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First Bank’s 125th Anniversary Documentary: Exemplifying Business Sustainability In Africa

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There should never be any word like “arguably” mentioned in the same statement that clearly describes the First bank of Nigeria as the biggest institution in the country in whatever context or perspective one chooses to look at it from. This is obviously because this iconic brand, in its one hundred and twenty-five years of establishment, has been part of the principal players in the building, financing of Nigeria and Nigerians.

The penultimate bank of Nigeria which boasts of the largest number of shareholders in the country; 1.3 million and over 16 million customers, a feat which no other institution comes close to matching, serves as a point of reference to every other financial institution. What makes it the biggest is not just obviously being the oldest, but, it’s massive coverage and aggressive expansion across the country, decades and decades of consistent huge customer support, investments. The scale of its operation influence in the market is simply understood this way, should anything goes wrong with First Bank, there will be systemic reverberations.

There are currently about 50 million banking people in Nigeria and 24 other banks. This means that over a quarter of all the banking customers put their financial trust in First bank.

In the early 20th century, the Bank of British West Africa (FBN) began expanding aggressively across the regions, with branches opened in Calabar, Zaria, Accra, Kano, Sierra Leone, and many more. When the Kano bank was opened in 1914, an illustrious merchant showed up with three camels saddled with twenty bags of money, deposited that day. Today, First bank has over 82,000 locations spread across all 774 local government areas of the 923, 763 square kilometers. This means that it is everywhere.

Speaking about the magnitude of the greatness, Ibukun Awosika, the Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, stated that one will have to have an insider point of view to fully and truly have a grasp of what a great institution it is, “when I say “institution”, I meant that; an INSTITUTION. Think of how many different ‘future’ First Bank has gone through. Imagine when it was ten years old, the environment that it was in. 1894, by 1904, what did this region look like. By the time you got to the Amalgamation in 1914, you could only anticipate what was going to happen next. Walkthrough all of those seasons into the season of independence of the country, think of the season when we had a lot of cash crops and everything and the kind of development and the nature of the country and the region, and the emergence of the petrodollar and the different political systems, whether military or whatever we had overtime. And think of an institution that has continuously re-engineered itself effectively for each future that it had to encounter and successfully do it”.

For a bank that is 125 years old, First Bank is ‘not competing’ with its new generation counterparts, but, has remained tremendously relevant, outstanding, and consistently at the forefront over the years, with its capacity and ability to invent and reinvent itself. This has strategically positioned the bank to remain as the dominant financial institution, not just in Nigeria, but in the west and central part of Africa, where it currently plays.

Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, who also happens to be the son of J.K. Agbaje, the first appointed African branch manager of First Bank could not hide his respect for the giant bank; “There are very few banks truthfully that I have a lot of respect for because I don’t think that a lot of banks are necessarily doing banking the way I would like it to be done and that probably one of the four or five banks that I think are doing banking properly in Nigeria is definitely First Bank nd that if a Guaranty Trust was able to have the staying power and the strength, and the brand and the trust that obviously First Bank has, then I think it would have done very well”.

Agbaje also reveals his latest competition with First Bank, “[It’s] over NIP volumes. I think that last year we controlled about twenty-five percentage of NIP and First Bank was about eighteen percent. Today, they have used their retail base to go up to about 22.9% of NIP, I think we are 20.9%”.

Some of the big features that stand First Bank out as a financial institution is its financial security, customer support, investment. By far, First Bank has the largest asset base; N5.3 trillion. This gives the customer peace of mind knowing his money is always safe. For over a century, Fist bank has been providing support for so many businesses of different sizes that form the engine of the economy. First Bank has been partners with thousands of both large conglomerates and small businesses.

In the 1920s when Nigerians were beginning to clamor against the unfair taxes by their colonial masters, First bank was there to provide heavy supports for the ordinary Nigerians, in all forms of agriculture, trade, and services. At this time, the bank had become the treasury for the governor and the Central bank of Nigeria, CBN, with a customer base of hundreds of thousands.

During every landmark development of and in Nigeria, First Bank has been there. From roads to bridges, to dams. It was there providing financial support. From the groundnut pyramids and cash crops of the 1930s to the first power lines to the first major railway project that connected the two ends of the country, to the Niger bridge linking major cities, First Bank played a major role in these landmark developments. Even today, the flying elephant has continued to carry the modern agricultural developments, privatization of the power sector, and some of the country’s largest infrastructural projects, both public and private.

