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BATN restates commitment to the passage of a balanced tobacco bill



British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) has restated its support for the passage of a balanced and evidence-based tobacco bill. The company, at the tobacco control bill public hearing organised by the Committee on Health of the House of Representatives in Abuja on Wednesday, said that the proposed strengthening of existing regulation in the industry is commendable and welcome. It, however, stated its belief that for the proposed regulation to achieve its objectives, it must be balanced and enforceable.

The company highlighted certain provisions within the bill, which it said was unclear and in need of better clarification.

According to the Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Mr Freddy Messanvi, the bill was drafted in a way and manner which will duplicate roles already being carried out by other regulatory agencies. Other issues highlighted during the hearing were concerns around the problem of illegal trade; an area which it believed has not been put into consideration by the proponents of the bill.

Messanvi said that “by unfairly restricting the legal tobacco industry with the opportunity to communicate with its business partners and aiming to provide a special liability regime outside of the general liability regime, the bill unfairly discriminates against the industry in the application of a constitutional protection, thereby making these provisions of the bill arguably null and void”.

The Tobacco Control Bill seeks to amongst other things provide for the regulation of the production, importation, advertising, promoting, sponsorship, distribution, sale and public space smoking areas. The bill was sponsored by Hon. Yacoob E.A. Bush-Alebiosu. It also seeks to introduce a new committee to oversee the affairs of tobacco businesses in the country. This will be in addition to an existing committee set up in the country to oversee tobacco control issues.

BATN stated that the constitution of another committee is an unnecessary duplication of what is already in place. A tobacco control desk which houses a similar committee exists within the Ministry of Health. The committee includes representatives from various regulatory agencies and ministries.

Messanvi stated that the composition of the members within the committee does not reflect a fair and objective representation of key stakeholder groups.

Amongst other organisations proposed to be part of NATOCC is NTCA, one of the foremost anti-tobacco groups in the country. It was, however, observed that there was no organisation representing the industry or organised private sector in the member composition of the committee.

NTCA consists of member groups which are currently been funded by international donor agencies or NGOs. They are known to have set anti-tobacco industry agendas. Such unbalanced membership constitution is felt to have pre-determined the proposed outcomes of the deliberations of NATOCC to the detriment of the industry.

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Controversial Sterling Bank caught in the act! CBN sanctions, parades officials for hoarding new naira notes [VIDEO]




Officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have discovered N6 million of the new naira notes hoarded in Sterling Bank Plc, Ado Ekiti branch on Bank Road, Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State, having received the funds for over two weeks, THE WITNESS reports.


In a trending video on social media, seen by THE WITNESS, a man who identified himself as Oluwole Owoeye, a deputy director of CBN, while monitoring the distribution of the new naira notes in the state, was seen questioning the bank officials as to why they have not uploaded the funds into their Automated Teller Machines, (ATMs), despite having six of the machines in place.


The CBN director also announced a fine of N1 million for each day the fund was in the bank’s custody.


The CBN official said, “I am currently at Sterling Bank, on Bank Road as part of the new naira notes monitoring compliance with the guidelines by CBN. They have N6 million, which they collected from the bank for almost two weeks, they have not disbursed any. They said they are yet to configure their ATMs, I do not know why that and I have brought attention to the penalty clause of N1 million per day, because they have five ATMs here, they have no reason for keeping this money.


“The zonal service manager, Tunde Onipede promised that by 10:00am latest tomorrow (Monday), because I told him by latest 10:00 am I’ll be here and I want to see the machine dispensing this money.


“What is the name again? Olumide Owolabi (Service Manager, Ado) & Motunrayo Babayele. My name is Oluwole Owoeye and I am a deputy director of CBN.”



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FCMB Manager Arrested For Hoarding New Naira Notes



A manager of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) branch in Osogbo, Osun State capital, has been arrested for allegedly preventing Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) loaded with cash from dispensing money to customers.

The spokesperson of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission (ICPC), Azuka Ogugua, in a statement on Friday said the cash bundles were loaded into the ATMs while still wrapped, and as such, could not be dispensed through the machines

“The ICPC Compliance Team in Osogbo has busted an FCMB in Osogbo, Osun State, where some ATMs were loaded with cash with their wrappers un-removed, thus preventing the cash from being dispensed.

“The Team, therefore, directed that the wrappers be removed, and the cash loaded properly’.

Similarly, seven Point of Sale (POS) operators as well as a security guard were arrested during the ongoing exercise in Osun State for charging exorbitant commissions for cash.

Investigations, however, revealed that they got the money from Filling Stations that collect new notes from fuel buyers, but they then resell the cash to the public at exorbitant rates.

The arrested persons are helping the Commission with information to assist investigations and bust any syndicates involved in the hoarding or sales of the redesigned notes.


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New naira: ICPC arrests Stanbic IBTC Bank manager over sabotage



The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), has arrested an official of Stanbic IBTC Bank in Abuja for alleged sabotage.

The ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, said the development was in continuation of ICPC’s clampdown on elements frustrating efforts in making the redesigned Naira notes available to members of the public.

The bank official, who is the branch service head of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Deidei Branch in Abuja, was taken into custody for her deliberate refusal to upload cash into the branch’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) even when the cash was available and people were queuing at the ATM points.

The statement reads: “When the ICPC monitoring team stormed the bank at about 1:30pm on Friday to ensure compliance, and demanded explanation as to why all the ATMs were not dispensing cash, the team was informed by the branch’s head of operations that the bank just got delivery of the cash.

“However, facts available to the ICPC operatives indicated that the branch took delivery of the cash earlier around 11:58am and either willfully or maliciously refused to feed the ATMs with the cash.

“Against this backdrop, the ICPC team compelled the bank to load the ATMs with the redesigned Naira notes and ensured that they were all dispensing before arresting the culprit.

“The ICPC said investigations were still ongoing and the Commission will take appropriate actions as soon they are concluded.

“Similarly, seven Point of Sale (PoS) operators as well as a security guard were arrested during an ongoing exercise in Osun State for charging exorbitant commissions for cash.

“Investigations, however, revealed that they got the money from Filling Stations that collect new notes from fuel buyers, but they then resell the cash to the public at exorbitant rates.

“The arrested persons were helping the anti-graft commission with information to assist investigations and bust other syndicates involved in the hoarding and sales of the redesigned Naira notes,” the anti-graft agency said.


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