of N796 billion in 2023 and N320 billion in the first quarter of 2024, the bank is on track to deliver over N1 trillion in profit before tax in 2024. She expressed confidence that, with the quality of the board and management and a strong corporate culture, the bank is well-positioned to deliver superior value to investors and other stakeholders and to navigate the recapitalisation process successfully. She also disclosed some of the bank’s future plans, which include driving financial inclusion, expanding corporate and retail banking through technology and other state-of-the-art digital platforms, and establishing a fintech subsidiary, ZenPay, to drive profitability. Additionally, the bank intends to expand to France and other Francophone African countries.

Dr Umeoji explained, “For us at Zenith, we won’t be left out. We are planning to go to the market to raise capital, and as it stands, Zenith Bank has the least amount of capital to raise. We are looking to raise N230 billion because we are already at N270.7 billion. That is the least capital to raise among our peers. We believe that Zenith Bank has what it takes. We have the capacity, the network, the balance sheet, the human capital, and the track record to achieve that. We are planning for the future, and the technology we have now is the best in the entire industry. It will help us to have a seamless process and integrate.”

Also speaking, the Chief Financial Officer/General Manager, Dr Mukhtar Adam, pointed out that in the last five years, the bank’s Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in revenue has grown by over 27 per cent. “This continues to grow year-on-year. Within this period, at some point, Nigeria went into recession, but we forged ahead, worked very hard, and continued to deliver growth. Within the last five years, our profit before tax has also grown cumulatively by about 28 per cent. This is a market where, at some point, government instruments – treasury bills – were paying one per cent, two per cent, three per cent. But we forged ahead to grow the numbers and provide stable returns of at least 28 per cent.”

Zenith Bank recently emerged as the Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria, in the World Finance Banking Awards 2024, retaining the award for the fourth consecutive year. The bank was also named Best Corporate Governance, Nigeria, for the third year running in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2024. The awards, published in the Summer 2024 issue of World Finance Magazine, recognise the bank’s robust financial performance, superior customer service, sustainability initiatives, and corporate governance practices.

Commenting on the dual honours, Dr. Umeoji said, “These awards highlight our steadfast dedication to excellence, adherence to global best practices, and our persistent effort to deliver superior value to all stakeholders through innovative products and services. Receiving these awards consecutively for multiple years signifies the commitment of our staff, the loyalty of our customers, and the support of our shareholders. We remain devoted to setting industry benchmarks and driving excellence across all aspects of our operations.”

Dr. Umeoji also expressed delight at the recognition and dedicated the awards to the Founder and Chairman, Dr. Jim Ovia, CFR, for his impactful leadership in establishing a robust and flourishing institution. She also expressed gratitude to the board for their vision and insight, the staff for their unwavering dedication, and the bank’s customers for choosing Zenith as their preferred bank. World Finance is a leading international magazine providing comprehensive coverage and analysis of the financial industry, international business, and the global economy.

In its audited results for the year ended December 31, 2023, Zenith Bank achieved a remarkable triple-digit growth of 125 per cent in gross earnings, from N945.6 billion reported in 2022 to N2.132 trillion in 2023. The impressive growth in gross earnings resulted in a year-on-year increase of 180 per cent in profit before tax (PBT), from N284.7 billion in 2022 to N796 billion in 2023, while profit after tax (PAT) also recorded triple-digit growth of 202 per cent, from N223.9 billion to N676.9 billion for the period ended December 31, 2023.

The increase in gross earnings was primarily due to growth in interest and non-interest income. Specifically, its interest income increased by 112 per cent, from N540 billion in 2022 to N1.1 trillion in 2023, while non-interest income grew by 141 per cent, from N381 billion to N918.9 billion in the same period. The rise in interest income was attributed to the growth in the size of risk assets and their effective repricing, alongside the increase in yield of other interest-bearing instruments over the year. Growth in non-interest income was driven by significant trading gains and an increase in gains from the revaluation of foreign currencies.

Zenith Bank’s cost of funds also grew from 1.9 per cent in 2022 to three per cent in 2023 due to the high interest rate environment, while interest expense increased by 135 per cent, from N173.5 billion in 2022 to N408.5 billion in 2023. Notwithstanding the 32 per cent growth in operating expenses in 2023, the Group’s cost-to-income ratio improved significantly from 54.4 per cent in 2022 to 36.1 per cent in 2023 due to improved top-line performance. Return on Average Equity (ROAE) increased by 118 per cent, from 16.8 per cent in 2022 to 36.6 per cent in 2023, underpinned by improved gross earnings, as the Group sought to deliver better shareholder returns. Return on Average Assets (ROAA) also grew by 95 per cent, from 2.1 per cent to 4.1 per cent in the same period.

Zenith Bank was established in May 1990 and commenced operations in July of the same year as a commercial bank. The bank became a public limited company on June 17, 2004, and was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on October 21, 2004, following a highly successful Initial Public Offering (IPO). In 2013, the bank listed $850 million worth of its shares at $6.80 each on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Zenith Bank Plc has more than 400 branches and business offices in prime commercial centres across all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Zenith Bank Plc, founded by Jim Ovia, CFR, in 1990, has since grown to become one of the leading financial institutions in Africa. The underlying philosophy is for the bank to remain a customer-centric institution with a clear understanding of its market and environment. Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards. These latest accolades follow several recognitions, including being recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the 14th consecutive year in the 2023 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking, published by The Banker Magazine; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2022; and Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria, in the International Banker 2024 Banking Awards, among several others.

Zenith Bank Plc has blazed the trail in digital banking in Nigeria, achieving several firsts in the deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to create innovative products that meet the needs of its customers. The bank is a leader in the deployment of various channels of banking technology, and the Zenith brand has become synonymous with state-of-the-art technologies in banking. Driven by a culture of excellence and strict adherence to global best practices, the bank has combined vision, skilful banking expertise, and cutting-edge technology to create products and services that anticipate and meet customers’ expectations, enable businesses to thrive, and grow wealth for customers.

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