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Chaos in House Of Representatives over stepping down of South-East development commission bill

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The House of Representatives was again thrown into a rowdy session on Thursday, forcing a hasty adjournment of proceedings.

The cause of the rowdiness was the rejection of a bill seeking to establish a South-East Development Commission.

The bill failed at the session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, after it had been debated.

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A similar bill to establish the North-East Development Commission had since been passed by the National Assembly, awaiting the assent of President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, South-East lawmakers immediately protested the decision on the grounds that the House could have, at least, allowed the bill to pass the second reading for more views to be collated from Nigerians at a public hearing.

Tension had built up in the House since Wednesday when the bill was billed to be moved for second reading.

However, it was stepped down on Wednesday because the lead sponsor and Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Chukwuka Onyeama, was unavailable in the chambers.

He returned soon after the bill was stood down.

The bill was re-listed for Thursday (yesterday), but again, Onyeama was unavailable just as the bill was to be taken and it had to be stood down a second time in line with the rules of proceedings.

But South-East lawmakers began a loud protest, insisting that the bill must be taken.

In the midst of the rowdiness, Onyeama reappeared in the chambers, just like he did on Wednesday after the bill had been stood down.

Dogara had to bend backwards to approve a motion for the rescission of the earlier ruling stepping down the bill.

The speaker said, “Let me clarify that it was not as if the bill was stopped. The sponsor of the bill was not around and we followed the rules to step it down.

“Now that he is here, we will take it. Nobody will shut out anybody because we don’t have the right to do that.”

Dogara calmed frayed nerves and opened debate on the bill.

Onyeama, while leading the debate, said the South-East geopolitical zone needed the commission to develop collapsed infrastructure and the damage suffered by the zone as a result of the Nigerian Civil War.

“The war led to massive destruction of critical infrastructure in the region, including roads, houses and environmental degradation,” he said.

Onyeama added that the region was worst-hit by erosion and other ecological problems.

The lawmaker stated that the commission would be funded from seven sources.

The first is through “15 per cent” of the total monthly statutory allocations due to member states of the commission from the Federation Account.

The second source, he explained, would be from “three per cent” of the total budget of any oil-producing company operating onshore and offshore in the South-East states, including gas processing companies.

The third source is from “three per cent” of the total annual budget of any solid mineral extracting or mining company operating in the South-East.

The fourth source will come through “50 per cent” of money due to member states of the commission from the Ecological Fund.

Five to seven of the funding sources are ”Such monies as may, from time to time, be granted or lent to or be deposited with the commission by the Federal Government or a state government, any other body or institution, whether local or foreign.

“All monies raised for the purpose of the commission by way of gifts, loans, grants-in-aid, testamentary disposition or otherwise.

“Proceeds from all other assets that may, from time to time, accrue to the commission.”

All South-East members, who spoke, including Mr. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, Mr. Henry Nwawuba and Mr. Toby Okechukwu, said they gave “100 per cent” backing to the bill.

For instance, Nkem-Abonta argued that he believed the bill was the solution to the renewed agitation for the Republic of Biafra.

“We have to stop the crisis that is building up in the South-East before it turns into something else,” he said.

Members from the South-South, led by the Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, also supported the bill.

“Every zone deserves a commission because this country needs to be restructured. We cannot continue this way,” Ogor told the House.

Mr. Kehinde Agboola, who spoke for the South-West, said, “History will not forgive us if today we fail to support this bill.”

However, trouble started when all the lawmakers from the North spoke against the bill.

Members from North-West, North-East and North-Central, all opposed the bill.

For example, Mr. Mohammed Sani-Abdu opposed the bill on the grounds that it was a move to “divide Nigeria in piecemeal.”

He observed that coming soon after the government was trying to address the devastation caused by Boko Haram in the North-East, the timing of the bill was wrong.

Sani-Abdu recalled that after the civil war ended in 1970, government made concerted efforts to rebuild the South-East and re-integrate the people into the rest of Nigeria.

He argued that funding of the commission, using “three per cent” of the annual budget of oil companies operating in the South-East was indirect funding by the Federal Government.

