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It seems that the center would not hold much longer for the current Minister for Culture and Tourism Chief Edem Duke. As information reaching

Society Reporters NG reveals that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, is not happy with the minister and has

even gone as far as making moves to replace him. The president has asked members of his inner cabinet to shop for a replacement for Chief

Duke because according to a competent source, ‘the President is crossed with the always faltering Minister of Culture for the manner the minister

misled him into approving the sack of a serving Director General of a parastatal under his ministry, so as to pave way for the appointment of the

son of his close friend and business associate’.

Society Reporters NG gathered that the minister on Thursday 11 Sept 2014, announced the removal of the artistic director of the National Troupe

Mr Martin Adaji and in his place appointed Akin Adejuwon, son of his bosom friend Mr. Franklin Adejumo, as Artistic director.
Akin, a fine artist, is based in the UK and his father Dr. Franklin Adejuwon according to same source, has been a longtime associate of Edem Duke,

their friendship spans over 3 decades, and Dr. Adejuwon has pressurized Duke to use his influence and connections to secure a job for his son who

is not known to any theatre practitioner in Nigeria. In fact when the news was relayed on NTA news two days ago, none of the theatre practitioners

knew or have heard about their new Director, Akin Adejuwon, who has taken over a job meant for a theory and practically oriented theatre


We gathered reliably that Akin Adejuwon is a fine artist, and also a head of a performing arts agency when there is a national gallery of arts. And

that he infact teaches at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State.

Mr Adaji, the sacked Artistic Director, is a play creation major from the University of Ibadan, and has held many artistic positions before his

National Troupe appointment in 2011. Mr Adaji would have served out his first term in June 2015, and was even looking forward to a renewal of his

appointment because of the giant strides he has reportedly recorded, before his hasty ouster by Duke on Thursday night. Akin, his successor has

not shown up for work since his appointment, and that only means that Duke bowed to the ‘external’ pressure. Adejuwon, is said to be the brain

behind the drafting of the Miribound Tourism master plan, being spear-headed by Edem Duke. Currently, there is confusion in the arts community,

and among staff of the National Troupe. Some of them who spoke to our reporter say they will resist the attempt by Duke to appoint a non

practitioner as head of the National Troupe.

They said the minister owes them an explanation as to why a serving DG will be removed without reason. They want the President to reverse the

decision, as the troupe is a specialized agency that does not need a crony as CEO. They also said they will protest this and other appointments

the minister has made in the last two weeks. Last week, the minister appointed his Special Assistant, who is alleged to be a former staff of his

tourism agency Ms Chika Balogun, as DG of National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism Studies. He also appointed a 60 year old retired civil

servant Mrs Dayo Keshi, as DG of National Council for Arts and Culture. Mrs Keshi will be 68 by the time she serves out her tenure.

Efforts made by Society Reporters NG to reach the minister on phone proved abortive. His two lines have remained permanently switched off. But

an aide to the Minister said the appointment of Akin Adejuwon, is with immediate effect and that ‘even President Jonathan cannot reverse it, as

he is the one who authorized the removal of Mr Adajih’.

We promise to bring you more reports as soon as we lay our hands on more information.

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Fidelity Bank Records Stellar Performance in FY 2022  …… Declares total dividend of 50K per share



Fidelity Bank Plc, a leading financial institution released its 2022 Audited Financial Statements on the Nigerian bourse today. The results showed a 34.4% growth in Gross Earnings YoY to N337.1bn, driven by 45.2% growth in interest and similar income to N295.6bn. The increase in Interest Income was led by a combination of improved yield on earning assets and 19.1% YoY expansion in earnings base to N2.64trn. This led to a Profit Before Tax of N53.7 billion representing 112.9% annual growth.

Commenting on the Bank’s impressive performance, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank Plc said, “We are happy to report another year of impressive double-digit growth across key income and balance sheet lines. This validates our growth strategy and capacity to deliver superior returns to shareholders.”

Further review showed that Net Interest Income increased by 60.9% YoY to N152.7bn. The high yield environment had a positive impact on Net Interest Margin, which increased to 6.4% from 4.7% in 2021FY while average funding cost inched up slightly to 4.6% from 4.2%. Similarly, Total Deposits increased by 27.4% to N2.58trn from N2.02trn in 2021FY, in line with the Bank’s guidance for 2022FY published in its investor relations presentation. The increase was driven by 43.1% growth in low-cost deposits (Demand | Savings | Domiciliary), which resulted in improved margins.

Speaking on the contribution of Foreign Currency (FCY) deposits to its financial performance, Onyeali-Ikpe noted, “FCY deposits increased by $597m (63.4% YoY) to $1.5bn and now accounts for 27.5% of total deposits from 19.7% in 2021FY, as we continue to harness the benefits of our renewed drive in the export business and the diaspora banking space.”

Historically, Fidelity Bank has maintained high asset quality and a healthy balance sheet with its Regulatory Ratios well above the minimum regulatory thresholds. It reported a Liquidity Ratio of 39.6% and Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 18.1% compared to the minimum regulatory requirement of 30.0% and 15.0% respectively. Its Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio remained unchanged at 2.9% for the year.

“In 2023, we are committed to our strategic plan of expanding our service touchpoints beyond the Nigerian market and providing straight-through services that meet and exceed the needs of our growing clientele”, explained Onyeali-Ikpe.

