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INVESTIGATION: China floods northern Nigerian markets with unregulated monosodium glutamate products (MSG)



INVESTIGATION: China floods northern Nigerian markets with unregulated monosodium glutamate products (MSG)





As early as 8 a.m. on Saturday and despite the blaring of vehicles’ hoots and noises from all over the place, Alhaji Aminu – a wholesale dealer at Kano’s Singer market – is busy and perhaps overwhelmed attending to a horde of customers seeking to buy one item or the other. 


INVESTIGATION: China floods northern Nigerian markets with unregulated monosodium glutamate products (MSG)


Singer is Kano’s largest commodities market situated along Ibrahim Taiwo Road.

As Aminu and a number of his workers are taking orders from the customers many of whom are women, others are arriving and forming a queue.





A large number of those coming to his shop are demanding a particular product – unbranded monosodium glutamate.

A made-in-China product – Fufeng monosodium glutamate is what many are looking for.






Already, a corner of Aminu’s store is filled with one of the products in 25kg bags, yet, there is a two-wheeled cart waiting outside to offload more. Despite what looks like an overwhelming situation, Aminu is having a good day and he says it has always been like that because “people want the product”.





To some of the customers, including retailers, unbranded monosodium glutamate products like Fufeng are cheap and affordable.

At the Singer market, Fufeng and another unbranded MSG, Wuyi, are popular. But Fufeng appears to be the most sought-after. Consumers say the items have been in the market alongside branded products for some years now.





What is MSG

 MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a flavor-enhancing food additive used in Asian cooking, fast foods, and commercially packaged food products. It is a white crystal-like substance in use for over 100 years.




Among locals in northern Nigeria, white additives in crystal form are known as “Farin Maggi”, regardless of the brand. Consumers in the south call it  “white Maggi”.

“Fufeng MSG” is ahead of the known and branded bagged ones in the market. On the side of the bag of the MSG is written “Produced by Fufeng”, with “Country of Origin: China,” as an addendum to the information. Wuyi, the rival product is also made in China.





No mark of authorization 

Funfeng and other unbranded MSG products being sold in the Nigerian market have no mark of authorization from the government’s regulatory agencies.





The packaging also does not bear the insignia of the National Agency for Foods Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) that certifies such products as fit for human consumption and there is no mark of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) on it.





According to Mojisola Adeyeye, director general (DG) of NAFDAC, any unregistered food is not guaranteed by the agency. “It is fake food. It was most likely smuggled into the country,” Adeyeye warned.




The agency is mandated to give permits and authorization for the importation of foods and chemicals into the country.

‘’For safety and security concerns, NAFDAC does end-to-end monitoring for all chemicals. We request distribution and utilization patterns before we give importers permits to import chemicals,” Adeyeye was quoted as saying in a report.





“We must know who you have sold the chemicals to in your report. These are the things you must clarify to us before we give approval for a permit to clear chemical consignments.’’






The rush for unbranded MSGs 

The boom in the sale of the product is happening two years after unauthorised chemicals killed three persons in Kano after consuming adulterated flavored milk.





Three persons were arrested by NAFDAC after the agency discovered the chemicals were used as additives in the flavored milk that the victims consumed.




Each day, as many as 20 customers demand the unbranded MSG product from Aminu’s store — though the 25kg is not certified by NAFDAC for home use, those who order it at the Singer market use it for retail and domestic purposes. Operators of big restaurants in the city are said to be among big buyers.





It comes cheaper at N43,000 per 25kg and allows wholesalers and retailers to sell in small units, including measuring in what locals call “modu” – local parlance for a unit of measurement.

In a bag, there are as many as 10 to 15 mudu, according to a dealer who asked not to be named.




What determines the preference of customers for these unbranded products, he added, are the number of mudus and the flexibility to adulterate the product by mixing with salt so as to increase bulk and make more profit, this paves the way for adulteration with any other cheap white powdery substance






“So your customers know what you’re bringing… but the most acceptable in the market is one with the highest number of mudu. The higher the number of mudu and purity of the MSG, the higher the price,” he said.

