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Press zooms in on Buhari’s pledge to secure Nigeria, Niger from attacks, others

The pledge by President Muhammadu Buhari to do everything possible to secure Nigeria and its neighbour, Niger Republic, from incessant terror attacks by Boko Haram insurgents is the trending story in Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.ThisDay reports that President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday vowed to do everything possible to secure Nigeria and its neighbour, Niger Republic, from incessant terror attacks by Boko Haram insurgents.

Buhari, while hosting the new President of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, stated that Niger also suffers high casualties from terror attacks, adding that “we will do all it takes to secure our two countries.

”The Nigerian leader assured his Nigerien colleague, who was in Nigeria on his first international visit after his inauguration on April 2, that he will stabilise the West African region for the benefit of the two countries.

Buhari described some Nigerians and Nigeriens as people with similar cultures, languages and ways of life, “and we also share about 1,500 kilometres of land border, so we cannot ignore each other”.

He congratulated Bazoum on winning the recent presidential election, and for his successful inauguration.

The newspaper says that Commerce Exterieur (French Foreign Trade Advisors) has expressed readiness to invest in the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) being developed by the Tolaram Group.

Owing to this, the foreign trade advisors has endorsed the zone as the ideal industrial destination for French businesses in Nigeria.

The Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur, was quoted in a statement to have made this known during a recent visit to the Lagos Free Zone.

The delegation led by the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, His Excellency Jerome Pasquier accompanied by his Economic Advisor, the Consulate General of France in Lagos and the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur comprising of CEOs of several French businesses in Nigeria.

Speaking during the visit, Pasquier explained that the aim of the visit of the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur to LFZ was to discover the opportunities in the free trade zone and the Lekki Port project, which is expected to have a huge positive impact on businesses in Nigeria.

The Punch reports that the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, has advised Nigerians to embrace the fight against corruption because the Commission cannot win the war alone.

Bawa said this when he received members of a civil society organization, Civil Society Coalition for Transparency and Good Governance, at the Commission’s headquarters, Abuja on Monday, April 19, 2021.

According to the EFCC boss, “EFCC belongs to all Nigerians and it is not for anybody.

“We realized long ago that the work of the EFCC is not something that can be done alone. Civil Society Organizations and Individuals are all stakeholders because Nigeria is the only country we have.”

Bawa gave the assurance that the EFCC will partner with civil society organizations to ensure that “the mandate of the Commission and what we stand for, which is ensuring good governance, is imbibed and the country is rid of corruption.”

The Guardian says the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Nigerian Gas Company and Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc and other stakeholders are firming fresh plans to address the perennial challenges facing gas-fired power plants in the country.

Although Nigeria has over 203 trillion cubic feet of gas, most power plants relying on gas are faced with a shortage, as bottlenecks continue to cause power outages.

The Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, had last week tendered a public apology over the worsening supply in the country, blaming the development on gas-related challenges, which rendered about six gas power plants idle.

Speaking, yesterday, in Abuja at a meeting, which brought together stakeholders in the gas space, particularly those in the power sector, Director of DPR, Sarki Auwalu, said the challenges facing the value chain have been identified and would be addressed with immediate effects.

The Sun reports that United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc Monday, released its unaudited results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2021, showing impressive double-digit growth across major income lines.

The bank leveraged modest growth in both interest and non-interest income as well as increased efficiency to deliver an impressive 24 percent year-on-year growth in Profit Before Tax in the first three months of the 2021 financial year to N40.6 billion compared with N32.7 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2020.

Profit After Tax also grew by 26.8 percent from N30.1 billion in March 2020 to N38.2 billion in the period under review.

Interestingly, UBA again sustained its strong profitability recording an annualised 20.5 percent Return on Average Equity (RoAE) compared to 19.9 percent in the same period of 2020.

Driven by a year-on-year growth in interest income, UBA Group recorded another impressive 5.5 percent percent year-on-year growth in Gross Earnings to close at N155.4 billion for the three-month period ending March 2021, compared to N147.2 billion recorded in the first three months of last year 2020.

The bank’s total assets also rose by 2.5 percent to N7.9 trillion in the period under review, compared to N7.7 trillion recorded at the end of the 2020 financial year, whilst shareholders’ funds grew to N762.4 billion up by 5.3 percent from N724.1 billion as at FY 2020.

The newspaper says that Access Bank, Nigeria’s biggest lender by customer base, says it has entered into a definitive and binding agreement with ABC Holdings regarding a proposed acquisition of African Corporation of Botswana (BancABC Botswana).

This was announced in a statement signed by Sunday Ekwochi, Access Bank’s company secretary, on Monday.

The ABC Holdings is a subsidiary of Atlas Mara Limited, a financial services group. In December 2020, Access Bank said it was in talks to acquire some assets in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia belonging to Atlas Mara, in order to expand its reach in Africa.

Access Bank will acquire 78.15 percent of the issued share capital of BancABC Botswana, the statement said.

The transaction is expected to conclude in the first half of 2021, however, it is subject to the fulfilment of various customary conditions precedent including certain regulatory requirements by the Bank of Botswana and consents from other relevant authorities and certain counterparties.

Commenting on the transaction, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, Access Bank’s managing director/ chief executive, said the acquisition would position the bank to deliver a more complete set of banking solutions to its clients active in and across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) regions.



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