On the back of the impressive performance, the bank has declared a final dividend of 40kobo per share which brings its total dividend for FY 2022 to 50kobo per share.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged customer commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 7.5 million customers serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank was recognized as the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards. The bank has also won awards for the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

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Coalition of Arewa Civil Society Groups Faults Judgment Restoring Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume as Non-Executive Chairman of NNPCL



The Coalition of Arewa Civil Society Groups has, in strong terms, faulted a court judgment that restored Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as non-Executive Chairman of Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
Expressing its displeasure over the ruling, the group said the Federal High Court’s pronouncement was viewed as a usurpation of the duties of the Office of the President and an affront to the powers of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group made this known in a statement released on Wednesday and signed by its publicity secretary, Mallam Sanni Mohammed. It could be recalled that on Tuesday, April 18, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja declared the sack of Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume as non-Executive Chairman of NNPCL illegal and unconstitutional, as such, restored him back. Reacting to the development, the coalition said it was ridiculous that the court saw the sacking of Ifeanyi Ararume as illegal, adding that the President acted within the confines of the law.

The statement said, “The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) is unambiguous as Section 14 is clear on the president’s power to suspend or remove members of the NNPCL board and the conditions that could result in such removal or suspension. As the Minister of Petroleum, President Buhari heads the industry with a wide range of powers to formulate, monitor, and administer government policies. Indeed, those who call Buhari’s sacking of Ararume illegal should read between the lines.” The coalition urged the nation to grow past petty sentiments and avoid using the judiciary to cause chaos, setting the country backward by damaging its image before the eyes of the international community. It praised the performance of Sen. Margery Cuba Okadigbo as chairman of the board and her unprecedented achievements since her appointment as the Chairman of the NNPCL board.
The statement reads, “The essence of any judicial intervention is to ensure orderliness and good conduct in government’s affairs. When a judicial pronouncement seeks to usurp the powers of another branch of government, it is a recipe for anarchy and the breakdown of the rule of law. In this regard, we in the Coalition of Arewa Civil Society groups note with great displeasure and consider as an aberration the judgment by the Federal High Court in Abuja, restoring Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as non-Executive Chairman of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
“The Coalition views as a usurpation of the duties of the Office of the President and an affront to the powers of President Muhammadu Buhari. “For a start, the 1999 Constitution provides that “5(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive powers of the Federation — (a) shall be vested in the President and may, subject as aforesaid and to the provisions of any law made by the National Assembly, be exercised by him either directly or through the Vice-President and Ministers of the Government of the Federation or officers in the Public Service of the Federation.”
“Also, the cabinet and the larger administrative team, except where specifically established by the constitution, hold their appointments at the pleasure of Mr. President.” It added that section 147 provides that “(1) there shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.” “Sub-section (2) restates the exclusivity of the president’s power to hire a minister (and other appointees) by stating that “any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.
” Naturally, whoever can hire can also fire.” The coalition opined that it is “ridiculous to claim that the sack of Sen. Ararume is illegal. How can it be illegal when the president acts within the confines of the law? The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) is unambiguous as Section 14 is clear on the president’s power to suspend or remove members of the NNPCL board and the conditions that could result in such removal or suspension. As the Minister of Petroleum, President Buhari heads the industry with a wide range of powers to formulate, monitor, and administer government policies. Indeed, those who call Buhari’s sacking of Ararume illegal should read between the lines”.
According to them, “Nigeria cannot continue like this! The oil sector is already suffering huge setbacks due to oil bunkering, theft, vandalism, and gas flaring. As a mainstay of the economy, we cannot neglect this sector. We need the best brains to act fast to salvage this sector”. They believe that Sen. Margery Cuba Okadigbo has not failed in her endeavor as chairman of the board and “has brought unprecedented achievements since her appointment as the Chairman of the NNPCL board. “Sen. Okadigbo is a fine lawyer with a wealth of experience (over 40 years) of leadership and has been exceptional in discharging her duties.
Her focus and vision have turned things around, giving the NNPCL a new face of hope nationally and internationally. “We are pleased that the Presidency has indicated that it is appealing the obnoxious judgment. We urge President Muhammadu Buhari not to distract the present Chairman (Sen. Margery Cuba Okadigbo) from placing the NNPCL on the world map of record. And to continue in his quest to finish strong, which started with the passage of the PIA after several failed attempts by various administrations. “We use this opportunity to enjoin the judiciary not operate within its powers and not take on the authority of the President and Presidency by delivering embarrassing judgments.”

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Doyin Okupe appeals money laundering conviction



Former Director-General of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Doyin Okupe, has appealed his conviction on money laundring charges by the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Justice I. L. Ojukwu on December 19, 2022 convicted him of two counts of money laundering and sentenced him to two years imprisonment with an option of fine.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had told the court that Okupe received over N200m cash from a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), without going through the bank.

The anti-graft agency said he violated the provisions of the money laundering law.

In an appeal filed by his lawyer , Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, on Thursday, Okupe is seeking the reversal of his conviction.

He argued that he received the said sums in cash not in his individual capacity but for the Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs.

He said he acted under the instructions of the ex-President and hence, he should not be penalised unjustly.


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