Aminu testifies that the product is easily affordable for customers.





“The price of 25kg Fufeng monosodium glutamate in my shop is 43,000, but for you as a new customer, I can do a discount for you and sell it to you at the price of 42,000. I want to establish a good relationship with you, so that you may come back to me and buy more,” he told this reporter as he showed the product.




“Before you sell one carton of the branded one, you sell five sacks of the unbranded product.”

From Lagos to Kano, Fufeng and others like it have found their way to nearly all the northern markets.




The infiltration started a few years ago, according to people at Singer market. But the products have gained popularity and acceptance among households now. They are also sold in the Abubakar Rimi market (Sabon Gari market).

It is not clear how they scaled the scrutiny of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). But dealers say it comes in trucks as supplies by some businessmen that they declined to name.

The merchant confirmed that many brought these products into the country through illegal routes. “And if you have to follow the legal field then you have to have a link with the company (that produces sachets) for approval,” he said.




Aminu corroborates this claim – he admits the products are imported through Lagos but does not reveal the identities of the importers.




“We are getting the supply of it from Lagos because this is not a Nigeria-made product,” Aminu said.

“This unbranded product is very popular. In the past, only people from rural areas were using it, but now everyone buys it.”

Like Aminu, Alhaji Bashir who is also a popular dealer of the MSG in the market confirmed that Lagos is the origin of the product. “The product is made in China, not Nigeria,” he retorted.

“I order it from Lagos whenever I sell out the ones that are in my shop. Lagos is the source of this product. People buy this product more. That is why we are selling it.”

At the market, there are retailers like Alhaji Dini who sell it in small packets for average people who cannot buy 25kg.

At his shop, he measures in “mudu” which is N4,650. “I’m not a dealer; I am selling it to average people who cannot afford 25kg,” he said as he showed off the small units packaged in a white cellophane bag.

“One bowl of this product is N4,650. It depends on the needs of the customers. Even if they come with N300, there is something for them. The price starts from N300 and above.

“I buy 25kg and sell it in small packets to people who cannot afford 25kg. My price starts from N300 and above. You know this one is cheaper compared to the branded one.”

When he was asked if he knew that the product was not meant for domestic use and could be harmful to human health, he replied “No”.

“How can you tell me this is not safe for use? Dini quipped. “This cannot happen. People have been using it for cooking. This is not the only thing I sell here. There are branded ones and different types of products.”

But Amina Kamal, a food vendor in the Sabon Gari area of Kano has no worries using the MSG. Amina said she uses it in her cooking because it gives a good taste to the food.

“I use it for my cooking and sometimes I buy the branded one. But honestly, this one is cheaper than the branded ones. That is why we use it,” she said.

“This product is for people to use and cook. People like us enjoy using it because of the taste.”

Sadiya Kamilu, a housewife who was at the market to pick daily needs for her family said the product is very good for cooking, which is why she prefers it.

“I use it for my cooking because it gives a good taste to the food, and it is cheaper,” Sadiya said.

“I don’t think it is harmful but I heard people say that. But that does not stop me, because I don’t believe it.”








FCPC vows to track unbranded products

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has indicated an interest in tracking all the unbranded and unauthorised MSG products across the commodities markets in Kano.

The FCPC is charged with the responsibility of promoting fair business practices and safeguarding the interests of consumers.

According to Boladale Adeyinka, the FCCPC director of surveillance and investigation, the commission would send its teams and secure samples.

“It has come to the attention of the FCCPC and we are sending our surveillance team to confirm and secure samples,” she said in a reply to inquiries by this reporter.

“Where there is a need for emergency intervention, we would provide urgent and interim interventions. We will also provide updates.”

Adeyinka said her office is responsible for market surveillance and investigation, which are “vital tools for protecting consumers when violations occur”.



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Zenith Bank Plc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute to promote efforts and activities that support the formation, training, and updating of human capital in finance and investment for the overall development of the Nigerian financial services sector. The MoU, was signed by the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu; the President/CEO of the CFA Institute, Margaret Franklin; and the President of CFA Society Nigeria, Ibukun Oyedeji on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.





Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu commended the CFA Institute and the CFA Society, Nigeria for their laudable programmes in developing finance and investment professionals in Nigeria. According to him, your Women in Investment Management Initiative, CFA Institute Research Challenge, CFA Society Nigeria Ethics Challenge and University Affiliation Program are very laudable, and Zenith Bank will continue to partner with the CFA Institute and the CFA Society Nigeria to ensure that young finance and investment professionals get the needed support for their career development. In his words, “As a good corporate citizen, Zenith Bank remains committed to furthering the economic, cultural and social development of the society. As such, we continue to support projects and initiatives that have long-term social and economic benefits for our various publics and stakeholders. Partnering with the CFA Institute and the CFA Society Nigeria is therefore a demonstration of our commitment to building professional excellence in the finance services industry in Nigeria”.






At the CFA Institute Africa Investment Conference, during the ‘Journey to the Top: A Discourse with CEOs’ segment, Dr. Onyeagwu inspired future finance and investment professionals to uphold the highest standards of integrity. He stressed the importance of making difficult yet high-quality decisions, building robust networks, and dedicating themselves to hard work for career success. In his words, “as upcoming professionals, the opportunities are immense for you. Africa doesn’t get bigger than Nigeria. There is scarcity of the right kind of people that have the talent, that have the character and the leadership to provide leadership in organizations. Make a decision to be one of those, make a decision to be different. You must be driven by your passion; you must delay gratification. In Zenith what is driving us is the strive for excellence. It is not about who you are and where you come from. We have the best class of talents you can think of anywhere in the world.” He assured the young finance and investment professionals that Zenith Bank will offer immediate employment opportunity to CFA Charter Holders and those who qualify as Chartered Accountants.







Also speaking on the MoU, the President/CEO, CFA Institute, Margaret Franklin reiterated the Institute’s commitment to the professional development of students and upcoming professionals. In her words, “there are many things that we do for students, we invest heavily in students and why is that? Because they are our future. The mission of the CFA Institute is to lead the investment industry with the highest standards of ethics, education and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society and that starts with our CFA programme”. She commended Zenith Bank for its continued support to the CFA Society Nigeria and sponsorship of the CFA Institute Research Challenge over the years. She also commended the bank for being one of the top employers of CFA members in the country. She expressed her admiration of the culture of excellence in Zenith Bank. Also speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, the President of CFA Society Nigeria, Ibukun Oyedeji commended Zenith Bank for its partnership with CFA Society Nigeria and its commitment to the development of young finance professionals in the country.








The the CFA Institute Africa Investment Conference is being hosted by the CFA Institute and CFA Societies from Ghana, East Africa, South Africa and Mauritius. The conference has representatives from over 20 universities in Nigeria (members of their investment clubs being supported by CFA Society).

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De-dollarisation: As Naira Trades Flat, Analyst Urges Ban On Dollar Transactions In Nigeria



De-dollarisation: As Naira Trades Flat, Analyst Urges Ban On Dollar Transactions In Nigeria

In other to de-dollarise the nation’s economy amid flutuation in the value of the naira against the United States dollar, an investment analyst, Adejumo Isaac, has called for ban on all foreign currency transaction in cash in the country.

In a statement, on Thursday, Isaac, advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to declare cashless policy on forex, saying that would enable majority of forex cash domiciled in people’s homes to automatically enter the banking system.

It could be recalled that the naira traded flat against the dollar, on Thursday, at N832.32/$1 in the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), the country’s official exchange rate window.

According to data from FMDQ Securities Exchange, a platform that oversees foreign exchange (FX) trading in Nigeria, the daily FX turnover is at $115.41million and that reflected increased FX inflow in the economy on Thursday, 30th November, 2023.

According to Data, the local currency, on Monday, hit an intra-day trading high of N1,137 and a low of N700.

However, speaking on how to shore up the value of the naira, Isaac, added that it should be a criminal offence with 6 months imprisonment for anybody to hold physical forex cash for any transaction in Nigeria.

