Some Access Bank staff who were laid off protest at the bank’s head office in Victoria Island, Lagos, on Wednesday.
The protest was against the alleged termination of contracts and non-payment of entitlements. The laid-off staff made know their agitations through their various placards.
Some of the placards read, “Stop Access Bank brutality. More than 2,000 sacked”, “Access, pay us our entitlements”, “What does the future hold for support staff?”, “Stop enslaving Nigerians in their country”.
The workers accused Access bank of terminating more than 2,000 workers without paying them their entitlements.
It should be recalled that the bank laid off some staff during the heat of COVID-19 in April before the Central Bank of Nigeria intervened and halt the process following a nationwide outcry.
However, some of the laid of staff explained to the media that the trouble started on April 31, 2020 when the bank laid off some of their staff due to the global health pandemic.
One of the laid of staff, (name withheld) explained that though Access Bank obeyed CBN, recalled the staff and continued to pay their salaries, they requested them to stay away from the office.
However, the situation changed on November 30, 2020, when some staff were served termination letters through their various outsourcing firms.
Mr. Akintayo Akinyemi one of the protesters said that Access Bank is in dialogue with the National Union of Banks Insurance and Financial Institution Employees.
He said, “Now that they said they don’t want us anymore, we’re entitled to gratuities. If they are saying we should go, then they should pay our entitlements, and that’s what we’re fighting for.
“The bank already scheduled a meeting with our union for December 11. They shifted the meeting to that time because of what they planned to do.
“We want them to pay our entitlements; they should pay us off so that we can do something with our lives. I’m in my mid-thirties and I have been applying for jobs since then, but they have been turning me down because of my age. I cannot get a valid job anymore. I have put about 10 years into the system and I was laid off just like that”.
Another laid-off staff, Solomon Oropo, said that they were paid N11,500 by the bank’s outsourcing firms for terminating their appointments.
He said, “Our salaries were being paid till November 30 when we received letters that our services were no longer needed and after that, they paid us N11,500 for terminating the contracts. So, what they’re paying as gratuity is N11,500 and that was what led to this protest.
“Our union had been having meetings with the bank and the bank denied sacking us. There are staffs that have been working for 20 years and below and many of us are above 40 with family and they are paying us N11,500 in lieu of notification and that’s all. We see it as dubious and uncalled for and we say no to it. They cannot use our youthful age and ask us to go home with N11,500”.
Mr Olatunji Abubakar, another protester, accused Access bank of demoting some of the staff after merging with Diamond Bank, said, “when Access Bank took over from Diamond Bank, all the office assistants working under Diamond Bank were demoted to security guards on the grounds that they don’t have office assistants in Access Bank and our salaries were pushed to different security firms.
“We went to the security firms for documentations and we were not given any offer letters until when we were disengaged last month without any benefit. I worked with Diamond Bank for 10 years before we came to Access Bank. This has affected me in many ways because I don’t know where to go or start from”.
However, in all this Access bank denied laying off its staff and claimed the termination of appointment was done by their outsourcing firms.
Abdul Imoyo, Access bank’s Head of Media Relations, explained that the protest was an appeal to the bank to intervene in the decision of the outsourcing firms.
He said, “It was not Access Bank that sacked them. The protest was about them calling on Access Bank to intervene in the termination of their appointments with their employers. It is about their relationship with their employers and because they work for Access Bank, they’re asking Access Bank to intervene and we have called their employers.
“There’s an ongoing process to get this resolved. They are not happy with what their employers did and they escalated their grievances beyond their employers. Their employers said they were paid based on their different levels of engagements and terms of the agreements.
“We’re going to engage their employers and see how we can manage their dispute. We need to investigate what happened between them and their employers and resolve all issues.
Niger Insurance to Sell Property Worth N15bn in Recapitalisation Move
Niger Insurance Plc said it is working on a plan to sell off N15 billion worth of real estate and investment property to boost its cash flow and meet the liquidity requirements of the insurance industry.
Mr. Edwin Egbiti, the Managing Director of the company disclosed this during the company’s 2019 annual general meetings held virtually in Lagos recently.
He said, “Subsequent to the requisite approvals of the board on behalf of shareholders, a number of the company’s real estate and investment property valued at N15bn have been put on sale in order to improve liquidity/cash flows, ensure reserve adequacy and improve solvency margins.
“We are encouraged by the progress made so far, and confident that both capital restructuring and recapitalisation efforts will be successful in line with National Insurance Commission’s regulatory timelines.”
It added that Niger Insurance recognised that its people were the company’s most critical assets without whom its goals and plans would remain elusive.
AMCON Takes Over Inducon Nigeria’s Assets Over N1.3 Billion Debt
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has taken over the assets of Dr. John Abebe, the Chief Promoter of Inducon Nigeria Limited over N1.3 billion debt.
According to a statement signed by the Head, Corporate Communications Department, AMCON, Jude Nwauzor, and titled ‘N1.3bn debt: AMCON takes over assets of Inducon Nigeria Limited’ the decision followed the order of Honourable Justice Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
“In compliance with the enforcement order, AMCON at the weekend took effective possession of the property situate at Plot12, Block 108, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme, Lagos, through its debt recovery agent – Ogunsola Shonibare L.P.
“The court also ordered that the bank accounts of the company and its directors, Dr. John Abebe, Mr Olawole Fatimilehin and Ademola Buraimoh, be frozen pending the final determination of the suit.”
The asset management corporation said the case of Dr. John Abebe and Inducon Nigeria Limited started shortly after the loan was procured by AMCON in 2011 during the first phase of Eligible Bank Asset purchases from the defunct FinBank, Now FCMB.
CBN Pays N14.35 Billion for 263,860 Meters to End Estimated Billings
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it has disbursed a total sum of N14.35 billion to the Distribution Companies of Nigeria (DisCOs) for the payment of 263,860 meters under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
In November 2020, the Federal Government announced that it would make funds available for 1 million meters in the first phase of President Buhari Mass Metering Initiative at no cost to consumers.
Between November 2020 and January 2021, the Federal Government through the CBN has disbursed N14.35 billion.
However, according to the apex bank DisCOs must pay back the amount disbursed based on the previously agreed amortisation schedule.
“The facility disbursed is a loan that must be repaid by the DisCos on the basis of the previously agreed amortisation schedule. The repayment is to be deducted from payments made by consumers into the DisCos accounts with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs),” the CBN stated.
“The maximum tenor of the facility is 10 years but not exceeding 2030, while the moratorium on the principal amount is for a period not exceeding 24 months from the date of loan disbursement.”
A week ago, the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) announced it has commenced the distribution of 104,0000 free meters in Ibadan, Oyo State.
This, the IBEDC said was under the ongoing National Metering Scheme of president Muhammadu Buhari.
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