Another member from the North, Mr. Karimi Sunday, said some South-East states were already benefiting from the funding of the Niger Delta Development Commission by the oil companies.

“Are we going to ask the same oil companies to fund the South-East Development Commission again?

“Are we saying that every zone should come up with its own development commission?” he asked.

When Dogara put the bill to a voice vote, he ruled in favour of those rejecting the commission. For clarity purpose, he called the votes twice before bringing down his gavel.

But South-East lawmakers began another round of protests as Dogara handed over proceedings to the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yussuff Lasun, and left the chambers.

Lasun quickly adjourned the House as the rowdiness worsened.

Outside the chambers, South-East lawmakers continued the protest.

Onyeama threatened that he would resign his position as a leader of the House.

“I am a leader in this House; you can’t just kill my bill like that. I will resign,” he fumed.

Another member from Abia State, Mrs. Nkiruka Onyejeocha, said her colleagues were not happy that the bill was rejected.

“At least, they could have passed it for second reading.

“At the committee stage, more work could have been done on it to remove the grey areas,” she said.

One member from Rivers State, Boma Goodhead, joined in the protest, saying the North was not fair to the South-East.

“They are using our oil money to address the issue of Boko Haram. Now, they are against this bill. It is not fair,” she shouted and walked away angrily.

 South-East, victim of orchestrated political, economic marginalisation  –Ohanaeze

In its reaction, the apex socio-political body of the Igbo, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said the South-East was the victim of an “orchestrated” political and economic marginalisation.

The Deputy Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr. Chuks Ibegbu, who spoke with one of our correspondents on Thursday, said the rejection of the bill was “tragic, unfair and ‘unfortunate.”

Ibegbu said the bill, if passed into law, would have helped to address the longstanding marginalisation of the South-East.

He added that the development highlighted the flaws in the country’s federalism.

“The South-East is the victim of a well orchestrated political and economic marginalisation; these things do not happen by accident, they are planned and the plan is being carried out.

“The development highlights the tragedy of our federalism, a federalism that is filled with injustice, a federalism that emasculates the will of the people.

“At this stage in Nigeria’s history, nobody should be in doubt that the South-East needs federal attention.”

Ibegbu added, “The South-East has five states and 95 local governments but the North-East has seven states and about 200 local government councils. How fair is that?

“As we speak, the Federal Government has deployed national resources to attend to self-inflicted problems the North-East brought on itself through the Boko Haram insurgency. Before now an amnesty programme was initiated for the Niger Delta, and South-East youths, who were supposed to be captured in the programme, were not included.

“It is tragic that the House rejected the bill; it is unfortunate and very unfair on the people of the South-East.”

 

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FIRSTBANK PARTNERS WITH PROPARCO ON CLIMATE PERFORMANCE

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FIRSTBANK PARTNERS WITH PROPARCO ON CLIMATE PERFORMANCE

 

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, in partnership with Proparco, a Development Finance Institution is mainstreaming climate initiatives into its business operations and strategy. This is aimed at achieving a holistic integration of climate action on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reduction through an articulated strategic pathway to position the Bank as an African Climate Bank.

The 130-year-old financial institution is currently implementing a mechanism to calculate its operational emissions across all its branches and offices. This includes calculating data on electricity use, diesel use, water consumption, waste management approach, fuel consumption, business travels, etcetera to determine the Bank’s emission baseline and innovative opportunities for operational emissions reduction. FirstBank is developing the required capabilities and competencies by investing in its employees and the right infrastructure for integrating climate action in the Bank.

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In a two-day partnership strategy workshop sessions with IPC and Valoris, consultants from Austria engaged by Proparco in the climate mainstreaming project, FirstBank’s climate journey across all areas of implementation was reviewed to determine progress and empower strategic departments across the Bank’s operations, including: the Credit Risk teams; Human Capital Management & Development (HCMD); FirstAcademy, the Bank’s  learning institute; Corporate Banking; Personal Banking; SME Banking; Procurement; Branch Operations and General Services teams to deepen the understanding of climate risks in their processes.