He said, “All transactions involving use of forex should be done electronically via transfer or cheque payment that must pass through the bank account of payer and receiver.

“Give one month notice to anybody in Nigeria holding physical forex cash to deposit the same with commercial banks, thereafter, it becomes a criminal offence attracting jail terms of at least 6 months with no option of fine for anybody to hold physical forex cash for any transaction in Nigeria.

“In all fairness, dollars, pounds, Euro etc are not used to BUY petty food items or any retail items in the market that warrant exchange of physical forex cash.

“Generally, transactions that involve use of forex such as paying School fees, medical fees, importing raw materials for production, amongst others do not involve exchange of physical cash but they naturally pass through banks which is done electronically, therefore, there are no strong arguments to hold forex cash.

“By this policy, majority of forex cash domiciled in people’s home will automatically enter the banking system and this will make forex liquidity robust for the good of the economy as availability will make stability of exchange rate possible thus reduce to the barest minimum volatility and unsubstantiated cum speculative demand as well as mop up of the available forex in the country by few privileged individuals for personal gains that inflicted more pains to the citizens.

“For the long-term solution is to increase our exports, firstly from increasing crude oil production volume to at least 2mbpd to boost dollar inflow into the economy (this volume was achieved and relatively stable for a number of years between 2012-2015), secondly to promote backward integration in terms of local sourcing of raw materials for production in order to reduce imports.

Ensuring petroleum products are refined in the country to save the volume of forex spent on importation of refined petroleum products which can thereafter be available for other uses.”

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Abbey Mortgage Bank Host Sustainability Workshop with Non-Profit Stakeholders in Abuja



Abbey Mortgage Bank Host Sustainability Workshop with Non-Profit Stakeholders in Abuja

Abbey Mortgage Bank Host Sustainability Workshop with Non-Profit Stakeholders in Abuja




Geared towards boosting impactful investment opportunities for Non-profit organizations, a leading primary mortgage Bank in Nigeria, Abbey Mortgage Bank has organized a sustainable workshop for stakeholders of non-profit organizations to enhance financial sustainability and drive positive change within the civil society sector.







The event which was Tagged “Financial Management: A Sustainability Tool for Non-Profit Organizations” held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 in Abuja, is aimed at creating impactful investment opportunities to aid sustainability efforts in line with SDG 17 which supports the implementation and revitalization of Global Partnership for sustainable development in the civil society.







The workshop was attended by prominent guests including Jubril Shittu, CEO of PPDC; Dr. Ayodotun Olutola, CEO of CCCRN; Hamza Lawal, CEO of CODE; and Gideon Olanrewaju, CEO of AREAi among other guests.



Abbey Mortgage Bank Host Sustainability Workshop with Non-Profit Stakeholders in Abuja





Speaking at the event, The Group Head, Non-Profit Organizations at Abbey Mortgage Bank, Bukola Ewedairo, noted that, “Abbey Mortgage Bank is rightfully positioned to partner with institutions in the civil society by creating opportunities for long-term sustainable investment.

“We believe that Non-profit organizations need to be strengthened to achieve their mission and this workshop was our way of collaborating to ensure that they can thrive especially with the volatilities in our local economy.” She stated.

Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director of Abbey Mortgage Bank and a key speaker at the event, Mobolaji Adewumi, noted that, ” At Abbey, we are creating an ecosystem where non-profits can flourish, contribute meaningfully to society and drive sustainable change.

Adewumi further noted that “We are committed to helping individuals build wealth and attain financial empowerment and we are proud to collaborate with these distinguished leaders to make a lasting impact by supporting financial growth and empowerment” He stated.

The workshop had informative and interactive discussions, providing a forum for participants to share insights and explore collaborative opportunities. Attendees engaged in dynamic conversations, delving into strategies to enhance financial sustainability and drive positive change within the civil society sector.

Abbey Mortgage Bank reaffirms its commitment to fostering continued partnerships with NGOs, furthering its impact on the non-profit sector. The bank looks forward to ongoing collaboration, contributing to the achievement of sustainable development goals in Nigeria.

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