First Bank has not only the nation in diverse ways, it is impacting individual lives with valuables in areas of health, education, welfare, and so many other areas. Through its initiative, SPARK, Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness. This initiative has restored visible hope in the family of Kate Ogbonnaya, a recipient whose daughter, Ijeoma Gold Ogbonnaya had a hole in her heart and had a successful surgery. So many others have benefited from this tremendous initiative. Many students have seen their education dreams fulfilled, schools have received buses to help the transportation of students to and fro the school premises.

Bringing the Automated Teller Machine, ATM, and introducing the Western Money Transfer, no doubt, this pioneering bank has continued to evolve and deliver values to generations of Nigeria.

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Dangote women empowerment program reaches N4.3billion in disbursement

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…He understands Nigeria better than some politicians-Gov

 

The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) has doled out a whooping N4.2billion as part of its unconditional Micro Grant Programme for empowering women in the rural areas across the country.

Speaking at the flag-off of its one-off unconditional Micro-grants Programme Tuesday in Bauchi, Chairman of the Aliko Dangote Foundation empowered twenty thousand vulnerable women across the 20 Local Government Areas of the State.

Dangote who was represented by the company’s Group Executive Director Government and Strategic Relations, Mansur Ahmed said so far over four hundred thousand poor women have benefited from the programme in the country.

He said in Bauchi State, N200million is currently being disbursed to vulnerable women across the 20 Local Government Areas.

According to the Africa’s top philanthropist, the unconditional micro grant is aimed at supporting the government effort’s in empowering poor families in the State.

He said the Foundation had earmarked N10billion to be disbursed to vulnerable women across the 774 Local Government Areas in the country.

Dangote said states that have also benefitted from the scheme include: Lagos, Kano, Jigawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Niger, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Katsina and Kwara state.

He added that the next states to benefit from the programme are: Osun, Edo, Ogun, Rivers, Anambra and Ebonyi state respectively.

“The Micro-grants programme is one component of the Economic Empowerment pillar of the Aliko Dangote Foundation. It provides disadvantaged and vulnerable women with a one-off, unconditional N10,000,00 cash transfer to boost their household income generation. This we believe will help reduce their vulnerability and meet their livelihood needs,” he added. 

He said it is gratifying to note that majority of women who benefitted from the scheme have been able to grow the seed capital.

While thanking Aliko Dangote Foundation to coming to assist the vulnerable women in  Bauchi State,  Governor Senator Bala Abdulkadir Muhammad said he was very elated with ADF’s intervention across the country and especially in his state.

He expressed optimism that the intervention will support lives and livelihoods of women, children and families in Bauchi State.

According to him: “Aliko Dangote is a beacon of hope for the Bauchi people. He has been creating not only business institutions at the highest levels but also touching lives at the lowest level. He seems to understand Nigeria more than some of us who are politicians. He’s supporting our mothers who will help put food on our tables and train their children in schools.

“We’ve just named the school of nursing and midwifery after him. This is to mark his huge contribution to our societies in Bauchi.”

“We are also using this opportunity to inform him that he should come and invest in Bauchi. We have the highest deposit of limestone in the country. We have the largest arable land and the largest forest. Bauchi is also very peaceful and secured.”

The Governor also presented a book to the Aliko Dangote Foundation.

The book was written over a 100 years ago by Sheik Uthman Danfodio, and titled: The Principle of Leadership.

Speaking also, the Speaker, State House of Assembly Rt Hon Abubakar Y. Suleiman described the intervention as huge saying it would go a long way in supporting the poverty alleviation stride of the state government.

He said the state will continue to collaborate with the state in area of economic empowerment of womenfolk.

Commending the foundation, First Lady and wife to the Governor Mrs Aisha Bala Muhammad  said the intervention will help lift families from economic problems, even as she urged the women to invest it wisely.

Speaking, one of the beneficiaries Amina Musa, 50, said she would start micro business and use the profit to support her family.

Another beneficiary Jumai Rabiu, 47, described the intervention as huge and timely, adding that she will use the money judiciously and employ others too.

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Heirs Life Assurance Partners Avon Medical on World Blood Donor Day

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Newly launched specialist life insurance company, Heirs Life Assurance (HLA) has partnered Avon Medical to organize a blood drive in commemoration of the 2021 World Blood Donor Day. The event, which was held on Monday, June 14, 2021, at the ultramodern Avon Medical Dialysis Centre in Ikeja, Lagos had individuals present to donate blood for those in dire need of medical attention.