The six workstreams for the implementation include: Identification of financed and avoided emissions to support reporting; supporting the measurement and analysis of operating emissions; integration of physical climate risk assessment; opportunity analysis; climate strategy and policy development; capacity building amongst staff to support strategy implementation.

Dr Martin Steindl, Managing Director, Valoris, Austria, said, “Amongst our various engagements with financial institutions on climate mainstreaming, FirstBank is the only organization that has been able to provide data both on the assets’ location of their portfolio and head offices of their clients. I am impressed with the progress we have collectively achieved.”

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Reinforcing the Bank’s commitment to mainstreaming climate initiatives, the Ag. Chief Risk Officer, FirstBank, Patrick Akhidenor said ‘’FirstBank is intentional about redefining its climate footprint. We are identifying opportunities in climate finance to improve our portfolio and reduce the carbon emissions associated with our processes and operations. The Bank is executing a financed emissions calculation mechanism as well as creating climate finance opportunities, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency products for our customers.”

Nigeria has committed to reducing its GHG emissions to 20 percent by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2060. While this is ambitious, it sets the tone for businesses in Nigeria to at least support their GHG emissions reduction strategy with national plans and target. FirstBank is committed to achieving this goal and this is evident as the bank is a signatory to the Africa Business Leaders’ Climate Statement released in 2022 at COP 27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt by the Africa Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC).

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Realtormax Announces Sallah Promo, Other Developments

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Realtormax Announces Sallah Promo, Other Developments

 

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Dr. Michael Adeyemi, CEO of Realtormax International Nigeria Limited, said the company will offer various incentives to customers who buy land from any of its two top real estate property – Urbanmax Estate, Obafemi Owode, Ogun State and Aje – The Wealthy Residence, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, ahead of the Id el kabir Sallah celebrations in June.

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He noted that the exciting offers began on Monday.

Dr Adeyemi explained that while a limited-time 50% discount applies for every purchase at Aje – The Wealthy Residence, household items such as ram, rice, groundnut oil, noodles, and semovita would be available on Urbanmax Estate purchase.

According to him, the gesture was designed to reward Muslim clients and others ahead of the Sallah celebrations.

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The CEO also listed other developments in the company to include installment payments options, partners appraisals event, official launch of Urbanmax Estate in October and Lagos office relocation.

He further restated the real estate firm’s commitment to building sustainable, eco-friendly cities across Africa, adding that it was poised to deliver on its promises and exceed expectations.

Urbanmax Promo
As the Ileya festival approaches, Realtormax introduces the Urbanmax Promo, a gesture of appreciation to Muslim clients. Special offers include household items such as rice, groundnut oil, noodles, semovita, and rams, alongside a 15% commission for realtors and exciting prizes.

The official launch of Urbanmax, the Dream City, is scheduled for October 26th, offering a luxurious blend of lifestyle and serenity at an unbeatable price. Urbanmax currently sells at 1.3 million Naira, which includes survey and deed of assignment. However, post-launch, the price will rise to 2.5 million Naira or more.

Aje – The Wealthy Residence
Realtors are invited to an exclusive inspection of Aje – The Wealthy Residence, followed by the allocation of plots to clients on June 29. With a limited-time offer of 50% discount for the Ileya festival, clients can secure a piece of Aje for just N16 million Naira, inclusive of documentation.

Installment Payments
Realtormax offers opportunities for 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year payment plans and urges clients to prioritise monthly installment payments to avoid penalties and ensure smooth project execution.

Office Relocation
Following a recent fire incident at the Allen office, Realtormax is relocating its head office. Details of the new address will be announced soon, reflecting the company’s resilience and commitment to its vision.

Realtors Appraisal
An upcoming Realtors (partners) Appraisal promises to recognise and reward hard work, coinciding with the grand opening of the new office.

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FIRSTBANK’S FIRSTADVANCE – FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT FOR GOOD REASONS

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FIRSTBANK’S FIRSTADVANCE – FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT FOR GOOD REASONS

Ade is a hardworking father in Lagos. Recently, fate dealt him a heavy blow when his young son, Tunde, fell scarily ill. Tunde’s illness struck suddenly, sending shockwaves through Ade’s world. As he watched his son grow weaker on a hospital bed with each passing hour, Ade felt an overwhelming sense of helplessness. The medical bills pushed to him only added to his despair, threatening to drown him. Ade found himself grappling not only with the fear of losing his beloved son but also with the burden of financial strain.

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Desperate, Ade turned to FirstAdvance, a lifeline in his time of need. With its swift and convenient loan service, Ade was able to access the funds he so desperately required to pay for Tunde’s medical bills. Amid his darkest hour, FirstAdvance offered that lifeline, the ray of light that pierced through his despair.

Slowly but surely, Tunde improved; his emaciated body grew stronger with each passing day. And as he watched his son’s health gradually return, Ade knew that FirstAdvance had not only helped save Tunde’s life but had also given him permanent hope in times of financial challenges.

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In diverse situations of need, a growing number of FirstBank account holders are finding solace in FirstAdvance, and for good reason – financial empowerment.

In the dynamic landscape of finance, digital lending has emerged as a vital tool for economic empowerment, especially in developing economies. Recognising this, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, a pioneer in financial inclusion services, has introduced FirstAdvance, a groundbreaking digital lending solution aimed at providing convenient and swift access to cash for salary earners awaiting payment of their salaries.

FirstAdvance caters to the needs of salary earners whose accounts are domiciled with FirstBank and have received regular salaries for the past two months or more. This innovative product ensures quick access to funds with maximum amounts varying based on the chosen variant. For the 30-day variant, customers can access up to 50% of their net monthly income, with a maximum limit of N1,000,000, while the 3-month variant allows for up to N2,000,000, subject to 75% of the net monthly salary.

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The process of availing FirstAdvance is seamless and can be initiated via the bank’s digital channels, either by dialing *894*11# and selecting FirstAdvance on USSD or through the user-friendly FirstMobile App. What sets FirstAdvance apart is its user-centric features such as:

Swift Processing: With FirstAdvance, obtaining a loan is as quick as a minute, ensuring timely assistance during financial emergencies.

Flexible Tenor: Customers can choose between a 30-day or 3-month repayment period, aligning with their pay cycle for added convenience.

Transparent Fees: FirstBank ensures transparency by collecting all fees, including interest rates, upfront upon loan disbursement, empowering customers with clarity and predictability in their financial transactions.

Automated Risk Acceptance: The Risk Acceptance Criteria for FirstAdvance is automated, streamlining the process and ensuring fair assessment without unnecessary delays.

Continuous Support: Beyond FirstAdvance, FirstBank extends its support to customers across all income bands with offers like Personal Loan Against Salary (PLAS), providing long-term loan solutions with convenient repayment plans of up to 60 months. The maximum amount a customer can get on PLAS is N100m.

Since its inception, FirstAdvance has witnessed remarkable success, with over 450 thousand unique customers benefiting from over 9.4 million successful transactions, totaling over 225 billion naira in disbursed loans.

Although digital lending has become ubiquitous, FirstAdvance stands out to be among the most competitive in the industry.

In an era marked by digital transformation, FirstBank remains at the forefront, leveraging technology to deepen financial inclusion and empower individuals and households across Nigeria. Whether it’s addressing immediate financial needs or providing long-term financial solutions, FirstBank continues to be a trusted partner in the journey toward economic prosperity.

For salary account holders with FirstBank seeking quick and hassle-free access to loans, FirstAdvance stands as a reliable solution. Dial *894*11# or initiate your loan request via the FirstMobile App today and transform your financial goals into reality with FirstBank.

In times like these, when inflation is eroding Nigerians’ wealth daily, there will always be an increasing need for that lifeline. FirstAdvance, powered by FirstBank, stands ready to continually meet its customers’ financial needs during that time of need, literally within one minute.

Culled from Nairametrics.

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