This year’s edition, the first partnership between both companies, set out to increase awareness of the importance of safe blood for transfusion and highlight the critical role voluntary blood donors play in national health. The Chief Marketing Officer, Heirs Life Assurance, Ifesinachi Okpagu confirmed that the partnership is in line with the company’s goal of promoting, not just the importance of life insurance, but wholesome living.

‘At the core of our business operations at Heirs Life Assurance is care for people and their families and we are pleased to have demonstrated this with our partnership with Avon Medical. There are several statistics that show that blood donation is of much benefit to the end user as much as it is to donors and here today, we are raising awareness for the need to encourage this culture and celebrate as many that have come out to be superheroes’, she said.

Shekinah Olagunju, Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications at Avon Medical, also expressed delight in the partnership, describing it as laudable especially as it helps both companies further their commitment to building a healthier nation and, in the process, improving the economy and transforming Africa; values held by the companies within the Heirs Holdings group portfolio.

Since its official launch on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, Heirs Life has continued to actively push its offering of life insurance that is simple, quick, accessible, and reliable with its array of value adding products, served on several easy-to-use platforms. Heirs Life’s product offerings comprise of insurance-backed savings plans and life insurance security for individuals, families, children’s education, debtors, creditors, entrepreneurs, and employees. The company is backed by top-notch Reinsurers to provide second-layer security for its clients’ insurance portfolios.

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Dangote $2 billion urea fertilizer Plant pushes out 120 trucks everyday

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 Excites marketers, farmers in North 

 

After months of speculations, Dangote Urea fertilizer is now finally on sales nationwide and it currently pushes out a minimum of 120 trucks per day across the country

 

Group Executive Director, (Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development) · Dangote Industries Limited,  Devakumar  Edwin, revealed to the press over the weekend that the Plant which has the capacity to turn out more than 4,500 tonnes of urea per day will conveniently meet the local demand and even produce for exports.

 

According to him: “…We have the capacity to turn out 4,500 tonnes of Urea everyday…this is a bulk application fertilizer…each crop in Nigeria or globally will require Nitrogen and this is a rich fertilizer, having 46 per cent nitrogen…The company has the capacity to meet local demand and also export to African countries… Currently the demand is less than 1 million tonnes and we alone can  produce 3 million tonnes, so we can easily meet local demand and also produce for export to other west African countries.”

DANGOTE

Aside fertilizer production, the company, according to Edwin is already working to support the farmers with training on application of the fertilizer and even establish laboratories across the country for proper soil examination.

 

“The uniqueness of this plant, apart from the fact that we are producing is the focus on farmers’ support, on training, education, development as we are now establishing laboratories across the country and even mobile laboratories where we can go drive around and take soil samples for proper examination to effectively grow the agricultural outputs across the country”

 

The Urea Fertilizer plant was built to tap into Nigeria’s demand for fertilizer, a critical component of achieving food sufficiency for Africa’s most populous country.

The Fertilizer plant is expected to manufacture 3 million metric tonnes of urea per annum, with a view to reducing the nation’s fertilizer imports, and generating $400m annual foreign exchange from export to Africa countries.

 

Meanwhile marketers and farmers in Kano have described the newly introduced Dangote Fertilizer as a game changer and a forecast for the expected agricultural revolution in the country.

Marketers and farmers who were apparently excited, over the weekend welcomed the more-than ten trucks that entered Kano markets at the weekend.

Speaking at the event organized by Dan Hydro Company in Kano to mark the introduction of the fertilizer into the northern market, chairman of the Kano state Agro Dealers Association Alhaji Shuaibu Akarami said agro dealers have confidence in Dangote fertilizer as they have in all his products, adding that as a dealer who spent decades in the business he has discovered that Dangote fertilizer will have no problem penetrating the market in the North.

“I have checked the product and have found out that it will have no problem penetrating the market. With my experience in agro products, I can authoritatively say the product has met our expectations and that has confirmed the confidence we have in Dangote fertilizer and other sister products of the Dangote Group,” he said.

The Dan-Hydro fertilizer Company in Kano which took delivery of the first batch of trucks in Kano said the timing and strategy for the introduction are rife.

Head of operations, Dan- Hydro operations Mr. Hamadi Sekou Drammeh said the Dangote fertilizer conforms to all set standard required by the regulatory agencies.

He said the phenomenon of perennial shortage of the fertilizer product will be over in the country.

He said as part of its public enlightenment plan, the company was going to work with all stakeholders in the agricultural sectors.

In the same vein, Sales Manager of Dan Hydro Mr. Sulaiman Tanko assured that the product will be sold at a reasonable price that will enable fair competition in the market. 

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